Friday, August 5, 2016

Little Man's Nursery Reveal

Last week I shared the remodel that was our master bedroom after moving into our new home. If you missed it feel free to visit that post here.

This week, I snagged a few photos of the next room we finished up - our little man's nursery. Lucky for us, this room didn't need much prep work. It was just about the only room in our house without wallpaper (praise the Lord), so all it needed prior to decorating was a fresh coat of paint and we were off.

As with the majority of our house, I was all over the neutrals (in color and gender) for little guy's pad.  Also, as with nearly everything else in our home, I tried my best to snag free, thrifted, and recycled items, etc. to be as budget savvy as possible in putting the room together.

We bought our crib off of Craigslist. We were able to get a really high quality crib for only $50 as the couple that had used it previously let their little one put stickers all over it. A little elbow grease and a bit of fresh paint and she was back in business! 

The name sign you see hanging above the crib was actually a joint project between my husband and I. We purchased the barn wood for it at Home Depot, and I picked up the letters for 50% off at Hobby Lobby. He then cut and screwed the wood together, and I took over afterward by adding a touch of white paint for a back splash before hot gluing on the letters. It was incredibly simple and cost us about $20 in all for materials.

Other items pictured:
Gray Blanket, Breathable Cream Bumper: Thrifted
Cream Pillow w/Buttons: Gordmans
"Welcome to my Crib" Pillow: Shamshack

Our rocking chair was also a Craigslist find that I was able to snag from a fellow mom for only $20. I spruced it up a bit with a cushion and pillow that were both purchased at Goodwill for under $10 all together. 

I don't know about your little ones but our child goes through burp cloths like it's his job. We house them all for easy access in that twine bin you see pictured above that I purchased at Gordmans. It's pretty incredible how fast we empty that thing - and how much laundry such a little person can create!

Other items pictured:
Nightstand/Small Table: Had on hand - recycled and repainted with chalk paint
Lamp: Had on hand - recycled and repainted with chalk paint, ribbon added on the shade
Bin sitting under table: Home Goods (I house blankets in there.)
Gray blanket ladder: Goodwill (originally red and painted gray)
1 Samuel 1: 27-28 Print: Em's Menagerie/Frame was recycled and repainted with chalk paint
Curtains: World Market

The changing dresser was also a Craigslist find (are you seeing a pattern here?), that we snagged for only $20. Probably my best steal of the room. It was in great condition, I just wasn't a fan of the originally plain white knobs, so I took them off and purchased the new ones you see pictured at Hobby Lobby for 50% off.

My husband made the bookshelves out of the same barn wood we purchased for the name sign above the crib. They were so simple to put together (at least for him) and literally took us minutes with a nail gun and only cost us the price of the wood.

Other items pictured:
Changing Pad Cover: Target
Gray Cloth Diaper Wet Bag: Planetwise
Diaper/Accessories Container: Local craft event
Gallery Wall Items: Hobby Lobby, Gordmans, Homegoods, Target, Thrifted & Recycled
White Shag Rug: Ikea

And there you have it. Hoping our little guy grows to love this space as much as we do, and I am thoroughly looking forward to all the memories to be made here. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Master Bedroom Remodel

As most of you know, we moved into our first home just a few short months back, and we have been incredibly busy with remodeling just about every room from top to bottom. All of this being done, I might add, with a newborn in tow. (Yes, I had to add this, as I think it gives us some well deserved extra kudos.)

We started our remodel projects with our master bedroom, so I thought that a fitting place to share with you all first. The nice thing about this room was that while the whole room needed to be gutted to start out the project, it really required very little investment aside from our time as we were already quite happy with the decor we utilized in our apartment bedroom.

Here is how she looked upon our arrival.

Take a moment to take it all in.

Yes, that is wallpaper on our closet door. I bet you hadn't thought of that one had you. Don't all go running out at once to pick our your favorite pattern.

Alright, so you get the point...needless to say, not quite our style. The carpet. The shudders. The seashells. It all had to go.

