Happy Halloween!

Geisha girl and shrimp sushi baby for Halloween

Geisha girl and sushi baby for Halloween

Geisha girl for Halloween! The cutest little sushi baby for a Halloween costume. DIY Sushi Halloween

Geisha Girl and baby sushi, shrimp nigiri for Halloween! The cutest little sushi baby for a Halloween costume. DIY Sushi Halloween

Geisha Girl and baby sushi, shrimp nigiri for Halloween! The cutest little sushi baby for a Halloween costume. DIY Sushi Halloween

Geisha Girl and baby sushi, shrimp nigiri for Halloween! The cutest little sushi baby for a Halloween costume. DIY Sushi Halloween

Geisha Girl and baby sushi, shrimp nigiri for Halloween! The cutest little sushi baby for a Halloween costume. DIY Sushi Halloween

Geisha Girl and baby sushi, shrimp nigiri for Halloween! The cutest little sushi baby for a Halloween costume. DIY Sushi Halloween

I had to share with you all our Halloween costumes this year! This is Julian’s very first Halloween, and I couldn’t wait to dress up for it! Halloween has always been one of my least favorite holidays. I admit it! I’m more interested in curling up at home then getting dressed up and going out late at night! Even if candy is involved.

But this year I was so excited to be able to dress up with my little guy! Julian went as sushi, more specifically, shrimp nigiri! And I dressed in an authentic kimono! For those of you that don’t know, Julian is a quarter Japanese. My wonderful mother-in-law Etsuko (Echo) is from Sasebo, Japan, and moved here when she met and married Bob, Jeff’s father. Echo graciously lent me this gorgeous kimono for the holiday, and I felt like a million bucks in such a beautiful piece of clothing. I will be wearing a more casual kimono for trick-or-treating tonight. This kimono is more formal and clearly too beautiful to take to trick-or-treating! Julian’s salmon nigiri costume was sewn by a family friend, Carrie Berger. His “rice” onesie is Kickee Pants, and will definitely be worn again as jammies! 

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Halloween! What will you be for Halloween?

xx,

Heidi

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Julian’s Birth Story

Julian's Birth Story

Julian's Birth Story

Julian's Birth Story

A birth story

A birth story

A birth story

A birth story

A birth story

A birth story

A birth story

A birth story

birth-16

A birth story

A birth story

A birth story

A birth story

A birth story

A birth story

A birth story

Birth photo 2

Our baby boy, Julian, is almost a one year old! So I have been thinking a lot lately of his birth. I prepared for months for Julian’s birth. It has been the most monumental moment of my life, thus far. I have written before about how I feel immensely grateful to be Julian’s mother. But today I wanted to tell you all the story of how I became a mother. This is the cliff notes version, because as you’ll see, it was a very long process to finally be able to meet our son. And it was worth every minute.

It was a few days past my due date, and on a long walk through Bloedel Reserve, I started to get some abdominal cramps and I knew I was going to have my baby boy soon! But, nothing happened that “soon” afterall. My incredible doula, Jen Watson and the midwives from the Salmonberry Birth Center came to our home a few days later when my contractions were really starting to pick up. But I wasn’t progressing.  I spent days at home in what is called “prodromal labor” with contractions, sleepless nights and vomiting. I was planning on having a peaceful, natural home birth. One that I had prepared myself for. I dreamed of nothing else, and I couldn’t wait to welcome our son in our own home. When my water broke we discovered that there was meconium in the fluid, which can be a sign of fetal distress. We decided to transfer to Jefferson Healthcare’s Birth Center in Port Townsend for further care. That car ride while in labor was hands down the worst moment of the labor for me! Jeff drove, and I sat in the back seat with Morgan, a student midwife as she encouraged me and held a bag for me to vomit into. I told you it was a rough ride.

While at the hospital I was joined by my sister and mother, and I felt the love and support of everyone around me. I cannot speak highly enough of the team at Salmonberry Birth Center and Jefferson Healthcare. Kitsap mamas, if you’re expecting I encourage you to look into both of these centers, I think you’ll be overwhelmed with their philosophies and facility.

When I moved into my Labor and Delivery room I labored in the shower, on the bed, in the hallway, and while pacing the room! I was moving a grooving and trying it ALL to hopefully progress the labor. But I was not dilating, and we discovered that Julian was in the wrong position for birth. Up until this point I was handling the contractions with breathing exercises and meditation. But when we discovered that we needed to move Julian’s position everything changed. In order to get Julian to move, Melanie, our midwife, had me lay in the most painful position through some of the worst contractions.  I felt like I couldn’t breath from the pain. It was the first time I realized that this birth may not go exactly like my birth plan had been written. And still, Julian barely moved and I was still not progressing. After days of laboring and at 9.5cm dilated, I finally decided to get an epidural. At this point I didn’t feel guilty, or saddened or any negative emotions about the situation. And I still don’t. Because I knew in my heart I had tried everything I could. And my team had given me every opportunity to try, and to make my own decisions.

Many hours later when I was fully dilated, I finally had the chance to push. Mind you, this is days after those first signs of labor! I pushed for nearly 4 hours and Julian would not budge. The contractions and the pushing didn’t hurt, but I was growing weary and Julian was not advancing. With the help of our team, Jeff and I decided that it was best to have a c-section. Julain was doing well in utero, so this was not an “emergency c-section.” It was a last resort, this is just not going to happen c-section.

I wasn’t afraid at that point, I was eager to meet our son. I even could see part of the surgery from the reflection of an overhead light. (Former ER nurse here!) I felt grateful that our surgeon was the same doctor that had been with us for days of laboring. We had quickly grown to trust and respect her. I couldn’t imagine a scenario where everything was seemingly “going wrong,” going so right.

