Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Kitchen Built In

This project has been one that we always wanted to do, 
but it kept getting pushed back when other important renovations got in the way. 
We completed this project in only.... 1.5 years!! 
There were many big projects that we worked on that kept us from continuing on this project (including totally re-roofing and re-doing our bathroom/bathtub & surround - I will post that remodel soon, we still have a few things to finish in there too, heh) and with wedding season in the middle of the project the weddings and photo editing took up most weekends.

Here is a picture of the way this nook in our kitchen used to look:
(everything is different from the wall color, to the fridge itself, haha, more on that later)

(the cardboard was under the fridge to slide it around since we had just moved the fridge all over to replace the floors)
This nook always felt so blah to me and I felt like it was so much wasted space.
I considered building an eat in table nook in this spot and moving the fridge to a different spot in our mudroom area but it just made the space feel closed off and dark, so we decided not to do that.

The first step was to build and paint the "bones" for the structure (being John's and my first real project like this there was a lot of trial and error):

Next John added a built in on the right side of the structure for our garbage can and one on the left side for recycling and some pantry space.

( the boys had to try it out and make sure it was sturdy enough for the garbage can ;) )

Then we added trim to the front to help "bulk it up" and make it look less wimpy/thin and I painted it (see where the fridge is in this picture is where I'd considered putting it, but it was just not a good placement for the fridge in these rooms)

By the time we got to this point we moved the fridge back in and I painted the kitchen (I had so much trouble picking a color for this room and eventually settled on a soft yellow and love it). We also decided we wanted to do wooden counter-tops since this area of the kitchen wouldn't get as much wear and tear.

After making the door (which we matched to the cabinet doors in the rest of the kitchen) and painting the base, and staining and sealing the counter it turned out like this...

Next we completed the other side and counter, which I apparently didn't get a picture of, but you can kind of see it in the background of this adorable picture of Rowyn and his aunt Anna...

At this point the built in was mostly complete, however we wanted to add shelves to the wall on either side and with the odd size containers we would need to store things above the fridge I decided to make crates myself to fit the space.

At this stage of the project our fridge that we had created this built in to fit was leaking quite a bit of water and a friend who was remodeling her kitchen offered to give us her old fridge. This was such a blessing for us, but ended up being taller than our old fridge. Luckily we only had to cut the trim off of the top and cut it to fit around the fridge and didn't need to make any structural changes *phew*

After one last trip to lowes with our little helpers....

we finally got the last supplies we needed to make the shelves and finish the built in. With the new wall color, new fridge, replacing the nasty ceiling fan with a normal light and everything else completed here is the final result!

For one last final reminder, here is the before and after:

I have to say, for our first real wood working project, I'm really happy with how it turned out, and I'm glad it's finally finished. :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Jack's Nursery!

I never got around to posting progress/finished picture of Jack's nursery last year. The reason for that was my sudden pre-term labor/bedrest/premature delivery. 
A few weeks ago John and I finally hung the last few things in his nursery.
( Hey, he's not 1 yet. It's not TOO bad, right? ;) ) 

So, here are the pictures of Jack's nursery.
I didn't end up completing it exactly like I'd originally planned, but decided to just go with what we had so far!
For those that don't know, his nursery is nautical themed!

 (The wall that sticks into the picture on the right hand side is the closet. There's a nook between the closet and the doorway that I'm standing in that has his dresser in it.)

 (notice the pad on the top rail... that's because Jack always chews on the side of the crib. Everything is a teether to him. :-p)

(This picture shows the Punch Brothers poster John got at a concert. He told me he bought a poster and wanted to put it in the baby's room, and I was like, "No! We're not putting music posters in the baby's room!" He then said it was really cool, and I was like, "I'll look at it, but I doubt it." The poster was actually really awesome... I guess I should have trusted him that this picture didn't have skulls/eyeballs like most band posters :-p I actually loved the way it looked in the room.)

