Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Beautiful Girl

I couldn't help but post this picture of LO here on the blog. It's her Kindergarten spring school picture and it is AMAZING. I am so in love with this pic!!! It was taken on Valentine's Day 2013 -- just a few weeks after she turned 5 1/2 (on January 25, 2013). I can't believe what a beautiful, sweet, kindhearted young lady she's becoming.

I'm one proud mama. ;)

And yes, certain family members who may see this and wonder... I have hard copies to share with you!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cardiology Visit

Whoa. I'm in shock & awe! We just had Chase's cardiology appointment this morning, our first time since November, and I am so surprised by the outcome! Good news is it's all good news, so whew!!!
At his last appointment, his LPA (left pulmonary artery) showed signs of narrowing. It was a concern but not enough so to act on it. We figured we'd check it out again at our next appointment and see how it looks. If it continued to narrow, it would force our hand to do his third scheduled surgery, the Fontan, sooner than later. As in early Spring, potentially. If it didn't look too bad, we'd hold off until Fall.
Let me just say this appointment was without a doubt the BEST appointment Chase has ever had from a cooperation standpoint. He stood on the scale without crying and also let us capture his height. Then he rocked out all FOUR blood pressures (one on each extremity) without a tear and was actually HELPING the nurse. Amazing. They even did the pulse oximeter simultaneously with the BP cuff and he didn't mind a bit! See??!

We had a few minutes in the exam room to answer the nurse's questions then it was off to echo! He again did his typical amazing job during the lengthy echo. The tech wasn't able to get good pictures of his LPA so we rearranged him a few times on the table to help. I asked if she was able to get the pics we needed and she said yes. Thank you to Madagascar for entertaining Chase throughout the echo.

So proud of this big boy of mine!!!

After the echo it was back to the exam room to wait on Dr. H. After a good 45 minutes (sigh), he came in and we chatted a bit. Then he informed us that we DIDN'T get good pictures of his LPA and he wanted to take us back to echo. Grrrrr! I didn't mind it and definitely wanted to be sure we got what we needed, but it irritated me that the tech specifically said she DID get the pics. Oh well. Chase cooperated perfectly and we were able to see exactly what we needed.
Back in the exam room, Dr. H told us that based on the measurements he took, it looked like his LPA had grown and/or we got better more accurate pics of it on the echo this time. GREAT NEWS!!! He then proceeded to say that everything looked wonderful and that he'd leave it up to US if we wanted to schedule his Fontan this Fall or NEXT SPRING!!!
NOT doing his Fontan before the end of 2013 had NEVER crossed my mind as an option!! Wow. I am still in shock & awe! He said he didn't need to see us again for another 6 months. Wow. We opted to see him again in August instead (5 months) just in case anything changes so that if we need to move forward with his surgery, we could try to get him in before the cold/flu season starts.
Options. Choices. What a concept! I cannot for a second be anything but BLESSED that our son is doing so well that his little body isn't forcing our hand at scheduling his last planned heart surgery. There are so many other heart families out there who don't get a choice and whose little ones require urgent heart surgeries to sustain their child's lives. We are so blessed and grateful!!!
After we scheduled our return appointment for August, hubs and I took Chase out for lunch at one of his (and my!) favorite joints: Culver's. It was a big hit!! Can't you tell?? ;)

So what a wonderful day it's been for our little family and our sweet boy. Now mama's heading off to my weekly ultrasound appointment for the baby, followed by a non stress test on Friday. Yes -- two appointments each week from here on out. Not loving it but so excited to get to see my baby boy every week until his arrival! Woot!
Thanks to all for your prayers for Chase's appointment today! Love to all!!!
Posted using my beloved iPhone 5

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Great Reveal: Before & After

I'm so excited! It's time for the big reveal of LO's new room... just 3 months in the making! For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, I'm sure you're excited to see this room transformation finally taking place if for no other reason than I'll finally stop blogging about all of the exciting details and unexpected frustrations that finally got us here! Haha! And just a warning... this is a long post with tons of pictures and a video as well. But enough chit chat... let's get on with it!

So here are the before pics. Here's looking into her room from the doorway.

One step into her bedroom and this is what you'd see.

To the left is her closet and a randomly placed light fixture from the play area left over from a mommy/daughter girls night about 3 or 4 months ago. And a yellow trash can that didn't match anything and certainly didn't belong in that corner.

