Wednesday, August 24, 2016

[5-Minute Craft Wednesday]

So today I bring you a quick 5 minute craft! Every Wednesday I will feature a quick craft! Now, I understand not everyone has these things on hand, so just work with what you have! 


  • Scrap piece of wood (I had this leftover from my cabinets)
  • Whatever wood stain you have on hand
  • Light colored paint
  • Paper Napkins
  • Number cutouts (the ones I used are from the Target Dollar Spot $1!!)
  • Glue (I used wood glue, its what I had on hand)
  • String (I used Jute Twine)
  • Nails

The picture tutorial is pretty easy to follow! I used another piece of wood to scratch and distress the piece of wood, remember to wear gloves if you don't want stain on you. I don't really care much.

Since we're fancy, we use a paper towel to paint on the stain! Its better to water down your light color paint but.... I was too lazy so after I did the light paint, I went over it with the stain again.

Then just glue down your numbers and tie the twine or string to the nails, hold the string while your drilling the screws in so it doesn't wrap around it.

AND DONE!!!! Next project is to clean that mailbox!! :)


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Painting an Upholstered Chair

 So I had a little free time, kids are both keeping busy. I decide to do some web browsing...

Thinking I can work on my blog but instead I find myself on Facebook and e-mail. Some time goes by and my BUTT is starting to hurt as well as my back. I am sitting on a bar stool in lieu of a computer chair. So I browse some websites, balk at the prices for the UGLIEST chairs.

Then I think hmmm...
Craigslist... !!!

So on I go...

And I find a beautiful chair! GRAY! Just like my office. I get super excited!!
Cause you know... what else is there to be excited about? Other than my kid deciding to poop in the toilet.

Then I look at the location... 30 miles away!
I almost always set my settings for my local area but nooo.
During my search, I am on the phone with the husband, Greg.
Hoping for a miracle I ask him where he is.
Guess what? He is in the SAME city as THE CHAIR!!! IS that NOT a sign?! 
I very sweetly ask him if it WAS possible he could pick this BEAUTIFUL chair up!??!?!

   He agrees! :)

Paoli Computer Chair
   Above is a picture of the chair on the ad. Gray right? It is a Paoli Chair and the price is $125 (the poster had more chairs available, later on I saw them posted for $75 each. DARN IT! But I couldn't risk missing out!)

It has a beautiful tufted design! 

 And nope! 
NOT gray. It's beige.

 The material appears to be microsuede, velour? Its pretty soft! It is also ridiculously HEAVY. Signs of a good chair, made with good materials! My spine rests perfectly on this dream of a chair. Except it had a certain smell... Like a very sweaty dude had been sitting on this chair for awhile. YUCK! Definitely needed to be cleaned. But the color? Could I live with this neutral color? Especially since my dream chair has always been the World Market Nina chair in fuchsia. Pictured below.

Fuchsia Nina Chair

So i edit the photo to try to choose the right color!

Look at all those pretty colors!!!

Blue was out. Green was so tempting! 

Pink and Yellow... hmm...

 I am sure Greg wouldn't appreciate a pink chair so I decided pink was out and YELLOW it is! MUSTARD YELLOW!  I figured if I even redo my walk-in closet I will one day splurge on that Nina Chair... the master closet is last on my list, so If i ever get that far... gosh darn it! I deserve it!

So off to Joann's I went. Kids in tow.  I was that committed that I actually hauled the little monsters with me in 90 degree weather no less.  I deserve a medal right?!

Materials Needed:

  1. Fabric Medium
  2. Chalk Paint (I chose the color Vintage Mustard)
  3. Brush
  4. Sandpaper (Fine Grit)
  5. Painters Tape
  6. Small Bowl
  7. Spray Bottle with water

I start by mixing equal parts fabric medium and Chalk paint, mixing it up with a brush.

It's best to tape up the sides for an easy clean up. Then completely soak the chair with water, be very generous!!

And on the color goes... What a huge difference!

Its like I am adding magic to this chair!

I decide a better course of action is to paint all the buttons and creases first, then applying the color to the rest of the chair.


I decided to speed up the process and relocate it outside in the 90 degree weather.
I leave it out for maybe 2 hours.

When the chair is dry, it will feel a little rough. Definitely not the suede soft texture it had before.

This is where the sandpaper comes in handy!

