Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ellie's story {part 2}

Ellie's Birth Story.

I thought for sure we'd be meeting our third baby on Jan 23rd (a day early!) when I woke up to mild, but regular contractions. I stayed in bed as long as I could, but between the excitement and contractions every 5 minutes, I wasn't sleeping! So I picked up the living room, cleaned the bathroom, and was doing the dishes when Dan woke up. After sending him to the grocery (at 5am!) I called my midwife and my mom. 



When my mom arrived a few hours later ready to see Caleb off to school and spend the morning with Abel, contractions had all but stopped! They were now irregular and anywhere from 10-20 mins apart. Total defeat set in. Dan decided to work from home and I went back to bed, though I didn't really sleep.

Around noon, I talked with my midwife and we both figured it just wasn't time. I took a bath, drank a glass of wine, and crashed on the couch for a few hours.  My mom decided to take the boys home with her, to allow us more time to just relax, should baby decide to come. 

Early evening the contractions returned and built with some intensity. At roughly 10 minutes apart I once again was hopeful that this was it, but not overly optimistic.



By midnight the contractions we're every 8 minutes, but intense enough that we weren't sleeping. My sweet hubby suggested that we get up and move around the house to try to speed things up.  After two hours of endless laps around our tiny house, contractions were now every 2-3 minutes! We called our midwife and she headed right over. Things were finally moving along.



I labored for what felt like days, walking laps, taking a shower, catching catnaps literally in every room of our house. I could not get comfortable and felt that little progress was happening. 



Finally at about 8am, while my midwife was administering a second dose of antibiotics for GBS (which I had tested positive for), we talked about what to do next. She offered to check me and see if she could break my waters which might help speed things up. No sooner than I had agreed with her, my water broke (at 8:07am) on its own - while she's still pushing in the antibiotics!  She quickly finished up the antibiotics and  I sat back to let the nurse check that the waters were clear and she immediately noticed that baby was descending. I thought I'd just lay down to rest for a minute while my midwife switched places with the nurse (knowing the hard part of pushing was ahead of me)...as I did, my body completely took over and literally pushed Ellie out on it's own! I can remember looking at my midwife, saying "I can't stop, I'm not pushing."  



It was less than a minute from the time her head emerged to her snuggling on my chest! She was born just 5 minutes after my water broke at 8:12am, on her due date, January 24th!!!



Sweet Eleanor June, rocked our world the moment she arrived! I spent weeks in shock that I had a daughter.  Still today, I sometimes look at her and marvel over the fact that I get to be the mama of this sweet GIRL! She brings so much JOY and LIFE to our lives.




{Read part one of Ellie's birth story here. }

Monday, February 18, 2019

Ellie's story {part 1}


I've desperately wanted to share our sweet daughter's birth story for over a year now, but could never quite find the right words.  To tell her story, we have to go back two years.....

November 2016.  During our annual anniversary, Dan and I talked at length about the next few years. We were eager to get started in buying more real estate and decided that we'd widen our parameters in include possibly moving our little family.  While we loved our little blue house, I was struggling with being home alone all day with our littles and not being near friends.  They had been working on our sewer connection for months and we couldn't even enjoy playing in our own yard. Dan's job kept him away sometimes 80+ hours a week making it hard to fit in housework.  We knew a move would help ease some of the stresses we were both dealing with, so we were open to it.

During the month of December, we looked at real estate daily....we visited and put offers in on a number of potential rentals, but nothing was panning out. Discouraged, we poured our energy into making some updates to our home - fresh paint + simple repairs. By the end of the year we felt like maybe we were supposed to just settle into our home for a few more years, but neither one of us were ready to give up.

Near the end of January I got a call from Dan one morning asking if I had time to come see a foreclosure he and our realtor had just learned about.  I literally loaded up the boys and went to meet him at the house.  This particular foreclosure was only available for "Owner Occupancy", which meant the owner had to move into the house and live there for at least a year.  So the question was - Is it worth moving our family across town, into the city? And could we live in this SMALL house for a year?  (it's important to note that the house is less than 900 sq ft and only 2 bedrooms).  As we were leaving we wrote up an offer - and within days we had a closing date.  Two weeks later we got the keys to Our Little Green Bungalow!

It was a whirlwind, completely unexpected, but completely exhilarating! We were finally taking steps to financial freedom and we had this awesome adventure for the four of us for the next year.

