Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Girl Trip

Remember back in the day when you weren't allowed to hang out with boys so your only option was to hang with your best girlfriends? Sorry boys, but those were kind of the days! Two weeks ago {officially the worst blogger ever}, I got to spend 36 hours with some amazing girls and this trip seriously filled my soul with good old fashioned happy girl time - something I definitely needed. 

If you follow My Beeb, Dawn and Andrea then you've already read three versions of this story and if you don't follow them, well I feel bad for you because they rock my socks off.I apologize if you've read this three times already but you should probably read it's that good.

So, #truestory, a few months ago I received an email from one of my favorite bloggers, Katie Mango, asking me a question about a yoga event she was organizing. She told me all about the awesome event and I sarcastically {but somewhat seriously} said "It sounds awesome, I should come." Katie's response...."You totally should. Bring Andrea". A couple text messages, emails and convincing arguments as to why Carolyn & Dawn should leave their babies overnight for the first time we were packed in my car with a lifetime supply of Doritos, enough Britney & BSB to drive to Mexico and Andrea's hangover.

After 6 hours of lots of girl talk we arrived safely in Council Bluffs, Iowa. We rolled in to town with just enough time for a Target pit stop before yoga. As we pulled up to the MAC {where Yoga at the Cove was moved due to stinky weather} we saw her...IT WAS KATIE MANGO! We all freaked out and screamed like teenagers because that is the natural reaction when you see a blog friend in the flesh. The first blate nerves kicked in so some yoga tailgating vodka was in order - at least for those of us who weren't hungover or hiney {hungry + whiney}.

Despite the fact that Katie didn't see me when I started jumping up and down and waving my arms at her....she was everything we expected her to be and so much more! Seriously, from the SECOND I met her I felt like I had known her forever. Also, she's so beautiful it's gross. At this point we were all STARVING {eating Doritos at 9am doesn't really give you the pre-workout energy we had expected} but it was time for yoga! The class was incredible! It was a super tough workout but so much fun. There were several times we bursted out laughing in the middle of the practice and I'm sure our neighboring yogi's thought we were idiots but we made it through without passing out from hunger. 

After yoga, Katie sent us over to the Horseshoe Casino where we were met by two men in suits and headsets who escorted us through the casino to the restaurant, seated us at our table and comped our meals. Rolling with Katie Mango is legit you guys. You would have thought the four of us had never eaten and we were pretty certain everyone in the casino was staring at us while we stuffed our faces. 

 Once our bellies were full and we were no longer hangry or hiney, we headed to Harrah's where we'd be staying. Not long after, Mango came to join us and surprised us with champagne room service which forced her to hide in the corner and under pillow and also forced Dawn to awkwardly prevent the nice man from bringing in our champagne.

We sipped our bubbly and got ready for the night and then made our way up to the 12th floor to 360 Steakhouse. We had so much fun getting to know each other better, sharing stories, drinking cocktails and stealing bites of Mango's crab cakes. It was at this point that I discovered when I sat and then stood back up my tank top and skirt worked as a team to create what appeared to be a #teenieweenie. From this point on any mention of the teenie weenie sent us girls into a fit of laughter....I said we were awesome, not mature. 

It's at this point this trip gets EPIC.

Another suited headset man comes to our table and asks Mango {who is Queen of awesome} if we'd like to go to the roof. Of course we jumped on the chance. It was SO cool. The sun was starting to set and we had an awesome view of the Missouri River and downtown Omaha. Not to mention the up close and kickass view of the Harrah's sign. Rolling VIP, I tell you, it's the way to go.