You want to just completely sand the entire chair. Immediately after, you will feel the difference. Not as soft as before but not rough at all.

And there you have it!!! 

 Overall I am VERY pleased with the way it turned out. I am glad I chose this color. The Vintage Mustard color really brings out the color in the wood. Making it very 'neutral'!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Home Renovation: When Things Go Wrong.

Seriously, when I went into doing all these renovations I thought I'd do everything myself. I thought, how hard could it be? Plus, I wasn't making huge changes. And with how easy it looked on shows like HGTV and the DIY Network, I thought, whoa?! I can do that! I started out small. Painting walls, a dining table and chairs. Then I thought, this carpet.. it has to go.

I was very pregnant with my first when we decided to remove the carpet. I was in my nesting stage and the thought of white carpet that had been there since 1997 haunted me. There is no way I can bring a baby into this world with disgusting old white carpet, did I mention we had 3 cats? Oh and a cat room... which was going to be turned into a nursery. Greg said all we had to do is use a carpet cleaner. Easy. Yeah, no. Nesting isn't the kind of stage in pregnancy where you want to clean a little here and there... You actually want to disinfect and throw EVERYTHING away, start new! I was building my nest and all this white carpeting had to go. So after nagging Greg for what seemed to be forever, he agreed.

I'd like to say that we were smart and shopped around but we didn't. We went to ONE place, picked out three hardwood samples to take home and then made the decision, within one week, we ordered the hardwood and it was being installed. We chose an engineered hardwood, handscraped Acacia Walnut. I wanted a medium color but Greg wanted dark. We didn't have kids yet and what we didn't realize is that dark showed EVERYTHING. Its beautiful hardwood but man are you going to be sweeping and mopping all the time.

Here are problems I have encountered while renovating my house:

1)During the installation process of our hardwood floors we encountered an array of problems. No, not with the product or house but the workers... For some reason, all three workers had NO idea how to open a sliding door that was locked in the bottom. I imagine that they tried and tried to open it and thought that maybe it was stuck? So they tried to pull the metal from from the glass... And they succeeded. Did I mention that they did not ask us or let us know they broke our door... Awesome right?

2) Now, since I was going through my nursing stage I redecorated everything, it was my way of tidying up and making sure my little humble abode was ready for my tiny little newborn. And of course I for sure needed to clean and redecorate the bathroom... since obviously a baby is going to spend all the time in there...haha. Anyway, they not only peed ALL over my toilet seat, but left the door open while using the saw, and sawdust went ALL over my newly decorated, painted and cleaned bathroom.  I couldn't even get the sawdust out of my shower curtain. It was a Target shower curtain that didn't do so well after washing.

3) I can't grow or keep plants alive. Its like I am cursed. However, I had a beautiful potted Orchid in a vibrant glazed vase that held up so wonderfully. This plant resided in my kitchen window sill. Well when they were done, I made my way to the kitchen to the horrible scene of my plant on the floor broken in half, with a broken vase! Just set aside like it was nothing. Mind you, they were not working on the kitchen AT ALL.

4) During the second installation of our hardwood two years after the first, same company. (Yeah I know.. but it was all convenience...) When the workers were done they left my entire patio where they cut pieces, COMPLETELY covered in sawdust. Also the front door was constantly left open, so when they were done we now shared a home with 20-30 house flies. Yuck!

5) You see those ads in Home Depot and Lowe's offering to install your countertops? You think Wow! I'd like to do that! They give you the price estimate and its not until after you realize that the granite company they contract out to does pretty much nothing to aid in preparation for the installation. Seriously. Demolishing is about $600 extra depending on your square footage. But have unlevel cabinets, no plywood or a top mount sink not installed? Call us when you get all that figured out! And maybe thats how it always is but you would think that removal of old material, leveling of cabinets, would all be included. This one is probably my fault, I should know better. Now I do.

6) Hiring your Mom's Ex-Boyfriend's Tenant as your handyman. Hey I was desperate! I needed some drywall to be replaced and he was available right away! About half an hour into the project I noticed that he wasn't replacing the drywall. Hmm... Upon further inspection I realized he was just slapping on some mortar to the wall! Yes I was going to tile but really?? Not what I agreed on. Not only that but he asked ME if I had any drywall... Oh Em Gee. Oh and instead of setting his tools down on, oh I don't know... the plywood on the cabinets, he decided he would set them on my BRAND NEW kitchen island... scratching it!

