My pregnancy thus far…

Hi all! Hope everyone is having a great weekend so far! Just wanted to share some of the highlights from this pregnancy so far since it’s almost done 🙂

It has definitely been a bumpy road to get to where I am now. I struggled with infertility trying for #2 and lost a baby earlier last year (will do a post about this later on). But, now I am so grateful that I only have two weeks left until I meet this little girl and I just can’t wait to meet her!

Baby girl Kinney is actually an IVF baby, kind of by accident. We weren’t planning on doing IVF (at least not yet). I had been on infertility meds for a while and they weren’t really working so we decided to give it a boost and mix injections with the infertility meds. My first try on that worked…a little too well! With my meds before, I had only produced 1 or 2 eggs/follicles. With the injection/meds combo, I actually produced 9! So my dr gave me the option of either skipping this month quoting that “I would be the next octomom” and try again next month or they could extract the eggs through IVF and go that route. After two years of emotional stress, we decided on the latter. And to sum it up, we did the whole procedure immediately (like 2 days later) and I ended up with a total of 5 embryos after the whole process was done. They decided to implant 2 and it worked! I ended up getting pregnant with my baby girl the first try. We found in July and I’ve pregnant since 🙂

My son’s pregnancy compared to this one was a breeze. The most I ever got was a cold….well I also became a big swollen mess when I actually had him, but that’s a whole other story. This pregnancy started out rough, but has slowly become better and better. First, I have had wayyyyyyyyyy more morning sickness with this little girl. On top of first trimester nausea, can we say never ending heartburn? I have literally had heartburn this entire pregnancy. This girl better be born with a TON of hair!!

Also, I decided to do the genetic testing (two blood tests, spine ultrasound and 20 week brain ultrasound). This was when the rough spot of the pregnancy began. I did the first round of blood work and got a call from the specialty dr a few days later. They said that I had tested high for down syndrome and that I needed to come in the next day to meet with a genetic counselor to go over everything. When I asked if they could give me the number/results, they said they did not have that information. I called my husband and pretty much spent the rest of the afternoon crying. Going through two years of infertility and finally getting pregnant after a loss and this is what I get? I was devastated. We met with the genetic counselor the next day and he completely eased our minds. He said our probability of this baby having downs was really low and that we shouldn’t worry. They can still do amnios to determine 100% accuracy if the baby has downs or not, but they now have a blood test you can do (one of the brand names is Harmony) that is 99.9% accurate and we chose to to go that route. I took the test and a week later I was cleared of the baby having any genetic issues. Also, the other blood test, spine and brain ultrasound came back perfect.

Then, a week later, I get a call from my regular OB saying that in that same first blood test, I tested low for papp-a and would need to go in to the specialist every six weeks to get extra ultrasounds and be monitored on top of my regular OB visits. I also was put on low dose aspirin. Papp-a basically means that the protein in your placenta is lower than what it should be…meaning your placenta may not be working the way it’s supposed to to make the baby thrive. They say they don’t notice any problems with this low papp-a until  about 34 weeks. So, I had to go in to the specialist and get measurements of the baby through ultrasound to see if she was growing normally from the first trimester all the way until last week. They say the first thing they notice, if there is a problem, is the baby’s stomach isn’t growing, but everything else usually is. Luckily for me, baby girl has been doing great! I just had my last ultrasound last Thursday with the specialist and they said she looks great, is already 6 1/2lbs and I’m clear of the papp-a affecting the baby! Woohoo!!!

The last thing I’ve had to do is go in for these non-stress tests twice a week (NST for short). I have to do them a) because she’s an IVF baby and b) because I’ve a low papp-a. What they do at the NST’s is measure her heart rate, see if I’m getting any contractions, and take my blood pressure. I started those at 34 weeks and so far so good. Here’s a little snippet of what it looks like. Takes only 20 minutes…easy peasy!img_3134

I now only have 2 1/2 weeks to go. March 14 is my scheduled c-section date and I’m so excited 🙂 I’m starting to get contractions, but nothing too serious yet. But, March 14 will be here before ya know it. Can’t wait!  img_3084


Weekly Meal Prep

Hey everybody! So I wanted to share our family’s version of a weekly meal prep. Now to give you a little background of the life before kids…Jay and I are BIG time foodies. Some people spend their extra money on clothes, houses, cars, accessories, etc. What Jay and I used to spend our extra money on was restaurants. Trying the latest and greatest. (We also spent our extra money on wine, but that’s for another time). It also didn’t help that we lived in the SF bay area where we had access to some of the best restaurants in the world. Also, my husband loves to cook and by cook, I mean, straight up restaurant cooking with the best of the best ingredients. (Yes, I know how lucky I am). Whole foods and smaller gourmet food markets got a lot of our money. It was wonderful 🙂 Then we had kids…

Don’t get me wrong, our son and our soon to be little girl, are our everything and we wouldn’t change that for the world. I would gladly give up fancy restaurants time and time again for them! With kids, your priorities just change. Your extra money really goes mostly to your kids. I can’t tell you how many clothes my son has (as well as my future daughter)! As for me and my husband…well, it seems like 95% of our clothing purchases go to our kids and the rest to me and the hubby. haha. From clothing to toys to their room decor to you name it, you’re spending a lot of money them. So, the fancy food purchases and frequent visits to high end restaurants has, for the most part, gone out the window.