Julian was born exactly a week past my due date on November 11, 2015 at 7:57am. When I heard Julian’s first cry my heart burst. It was the most magical sound I had ever heard. They brought him straight to my chest for skin to skin contact where he stayed just about the whole day. I remember I couldn’t even see his face yet because they placed him directly under my chin, but I could feel his skin and smell his scent, and I cried tears of joy. Jeff and I embraced our son; our Julian was here.

One of my favorite memories was in the elevator, returning to our room, I was staring at Julian on my chest, and he was lifting his head and looking right at me. I was amazed by his strength already! And his beauty. His ears were smushed and looked like cinnamon rolls, his feet were enormous, and his cheeks as chubby as could be. Later Jeff told me how all of the nurses were making a fuss about how big Julian was. Of course, I wasn’t paying much attention at the time, I was a little distracted with loving on my guy! But sure enough, our little man was a big guy afterall! Julian weighed in at 10lbs 13oz and measured 22 inches long. 

Julian, is our greatest joy, and loved beyond measure. 

Julian Koki Stephens:

Born November 11, 2015 at 7:57am

10lbs 13oz, 22 inches

xx,

Heidi

Photography by Sara Krebsbach Photography

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Autumn Decor

Autumn decor

Autumn decor

Autumn decor

Autumn decor

Autumn is one of my favorite times of year! I can’t seem to get over the colors of the leaves and the pumpkins galore. I mentioned this before in a post about our visit to the pumpkin patch, but I’ve never been a fan of pumpkin carving. Admittedly, I am not so skilled with a knife. However, I do love decorating for and celebrating holidays. Some of my favorite memories as a girl are decorating our home for every holiday with my mom and siblings. 

For the fall season, and even the Halloween holiday, I like simple and classic decor. I let mother nature speak for herself and decorate with lots of pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks and of course, mums! Our pumpkins are from Suyematsu Farms, cornstalks are from Bainbridge Gardens, and the mums are from Home Depot! How do you decorate for fall or for Halloween? Let me know in the comments! Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween next week!  

xx,

Heidi

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Spooky Sweet Treats

Ghost sugar cookies

Ghost sugar cookies

Ghost sugar cookies

I have a baking confession to make. I just cannot hack royal icing. When it comes to decorating cookies, mine usually end up staying “naked” and being enjoyed without any icing or frosting. Luckily for me, my husband prefers them that way. But recently, I took a page from Jenny’s Cookies play book and dusted these ghostly cookies with powder sugar while fresh out of the oven! It was the simplest way to serve a gorgeous, tasty cookie. Gorgeously spooky that is! How do you like to decorate your cookies? Do you have a royal icing recipe that I need to try? Let me know if you try this at home! Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker.

Hope everyone is getting excited for Halloween!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 egg, room temp

1 tsp vanilla

zest of 1 lemon

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375F. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and lemon. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Mix dry ingredients into wet, stir until combined. Separate dough into two rounds, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours. Roll dough out onto lightly floured surface. Cut using cookie cutters, and transfer to lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden.

xx,

Heidi

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Pumpkin Patch

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

One of my favorite autumn activities is visiting the pumpkin patch! In fact, it was pretty high up on my autumn-to-do list this year! We have one of the best pumpkin patches here on Bainbridge Island. Suyematsu Farms is located in the middle of Bainbridge Island on Day Road. If you’re traveling from Seattle, you’ll want to drive your car on the ferry. My whole family visited Suyematsu recently and took home a big haul of pumpkins. I especially love the cinderella pumpkins for their statement size and deep color.

It was Julian’s first time at a pumpkin patch, and he was pretty fascinated! It was what autumn dreams are made of. He crawled around in amazement and tried to eat more than a few pumpkins. The Suyematsu Farm has some rich history, that you can read about here. It’s such a treasure on our little island! They even have informative and fun signs all over the farm with interesting pumpkin facts. My personal favorite was “Each pumpkin has about 500 seeds!”

I’ve never been a big pumpkin carver, but I do enjoy decorating with pumpkins and gourds. Stay tuned for a post on how I decorate for the autumn months! Have you visited Suyematsu before? Or have you visited your local pumpkin patch yet? I hope you find the time to do so! Embrace October!

(Hat: Rag and Bone, Jeans: Nordstrom, Sweater: J-Crew old, similar, Boots: Hunter. Julian- Vest: OshKosh hand-me-down, similar, Jeans: Levis, Shoes: Barna and Co)

xx,

Heidi

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Plaid and Polka Dots

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

Plaid and Polka Dots on Mama and Baby

There is a big storm heading to the Seattle area this week, so I am currently swooning over these photos we recently shot on a clear crisp day! I predict that we are about to be stuck at home in PJ’s with no power for days. Alternatively, we may be dressed in parkas while braving the wind and rain. Wish us luck!

Plaid is absolutely one of my favorite prints on baby boys, so I just couldn’t pass up this Tea Collection sweater from Barna and Co! This sweater is so soft and adorable with that collar! It just may make a reappearance for our Thanksgiving dinner! My friend Whitney lent me this fun polka dot skirt to model down on Johnson Farm, and I had such a blast playing dress up for the day! If you know me well, you know I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal. But what woman doesn’t like to get dolled up every once in awhile? It was fun to mix the polka dot and plaid prints between baby’s outfit and mine. Between eating apples fresh off the trees, to twirling around in a full length skirt, I’d say it was a beautiful day all around. Also, is there anything cuter than a chubby baby in a deer hat? I think not. This hat can also be found at Barna and Co! And for all of you baby girl mamas, they had the sweetest pink unicorn hat too!

(Shirt: Lavand from Plum, Skirt: Shabby Apple. Julian-Hat and Sweater: Barna and Co. Khakis: Gap hand-me-down)

Photography by Whitney Coudray Photography

xx,

Heidi

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