Monday, November 14, 2016

Fall As-Is Home Tour

I'm baaaack!

At least I plan to be. I've missed blogging and would like to make it a regular part of my schedule again.

What I'd like to share with you today is how our new home looks so far. I really need to look back in the archives to see what all I've shared, but for now, come on in and see how we live!

If you come in our front door, which nobody does, you'd see this view of our living room. On the long list, we need to finish the garage (it's a carport, though it shares a roof with the house so the project won't be that difficult) and fix some landscaping, and add a more obvious path to the front door.

This little table is in the entry for now. Eventually I want to add a long pew and some sort of wall treatment (shiplap? board and batten?) and lots of hooks for coats.

The rest of the living room is probably the closest to DONE, but it needs a rug and some window treatments. And trim paint.

We're undecided about what to do with our fireplace. This brick isn't bad, but it's pretty dirty, and the dark grout isn't my favorite. I'd like to paint it all white, but we've heard from people in the know that it's not the best idea. I've tried to clean part of it, but it's still yellow and stinky, so who knows. Did I mention it's double-sided? We have an indoor grill built in to the kitchen part of this wall, so it's a focal point in there too. We know we want to add a mantel, probably a large rough beam.

Just as a reminder, when we bought the house this room was really really stinky. The owner smoked and allowed their dog to use the living room carpet as a bathroom. It was so bad. We (Gary and his friends) had to remove and replace the subfloor to get rid of the smell! But our hickory vinyl plank flooring is so nice, and everything has been painted Cathedral Gray by Behr and we love it!

Hey, you can see the entry wall better here, so imagine my wall treatment and pew and hooks and the door painted a fun color! It'll happen...

So now let's step from the living room into the kitchen. There's a 3/4 wall separating the two, but we need to add a ceiling support beam in that open area that is part hall, part living room, part kitchen. We'll see what happens with the 3/4 wall at that point.

Here's our little dining area. I'd love for it to be twice as big, but maybe the next house. There's a big window that looks onto the backyard, the dark gray is the kitchen itself, you can see a bit of the brick wall that has the grill, and you can imagine that you're standing right by the door to the basement. There is also the current laundry room and the back door and a tiny closet around the corner behind you, but that all will change eventually. More on that later.

I like to play with my food. Er, table settings?

This is our Thanksgiving table. Or something. For Thanksgiving there will be too much food to have all of these other things on the table, but whatever.

To the right of the table (from this point of view, at least) is a desk like thing that I've recently changed into a coffee station. Because it's cute!

See? Usually there's a basket for mail/clutter/junk, and note the router, because this is real life. This is the 3/4 wall. There are plants on top and white trim 'n stuff, but it looks really cluttered in a picture, so I don't take pictures of it. :)

On into the kitchen!

Oh look! I hadn't moved the coffee stuff yet. Or installed door knobs.

And you can kinda almost see that I haven't finished painting the upper cabinet doors, but they're going to be white. We love the two-tone look! I like how the darker bottom grounds the space while the white uppers make it seem light and bright.

I'd like to add a backsplash and maybe new counters. But we have all new appliances and aren't planning to do a whole lot more to the kitchen.

So let's go down the hall and peek at Jocelyn's room because it's the cutest!

I love how her room turned out. It needs a rug and a cute ceiling fixture and I'll paint trim and closet doors eventually, but I still like it as is.

Her crib converts to a toddler bed, but in a couple years we'll put in our antique double bed and get a cute bedspread. I just love how the Cathedral Gray looks with her white furniture and pink accessories! (Jocelyn will be one in two weeks, just for reference.)

Let's step across the hall to the master bedroom.

Yeah, that curtain? It was held up by tape for the picture. We don't have rods yet, and I'd like a giant rug instead of bath mats, but these things take time. And money.

I'm taping up curtains in my imagination and the room looks so much warmer and finished!

Ok, back down the hall and we pass the bathroom. It's ugly. No pictures. It doesn't need big changes but the walls are covered in yellow laminate. I plan to cover it with shiplap, repaint the vanity, get new lights, mirror and faucet, add hooks for towels and call it done.

Let's zoom downstairs (which eventually will boast a barn door on sliders at the top of the stairs) and ignore the piles and boxes and cupboard-painting mess and pop into the boys' room for a quick peek.

Cathedral Gray on the walls, maps on the closet doors, matching jean bedspreads, colorful dressers... But this is the only picture. There's dark gray carpet here and a brick wall where the boys would like an American flag painted! I finished all the rest of their room, as in hanging things and organizing stuff, except the flag and taking pictures, so that will be done soon.

