Monday, July 23, 2018

Basement Guest Room Remodel

I've always wanted a dedicated guest room(I know, first world problems). A few years ago, our Volkswagon was recalled, due to the whole VW diesel scam. Then a few months later hail damage totaled the same car. Long story short, we got paid for that car twice, and decided to downgrade Matt's new ride to finish the basement have the basement finished by a contractor with the extra money. I'm sooo glad we did. I have calculated it out, and it would have take us approximately 789,209,801 Saturdays to do all the work that needed to be done. We still did the tiling and all the painting, and OH MY GOODNESS, it was a ton of work. It literally took me months to caulk, fill nail holes in trim, prime and paint about 1,000 square feet of new construction while still taking care of four kids and semi-keeping our house up. It was a lot more work than just repainting walls. I'd still do it again though, it saved us 2k to not hire out the painting. Plus, I bought all the paint when Home Depot was doing their twice yearly paint sale, so I got it for a song compared to what I normally would have spent(five gallon buckets of primer and paint ceiling were 10$ after rebates!) 

The new guest room is the only 'done' room down there, as far as decor, so that's all I'm posting today. Hopefully this will motivate me to finish up the rest of the space down there! 

This is what we started with, glamorous isn't it? The basement was our "catch all". Kids toys, food storage, stuff we ripped out of other rooms, camping and miscellaneous storage made this a very homey and relaxing guest suite. 
I tried keeping this bed made, but the kids were constantly getting into the above food storage and climbing into said bed to snack.
And here it is now! My in-laws were coming into town and I really wanted to finish it up and make a nice, relaxing place for them to stay while they were here. My brother is going to be staying with us next month for a few weeks, so now it's all ready for him too!
The bed is now where that shelf used to be, and the corner where the bed was previously became a big walk in closet so guests still have room to hang stuff and we can stack Rubbermaid totes on the other wall. 
My Williams grandparents both passed away this last year, and I was so grateful to have gotten a few things from their house to remember them by. I got the quilt on the bed from them, and I remember my grandma always folding it over the pillows at her house, so I decided to do the same here. Some of the baskets on the wall are also from their house. My grandma loved music and had lots of sheet music in her house, I found an old copy of her favorite children's hymn "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" and I framed it.

On design shows it seems like they are always trying to use meaningful pieces, or stuff from thrift or antique stores, and I always thought it was just to save money but I get it now! I love this space so much more because it means something. I think it's functional and I love how it looks, but there is also emotions attached to lots of stuff in here. The chair I reupholstered myself from a thrift store find, the bunch of letters in the tray on the nightstand are from my brothers and sisters while they served missions for our church, I made the chest of drawers and nightstand in high school shop class, the glass dome has little rocks that Natalie glued glass and weeds to and made 'art' with, the tray we got as a wedding present, and the blue book on the nightstand is vintage hymnbook from the ward my grandma grew up in. Don't get me wrong, I still have stuff from big box stores, but it's fun to have some things that are unique.

We've been in this house for three years now, and this is only the second room I'm calling 'done'(the first was the powder room). Someday I might try to do something about the super fabulous window well view, but for now I'm happy. While my saintly in-laws were here to help we tackled our last BIG project, so now hopefully a few more rooms will come together quickly as I finish up some odds and ends! 

PS: Want your own basket wall? My sister helped me curate mine from vintage baskets and she has some she already put together on her Etsy shop

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

William's Birth Story

Will's birth story actually started about a month before he was born, because Will's birth was really tied up in the story of our first deployment and since Matt just got back I figured it was time to write it all down. 

Friday, Feb 10
Matt was finishing up working nights so he went to check back into work before the weekend at around 2:00. I was surprised to see him home again about an hour later with some totally out of the blue news. He said 'Well, we have a choice to make' (almost never a good sign in the Military-usually the two choices are awful) 'I can deploy in a week for three months, or I can leave the first part of May for five months.' 

We spent April-July of last year thinking Matt was going to deploy any day. He was off cycle now, so we thought we were in the clear. I was three weeks out from my due date at this point. We talked it out, said a quick prayer and Matt headed back to work to tell them he would be ready to go next week. My thoughts over the next few days bounced between 'Nah, it won't end up happening' to 'OHMYGOSHWHATWILLIDO??' 

President's Day Weekend
My parents and my brother and sister in law had already been planning to come out for the long weekend, so it was fun to have them around to distract me, since it appeared that this deployment was actually going to happen. We spent Saturday playing around in Garden of the Gods and driving to the top of Pikes Peak. 

