Friday, May 4, 2018

Baby Shower and Baby Preparation

Wow.  Have the past nine months flown by or what?!
It's sometimes hard to believe that (hopefully) this month, I'll have a baby at some point. 
I haven't posted much about it, since focusing on it so much seems to make the time go more slowly for me.  But now that I'm in the final stretch, I figured that I'd devote an entire post to the baby and the baby preparations. 
Of course, we haven't seen the baby since the one and only ultrasound we had in November when the baby was 12 weeks old.  By now, it is much bigger and probably has much less room to move around.  I sometimes like to just look at this picture though.  I think its big head and tummy are so cute.  And I say to Dan that it's brain takes after his.  Maybe its just me, but I keep thinking I can see either the skull or brain line. 
After we found out that our insurance wouldn't cover the baby or any costs related to the pregnancy, we decided to not have any more ultrasounds.  That was the reason why we decided to be surprised with the gender also.  But hey, I think it has been more fun this way.  I imagine what the baby will look like...(I'm seriously hoping it looks like Dan). 
Since I found out I was pregnant, I decided right away that a homebirth with a midwife would be the way to go for me.  Several of my sisters have gone that route in their childbirths, and have had good experiences. 
It's a concept that many people don't fully understand: why one would choose to have their baby at home in what may seem more primitive as opposed to going to the hospital and having a conventional birth.  When people ask me about it, I just tell them that I would prefer to have my baby in the comfort of my home and with the only people being people I have gotten to know personally. 
While many people probably get to know the doctor or OBGYN who helps deliver their babies at the hospitals, it's unlikely that the nurses know them personally.  Also, the doctor isn't with you the whole time.  As I understand it, in most cases, the doctor is brought in at or just before the actual birth. 
And not even to mention the fact that because the expenses would be out-of-pocket...going with a midwife and homebirth would be much less expensive than going to a hospital. 
 I've really enjoyed getting to know the three midwives I'll potentially be working with.  The owner of the midwifery and midwife I've had most of my meetings with is out of the country for the entire month of May, so there is a chance she will not be there for the birth of our baby. 
But the two other midwives she works with are wonderful people and have really helped to  make this pregnancy smooth and easy for me.  They've helped to answer all of my questions and reassure me the entire time. 
That being said, one of the things I love about my midwife is that while she is required by law to tell me about the state regulated blood tests and different ultrasounds, she doesn't require them.  I have only had blood drawn twice during my pregnancy (the only two times in my LIFE actually!).  One was to check my blood type because I didn't even know what it was, and to check my thyroid.  The other, was for iron levels. 
I passed on a lot of different tests that, had I gone with a hospital, I would have been required to have.     
Another thing I love about my midwives is that they are personable and down-to-earth with me.  The last time I went to an appointment in Albany, the receptionist asked me if I wanted some maternity clothes and then gave me a huge bag full of really NICE, name brand maternity tops all in my size.  I thought that was just so nice.  Especially since I had been alternating through the same three tops for a few weeks. 
The ladies in my church are all very supportive of me and many of them love to guess the gender of the baby based on how I am carrying it (although my midwife says everyone carries babies differently and no two women are alike in that way).
Two weeks ago, I had planned to go to this huge children/baby consignment sale I had seen advertised on facebook in the winter time.  I put it on my calendar in December and had been telling Dan for weeks about it and that I wanted to go. 
The thing about this consignment sale was that it was open from 9am-12 noon, then re-open from 1pm-3pm with everything being 50% off.  Being the thrifty person I am, I decided I would go at 1pm and get some good deals, even if it meant missing out on lots of items for sale earlier in the day. 
The Friday night before the sale, Dan was asking me all about my plans for the next day.  I told him about how I would be going to the sale and going during the 1/2 off part of day.  He got all weird and starting asking me if I could please go in the morning instead because he wanted to take me on a lunch date at 1pm. 
At first I resisted because I really like to get deals, and also because I don't like it when I've been planning something for months and then someone tries to change it a few hours before. 
Finally I gave in, and the next morning, I got to the consignment sale which was in this massive old warehouse.  There were aisles and aisles of children and baby things.  I only looked through the books, and through one aisle.  I ended up getting a boppy lounger pillow for $5, along with two extra covers for it for $2.  I found a portable infant bed which can fold up (super convenient) for $5, a nursing cover and car shades for $5.  And I found a small black diaper bag for $5.  After paying for the things, I headed home.  I texted Dan when I got home and sent him some pictures of the things I got and he started frantically texting me back saying things like "Wow, you were really quick.  Maybe you should take a nap now.  Get some rest." 
I thought that was odd. 
I started getting suspicious when two of the church people pulled into the church parking lot (which we can see from our house window) and they went into the church through the sidedoor.  I texted Dan and just said that I might head over to the church and see if the ladies needed help cleaning (since I assumed they were cleaning the church).  He called me and said that I shouldn't worry about it and that I should just have fun and rest.  As more and more cars pulled in, I started realizing that maybe it was going to be a shower for me...
Dan called me then and admitted that he wasn't planning to take me to lunch at all, but he just needed me to not be at the consignment at 1pm, since that was when I needed to be at the church. 
Such a sneaky guy.... 
I tried to snap a few pictures, but of course I missed some people as some came late and some weren't able to stay. 
It was such a kind gesture to throw a baby shower for me.  I really enjoyed my time. 