So, one of the two main reasons why we meal plan and get all of our grocery shopping done in one weekly trip is to save some $$$$. Because when you go once a week, you are really only getting things you need instead of buying extra things here and there…which is what I used to do all the time. The other reason we meal plan is…time! Before kids, I wasn’t the biggest fan of going to the grocery store. Probably because we never meal planned and was literally at the grocery store every day to pick up dinner for that night. Looking back, what a waste of time. Hey, at least the groceries were fresh! Now that I have kids, I can’t tell you how much of a luxury it is to go to the store by yourself. Who would have thought? When your kid is baby it’s hard not only because they are crying half of the time but you have the whole car seat in the cart creating no room to put in your groceries. Not to mention timing everything around nap and feeding schedule. When they are toddlers and preschoolers, it only gets worse. And for the most ridiculous things! Last time I was at the store my angel of a child decided to have a screaming and crying fit in the produce section while literally everyone was staring at us. There was an old man just holding an apple in his hand staring with his mouth open like he was watching a car crash happening right before his eyes. I even had a mom come over and tell me that I was doing a good job with a look of “I feel for ya sister’ written all over her face. Want to know why this wonderful outburst happened? Because my son wasn’t able to put a tomato that I picked out into the cart by himself. 20 minutes of embarrassment just for that. I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like with two kids. For that one instance alone, I am so grateful that these grocery trips are only once a week! So, there you have it. Meal planning is amazing. Not only for saving money and time, but for many other reasons as well.

For us, meal planning is really quite simple. We discuss what we want for the week and write it down. I have an iPhone so I keep most of my lists in the notes section. A few of the notes I have are always kept on my phone. One of them being meals that we’ve made that we would make again. When we are deciding what we’d like for the week, I simply look at that list to get ideas of what might sound good for that week. To get even more specific, I have the meals broken into categories….bc who wants to have chicken all week long? For us, i have it broken down by chicken dishes, turkey dishes (usually ground turkey), beef dishes, pork dishes, carbs (pastas, potato dishes, pizza, etc) and then by soup. Don’t ask me why I have it like this, but it works. It might seem silly to even have a list of categories, but I feel like it kind of helps mix up what we are having for dinner that week. I am also a huge Pinterest fan and I like to try at least one new recipe for the week just to mix it up even more. If it’s awesome, I add it to my list of keepers. I usually just write down five dishes for the week and then each night we figure out what sounds best to us. I know some people like to write down what they are having each night, and if that works for them, then great. But for our family, we just like to mix it up a lot. Here’s an example of what we might have for the week:

  • Pork tenderloin
  • Cherry tomato pasta with chicken
  • Turkey tacos
  • Roasted chicken with basil and goat cheese
  • Pinterest meal – pesto grilled shrimp

Now, I only do 5 meals because usually we have a leftover night and the other night we end up just ordering take-out or actually going out to eat, date night etc. I have found that just getting 5 meals worth at the store is best for our family so we don’t waste any food and can be flexible. Once the list of meals is written down for the week, then I make a grocery list of all of the ingredients we need…along with other necessities. Easy peasy! And that’s how we do our meal planning. It really has helped us a ton in the long run while still allowing us to be flexible in deciding what we’d like to eat each night. Hope this helps you if you feel like your dinner time always seem to be a little chaotic. 🙂


Essentials for baby # 2

I have to admit, when I had my first born, I was a lost cause. But, in hind sight, it was with good reason…I had no idea what to expect! Plus, I was one of the first of my friends to have a kid so I didn’t really have anyone to ask what worked and what didn’t work. You read and read about all the latest products and everyone recommends different things, but in the end you have to figure out for yourself what works and what doesn’t for your growing family. And that really doesn’t happen until you actually have your little one.

I remember going to Buy Buy Baby to register and was beyond overwhelmed. I mean, the store is literally floor to ceiling baby stuff! Luckily, they have great staff that walked me through the store and told me what “I need” and I went from there. Most of the products I was recommended I did end up using, but there was also A LOT of stuff that you really just never use…or you forget to…or your baby doesn’t like it, etc. I thought I’d give you a list of my baby essentials (and products that worked wonders) that I needed for baby #1 and will be using again for baby#2:

  1. Swaddle wraps – These things are AMAZING!!! Basically, it’s a straight jacket for your little one 😉 But, in all seriousness they really worked for us. The magic is that it can velcro! We tried your basic swaddle blanket and learned how to wrap it ever so perfectly so baby wouldn’t wake up and guess what? Baby Houdini always managed to get out no matter what. They really like the snug fit with the wraps I’ve learned. Anyway, they’ve really come a long way since I got my first one over 3 years ago and have really cute designs. They have different sizes and ways that they fit. They start out really snug in both the legs and arms. Then, the next size is snug in the arms, loose in the legs. Then finally their arms can be free and still loose in the legs  but still covers the legs and zips up (if that makes sense). From there, we moved to jammies. You can find them at a lot of places – Target, Buy Buy Baby, Walmart, Amazon, etc. Here’s the link and a pic for your reference:  Swaddle Wraps65582044630249p
  2. The DOHM – another AMAZING product!! To be honest, we did not discover this product until my son was about two years old from one of my good friends who used it with her second baby. But, you can bet that this bad boy will be used as soon as my little one gets home from the hospital! The Dohm is a white noise machine. And the best thing is that there’s only one sound which is more like a fan sound! You can modify it a bit, but for the most part, it is super easy to use and works wonders! Honestly, I sleep better when it’s on. When my son was a baby, we tried all sorts of soothing sound machines as well as apps, but nothing has worked quite as well the dohm. My son is a terrible sleeper and always has been. To the point where I’m that crazy mom putting up blackout curtains and setting up the room for perfect sleeping (even when we visit others!) just so this kid can sleep! (and so I have a little bit of sanity). Here’s the link and pic: Dohm sound machine   51030299
  3. A good swing – This one is pretty self explanatory, but having a good swing  is everything. I actually discovered what all entails a good swing when I realized that my son’s daycare was managing to get him to sleep for his naps..and for a long time! We used to have a smaller one without all the bells and whistles, but that actually made a big difference for my son. He was enamored by the lights on the swing mostly, but also the mobile and the mirror where he could look at himself. I know there are others that have come out in the last three years that are a lot more expensive, and I’m not sure how well they work, but this type definitely did the trick for our little guy:  Baby Swing    ptru1-21100437dt
  4. A good rocking chair – Another product that is self explanatory, but nonetheless needed! We bought ours from Babies R Us and it is actually a glider and recliner. I know PotteryBarn, Land of Nod and other sites have beautiful ones at a hefty price tag, but while I did care about looks, comfort was just as important.  I knew many, many hours would be spent in that chair! Works so well at putting baby to sleep…as well as husbands!! 🙂 Baby glider recliner   dorel-baby-relax-rylan-swivel-ptru1-23586346dt
  5. Burp cloths…that are actually cloth diapers! We bought all sorts of burp cloths from ones with cute designs to ones that can snap into bibs, but nothing worked quite like good ole fashioned cloth diapers! I learned this little trick from my mom. Thanks! 🙂 The others are great, are cute and do their job for the most part, but the cloth diapers are so good  at absorbing all of that yucky stuff and just do an all around better job at clean up. If you want a little more cuteness, my sister in law actually sews on really cute patterns in the middle to make them a lot more appealing and fun! Gerber makes them and you can find these anywhere and everywhere. Gerber burp cloths/diapers    0004721371405_500x500
  6. Blackout curtains – I never knew that darkening a baby’s room would be so helpful until I saw my son’s daycare use them. They literally put black felt on the windows at nap time and it works wonders!!! However, since most of our kids have their own room and/or share and the actual curtains can be left on all day, something a little more aesthetically pleasing would probably work a bit better. With my son, we just got some at Target to match his room. You can get regular blackout curtains (which is what we did with my son), blackout liners or blackout curtain panels. I kind of went a little crazy with my soon-to-arrive daughter’s decor and I got a double curtain rod, bought a white blackout panel that fits on the back rod and then a more sheer colored decorative curtain panel that fits in the front. I bought my double curtain rod at Target and the white blackout panels at BedBathandBeyond    9364363301029g


So, there you have it…my top 6 essentials! Notice most of it has to do with sleeping?? haha I’m a big fan of sleep and will do whatever I can to make these kiddos sleep! A lot of these sleep ideas stemmed from the book The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp. (I’ll do a more detailed post on this book later on). This book worked wonders and is on my list to reread before baby girl comes! If you have any essentials you use, please let me know! I’d love to hear about them! Until next time 🙂


My very first blog entry :)

193Hi! First, I just wanted to say thank you for visiting my site! I started this blog in hopes to share a little of my life and inspirations for you as other blogs have done for me. First, let me introduce myself…

My name is Mackie Kinney. I am 32 years old and live in the central valley of California. I have a wonderful husband whom I’ve been with for 13 years and married for almost 7. I have an amazing 3 year old son named Ben and I’m expecting a precious little girl that will be arriving in exactly 5 weeks! I have been a stay at home mom for a little over 2 years now and before that was a dental/medical sales representative. I really loved my job and miss being in the working world, but I am beyond blessed and happy to be a stay at home mom.  I’ve always thought that we only have one life to live and seeing my children grow and being a part of their daily lives is absolutely worth everything to me. So, here I am!

So, coming up, I’ll be posting all sorts of interests that I have and hopefully you can draw some inspiration or help you in some way. I’ll be talking about my pregnancy thus far, infertility struggles, designing and redecorating my house, favorite recipes, things/products I can’t live without, and more about my life 🙂 I hope you all enjoy my blog and if you ever have any questions or comments, I will happily be here to help! Enjoy 🙂