7) We have installed the same hardwood throughout our house over the last 4 years. We have never had an issue. We did it little by little due to financing.... can you say tax refund?! Well this last time turns out that they don't even make the same size hardwood! And... time to freak out! They tried to discuss options with me, like adding more padding and shaving the sides... And I thought why?!?! Why couldn't they just have the same one. I wanted a written agreement that they were doing this to my floors in case anything went wrong and they didn't want to provide me with one, assuring me that it would all come out perfect. Well I was hesitant. Well, guess what they found the same kind!! Yay! Problem solved.

So far, these are all the issues we have had during this whole process. There are things I probably missed but I not only have remnants of pregnancy brain but also tired mom and exhausted home owner. :p

Nancy Howe

Saturday, March 28, 2015

What No One Tells You About Breastfeeding

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed here are all opinions and not necessarily facts.

1. Breastfeeding Hurts

I don’t care what anyone says!! Good latch or not, in the beginning it does hurt! 

When I first started breastfeeding Christian, it was hard, he didn’t want to nurse at all! When he finally latched it was wonderful!! Then a few days in I started getting pain. Horrible fist clenching, lip biting pain!! IT HURT! Yet LC’s would say that breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt and the pain that I was feeling was due to a bad latch. Boy, did I want to quit. No matter how he latched nothing seemed to subside the pain I felt. I dreaded feeding my newborn, knowing that soon I would feel utter pain. I even cried! It was really that bad! But I didn’t quit! I pushed through it! After 3 weeks, the pain lessened until there was none at all! I convinced myself that I must have gotten used to his bad latch. We went on to breastfeed for 19 months! Woo-hoo!

…AND queue in Alice. I thought to myself, heck yea it’s going to be EASY this second time around! I got this!!! She latched right away, super eager to eat. I was IN LOVE!! I was elated! All seemed to be going perfect. Then again… a few days in… the pain! It seriously felt worst the second time around! I was no pro! Those 19 months of breastfeeding Christian meant nothing! Was it my breasts preventing a good latch?! LC’s said the same: Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt, its a bad latch. DAMN IT kids! Why can’t you latch right?!? So I waited and guess what? The pain subsided. Did I get used to it again? Yes and No. Seriously, my kids have an awesome latch, the problem is that your nipples will be sore when you first start breastfeeding. Some more than others! I hated hearing that its not supposed to hurt, it seriously made me want to quit because I felt like a failure at breastfeeding! 

Do a search on “sore nipples while breastfeeding” or “breastfeeding hurts”. I can guarantee you that many other women experience the same thing. Every women is different, no advice is going to be a one size fits all! And yes, some pain will be due to a bad latch but I believe it is common for women to initially feel the pain of sore nipples when they first breastfeed. ADMIT IT LCs!!! 

2. Breastfeeding Makes Some Nauseous and Depressed

You know… breastfeeding.. yeah well it makes me sick! At first I thought I had Postpartum Depression. It was a feeling of extreme nausea and depression that would just come down on me like a very heavy wave-like sensation. I felt like throwing up. I felt ANGRY! I felt anxiety! I felt depressed! I just hated the world. Did I get help? NOPE! I am one of those people that refuse to get help, thinking I can do it on my own. And then one day after feeling like this many times I realized what was happening. Every single time I had a let down I had this feeling. So what is a person to do? Call the doctor? Nah… I got my google degree… I googled! Come to find out I had this condition called D-MER. (Oh, yes! I self diagnosed myself!) D-MER stands for Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex. It is believed to happen because of the sudden decrease of dopamine. Yup! Nobody really tells you that! It does subside fairly fast as soon as you feel a let-down, so thats a good thing!

3. CRAP!! I’m having a let-down!

Sometimes let-downs hurt!!! It is not a pleasant experience! You’re happily strolling around feeling happy and then all of a sudden D-MER happens… as if thats not bad enough you all of a sudden get a strong sensation of heaviness and a pins and needle feeling in your breasts! You know that feeling when your leg falls asleep? Well this is similar. That’s not cool man, thats not cool! Luckily it only lasts a few seconds just like D-MER. Phew!