Sunday, Feb 19
Matt was set to leave the next day.

John poked me in the eye during the first hour of church.

Matt used to work as an ophthalmic tech, and he 'diagnosed' me with a scratched cornea. A call to his dad (an Optometrist) confirmed I need to go get it checked out in case of infection. I needed to get singing time taken care of(I teach children's hymns during their Sunday School at my church) and while I was in there a friend of mine offered to take the lesson so I could go sit with Matt since he was leaving. That proved to be the breaking point, I was so touched she would think of me, my eye hurt, I was 38 week pregnant and had apparently been repressing some serious emotions because I started just ugly sobbing. After I escaped to the bathroom to collect myself(and talk it out with a sweet friend who came in to check on me) Matt and I went to the ER where we spent the afternoon waiting for a prescription of antibiotics for my eye. Not how I pictured our last afternoon together, but hey, that's life. While we were at the ER, my family cleaned my house. 

Monday, Feb 20
My family left in the morning, and we dropped Matt off that night. I think I cried the whole way home. I was not ready for this. 

First week alone
I would be lying if I said I spent this week feeling alone and depressed(which I totally anticipated). I was flooded with calls, emails, texts and offers of support. The day after Matt left a lady from church brought over a weeks worth of freezer meals (a weeks worth for a normal family, my little babies and I ate those for like three weeks) and some chocolate and flowers. My friend Becky threw me a baby shower for the ladies at church and offered to watch my kids when I went into labor. Another friend, Megan, watched my kids for my 39 week doctors appointment and after fed me peach cobbler and talked with me for a few hours before sending me home with some lasagna. More people that I can possibly name reached out to me, and I truly appreciated each and every one. 

My sister, mom and mother in law worked out a schedule taking turns 'babysitting' me so that there would always be someone there with me when I had the baby. Annie and my mom decided to overlap by a few days on my due date so that I could go in and be induced and have one person with me and one at home. Unfortunately, I found out at my 39 week apt that the Army hospital won't let you be induced until you are 41 weeks. Thanks a lot for that Army. So I was just going to have to rely on the hospitality of my friends to watch my three active kiddos when I went into labor. 

Annie's Shift
Annie got there about a week after Matt left, and she was pregnant too, so it was kind of fun to share that 'sisterly' time of both being pregnant together, even if she was barely pregnant and I was bursting pregnant.

 Annie celebrated her 26th birthday with us, we threw her a Moana party, my due date came and went, and my mom started her shift.  

Mom's shift
By now I was really pregnant and tired. I hadn't had much contact with Matt, I didn't know where he was, and I went to bed each night hoping that the baby wouldn't come until morning. I really didn't want to drag one of my poor friends out of their beds at 2 AM to come watch my kids. 

Sunday, March 12
I was going to be 41 weeks the next day, and I had an induction scheduled. With my other babies I was very anti being induced because pitocin is terrible. But this time around I just needed to be able to know when I could have the baby to coordinate all the help I would need. At church I talked to my friend Becky and she offered to just have the kids sleep at her house that night so I wouldn't have to wake them up before heading to the hospital. My mom and I dropped them off that night and went home to sleep. 

Monday, March 13(It's go time)
The hospital called around 5 am to confirm they had a bed for me. We got packed up and headed out, with the hopes that the baby would come quickly and my mom would be able to pick up the kids and take them home that afternoon. We got to the hospital at 7, pitocin started at 9 and then we waited.

And waited. 

I was feeling some regular, but weak contractions, and since with my other kids my contractions hadn't been bad until transition I just assumed the pitocin was doing it's job. Matt was able to call a few times so it was good to talk to him. I had always heard of people getting induced, getting their epidural, taking a nap and waking up to deliver their baby before lunch, so that is what I planned on(minus the epidural. Because I'm terrified of needles in my back). At 2:00 they checked me for the first time since I came in. Still at a four, babies head was high so they couldn't break my water. I was shocked, to be honest. This wasn't how it was supposed to work. I had been induced! He was supposed to be here by now and my mom was supposed to go get my kids so my poor pregnant friend didn't have to deal with my three kids plus hers all day. I felt totally defeated. I'd been having contractions all day, and nothing had happened?? I got up and started walking the halls. Around and around in circles, feeling anxious and depressed and wishing Matt was there to hold my hand. 

I asked to be checked again. Nothing. No progress. I started Googling (I know, I know) and found out that inductions fail sometimes. WHAT?! What was I going to do if I hadn't had this baby and my mom had to leave and my mother in law wasn't there yet? What about my kids? I couldn't leave them with my friend forever! I was so stressed about things that felt so out of my control. Nurses changed out and I got a little Asian nurse with a heavy accent and a lot of energy assigned to me. "We get this baby out! What you want to try??" She had me bounce on a yoga ball, take a nap on my side with some sort of birthing wedge between my legs, walk some more, and everything else I was up for trying. She was the perfect person to be with me while I was feeling so disheartened and like this baby might not come. She told me we would do whatever we could to help, but to be patient. He would come when he was ready. 

The midwives (a midwife and a student) that were on call were getting ready to head out, so they came in to check me one more time. I was still at only a four, but the baby had dropped enough they could break my water. They busted out that crochet hook thing, broke my water and it sounded like a waterfall there was so much fluid in there! (TMI? #sorrynotsorry) I got another new nurse that I really liked(I liked them all) and finally things started to pick up. Contractions started getting strong and close and I had my mom come over and hold my hand while I tried to relax through them and let my body do it's thing (it's almost a shame I think I'm done having kids because I think I'm getting better at it). 

I met my new midwife when she came in to check my progress. She said I was at a 7-8. Huzzah! I had made so much progress! I told her if I was already almost an 8, then this boy was coming soon. She gave me a patronizing smile and said she would stick around. I internally rolled my eyes at her. They never believe me when I'm ready to push. I wish I had the last nurse sign some sort of medical history 'This lady sprints right through transition and she REALLY IS READY TO PUSH WHEN SHE SAYS.' I asked if everything was ready to go, and she said it was and then I said the magic words: "I'm feeling pushy!" So glad I was still coherent enough to talk at this point, because my midwife reluctantly agreed to let me try. Five minutes later I was surrounded by my mom, four or five nurses and my midwife while they said things like 'Don't push yet!', and 'Push!' and I growled things like 'I CAN'T!' (seriously, have you ever tried to stop a baby from coming? Not comfortable). I do remember laying there on my back and realizing that ALL the people in the room were women, and thinking it was pretty cool. Just like with John, I wasn't going to be part of their system and push when I didn't feel like it. I just let my body do it's thing and then he was there. Don't get me wrong, it still hurts, but soo much less than when I was pushing until I thought my head would explode with my girls. You don't have to listen when they say push. They can't make you. 

William Perry Carter was born weighing in at 10 lbs 5 oz. They put him right on my chest, but when he didn't cry and start pinking up they took him over to put him on oxygen(his inital Apgar score was 1 on color). They said since he had come so fast, the fluids didn't get pushed out of his lungs in the birth canal like they normally would. They worked on him and I called Matt. Last he had heard I wasn't progressing, then when I finally was everything happened so fast we just didn't get a chance to call(I went from 7-8 to delivered in half an hour). It was middle of the night on the other side of the world, but I was glad we could talk. 

Will ended up needing to stay in the nursery overnight so they could monitor his O2 levels(they kept dropping when he would fall too deeply asleep). I went in whenever he woke up to feed him and snuggle my new little guy. He was(and still is) so chubby and rolly! I love it. 

Notice the Maui inspired arm tattoos
My mother in law came in to town while I was still in the hospital and sat with me through the hospital required videos. Making a mother of four watch a movie about how to change a diaper seems like a pretty great example of government efficiency. (realizing as I looked through my pictures I have none of my mom! Sorry momma!)

And that was it! I feel like Will's birth story really ended with this though, meeting his dad for the first time at two months old. This was amazing.

Matt's connection from Dallas was delayed, so I had some exhausted kiddos at the airport. It was really cool to be there though with what felt like his whole squadron waiting for this team to come home. 
Kate had fallen asleep on the way (it was 10:00 pm) and was NOT HAPPY about all the strangers talking to her.
The plane had landed! John didn't share my enthusiasm.
He spent the last ten minutes before they came out pouting on the floor.
Best. Day. Ever

Trying to (awkwardly) kiss with all four kids between us.

Some celebratory Red Vines.
This deployment was hard for us, but not nearly as hard as I would have thought. We had so many family and friends that really carried me through it. I never felt like I was doing it on my own. I could write pages more on how thankful I am for all the help I received. It was amazing to see.They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I'm glad mine is awesome.  At a time that I anticipated being the hardest of my life, I really didn't feel that way. I was constantly reminded that there is always good to be found, and you can always choose joy.

But I'm super glad it's over. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My House and Kids

Wow, lots going on here since I posted last... whenever that was. While we haven't 'finished' any other rooms in our house, we are working on a bunch of different projects in a bunch of different rooms. It drives Matt nuts. We'll start with John's room. 

