Enter Brycen Claire

It's been almost four months already! She looks so tiny and fresh in that picture! I figured I'd better write it all down while I still remember some level of detail.

Out of the blue I had gestational hypertension at the tail end of the pregnancy and had been put on bedrest right before her due date. They said having a baby was the only way to cure it and I was ready to do just that! But my doctor does not like to rush into inductions, which I appreciate in retrospect but at the time I wanted to do anything and everything to get that baby out of me--especially when the due date came and went without so much as a back twinge. Finally the doctor scheduled an induction for the 12th at 9pm...on what would've been 5 days after her due date AND the day of my father-in-law's funeral. Their plan was to start the induction late, I'd labor through the night and have a baby by the next morning. I got permission to go to the funeral as long as I took it easy before coming in that night, so I was planning on sleeping all day after the funeral to prep for an all-nighter on pitocin. I was feeling discouraged in general--it was a sad time with Herb's passing, bedrest was driving me CRAZY (seriously, I don't know how you mamas who are on it for months do it), I was overdue and uncomfortable, and throughout the entire pregnancy I'd had basically no Braxton hicks or anything. It was like this baby was just planning on staying in there forever. Well the big morning arrived and we started early getting ready for the funeral. Around 6am I'd started having what I thought might be contractions, but I wasn't sure and had had no context so I ignored it. But by 8am there was really no denying it--NOT great timing! I started using an app to time them and they were pretty consistently 10 minutes apart and 30 seconds long. But they weren't strong enough to where I couldn't put on a smile (or...funeral face?), so I got dressed up and told Ethan we'd just continue with normal plans. By the time we finished breakfast with the family contractions were at a pretty steady 5 minutes apart lasting 30 seconds each time, also taking up a little more of my attention. By the end of the graveside service nothing had progressed except some intensity so we discussed leaving but by then my mom was there and said unfortunately we had a long ways to go, so we stuck it out through the next service. We got home as quickly as we could and hours later nothing had really changed--still 5 minutes apart but getting more intense. At around 2, we decided to go in to the hospital...we were going in that later night anyway so it's not like they'd turn us away! So in the hospital they put me in that little room where they observe you and see if you're actually in labor. They checked and I was barely even dilated, I think it was a 3! That was SUPER BAD to hear since there was hardly any time between contractions which were now to the point where I was having to breathe through them. Obviously this was going to take awhile. We waited forever to get into a labor room where we could finally settle down for the long haul. Finally I was dilated enough to get an epidural which was a lifesaver--I'd barely slept the night before thinking about what was to come that day, and was exhausted dealing with close contractions for around 8 hours at that point. Things continued this way into the night. My mom and sister slept on the couch in the room and Ethan fell asleep on the floor! The nurse laughed and laughed at that. Things continued to progress at a snail's pace so much so that my mom and sister ended up going home for some real sleep before the action, with the promise that we'd call if there was any change. I was even able to sleep too! Early in the morning (I want to say 3 or 4?) things started progressing. The contractions were pretty intense even through the epidural and the nurse said to call mom to make sure she didn't miss it! Yay! Mom and the sisters got there soon after but actual morning came, that little girl was still in there, and I wasn't having any fun. I ended up getting a bit of pitocin to encourage her to join the rest of us, and it worked! Pushing time! Honestly I don't remember if I pushed a 5 hours or 5 minutes. My mom could probably tell you. All I remember is hearing the doctor ask Ethan if he wanted to catch a baby. He did! Around 8am (the 24 hours of labor mark!) they put a 8 pound 13 ounce baby on me. I figured she'd be big but she beat everyone's guess that had been written on the whiteboard :P One detail I'll never forget is when her big ole baby eyes looked right into mine...

So all in all, it was pretty awesome :) The nurses and LCs at Mercy are the real MVPs--all so great.

My mom at one point described Brycen as "a surprise in every way" and that pretty much sums it up! You'd think dark hair and eyes would be the dominant trait, but nope...bright blue eyes, fair skin and strawberry hair! You'd think she'd be like a normal baby who mostly just sleeps and poops for awhile, but nope...pretty much from the very beginning she's had VERY strong opinions and ways of expressing them. Unless she is just getting all of her stubbornness out of the way now, I am going to have quite a time with this one for the next 20 years or so HAHA. Ethan is the only one who apparently isn't surprised, he's predicted everything about her from the time he kept telling me I was pregnant and I said nu-uh. I need to ask him if she'll be a good two-year-old. Anyway, now at almost four months old Brycen Claire has the best smile, the cutest giggle, the angriest temper, the funniest personality, and she LOVES her mommy and daddy. I love being her mama, it's by far the best thing I've ever been.