Right inside the doorway was an empty wall next to another empty wall. Boring.

Then you have her bed. Plain, prison-style slats on the headboard and footboard. It served us well as a crib (and will do so again when baby boy arrives next month), but it certainly isn't the most girly of beds.

The ever-so-embarrassing blanket hung up over the window blinds for room darkening purposes. You'll recall we had the same lameness happening in Chase's room before his room transformation. It was a quick, cheap, easy fix that was apparently easy to ignore for the past year. And next to the window is an inexpensive ClosetMaid Cubeicals storage unit from Target that was utilized as a bookcase for our avid reader daughter.

Across from LO's bed was her dresser. A tall 4-drawer chest of drawers. Again, not very girly, but it has served it's purpose and will rock out once more as baby boy's dresser.

Such a sad little dresser, quite impractical for all the "stuff" we had loaded up on that thing.

Friday morning we emptied and cleaned the room and prepared for paint!

Two coats and several hours later, our pink Ballerina Gown by BEHR bedroom was painted and ready for Phase 2 to begin Saturday morning.

And now for the big AFTER reveal! Here's the first glimpse of her new horse room!

This wall has her old Teddy lovey from when she was little that I put into a shadowbox along with a little coat rack I painted with accents to match her room. I figure her purses, hoodies, and scarves will end up here.

Her new bed! I cannot tell you how much I love her new bedding from Pottery Barn and the cute accent pillow I made with the horse appliqué. It even has a zipper on the side that I'm super proud of as it was my first time sewing in a zipper!

A little bit of pink... a little bit of purple... a lot of girly cuteness! And oh, the gorgeous chandelier!

Some running horses over her closet door!

Sweet Teddy and the coat rack.

Loving how everything perfectly matched my vision! ;) And can I just say that one of my most favorite things about this room is her box spring?! Weird, right? I found the fantastic idea online to put a fitted sheet over the box spring so it doesn't stand out and look crazy awful, and it looks perfect! I don't know why I didn't do this sooner. It worked out great because the kids' beds aren't conducive to bed skirts because of how the slats are screwed in under the box spring. So what a perfect win-win, right??

Love the horses!

Her new dresser with arched mirror! Also the tray I hand painted, the runner I sewed and some accent pieces from Hobby Lobby.

Really inexpensively created wall art. I reused the frames from some art that was in her old nursery and used some clip art from the interwebs. The only thing missing here is the nice white bookcase that will be placed below the artwork. We didn't quite get the trim on the bookcase the way I wanted so it'll be part of the Phase 2 rollout. ;)

Love the little circle star over her doorway. And one of my favorite things... the fabric-covered Mod-Podged light switch cover plate that matches the runner on her dresser.

See? Isn't it cute? So easy, too! I can't wait to do this to lots of other light switch plate covers in the house!

And just for effect, here are a few "Before & After" side-by-sides...

Here she is finally seeing her room for the first time... She was surprised!

There was so much to take in! Yay!!!

And finally... here's the big reveal of LO's new room! She had just returned from a sleepover at Gramma and PaPa's, which included lots of swimming and lots of fun, so she was pretty tired when she got home. Apparently she even napped in the car on the drive over so she was slightly less energetic than I expected, but it's all good! I'm sure we'll have fun as she discovers all of the fun things in her new room over the next few days. Oh, and please forgive all the photo snapping throughout the video and the commentary from mommy. ;)

Making Progress

Yesterday we were finally able to begin on a very special project that's been about 3 months in the making: LO's new room! I was so excited to FINALLY be able to get this done for so many reasons. I honestly had wanted to do LO's room before we did Chase's room, but it just didn't work out. I'm also excited to get her room completed so we can finally get the baby's nursery ready! The countdown is sitting at just over 5 weeks before his arrival, which is cutting it close in my opinion. ;)

So all we did yesterday was clear out her room and paint. Since we had all day Friday as well as Saturday until around 6pm, I wasn't in a huge hurry and it was nice to just get things done without stressing out.

Here's her room before paint:

And after:

I'm so thankful I chose the color I did. I tried 3 different paint samples and this one was the lightest by far. See? It's the one in the middle.

