Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Just normal stuffs

Oh, hey blog. How are ya? I'm busy these days.

After I had Ava I overheard a lady in an old ward say something like, "you're not a real mother until you have 2 kids." As you can imagine, I was incensed. I was pretty sure I was a mom....yup I had the physical and emotional scars to prove it (hahaha! I make it sound so traumatic)! I couldn't believe anyone would say such a thing.

And then I had my second kid. Although poorly worded, her comment makes sense to me now. I'm not sure how one tiny little human makes us all suddenly create 5x the laundry......but he has. There's more to be done and to stay on top of it all I have to employ the "leave a room better than you found it" technique and I am becoming a morning person (DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN!!!!). Both of these things, I thought, were against my natural woman. Turns out I just needed the right set of circumstances for these particular changes to happen. These are strange times, my friends. But, I can honestly say that I have never been happier in my life.

Well played, life.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Henry's birth....almost a month later

For those of you who care, here's how Henry's birth went down.

I woke up at 3 am on a Saturday with a contraction, right before my water broke. I thought I just needed to pee (wouldn't be the first time this pregnancy I peed my pants. TMI? Meh.) but after taking care of that business I realized that my water was breaking. I woke Danny up and got ready as my water continued to break. I waddled to the car with a beach towel between my legs and we headed for the hospital (after alerting my sister).

Now. I was all set to do a waterbirth with this little guy buuuuuuut I couldn't because A) the midwives weren't on call and the docs can't do water births (stupid insurance) and B) after my water broke his head was still too high so there would have been a risk of bacterial infection if I had gotten in the water.  So they checked my dilation - I was at a 6! Good job, body! - and then they broke the news to me and offered me a shower room with a shower chair. I took it.

I got out when the contractions really kicked in and headed back to my room. I turned on some super soothing music I had downloaded not even 24 hours before and hummed into my contractions until I felt like I was going to die. About the time I told everyone in the room that I didn't want to do it anymore, I was at a 10 and ready to push. I pushed on all fours.....kind of... and it went so much faster than pushing on my back with Ava. About 15 pushes later, the doc was able to help maneuver Henry out (you don't simply push out babies that are as big as he was). And there he was, in all his chubby, 10 pound 12 ounce glory. All told, it took 5 hours for Henry to make his way into the world.

It is such a surreal moment, meeting your tiny human for the first time. Also? The absolute relief after the baby and the placenta come out is indescribable. I am a huge fan of not being pregnant anymore. And being able to bend over. And sleeping on my stomach. Sigh.

Henry and I chilled for about 45 minutes while the doc stitched me up and I nursed and ate something myself. I lost a lot of blood when I had him because of how big he was but I noticed a lot of blood on the bed in the 45 minutes following the birth. The nurses kept massaging my uterus and I could tell they weren't happy because it wasn't staying firm. My nurse suggested that I go to the bathroom - it could be that a full bladder was to blame. The helped me stand up and I delivered a liver-sized clot and immediately started vomiting. That's when I could tell something was wrong. It got very busy in my room and the doctor came back in.

Now, at this point, I was mentally spent. I had gone through labor and delivery with no drugs and my ability to withstand pain was completely gone. After she had put her hand up inside of me to feel what was going on (so. much. pain.), my doctor continued to deliver more large clots. She then had a nurse fetch her "instruments"and she went in to find the source of the bleeding. The morphine didn't even touch the pain and I'm sure you could hear my screaming from the other end of the unit. Later, what happened became a little more clear.

I have pretty bad varicose veins and they got noticeably worse with this pregnancy. Apparently, there were some bulging varicosities right near all these lady parts and when the doctor removed her retractor she nicked one. I went from clotting to squirting blood everywhere. They rushed me to the OR and, thankfully, were able to get the bleeding under control without having to remove any of my parts. I have to say, while it was the scariest thing I've ever experienced, that OR sleep was the best sleep I've ever gotten.

So you have 3600 cc of blood in your body. They estimate that I lost around 2000 cc during this whole ordeal. I entered the hospital with a hemoglobin of 13 and was discharged, 3 days later, with a hemoglobin of 5.7. I could barely walk without getting winded and lightheaded and exhausted.

I suppose it sounds dramatic but it is very true that if this were a different century or if I lived almost anywhere in Africa today, I would not have survived all of this. I had a beautiful birth all planned out in my head and on paper but nothing went to plan. I was quick to see though that Heavenly Father put very capable people into my life to take care of me through it all. I felt that strongly as I was being wheeled into the OR. The OR was such a cold, sterile place but I could feel nothing but comfort as I realized that I wasn't ready to die and pleaded with God to help them stop the bleeding.

I'm okay. Henry is perfect. And I am so incredibly grateful.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Baby boy's nursery

So my sweet husband and sweet father built a new loft bed for Ava (since the crib-turned-toddler-bed is needed for her brother). Let's just say that it is freaking awesome and I am jealous of it every day. 

I had planned on the loft bed and the baby crib fitting in the same room and had a whole decorating scheme in place and ready to execute. When we actually assembled the bed, however, it was way bigger than I thought it was and we ended up having to switch things around. It was stressful at the time but now I'm really glad it ended up that way. Two kids in two different rooms and all of Ava's stuff in her room. She's still mad about having no toy room sometimes but she will get over it, eventually. Right? Or maybe this will be the seed of her teenage angst...... Oh well. She'll live. 

Anyway, since then, I've had a lot of fun decorating this little boy's room. 

The only thing missing is the changing pad cover annnnnnnnnnnnd a baby. The former will be a cute orange something and the latter will, hopefully, be flesh-colored. Both will be adorable. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

House Stuff. So much of it. All spring and summer.

We, here at The House of Fun, have been working tirelessly to get our crap together before the arrival of baby number two. We have done a whole lot of little and big projects this summer to get things more or less in order so that we can just enjoy this little man. Plus, newborns and house projects don't really sound like a fun mix.

Here is a little of what we've been up to.....more updates to come.

We painted the trim on our house black and added some black shutters. No more jungle green!!! Yay!!!

After: (maybe we'll get around to a new porch next year....)

I got kind of really bored with the curtains I made out of drop cloths sooooooo I painted them! Most affordable window treatments ever.


During. I know it doesn't seem like a big deal, painting a few curtains, but you have to remember that I have 7 windows in my living room/entryway. 7. So that was a lot of measuring and taping and whatnot.

After: I love them.

Danny redid the upstairs floors ALL BY HIMSELF in July while Ava and I escaped to GramGrandpa's house (because of the fumes). When I say redid, I mean he sanded, vacuumed, mineral spirited, stained, and polyurethaned SINGLE HANDEDLY. THIS MAN DESERVES AT LEAST A BAKED GOOD OR SOMETHING.

Our room before: (pretty bad, eh?)

Annnnnnd after: (sorry for the blur. Also, I will mention that this room got repainted in this past spring and I looooove the color).

Ava's room before:

And after (this room was also repainted this past spring):

I still cannot believe what a HUGE difference refinishing the floors made up there. My husband is kiiiind of the best.

THEN. While Danny was in Las Vegas on vacation doing really really fun things with his family for a work conference, Shannon and I decided that we would do a few small projects to surprise him when he got home.

Shannon started off with the built-in bookshelves in my living room. I have hated the "shutter doors" on them since we moved in and Shannon was itching to do a project.


After painting the insides white and the back green (sorry about the night picture, but that's like, apparently the time of day when projects get completed around here):

All the books in. I still need to arrange everything in an aesthetically pleasing configuration of books that humans go nuts over annnnnd figure out where to put all my Let's Play Music stuff, but you get the idea. So much better. 

And for our last before and after of the evening we will TURRRRRRN BACK TIIIIIIIIIIIIME. 

To the year 2011. 

When these were my stairs:

You can't really tell the armpit-stain-off-whiteness from that picture but it was there. Trust me.

So, for our other project, Shannon and I refinished the stairs whilst Daniel was off gallivanting. It was a pain in the butt. More sawdust everywhere, only being able to do every other stair at a time, sanding the banister, removing the railing and sanding it, and, oh yeah, the SAWDUST EVERYWHERE. AGAIN.

Buuuuut, as of this evening, this is what my stairs look like:

Totally worth it, don't you agree? Even with the big belly.

Man, remembering how much we've done has exhausted me.  

Look for the second installment soon. 


Ava started preschool this past week and she absolutely loves it. How did she get this big??

I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up and she said, "A MISHARY!!" (translation: a missionary). Annnnnd THAT'S what happens when you have really awesome sister missionaries over for dinner a lot. Your kid wants to be them.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Just a summer night

Yesterday was one of those Fridays that was just good for the soul.

We fed the Sister Misharies (missionaries), which is always the best.

Then, Danny and I went on a date. We sat on the beach and talked and watched the sun set.

Probably one of our best dates ever. I do love that man. 

Strawberry lemonades in hand, we got home to a little girl who was still awake (thanks, 4:00 nap!) but it was totally okay because she was suddenly beyond adorable and I realized that she had never been awake late enough to see the fireflies. 

And fireflies are magic.

So we sat on the front porch and she? Geeked. Out. about the fireflies. It was one of those moments that, if harnessed correctly, could bring world peace. 

I love summer.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Fourth

We had a fantastic 4th of July with my parents this year. Gotta say, I'm totally a fan of four day weekends. Let's have some of those more often, K? K.

We had a fun day together and then headed to the beach around 3 with lots of snacks and dinner.

Water fight with GramGrampa ("GramGrampa is how Ava refers to Grandma and Grandpa Brown. It's awesome because it reflects how my parents are each other's besties and are always together.)

Me and my boo:

My kind of sunset:

We met up with some more friends while we were there so Ava had lots of entertainment after it was too cold to be in the water but before the fireworks started. 

 Some of Ava's friends. They were all decked out in facepaint and glowsticks. Good thing other parents were prepared with festive things to occupy the children.....

My sassy kid:

Fireworks in St Joe are lit from a pier so you can hang out on any of the surrounding beaches and watch them. So that was the plan. But we left before they really started because they didn't really start until 11 and my kid was a zombie. But we had fun, nonetheless!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Armstrong Family Reunion 2013

I totally read back through my blog the other day and realized that I am a horrible blogger now-a-days. Horrible. So maybe I should be better. I'll try but I can't make any promises.

ANYHOODLE, we totally had a little family get-together with Danny's side of the family a couple of weeks ago. People flew in and drove in from all over and we got our camping on. Yes. Camping. 25 weeks pregnant. Thankfully my SIL, Mandy, was 27 weeks pregnant at the time so we were all, "solidarity, sister" and, "yeah, we'll go on a hike....for like 3 minutes." I really would not have made it through without her. She is the best.

So once everyone got to our house, we headed up north to Sleeping Bear Dunes and stayed for 3 nights and then went to the Great Wold Lodge and stayed for one more night and then called it good. Ava was in heaven. She's been asking to go camping for quite some time and the fact that she got to go with her cousins alllllllmost made her head explode. Especially Lydie. Ava and Lydie arelikethis. It was really fun to watch but also weird because she had no time for me.

Sleeping Bear, aside from the mosquitos, was beautiful. Lake Michigan is so clear and blue and absolutely freezing up there. And the dunes. Man. I called them dune cliffs. Huge mounds of sand. So, without further ado, here are some pictures (thanks, Mandy!! My husband thinks I don't need a good camera.....or a camera at all.... and maybe these will help him realize that I do! Maybe.)

On a huge dune:

 How cute are they??

Allll the Armstrong cousins:

 trying to stay away from the mosquitos (notice the tutu):


Inseparable the entire time:

Heh heh. I love this one. Nana and Ava:

Burying Ava:

More cute husband:

Lydie and Ava. Heart melty.

Singing with her cousins:

Yeeeeeah. If she stays this beautiful, we're in trouble. Don't mind the s'mores all over her face.

Yes. Pregnant. Wicked sunburn lines. Embracing it.

Washing the "shampoo" our of her hair (handfuls of sand served as a the shampoo):

This is TJ. She is the youngest right now and she is adorable. In her free time she enjoys eating, being sassy, keeping up with the older kids, and yoga. 

The pedicures my sweet broham-in-law treated us ladies to after we got back to civilization. Don't mind the bellies. 

So grateful for my bed and my house and pedicures. And famiry. Heh heh.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Summer Education

Remember how I was doing all these mommy school updates not too long ago? We were having so much fun jumping from letter to letter and crafting and coloring and repeating sounds. Well, we got to P in February - P was for penguin and pregnant. Emphasis on the pregnant part. It took a month to get through P and then I was so sick pretty much all the time that I lost my motivation to do anything but the basics (i.e. keep Ava alive). That's also when I kind of developed a TV addiction (and an aversion to meatballs).

So. Mommyschool, as it existed, stopped happening and I felt guilty about it for 5 seconds and then, guess what! I noticed that Ava was still learning, even though it wasn't structured and planned and crafty. She still wrote 5,000 Ps and we still read a bunch of books. She certainly didn't get dumber. So I stopped feeling guilty and we all survived winter in Michigan.

And then spring/summer finally hit and beach. Beach beach beach. And she learns lots of stuff at the beach: what a dead catfish looks like, what to do with the dead catfish, how to eat fruit snacks without eating sand, the proper sand-to-water ratio for building sand castles, etc. She's also learning just how big a belly with a baby in it can get. Although, she is still quite confused about what's in her belly. You see, since I have a baby in my belly that kicks that means she MUST have something in her belly that also kicks. Regard: the other night, she grabbed my hand and put it on her belly and said, "The Holy Ghost is kicking, mom! Can you feel it?" (We have gone over the Holy Ghost thing 5,000,000 times so I'm hoping she'll just grow out of that line of thinking.)

I will be vigilant about my child's beach education all summer and then preschool will start and I will have this baby and she will get all sorts of learned and educated. Heh heh. And she, in her usual Ava fashion, will wax philosophical about it all in the car.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A princess with secrets

So here is a picture of my kid's outfit today. One of her best, I think. I feel like you need to know that she would not hold still long enough for me to take a picture. But she did stop so that she could let one. And she thought it was funny. So yeah. Here's my farting princess bahahahaha.

I'm the nicest mom ever.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Some slight organization

So I have been needing a command center of sorts in my house for a long time. Right where this blank wall with a single picture hanger sat for months and months. 

So this is the before:

And this is what I have so far:

I made a magnetic chalkboard and a letter bin. Since I already had black latex paint and unsanded grout lying around, my only cost for the chalkboard was the $4.58 I spent at Lowe's for the piece of metal. I went to the plumbing section and got this piece by all the duct work (you can get bigger, heavier pieces for $15-$20 but Iiiiiiiiii'm cheap and this was the perfect size for my space). It had a little piece at the top that I bent to create a little ledge for holding the chalk.

 I roughed up the metal with some sand paper, primed it (spray paint primer is my favorite), and put 3 coats of homemade chalkboard paint on it. I rubbed it all over with chalk and erased it - to "cure" the chalkboard surface and attached it to my wall with 3M picture hanging strips (GENIUS, those strips are). 

For the letter bin, I used these plans from Ana White's website and some spray paint. My cost for this was $5 for the 1/4" plywood and $4.67 for some spray paint. 

So. For about $15, I have a little command center. Not too shabby. And, as with everything in my house, it is a work in progress so this corner will probably get more awesome later on.

This was the first of MANY organizational projects I am attempting to get done before this baby boy gets here. Wish me luck!