They really did shower me with gifts too!

One of the ladies was snapping photos as I was opening gifts.  So pardon my odd facial expressions.  My candid faces are not too attractive sometimes! :D

It was such a nice surprise!  Quite unexpected!  It was a good thing that I ended up not getting much at the consignment sale after all. 

I feel very ready for the baby to come.  I'm drinking raspberry leaf tea and eating dates every day.  A few weeks ago, we picked up our birth pool rental and set it up and gave it a trial run.  I recently re-arranged this room as well so that it is more spacious with the pool set up in it. 

And the last picture!  This was taken last week, when I was 36 weeks pregnant.  I am 37 now. 

I hope you all are having a fantastic day.  The next post about the baby that you see will be a birth announcement hopefully!  :D

Friday, April 13, 2018

The expanding Shedd "Farm"

The week before Easter, Dan and I went to TSC to get some supplies for the house.  Well, I sat in the car while he went in to get the supplies, because I was ashamed to be seen in public with the paint-laden clothes I was wearing. 
After what seemed like a unusually long period of time, Dan came out with the things, and said "They have little chickens for sale!!! Can I get some!?"
We've talked about getting some chickens, but I was thinking we would get them as layer hens, not as chicks.  But Dan looked so excited at the prospect of having some new pets that I couldn't say no. 
Because the chicks were already growing feathers and losing their down, this particular batch of them was on sale for $1/each.  I told Dan that he may as well get 20 of them, because in my experience, usually a few die. 
None have so far though!
We got them home and Dan made little houses for them with big cardboard boxes and a quaker oats can to connect the boxes. 

This is the first time Dan has raised chicks, so he was very excited.  He named all twenty of them and initialed their feet to remember each one.  I just laughed and told him that the marker would wear off in no time. 
This is a picture of Dan holding his favorite chicken, Susie. 

I think it was the next day that Dan started building a chicken coop outside behind the shed.  He drew up plans for it, bought materials and started building it right away.   

These are a few pictures I took just yesterday of the chickens.  They are growing like weeds!

And Dan has nearly finished the outside coop. 

He even installed motion-sensor lighting.  The door on the far left is going to be the access door to their nesting area.  It will be connected to a rope so that we can close it at night to keep the chickens in. 
The window in the middle will have a screen in the summer time, for ventilation and a breeze to blow in at night. 

This will be the door, when it is finished. 

Dan just started putting up the chicken wire two days ago.  It will definitely be completed  by next week. 

