Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I have big babies & I cannot lie

I've been absent from the blogging world for what seems like a long time. The past two weeks I was living day by day with contractions starting and stopping, my mom coming in town, trying to cram stuff in with Kensi and Finn before the baby arrived and trying everything I could to induce labor. I was stressing myself out and for no good reason. But I'm so excited to share our little girl made her debut last week. Please meet Olivia Reese...

Olivia Reese has made us a family of five and we are loving every nine pounds and two ounces {except the second day cluster feedings that always seem to happen at night for us....exhausting} of her. Kensi is so in love with her sister. We had to do a little work convincing her of Olivia's name. Kensi was dead set on Lucy, and although a beautiful name, we just didn't find it fitting for our baby girl. Kensi does call her Liv, Livy and Lulu and it's pretty heart melting every time Kensi holds her sister close and just turns into a complete chatterbox telling her all about us, what we're doing and what she can't wait to teach her when she gets a little bigger. 
The first few days Finn showed very little to ZERO interest in Olivia. Once we were home I sat Finn between Olivia and I and he nearly jumped off the couch and landed in my lap. In the last couple days he's transitioned from looking at her in the swing with this look of 'What is she still doing here!??!' to a cute little head tilt with a smile saying 'babe!' We're getting there slowly.

Olivia’s Birth Story
Olivia's birth story seemed as if it would never start. I really believed she would be early as I had contractions nearly every day for the previous two weeks leading up to her due date. I had an appointment the day before with my midwife and literally begged her to help get her out that week. My mom came to visit and help for two weeks and as of Wednesday one week would be gone. I was starting to stress out if the baby didn’t come for another seven days. They were able to set me up for an induction the next morning which was not my ideal birth plan whatsoever, but I was so ready to have this baby while my mom was in town. On top of that my midwife suggested an array of things to induce labor which I told her we’ve tried nearly everything and although contractions would start, they just wouldn’t stick around. Then she asked if I had tried castor oil and gave me the most bizarre recipe I’ve ever heard in my life. I asked her if she was kidding when she was done and she was definitely serious. This recipe included blending castor oil with ice cream + root beer and drinking it and then following it with two peanut butter cups. Totally bizarre! I opted not to try this crazy milkshake since I was set up for an induction the next morning, but I’ll be keeping this recipe on hand. 
I ended up waking up to contractions early Wednesday morning (the day of my induction) and hoped they would stick around so I wouldn’t have to be induced. Luckily, by the time we were asked to arrive at the hospital my contractions were consistent and 6 minutes apart and there was no need for pitocin, just like Finn! However, when the contractions and dilation started slowing down my midwife decided to strip my membranes for the third time in a week. I will be the first to say this part is definitely uncomfortable, but to me well worth not having to be medically induced. 
I was also able to get my epidural, which I definitely wanted after my experience with Finnley. The anesnteiologist arrived within 10 minutes of me asking and once he left I was in a complete state of relaxation. I had Mike turn down all the lights in the room and I just slept my way through labor. My room was spa-like and completely calm. The nurses were so respectful and quiet. It was eye opening for me to see how little sleep and relaxation I’ve given myself in the last few years. Being able to sleep without toddlers poking you and screaming down the hall is quite ah-maz-ing even if I was in the middle of labor. 
After almost five hours, I asked if we could break my water to speed things along. Once this happened and I changed positions it was nearly 15 minutes and I could feel enough pressure of baby girl's head and knew I was able to push. It didn't take much and she arrived. She was so calm and alert. She didn't cry until she was placed on my chest and getting cleaned up and then calmed down almost immediately. Mike cut the cord shortly after and we just took her in. 
Olivia's birth was the most relaxed and calming birth we've experienced with all three of our babies. Each one was very different and for different reasons. I adore my midwife and loved my experience. I was in charge of that room, and as long as I wasn't putting myself or our baby in danger I kept that control. The nurses were impeccable, respectful and reliable. We are so blessed and so thankful to God for our beautiful and healthy baby.   

Friday, August 12, 2016

so much paint + paint tips

Our readers know we've been overhauling all the paint in the house the last several weeks with project after project. Hopefully after all the paint I can write a post about tile, as that's the next thing I would love to tackle. 
With so much painting we've gone through numerous rollers, brushes, trays and tape. More than we'd really like to admit to, but it comes with the territory. Today I'm sharing a few of our tips for making the painting process a little easier for the average diy-er. 

