Monday, December 17, 2012

jada | three months

Our little sweet pea is three months today.  She is growing so much and getting so strong.  She holds her head up like a champ and shows her excitement and love with huge smiles and kicks.  She moves around from side to side and is loving her hands right now.  She's getting good at holding her fist up to her mouth with her other hand and sucking on her fist.  She also likes to look at her hands as if she's inspecting every inch of those pudgy, little things.

Monday, December 3, 2012

brother/sister comparison | 10 weeks

Looking pretty similar, even down to the milk they still have sitting in their mouth.
Kaiden on the left; Jada on the right

so serious

Friday, November 16, 2012

jada | two months

The little sweet pea is 2 months old today... and is growing so much.  What a difference a month makes.  She definitely likes to eat and has quite the cheeks to show for it.  She is more alert now and will look at you and smile and make sweet little noises as if she's carrying on a conversation with you.
We LOVE this little girl!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

brother/sister comparison | 7 weeks

When I met Jada for the very first time, my first thought was that she looks just like her brother when he was born.  I even have moments now when I'm feeding Jada or just watching her that I'll think "oh my word, that totally looks like Kaiden".  It's as if my little baby Kaiden has come back from babyhood to visit for a couple seconds.  It totally takes me back to when I cared for Kaiden as an infant.  Kind of a sweet reminder.  Anyway, because they look so similar, I thought it'd be interesting to post some brother/sister comparisons every now and then.  So, here is our first comparison at 7 weeks:

kaiden is in the top two pictures and jada is in the bottom two pictures

Saturday, October 27, 2012

kaiden's shopping trip

I'm mostly writing this post for grandma and grandpa Manson.  They live so far away, they don't typically get to see what happens with their grandkids from day to day.  They recently sent Kaiden and Jada a Halloween card to wish them a happy Halloween and also tucked a ten dollar bill in each of the cards.  Typically when Kaiden gets any money (for his birthday or Halloween or whatever) he is excited to run and put it in his little piggy bank.  This time however, we thought maybe we could take him to Walmart to actually spend his gift money and help teach him a little about what ten dollars can get ya.

So Friday evening we made our trip to Walmart and told Kaiden he could spend his money on whatever he wanted (within reason).  We walked around Walmart for quite a while until finally deciding on some small, little treasures.

He put all his little treasures on the counter himself and handed the cashier his money and waited for his change.  He walked out of that store carrying his little Walmart bag like he was the coolest, grown-up kid around.

Kaiden with his bag full of goodies

Kaiden with his pile of goodies: hot wheels cars, a harmonica, water color paint and some gum

playing his new harmonica
Thanks grandma and grandpa!  Love, Kaiden.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

jada | one month

Jada is a month old today.  This month has been full of adjustments as Dan and I get used to taking care of an infant again and she gets used to life outside of the womb.  She is healthy and growing and is packing on the pounds.  She certainly enjoys eating and spends the rest of her time sleeping or protecting herself from big brother trying to drive his toy cars on her head.

She is doing well at holding her head up for short amounts of time and she has also started cooing and making sweet little noises.  She will flash a smile when she's really relaxed but does not yet focus on anything specific to smile at.  She is good at making all kinds of different facial expressions and I love just sitting and watching her expressions change by the second.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

jada's birth story

I’ll just begin by saying Kaiden was 2 ½ weeks early so with this pregnancy I hoped (and somewhat expected) that this one would be early too.  I know that was a dangerous mind-set to have because at 37 weeks I already felt like I was overdue.  So when week 39 rolled around I was in tough shape.  I was so very uncomfortable and I just wanted to have a baby!

So, on Sunday afternoon I was going to do everything in my power to get the show on the road.  I spent the afternoon going on walks and bouncing on the exercise ball.  By evening I was having what I thought could maybe be contractions, but they were so sporadic and felt so different than they did with Kaiden, that I didn’t want to get my hopes up.  

Later that night we headed to bed but never went to sleep.  I started having pretty intense contractions but they were about 15 minutes apart.  Not close enough to go to the hospital yet.  Well, that’s what they say anyway.  I was advised to wait until they were 5 minutes apart until I headed to the hospital, but these contractions were so intense, I just felt I needed to get to the hospital.