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During this time, Dan and I were both struggling with our desire to grow our family but felt it wasn't the right time.  Dan's job kept him away so much he barely got to see the boys, and we'd just bought a house so all his free time was spent getting it ready for us to move into.  Despite my inner desire, I was home alone with our two boys all day and felt ill-equipped to add more children to the mix.  Then there was the financial burden - we were already living on a single income.  While we were able to pay the bills, there wasn't much extra to save or invest what we desired!  We both felt like we had this heavy decision to make but didn't want to!  I remember one night near the end of February, just letting go and turning it all over to God - praying that if we were meant to grow our family that it would be in God's timing and not ours...and if we weren't supposed to grow our family that God would grant us peace about it.  Over the coming weeks as we dove deeper into house renovations, I was overcome by an incredible sense of peace and contentment about our family.

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May 2017. It took months to finish the house and get it to a livable state (gas and plumbing issues took far longer than anticipated!) but by mid-May we were moving! The night we moved in, I remember sitting on our front porch soaking in our new neighborhood. We talked about the walks we'd take on the trail and to the park.  How we'd visit downtown more often now that we were just minutes away.  We were both filled with joy and excitement just thinking about sharing this season of city life with our boys.  It was in that moment that I confessed to Dan that while putting this photo on the mantel that afternoon, I just couldn't shake the idea that someone was missing....that there was room for one more.  He looked at me like I was crazy - we'd literally just downsized - moved our family for four into a small 2 bedroom house.  Meanwhile I was recounting the past two weeks of feeling "off".  I had chalked it up to the stress and craziness of the moving process, but deep down wondered if maybe I was pregnant.

The next morning, I was the first one awake and decided to go ahead and take a pregnancy test to just clear my mind. I fully expected it to be negative - knowing that the stress and chaos of moving could have caused the types of symptoms I was experiencing.  So imagine my surprise when it was positive! I remember just sitting there staring at the test, working my way through every emotion of excitement, worry, fear, joy, frustration, surprise....I was anxious to break the news to Dan, especially after the conversation we'd had the night before.  I was a ball of nerves as I carried the test into the bedroom, unsure really what to say, but smiled through tears as I told him.  He just looked at me, his eyes full of joy and love and said "I guess we're going to need a bigger house" - and we both burst into laughter!

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The next 9 months were by far some of the most difficult and exhilarating of our lives.  Dan's job went from bad to worse that summer and we rarely saw him -- when he wasn't at work he was at our old house getting it ready to rent.  By the end of July, we both felt broken and beat down - I lived in fear of what the future of our family would look like, I worried about his health, our boys missing their daddy, how to take care of a baby and older children by myself.  The days were incredibly long.

Then, miraculously, something shifted. The last day of July my Young Living business hit an incredible milestone - one I'd spent the past 3 years working towards.  The next day our first house was officially rented and by the end of that first week of August, Dan was in the midst of interviewing for a new job! August was full and busy for us, but we were finally feeling lighter and happier.  By the middle of the month Dan accepted a new job and was set to start September 1st. We spent the last week of August on vacation with Dan's family and it felt like the perfect way to celebrate ending a difficult season and get excited for all that lay ahead in the next.

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Despite being my third child, I had a lot of fear about pregnancy and caring for older children.  I desperately wanted to keep up with the boys but by late November I hit a wall.  I was in excruciating pain being on my feet and ended up spending much of the holiday season laying on the couch.  It really took a toll on me emotionally!  I struggled daily to hold on to that light, joy and happiness we'd just regained.  As my due date approached I was eager to meet our little one, but again fear and worry crept in.  I had had a January baby before and knew that the weeks and months of dark dreary days could easily keep me down, and I desperately wanted to enjoy the postpartum season this time.

I knew I needed to be proactive and set intentions for the upcoming season - so I told anyone who would listen that I was going to do nothing but rest and care for my baby for at least 6 weeks. I asked, begged, for people to hold me accountable and call me out if I tried to bounce back too quickly.  I prepped meals, and made plans for friends and family to care for the boys so I could rest.  All the planning and preparing really helped to brighten my spirits as I waited for baby's arrival.

    Wednesday, February 13, 2019

    Whose life are you trying to lead?


    Last night, after putting the kids to bed, I looked at the clock and sighed, 8:30.  I turned to my husband and said "how lame is it that I just want to crawl into bed and read until I fall asleep?".  He looked at me with a furrowed brow and said "Why is that lame? Whose life are you trying to lead?" His response totally stopped me in my tracks.  I mean really, why would taking care of my needs and desires be  considered "lame"??? But if I'm completely honest, that has been part of the underlying script scrolling through my brain for the past decade!