1. Blue tape or Green Tape? We've always experienced some sort of paint bleeding with Blue tape and opted to use the Green tape when we put up our board and batten in the entryway. The Green tape was awesome. We had very clean lines with no paint bleeding and it stuck to our wall very well. However, I got ahead of myself and taped off the upstairs rooms sooner than we were ready to paint and the tape was no longer sticking to our base boards and trim. We ended up ripping all the tape down and since we're repainting all our trim we painted everything free hand. So if you like to use tape, don't tape off a room until you're ready to paint and then remove it as soon as you're done to prevent the paint from drying and peeling away with the tape. 

2. Brush Brand. We've always had really good results with Purdy brushes. We've also used Wooster, but we've never had any issues with Purdy's brushes losing bristles or that sort of thing. 

3. Paint Finishes. Flat Paint: We hate flat paint and really don’t see much of a purpose for it at this point. Yes it hides the most imperfections on a surface, but also holds and shows every fingerprint, rub or scuff mark, and is very difficult to clean. A lot of people use this for walls and we think they’re crazy (sorry!), but we’ve been told it’s best for ceilings. Eggshell: Has a little sheen to it and easy to clean. Best for walls such as in bedrooms and main living spaces. Satin: More sheen than eggshell and harder to hide wall imperfections. Very easy to clean. We like to use this finish in our bathrooms. Semi-Gloss: Very high sheen. Very, very easy to clean. Best for trim and cabinets. This finish shows the most imperfections on surfaces so be prepared to see every 'character' mark.  

4. Paint Fumes: I've read you can add vanilla extract to paint to keep the scent more pleasant, but I've never actually tried this. We run our diffuser during and after the process to eliminate paint fumes. My favorite essential oils to diffuse right now are grapefruit and peppermint. It makes the entire room smell so good and gets rid of paint fumes quicker. You can also add a few drops of your favorite oil (citrus recommended) directly into your paint can and mix vigurously before using. 

What are some of your favorite painting tips and tricks? We'd love for you share! 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

way late

I'm a huge pracsinator. I remember when I was pregnant with Kensi I packed my hospital bag around 35 weeks. Finn's was probably around 36 weeks. This time around I finished it today at 38 weeks + 5 days. This is a combination of laziness and letting everyday life get in the way.  
I found it more difficult to pack this time around because I also had to pack an over night bag for the  babes depending when I go into labor and who is our person to call for the day. Packing for a 'just in case' scenario is hard because we have to pack some everyday items and also can't forget to toss in a few things at the last second like their toothbrushes and their nighttime cuddle buddies. 
As for our hospital bag I went from completely overpacking with Kensi to completely under packing with Finn, and back to overpacking with baby girl. Why? Because every hospital is so freaking different. We learned that here we have to pack much more for Mike than we did in Omaha. And as for me, my extras include...

1) My breast pump because I was asked to hand express milk for Finn when he had to stay over night in the nursery. Hand express after a very difficult and painful delivery. I asked if they had a pump of any sort I could use and was told no, which was just awesome. Trying to fill syringes with colostrum only using your hand is not only flat out difficult, it's exhausting. 

2) Lots of magazines and a good book. When you're stuck at a hospital with day time tv and no way to watch a movie, you definitely need something to keep you entertained. 

3) My laptop. I'll be honest, once I see her beautiful little face I'll want to shop for her and the kids. Most likely finding as many matching outfits for her and Kensi to wear together. 

4) My pillow and light blanket. Hospital pillows are never as comfy as your own and having an extra layer of home comfort to keep you cozy always helps. 