I was a bit concerned it wouldn't be pink enough, but I would MUCH prefer the walls to be "under-pink" than look like Pepto-Bismol or a Barbie explosion. I knew that while the sample looked very pale, once it was up on all 4 walls it would be much "louder" and I was right! But thankfully it's just pink enough without being too pink. I think it'll give a nice contrast with the white furniture and accents I have for the space.

Today we plan to get her new furniture moved in and assembled, wall hangings up, ceiling fan replaced with the chandelier, bed made, accents in and -- a most exciting bonus detail that she'll adore -- tiny stars up on the ceiling. We have plenty of time and there is zero stress with this project, which makes me crazy happy. I can't wait to share the official before & after pics soon! Wish us luck! ;)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Randomness with a Side of Panic

So it's been a few days about 2 weeks, since I've blogged, and it was such an unfortunate post to share about LO's new furniture. Ugh. Even now if I stop and dwell on it I just get mad all over again. Some of you have wondered what our final decision was, and I'll tell you that we have chosen to ((gulp)) keep the furniture. I know, I know... Most of me was against this idea from the moment we unboxed it, and to be honest, I REALLY REALLY REALLY don't feel like we got our money's worth on this purchase, even after they refunded a paltry amount in an attempt to appease us. But it's done now, and I'm choosing to move forward. We have requested they replace the arched mirror in its entirety, and are awaiting its arrival, so at least we can assume that one will be in better condition (hopefully, anyway). Hubs spent some time caulking all of the trim on the headboard and footboard, and I have to say it looks simply amazing. Exactly like what I would've expected it to look like brand new, straight out of the box. All that's left now is for him to caulk the trim around the individual drawers on the double dresser, and I anticipate that will look just as awesome. So really, at the end of the day, this is the lesser of two evils, especially considering I didn't have a Plan B of alternative furniture that I was set on.

Some exciting news? The big room makeover is taking place in T-Minus 2 days!! Actually, less than that! I'll be getting started after LO heads to school Friday morning, and we'll have all day Friday and Saturday until early evening to get it all done. I couldn't be more excited! I am SO ready for this and I cannot wait to see LO's shock & awe response when she sees it all for the first time. She has no idea this is happening (nor that she'll have a fun sleepover with the grandparents while it takes place!), which makes it that much more fun for me! Be prepared, because I'm pretty sure I'll have the amazing Before & After post ready to share on Sunday (or Monday at the latest). WOO-HOO!!!

Oh, and after 3 different paint samples, I've finally settled on Ballerina Gown by Behr. It's a very pale pink, so hopefully once all the walls are done it won't look like Pepto-Bismol threw up everywhere. I'm finding that the online sample has some weird purplish hue to it, but I can promise you it's really just a very very pale pink.

Another random piece of excitement? I needed a new breast pump for baby #3 because we sold the one I used with LO and Chase on craigslist back in 2010. That's pretty exciting news, right?? No? Oh, well let me continue... I've shopped around and the Medela Pump in Style that I want runs around $299.99. Ouch! So I've been trolling eBay recently to see if I could land an amazing deal on a NEW, UNUSED, UNOPENED, SEALED pump (as I'm totally not willing to purchase one that's been opened or -- heaven forbid, used -- from a stranger off the interwebs). There have been a few I've watched come and go and they typically land around $190 or so at best. Well, friends, let me just tell you that I am pleased to announce I just landed said $299.99 breast pump for... wait for it... $152.50!!! Seriously. I am beyond thrilled!!! I can't wait for it to arrive so I can investigate and verify it truly is still factory sealed and unused so I can be super happy with my score. Woot!

On a less than happy note... last Saturday hubs and I went to a wedding and ran some errands while my mom stayed with the kiddos. We were on our way home when I got a call from my mom, saying, "Don't be surprised if you see fire trucks in front of the house when you get here."


My first question was whether or not the kids were okay. Of course I was super freaked out that something happened to Chase. She assured me she and the kids were fine, but that there was a FIRE IN OUR BACKYARD.

What the huh?!

Luckily we were less than 2 minutes from home when she called, and we actually saw the fire truck pull into our subdivision as we were about to turn in. We found my mom with the kids in the front yard while half our neighborhood was in the backyard, apparently having just put out a brush fire with a dozen or so garden hoses from neighboring homes. There wasn't much for the firefighters to do but assess the area and be sure the fire was fully out. Whoa.

