Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Few Things...

I was going to "tweet" an update, but realized I had too many random thoughts to communicate using Twitter.

1) I had to go to the doctor today (yes we have been to a doctor every day since I have been out of the hospital) because I was having pain on my lower right side. It was suggested that it might be my appendix, but apparently my pelvis is just trying to glue itself back together and I have been over doing it. Imagine that... Oh and apparently I have a hernia (that should right itself) because all of my abdominal muscles got stretched completely out of shape!

2) The newborn diaper covers I bought for baby John (which are supposed to be some of the smallest they make unless you buy preemie) do NOT fit. They are enormous!!! Of course we found this out at 1 am when we ran out of disposables! We are currently using disposables, but he tends to be a hotbox like Jessica so I do need to find something that fits better...

3) Last night John decided to wake up every couple hours. I was having that pain on my side after resting on the couch all night. David had to get up and get John for me. Neither of us got any sleep until Jessica got up at which point I got to sleep but David did not. Currently the rest of the family is napping, and I am doing my best to stay on the couch!

4) I think David is ready to return to work. Jessica loves her baby brother, but I think she is ready to have her mommy and her routine back! And I am ready to get back to being "the Keeper of our Home."

5) I just ate a large (and I mean large) chocolate brownie!

6) I "should" be addressing all of those thank you notes I wrote...

I feel great and am ready to be off the couch....our home just runs much more peacefully when I am not stuck on the couch!

Susie Home Maker: Floors Part 2

I just saw this on Design Mom and totally love it!! ( one is more surprised than me that I enjoy the blog of a designer...)

It's a potholder rug! I had to add it to our Susie Home Maker: Floors Edition! Maybe some day when I have more time...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Finally Home!

Well, it took me a little bit longer than I anticipated to get some more pictures up! Let me go ahead and catch you up to speed on what has been going on since Friday! Thursday night we had dropped Jessica off to stay with her best friend. She waved and said "Buh-Bye!" to us from the tub. Friday morning we got up at 4 am to go to the hospital to be induced.

Completely worth it!

By 6:30 am they were ready to start the penicillin for the strep group b and the pitocin. At 8:00 am my doctor came in and broke my water. For the next hour, I felt pretty good and was able to move around the room. Then about 9:00 things got a little more intense but still manageable. My nurse felt like we would be delivering very shortly so she went ahead and gave me some Nubain. I did well until about the last hour when I started to feel a lot of pressure on my previously broken tailbone.
Me and John shortly after birth (be glad I did not post the picture David took of me after birth).

David was very helpful. All of the nurses were commenting on how impressed they were with him, and I don't think I could have done it without him! At 10:30 am John David made his grand entrance into the world (and I did not experience any tearing this time)! The cord was wrapped around his neck once, but they were able to get it off before he was born. My nurse gave me some pain medication after the delivery, but I felt kind of nauseated so after that I stuck with Tylenol.

Both of us looking much more refreshed!

Overall, I really can't complain. The most difficult part was the last hour of labor and delivery, and I had a very smooth recovery. I was able to avoid the epidural; however, it was more difficult this time having broken my tailbone previously.

Looks like David and Jessica to me!

I am not sure what I will do next time. Either way though, I bet it will be really short! Jessica's entire labor and delivery was 8 hours from the first bit of pitocin, and John's entire labor and delivery was 4 hours from the first bit of pitocin.

Look at that big yawn!

There are pluses and minuses to all of the different options when it comes to labor and delivery and each experience is different, so I guess we will just have to wait and see! I do wish someone had mentioned that after your first child recovery is more uncomfortable!

Look at that smile (probably gas)!

Saturday Jessica came to visit, and she was absolutely wiped out!!!! David ended up taking her home and getting her back on her normal schedule. It ended up being a great decision! She was back to her cheerful self Sunday morning!

