Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giddy up, Claire!

We're figuring out Claire's likes and dislikes while thoroughly enjoying getting to know her. We think we may have a future equestrian in the family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Last week was basically a blur.

Albeit one of the best blurs of my life, it was still a blur.

Just a warning that this post contains Claire's birth story, so if you're not into that sort of thing, don't read on.

All day Thursday, November 11, I was convinced my water was breaking....a slow leak kind of thing. Finally, at 4:30 I went to the OB because I certainly didn't want to show up at the hospital and not know if it was the real deal or not. The doctor's office was a much better place to make a fool of myself. So, in I went and they did a little swab and told me I had progressed a little from my last appointment, but that my water had not broken.

From there, Greg met me in town and we went to TJMaxx to burn some time before my pedicure appointment at 6:30. After my pedi (in which I told her to definitely rub my ankles...anything to help speed labor), I picked up dinner and headed back to the farm.

Greg and I watched an episode of Big Bang Theory, then got halfway through The Mentalist when we decided it was time to get some ice cream. Greg headed downstairs with the dogs to dip it. That's when the gush happened..........

Thankfully, I was neat about the whole thing and not a drop got on anything but the pajamas I was wearing. G had to put the dipped ice cream back in the fridge to bring me some towels, but other than that, I was neat and tidy during the whole thing. So, at 10:30, we headed to the hospital, calling only my parents to make sure the dogs were taken care of that night and next morning.

So, there I was at the hospital, having contractions every 2 minutes, but nothing was too terrible and I wasn't progressing at all. I worked on the computer, read my Bible lesson, Greg snoozed....anything to pass the time.

Because my water had broken, I had to deliver Claire within 18-24 hours (hospital policy) to avoid infection. After talking to the nurse, she was convinced my water had broken much earlier with a high leak, but there wasn't enough of a sample to turn the swab at the doctor's office.

So, at 6:00 that morning, my OB wanted to start me on the dreaded pitocin. I didn't want to do it, but more than that, I didn't want a C-section, so I had to do something to make progress.

They began at 8mg and worked their way up to 22mg before the pain was so excruciating that G and I started discussing an epidural. Originally, I hadn't wanted to do it, but at 22mg, I still wasn't progressing so we went for it. Our rationale was this:
  • I needed to relax in order to progress, and the pitocin contractions didn't allow me a break in between to recover from the previous one. And, I really needed to make progress anyway otherwise the C-section talk would commence.
  • If I ended up needing a C-section, I would rather already have the epidural to avoid general anesthesia.
Almost as soon as I got the epidural, I passed out. That's one thing they didn't say in the birthing class. That thing will KNOCK. YOU. OUT. It did me anyway, so I slept for 2 hours. When I woke up, I was at 7cm and 100% effaced, which was a far cry from the "maybe 2cm" the nurse was generously giving me just before the epidural. My contractions had taken a regular pattern and I was well on my way.

Greg woke up, too and went to the cafeteria and brought his lunch back up to L&D. About that time, my mom came and we chatted for a few minutes then I asked for the nurse to check me again because I thought I needed to push. At that point, I had gone from 7cm to 10cm in 30 minutes. Greg was still calmly fixing his plate and commenting on how good his salad was.

Mom left the room and the nurse got everything ready, Greg was still munching the whole time and I was increasingly saying, "I think I need to push....Greg, tell the nurse I need to push."

When the nurse finally told me I could push, I asked where my doctor was. She told me not to worry, they don't call him until the baby crowns and there is plenty of time for him to get there. I tried to protest, but she said, "Don't worry, I've done this before."

I felt a little silly, but after one push, she was the one scrambling: "Okay, stop pushing!" She hurried to the nurses station to ask if my doctor had been called. The next 10 minutes or so was spent trying to see where he was and if he would make it to catch the baby. He arrived in a hurry and I just had to give one more push. At that point, he calmly said the cord was wrapped around her neck a couple of times, so instead of Greg cutting the cord, he did. That was fine by us as we were more than thrilled with her safe arrival.

Just to prove I'm human, I did have a couple of tears (one from each eye) when they plopped her up on my belly. There's not a word that can adequately describe that moment. We had waited so long to experience it and by far, it was worth all the pain, time, and expense to get to that moment.

This is one of my favorite photos Greg took right after birth. Claire has such long fingers and this photo looks like she's saying "Why is this happening to me?"

She was born on Friday, 11/12 and we were sent home on Sunday.

No one tell Claire her mommy put her outfit on backwards.

Meeting her siblings for the first time. (More on that later).

Then, on Tuesday, we went back for a checkup at the pediatrician. At that point, she was readmitted to the hospital because of jaundice and weight loss. I only took a few photos of this hospital stay because it was heart-wrenching...and I was busy the whole time. We had to weigh her before and after every feeding and I was pumping and adding about an ounce to her regular feedings. Luckily, I had good friends (and my husband of course) to watch Claire around the clock, though. She kept knocking those goggles off her face, so their job was to wash bottles and keep her eyes protected. She's going to write them a massive thank you note after her first eye doctor appointment, I'm sure of it.