4. Nursing Strikes

Oh they happen! You didn’t eat anything wrong, your baby “UNIONIZED” with your breasts and they are HAVING A STRIKE!! I kid, I kid. :) But really, babies go through a few nursing strikes. It’s normal! Lots of things cause this, don’t drive yourself crazy trying to figure it out. Instead trick that baby into nursing! With my son I used colic calm… put a few drops in his mouth and when he starts to suckle, pop in the boob! It works! DISTRACTION! If there is a toy your baby really likes, show him/her the toy and sneak the boob! They will latch! MOVEMENT! For some reason when you are patting them, they seems to want to latch. Fine with me! 

5. Cow Milk Protein Sensitivity 

It happens! More so for us. My husband couldn’t handle regular formula as a baby and had to be put on soy formula. I was breastfed as a baby but have a lactose intolerance. Its really not that bad with me, well except when someone at the coffee shop forgets to give me soy… yeah its not pretty! Well, when I had my son he cried and cried and cried AND CRIED and did I mention CRY!? Actually it was more like screaming. I had no idea what was going on, I thought newborns just cried a lot? But this was just different. I was really bad about my diet when I had him. I usually do soy or almond milk but with having a newborn and no time to cook I was eating whatever I could find. You know what that was? My husbands Cap’n Crunch!!!! All that with regular milk… It didn’t take long for me to notice that when I gave in to these foods Christian was a lot more colicky than usual. I googled that shit…”eating dairy while breastfeeding”, cause remember I got my Google Degree a while back. They said to stop dairy and wait at least 2 weeks to see a difference. Well 2 days short of 2 weeks its like I got a new baby! 

6. Nursing Covers

I’m sorry but do these even work?!?! Unless you are some kind of yoga-posing-buddha-loving person how can you actually keep that on without that baby snatching it off! I do a better job at nursing without a cover with no one knowing what I am doing. But with a cover? Its like I just whipped out my huge “breastfeeding flag” and shot off a flare gun! Get a comfy loose sports bra with a tank and a t-shirt on top, it covers everything and no one knows what you are doing! Unless of course they’re one of those nosey people coming around being all up in my business!! Back off homey! 

7. Losing Weight While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding burns 200-500 calories a day. You need to burn about 3,000/cal per day to lose 1 pound. A lot of people say that breastfeeding is like running 5 miles a day, so that baby weight is going to melt off. I call bullshit. You know why? Cause your body is going to demand you feed it extra calories in order to have an ample milk supply and don’t feel like an angry mess. Talk to any nursing mom, ask them how their diet is going. Screw diets while nursing. Your body thinks you need to keep all those fat reserves until your baby is in college.

8. Losing Freedom

If you nurse a baby, that is all you will do until they are weaned. You get no breaks. You will schedule everything around nursing your little one. Oh and if you forget? Your body will remind you… You will hear babies cry and run the other way. You will feel guilty for being away and think your baby is going to starve! Not only that but sometimes your baby decides they want to be a snacker. They don’t want to nurse for more than 5 minutes at a time. What does that mean for you? Well you’re gonna be nursing ALL DAY, ALL NIGHT… ever single day. Of course you can always pump but then you’re also going to lose time pumping and cleaning out the pump parts every single day. 


I don’t see how some people would love to have fuller breasts… milk juggs don’t defy gravity people! They don’t look like those perky DDDs some women are rocking. IF they do… well then I hate you. All that heaviness isn't just suspended in midair by some sort of magic, it weights down. Forever pointing down. 

10. Its a love/hate relationship.

If you stick through it you will love it. If you don’t for any reason its ok! There is no rule book! There is nowhere that states that you are FORCED to do anything with your body. Breast milk is best for babies but that doesn’t mean that formula is bad. Both nurture your baby. Both will help your baby grow. You do whatever feels right for you. If you aren’t happy, NO ONE WILL BE HAPPY! You don’t cross a mother with a newborn, you just don’t. They are dangerous and you don’t want to suffer the consequences. No one should have input in your child’s life, unless of course the child is in danger. Then its my business. But also no one should just stare and watch when they have the opportunity to guide someone in the right direction. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

365 Days of Low Carb: Breastfeeding While on a Low Carb Diet

DAY 16

    New Year equals... OMG I NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT!!!

    Why is it that the start of things push people to make life changes??
Does this sound familiar to you?

    "I'll start Monday..."