After our escapades on the roof we were off to downtown Omaha, where like a beacon in the night, we passed a frickin Wiener truck. When is the last time you saw an Oscar Meyer Wiener truck? It's been ages for me. As any normal #oldballs would do we completely and totally freaked out, whipped a u-ey, and ran to the truck as fast as we could so me and my teenie weenie could take a picture with the weenie truck.
So after my teenie weenie/giant weenie photo shoot we noticed there were people IN the weenie truck. So we made our way to the other side and sweet talked the #steamyweenie driver boy to let us in. As you'd imagine the entire inside is red & yellow like ketchup & mustard but when I see those colors I instantly think of my Gophers whose colors {maroon & gold} are really just fancy versions of ketchup & mustard. So I step in the truck and scream "OMG! It looks like the Gophers in here". To which #steamyweenie driver boy replied with "WHAT did you just say?" I panicked a bit when I remembered I was in Cornhusker country and most likely my Gopher fandom would not be well received but before I could answer #steamyweenie said "Like, U of M Gophers?" Turns out the #steamyweenie was a U of MN grad and a fellow die-hard Gopher fan which resulted in him pulling out his drivers license to prove it, us singer the rouser, throwing down the M and then taking group selfies. 

The rest of our night included sushi, lemon drops, an Irish pub, dolphin noises, and laughing until we cried. 
We said our farewells to Mango for the night and made our way up to bed. But like any good sleepover, we got a second wind as soon as our heads hit the pillows. We contemplated a late-night trip down to the casino but instead stayed up talking, taking pictures of us fake sleeping, watching Andrea trip over coolers, and arguing over which nature sound machine app noises were the least annoying.
We woke up the next morning well rested {what mama gets to sleep in until 9:30????} and not hungover! GO US! So all 4 of us hopped out of bed, the Beeb made me some delicious hotel coffee {she's a keeper} and we were all packed and dressed and ready to go in 1 hour's time! #winning

We checked out and made our way back to Omaha to meet Mango for a good-bye lunch at Blatt. I am both happy and sad that we don't have a Blatt in Minneapolis - happy because I would gain 400 pounds and sad because OH-EM-GEE the food is good. We tried basically everything on the menu and loved everything but the water. 

Then came the worst part of the trip, parting ways with our Mango. This girl showed us such an amazing time, was a wonderful host, an absolute sweetheart and a total blast! A yellow-loving, chardonnay-drinking, Carrie Underwood lookalike is just the kind of girl I prefer to be friends with and I am so happy we got to meet in real life.
After we sent Mango back to real life the 4 of us did a hot lap around the block to walk off our food babies before sitting in the car the rest of the day and in typical "us" fashion this was the most eventful and hilarious 5 minute walk I've ever been on - #birdattacks #saynotoicecream And the 6 hours in the car that followed were no different. We reminisced about our trip, ate more food {not sure how}, and bonded over a near-death experience being stuck in construction behind a semi-trick, driving 10 miles an hour, during a tornado warning, with cows running for shelter, corn laying side ways, tipped over trucks and cones, Andrea's wannabe meteorologist husband deciphering the Doppler, spinning clouds, #nervouspoop, #nervouspuke, #nervouscoffee, baby birth videos, almost missing the MN sign, killer mosquitos, locked bathrooms, and of course #thepinkheadband.

While this trip was short, it was incredible. Girlfriends are SO important and I feel really blessed to have these girls in my life and to have added Mango to the mix. I can't put in to words how refreshing, uplifting and revitalizing spending time with friends who just GET IT really was. We are all working moms, wives, bloggers and while we have different personalities and interests we have so much in common and being able to spend 36 hours just being ME and talking about everything from my fear of birds to motherhood to how to spell monkeys {it's NOT monkies, in case you're wondering}was just what I needed without even realizing it. I woke up with sore abs and feel pretty confident it was a result of laughing until hurt and not the yoga class we drove to Council Bluffs to do.

next up...#MangodoesMN


After reading my travel buddy's recaps I have learned that they are not only WAY funnier than I am but WAY better at describing this ridiculous trip. If you haven't already, READ THEIR POSTS!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mason's Birth Story {07.18.12}

Happy Tuesday mamas!

Here's what you do:
1. Write a post about ANYTHING baby {or pregnancy} related.
2. Add my button to your post.
3. Link your post with the link-up tool found at the end of all of my posts.