First things first, we ripped up all the carpet. Wood floors and all their creaking and imperfections are hands down the only way to do it for me. And we just so happened to luck out with beautiful and original ones throughout our home just screaming to be unveiled.

After that, we spent a weekend ripping down, 3, yes let me spell it out, t-h-r-e-e layers of wallpaper all the way down to the drywall. A project, I will admit, I would not wish on anyone. Because once the paper's off, the amount of paint and primer needed to cover the wall again is incredible (and that's not in the good sense of the word).

Finally, it was time to decorate (aka my domain). And with that, I present to you all our newly designed master "suite". Welcome.

I know that co-sleeper is quite the interior decorator's dream. In the spirit of being real - I mentioned we have a newborn, right?

And there you have it. Our revamped slumber pad.

Interested in any of the items you see inside. Here is where we purchased some of our decor (to the best of my memory at least):

Paint Color: Behr Wax Sculpture (Home Depot)
Barnwood Style Furniture: Ashley Furniture
Duvet Cover/Bedding: Ikea
Navy Throw Blanket: Bed, Bath and Beyond
Throw Pillows: Gordmans & Home Goods
"Home is Where the Heart Is" Sign: Hobby Lobby
Chipped Paint Jewelry Box: Hobby Lobby
Navy Curtains: Target
Night Stand Lamps: Target
Window Pane Picture Frames: Target
Chandelier: From our basement - repurposed/painted with chalk paint and antiquing wax
Other Assorted Frames: Hobby Lobby

Next up, on the home remodel tour - little man's nursery!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Nurse Gifts after Delivery

We had some incredible nurses who not only took care of me in the days following delivery, day and night, but who also took care of our little one in the NICU over these past few weeks. Great nurses make such a difference, and we are beyond appreciative of all that they have done for our family. To show our appreciation in a small way, we put together a few baskets to share with each of the units during this past week. 

For the first basket that we delivered to the nurses in the postpartum unit, I purchased two packs of snack/lunch size popcorn and a pretty good sized basket. I lined the basket with some tissue paper and created the tag you see below. All in all it cost me around $15 dollars to put together. If you have a basket on hand - you could do it even cheaper!

We created our second basket of goodies for our friends in the NICU who have treated our little man just like their own. 

For this one, we snagged a bin at the Target dollar spot along with some Lifesavers mints and we were in business. The staff actually set our bin out at the sign in desk of the NICU so parents could indulge in the minty goodness as well. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

When your Birth Story doesn't go as Planned

On May 19th, in the middle of the night, our little man was born into this world.

He was 6 weeks early. He was breech. He was delivered via c-section. He was whisked away to the NICU where we still currently reside.

None of these things were part of my plan. None of these things were what I envisioned when I thought through and prepared for our birthing experience. None of these things were what I wanted for us.

I wanted him to come on time. Head down. Vaginally. Naturally. I wanted him to be in my room with me to spend those precious post-birth moments together before we headed home to start this new journey as a family of three.

Our Birth Story:

A little before 6:00pm on May 18th, I was relaxing on the couch after a long work day while my husband (bless his heart) was preparing dinner for us. I had been battling a cold the past few days and was just wiped and achy feeling everywhere. Little did I know that that achy feeling may have been more than just the cold. Just a few moments after I laid down, I heard and felt a small pop and within minutes, water started gushing everywhere.

I spent a brief moment trying to convince myself that my bladder had gone haywire, before residing to the fact (as puddles were forming on the floor), that my water had broken. I was terrified. Terrified for us as we weren't ready yet. Terrified for our little one because at 34 weeks, he wasn't either.

After a call to our midwife, we were instructed to head to the hospital so that I could be checked to see if my water had, in fact, broken. We grabbed our bags (which were luckily already packed as part of my "just in case plan") and we were at the hospital by 7:00pm.

Upon arrival, it was confirmed that my water had broken, and at this point, we would just wait and let the labor process progress naturally. In the meantime, I was to be given steroids and antibiotics to help boost little man's lung development and ability to function in this outside world when he did arrive.