    A lot of us want to start in the New Year because thats the excuse we give when we are pigging out  on all the holiday goodies!

*oink oink*

*inhales WHIP CREAM with a side of pumpkin pie...hey... it has Vitamin A!*
    "I'll quit all this... in the New Year, don't judge me!"

    So here I am 16 days into my low carb diet. I waited until Alice was 5 months to do it, so it wouldn't affect my milk supply. When I did low carb diets in the past, I would lose about 10lbs in the first 2 weeks. Its been 2 weeks and the scale has yet to move! Seriously, its like I never went on this diet. When people tell you that breastfeeding holds on to all that junk in the trunk they are NOT lying!

    But today at Day 16 I stepped on the scale this morning and it said 126. After weighting myself EVERY DAY and weighing consistently 131-133! MAGIC! Though it might be because I haven't been drinking my gallon of water a day for the past 2 days AND because TMI I was constipated due to too much fiber and I finally uhhh.. went. Either way I am glad it finally changed because I was starting to think that it would be impossible to lose weight.

    I should note that I am doing low carb but still include veggies and I do splurge on sweet potatoes! I am nursing my little one and don't want to jump into it too fast and lose my milk supply or drop large numbers of ketones. I probably do a minimum of 30g of carbs and max about 75.




and hey... NO PORTION CONTROL!!! (cause I SUCK at that!)

   But let's talk about the portion control. You will notice that after being on a low carb diet for awhile your appetite will decrease and cravings will subside. This is most likely due to your blood sugar regulating, so there are no drops! Not to mention the protein keeps you full.

    So far so good. I've been pretty low carb for about 5 years now with occasional splurges... or holidays. But when I want to lose weight thats when I go ultra low carb. LCHF(low carb high fat) is really a lifestyle change not a fad diet. So if you want to lose weight fast and are thinking of doing this temporarily... DON'T. You will most likely fail.

    As for breastfeeding, nothing has changed. Alice is still nursing regularly and has a lot of wet diapers. There has been no change. My supply is better than ever. Just gotta make sure to drink plenty of H2O.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

GLOSSYBOX November 2014

It's here! 

I ain't gonna lie!
Every time I get an email confirmation for the shipment of my Glossybox...
I eagerly await the mail man everyday in hope that he has my Glossybox
nestled under his arm!

It's like a surprise present every month!
Unlike your dear Aunt Flow...
This one is actually a good one!

GLOSSYBOX November 2014

GLOSSYBOX Package November 2014

 Do you see that orange staining on the left of my GLOSSYBOX Card?
It's a leak! At first I thought..
*OH WOW! This GLOSSYBOX smells amazing!*
Yeah, it was the leaking 12 Benefits Product...

GLOSSYBOX Index of Contents November 2014

Leaking Product
I'll probably email GLOSSYBOX see what they can do.
I really wanted to try this product :( 

GLOSSYBOX November 2014
 Here is the lineup of all the Products Included in the November 2014 Box.

From Left to Right:


Juice Beauty: Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer Full Size: $45.00 / 2oz

Kneipp: Herbal Bath: Balancing in Lavender Full Size: $20.00 / 3.38 fl oz

12 Benefits: Instant Healthy Hair Treatment Full Size: $20.00 / 6 oz

OPI: Nail Lacquer in Pink Outside the GLOSSYBOX Full Size: $9.50 / .5 fl oz

So Susan Cosmetics: Universal Blush Full Size: $23.29 / .14 oz

Pink outside the glossy box nail polish
Pink Outside the GLOSSYBOX November 2014

I usually hate pastels on my skin tone because the make my skin look ashy...
But I love this pink! 
Automatic MUST HAVE color!

OPI Pink Outside the Glossy Box

Kneipp Herbal Bath: Balancing in Lavender

If you are not a fan of the smell of lavender...
Honey... this is not for you!
This smells like straight up Lavender Oil.
But I am a fan! I used to not be but its actually really therapeutic.

Juice Beauty: Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer 

When I first saw this I thought of DKNY Be Delicious Perfume.
Every since I first got pregnant with my son, I haven't been able to shake the heightened sense of smell. Which made me a little hesitant to try this product.

But guess what??

It IS NOT apple scented, it actually has organic fruit juices; apple, lemon and white grape!

It has absolutely no scent, except for the  subtle smell of play-doh! 
But that's only due to my ridiculous heightened sense of smell!
Best of all... it's Certified Organic! 
Which really is wonderful since they are using fruit juices because I am super sensitive to insecticides. SCORE!! 

12 Benefits: Instant Healthy Hair Treatment
This product smells pretty good! 
Unfortunately, I was not able to try it since the top was opened and spilled all over my box.
It states that it corrects damage from chemical processing, pollution and heat styling.
As well as boosting hair color AND protecting your locks from the sun with sunscreen.

So Susan Cosmetics: Universal Blush
The So Susan blush is called Universal Blush.

At first glance it looks sort of 'bronzey'

But a swatch on my olive skin tone indicates more of a frosty pink.

This color reminds me of a more powdery, frosty NARS Orgasm.
I will definitely give this color a try, see how it works.
Will it really be universal?


I really love the GLOSSYBOX November 2014.
Some of my favorites include the OPI Nail Lacquer in Pink Outside the Glossybox.
AS well as the Juice Beauty Green Apple Moisturizer.

Get your own GLOSSYBOX!!

-Nancy Howe

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Birth of Alice Ruth

You would think giving birth once makes you some kind of pro, yeah… I don’t think so. So how did my labor go? Well, it was very different from when I had Christian, sort of. See, with Christian I wanted to go natural. I had this idea in my head about how it was going to go. I thought, “Hey! I can do this… I WILL do this!” Unfortunately, that is NOT how it went. I was hooked up to machines as soon as I got there and left to deal with the pain. Of course, with the occasional visit from nurses asking if I needed pain relief. I felt like I was taking too long, when in reality Christian’s birth was anything but long. It was relatively fast for a first time mom. Long story short, I gave in and got the epidural. It wasn’t this AMAZING feeling either, I was shaky and nauseous. I was admitted at 7:30am and had Christian at 1:55pm. I’d say thats pretty fast! 

Second time around I was dead set on going natural. If Alice’s birth was anything like Christian’s… fast… I COULD do this! I was about 4 days from my due date and had been having pain here and there. These had to be Braxton Hicks I thought. For those of you who do not know, Braxton Hicks Contractions are “practice contractions”. I never felt them with Christian and was excited! Maybe I won’t go overdue like with Christian! At my prenatal appointment, I was checked for dilation. Now, I know this isn’t an indication of when you will go into labor but I was super curious! Could all these Braxton Hicks help with dilation? At 39 weeks 4 days, I was only 1cm dilated. What?! I thought for sure as a second time mom, I’d be further dilated. I had the practice contractions, plus all the pressure. None of which I had with Christian. Comparison… not a good idea!

Membrane Sweep. What is that exactly? Oh… its a PAINFUL procedure, for some anyway. Basically, your doctor will sweep a finger around the cervix to separate the membranes of your amniotic sac that surround the baby from the cervix. This action releases hormones and may, MAY start labor. Out of my excitement for her birth to happen, I agreed to it. I was nearly 40 weeks and it could take up to 48 hours, if it happened. I got it done at noon on a Friday, then waited. The Braxton Hicks definitely got stronger after this. I started to lose my mucus plug, the “plug” at the opening of the cervix that basically keeps everything in there. We are talking about fluids AND the baby. It also prevents bacteria from getting in the uterus. Still nothing, just waiting.

Saturday was filled with irregular contractions while I continued to lose my mucus plug. Was it even my mucus plug? How much of it was there to lose? The pain on a scale from 1-10 was maybe a 4. It was tolerable. Usually, the pains got stronger at night. Would I have another Sunday baby?!? I took this time to sand and prime kitchen cabinets… I know crazy! Still having random contractions here and there but again nothing consistent. Went to bed, uncomfortably with pain getting stronger but still not consistent. No sleep for me. Having her on Sunday seemed less and less likely. The next day we went to church and Greg (the husband) and I decided to take Christian to the park, reminiscing the past in which we walked to the park expecting our first born. I took a deep breath and sat on the swings, observing Christian and Greg playing. Thinking, soon we will have another wonderful addition to our family. A little girl named Alice.

