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Monday, July 2, 2018

Meet Harrison

I can't believe it has been over a year since I updated the blog.  A lot has happened in this last year.

The biggest thing being that we found out we were going to be having another baby boy and he arrived on February 27th! (2 days before my birthday!)

His name is Harrison Thomas and he was born at 4:59 in the morning, 9lbs 1oz, 22inches long. 
I felt compelled to come back to this here blog place and share a little about our new boy.  It was a year ago Father's Day weekend that I found out I was pregnant.

Finding Out

We had plans to go to the zoo and I took a pregnancy test right before I left.  Like RIGHT before we left... like I didn't really have enough time to wait the 3 minutes to see what the result was.  I had about 1 minute (because hand hygiene) in which time I could see a very faint blue positive line.  I thought: maybe I was but maybe I wasn't. And we left for the zoo. 

We had a great time at the zoo (mostly) and Abe LOVED all the rocks.
The train ride? -we weren't so sure.
But have you seen these rocks?! :-)

2 year olds.  What do you expect!

So we got home and I found a more clearly-positive pregnancy test in the trash.

Another pregnancy test later, I was sure this was the real deal.  Michael didn't know I was taking these tests (I kinda like keeping him in the dark about these things) so I had an opportunity to surprise him.  The next day was Fathers Day so I wished him a Happy Father's Day by holding up the positive pregnancy test.  Big hugs, lots of excitement.

As the pregnancy progressed I was just so sure we were having a girl based on how different I felt compared to last time. Wrong.  Another boy!

We were so excited that Abe would be getting a little brother!

As the due date approached there was discussion about his size.  With the tearing I had with my last delivery (3rd degree) and the estimated size of this baby (he was measuring 2 weeks ahead for head circumference and about 9lbs when I was 38 weeks), my doctor offered to induce me.  I wasn't super excited about being induce (again) but knowing that I would likely be overdue like I was with Abe and possibly tear again, we agreed to go ahead with the induction.

Labor & Delivery

Induction with Pitocin started at 8am and went very slowly.  Harrison was still pretty high so my contractions were not really painful until after the Doctor broke my water around 8pm when I was 4cm dilated.  So Michael and I had a very boring day of walking, TV, podcasts, repeat.  Then once my water was broken, contractions really started to progress and intensify.  Epidural was in around 1am.  Boy was I was ready for it! One hour later I was nearly 9cm.  And another hour later I was 10 cm.  The doctor wanted me to "labor down" which just meant that, since I had an epidural, I could just rest and allow my contractions to bring Harrison down further into the birth canal. When the nurse came in to do some "test pushes," she quickly stopped me or else she was going to be delivering him right then and there.  Once the doctor came, 1.5 pushes later and he was born!

1st time vs 2nd time

I debated on whether or not I was going to share his birth story, but the reason I wanted to share was to say that even if you have a tough first labor, it doesn't mean that your second will be that way.    With Abe I pushed for 2.5 hours only to deliver with vacuum assistance and a 3rd degree tear.  This time I pushed for maybe a minute and would not have torn at all except that Harrison's hand was up by his face when he was delivered and his elbow cost me a 2nd degree tear.  But let me tell you from experience, there is a HUGE difference between a 2nd and 3rd degree tear.  I was feeling better *down there* in a matter of a few weeks instead of a few months.

So I'm incredibly grateful for how this labor went in comparison to the last one.

As far as comparing postpartum periods, overall, the 2nd time around was so much easier.

I have enjoyed the confidence that comes with having done this before.  I initially planned on breastfeeding for 3 months before switching to pumping but plans changed.  About a week after Harrison was born, I was rushed to the ER with postpartum hemorrhaging.  I lost so much blood that my blood pressure was bottoming out and I was unable to sit up without getting pretty faint and nearly passing out.  The severe lightheadedness only lasted about 8 hrs and then got better as they pumped me full of fluids, but it was long enough to have to give Harrison a bottle and he struggled latching after that.  I didn't fight it, I just switched to pumping exclusively and we haven't looked back since.