Also downstairs is Gary's office and gym which are relatively done. At least useful at this point. There is an area where my craft room and sewing area will be, and another space for a playroom or family room where we'll store toys and have a comfy couch and possibly a tv for movie nights. We've gutted a space where we will add a bathroom, and the laundry will be moved to the basement to open up room upstairs for a mudroom of sorts.

Ok! Too many words there at the end! I hope you enjoyed our as-is home tour this fall!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Jocelyn's Birth Story

Baby Jocelyn joined our family at the tail end of November 2015. She is perfect and beautiful and now 7 months old, sitting, trying to crawl, has two teeth and is in love with all her people. It's taken me this long to be able to write about her birth, just to have it on record somewhere.

Jocelyn is my fourth baby and my second cesarian delivery. My doctor assumed the other c-section was my third baby, but actually it was my first! I had two VBACs, then, for a variety of reasons, elected to have a c-section this time around.

From prior experience with "late" babies, and with my due date falling just after Thanksgiving and no one wanting to schedule a c-section then, I was able to schedule it for 39 weeks, 6 days. I never once thought I'd go into labor earlier than that (I didn't), and in fact, this was my shortest pregnancy! One advantage of a scheduled c-section is knowing how many days you have left!

I dealt with a lot of anxiety during my pregnancy with Jocelyn. I was worried about my health, worried about being older, worried about the birth, worried something would be wrong with the baby. There were no indications that anything would be wrong. We had a very talented ultrasound technician tell us everything was fine, and after Jocelyn was born the pediatrician gave her double 10s on the apgar test. I'm still not sure what caused all the anxiety, but it was a reality that I struggled with for months before and after Jocelyn's birth.

One thing I did to help alleviate my anxiety regarding the c-section was to stop thinking about it. I tried to call it "birth" or "delivery" or at least "the procedure". I also tried to focus on meeting the baby, what it would be like to see her and hold her, and finally be a mommy to a GIRL. I tried to remember this was a routine "procedure" and think of all my mommy friends who have had c-sections and how they are just fine now.

I guess I'm mentioning this because having a scheduled c-section takes the physical part of labor away, but leaves you with the emotional part times ten! In labor, you can't really think about anything else, but preparing for a c-section, there's nothing else to think about!

There was a list of things I had to do to prepare the day before, not eating or drinking after a certain time, washing with a certain soap, not wearing make-up or jewelry, etc. We had to be at the hospital super early and it's a 45 minute drive. It was a little surreal to go to the hospital fully prepared to meet our baby girl but to not be in labor!

We checked in at the Emergency Room because the main hospital wasn't open yet. Everything went fine and I chose to walk upstairs to Labor and Delivery because I knew it was the last time in a long time that I would want to walk! I knew where to go because of a series of non-stress tests we did every week because of my "advanced maternal age". (I'm 40.) I changed into the wonderfully ubiquitous hospital robe and sat in the bed while the nurses did preliminary tests, placed the IV, and I tried not to get nervous.

After a few minutes they wheeled me down to Surgery and the nerves tried to get me. Later, I had to ask for heated blankets because the stress and the chill of the pre-op room gave me shivers! My husband was a rock, holding my hand, trying to crack jokes, helping me relax by imagining what the baby would be like.

The worst part of a c-section for me is when they wheel you into the Operating Room and your husband is not there. It seemed like forever, but I was expecting it and just tried to stay in the moment. It was that or black out! And seriously, I was almost 40 weeks pregnant and very very ready to meet my baby girl!

They placed the spinal and helped me lie down. So weird and awkward with your legs getting numb! They propped me up kind of sideways, and I was glad for the oxygen because laying on your back THAT pregnant is not fun! They placed the partition wall and everyone kept saying hi to me. I'm sure I'd met them at the office, but with scrubs and masks, I barely recognized the head surgeon!

Finally Gary could join me again. I was almost excited because I knew we were minutes away from holding Jocelyn! The weirdness of the surgery--ooops, procedure--continued longer than I thought. It seemed forever with adjusting and tugging and pulling and talking. Then someone said they could see her and she was beautiful!

They finished whatever they do, then handed Jocelyn to the pediatrician. She was making a sweet little cry and sounded upset that they had disturbed her in her cozy nest. There were lots of ooos and aaaahhs from the staff, comments on her size and how smart and perfect she was. The pediatrician told us her stats and assigned her a 10 on both apgar tests! The other staff said he never does that, so I was beyond thrilled!

At last--really about 5 minutes or less--they snuggled Jocelyn next to my head while Gary held her. It was perfect.

It took a few more minutes to get out of Surgery and wheeled to Recovery. I honestly don't remember what went on in there. I just knew I was warm and comfortable (still numb from the ribs down), the surgery was over and my baby girl was perfect.