Hello Mama and Mou readers! My name is Elizabeth and I blog over at Chasin' Mason, a blog about the adventures in motherhood and daily life with a toddler. I am a true California girl. I was born and raised in Northern California, in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved down to Southern California after I graduated college in 2006. I met my husband in 2006 when we worked together at Barnes and Noble. He was a part time bookseller (he had a different full time job, this was just his job for extra money) and I was a Merchandise Manager. We began dating in 2008 secretly since we weren't technically supposed to be dating since I was his manager {oops!}. We got engaged in September 2009 at Angels Stadium (I thought we were celebrating my birthday! I had no idea!)...

 ...and got married in November 2010...

...and then had our amazing, sweet little boy in July 2012.

He is now two years old and is the light of our lives.
Now that you know a little bit about me... here's the story of how we met our sweet little man.


It all started on the night of Tuesday, July 17, 2012. I'd been on maternity leave for a week and a half and was starting to actually get bored. Who would have thought? I thought I would be so happy that I didn't have to work and got to hang out, watch tv, or do whatever I wanted everyday. Turns out, not as exciting as I thought (that had since changed since Mason was born as I had established my tv lineup everyday and of course, I had Mason to take care of). Plus I was starting to get big (or what I felt was big - everyone else said I was still so small) and uncomfortable. Pretty sure Mason had his foot up in my ribs, which made it really hard to sit with our discomfort. I was ready to meet my boy!

Anyway, the night of July 17th I really wanted In n Out for dinner. Seth (my husband) of course didn't object and picked it up on his way home from work. We ate dinner, everything was great, and we watched tv...but as we watched tv, I started to feel what felt like minor period cramps. I didn't really think anything of it and went to bed at 11pm. I woke up around 3am and it still hurt. I waited a few minutes and decided to wake Seth up. I told him what was happening and he told me to call my doctor. I was kinda hesitant because I felt bad because it was 3am...but hey, doctors are on call for a reason and I'm sure I'm not the first one to call and wake them up. Plus that's what they get paid the big bucks for, right? So I called the on call line, told the on call guy what my symptoms were, he paged the on call doctor (which actually happened to be my doctor - both good and bad for me), and my doctor called back. She asked me if I had taken any Tylenol. I said no. She told me to take some and see how I felt and call her back if I needed to. So by now it was like 3:15am. I took some Tylenol. Seth got up with me. We watched tv (which by the way, there is NOTHING on at 3am lol). And then... I started feeling contractions. I started timing them and Seth wrote down how long they were for and how far apart. They ended up being 5 min apart for an hour. By this time more time had gone by and it was 5am. I was getting uncomfortable. My doctor asked me if I wanted to go to the hospial. I love my doctor, but Do I want to go to the hospital? Aren't you the doctor? I called to ask YOU if YOU think I should go to the hospital. So, given the choice, I said yes. She said she would call and let the hospital know that we were on our way. So we put on some real clothes (well Seth did, I kept my sweatpants on lol), got our stuff together (our bags were packed but just the las minute stuff), and were on our way. By now it was 5:45am. I was secretly happy that all of this was happening in the early hours of the morning because the most direct way to the hospital is one specific freeway. A freeway which 1) happens to be the worst freeway for traffic (or at least one of the worst in my opinion), 2) happens to be the best way to get to the OC Fair that was also going on and 3) happens to be the best way to get to the beach. I was happy we were leaving so early and were going to beat the traffic....or so I thought. Turns out... there are already a lot of people on the freeway at 5:45am! But we didn't have a problem. We got to the hospital around 6:10-6:15am, checked in and they put us in what they call a "triage" room. When I think of triage, I think of someone who has extremely bad injuries (but maybe I just watch too much Grey's Anatomy!), which I didn't.
 when we got checked in to the triage room