And that's what I mean about confidence.  I didn't even hesitate.  I just did what needed to be done for both me and Harrison. I didn't guilt myself into forcing breastfeeding when I didn't really need to.  ...When I knew that pumping would work for me.  I'm so thankful that I could switch to pumping with no problem and could still provide Harrison with breast milk.

About Harrison

Before Harrison was even a twinkle in his daddy's eye ;-), we were praying for him.  We would nightly ask Abe what he would like to pray for and every time he would say "Baby!"  So every night we prayed for "all the babies", including any that would come into our family.  Once we found out I was pregnant, we started to pray more specifically for our baby.  I prayed that God would give us EXACTLY who we needed in our family.  And it's so fun to see how he is already answering that prayer, and will continue to do so. 
Harrison is a dream baby.  He sleeps through the night, takes great naps and is all around sweet and happy when he is awake! He loves his car seat and his thumb.  Both put him quickly to sleep.  He loves cooing and laughing, especially when you sing to him and clap his hands together.  We just couldn't love him more.

Harrison's Name

We chose his name as a nod to Purdue University, our Alma Mater and a very special place for Michael and I.  At Purdue, there is Harrison Street and Harrison Hall and Harrison High School.  These are all named after Benjamin Harrison who was on the Board of Trustees and the 23rd President of the United States. We loved that we could name him something that signified a place that means so much to us.  Purdue is where we started our careers, grew in our faith, made life long friends, got married, and started our adult lives together.  His middle name , Thomas, is after my dad.  (If you remember, Abe's middle name is Mark, after Michael's dad.)

Abe's Big Brother Role

After people ask how Harrison is doing, they always ask about Abe and how he's handling his new role as big brother.  My answer is always: Great! We really couldn't expect any more from him.  He LOVES his baby brother.  He'll come up to him and put his hand on Harrison's cheek and smile.  "Hi baby Hairless."  That's how he says Harrison.  So sweet!  I'm sure it will change as Harrison gets older and starts to get into Abe's toys but for now, they couldn't be any sweeter together.

Thanks so much for all you well-wishers and for sharing in our excitement.  We couldn't feel more blessed to have these two boys in our lives. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Abe's 2nd Birthday Party

This doesn't seem like it can be true, but this baby turned 2 years old today!

Last year we thew him an Honest Abe party. 

This year we went for a construction theme.  I was looking for a much simpler party planning process this year.  The construction theme was so easy because we already had a lot of the decor and anything else I needed was easy to find in stores since it is such a popular theme.  There are also tons of ideas on Pinterest which is where I found inspiration for the invite.

The construction theme was kind of a happy coincidence since the road my parents live on is literally closed... And that's where the party was! So people had to drive around the road closed signs to get to the party. Free decorations! 

And obviously, we had to stop for a photo op. 

Construction Birthday Party

We knew it was going to be a warm day so we planned to give Abe his gift right at the start of the party so the kids could play with it if they didn't want to get in the pool.  It was a hit!  It's the Step 2 Rain Shower Splash Water Table.

We also had a corn pit for the kiddos play with.

And then, of course, the pool was also available but was still pretty cold since we had just opened it the weekend before.  

Although, there were a few that were brave enough to jump in.  
I didn't really manage to get any pictures of the food table but it wasn't anything very elaborate anyway.  I used a couple of Abe's toy dump trucks and back hoes to decorate with and store utensils in.  I didn't label each food like I've done in the past which saved me some work.  Although I did make a cute sign that said "Dig In" with a picture of a shovel that Michael drew (he's better at drawing than I am, it's one of his engineering talent).  The sign was simple and cute and got the point across.... which was exactly my goal for decor this time around.  Speaking of signs.  We borrowed this one from my Aunt and Uncle (remember saint Steve?), perfect!

We eat burgers, hot dogs, chips, and fruit. 