It was Sunday night. There goes the Sunday birth I wanted. Why did I want it? Christian was born on a Sunday as well as I. Oh well. It was about 7:30pm, when the contractions got closer and closer together. Oh… as well as WAY more painful. These were NOT Braxton Hicks! These were, NOBODY TALK TO ME BECAUSE I CAN’T THINK, SPEAK, OR HAVE ANY PATIENCE FOR YOU!!! They were only about 30 seconds long averaging about every 7 minutes. As soon as the pain would subside, I’d feel awesome again and was able to re-enter a conversation with ease. These didn’t stop. Could this be it? We put Christian to bed and texted my sister Joanna. While, my older sister, Elizabeth was staying with us from Arizona, she was out with friends at the time, so we reached out to Joanna. She got to our house around 10pm, while I continued to contract. They were finally a little over a minute long, averaging every 5 minutes, consistently for over and hour. We called the hospital and they said to come right in. Could this be it? We waited a little longer and then made out way to the hospital.

We got our stuff in the car and headed to the hospital. We got there a little after midnight. I was checked and was 3cm and about 50% effaced. You need to be 4cm to be admitted. Effacement is the thinning of your cervix. In order to give birth you need to be 10cm and 100% thinned out. At 3cm, I couldn’t be admitted but was excited! 3cm!! Almost there! They had me walk for an hour. It was 12:30 and Greg and I walked. The hospital had 4 floors so I decided to climb up and down for 45 minutes, stopping at contractions while Greg applied pressure to my lower back. After an hour we made it back for another check. 1:30am… still at 3cm. What?! Why?! I was being sent home. Home?! With THIS pain?! I can’t sleep, I can’t do this! I was offered morphine to help me sleep. I declined. Still set on doing it med-free. 

We got home at about 2:45am. Greg went right to sleep. While I tossed and turned in agony. I was shaking in pain. Contractions came every 4-5minutes, lasting 1m+. We were told to come in when they were 3 minutes apart. I tried to time them but couldn’t even remember the time. I couldn’t think, sleep, or relax, even in between them. This was PAINFUL. Two hours passed and the pain didn’t stop. I decided to get in the shower in hopes that the pain would ease. It didn’t. I got out and laid down on the floor in the fetal position. Crying. Waiting. An hour passed and Greg woke up, the pain was still strong an constant, I then realized it was every 3 minutes. Time for a trip back to the hospital. 

We were on the road with… TRAFFIC. All the way there, 25 miles. Finally got there and got checked… 3 CENTIMETERS dilated. What?! You have got to be kidding me!! At that point, the morphine was sounding more and more appealing. I decided I had to sleep, so I agreed. They kept me monitored while the midwife came by to talk to me. About 30 minutes in I told Greg I wasn’t going to take the morphine. I should push through it. Before I even told them I would not take it, another nurse checked the fetal monitor and saw 2 irregularities. Honestly, I don’t remember what she saw I was having contractions and couldn’t pay much attention to anything she was saying. This meant I had to stay monitored for another 20 minutes before they could discharge me and send me home. So we waited some more. Everything looked good so again, I was all set to go home. Awesome… The nurse offered to check me again. I thought sure why not and guess what… 5CM 75% effaced. Oh, Thank God! Progress!!!

From then on I was admitted. It was about the same time I was admitted with Christian. 7:30am. Second time deliveries should be faster!! I was going to meet little Alice soon! I had a room with an awesome tub that I got in to right away! I opted out of the IV so I had to sign a paper stating so. With the relief of being admitted, I was finally able to relax. Now it was just a matter of time and pain for Alice to get here. I sat in the tub, trying to get comfortable. Yeah, it didn’t help with the pain. Bummer. I decided to get out and walk around the room. Hours passed and eventually my sisters made it out to the hospital with Christian. I vaguely remember him being there, I was in so much pain it was hard to concentrate. I remember him being there happy as ever and then him kissing my forehead goodbye. I was checked about an hour after being admitted, roughly 8-9am. 6 Centimeters. Progress. nice. Then again hours later. 6 Centimeters. I remember passing Christian’s birth time and thinking, I held out this long, I could have had him naturally. The pain was intense. All I could do is cringe in agony, shaking and crying. I was checked again and remained at a 6cm. I couldn’t take it. I hadn’t slept in so long. A medal to all the mothers that did it naturally, I admire you, I really do. But I am sorry to say that I didn’t join that club. I had enough, I requested the epidural.