Once this was decided, my midwife shared that he was going to do a last minute ultrasound just to check and ensure the baby was in a good position for delivery. For weeks, prior, my midwives had been telling me that they believed he was head down, so I felt pretty confident going into this venture. Within seconds, however, my confidence was shattered as my midwife informed me that he was as breech as breech could be. Naturally, I burst into tears and asked him to please check again and even have someone else check if he had to as that just couldn't be right. The kind soul that he was, he asked a doctor to come double check it for me and again it was confirmed our little man was in the opposite direction he needed to be. Because my water had already broken there was no way of flipping him at this point, and thus, they told me I needed a c-section.

I was devastated. I had prepped for weeks on end for a natural birth - attending all the classes, reading all the books and practicing my positions and breathing. My birth preference page beautifully typed up and highlighting exactly how I wanted this process to play out was now rendered nearly useless.

To top it off, as the minutes progressed, so did my labor. What initially they had thought would be quite the lengthy endeavor, turned out to move at quite a rapid pace. I went from early to clear active labor within just a few short hours. We barely had time to get the medications in my system, when the midwife informed me, it was time. Time to have our baby too early. Time to take part in a major surgery for which I had worked so hard to avoid. Time to meet our little man.

Within minutes of being prepped for surgery, our little man was here. I will never forget that cry. Loud, proud and the most beautiful sound I had ever heard, as it meant our child was alive and well. And thank goodness for that cry, as that was truly the only piece of him I was able to connect with for the first several minutes as he was whisked away by a team of nurses and docs before I even got to touch or to hold him. Another piece of my plan that I had to let go of. That picturesque skin-to-skin bonding moment I had imagined post birth, was just that - something I had imagined that in reality would not come to be. After what seemed like an eternity, they brought him over to me to see him for a few brief moments prior to taking him away all too quickly to the NICU.

I insisted that Ryan go with him as they put my body back together, as he needed him more than I did. But I will admit those were lonely and difficult moments as I lay there getting sewed and stapled shut and beginning to take in all that had just happened.

Over the course of the next few days as I spent time regaining feeling in the lower half of my body, being pushed around in wheelchairs and taking multiple daily trips to visit our son on a separate floor of the hospital, I couldn't help but feel a mix of emotions. Joy. Because I am now a mom. Worry. Because our little man is in NICU. Pain. Because, well I had just had surgery. And if I am going to be honest, even sadness and grief. Because everything I imagined and planned for through this birth journey did not come to be. Because our child was alone, without his mama, working so hard just to breath at the moment. And even because I felt robbed of the 6 weeks I was still supposed to be bonding with him in my womb.

My birth story did not go as I had planned. Not even close. And while I think all of the emotions I was and at times am still experiencing are completely acceptable and human, I must remind myself that this plan I had envisioned was just that - my plan. I must remind myself that sometimes the Lord has plans that are different than the ones we plan for ourselves. Not only different, but better  - even if we don't see that right away. I will admit, as we are still only 2 weeks out and I sit here in the recliner of our NICU room writing this, I still have a difficult time accepting that what God has chosen for our story is better than what I had wanted for us. However, I do also firmly believe that trials and testing of our faith only makes us stronger and brings us closer to God. And this is what I must make a conscious choice to hold on to in all of this, or those overwhelming emotions and "why me" attitude can be all consuming.

I must and do chose to be grateful for what the Lord has done. While born early, we have a handsome and healthy baby boy. We have nurses who have taught us so much about how to care for him, and we will probably be even more equipped than most parents to do so when we head home. We've learned what supportive and incredible family and friends we have surrounding us in our lives who are willing to pray, help out and even drop what they are doing to be by our side at a moment's call. We've learned to take a step back from the busy-ness of life to appreciate little, yet huge moments, like our son breathing and drinking milk on his own. And maybe the biggest thing we've (and in particular I've) learned is to let go of control. Believe it or not, I am not in control of everything, no matter how much I prep, plan and try to take the reigns. And this was a stark reminder of this.