 I love you sweet girl!!

I love you sweet girl!!

Surgery Stuff

 ICU waiting room view

ICU waiting room view

A few weeks ago we found out my father-in-law Herb had stage 3 liver cancer. He was approved for surgery in Dallas to have the tumor removed and I couldn't have been more thrilled. He went into it with a great attitude and after over 5 hours (!!!) we got the news that the procedure had gone well! He had to have some major arteries reconstructed and had the help of a few blood transfusions--a reminder that me giving blood a couple times a year is not a waste of time, just one patient got three times what I give at a time! He came out of sedation on his own soon after, which was awesome, though his heart and kidney function was not great. So we did a lot of hanging out in waiting rooms, retreating to the hotel for naps, repeat. Here is a list of the things I am really thankful for in this time...

  • A reeeeeaally nice hospital with top quality equipment
  • Abnormally nice staff at said hospital...everyone is confident and smiling and friendly--even the cafeteria lady asked about Herb!! 
  • An army of friends at home praying
  • The free shuttle to the hospital that the hotel had, so we didn't have to worry about driving back and forth and parking nightmares.  
  • Dallas had some super cool restaurants that gave us a chance to take a break and have some laughs.  
  • The hospital had really neat art and great views (shown above) for watching clouds roll in and sketching  
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  • Work let us all take a little time off without any complications
  • Everyone has been in great spirits, and that's huge!!!

See, lots of happy!!! Let's hope it all keeps up :) Keep praying everyone and love you all!!!

Weekend One!

WHOO YAAS! Weekend one of foster training complete!! For those of you who want to tune in on our story and may not know a lot about this process, I'll try and fill you in!

We are opening up our home to fostering through the CALL, a Christian organization that recruits and trains families to foster/adopt out of the system. They really come alongside you and are a huge support! They offer all the P.R.I.D.E. (Parents' Resources for Information Development Education) training required in two weekends...you train ALL DAY both Saturday and Sunday and try to process a huge thick book worth of information. I was very happy to already be somewhat familiar with most of the material, so this first weekend wasn't too overwhelming. The trainers were SO GREAT and everyone is so supportive...so many great resources! Next we have CPR class, and working more on the mountain of paperwork before the next weekend! :) 

 One step closer!

One step closer!

No time to relax now...Bae went straight from all-day training to an overnight shift at Maggie House (also, he is already PRIDE certified and he's going through the training for the second time...safe to say he's pretty immersed!!) and I should really get up and finish the laundry so I have clothes for tomorrow! :P A nap sounds pretty good, but at 8:40pm with stuff to do still and rainy weather? Bad idea...

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LOOK AT ME!!!! Actually writing a blog post...CRAZY! It's been forever. Everything is still coming together on here, be patient as this site morphs from my design portfolio site into something a little more useable for me at this stage in life :) Let's see what has happened since my last post 2 years ago...

  •  I graduated college!!! WHEEEEE!!!
  •  My bae pursued his chef career wildly (and deliciously!)
  •  Got a wisdom tooth pulled
  •  Did a little USA trekking
  •  Got a job as an artist at Weldon, WIlliams & Lick
  •  Became a foster sister to (off and on) 6 little munchkins who each changed me in their own adorable little way
  •  Went out of country for the first time on a cruise
  •  Started an Etsy shop that you should totally buy stuff from (link above)
  •  Got a turtle

And THAT pretty much catches you up on what's been going on the past couple of years! Do you FEEL caught up? You should.

THIS year, despite its youth has made up for it's shortness in craziness. I was SICK for pretty much all of January, and all the family was too...I think Ethan was the only one who escaped with only 2 days' worth of a scratchy voice. Also recently we found out E's dad has liver cancer and is facing a scary surgery in Dallas in the very near future, so keep him in your prayers...healthwise I am NOT impressed with 2016. As far as everything else goes, I'm still working at WW&L, and Ethan left the world of fine dining (for now) to work at Maggie House, a group foster home in Charleston (see the link on my sidebar). He is both a chef to lots of picky mouths that eat his food like it's going out of style, and a house parent to awesome teen boys...suddenly making me "house sister" to a bunch of boys that again, each change me. In fact they get to me enough that I put some hours in over there as well now :) It's really crazy to instantly love someone like your own family when you didn't know them last year, or last week, or yesterday. Working full-time in ministry has been awesome for E, though he still finds the time to work on his menus and practice fancy food skills--I don't think he'll ever NOT be a chef.  Oh, and some exciting new news that hasn't been spread around a lot yet...we are going through the process to become brand spanking new foster parents--like, in our own house, not just for work! :D I'm pretty stoked.

SO, why am I posting again. First of all it would be nice to actually use this site for something. Some of you may remember it as the website for my design stuff back when I was trying to get a job, though it looked a lot different then! I don't really need it for that sort of thing now, and this is a way better use for it. Secondly, I post this because I feel like I (weirdly) have stuff to say. Stuff that maybe is different than other people are saying at this stage. These days people don't expect a young 20-something to be married (though I think I'm just now old enough that I don't get surprised looks when I tell people I am, either that or I'm aging poorly :P). And if she IS married, for some reason it's weird that she doesn't have kids yet. And if she DOESN'T, for some reason it's weird that she'd want to be a mom to a kid that she didn't give birth to. The deal is, not a lot of people get it. Also I ren faire, cosplay, low-key heart Trump, and know not a lot about food but just enough to know more than most people...those are weird too, though maybe a different kind :P But I don't expect you to get it! And it's ok that you don't, everyone has their own special type of weird to keep up with! But personally I LIKE to peek into other people's weird lives, so maybe if I keep this up it will be some level of interesting to someone. BUT, like I said, I make no guarantees I will actually CONTINUE this whole blogging thing through all the coming kerfuffle...you'll have to check back to see :) But if I do I'm sure there will be some fun posts on foster life, artsing, crafting, cooking, anything funky I may be up to...SOMETHING will be interesting to all you other weirdos ;) And hey, while we're at it, if any of you who know me at any level think of something you'd like see a blog post about, comment your ideas below! Maybe y'all will give me some inspiration to keep this up :P

Till next time, eat good food and hug babies!

 

I haz the busy

Boy am I hoping the weather guys are right about the snow for this next week! I need a couple of days to stay home and catch up on all this homework or my head could very well explode. Saturdays make me happy because I can (kinda) sleep in and then get everything from the past week all sorted out! I don't like to do this on Sundays so well because Ethan doesn't work and we like to spend time together :) I am so happy for him though…he just has 2 classes (that he loves), and a job (that he loves), and a list of jobs (that he would love even more) to apply for closer to graduation! Yay yay. Anyway, so far today I have completed almost all of my US Lit homework and plan to have both of Monday's tests all studied for and a rhetoric paper started. It is a little frustrating that my gen ed classes are taking up so much time when I have giant design classes and work to do also. Can you tell this post is just a giant brain dump? :P When Ethan gets home tonight we will make a grocery run to stock up on snow food…however once it actually snows we will probably walk to walmart again anyway for no reason. We do that every time, I think its just because we like the snow and it's fun to take a walk and not drive. Hmm maybe we should walk tonight even though it's not snowing…wait how would we carry groceries back without wishing we had the car? I know! I need this bike. 


This need is nothing new though. Look, I could put things on the back AND the in basket! And it is a cruiser but has handle brakes! Besides, look how yellow it is :)
Ok, so this post was pointless, but putting some stuff out makes me feel like I have more of a handle on life, hahaha…who am I kidding :P We'll see how it goes. 

My semi-organized life

Work and school are BACK…full steam ahead! Usually I am pretty good about keeping due dates and assignments straight in my head, but I am taking one more class than usual and I guess it put my brain on overload…I couldn't keep track of ANYTHING for the first couple of days. So I went to the school bookstore to look for a little calendar planner. They were all ugly. Target to the rescue…I found my new lifesaver/favorite toy!

 There were cheaper ones, but if I'm gonna have this for a whole year I might as well have the most beautiful one I can find.

Look how leetle and cyuuuuute!

And it has little tabs!! There were also some adorable ones that were big, but that just seemed like way too much organization…talk about intimidating. Baby steps people.
Here's a little tidbit from INSIDE my calendar…ZUMBA class at school tonight! So excited. I go with a couple of girlfriends and it's so much more fun to go to the gym with buddies, I get so bored alone. BUT it's double fun when you're Zumba-ing (or as June calls it, "dancing manically until you die")!

 In other news, this Starbuck tumbler is my current favorite cup. You won't see me without it for awhile. The top is shiny, see :) 


"Kinda getting hungry, when's dinn--GOSH where is my cat, I LOVE HER!!!"

The title is a quote from today by my dear husband. Thought I'd throw that out there.
Tomorrow SCHOOL STARTS. Yikes. I don't know if I'm ready. It will be crazy, that I do know. I may not blog…I don't know that one. My hubby has not as many school hours as me, and he tells me he will take the brunt of the cooking and even made me teach him how to do the laundry! What a love, right?
I will now catch you up on my crafting of this past week you don't already know about. A few days ago I completely threw away most of organized my craft closet and found some fabulous red and gold tulle pompoms that some friends had made for my bachelorette party like a year and a half ago. It seemed a horrible waste to throw them out, but I told myself I was being a hoarder and sadly put them in a trash bag. I finished the closet job (yay!) but was still trying to think of a way to use my pompoms before I actually took the trash out (hey now. I'm a creative AND a junkster, trash disposal is not usually high on my to-do list :P). THEN found a wire wreath frame I'd bought a while back! Whoohoo! The hubs helped me pull them all apart and I just tied it to the frame. I tied a previously bought and painted hobby lobby letter in the middle and I LOVE the results!!


I also wrapped some dollar store valentine wire around the whole thing, to add to the valentine-ness.

Next up, I've always liked those recycled magazine photo frames, but would never actually BUY one…ahem folks, recycle your own! :) I had a wide frame that was junky and kind of broken, but hey what a perfect opportunity!! Turns out rolled up and mod podged magazine scraps cover a multitude of sins.

I threw an old photo in as a placeholder, but a new frame calls for a new photo!
What do y'all think about this one?

Aaaaaawwwwwwwe! :)

Super Scrub

So I wanted some party favors…yes, more baby shower stuff haha. So I decided to make my grandma's famous hand scrub! I've tried a lot of homemade hand scrubs off interest and such, but never really found one I loved. But then grandma made some of this stuff and it makes your hands feel super soft like a baby's butt…and NOT oily like the ones I had tried. Grandma told me how to make it, but I never made the stuff--until today.

What you need:
~Epsom Salts
~Scented Epsom Salts (now these are in a different place than the other ones. I got Spearmint Eucalyptus by the shower gel in Walmart)
~Oil (Olive oil doesn't tend to work as well)
~Body Wash (pick whatever color you want your scrub to be, in a scent that won't smell horrible with the smell of your epsom salts. It doesn't matter a whole lot cuz you'll barely smell your body wash. But still.)
~A couple drops essential oil of your choice (optional)


Put in your epsom salt and scented salt in a ratio of 2:1 or so. Just eyeball it to however much you think you want to make.

Pour in a "sploop" of your vegetable oil. Start with a small amount.

Followed by a roughly equal sploop of body wash.

Yay.

Mix it all up! If you started small like a good little person your mixture should be crumbly. We don't want crumbly, so add more tiny sploops of the oil and body wash until your mixture is super fluffy. If it's too wet add a little more salts, but fluffily cloudlike is what we're going for. Like fairy poop.

Put in in the container of your choice, but leave a little space at the top as shown. The stuff likes to expand at times. 

Decorate however you wish! These make awesome little gifts huh? They make good medium-sized gifts too, allz you need is a bigger jar! :) So go make some and let me know how you like Grandma's favorite hand scrub!

Diaper Motorcycle!

My sweet friend LaTasha is expecting a (no doubt) ADORABLE baby boy soon! That means baby shower time of course!!! I love baby showers…all the cute little clothes, the cupcakes, the chit-chat…and apparently popular belief is that baby shower games are dumb, but I like them too and I'm PROUD of it dangit! My new baby shower favorite is the diaper motorcycle, found on www.sweetaprils.com. I've made it on several occasions now and they all look different and SOOOO much fun. So this time I decided to post my version.


 Arrange diapers in this spiral form using a round 8" cake pan as a guide. Secure it with a rubberband. Make 2 of these to be the wheels!

 Cover up those rubberbands with thick ribbon of your choice. I used this fabulous stuff that LaTasha had leftover from another shower and used tape to stick it on. I love recycling don't you? :P

Now you have this. 


Roll a receiving blanket into a tube and put it through the "hole" in the middle of the front wheel... 


 …and through the back wheel. This holds your wheels together. Just stuff any unruly blanket ends into the hole if needed as shown.

Now roll up ANOTHER receiving blanket and stick it through the front hole again. 

Place a cute bib over each wheel. (Oops. I forgot this step and had to redo, which is why bibs don't show up in the next couple of pictures…)


Pull your blanket up over the top of the wheel and tie it with a pretty ribbon to make the handlebars! You can include a bottle between the wheel and the ribbon as the "light", but I didn't have one and my blanket wasn't big enough anyway.

 Throw some baby socks or mittens on the end of those handlebars. 

Annnnnnd you're done!!! See? Pretty easy!!

I will be getting a monkey to put on this bike, but for now my Lancelot bear is modeling.



Here's another one I've made.




And another.

Hope you enjoyed this here tutorial, now go make one for a baby shower and add your own embellishments! As for me, my hubby is fixing to make nachos, so I'm outta here.