(This is a close up shot to show the frame. I wanted some more unique frames for this poster and the map over his crib, but most frames were very expensive. So... my solution?
Grab my husband. Bring him to Lowes. Find some wood/trim/stain and make our own frames! It was a bit of work, but I love how unique they are!)
So, there's Jack's nursery!
It's crazy how, while pregnant I had so many plans and preparations, and deadlines for things I "just had to have ready" before baby came... but then, when life hits, you realize what really needs to be done/ready for baby, and what can wait.
This waited, but it was fun to complete now! :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Front Garden Progress!

So, I've been meaning to work on our front gardens since we moved in to our house over two years ago. The first spring we lived here was spent painting/re-doing a lot of indoor projects, so we never got around to working on the gardens. 
The front gardens had nothing in them but WAYYY overgrown bushes. So, last spring we decided to take those bushes out (no big deal right *rolls eyes*) and replace them with a lighter leafy-er plant that wouldn't be so big and overbearing. Well, last spring, right after cutting the bushes off and attempting to remove the stumps, we realized that the roots were MUCH bigger/deeper than we had thought. With them being right next to the house we couldn't burn the stump/roots. 
So, while trying to decide how to get them out, our little Jack decided to try to come 2 months early, which put me on complete bedrest, and meant John now had to work full time, and take care of me and everything in the house. So... no gardening was done last year either.

This year I was motivated to get it done. 

I first spend about 3 hours digging around the stumps to reveal some of the roots (one side of the house has much more sun than the other so one side was easier to dig out a bit, and the other side was a lot harder).

We then planned to use a chainsaw to cut the big roots that were showing, and a pick axe to get the rest, however, the first 3 times when we planned on working on this in the evening after work, it would rain and look like this...

 so, that kept delaying things! 

Then John sprained his ankle, which delayed things even more (I've never used a chainsaw, and I tried using the pick axe and it was definitely a job for a big strong man :-p).

Finally, John felt that his ankle was strong enough to work on it, and we had a saturday with nice weather, so we went outside to work on it.

John spent about 12 hours working on the two stumps, alternating between the chainsaw and pick axe. I did not envy him the job. 
While he was doing that, I was digging out around the other side to try and help reveal more of the roots...

(this picture shows what the root ball looked like after hours of chopping and cutting)

 (again, hours into the work)

(my boys hanging out, taking a quick break)

Finally, after we were outside all day, the root balls came out and we could start working on the ground.

 After filling in the ground and tilling the dirt, and adding some top soil I was finally able to plant! (I am not an experienced gardener, so by this point I just did what I thought would work and I'm hoping it'll grow/fill in well :-p)

And here are some pictures of the finished garden!
The back is a nice hydrangea bush that should grow to about 3 ft square. Next to that is a fern, in the front are some pretty leafy flowers that should fill in as a nice low ground cover, and to the left by the porch is lady's mantle, which should fill in like a small bush in front of the porch.

I can't wait to see how it all looks filled in, and if it turns out how I'm hoping it'll look. We'll see! :) Either way, it looks better than the stumps we had sitting there in yucky clumpy dirt! 

Hopefully later on, when it fills in better I'll have an update picture that looks great! We'll see! ;)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jack's birth story!

So I'm just now getting around to writing out the birth story.
I've been wanting to write it for a while
but have had no time to actually sit at the computer.
Getting used to how to "live life" with a newborn is definitely harder than 
it looks (but totally worth it).

So, here we go!
(the post before this one "Hospital Story" has the story about my 
preterm labor).

After being on bed rest for 3 weeks
still having semi-regular contractions the whole time,
I started to feel a bit different.
I didn't know what it was, but the contractions just felt a little "off" but not enough to feel like I needed to go in to the hospital or anything, I had a doc appt the next morning so I was just going to mention how I felt and see what they said.

I went to bed and woke up at 3:45 a.m. to a popping feeling. 
I was so confused because it felt much stronger than baby's usual kicks.
Then, I felt a gush and had a little panic attack in my head thinking "Oh my gosh! My water just broke! I'm having this baby today and I'm not ready to go through labor."