Around midnight Sunday night we headed to the hospital.  By the time they got me checked in and hooked up to the monitor, my contractions were 5 minutes apart.  So glad I trusted my instinct and didn’t wait it out any longer at home.  By this time my contractions were very strong and I was having a lot of back labor.  I was ready for an epidural.  

I’m not sure what time it was... maybe about 2 am when the nurses called the anesthesiologist to wake him up and have him travel 20 miles to give me an epidural.  Did I feel guilty about waking him up at 2 am and have him drive 20 miles to relieve my pain?  No.  Not at all.  I was so happy to finally have relief!  

After I got an epidural I was able to relax.  Dan and I rested as much as we could with the nurses coming in and out.  The epidural was stronger on one side of my body than the other.  So one leg I could move but the other was completely numb.  It was the strangest feeling.
Sometime around 6 am I started feeling intense pain in my lower back, through the epidural.  I pushed the button a couple times to pump some more pain medication through me, but it wasn’t cutting it.  I need to have this baby!  

Around 7 am my midwife came in and checked me.  I was almost ready.  They just wanted a little more time for the baby to naturally move through the birth canal.  I’m not sure what time it was when the midwife said I could start pushing but it seemed to go so fast.  I pushed through three contractions and was able to meet my sweet baby girl.

It brought tears to my eyes to see that sweet girl after so long of wanting to meet her.  She was finally here.  Safe and sound in my arms.  My first thought when I saw her for the first time was that she looks just like Kaiden when he was a newborn.

Jada Lynn was born September 17 at 8:54 am.  One day before my due date.  She was 8 lb. 9 oz. and 22.5 in.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


God is Good! He blessed us with a beautiful, healthy baby girl!  Jada Lynn was born September 17, 2012 at 8:54 am, weighing 8 lb. 9 oz. and 22.5" long. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

DIY chandelier

A while back, when we first moved into our house, one of the first rooms we updated was the entryway.  We started there because mostly all that was needed in that room was to take the wallpaper down, paint the walls and add a new light fixture and most of this I could handle doing myself without the carpenter's help.
The one thing Dan needed to help me with was replacing the light fixture.  The light fixture that was hanging there was a small, shiny, brass chandelier.  Not what I had in mind for our entryway.  But I did have something else in mind for that light fixture.

I wanted to keep that little chandelier with the idea (and hope) that someday if we ever had a girl, I could possibly use it in her nursery.  So we stored that little chandelier away until many months later, to our delight, we found out we were having a girl! When it came to preparing her nursery, I was sure to make that little chandelier part of it.

Of course I couldn't leave it a shiny brass; that just wouldn't do.  We would need to paint it white.  I first took a picture of the fixture so I could later look back at it to see where the crystals go, since we'd have to remove all the crystals to paint it.

We took all the crystals off, cleaned it up and spray painted it with some old white spray paint we had.  Then Dan used an old extension cord we had and attached it to the light fixture (don't ask me how he does what he does) so that it was a plug-in lamp and then hung it from a hook he screwed into the ceiling.  And there you have it - our DIY chandelier for baby girl's room (because I just know baby girl always wanted a cute, little, girly chandelier in her room!)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

baby girl nursery

Being 36 weeks pregnant and feeling very, very uh... large, I'm very ready for baby girl to make her appearance.  I. am. ready. Not only am I ready physically, we are actually prepared this time around.  (see Kaiden's birth story if you don't know what I'm talking about).  I have my hospital bag packed; I have everything I need for baby girl and we have her nursery done and ready to go.  So, while I'm waiting for baby girl to come into this world, I thought I would share baby girl's nursery.

We of course need to start with the BEFORE pictures:

notice the plastic pull-down shades and green/orange/brown shag carpet

And now for baby girl's new nursery:

I started with a book of scrapbook paper that had a color scheme and theme that I liked.  I used the scrapbook paper to create a small gallery wall of artwork.  I also used the color scheme to find matching fabric and sewed a few pillows and a couple crib sheets.  I had seen the tissue paper pom poms at a friend's house and found how to make them on this pinterest pin. And to top it off, we replaced the 33-year-old orange/green/brown shag carpet with a neutral colored carpet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

kaiden turns 3

Three years ago today, we first held our new baby, not yet realizing the extent of all the joy he would bring us.  Today marks three years of life with our little guy.  He brings us so much joy and we are so blessed to have such a wonderful, loving, sweet son.  He makes us smile and laugh everyday.  Happy 3rd birthday Kaiden!  You are loved!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

design dilemma: where to put the speakers

Not only is updating our house a lot of physical work, there's also a lot of thought and consideration that go into the process as well.  There are so many decisions and problem solving to be made through the whole process.  From choosing things like paint color and light fixtures; to deciding the width of shelves; how many shelves we want and how far apart we want them; to designing a fireplace surround and what color and material to use; to the overall look we're trying to accomplish all while staying within a budget.  This all takes a lot of time and discussion and research.  But this takes a WHOLE lot more time when you're like Dan and I and cannot agree on ANYTHING when it comes to home decor and design.

Over the years of being married we have realized our constant disagreement on design so we have learned to give and take a little here and there and we both end up liking it in the end (but not without a lot of discussion and arguing compromising). Here is just one example of our many issues that came up in the process of our recent update:

Before I knew Dan, he had purchased a very large set of speakers.  Where talking big.  Like 3 foot tall speakers that sit on the floor.  And ugly.  Don't get me wrong, these babies sound good and not that I don't like nice sound from the tv or stereo, I just prefer my family room/living room to look nice over a good sounding movie.  So when we were first married we lived in a very small duplex and didn't have room for them so we stored them away.  That took care of that.  When we bought our first house, he kept them in the basement where I didn't have to see them and we agreed that someday, most likely in the next house we buy, we'll hopefully have room for them and he'll be able to use them in the family room.

So here we are.  In a house that finally has room for these two massive doesn't-go-with-my-decor speakers and he wants to put them in the family room where anyone that walks in the house would see these ugly things.  So our dilemma: he wants the speakers in the family room.  I don't want them in the family room.  Another disagreement.

So here begins yet another problem-solving/compromising process.  After some time of me trying to contemplate where to put these things in the family room and make myself be ok with two very large speakers in there... I mean, really, what is the big deal right?  Leave it to Dan to come up with a splendid idea.  He proposes he somehow hide the speakers so they can't be seen but can definitely be heard.  He gets his speakers.  I don't have to see them.  We're both happy.

Back to the drawing board.  He studies his design of the fireplace surround and figures the new fireplace surround will not be as deep as the old one.  Therefore there will be extra space in the wall behind the book shelves around the fireplace to put the speakers.  Yes, the idea is to hide the speakers in the wall.  The back of the bookshelves would be sheetrock except for the bottom shelf that he would 'dry brush' some fabric with paint and place it behind the shelf to make it look the same as the wall behind the rest of the shelves.

This shows the sheetrock wall without the shelves in front of it yet.  There are two places on each side of the fireplace to fit his speakers.

Here, his speakers are in place.

The shelves are placed in front of the sheetrock wall and speakers.  Muslim fabric is wrapped around a frame and dry brushed and placed behind the bottom shelf to cover the speaker and to match the wall behind the rest of the shelves

I can't see the speakers.  I'm happy.  But those speakers are there.  Dan's happy.

There you have it - a behind-the-scenes look at not only the labor that goes into updating a space, but also the decisions and design process that goes into every little detail.  Good thing this carpenter loves a design challenge. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

family room & fireplace remodel

As I mentioned in my last post, we've been pretty busy over the past year updating our house a bit.  The biggest projects have been the kitchen and the family room and fireplace.  We are now done with two of the biggest projects and we're sooo happy that it's finally done.  It's now starting to feel like our house and not like we're living in someone else's.

So here I am to share what we've done in the family room:

-tore our wood paneling that covered the whole room
-re-sheetrocked over the old sheetrock since the paneling was glued to the sheetrock and made a mess when we tore it off
-tore out stone fireplace surround (remember this post?)
-rebuilt fireplace surround
-moved fireplace a little to be centered on wall
-replaced fireplace duct work
-built and added surrounding shelves, cupboard and fireplace mantel
-made concrete hearth
-replaced carpet
-tore out half-wall/planter
-scraped popcorn ceiling
-painted existing fireplace
-added more can lights and removed wall sconces


here you can see part of the half-wall/planter we removed