We were dismissed the next day, but (whew!) that was a tiring event.

We're now home and happy and doing well. More updates to come.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

living room

This is the one room in the house that I'm still not satisfied with. There are elements that I like and elements that I don't like, but mostly I think it's just because it's a TOUGH room to decorate. The problem is that it's a long/skinny room and 3 of the 4 walls have doorways, which means basically all the furniture has to float. You'll see what I'm talking about, but first the before photos:

Trust me that the white chair here wasn't actually white. And, the leather sofas were horrendously stained. You can't see it here, so you'll just have to believe me.

Yes, they actually left that TV and VCR! Craziness. Where the TV was, we knocked out that wall to add another entrance into the kitchen.

We kept the barnwood ceiling through both the kitchen and living room. You'll notice the room is much more open and conducive for entertaining with the wall knocked out.

This is the view taken from the foyer entry into the living room. Those doors lead to the back porch.

Not sure if you can tell or not, but there's actually a double set of doors that span the back wall.

My favorite aspect of the room is the fireplace. I love that we removed the drywall (and mold that we found underneath!)

These chairs were some that Greg's parents were storing in our garage and we asked if we could have them recovered.

Books wrapped in linen along the back wall that sit on the console.

The chalkboard on the back wall was made with a leftover piece of plywood (it's smooth, so it's different than the kind you're probably thinking of) and some barnwood pieces from the barn originally on our property.

  • Chairs - Found and recovered
  • Stool - Pottery Barn
  • Potted Plant - Lowes
  • Milk Crate - Found
  • Basket for logs - Can't remember, but it was a recent purchase.
  • Mirror - Kirkland's a long time ago. It used to be in our master bedroom.
  • Art on mantel - Oliver Jeffers original
  • Vases - Storehouse (no longer in business). These used to be in my bedroom.
  • Fireplace Screen - unknown, but it was a recent purchase.
  • Coffee Table - Found
  • Sofa - Pottery Barn
  • Pillows - Target (leather), Pottery Barn (green and yellow from a while ago), Anthropologie (varmint from a longer while ago)
  • Console - Restoration Hardware
  • Lighting - Restoration Hardware
  • Curtains - Anthropologie
  • Rug - unknown, but cheap
  • Wall Art Frames - Pottery Barn
  • Side Table - Pottery Barn from a while ago (wanting to replace it)
  • Hourglasses - unknown
  • Phone - found
  • Dog - not for sale
I've gotten more and more vague in my house posts as time has gone on. Sorry about that, but I figure if you have any questions, you can email or post here in the comments and I promise I'll do my best to answer.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

sneak time!

I'm still plugging away with this kit, so I'm hoping to have more than 3 sneaks, but Claire's arrival (or lack thereof) may influence that one way or the other.

Let's suffice it to say that my joy of creating with this kit is unlike any December kit ever. Until this year, December's kit has been so difficult to assemble and for me, difficult to create with. I felt like I was always walking a tightrope between getting the right mixture of holiday/seasonal items and non-holiday items. But, this year, it just all fell into place and came together so beautifully. There are 2 contributing factors, I believe:
  • Lisa and Nik helped immensely with finding fun products, especially for the add-ons, but they definitely helped steer the direction of the main kit.
  • Sassafras being willing to take a gamble with us for this collaboration. We love the folks there, and the designs for this kit are simply amazing. When we picked them up from the printer, they took my breath away.
So, here goes.

This layout was made entirely with the main kit, Metropolitan.
It's my favorite of the bunch.

Another layout made entirely from the main kit, Metropolitan. I was able to fit a lot of journaling on this one, which is unusual for me.

And, last but not least, a layout created with Metropolitan + Holiday Lights. This was a surprise add-on for me. I wasn't as fond of it, but then I started creating with it, and the magic happened. It coordinates so well with the main and I don't think you'll regret getting it considering the stamp in it is phenomenal.

A couple items to remember:
  • More Color has my favorite cardstock in it: Cinder by Bazzill. You won't want to miss out on this one, the colors in it are sooooooooo pretty.
  • The only way to get the special Sassafras paper is to purchase the main kit, More Patterned Paper, or SC Patterned Paper. We did run a tad extra, but I expect them to go quick.

Friday, November 12, 2010

39 weeks

Claire Thomas Foster



6 lbs 11 oz

20.75” long

Everything went very smoothly, and both Claire and I are doing very well. Greg said everything went great for him, too, and we know that was of utmost importance J

Claire’s coloring is great and she has brown hair and blue eyes (for the moment). We’ve already been visited by both sets of her grandparents and her “cousin” Natalee, who said she would teach her “big girl stuff,” which I assume is all about princesses and fairies.

If all goes as planned, we’ll be home Sunday afternoon.

Thanks so much for all the prayers offered on our behalf. Now the real job begins!


I made these for our Halloween party last week. One batch didn't last 10 minutes with 100 college students (even though there were 2 pans of brownies, 1 pan of homemade cookie-type brownies, and about 300 cookies).