Turns out our neighbor had a fire pit and a small stick got caught up in the wind of the crazy windy night we had on Saturday and landed in the dormant, dry sodded grass of their backyard and instantly went ablaze. They tried to stomp it out and smother it, but apparently in a matter of about 8 minutes, half of their yard, half of ours, and a section of our next neighbor's yard was up in waist-high flames. My mom said LO was yelling at her to "Call 911! Call 911!" What a great girl! My mom couldn't figure out how hubs has our back door rigged (let's just say you have to use an actual key to open the door... from the inside), so she took the kids out front and called 911. It's good that she got through because apparently one of the neighbors tried calling and was put on hold with 911! Lovely. So at the end of the day, it wasn't a big deal -- just a bunch of drama -- but it did result in half of our fully-sodded backyard turning into charcoal. ((sigh)) One of the main reasons we chose to build with Ryan was for the fully-sodded yard, and we were looking forward to seeing what the spring/summer would bring now that it's been just over a year for it to take. It just looks so sad right now...

I just took these pics this morning so it's had a good 4 days of improvement from what we originally saw Sunday morning once the smoke cleared. ;) Hubs tells me some people purposefully burn up their grass to help it grow in better. So yay, apparently this isn't horribly detrimental to the grass. My biggest issue is that whether the grass grows in better or worse in the burnt area, it's going to grow in differently than the rest of the yard. Those of you who know me well know that I'm OCD about things like this and enjoy consistency. So I'm super crazy bummed that the fully-sodded yard we paid good money for will most likely grow in completely different in the two areas. Grrrrrr! But it doesn't sound like there's much we can do about it, so whatevs. I've chosen to keep my window blinds in the morning room closed so I don't have to look at it because honestly, it looks horrible in person and when I see it, it just makes me crazy disappointed. So I'm choosing to ignore it for the next 2-4 months until the dormant season is over and we can see what kind of growth we will end up with. I'm not looking forward to this, but will keep my fingers crossed that it's not horribly obvious. Ultimately I'm just so thankful that all that was damaged was the grass... no one in the neighborhood was hurt and none of the homes were damaged. It could've been MUCH worse... it was crazy windy that night. But thanks to the quick actions of the neighbors and plenty of lengthy garden hoses, all is well. What a blessing!

My last random note... I'm 33 weeks pregnant people. THIRTY-THREE. And at our appointment on Monday morning, my Perinatologist wrote orders for an induction at 39 weeks. That means, if my math is correct, we're talking SIX WEEKS until baby boy's arrival. SIX WEEKS!!! As in the last week of April, which is NEXT MONTH! Can you tell I'm in a slight state of shock & awe?? There is SO. MUCH. TO. BE. DONE. between now and then! I'm happy we're knocking out LO's room this weekend, because that means we'll FINALLY have her furniture to put together in the baby's room to set up his nursery. I'm not painting his room or doing anything drastic, so getting the nursery ready should be relatively painless. But I have yet to wash the first thing for him, haven't even gathered up Chase's old baby stuff that we'll plan to use, don't have any of the big stuff (like the car seat, stroller, etc.) pulled out of the attic yet, haven't even located some things like the baby bath tub or bouncy seat, and I'm not even sure if we have all the pieces of the Pack n' Play to put it together in our room for the first little while when he'll stay in our room with us. And don't even ask about hospital bags because I haven't even so much as started the list of what I'll need/want to bring, much less started packing any of it! I still can't believe the count down is just under SIX WEEKS for sweet boy's arrival. This is insane. I haven't even set up my time off from work yet or submitted paperwork for my leave. Geez. There's gonna be a LOT to get done over the next few weeks around here!!! But at least I got a great deal on a new breast pump though, right?? ((sigh)) Whatever it takes to distract myself from the fact that I'm going to be pushing a person out of me in the very near future... YIKES!

Oh, and has anyone told you that Easter is only a week and a half away?? I've got to find the kids' Easter baskets and figure out what in the world I'm gonna put in them this year. Oh, and I'm also planning to MAKE (as in SEW) LO's Easter dress this year. Guess that'll have to happen next week, huh? Whoa!

Enough random for now. I'm overwhelmed and totally panicked now. Peace out! :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The One I Didn't Want to Have to Write (about the furniture)

It's true. This is the post I didn't want to have to write. It's the one I never thought I'd have to write! But alas, I gotta keep it real here if for no other reason than for myself to look back on in 10 years and remember my utter disappointment.

Let's take a moment to recall the progression of events, shall we? Friday, December 21st, 2012, I introduced you all to the beginning planning stages for LO's new room, including a short list of likely suspects for her new furniture purchase. This of course included the winner we eventually selected!

Fast-forward to Monday, December 31st, 2012, when I was so very excited to write this post informing the world that we had finally selected AND PURCHASED the new bedroom furniture for LO's room. I recall being so very ecstatic and happy and blissfully ignorant at the time. It would only be 4 to 6 weeks until we could finally do LO's new room!

Now then, let's discuss Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013, when I about died writing about the infamous phone call that changed the 4 to 6 week delivery timeframe into a whopping, unexpected 10 to 12 weeks. This sucked on so many levels, mostly because it would delay doing LO's room, which in turn would delay getting the nursery ready for the baby. NOT a happy mama.

In mid-February, I hit the interwebs again searching for a back-up plan of furniture that could replace what we ordered since the production delay caused a significant impact on our schedule. I searched high and low and was unable to find anything I liked even half as much as what we had already selected. I had no other option but to wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

Then, it finally happened! Monday, February 25th, 2013, I got THE CALL informing me that our furniture had arrived! It was even a few weeks earlier than the delayed date we were given. How wonderful! I couldn't believe it. Now we could finally schedule LO's big room update. The only problem? Every single weekend for the next 4 weeks were already booked with work and other activities. This meant that even though the furniture was here, it would still be at least ANOTHER MONTH before we could knock it out.

{{insert crazy disappointment here}}

But it would be okay. I had enough other stuff to distract me and keep me busy and preoccupied until the big weekend arrived and we could finally surprise LO with the big girl room of her dreams! In the meantime, hubs and I went ahead and had the furniture delivered to the house and went about unboxing all of our treasures in preparation for the big event.

This is where the major disappointment/frustration/you-name-it happens.

As I mentioned on Monday, March 4th, 2013, we were shocked at what we saw as we unboxed our expensive, brand new furniture. It was terrible. There were no words for it. In fact, there still are no words for it. So in order to document this travesty, I took pictures.

Now, mind you, I'm certain many of my readers will see these pics and think, "So? And...? What's the big deal?" And that's cool. You're entitled to your opinion just as I am to mine. But let's just imagine you paid somewhere between $1,000 - $2,000 on this quality furniture, freshly unboxed, and tell me you wouldn't have some of the same frustrations as we do.

Let's start with the arched mirror. It actually arrived in pieces (not the mirror itself, but the mirror was completely detached from the frame). There were all sorts of scratches and chipped paint on the front trim. The mirror itself had two screw holes along the very edge of each side where they apparently tried to screw through the mirror when assembling it. Awesome.

Then let's talk about the dresser. I couldn't clearly document in photos that the drawers open unevenly (the drawer stops inside are obviously uneven), so we'll just leave that issue out of it. But let's check out the impressively destructed trim and paint job...

Moving on to the headboard. I for one would expect the use of a little bit of quality caulk to seal any noticeable gaps around the trim once the paint job is complete. Apparently I'm the only one.

The footboard had similar issues with gaps everywhere. I mean, really. It's obvious the trim was attached (possibly glued?) onto the footboard and then painted, but not caulked. Seriously?!

Now I do want to point out that yes, I am 31 weeks pregnant. And apparently along with the mood swings, weird cravings and weight gain, pregnancy also brings along with it's symptoms for me an overwhelming increase in pickiness and the apparent need for perfection in all things. So I get it. Perhaps my hormones have overtaken my logical thinking processes and have turned me into a whining crybaby, overly critical of this furniture and ridiculously unimpressed with its lack of quality.

But I'm also a human person with eyes that can see. And I'd like to think that other human people with eyes would see the same issues I've discussed here and be just as frustrated and disappointed as I.


This was supposed to be a wonderful, exciting process of updating LO's room and I know it will be. I've put so much time, money and creative energy into the other items and accents in her room that I know the big surprise unveiling will be everything I have dreamt up in my head and more! But oh how I hate the unexpected, unnecessary drama we're having to endure to get to that point. I'm just not a happy camper right now. I expected more. Maybe that's my own fault. Shame on me, I guess.