Me with both of my babies! (Hopefully the beginnings of a lifelong friendship between Jessica and John)

David dropped her off at church and went to pick up me and John while Jessica went out to lunch with friends from church. Apparently, while at lunch, she got very quiet, and then announced to the entire table that she pee-peed!!! I guess at some point we will need to work on what is and what is not appropriate table conversation.....she probably gets that from her mother!!! When she got home from lunch, she completely bi-passed me so that she could go check out the baby! She thinks John is absolutely wonderful! In fact, today she tried to pick him up off my lap and carry him off!!!!

Hanging out with Daddy after a long day! (By the way, I can't dress him in anything but onesies now without him developing a low grade fever....apparently I have another hot box on my hands!)

David has once again been absolutely wonderful about taking turns at night getting up with John, taking care of Jessica, etc. We have also really appreciated all of the help we have gotten from friends the last few weeks! Things are going very smoothly, and John is a very sweet, sleepy baby! Now if I could just get him to eat all of the massive amounts of milk my body is producing!!! Hopefully, I'll be able to post more pictures in the near future with more stories about Jessica and John!

David's favorite onesie!

Friday, May 21, 2010

John David

John David was born this morning at 10:30 am. He was 7lbs 11 oz and 21 inches long. Just a tad bigger than Jessica and definitely a little longer! They started pitocin at 6:30 am this morning, broke my water at 8:00 am, had some Nubain at 9:00 am, and then he arrived at it was quick!!!! I will post more pictures after lunch, a quick nap, and a shower! The entire staff thinks he looks like David...but then again they never saw Jessica! Looks like he has blond hair, brown eyes, fair skin, and no dimple in his chin. He is a sweet boy! Isn't he precious?
Love to all,
David, Amy, Jessica, and John

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Last Time....

Tonight was the last time David and I will tuck Jessica into bed for several days. Not sure if it is the pregnancy hormones or the fact that the longest I have ever been away from Jessica at a time since she was born is 12 hours. Being away from her smiling face is going to be the hardest part of the entire labor, delivery, and hospital stay!

I had to settle for this picture because my husband deleted my favorite picture (and yes it was one purpose).

I couldn't ask for a better place for her to be though! She will be staying with her best friend and one of my best friends. I know she will have a wonderful time!! Friday they are going to play in the pool, and Saturday they will go to Sabbath School. We have also arranged for her to come visit Saturday afternoon, so I am really looking forward to that! She will come home either Sunday or Monday, depending on how tired David is.

We have really been fortunate to have so many friends to offer to take care of Jessica, bring meals, etc. I am so very excited to meet baby John and could not ask for a better way to bring a new baby into this world than in the company of such loving and thoughtful friends!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Envibum Giveaway

My friend, Lisa was sent these diapers to review for a giveaway, but she ended up sending them to us because she had trouble with her son's chunky thighs. I have to say I am super impressed with this company! It is run by a team of Work-at-Home Moms, Dads, and Grandparents! Rachel, who started Envibum, is a mother of 3 (with a fourth due next month)! She has been sewing for 20 years and felt God calling her to create Envibum to not only help other parents cloth diaper their little ones but also to compassionately give to those in need.

In fact, $2 of every diaper sold through their company goes to organizations like: Food for the Hungry, Living Water International, Crisis Pregnancy Center, or Salvation Army. For every diaper cover sold, one is given to a mom in need. In fact, their diaper cover is designed with moms in third world countries in mind!

Obviously washing cloth diapers can be a problem if you are in an area with a very limited water supply. That is actually why the velcro used is brown. If you rinse it in muddy river water, it will not leave the diaper looking filthy! Their company is also built on a strong foundation of integrity. They are definitely a company I feel comfortable supporting with my business, and they offer high quality products using natural fibers, suitable for the most sensitive of tushies! Check out our giveaway at!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Susie Home Maker: Floors

"Now take your hands, the tools you work with, you'll be thrilled when you build something nice." from the 1951 movie, Here Comes the Groom

Well, I was going to do the next post in our Susie Home Maker series (inspired by my cousin Susie who is moving into her first apartment this year!!!) about bathrooms, since they can be rather challenging to decorate in an apartment. However, I realized that I had neglected a few other of which is floors! The floors of most apartments are not that great. They typically have stains, holes and frayed edges in the carpet, chips in linoleum (or tile if you are lucky enough to have it), etc. I have no earthly idea when the floors in our apartment had last been redone but they were pretty gross!! The best thing you can do to hide these eye sores outside of being careful how you place the furniture is to use lots of rugs! You may be able to find some cute rugs for a good deal that match the other things you already have, but in the event that you don't, here are a few different ideas I have seen for making some really cute rugs!! (I have been really wanting to try some of these! I just have not had the time! Maybe when I start working on our bedroom...)

When I think about homemade rugs, one of the first types that comes to mind is a country braided rug! My parents used to have some of these in their home, and I have seen them in several relatives home. You can make them in almost any shape or size! To make them you just braid long strips of fabric (usually from a durable fabric like old jeans) and then stitch them together into the shape you want.

However, if minimal handstitching sends you into panic attacks, I have also found a pattern that has absolutely no sewing involved!!!

Along that same vein, if you are looking for something that involves fairly minimal sewing/needlework skills, you might also find these ideas pretty neat!

This is a pom-pom rug. You make lots and lots of pom-poms (very easy), and then you sew them (or potentially knot them) onto a rug canvas (or you could use some type of durable fabric like denim or burlap). I personally really like this rug because you could use yarn scraps instead of buying specific types of yarn!

This is a hook and latch rug. While it is another no-sew option, I do NOT recommend it! I have had one of these since I was in elementary school and I still have only completed a couple inches of it! It just takes a really long time to knot each little piece of yarn onto the rug canvas!

While this rug will involve a minimal amount of crocheting, it would make up much quicker than a hook and latch rug!

This rug would require a minimal amount of knitting, but once again would make up much quicker than a hook and latch rug!

Another option that would require minimal sewing would be a Recycled Shag Rug. The only sewing involved is straight stitches on a machine. The instructions recommend bunching the material; however, if you wanted to leave out that step, I think you probably could. It just might be a little less shaggy!

The other kind of homemade rug I typically think of is a woven rag rug. My grandmother has one in her house that I have always loved! If you ever managed to use one of those potholder loom kits as a child, you can probably manage this!

There are several different sets of instructions you might try depending on what sounds easiest to you: 1 and 2!

Finally, there is what we refer to as "Floor Clothes." Basically, you sew anything you want on a durable piece of fabric and place it on the floor! You could attach it to a rug canvas or use some of that carpet tape they sell at Lowe's to keep it in place better.

If you want more ideas to get you started, then you might take The Rug Tour. The great thing about making rugs is that you can 1) Make exactly what you want or 2) Use scraps of what you have so that it doesn't cost you a thing!

Friday, May 14, 2010

One Way or Another

One way or another, by Friday, May 21, 2010 we will cease to be a family of 3 and become a family of 4 (although really....I think we are close enough you could go ahead and call us a family of 4!). I had my last doctor's appointment today. We are at a solid 3 centimeters. He gave me the option to schedule an induction for Friday, and I took it since it was the absolute best timing we could have asked for given David's off-time situation and the fact that we will not have the benefit of my mother this time. (However, we have many, many awesome friends who have offered to help out in so many ways!!!) My doctor plans for us to arrive at 5:30 am, start pitocin for several hours, and then he will come in and break my water. I am not so sure about the last part. I didn't have my water broken until 9 centimeters with Jessica. After some introspection in the hospital on Mother's Day, I am still planning to avoid an epidural. I realized that the reason I don't want an epidural has nothing to do with fear of needles, wanting "the experience," or feeling the need to prove something. The sole reason I don't want an epidural is because I can't stand sitting all!!!!!!!! I also do not focus terribly well, and it seems like giving birth to your child would be a good time to focus on what you are doing!! As I experience more pain, I tend to go into myself. All other stimuli is blocked out. For someone who has never been able to focus on ANYTHING, that is really amazing. That being said, I always sign the epidural form because you never know how things are going to go. Each labor and delivery is completely different! The thing I keep thinking to encourage myself is: "Well, you had pitocin, broke your tailbone, and had your water broken at 9 cm all without an epidural when you had Jessica. You can do this too!!" If I get in there and decide that I really do want an epidural, I will not be disappointed because let's face it: "Pregnancy, labor, and delivery is not all about me! It's all about the new little life coming into the world!" However, I will gladly accept all forms of encouragement towards my goal of an epidural free delivery....I really think I would feel like someone was putting me in time-out!!!!! :-)

Thursday, May 13, 2010


As you may have noticed, I have not posted much this week. I have been rather lacking in motivation since being told that we were going to have a Mother's Day baby and then finding out that we were not having a Mother's Day baby. I have also been rather uncomfortable this week....lots of contractions and now pains in my thighs followed by my legs giving out from under me....lovely! We have also been staying home a lot this last month due to heat and me not wanting to get out with a very busy two year old when my body is behaving so unpredictably! On the upside I have finished all of the projects I wanted to get done, organized all of the pictures to print and stuff into Jessica's photo albums, and gotten the house in order (not exactly clean but that is beyond my physical limitations at this point)!

I also managed to sit down and watch Food, Inc last night. I have heard a lot of people talking about it so I finally sat down and watched it. I think it is less of a commentary on the food industry and more a commentary on society at large. We have gotten to a point as a society where people prefer to relinquish responsibility for themselves and their families to other people, and when that someone else gives them less than they believe they are entitled to, then they bring a lawsuit against the individual or company that they relinquished their responsibility to! It's not the fault of capitalism, big business, the food industry, or elected officials. It is the fault of "the people." When we choose to let others make decisions for us, we should not be surprised when the decisions they make are not necessarily in our best interest. Food, Inc. and a cookbook review I was reading the other night have definitely made me excited about having more energy after baby John arrives to do more cooking from scratch and to learn more of the culinary skills we have lost in favor of convenience. I hope to be able to pass a better understanding of nutrition and how to prepare food from scratch on a shoestring budget to my children, so that they will KNOW how to safeguard their health. Knowledge truly is power.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Surprises

First off, let me say Happy Mother's Day to all of the mother's out there, most especially our wonderful mothers! Let me also say that I have never had a better occupation than that of being a mother! I absolutely love my precious baby girl and our soon to arrive baby boy! I have never had a more challenging or more rewarding job....ever!

Typically, for Mother's Day we go to church, have lunch, and enjoy a quiet afternoon at home. That was NOT how Mother's Day went this year! Last night, I thought my water might have leaked. I walked around for a while and didn't notice any further leaking. We called the doctor, and he said to go ahead and get checked just to be on the safe side. We got a friend from church to watch Jessica and headed up to the hospital. We got there, and the test came out positive that my water was leaking so they admitted us, had us fill out all of the paperwork, and told us that we would have a baby on Mother's Day! That night the contractions got closer together but not close enough so they put me on pitocin. Several hours later the doctor ordered the test to be given again because he was surprised that we were not making any more progress than we were. That time the test came back negative! Apparently, the first test had been done incorrectly!!!!!

I was a wee bit annoyed because the nurse who did that test was also the one I had when I was dehydrated and put my iv in without gloves, wiped up my blood without gloves, and stabbed one of the valves in my veins so that I have had a nice bruise for weeks!!! Also the nurse we had in the middle of the night could not get the monitors adjusted so that I could sit up so I had to lay on my side or my back the entire time....which was VERY uncomfortable!!!! Not to mention....I had gotten excited about the idea of having a Mother's Day baby!