Hands-down, this was the best dessert.

And, just so you know, it was perfect for getting cream cheese at Sam's. (Splurge and get Philadelphia since it is the main ingredient!) At Sam's you get 6 in a pack and this recipe calls for 3.

Since the first batch will be eaten so fast, you definitely want the other 3 blocks of cream cheese to make another batch just for you. This is especially true if you're 38 weeks pregnant. I mean, you don't want all that expensive cream cheese to go bad, do you? After all it is dairy and that's good for the baby.

I'm personally vouching for this recipe and I don't waste my calories on anything not worthy. Promise.

(One last thing, graham crackers or any other cookie work just fine as the crust.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010


You've been asking to see the kitchen for a little while and truly it's my favorite room in the house, so I'm happy to share it with you.

But, what would the tour be without a few before photos????

Before, this was the only doorway to enter/exit the living room and kitchen. Very narrow and certainly not conducive to entertaining guests.

Also, the glass door you see on the left led out to the porch, where you had to walk outside to go inside the garage.

Remember those two things....

Another nice wall-color and window treatment. If only you could have seen all the dust/mice droppings/cobwebs, but those just don't show up in photos.

The oven and stove were original. I don't even think Habitat for Humanity wanted to take them....

That refridgerator is now at the barn, but before it could be moved, it had to be emptied. Yes, it was FULL of food....and mold. And a frozen/popped can of coke in the freezer.

Now, for the after photos which make me so happy.

The beautiful hutch/cabinet that was made for this spot. Painted "clover" by Porter Paints (I think). This sits to the right of the long wall of cabinets.

You'll notice here that we removed the upper cabinets and added more windows. This looks over the east field and it's so beautiful in the morning.

The old ovens and stovetop are gone (YAY!) making way for my best friend that would be the first item for me to carry out in case of fire. Yes, it now ranks above my wedding photos. I can't say enough about it. 6 burners + a griddle. I didn't think I'd use the smaller left oven very often, but boy was I wrong. It's wonderful. Fits a 9x13" pan and is perfect for making desserts while the other oven is cooking the main course. Plus, it's great not to have to heat up a large space for toast/bagels/waffles/you-name-it. I also love the fact that it's gas, so when it's on, it's on and when it's off, it's off.

I really could go on and on.

The harvest table is an antique.

That's the pantry door you see in the background. To the right of that is a chalkboard for grocery lists.

The chimney was always there, just under drywall, so we exposed it.

Remember the doorway that led to the living room. Well that was on the left side of the chimney and we opened it up on the right side as well.

The ceilings are reclaimed barnwood that have been white-washed. The planks came from Cumberland County, KY and the beams from a barn in Michigan.

I'm still in love with the choice of concrete for the countertops, especially now that my cute cow creamer is sitting on top of them.

This is the area that was the back porch. We enclosed it to make a breakfast area. You'll remember that door leads to the mudroom. The frames to the left hold various maps I've ripped from atlases.

Chairs from Crate & Barrel
Table from my mom (seriously we switched kitchen tables since the size of ours worked better in her house and vice versa). Originally from Storehouse furniture (now out of business)
All Lighting from Schoolhouse Electric in Oregon
Appliances by Thermador (I hate to admit it because you'll think we paid through the nose for them, but we didn't. Got about a 75% discount plus a free dishwasher that is so quiet it has a red light that shines on the floor to let you know it's running. After using the apartment dishwasher for over a year that really didn't even clean plates but sounded like a freight train, I'm even more grateful for this one.)
Faucet by Kohler
Mixer by Kitchen Aid (my other love...sigh)

Anything else you want sourcing on, let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

showered with words

My baby shower was a dream come true.

My hostesses (Susan, Lorie, Ashley) agreed to my hair-brained idea of having a book shower. Again, the practicality in me won out and I couldn't bear the thought of having a thousand blankets and no books. Or getting all 0-3 month clothes and nothing for 6-12 months. My mind couldn't bear the insanity of that.

Plus, I was hoping all my friends who work with children or have children of their own would choose some of their favorite books and I (oops, Claire) could benefit.

See, I'm practical.

And, I was right.

(And, please don't look too closely at the photo above. I can't stand the way I look, but I wanted my hostesses to know how much I appreciate them.)

I should also mention the invitations were beyond perfect. Not only were they cute, but the wording was so special.

They used an old cradle and some items from Claire's room for decoration at the shower.

Lorie and Ashley made all the cupcake toppers. They did raid my punch collection though :)

And, they included photos of Greg and I (thankfully they chose a photo of me pre-lazy-eye and I am eternally grateful for that act of kindness).

Lorie made a little book to write all my gifts in and some friends even wrote some advice in the back. Definitely something I'll be holding on to.

I ended the day with a car-load (no kidding!) of wonderful books and only one duplicate. They filled the shelf outside Claire's room and I'm so happy to have a collection of books ready for her before her arrival. I'll be sharing some of our favorites as we read them to her, but until then, I must tear Greg away from the Princess Book that plays "Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo."