Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Resolution 2012: Fix It Up

Here are the results from my 2012 resolution. Not bad!

I'm taking this off the sidebar and hoping to make another project resolution for 2015. Maybe slightly different - thinking finance/minimalism related. Maybe another house fix-up though!

Replace toilet seal in master bath
Buy fire extinguisher
Hang shelf rack above toilet in master bath
Re-hang exterior shutter
Reorganize both bathrooms
Fix running toilet in master bath
Reorganize guest room closet
Reorganize hallway cleaning closet
Reorganize attic
Reorganize pantry
Remove bird's nest and fix broken screen in attic
Update front yard landscaping
Paint entry hall
Check security light and replace bulb
Put house numbers on mailbox
Replace busted back door knob
Renovate backyard flower bed
Decorate entry hall
Hang pictures in entry hall
Plant rose bushes
Paint fireplace in den
Paint den
Reorganize master bedroom closet
Fix leaky master bathroom sink
Paint back hallway
Paint brass doors on fireplace black
Purchase frames for gallery wall

Monday, March 10, 2014

Clara and Hazel's birth story

I'm sitting in the nursery, keeping an eye on our beautiful sleeping twin girls. 6am, and I finally have a little time to jot down how they got here.

I worked my last day on Friday, February 28. My blood pressure had been running high enough that my doctor wanted me to stop working. I was in the office until noon and finished the rest of the day at home. I took it easy, and other than a conference call, mostly rested and checked email.

We sat down to dinner, chicken breast and steamed broccoli, around 7pm. I wasn't very hungry, so I didn't eat much. I started having these gas-like cramps, but I wasn't passing a lot of gas or anything. I went to the bathroom a couple of times. After dinner, Kim took Katie and Penny to Hobby Lobby to pick out some stuff for a craft project. While she was gone, I started to suspect these cramps were actually contractions. I texted Kim and called my mom. We started making a plan for what to do with Penny in case we had to go to the hospital.

Around 11pm, I was starting to have pretty regular, timetable contractions 4-5 min apart, so I took my blood pressure. It was fairly high, so I took that as a sign that I needed to at least get checked. I was at 2-2.5 cm at my last appointment, so I figured this could possibly be the real thing. Kim stayed at our house so we could go to the hospital.

We got to the hospital just after midnight on March 1. I was actually really glad of the timing because it put us at exactly 36 weeks gestation. Every week counts! They put a bracelet on me and a nurse came and took us back to a room. She hooked me up to three monitors (one for contractions and one for each baby), and once they noticed my contractions were coming every 1-2 minutes (what??), they started me an IV of fluids to make sure I wasn't just contracting from dehydration. They took a bunch of blood to check on a bunch of things, and we settled in to wait and see if they were going to keep us or send us home.

We waited until about 3 or 4 in the morning before the nurse came back in and told us that, based on my contractions (which had slowed to every 5 min or so, but hadn't stopped or gotten any weaker) and my blood work, which showed high levels of uric acid (which can lead to seizures in the mother), I was going to have some babies today! Which was both exciting and terrifying to hear. The contractions were strong enough that, now that I knew I was staying, I went ahead and requested an epidural. I was concerned about labor moving quickly because it wasn't my first pregnancy, and I also wanted to have my epidural in place so that if they had to perform an unplanned c section, they could easily numb me up and not have to put me under in an emergency.

Around 7am, there was a shift change, and the new on call doctor, Dr. Williams, had them start me on Pitocin and break the closest bag of waters. Both babies were head down, so the plan was to try for a vaginal delivery (my preference, and also how Penny was born). Things were progressing pretty well until I got to about 6-7cm dilated. Dr. Williams performed the check and said, “I feel a face.” She frowned and said, “I'm not very comfortable with this.” Apparently, instead of trying to descend top of the head first, baby A was trying to peek out with her face. The doctor explained that this could cause neck injuries to her if she was born facing that way, or even issues like cord prolapse, where the cord comes out first and cuts off the baby's oxygen. She told me she wasn't going to rush me, but it looked like we were heading for a c section. She had the nurse turn me on my left side to see if the baby would move a little. I'll admit, once she left the room, I started freaking out a little. I called my mom and sister and let them know I might be headed for surgery. At this point, Cory was the only one at the hospital with me. They started hurrying to get there to see me just in case. I might have cried a little. I knew we would all be alright, but I just hadn't expected this little wrench. I figured I would either know I was headed for surgery in advance, or get to try pushing and have to convert to a c section. This was something different. A slight difference that changed everything.

Turning me on one side and then the other didn't help. The doctor gave me a little extra time to wait, which allowed my mom and sister to make it to see me. I really appreciate how kind Dr. Williams was in this situation; she did her best to allow me some control when I really didn't have any. She came back to check on me, and I told her I was ready. At that point, everyone sprang into action. They briefed me on how it would go and started giving me anti nausea meds and upping my epidural for the surgery. I said goodbye to my mom and Kim, and they wheeled me away, Cory following behind.

They had Cory put on scrubs outside the OR while they prepped me. I was totally naked and could see my reflection in the lights above me, which creeped me out a little. I remember being relieved when they put the sheet up; they angled it so I couldn't see them or anything else past my chest. Then they let Cory back in and he stood by my face and they began. I didn't feel any pain, thank God. That was one of my worries, that the pain medication wouldn't take fast enough or something. I do remember being so tired that my eyelids felt heavy. I was trying not to fall asleep while they worked.