the million dollar view

A nurse came in, talked to us, checked me (3cm) and then left us for a little while. She came back, asked about my contractions (on a scale of 1 to 10, I said I was having a 5-6 pain out of 10). She said they typically don't admit people until they are at 4cm and asked if I wanted to try walking. I definitely didn't but didn't want to be sent home so I said if I had to, I would. By now it was like 7am and the change in the shifts of the nurses were happening so the night nurse said she would update the day nurse and they would see what they wanted to do. The day nurse came back and said they would admit me (yay!). So we moved from triage to labor and delivery. (I later learned that since my doctor was on call the night before, she was off that day. I guess they have some sort of app on their phones that let's them check on their patients (cool but kinda creepy) and she was yelling at the phone wondering why they had me in triage for so long when she knew I was in labor). So by 9am we were finally "checked in" to the hospital and were on our way to having a baby!

contractions on the computer screen

Now I understand they need to ask you a lot (A LOT) of questions before they can admit you, but one stood out to me as kinda stupid....why are you here? Really? Why am I here? I'm having a baby! (I asked the nurse if anyone says anything different and she said just slight variations - I'm in water broke...etc). She asked what my pain level was and I said 7 (now that might have been a littttttle more than most people would say but hey, it was painful to me!). I asked when I could get my epidural and she said after I had an IV of fluids. By this time I had started to feel a little sick and she said that was normal. She gave me a bucket, just in case, which was teeny tiny! I'm like umm, that's not going to work if I throw up, so she got me a bigger bowl. Still not your ideal bowl size, but definitely bigger. The nurse left the room and Seth was distracted by something (the view or his phone or something) and then... BLAH! (TMI...sorry so graphic). Poor Seth definitely saw more than he wanted to. Not the most fun or proudest moment of my life, but hey, he did this to me, he can see the results, right? LOL. The nurse came back, I told her I got sick, and she cleaned up. Poor nurses get such a bad job. I felt so bad. A different nurse came in after that and gave me my IV. She had a hard time finding a good vein to use so she tried one on my left wrist and what happened? She blew my vein. I'm sorry, what? You did what? Now this has never happened to me before so I was thinking this is bad. Apparently it's not really that bad, but it hurt. And later (like a couple days after I got home from the hospital) turned a lovely shade of black and blue. It honestly looked like someone grabbed my arm and squeezed. So, she looked and looked on my other arm and she couldn't find anything, so luckily for me, a different doctor came to check on us and she asked for help. It hurt, but at least he knew what he was doing. It ended up having to be on the top of my right hand though. Not the ideal spot, but it worked. Some time in all of this, they also broke my water.

After what felt like FOREVER, the anesthesiologist came in and I was getting my epidural! YAY! I was pretty scared but the contractions were hurting A LOT (to me) so I was ready. They said it wouldn't hurt any more than my IV (great, that hurt....). I had to sit up and hug a pillow and not move while the doctor did his thing. He cleaned my back, and then... you get the idea, I will spare you the details. It hurt a little, but not NEARLY as much as I imagined. I was terrified of the thought of a needle in my spine.  So many things could go wrong and I was so happy when it was over.

They had me lay down and that's what the magic happened. I started to not feel anything! It was bliss.  HEAVEN. The nurse asked if I felt anything and I said no and she said that was good because I just had a big contraction. So by now it was 10am and I was at 4cm (they don't give you an epidural before that) and we just had to wait... so we took a nap. And woke up at noon. The nurse came back in to check me and I was at ... 9 cm!!!! What?! 9 cm? That was fast! If I take another nap, when I wake up, will Mason be here? (just kidding!) Now I just had to wait to get to 10 cm.

The next few hours are a bit of a blur so the timing is just an estimate.

At noon we informed the family that I was at 9 cm. Seth's dad was at the fair and left to come to the hospital. And Seth's mom left work. Little did we know, but my poor in-law's were way too early and had to wait in the waiting room for what I'm sure felt like forever. I left bad. I don't know how much time went by but I was finally at 10 cm. Probably around 1pm or 1:30pm? The nurse asked me how I was doing and I said I just felt a little pressure. She said that was good and they were just gonna let me sit. Let Mason do some work and let him move down as much as possible. So at 2pm or 2:30pm-ish they checked me again and she said she could feel his head. What?! Isn't that bad?? Where is the doctor?! The nurse called to have the doctor paged and told me we would try to push. Wait?! Where's the DOCTOR??? So we did. She asked if I wanted a mirror and I said NO WAY. Gross. Poor Seth held my one leg and the nurse held the other. I think he saw more than he wanted to. I will spare you the details. He didn't plan on looking (I told him not to also) but when the nurse yells "I can see the head!" you can't help but look. She asked if I wanted to know what color hair he had and I was shocked he had hair! The old wives tale is that if you have heart burn, the baby has lots of hair and if not, no hair. And I had no heart burn. But he had hair! Brown hair! Lots of brown hair! I pushed a little more (which was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be since in the short span of one contraction (like 1 min) you have to hold your breath and push for 10 sec and hold your breath and push for 10 sec... AND hold your breath and push for 10 sec. 3 times!! So tiring. THANKFULLY I didn't have to push that much. I seriously feel for those people in labor for hours. I don't know how they do it.)

And the doctor was no where to be found. So the nurse called again. I guess the doctor (not my doctor since she was off, but a doctor in the same practice) had actually been at the hospital earlier in the day at noon doing a c-section but nobody told her my progress, so when she was done, she went back to the office. The office is just down the street but she said she needed 5 min to finish some stuff and then she would head back. So we waited. We waited because I had an epidral and couldn't feel anything. Then I pushed again (just for the nurse said. I didn't think it was so fun). Then we waited because if I pushed again, she thought she would be delivering the baby.

The doctor finally came... maybe at 3:15pm? and after a few pushes...

He was here!

Mason Noah Birenaum
July 18, 2012
7 lbs. 8 oz. 19 inches
3:36 pm

I feel like the doctor was there for like 10 min (clearly longer) and then was just GONE! I guess that's all that was necessary. In and out and get paid BIG BUCKS. Maybe I should have been an OB/GYN? Haha. So Mason got cleaned up, they finished up with me, and then I got to hold him! My baby! I can't believe he's HERE and he's MINE! So surreal. And so amazing.

So after the "golden hour" where it was just the 3 of us, we went up to the mother/baby unit and everyone else got to meet him! I can't believe that you can only know someone for one minute and already have SO MUCH LOVE. I was in awe of him, in awe of what me and my husband created. Our boy, our Mason.


If you'd like to submit a birth story or guest post, please email me at

Monday, June 30, 2014

Blog Love

Happy Monday everyone! As you read this I am somewhere near Council Bluffs, Iowa and/or Omaha, Nebraska on a little road trip with my blog loves Carolyn, Andrea & Dawn visiting another blog love Katie. Before we left for our adventure I was thinking how cool it is to be able to meet blog friends in real life {not to mention go on road trips with them} but also how cool blog friends are in general. 

When I say something about a blog friend to a real-life non-blogging friend, they either roll their eyes or get super confused. And, I get it. Telling non-bloggers you have friends through the internet that you've never met but text/email/snapchat/gchat/or on-the-phone-chat with on a regular basis seems weird. 

But as weird as it is, I love having blog friends. I love having a community of women in similar stages of their life who I can shoot an email to to get mom advice, or commiserate with on how much losing weight sucks, or even just find random similarities between us. The blog world is filled with smart, uber creative and super inspiring women and I just think it's so cool that you guys care about my life and that I can follow along and care about yours too.

I also think it's super cool to be able to meet up with blog friends {Erin & Andrea} on vacation {in Las Vegas for Britney Spears nontheless}...

...or to tell a blog friend {Katie} you are pregnant well before you tell the rest of the world which results in a phone call of her screaming "are you serious?!" at the top of her lungs for like 10 straight minutes and then two years later trusting you with her big news before she goes public {SO excited for this baby!}...

...or to find someone {Erin} who is so insanely similar to you, you are just certain that you are long lost twins and as a result causes you to tell each other absolutely everything without fear of judgement because no matter how psycho you seem she is equally as psycho. And when you photoshop a picture of the two of you hanging out she doesn't think you are creepy but instead thinks it's awesome and then you both get depressed about the fact that you aren't hanging out in this exact moment.
 Seriously, I do not know what I would do without Erin. Roll your eyes all you want but this girl is seriously my sister-from-another-mister. And when we do finally meet in person...well...I just can't think about that right now.

The moral of this story is that over the past 5+ years of blogging, I have gotten to know some incredible people. And no matter how often I blog or how long it takes me to respond to emails or how bad I am at catching up on your blogs, you all mean a ton to me and I am incredibly thankful to have this community of bloggers be a part of my life - even if my other friends don't get it.

And speaking of BLOG LOVE and real life friends, KARI, you won my Breezy Organization giveaway!!! YAY!
{I'll text you!}


Friday, June 27, 2014

Lifestyle Change

If I had a dollar for every time I said "This isn't a diet, it's a lifestyle change" I'd have enough money to get lipo and just be done with it already. Over the past 6 months, however, I definitely have made a change. Thanks to counting calories and adding exercise to my life I've been able to drop 20+ pounds all on my own. No programs, no gimmicks, no special pills or shakes or cleanses {though, I do love me a good Zula Juice cleanse}. Not that there's anything wrong with using programs or products to help with weight loss because I think ANYTHING that keeps you motivated and helps you achieve your goals is awesome! I just know myself too well and know that I have a hard time sticking with that stuff {and affording it} - calorie counting is literally the ONLY thing that has ever worked for me, and I have tried a lot of things. 
While using MyFitnessPal has been awesome and has got me so close to my goal, I know that I do not want to have to enter every little thing I eat in to that app for the rest of my life. I am at the point now where I want to drop these last 10 pounds and then maintain a healthy lifestyle which will keep me at that weight forever {or at least until I get pregnant again}. I want to eat healthy, I want to be healthy and I want to find a workout routine that will work for always. 

And so, I have enlisted the help of Danielle Zacheretti! My own personal health coach! This girl is AMAZING. Over the next 6 months Danielle is going to be giving me the education and support I need to not only reach my goals but to help me maintain them. She is literally teaching me how to FINALLY make that lifestyle change. We are one week in to coaching and I have already learned SO much and am really excited to share the process, the results and the information with all of you!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I Hate Teeth

These past few days, actually, this past week has been really rough. My happy-go-lucky sweetheart of a daughter has been whiney, mopey, clingy, irritable and crying CONSTANTLY. She had a fever for three straight days, has splotchy skin on her face and isn't eating. Based on the symptoms, constant hand gnawing and parental intuition {and of course a call to the pediatrician} we're thinking it's teething. The hate these stupid incisor teeth so much I may just rip them out when they finally come in.

Seeing my baby in pain and not feeling well breaks my heart. I would do anything to make her feel better and take away the pain. And in addition to her not feeling well, I am exhausted. It is not easy listening to crying all day and trying to comfort all day and trying to do your best to make your baby better all day.And then of course there's the late-night-screaming-in-pain part.
It's been hard, yes, but this past week has made me incredibly grateful. For one, I am grateful that Kenley didn't feel like this for all of her other teeth. For the most part, teething has been a non-issue for her. I really can't imagine having to have done this for ever tooth. I am grateful she wasn't a collicky baby, I am grateful she has never had anything worse than a cold, I am grateful she has been an easy baby and an easy toddler. I know that there are parents out there dealing with SO much worse than teeth. I can't fathom the strength it would take to comfort a child with a serious disease or illness. I am counting my blessings for sure.

I am so grateful for my healthy baby and I thank God for that every day and now when I pray at night I pray that these stupid teeth come in {and quick} and I pray for all the kids and parents dealing with pain far worse.