I woke John up (it was 5 minutes before his alarm would have gone off and he would have left for work over an hour away) and told him my water broke. He was like... "um... what?" He seemed a bit tired and confused, hehe.
I told him, "I'm taking a shower, then you should take one and we should head out, I'm having this baby today."

Then it seemed to hit him and we both felt excitedly nervous.

We left the house around 4:30 after showering, gathering our things and I called my family so they could come pick up my dog.

When I got to the hospital at 5 I was 4cm and 90% effaced (preterm labor got me to 2cm 80% effaced and I stayed there at each appt while on bed rest).

I was in triage for a while getting checked out and answering questions and the contractions started to get a lot more intense. They eventually got me over to a room and settled in. I was having contractions every minute, and each one lasted about 30 seconds. 
They were shocked that they were so close together and short, instead of the usual contractions that are 3-5 minutes apart and last 45 seconds - a minute.
By the time I was settled in the room I was already 7cm and 100% effaced.
I really wanted to get into the jetted tub to help with some of the pain and was able to get in,
but only for about 15-20 minutes before I started to feel more pressure and decided to get out.
Once I was out I was about 9cm and close to ready.

I was 10cm by 8:30 am (everything moved very quickly for a first labor). The nurses were shocked it was moving so fast, but also said it was because the contractions were so constant with very little breaks.

At 8:45 my doctor came in and I was ready to start pushing.
I was so happy that my doctor was on call and was able to be there for the birth (she was there with me for a while, then had to leave for an emergency c-section and came back in time for the end of my pushing, in the meantime a hospital midwife came in and helped).
I pushed for about an hour and was having a lot of trouble and running 
out of energy 
(being on bed rest sucked because it made me a lot weaker for labor).
I felt like I was about to pass out and they told me to take a short break and 
gave me oxygen.

I started pushing again for another 30 minutes. Jack was posterior (upside down) and to my left side and they had to have me change up positions while pushing to try and get him to turn and move over.

After the hour and a half of pushing trying to get him to re-adjust, he finally started changing positions, but the doc realized that because of the angle he was coming from when I would push his head was pushing my cervix back down in front of him (blocking him from coming down).
The doctor then had to push that back while I pushed to get him around it.
At this point I was in so much pain and getting really exhausted.
I remember thinking, 
"I have nothing left, what if I literally can't push any more, what will they do?" 
I decided ahead of time that I didn't want any pain medication because of possible side effects on the baby, 
but once he decided to come early I was even more set on having him naturally.
We didn't know what problems we could be facing with him
being 4 weeks early, and I didn't want to add any additional possible problems.

At this point the doctors decided to put me on pitocin to attempt to lengthen my contractions. They were saying that the shortness of my contractions was making it harder because they would come and go before I could get the pushes in so they would go away before they could help me with the pushing.

I pushed for another 30 minutes before he finally came.
In the end the doctor ended up using a vacuum to help at the end. 
Baby was ready to come out, but after each push he would go back up.
After my second to last push the doc used the vacuum to hold him down and told me right away to push again and give it my all.
I pushed my hardest and he, finally, came into the world.

It was so surreal. I loved hearing him cry.
Because he was born so early they had to take him over to the warmer and check him out and make sure everything was ok.
They'd brought everything into the room though so I could still see and hear him.

During this time, the doc had to stitch me up (I had 3rd degree tears... nooo fun. The stitching was horrible! They gave me a low dose of morphine for the stitching, which I was fine with since the baby was out).

About 5 minutes (at the most) later, I had my little boy on my chest and it was the most incredible moment ever! 
He was perfect, he was tiny, and he was MY son... crazy!!

Even though Jack was born 4 weeks early, he was still a good 6lb 10 oz. and 19.5 inches long(he would have been huge if he was full term!!). 

I was so surprised that he was so big and filled out!

While in the hospital he passed every test with flying colors. I was SOO happy to know he didn't need any time in the NICU.

Because he was early he did, however, have trouble sucking. That reflex wasn't quite developed yet for him.
It was hard to know that he couldn't really eat much from me.
He would get a few sucks in and that was all.
I then would pump and get as much as I could and we would add that to some formula and cup feed him (we avoided using a bottle to avoid confusion as he learned how to breastfeed).

We're still working on getting him to eat well, but he's come so far! Once I was able to pump enough we didn't need to supplement with formula, we just used the pumped breast milk. 
We've gone through many different steps to get closer and closer and now he eats full meals (however I still have to use a breast shield to help) and we don't need to supplement with anything.

I'm starting to try to get him to eat without the breast shield and he's starting to catch on, which makes me so happy!

At this point Jack is 4 days old and my heart is full.
He has the most AMAZING daddy in the world, who loves him so much I can't take the cuteness sometimes.
Night's are definitely a struggle. We've been feeding every two hours and Jack has been having gas and just struggling with sleeping so I've only been getting 10-30 minutes of sleep in between each feeding/diaper change.
I'm not usually very good with little sleep, so this has been very challenging for me, but definitely worth it.
I know this stage won't last forever (though sometimes in the middle of the night it feels like forever) and I really want to enjoy it as much as I can, even with the sleepless nights (any advice for how to get through this period easier would be VERY appreciated).

I'm shocked by my extreme hormone levels (which I always knew about but never thought would be bad for me, of course). I will be fine and then suddenly crying about sometime a minute later. 
I never really knew how strong the hormones would really be at this time, 
but everyone has re-assured me that it will go away soon!

I'm really excited to start getting into a routine with my boy
and to not feel so overwhelmed with all the changes and figuring everything out.

This has been one of the most incredible times in my life.
My son is a perfect gift and I just love spending my days with him.
I wish John could be home with us all the time and wouldn't have to be back at work, (especially since it's a 1.5 hr commute so he's gone for long hours)
but I'm hoping that soon he'll be able to work from home one or two days a week (just having him around makes me feel so much better).

That's where we're at now! :)
Jack is 4 days old, and I'm so in love with him and his cute face!

1 day old

 1 day old with daddy! (I LOVE this picture)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Hospital Story!

I figured I'd write a post explaining everything that's happened so far to make my "uneventful" pregnancy status change to "very eventful" 
(John and I think Jack was just wanting some attention).

My pregnancy so far has been very smooth.
I had very bad morning sickness in the beginning, but since 15 weeks
everything has been going smoothly.
Every test/check up has gone 100%.
Nothing has been off or needed any change this whole time.

I've had a lot of Braxton Hicks since about 20 weeks,
but thought nothing of it, since my family is known for having a lot of them.

Last week I started noticing that I was getting them a lot more often,
and they were getting a lot more uncomfortable.
On Wednesday (May 15) I started feeling a bit of back pain, and a very little bit of menstrual like cramping. 
I had a doctors appointment already scheduled for Thursday morning
so I just decided to wait and mention the cramping the next day.

At the doctors the next day I explained what I'd been feeling and the doc decided that, based on the menstrual cramping and the pretty consistent Braxton Hicks, that I should be on bed rest for the weekend and see how it was doing by Monday (the Braxton Hicks were too hard to count because sometimes my belly would just stay contracted for 10 minutes straight).
While at the doctors she decided to do a few tests just to make sure nothing was happening. 
I was 32.5 weeks at this time and wasn't dilated or effaced, but the dr. did a FFN test. I was told that this was just as a precaution and that if the test came back negative it would mean that there is a 99% chance I wouldn't go into labor for at least 2 weeks, but if it came back positive, it doesn't mean that I WILL go into labor for sure, but it just means there's a chance I could at any time.
The doc called later that day and told me to make sure I stayed on bed rest because the test was positive.

So... I was on bed rest for Thursday and Friday.

On Saturday I started really trying to monitor the contractions more, and seemed to be having 6-9 every hour, as best I could tell, and the cramping/back pain was getting worse.
I was debating what to do, because it was the weekend and I couldn't just go to my doctor, I'd have to go to the hospital.
I really didn't want to be one of those girls that is in and out of the hospital for no reason.
After a while of trying to decide what to do, John and I decided it'd be better to go in and just make sure it's all ok.

We went to Unity at about 3:00 on Saturday and when they hooked me up to the monitors saw that I was contracting every 1-2 minutes. 

They then checked and saw that I was 1 cm. dilated and about 80% effaced.
They immediately started getting me hooked to an IV and figuring out what meds they could give me to try and stop the contractions as well as started me on the steroid shots (2 shots over 48 hours that develop the baby's lungs faster to give him a better chance at breathing well if born that early. These shots are the most PAINFUL things ever. The nurse gave it to me in my arm and I later heard that they're not supposed to do that because it's so painful there and she should have done it in my hip).

The nurses checked me again at about 6:00 and I was dilated another centimeter to 2 cm 80% effaced.

They then decided to send me to Strong. Unity isn't equipped to deliver babies before 34 weeks and at this point I was exactly 33 weeks.
I was then taken via ambulance to Strong and settled in.

I continued to have contractions every 1-2 minutes through the night, and through all of Sunday, with only a few breaks of 5-10 minutes between contractions.
The doctors tested for lots of different things trying to figure out why I was going into labor, but nothing made sense. The meds weren't stopping my contractions, so they were just trying to get me to slow down until the steroids were effective (48 hours) to help Jack's lungs.
The doctors were starting to think that I was going to be going into labor because nothing was stopping the contractions.
( one of the hardest things was going through the labor pains, and having them try to stop them. Because it wasn't working I felt like I was in so much pain without having the joy/motivation of giving birth to/meeting our baby. It just felt like pain for no reason. )

They sent in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) Dr. to talk to us about the reality of what risks we might be facing, and what the process would be like after birth and how it'd be to have the baby in the NICU for about 6 weeks.

I was scared, thinking about having my baby and him having to stay in the hospital that long instead of just coming home with us, but I knew that no matter what happened God was taking care of our baby.

Finally on Sunday evening my contractions started to back off. They were less intense/painful, and spread out to being about 5 minutes apart.

They then moved me to a regular room that was not in the "high risk" unit, and I was finally able to eat after about 30 hours with no food.

Monday afternoon they told me that, even though I was still contracting some, because it was less painful and through the whole time I wasn't dilating or effacing any more, they would let me go home on bed rest.
I was so excited to be home again.

John was so helpful and supportive of my through this whole thing.
He helped get me settled in at home,
and stayed with me on Tuesday, to make sure I stayed stable, and the contractions didn't pick up too much again.

Then, Tuesday night/Wednesday morning I was unable to sleep all night because of EXTREME back pain. It felt like a charlie horse that lasted for 15 minutes straight. John massaged it, and I tried every position possible to relieve the pain. 
I learned at the hospital that the baby is on my left side and is posterior (which means he's face up instead of face down) so, even though he's down in the birthing position, his spine is pushing on my back, creating back labor (the most painful thing ever! It was the worst part of the pain during the contractions I had all weekend).

That night, I tried every possible position as well as sitting up and leaning from side to side, and couldn't stop the back pain. Part way through the night the menstrual cramping started up again and was very painful.

I called the doc in the morning and they wanted me to go back into the hospital.

Wednesday I went in to Unity, again! 
They hooked me up again, and saw that I was again having intense contractions every 1-2 minutes.
 They tried to stop them, but nothing was stopping them.
They checked, but said I was still 2 cm 80% effaced, so though I was having consistent contractions, they couldn't treat me as if I was in labor because it wasn't progressing anything.

After watching me for about 6 hours, with a few short stretches of the contractions getting lighter and spread out to about 4 or 5 minutes apart then picking up again, they decided to just send me home, 
and said that I must have an "irritable uterus."
They told me that basically, my uterus is irritated and just contracts a lot.

I was so discouraged, knowing I'd just have to live with this pain for who knows how long... possibly 7 weeks. I couldn't imagine that length of time with that pain/exhaustion.

That evening I was overwhelmed. Not only from getting no sleep and being in pain for days, but we also found out the insurance we planned on having wasn't going to work, and we had to figure out how to fix that (having a baby in NICU with no insurance is not a fun thought), we also found out from our neighbor that our electric line on the side of our house is worn and when he walked by it, it shocked him, so the wires are exposed and we need to get an electrician to come change it all out (to change that we need to replace our entire circuit breaker).
Once I heard all of that, on top of everything that had happened I just broke down. I couldn't handle everything happening at once, and thinking about not getting any sleep for weeks and felt so helpless.

John just hugged me and told me we needed to get some sleep and relax.

Incredibly, that evening the back pain went away, and the contractions finally really slowed down.
I know I had so many people praying for me, and I definitely felt the prayers.

I finally have been able to get some sleep at night. I still wake up with back pain and some cramping every once in a while, but I've been able to get some sleep and some breaks from the pain.

I'm taking things one day at a time right now, and seeing how everything goes.
The hardest part for me right now, is knowing that on Saturday, I was dilating and effacing, and didn't know it. I'm nervous that, after going through this, I won't know what is "irritable uterus" and what is real labor. 
I know that I'll know it's real labor before the baby is actually being born, but I'm nervous I'll miss the beginning and get to a point where they can't stop the labor, if I don't notice it early enough.

I'm just doing my best now to trust God and put the situation in His hands.
Every day that goes by, and I am still pregnant,
is one more day that Jack is growing.

Through all of this, I'm so grateful that Jack is healthy and growing. I can't wait to meet him in a few weeks, but pray he stays in as long as possible.

For anyone that actually read all of this... I'm impressed. This is suuuper long! Hehe.

I'll try to update when/if anything else comes up. 

(Here's an ultra-sound picture from this weekend of the little troublemaker. His heart rate was great through everything, and he looks very healthy!)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A hard day, but one that makes me feel so thankful!

"We must be willing to let go of the 
life we have planned, 
so as to have the life that is waiting for us." 
- Joseph Campbell

Today is a joyful, yet sobering day.
A day that I was originally dreading to get to, yet knew it would come.

Today is the day that our first baby was due to arrive,
for us to hold in our arms.

Today is bittersweet.

I think about today and wonder what it would have been like to be at that point, preparing to bring our first child home.
But then,
I look at my expanding belly and know that I can't imagine life without
our little boy, Jack.  

It's heart wrenching to think that we aren't able to hold both of our babies,
but I know this was God's plan all along.

I know that this plan is what's best for our lives.

"'For I know the plans I have for you', says the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" 
- Jeremiah 29:11    

Every time I think back
I remember the joy we felt in the 7 weeks we had with our precious baby.
The excitement to have our very first child.

I'm so thankful for that time that the Lord gave us with our little one.

I'm grateful that the Lord allowed us to be parents to our first little angel no matter how short of a time it was.

I learned more from that time than I could have ever imagined.
 The Lord has brought so much good
out of something that is hard to picture as anything but bad.

John and I have plans to just be together for the day.

We'll head to church first,
which is such a blessing for getting through this tough time.
To be reminded of the Lord and his promises to us.

Then we plan to just take it easy,
go out to dinner and a movie,
and to just be together.

I've had a little difficulty seeing the people that were due
within days/weeks of me, 
bring home their precious children. 
 I thought I would be sharing the experience with them
but I'm so grateful that I can look at them,
feel joy in seeing them with their babies,
and look forward to that time just 15 weeks from now,
when we'll hold Jack in our arms for the first time.  

    I thought today would be harder than it is...

At times it is hard,
 but it's awesome to know how much the Lord has done,
and how he has used this in my life.

It makes today a day that I am thankful for,
instead of a day of grief.

Lord, thank you for the time we got to spend with our first little baby.

Baby, we will always love you!