28 March 2012

It looks like a real house!

So, after ripping out the landscaping from the previous owners... 
a year later, it is complete.

Let's go back to where we started.

I'm sorry it's not the best picture, but it'll have to do. When we bought the house in November 2010, there were two bushes, two small trees, and a bunch of red brick landscaping edgers that didn't match the house in the slightest. Don't forget to notice that the bushes are only evenly spaced, not centered under the windows. As if the front of our house needed more awkwardness to add to it's flat facade. 

Jumping forward to March of 2011, we were gung ho about giving the front of our house a face lift. 

We ripped everything out, replanting the foliage elsewhere. 
The edgers also bit the dust. See?

Then for whatever reason, it took 12 months to revisit this project. 
(a pregnancy, maybe?) I apologize if you visited our home in this time frame, as it looked like a hick family lived here with no landscaping (and for a few months, a car on jack stands- sorry, babe). I also decided to tackle it alone this time while Chris is deployed. It'll be a nice little something for him to come home to. 

First, I drew up a landscaping plan. Don't laugh. It came as no surprise to my mother when I mentioned I drew one up. She'll back me up when I say that every time I rearranged my room as a kid, I drew a plan (to scale, of course) for the new furniture placement. I still do. [See house layout below that I made on floorplan.com].

After determining the number of plants I needed to acquire, mom and I set off to Lowes. (Can't ignore that military discount!) I purchased a Pink Flowering Almond for the end of the bed, 5 Big Twister Rush grasses, and 2 Firepower Nandina bushes. I also have a handful of Liatris and 'Blue' (which I think is a Balloon flower) bulbs to plant here and there. 

After setting the edging and adding some good topsoil, I set out my plants to check my locations.

I planted everything, making sure to add in some Miracle Gro soil. 

The final step was to add mulch. I used newspaper as my weed barrier after seeing it posted on Pinterest a hundred times. Doesn't it look beautiful??

Now we just have to wait for the bulbs to come up to add some color, and for the bushes to fill out a bit more! I'm also planning on adding a trellis between the windows for some Morning Glories. I'm pleased as punch.

You probably noticed the 4x4 post on the right side of the bed. That's my new flagpole. Chris and I had a bracket on the house that kept loosening and was about to fall off, so this was my solution. And yes, I set it in concrete. I can't wait to get the bracket up and give the flag some air! 

What do you think? An improvement?! :)

04 March 2012

...95 days later...

I'm baaaaaack!

I know you were thinking it wouldn't ever happen, but I'm determined to get back on the blogging train!

First thing's first: I'm a MOMMY!!

If you're just tuning in and missed the big news, the hubs and I brought a BEAUTIFUL baby girl into this world on November 30, 2011. 

Miss Camdin Elisabeth Freed weighed 6 lbs 13 ounces, and measured 20 inches long.

In my first post back, I'd love to share with you her birth story. For those of you who choose not to read this material, this is your exit cue and thanks for making an effort! I'm not afraid to share the details, so brace yourselves... HA!

Here goes:

Tuesday evening [November 29th] at 8:45pm, my contractions began. Considering I had only experienced Braxton Hicks contractions two days early, I was still new to the sensation. They seemed to be sporadic in length and intervals, so all I did was record them and watch them continue. Keep in mind this was the evening of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which I was excited to watch. I spoke with my mom and good friend Kim on the phone during the first few hours of contractions, with no consistency or pattern in sight. I thought this may be it, but no signs of increasing intensity were appearing. By 10:30pm I decided that we should start watching the show to get my mind off of the contractions. I figured I'd know when things were changing drastically.

Then it hit me. At 11:00pm, I started noticing the contractions appearing more quickly. I checked my timing, and they were... TWO MINUTES APART?! Are you KIDDING me? How did I go from no pattern, to TWO minutes apart? Holy geez! I told Chris immediately. Of course, he wanted to shower quickly, so I gathered all of our things : packed bag, snacks for Chris, let the puppies out to potty, and a towel in case my water broke in the car. (Gotta protect those seats, ya know?!)

We pulled out of the driveway at 12:30am, Wednesday morning. I was finally settled in a birthing suite by 1:30am. My first check by the nurse showed that I was 3 cm dilated and 80-90% effaced. Within 15 minutes, my entire dinner came up in 3 separate incidences. Lovely. I kept getting hot flashes and nausea with each contraction. This kept Chris attached to the thermostat, turning it up and down, up and down. I was able to have Zofran in my IV for the nausea which helped immensely. 

At 3:30am I was still at 3 cm, but with much more intensity and pain. I had originally thought my labor would be on the shorter side based on my mom's experiences, therefore I wanted to try it without an epidural. But, by this time, it didn't look like things were going to progress quickly. I asked for the epidural, knowing that it might be a while before I received it. Thirty minutes later the nurse came back with unexpected news. My blood work shower elevated platelet levels, which "disqualified" me for an epidural. Guess I was going to get what I originally hoped for. The pain was so intense at that point, that I asked for a little help with medication. The nurse gave me a pain narcotic (Stadol) which would last 2 hours. As as she hooked it into my IV, I was out. I got to sleep for 90 minutes!! Yay for re-energizing myself!

By 5:00am the pain was coming back. The nurse checked me again, and I was 4-5 cm dilated, and 100% effaced. They gave me another round of Stadol, and I slept for an hour. By 6:00am, I could feel a lot more pain, which made me think I was much more dilated. Dr. Chang came in at 6:12 to check me. I was at 8 cm, and he broke my water. 

I kid you not, less than 10 minutes later, I felt this huge urge to push. It was like my body just went into pushing mode without me even knowing about it. Chris called up the nurse quick to have her check me again. She acted all nonchalant when she came in, like there was no way that I was fully dilated. Sure enough, I was right. 10 centimeters and ready to go... NOW! She called for Dr. Chang and the rest of the  team. Dr. Chang was in the room by 6:30am. This is the part where it gets fuzzy for me.

I remember being EXTREMELY parched and dry-mouthed. Chris started feeding me ice chips by spoon in between my contractions- which felt like they were 10 seconds apart. Craziness. The nurses prepped everything very quickly. I started pushing at 6:45am. Four contractions later, at 6:59am my baby girl made her debut! She was screaming so long that she could hardly catch her breath. I had to have an episiotomy to assist in her arrival, and honestly the stitching up of that was more painful since my adrenaline already had gone down a bit as soon as she was born. 

Chris cut the cord right away, and she was carried over to the table to be cleaned up right away while he snapped a ton of pictures. Her APGAR scores were 8 and 9. While her first diaper was being put on, she pooped. Then after getting clean from that, she peed while the second clean diaper was being put on. HAHA. That's my girl. Get it all out right away. So her plumbing worked wonders!

They then brought her over and laid her on my chest and I've never felt such immediate warmth and love in my heart. She was already holding her head up, listening to our voices, and making sweet growly sounds. 

... And three months later we are still SO in love, we can't even explain. 

Many more updates, stories and pictures to come. 
If you'd like to see the massive amount of pictures we've taken so far, head on over to Flickr.  Add me as a contact, and I will grant you access to her cuteness!

Time to feed her... again. Story of my life now!