    For years I've worked hard to be as productive as possible --to make the most of every last hour of the day.  To do enough.  Be enough.  I've calculated number of hours necessary for sleep and scolded myself for taking more. I've tabulated to do lists and evaluated progress against an unrealistic expectation. Phrases like "everyone had the same 24 hours, we make time for what we truly want" are on repeat in my brain daily, causing me to ponder whether or not I'm doing enough with those hours.

    It wasn't until a few years ago that I even started thinking about what I truly wanted in life.  What MY goals even are!  I have always been one to follow the crowd, blend in and go unnoticed.  Attention makes me uncomfortable, but deep down I have a burning desire to be different! I have dreams that I've ignored and abandoned for fear of drawing attention.  Dreams that feel abnormal and different, dreams that go against everything around me.  But the truth is, not following these dreams, means I'm follow someone else's!  Living someone else's life!  In a world of social media, it's so easy to see what everyone else is doing and think, "maybe I should do that too!" But, as I've turned inward this past year and worked hard to put on my blinders, my vision for my life has gotten brighter.  My confidence in being who I was created to be had gotten stronger.  Every day I grow more comfortable being different, being me!

    Today, I can honestly say that I love my life! I love that I get a front row seat to watching my children grow and learn. I love that I get to make our house a home. I love my family and my friends and the community we’ve built.  But most of all, I love embracing the freedom to create the life of our dreams, and sometimes that means going to bed at 8:30 and reading until I fall asleep!

    ———

    So, when was the last time you turned off the noise and asked yourself  "What are my dreams and aspirations?  What am I working towards?”

    If you're anything like me, that may be a super difficult question for you to answer!  But I want to challenge you to turn off the noise (social media, news, TV, movies, etc) and spend some time inside your own head.  You have dreams...you have deep burning passions...trust me, they're in there, you just need to create the space to bring them to light!

    Friend, I want you to know that your dreams matter.  That YOU matter!  You were created for a purpose and to live a life of freedom!

    Whose life are you trying to live anyway?!?

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Our Little Bungalow - house tour.

    Welcome to Our Little Green Bungalow!


    square footage: 1016
    bedrooms: 2
    bathrooms: 1 + 1/2 
    exterior: wood siding
    yard: fenced in back yard
    built in: 1945


    Living Room:




    Dining Room: 


    Kitchen:





    Hallway:



    Bathroom: 






    Master Bedroom: 



    Bedroom: 



    Backyard:



    **Because we were so eager to get started the day we closed, I totally failed to get good photos of the whole house.  These photos are a mix of the listing photos and what I snapped over the weekend! 


    Friday, February 10, 2017

    It's official...we're moving!!

    Today we closed on our second fixer upper!!!!



    For over a year, Dan and I have been in search of a property to invest in and start our adventure in real estate.  As we looked at countless properties, we'd alway ask ourselves these three questions:

    1. Could we rent it?
    2. Could we flip it?
    3. Would we live in it? (i.e. the neighborhood?)

    Buying a property of any kind is a risk, you don't know what you don't know!  But we knew if we could answer yes these three questions then we'd always have a back up plan!

    Mid January we came across a foreclosure that not only answered these three questions with a resounding YES!!! but the price was incredible!  We knew it wouldn't stay on the market long, so one quick walk-through and we put an offer in on the spot!  48 hours later : offer accepted!!!

    The unique part of this purchase is that it was in the first stages of foreclosure listing and was listed for "owner occupancy only".  Meaning that the purchaser MUST live in the house for 1 year before selling or renting.  Hence the move.

    And because we have to live in the house, the contract allows us 60 days to renovate before we have to occupy....so the clock's ticking!  Over the next 60 days we'll doing all sorts of updates and renovations! It's exciting and overwhelming!

    We're so thrilled to be at it again and can't wait to share our journey with you all! No guarantees on how often we'll update this blog, but I'm so thankful for the space to document our adventures!

    Saturday, November 19, 2016

    Fall family photos!

    Fall is our favorite time of year, so it's only fitting that we try to get family photos during this beautiful season.  So thankful for my new friend Yih Ning and her talented photography!  This season of life is wild and crazy, but I love how these photos capture exactly where we are!!!!





















    (Caleb Roscoe 3.25 yrs + Abel Henry 21 months)