More fetal monitoring had to be done as well as an IV prepared for me due to me requesting not to have one upon arrival. The wait for pain relief seemed like forever! Finally, I got it. I thought I would feel like I failed myself. I didn’t. I was proud of myself for going that long. Even if I didn’t make it til the end, I was proud that I was able to push myself that far. Again, for me the epidural wasn’t this feeling of bliss. I was again nauseous and shaky and did not feel great. I still felt the immense pressure and discomfort of the contractions but not anywhere near the pain of them without pain relief. Now, it was wait time. Greg and I took short naps here and there. 3pm…4pm…5pm…6pm… and STILL 6 Centimeters. It felt like it was never going to happen. 

At 7:30pm I was checked again. looks like 9CM and 100% effaced!! YES!! The time is nearing. Oh, and thats when I got the call. Greg picked up, my older sister crying frantically on the phone, they had JUST been in an accident. A huge tow truck rear ended them as they were making their way to the hospital. WHAT!?! Thank God they were okay but not something you want to hear when you are so close to giving birth. My mom and my older sister are my rocks, they were there for the birth of Christian. I wanted them there and now that didn’t seem like it was going to be possible. About half an hour later I was checked and was 10cm, it was time to push. So many thoughts of that day just seemed to disappear from my head. All that was left was the thought of our daughter being welcomed into this world. 

I pushed for about half and hour and our little girl Alice was born… posterior may I add!! Babies in a posterior position are said to cause longer labors and tremendous back pain. Oh Alice! Would it had made a difference if she wasn’t posterior, I don’t know. All I know, is that I don’t regret anything about her birth. Of course, the car accident I could have done without! Oh and finding out Robin Williams passed was also something that I wish hadn’t happened. But other than that I was happy. She was healthy and here and that’s all that mattered. Alice was born at 8:47pm weighing 6lbs 12oz, 20 inches long. She was born with dark gray eyes and a head full of the darkest hair I’ve ever seen. She was beautiful, she is beautiful. 

The next day it was time to bring Alice home where she would meet her older brother Christian. But before that we had to deal with insurance, car rentals and car seats. Our car was totaled and our car seats unusable. All I wanted to do is go home. After figuring all that stressful stuff out we were on our way home. Finally, our little family was together again.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

DIY: Ikea Tarva Dresser

 What to do when you need a beautiful unique dresser but don't want to shell out lots of $$$$ for it? DIY of course!! After months of trying to find the perfect dresser to refinish off Craiglist and realizing.. how the heck am I going to haul a dresser home? I decided for an Ikea piece!  Ikea's furniture comes in boxes! Now that I can do! Plus... a stop by their yummy cafeteria... Mmmm!!!

So I decided on the unfinished Ikea Tarva 6 drawer dresser.  At $149 why not?

To Stain the furniture I used a combination of Minwax PolyShades in Antique Walnut and Espresso.

I also painted all the drawers black at first.. I went for a ultra light coat, barely using any paint. The paint used was Gloss Black by Valspar. My Inspiration was this Berkeley Dresser by Bungalow 5.
(pictured below)

Of course during the time it took me to finish this dresser..*ahem* over a month.. blame having a toddler, being pregnant and having a workaholic husband..  Anyway... THE CAT THREW THE DRAWER ON THE GROUND AND BROKE IT!!! GRRR!!!!!!! Luckily Liquid Nails came to the rescue! Yay!


   Can you see that? ITS RED!! Not exactly what I was going for. I blame myself for picking up a random stain from our garage. In my defense.. the Antique Walnut Stain by Minwax looks very different in the picture! So I made my way to Home Depot and picked up Minwax Polyshades in Espresso to further darken and reduce the red.

Goodbye RED!!

I then painted the drawers with a ultra light coat of Benjamin Moore  - New York State of Mind.
(BM New York State of Mind pictured above)

I let the black show through to give it a nice transition from the stained wood to the bright color.

I really think finding the right drawer knobs took the longest. I didn't want to spend too much but also didn't want some cheap looking ones either. And then I found them! I got them off the Home Depot website and had them shipped to the store. They are called Amerock 1-1-/2 in. Antique Brass Cabinet Knobs. Best part? .80 cents each!!!! They are absolutely amazing!! 

To seal the stain I used Deft Clear Wood Finish.
As for the drawers I wanted them shiny, so I opted for Rust-oleum Triple Thick Glaze.

There you have it folks!