Later on I discovered that most of the patients at this hospital are induced Monday and Tuesday mornings and about 90% have an epidural, so apparently the night staff does not have a lot of experience with delivering babies, much less naturally. Overall, I liked the hospital, my doctor and the daytime nursing staff; however, I think I would prefer to deliver in the bathroom as opposed to having the night staff!!! At any rate, this morning (at 3 centimeters and 1.5 hours of bad sleep later) they took me off the pitocin and sent us home.

We went by church to check on Jessica, and our wonderful friends offered to keep Jessica this afternoon while David and I took a nap, so we went straight home and slept for several hours! Apparently Jessica had a wonderful time....she was playing Rock Band and talking up a storm when we went to pick her up!! (She apparently also refused to eat pizza and instead ate green peppers, onions, and fruit!!) We are so thankful to have so many friends that are willing to step in as family when we need them! We've had more offers than we can possibly use and that is a wonderful problem to have!

Now to enjoy what is left of Mother's Day, write some thank you notes, and contemplate some thank you gifts! :-)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Susie Home Maker: Walls

"You can hang the dreams you want as pictures on the wall." from the 1951 movie, Here Comes the Groom

The next installment of our Susie Home Maker series (inspired by my cousin Susie who is moving into her first apartment this year!!!) is "Walls." I mentioned in Susie Home Maker: Windows that our apartment had cracks on the walls (not to mention a lot of other blemishes). While some places will let you paint the walls, stencil, put up a boarder, etc., not all of them will. My advice: Get something up on the walls ASAP!!! It is amazing how such a simple thing can make your apartment feel so much more like home (especially when every single wall is the same, bland, neutral color)!! Getting something up on the walls does not have to be an expensive or time-consuming venture. The only wall hangings I have purposefully gone out and bought were posters for the kids' room. All of the rest were either gifts or created relatively quickly from something I already had. Below are just a few of the different ideas I have used over the years.

1) A nice poster, that is well hung, can add a splash of color with little cost or effort! I usually laminate my posters before hanging them to keep them looking nice and protect them from being damaged.

A set of creation posters I bought for the kids' room. I added the white numbers from a package of mailbox numbers as well as the ribbon to tie it all together!

Another colorful poster I bought for the kids' room (notice there is a definite theme).

A poster my mom gave me that I have always kept by the washer and dryer. It doesn't go with a lot of the decor in the rest of the house, but I have always liked it! It was looking pretty rough from years of use until we laminated it!

A poster I made to hang in my office (when I was working with junior high students) using a FarSide comic I had saved from a tear off calendar. I actually made several, and I have to say I like how it ended up looking with large black and white comics hanging around the room! It also had some sentimental value because I worked for my dad for several years, and he always taped FarSide comics from tear off calendars to the cabinets in his lab.

2) Shelves can add both a splash of color and solve some of those space issues so prevalent in apartments!

I got these shelves from a craft store, finished them, and hung them in our living room to hold my Noah's Ark collection until they came to their final resting place in the kids' room!

This mirror with hooks and a small shelf was a wedding present, and I have to say it has been a real lifesaver! I cannot remember where I put my phone, keys, jacket, purse, etc. to save my life, but since we hung this by the door, I haven't had to make extra sets of keys!!!

3) I grew up loving to play games and work puzzles. My husband does not really like playing games (I am hoping at least one of the kids will), but he does enjoy working puzzles with me from time to time! These are two puzzles that we worked together that went particularly nice with the decor of the house. My mother had them framed as a gift. Don't they look beautiful??? Using puzzles you could have the beauty of Thomas Kincaid (or someone similar) in your home without paying an outrageous amount or ending up with a cheap looking copy!

A puzzle we did together before we got married that has always hung in our den.

A puzzle we did before Jessica was born that hangs in our dining area (with all of the other French pictures).

You can hang/frame all kinds of items that mean something to you: t-shirts, artwork, awards, clothes from childhood, pressed flowers, doilies collected from antique stores perhaps on a dark background (I hear this is an up and coming trend....not that I usually know much about such things), etc.

4) You all know that I love homemade items! However, I have had to make very few items to hang on our walls because we already had several nice pictures, posters, etc. that we really liked! Here are a few of the homemade wall items we have in our home.