And I just have to show you the laying boxes.  When I gather eggs, I'll be able to just open up this panel on the outside!
This big panel on the back part of the coop will be so that we can more easily clean out the nesting area.  Hopefully you can view these videos okay. 
Now that we have chickens, we are hoping to try a goat next.  I'm longing to go to a livestock auction in the area and find a little goat.  We visited a lady a few weeks ago on a church visit and she was showing us her goats and Dan started really wanting a little goat.  So who knows what will be next here on the Shedd "farm"!?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Recent Life in upstate New York

My first quilt is officially finished!  I started it a few months ago, finished everything but the binding on the edge and then finally finished that this past week. 
Dan helped a lot with that because the instructions I was reading made no sense to me. 
This was originally going to be a baby quilt for the baby, but it ended up being much larger than I thought it would be.  Also, it's made of cotton materials, and isn't very soft. 
So that's why I decided to start a baby quilt using these really soft materials given to me by my neighbor.  I was planning to do it all by hand, but Dan convinced me to try using one of the machines which we bought for $10.  First, he had to untangle the thread though...

This is unrelated to sewing, but I made coffee cake last week and it was absolutely AMAZING.  It was very sweet, but delicious.  I like to try at least one recipe each week.  Otherwise I get in a rut and make the same four things every week. 
This week I made pumpkin bread using a new recipe (because after Thanksgiving I couldn't resist buying up lots of canned pumpkin that was on a massive sale).  The recipe I tried wasn't the best however...Probably mostly because I didn't mix the baking soda with the buttermilk.  I always find that when a recipe calls for both buttermilk and baking soda, when you mix the two together before combining them with the other ingredients, it makes a real difference in the overall outcome. 

Anyway, I'm not sure how I got off on that.  But back to my newest hobby. 
I had decided to make two baby blankets, one for a girl, and one for a boy, since we don't know the gender of our baby yet.  I cut out all of the squares and laid them out on the couch to get an idea of the pattern I wanted.  After I cut out the girl blanket in 5 inch squares, I decided that that seemed quite small, so I cut the boy squares out to be 6 inches. 
Dan came home from his trip and saw the two un-sewed blankets lying on the couch and said that he wanted to try making the boy quilt.  We had a sort of contest to see who could do a better job. I honestly thought mine looked nicer until he started getting creative and decided he would draw little tractors and trucks and heavy equipment on his and then hand stitch them. 
He didn't use any stencils at all...
After that, I knew it really wasn't much of a competition.  What could I draw on my quilt and hand stitch besides stick figures and stars?  (those are the only things I can draw halfway decent)
I settled on doing a few flowers, after practicing on paper for awhile. 
And yes, the center flower is very off-centered...haha

It was a really fun little project.  And because Dan convinced me to try using the machine, it went so quickly too.  I think they only took two days to make. 
So whether a boy or girl, our baby will have a nice handmade blanket. 
And this is unrelated to blankets and quilts, but I really wanted to give out palm branches on Palm Sunday at church, so we found a grocery store that was selling them and got a few.  They were so tall that we ended up splitting them in quarters.  I think everyone enjoyed getting them. 
Not everyone is like this, but for me, having something tangible to feel and smell really makes me think more about the subject at hand. 

And I know that I talked about new paint in my last post, but here are just a few more pictures from the fourth bedroom upstairs in the house we bought.  Because this was most likely the master bedroom, the paint on the walls actually wasn't awful or anything.  But we decided to go ahead and paint over it with this "oops" paint from Lowes as well.  Dan thinks it looks too dark now.  We may decide to go back to a lighter color.  But I think when the ceiling and all of the trim is repainted a fresh white, the place will look bright enough. 


Our next step with the house is the support the weight of the house in the basement.  My next remodel post will explain more fully with pictures.  But right now the center of the house is sagging quite a bit due to lack of proper support beams in the basement. 
Hope this post finds all of my readers well and healthy. 
Until next time!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

New paint = 100% better.

Have you ever cringed just walking into a room, seeing the paint color and thought,
"What were they thinking????" 
That was my reaction to first seeing this bedroom in the house we bought. 
Obviously, it was previously a child's bedroom and the child probably picked their favorite colors to put on the walls. 
**As a side note, I've never understood it when parents allow their children to pick paint colors...inevitably, the colors picked would be neon green with hot pink stripes, or some such monstrosity. 
My thoughts are these...if you want your child to have a wacky colored room, fine.  But at LEAST try to paint it well!!!  haha.
I laughed when I saw how poorly it had been painted.  For instance, the paint is like this in the whole room...
The light switch covers were painted over...