It's the smallest room, so it was designated nursery, but it had very non-boy colors. After John started sleeping in there and I would feed him at night, I just couldn't take it anymore... knowing how easy it would be to change was eating at me in the wee hours of the morning. I started priming one day and finished off my can, and then I had a half primed, half pink, half orange room that made me even more crazy. Unfortunately, life happened, and I just didn't get to painting it for a few more months. Painting this room has been quite the process.  



I had a changing table in here with some bins underneath it, and it was the bane of my existence. This dresser is much better. 

I still need to hang some more pictures in here (above the chair), do crown molding, fill that terrarium on his dresser and finish sewing the teething guards on his crib sides since they were nibbled on by his sisters. 

Picture Ledges: 
I hate hanging pictures, but they are pretty much all I decorate with. Introducing some picture ledges I made with this tutorial. Since my walls are white, I wanted more of a gray finish, so I whitewashed them with a gray paint (graywashed?) and then rubbed on some stain and wiped it right off for just a little bit more depth in the color. I love it, and it's the same finish we used on John's shelf up above. 

Laundry Room:
I am beginning to really hate those wire racks. I thought about tidying up in here before taking this picture, then thought 'nah, it will make the changes look that much better'. See that box in the back corner on my dryer? Don't worry, it's not one that I STILL haven't unpacked since we moved in last June.  The big boxes are kitchen things that won't fit in my kitchen, so they live in the laundry room, kicking my laundry room stuff down on the washer dryer(cleaning supplies, re-usable bags, extra socks that always get stuck in my washer drain)

New tile! My parents came into town and my dad helped Matt switch our washer dryer hookups so that we could get them closer to the wall, and so the doors didn't open into each other. Sooo nice! I painted the walls 'Sea Salt'(Sherwin Williams), which I had been seeing all over pinterest and loving. I actually ended up liking the Behr color matched paint more than the actual Sherwin Williams sample color. A little less gray. 
New light! 

Still LOTS to do in this room, like finish painting it. We are also experimenting with painting the blinds white, so far so good. We are going to put cabinets up to replace the wire rack, add a hanging bar, plus a little mini counter with a set of floor cabinets right next to the washer. We scored some Ikea cabinet boxes for ten bucks a piece when they switched kitchen systems, but unfortunately, the box was mislabeled and they are 'natural' instead of white, like I thought, so those will need to be painted before putting them in. 

Family room:
Beautifully decorated, is it not? There wasn't anything wrong with the tile around our fireplace, but I just love marble. So one night I made Matt help me rip this stuff out, and when his parents just happened to be in town the next week, Matt's dad helped us put up new tile and build a beautiful mantle (surround? I have no idea what it's called besides 'awesome')

Taking out the sheetrock to put up cement board since we made some holes in the wall removing the old tile:
We even kind of liked the look of just the cement board. They had adhered the tiles right to the edge of the fireplace before, we're thinking they did that to hide the fact that the fireplace hadn't been installed flush with the wall, or just to make the 12x12 tiles fit better. Who knows. All we knew is that after we realized the fireplace wasn't sitting flush with the wall (and wasn't budging to move it into place) we sat there in silent frustration for a little while trying to figure out what was next. We didn't want one side of our fireplace sticking out farther than the other, and since we were doing subway tiles we couldn't just stick them halfway on the fireplace like they had done before. Luckily, after some extensive investigation, we found the screws that were holding the fireplace in line, and we could just barely access it. Matt and I exchanged many high fives. 

Now we were prepped and ready for Bob and April(in-laws of the #betterthanyours variety) to help us make it beautiful. Naturally, Natalie wanted in on the action.
And here is the halfway completed mantle(still missing a piece of trim)
It is now sitting in our living room, all painted and ready to nail into place. Matt said I had to wait to show anyone until it was all the way finished. Sorry. I think he wanted to motivate us to actually finish it. The nerve. Spoiler alert: it looks AMAZING.

Last but not least, my mom-in-law painted the master bedroom(you guys sick of my house yet, cause I'm not):
I like the gray much better, Behr's Silver Drop, for inquiring minds. Still lots to do in here, but for now I'm just enjoying some change. 
And finally put these back up. I made them from this tutorial  back in 2012, with wood from a tree that used to be in my Grandparents backyard. Sadly, they have been in storage most of our four moves since then, but I'm glad to have them back up now!

Wow. That was a long post. Good job for making it through. Johnny is happy you stopped by.