A scripture my kindergarten teacher cross-stitched for me when I was a senior in high school. She also cross-stitched us another framed item when we got married.

A painting a family friend did for us when we got married. She was truly gifted and has since lost her fight with cancer.

Name plaques I made for the kids' room using some nice looking paper, the computer, and some classy looking frames from Wal-mart.

A cute name plate my sister-in-law made when Jessica was born! Isn't it adorable? (I hear she is making one for John too!)

I am also working on another framed item at the moment, using the poem "Children Learn What They Live." Some day I would like to embroider it and frame it, but I think I will have to settle for a nice computer-printed version at the moment!

4) Something I have been doing since I was in junior high is picking out souvenirs when I travel that I would keep in my home when I grew up for a long time!

I bought these prints at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower when I was in high school. My mom later framed them as a gift!

I bought this print in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on a vacation in Junior High. Once again my mom had it framed as a gift!

Prints can be relatively cheap. What makes them look like something special is how they are framed!

5) There are all sorts of other types of wall hangings such as wreaths, quilts, shadow boxes, etc. Especially if you have a large space to fill and not a lot of money, I would try to find a quilt to hang! It will also help absorb sound!

This is a wall hanging a friend's mother (who is Ukrainian) made and gave to my mother, who gave it to me when I got married. Isn't it absolutely gorgeous?

My dad once studied English with a college student from Taiwan. This is a wall hanging he gave my parents while he was living in the United States. It says something about a happy marriage. My parents gave it to me when I got married. (If I am correct, I am not only the one who remembers him the best, but I am also the only one who remembers how to use chopsticks.)

6) Once people know that you have a collection of something, you will probably get lots of gifts to add to that collection! The decor in the kids' room came from my Noah's Ark collection, which started when I was teaching the infant Noah's Ark class at church for several years in a row, and people just started giving me Noah's Ark stuff. (And yes, I learned that story very, very well. My grandparents' favorite Bible trivia question to give me is "What are the dimensions of the ark?")

Actually, they did not all come two by two, but it looks cute over their door!

Two other pictures I was given as gifts for my collection.

Another popular time to give wall hangings as gifts is when you have a baby. These are some wall hangings my sister gave us for Jessica's room, but they ended up in her bathroom because they looked perfect there! The ribbon again was a nice touch!

7) Then there is always the old standby of hanging up photos. I do love to hang photos. In our apartment we had a staircase going upstairs that was very bare and echoed. I took large photo frames and filled them with pictures to look at as you went up the stairs. It really helped make the space less bare! I have set out frames in our house, but I have not hung very many photos yet mostly because I am going through and redoing each room one by one. I typically like to hang photos in hallways, but we don't really have any hallways at this house so I will probably hang several photos in the den, once I get around to finishing that room (The bedrooms needed the most work, so we started there.)

The real trick to wall hangings is not so much what you are hanging but how you choose to hang it!

1) Build/Buy (or ask for as a gift) a nice frame. The cheap frames will make whatever you are hanging look cheap, but if you use a nice frame, it can make something cheap look really nice!

2) Use the correct hardware. First, you do not want your wall hangings falling off the wall! Second, it looks a lot less temporary when you use the correct hardware as opposed to just tacking everything to the walls! This especially applies to quilts. See this website for more information on how to hang a quilt.

3) I also try to be careful where I choose to hang different items. For example, all of the Noah's Ark stuff goes in the kids' room. All of the pictures from France go in the dining area. FarSide and airplane posters usually go in the office. Most of the photos usually go in a hallway (if we have one). Start out by figuring out what you do have and how you could use those items. Then figure out how you will fill in the gaps.

Feel free to leave any suggestions of ways you might fill wall space in a classy way without spending an arm or a leg!

Bathrooms tend to be a more difficult space to work with in apartments. Their walls are usually much taller than they are wide! We'll look at what you can do in there from a frugal and self-sufficient perspective next!