I didn't have to wait long. After some vague pulling and tugging sensations, baby A, Clara Rhea, was born at 11:20am. Baby B, Hazel Marie, followed right after at 11:21am. Cory got to hold both of them and bring them to me. He was the one who thought A looked like a Clara, and B looked like a Hazel. I agreed immediately and that was it for names! Clara cried right away, and Hazel made softer noises but did okay. They were concerned about Hazel's breathing at first, but then she started screaming and they worried a lot less about it, haha. The decision was made that they didn't need to go to the NICU, so after they closed me up, we all headed to my recovery room together.

My twins' birth was so different from Penny's birth I can hardly compare them. Pretty much everything that could have been different, was. I can't imagine only having one of them, though. We're adjusting to being a family of five and it's pretty great. After I had Penny, I knew our family still wasn't complete. I wanted to experience pregnancy again, and I felt like someone was missing from our family. Now, I feel like we're all here. Cory and I and our three girls. It was a little more than we bargained for, but it feels wonderful and exactly right.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

June, July, August fixes!

I got a few things done in June that I had been meaning to do. I finally put the finishing touches on the front hallway by hanging some art and pictures:

I planted rose bushes! Five different colors: Drop Dead Red, Queen Mary 2 (white), Pink Traviata, Ch-Ching (yellow), and Just Joey (peach). They are budding like crazy right now and I'm so glad I put something I love in that flower bed!

I also have been wanting to redo our den a little bit. I'm picturing painting the room a lighter color so the room will appear bigger and lighter. To start, I painted our fireplace white. I've been looking at so many pictures of white fireplaces online, and I love how clean and bright they look. It also reinforces it as a focal point in the room. Our fireplace was already painted, so I just got some semi-gloss white paint and went to town on it. I painted it all in one night! Two coats was about right for this job. I love it!

In July, I put another big paint change into place. I finally painted the den. No more purple! I loved the purple so much, but I really wanted to incorporate more colors (specifically blues and greens), and the purple kept me from adding too much color in accessories, and didn't really match the furniture we already had. So I brought the paint color in the hallway forward into the den. It's so much brighter; it feels like we have more lights on at night!

In August, I didn't have much time for major fixes, but I got on a smaller project I've been meaning to do. Our master closet has been a mess for a while, with things thrown up haphazardly on shelves, and wasted space at the bottom. While I'd love for us to be able to afford a new closet shelving system, I found some things around the house and did this little fixup for free! Not to mention it was a great excuse to throw away and donate some stuff and get rid of some clutter. I organized purses and scarves into bins at the top, and added a second hanger rack on the right side so I could double the number of short items hung. So much more space! I also removed the sliding doors from the front (not pictured) because they kept getting in the way. Now I don't mind looking at the closet, and it's easier to find everything, too.

Monday, June 04, 2012

May Fixes

It's June already! How did that happen? Well, I'm ready to show you what got done in May. I think I was subconsciously trying to make up for what didn't get done in April.

We hung a shelf in the newly painted hallway, and I hung a mirror and changed out the light fixture! Surprisingly not that hard. I did have to spackle the ceiling where the hole was just a little too big.
Before and after:

I got a new doorknob for the back door (the old one kept falling out)!

And the piece de resistance: I spent the entire three-day Memorial Day weekend removing unwanted plants, shrubs, trees, and weeds from the flower bed that runs along the back of the house, and replanting some brand-new hydrangeas (and transplanting one old one). Day and night, people. Day and night difference, here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

March and April fixes

In March, I tackled the gross job of removing a bird's best from the vent in our attic and stapling up new screens. No pictures of that, but I do have a before-and-after of the other March project - updating some of the front landscaping! I moved the puny azaleas to make way for a little sitting area (we don't have a porch).

In April, I didn't get much house stuff done, but to keep the resolution I knocked one out: painting the entry hall. It had a dingy yellowy cream color, and the ceiling was painted to match. I chose a lighter cream, and painted the ceiling and trim a bright white. Let in the light!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

February Fixes

I really got on a roll in February with house fix-its. I kind of went on an organizational streak!

My main goal for the month was to re-hang the shutter that had fallen off the house. It had been sitting propped against the house for months! I was starting to feel like we were "that house" on the block. I am trying to pick my goal project to be something that I've been putting off, or that isn't fun to do, so if I do want to do other projects it's just a bonus!

We (and by we I mean mostly Cory) spent a good part of a couple of afternoons trying to drill the holes in the mortar for the shutter screws. That is, until our drill bit broke! Oops. So it turns out, you can buy a masonry drill bit that is mean to drill into that kind of stuff. Once we got the right kind of bit, it took about 30 seconds to drill the last hole (whereas the wrong bit was costing us about 20-30 minutes per hole). I hammered in the shutter screws, and project done!

I also reorganized the closets in our guest room/craft room and in our hallway (where we keep all the cleaning stuff). It's crazy how doing something small can make such a big difference! It also keeps me motivated to keep going more things around the house.

I don't have a picture of the shutter, but it looks like all the other ones now, really. Here's a picture of the redone guest room closet, and a before/after of the hallway:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ten months

Penny's tenth month included Christmas and New Year's. A busy month! We took Christmas pictures with Katie:

Had lots of fun in the bath!

Chewed on everything possible:

Went to visit our Louisiana family:

Smiled! A lot!

Woke up Christmas morning with a new lovey in her stocking!

Took lots of snuggly naps. :-)

All in all, a great month! She didn't even freak out too much when Daddy chopped off all his hair. :-)