The rest of the day centered around holding Jocelyn. I just couldn't get enough! I held her and fed her and we napped and Gary held her and went to get food for himself (our hospital didn't cover that, but others do). Of course the staff kept checking on me and my stats and my bandages and all. I gradually began to feel my legs and move my toes. I sat up but didn't get out of bed until the next day.

I really had a good experience with Jocelyn's birth. To be honest, the few months following were some of the most difficult. I always find the postpartum period to be the hardest, and recovering from a c-section doesn't make it any better. It was also winter and the northern part of the country where we live only has about 6 hours of sunlight in December, plus it was snowy and really cold! It was cozy and nice until Christmas, but January and February were hard months for me!

But that's another story, one that I'm not sure I'll tell here. Just know that postpartum depression is real. As my best friend says, sleep deprivation is a form a torture and all new moms are chronically sleep deprived!

So any of you moms with c-sections coming up, you can do it! Focus on the birth and seeing/holding your new baby! Recovery will be slow at times, your body will look and feel weird for a long time, but it will get better. Our bodies are amazing and healing will happen!

Thanks for reading my story!


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Catching Up

Well, bummer, I didn't mean to disappear like that again! I have so much I want to share from the last 5 months and ideas for the future.

Baby Jocelyn is 6 months old now! She is sweet and precious and I'm just so thrilled she's part of our family! I will catch you up on her weekly photos and some thoughts about her birth and the "4th trimester" (always the hardest for me) soon.

Our oldest, Jonathan, recently finished the school year! So proud of this kid! He's very much looking forward to next school year and being with his friends again, but he's so glad to get a break from homework. Funny thing is, I'm sneaking phonics and reading and math into our daily schedule. :)

All three boys celebrated birthdays in May. Jared is 7.

Jonathan is 9.

And Josiah is 5! I just... Wow!

Spring this year has been rainy and cooler, other than a week of really high temps. It's very green outside and there are lots of wildflowers. It's absolutely beautiful.

I'm trying to get back into walking every day. I did great for a few days after school was out, then our schedule was interrupted. The miles are adding up, but the consistency isn't there and I want it to be.

We're still renting, at least for now. We've been stalking our real estate apps and our agent alerts us to new homes on the market. We are excited to buy and be able to DIY again!

I'm keeping this short so I can actually publish it. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Flashback Friday {Nursery Tour}

Our baby girl is 7 weeks old now and doing great! I feel like all I'm doing is taking care of her. I'm not sure how I did it all when her brothers were younger. At one point I had a baby, a toddler and a preschooler, plus I was doing home projects and blogging about them!

My favorite project of all time is my third son's nursery. (That's him in the picture with Jocelyn.) The window wall reveal post has gotten over 38,000 hits in the last 4 years! Since I'm still super proud of this room, I thought I'd share the tour with you today. Enjoy!


Welcome to our nursery!

The first thing you'll notice when you enter the room is this big window framed with blue silk curtains and chippy barnboards. You can read about it here.

In front of the window I added a child-sized rocker with a basket of books. Perfect for entertaining big brothers!

To the right of the window is a tall chest of drawers that was recently featured at Better After! So proud of that!
Here is my post about this dresser's amazing transformation.

I love the look of green plants in every room; not only do they add some fresh green to a room, they're good for the air! Yes, that's my middle son in the frame. I need to print some current pictures!

Next to the dresser is my favorite chair. I've had it forever and it rocks and swivels, so it's perfect for nursing and rocking Baby. I've included a small table for my Bible and water, or my laptop so I can try to catch up with my favorite blogs.

 Above the chair is a gallery wall. You can read more about it here.

Baby's crib is next to my chair. It used to be plain wood, but I painted it and installed the board and batten right before Baby was born... and never blogged about it! I will milk this nursery for as many posts as I can do a before-and-after post soon.

No crib is complete without a mobile! Here is what I created (and here is where you can read more about it).

The door to the hall is at the foot of the crib. Besides painting it white, I've done nothing to it, so there's no picture except the glimpse you get of it next to the closet. Here is a post about the closet.

 I added the sign today and thought I'd skip a tutorial cuz everyone has fancy vinyl machines... Not me! This is my trusty sharpie marker and kindergarten teacher skills!

My older boys (ages 2 and 4) love to play in this little nook.

Of course they prefer the bedspread-turned-curtain down so they can hide!

Next to the closet is this vanity I redid, also featured at Better After and blogged about here. You won't believe the before pictures of it! Now it has been reinvented as a changing table. I bet it never saw that one coming! (Looks like a need a bigger basket for Baby's laundry so it will hide the cords!)

I made this sweet little banner using a receiving blanket.

Hope you enjoyed the tour. Thanks for visiting!


So what do you think? I just love that room. I'm curious how it would have evolved if we had stayed in that house. I know I'm not over board and batten and can't wait to buy our own home again so I can add more!

Have a great weekend!


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