In general, it's just hideous in my opinion.  I've been longing to paint over it.  The other week, Dan and I were at Lowes looking for something entirely unrelated, and I said that we should walk by the "oops" paint section and see if they had any clearance paints.  Well, they did in fact have four gallons of similar-looking, nondescript, blueish- greyish paints.  We got them all.    
I started by pulling nails and tacks from the walls, and then sweeping and dusting the place. 

Since I can roll paint pretty well from a roller, I did that and Dan did the cutting in with a brush.  He honestly amazes me with how fast and accurate he is- and with no tape at all. 
I can still see orange, because it's only the first coat.  But to me, the improvement is huge. 

Dan did the next room by himself (since its really small and he is super fast).  Yellow isn't a disgusting color or anything, but Lexi (the girl whose bedroom it was previously) wrote threatening messages on the wall to her friends as well as drawing swastika's all over.  We felt that it needed to be covered up.   


He finished in record time.
While Dan worked on the Yellow room, I went to town on this room, peeling off the numerous stickers on the walls. 

Again, why a parent would allow a child to put hundreds and hundreds of round stickers all over their room is beyond me. 

And the finished product. 

By the way, we've begun making back part of the money we spent on the paint since I collected $2.31 in pennies and nickels so far in the bedrooms.  Not a bad deal!
So the walls might be boring now, but at least they don't hurt my eyes to look at. 



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Rant on Furnishings.

First, let me say that I am still loving the winter weather, but I'm also anticipating the spring time when I can put in a nice big garden.  We got another 7 inches of snow last week.

Dan plows out the church and a few neighbors in the area.  He asked me to come with him this time, so I did.  One of the neighbors gave me this blanket she had just finished making.  She said it was for the baby.  Our baby will be VERY warm next winter, because it is made out of very nice fleece!
Last week, I had a strong urge to clean the house. 
I usually clean once a week, but sometimes I do a half-hearted job, or skip dusting the heaters...forget to bother with the rooms we don't use downstairs, ect.
Well this time was different.  I literally tore the house apart.  And it felt SO good.  I changed out our bedspread (which I like to do occasionally) and dusted everything.  I noticed something which I never have noticed before.  In every room, our furniture doesn't match. 
I love it that way...
I grew up in a home where my mom had mis-matched wooden furniture all through the house.  Something about it says "homey" to me. 
I know that everyone is different about styles and what they like, but really? The telling factor as to whether or not I'll like a piece of furniture is how much it costs. 
I love that our bedroom furniture cost a total of $25. Only the bedframe cost that...everything else we got for free! :) 

In our living room and dining room, the only things that cost money were the sofa, table and chairs, serving table, and trunk.  And they total roughly $100.  It's really quite easy to come across things being tossed that are really in very nice condition. 
By the way, if these pictures look strangely stretched, its because they were taken using the panoramic setting on my phone.  Our house isn't really oddly-shaped.  

This is my music room, which is where most of the clutter is.  I have shelves of music as you can see.  Everything in this room was free, including the piano, which actually holds its tune quite well!

And the spare bedroom, we splurged while living in Baltimore and bought a used rocking chair for $15 (it probably wasn't worth that because it has a massive crack in it on the seat), the tv stand for $5 and the bed frame for $15.  Even the two TV's were free...
I think one of the biggest things that cause people to spend money frivolously is thinking that they have to have the item right away, after moving into a place.  Most of this furniture in our house we acquired slowly, not right after getting our house and getting married.  If we had been in a rush to furnish our house, we would have ended up paying a lot more to do so.  

As it is, I am very happy with our mis-matched furniture.  We recently re-modeled the lobby of our church (which I'll have to post pictures of next time!), so we were visiting lots of furniture stores, thrift stores, antique name it, looking for deals.  I was shocked at the amount of money people regularly spend on low-quality furniture that matches, but isn't even real wood. 
 I like to think that my house looks nice and like a home.  I don't need to feel like I'm walking into IKEA each time I walk into my home. 
Wow, enough of my rant.  Hope you all are having a great week.  Dan went to preach for a nearby Bible college for two days and he'll be back any moment.  I'm happy, because since being together for nearly two years now, being apart for even two days feels like FOREVER. 
Until next time!