I got all the kids little construction hats and I made up little favors with a small dump truck, smarties, a fruit snack, and sparklers for them as well. 
Small construction cones were found at the Dollar Tree.  Construction hats and mini dump trucks were from amazon.

And for dessert I made dirt pudding instead of cake. 

Abe needed some help blowing out the candles. 

 ...But no help eating!

Finally it was time for gifts! And I think we managed to have the best gift table ever!

Construction Birthday Party

Construction Birthday Party

We ended the evening with more swimming and then a few sparklers. 
Looks like the Birthday Boy gave this party a big thumbs up!


We can't believe our little baby cakes is already 2.  We couldn't be more grateful for him.  

*Photo cred to Bill Kercher

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Our Phase 2 Addition: in a nutshell

It may have been a long time since I have blogged, but that certainly doesn't mean that things have not been changing around here.

Last time I posted, I announced that we were embarking on a big addition....and it wasn't a baby.  We planned to add on a mudroom and garage.  But before I get into that, I thought I'd go way back to when we first bought our house to show you what it looked like.

Yikes! That looks pretty gloomy.  And it was. 

This was the first picture we ever took of our house.  We first looked at it in December 2012 and didn't closed until that following May.  It was quite the process, but I won't get into that.

Here are a few pictures we took the day we closed on the house.

Initial improvements included ripping out overgrown bushes, cutting down rotting trees, and replacing the windows and siding.
We knew we were going to eventually add on a garage and porch so we left some things as is.  On the the old garage, we left the white siding and the front gutters.  We also planned to replace the roof in the next phase so that the shingles would all match.  The old wrought iron railing was scrapped and it was replaced with wood railing, that I painted white.

And that's pretty much how our home looked for 3 years before we started demolition last July.

Let's zoom on through with a little month by month update for you:


Foundation and framing of garage


More framing of garage


Windows, porch framing


Pour concrete, continue to frame porch


Complete framing, new roof, garage door installation, start siding


Complete siding, install lighting, railing and skirting


 Odds and ends getting finished up like the railing, post wraps, the driveway. 

And here is today:
We still have a number of things to do... a few more post wraps, planting grass, stain the porch floor and stairs.  And then of course there is one very obvious thing we need to do:  The Landscaping... which we don't think will happen until next spring.  But we do plan on working on putting in a stone retaining wall this summer (hopefully).

Here's a side-by-side comparison with the house when we first bought it:

Does it look like the same house?

No? I'm ok with that.  :-)

Another side-by-side comparison for you.

I can't wait to get some flower boxes and some hanging ferns out this summer.  

If you have followed this process closely, you may be wondering why we ended up adding the porch on.. because, going into this project that was not the plan.  We thought we were just going to add on the mudroom and the garage and wait to add the porch later on down the road.  Long story short, it just made sense to proceed with the porch now, considering some of the changes we were making to the house. And man am I glad we did. 

It is amazing how much more enjoyment we are getting out of our home with our new addition... especially the porch.  I knew that a big garage would be great, I am just a little surprised to the extent I love having a porch.  I felt sort of trapped inside my house because there wasn't really any place to hang out outside since we bought it.  And now my outdoor enjoyment at home has improved 100 fold! Abe loves to ride his cozy coupe around the drive while I sit on the porch, eating grapes, getting fanned by Michael.  Except not that last part.  Just seeing if you were still reading! ;-) 

We are SO thankful for everyone that has helped us get to the (near) end of this construction project.  We couldn't have done it without some key players: My parents, my Uncle Steve (remember Saint Steve from phase 1 renovation?!), and M2 construction. Big time thanks and hugs for all of them for helping us see this thing through! 

So that's all for today folks! I haven't even gotten into sharing about the inside, there is a lot more to come and I will do my best at updating things more regularly as we progress.  But in the mean time, I am much more apt to sharing via instagram.  For the most up-to-date info, follow me there!

Porch and Garage Addition, Dark Blue Siding, Wrap around porch

I zoomed through 10 months of work, if you have any questions, just leave them in the comments below.