5) Dry shampoo AKA a girl's best friend five days out of the week, along with my lip gloss and mascara so I actually feel better than I probably look. 
We’ve also made plans to do a lot of things at the last minute. Last week, I became so frustrated with our dog because I kept finding spots on the carpet in different places. She’s been having accidents because her bell broke and we hadn’t replaced it. After my near freakout we ran to a local dog shop, bought a new bell that the kids won’t be able to pull off the door and made an appointment to have our carpets cleaned. I’m so excited to have them professionally cleaned and the fact we don’t have to do it ourselves like we usually do, but more importantly, I’m so excited for the day when I can share we’re actually ripping out the carpet and installing new floors. That day really can’t come soon enough, especially with as much carpet as there is and us having a dog. Don’t get me wrong, I love our Stella to death, but when you mix in kids and accidents on carpet that your kids play on....it’s infuriating. I can happily share that since replacing her bell, there have been zero accidents!
She really is a sweet little thing. Oh yeah, and she’s getting her hair cut this weekend as well. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

on to the next project

More like projectS! This past week has kept me away as we're trying to tie up loose ends before we have the baby. We spent a much needed, relaxing weekend with our little fam a couple weeks ago and spent this past weekend with friends and dealing with contractions most of Sunday. However, once she makes her debut we are ready to dive into more projects. The girls' room and Finn's room are on hold until after baby girl is born as it could be any day. We still have a few items to pick up for all of them, but thankfull the list is getting shorter...

Order Rugs
Build Cubbies
Buy girls' dresser
Buy Bins
Put in Closet Organization 
Hang Girls’ mirror
Prime & Paint Girls’ Room
Prime & Paint Finn’s Ceiling
Move Dressers

So what's the next project on our major to do list? We have two. Mike will be working on one and I'll be working on the other. They will take us several weeks to complete so I hope I can share some progress photos with all of you through Instagram & SnapChat (rachbraden) as I'll be busy taking care of a newborn and our two other kiddos. 
Mike will be working on building our built-ins next to our faux fireplace and I will be attempting to paint our kitchen cabinets and finally add hardware! It’s shocking to some people that we still haven’t put hardware up, but our cabinets are a dark laminate at the moment and the only thing that would really pop would be chrome or nickel, neither of which we were fond of knowing we wanted to paint the cabinets. 
Our built-ins should be fairly simple (we both hope!!!) as Mike will build the cabinet box and we'll order our cabinet doors. At this point we plan to lay a wood top and paint everything white to match the fireplace. We will also add shelves up to the ceiling. 
We've been discussing our kitchen cabinets for over a year now and since we're lightening everything up with very light grays and whites, we're doing a two-toned kitchen. We are thinking about painting our bottom cabinets dark(er) and painting the uppers white. We eventually hope to take the uppers down and re-configure & replace them to allow for open shelving on either side of our stove/oven. We also want to take the microwave out and put in a hood because neither one of us can stand having the microwave where it is. We hate that it takes away head room while cooking. 
As for hardware we haven't quite made up our mind, but we're leaning towards brass hardware, especially with darker lower cabinets. I continue to go back and forth between different pulls so my Pinterest board is overflowing with hardware inspiration. This kitchen cabinet project could be a total disaster or turn out great. All I know, is I'd love to have it done before Halloween. Fingers crossed and wish us luck! 

Monday, August 1, 2016

nine months

Maybe we'll make it to ten months? The chalkboard is ready, but I don't know if it'll happen. 

How Far Along: 9 months
Weight Gained:  23 lbs . I haven’t gained any additional weight in my last three appointments.
Nausea: None
How Am I Feeling: Lots of back, pelvic and leg pains. Also feeling huge at this point. I can definitely tell I’m retaining water with this crazy heat like I’ve never done before.
Maternity Clothes: Dresses and skirts are still my jam along with anything else that fits.
Sleep: The body pillow has officially been added and Mike has nearly zero room to sleep.
Cravings: Lots of fruit, meat and salads.
Food Aversions: Leftovers are still gross.
Movement: Baby girl is head down and feeling her head turn can be painful. She’s also stretching her hands and arms above her head if that’s even possible and it can be so painful that I’m frozen in whatever position until she moves again.
Belly Button In or Out: It’s actually flat most days now.
Gender: Girl
Names: Kensi still loves Lucy and we’re considering names that she could use the nickname Lulu and possibly Lucy. But knowing Kensi no matter what the name, she’ll probably call her Lucy, even if her name was something like Emma.
What I'm Looking Forward To: I can’t wait to hold this sweet little girl.
What's Different With This Pregnancy: Retaining as much water as I am. I feel like a walking human waterbed that’s all squishy.
What I'm Missing: Energy. Getting down to these last few weeks is absolutely exhausting especially with two kiddos.
How Are We Preparing: I still haven’t packed the bag yet! It needs to happen asap...or when I have the energy, or when I’m walking out the door to the hospital.  

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