Motherhood (as I have been told) requires flexibility and openness to what each day brings, and an ability to let the little things go and focus on the big ones. I choose to believe that God was working to better equip me to handle this new journey as a mom through this whole process. And while it may have been nice to have all of those "little things" on my list go exactly how I wanted them to, in the end, the only thing that matters is the "big thing" did. We have been blessed with a beautiful miracle in our child. In the end, this is all that truly matters.

Welcome to the world, little Asher. We are so glad you are here.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. - James 1:2-4

Saturday, April 9, 2016

New Neighbor Welcome

The Happ family has been beyond busy all.

Not only have we spent the past few months preparing for our little one, but we had also been diligently hunting for our first home. After what seems like over 100 houses later, we found our winner. Blog family, meet our new cottage in the city. Isn't she cute?

We are lucky enough to have our apartment still for a bit while we do some renovations on the inside before moving in. Let's just say the wallpaper, plush white carpet and pretty much all decor were not our style - but we were sold on the location, potential and adorable curb appeal - and I choose to believe it just gives us a chance to make it fully "our own". Get ready for some serious, budget friendly home update posts here in the future.

That being said, one of the things we are really excited about in moving to a neighborhood is having neighbors! Within the first few days of closing, we received food, cards, "hellos" you name it from those surrounding our new little abode, and it could not reassure me more about the choice that we made. I often feel like that community feel that used to be so rich in many neighborhoods has sort of gone to the wayside in many places, but knowing our neighbors is still an ideal I hold dear - especially when we are bringing our new bundle of joy into the mix. Thus, I decided I would set out to get a good start on the welcome train as well and bring our neighbors a delicious little "hello" offering.

This little gem was inspired originally by this post from the Army Wife Network. To create mine, I simply purchased two boxes of microwaveable popcorn, set to creating the topper and info pages and tied it all together with some ribbon flair.

Then I set to the fun part of delivery. I was able to chat with and meet several neighbors that were out and about as I made my rounds, and those that were not I simply left our bundle of fun at their doors for later. This was such a simple way to begin to foster that comfort level among our neighbors, and I look forward to seeing all that's in store for our family as we begin this new adventure in our new community. More to come.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

How I Told my Husband We're Expecting

It was a Saturday morning in late October when we found out we were expecting. I woke up early as I was planning on taking the test, and per usual the process had me a little anxious. I had taken many tests, many times before and while that little negative symbol had become somewhat of a staple for us, I held on to the hope that one of these times things would be different.

As I took the test that morning, I took those few minutes that seem like hours as I had done in the past to remind myself that if it did not show what we were hoping for that it just meant it was not God's timing for us yet as well as to pray that no matter what the outcome, I would choose joy and not feel sorry for myself the rest of the day. In one way shape or form, one day, I knew that God would shine light on his plan for growing our little family.

Little did I know, that Saturday morning in late October, was that day. The test was positive. I could not believe my eyes. 

Somehow, I was able to contain my excitement and play it cool as my husband woke up for work that morning. (Yes, my lucky guy works on Saturdays.) After he headed off, I set to brainstorming and preparing how I could share the incredible news with him that evening. 

We were planning on making dinner together when he returned from work, so I scanned the ingredients the recipe called for thinking about how I could get creative with them. I landed on a carton of eggs for my inspiration. I formed a plan to create a short poem, attach it to the test (I had taken a few at this point throughout the day just to really prove to myself that it was real...) and then stash it in the egg carton for him to find. 

That evening when the hubs arrived home, we set out to cook our meal. As we were adding ingredients to the pan, I casually asked him if he could grab a few eggs for us. As he headed toward the fridge, I headed toward my phone in hopes of capturing this once in a lifetime moment. The look on his face, the "Are you serious?" expression and the sheer joy, hugs and emotions that followed are ones I will never forget. We feel incredibly blessed to have been graced with this little miracle from God and to begin this unbelieveable journey to parenthood.