My new favorite word

Is discharge. After 10 long days of Harper’s life being in the NICU, we finally heard the blessed words we had been waiting to hear. The doctor finally said she passed all of her tests and she could come home with us.

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I was so overcome with joy and thanks. I knew that our prayers, and the many other kind supporters’ prayers were being answered. Our little Harper was going to be all ours!

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She is so tiny in her car seat. I still can’t believe I am the mother to such a teeny baby! (Check out the size of Dave’s hands in comparison!)

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It was a lot of fun to bring her home and to have my family come over with our dog, Sadie and my brother, Payton who hadn’t  met Harper yet because of strict age limits for NICU visitors. It was a really special moment to be a part of. Our first night brought all sorts of “adventures” including a dog crying nonstop, a panicked 3 am phone call to a nurse relative, and Dave sleeping on the floor in the nursery. This whole “mom” gig is going to be quite the journey!

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Surprises and sleepless nights

Well, some of you are probably wondering where on earth I went! Here’s a hint…

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Harper came! She was 4 weeks early, and very unexpected, but we welcomed her into our family on January 4th. She was born a tiny 5 lbs 3 oz. but is a really long 19 inches! On Tuesday, (January 3rd) I woke up and was feeling a little nauseas. It was Dave’s first day back to school after the Christmas break so I laid around on bed rest with my puppy all day. I watched A LOT of Friday Night Lights on Netflix. I was so excited because one of our neighbors was bringing us dinner that night. She came over at about 5:30 pm and I was thrilled to try this soup she had raved about. I stood up to show her where to put it and we talked for a few minutes. Just then, I felt liquid drip down my leg. I didn’t say anything to my neighbor though. I was afraid that I had just lost a little bladder control. As soon as she left, Dave and I made a few phone calls and decided we needed to go to the hospital just to be safe. When we got there, they did a test and sure enough, my water had broken! We were having a baby!

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The contractions didn’t really start until about 10:30 pm, but once they did, they came hard. They were all in my back. The monitor didn’t really pick them up much, which made me feel like a pansy, but eventually they were picking up a little more. Once I was dilated to a 3, things started moving more quickly. I got the epidural (greatest thing ever!) and I continued dilating very quickly. Before I knew it, it was time to push! I pushed for about an hour and wasn’t having much progress because she was posterior (meaning, her face was facing up). They started me on “pit” to make my body continue contracting and had me rest on my side for a few hours. Those hours went by so slowly, but eventually it was time to push again! I pushed again and then she came! She was SO tiny and swollen! We got to spend a little time with her and they took her to the NICU because she was premature. They didn’t see anything wrong with her and assumed she would only be in the NICU for 12-24 hours.

After 12 hours, they discovered that Harper was having a difficult time keeping her temperature up. They kept her in an open bed with a heating lamp on her to help her keep her temperature up. She started improving and we were told she would be coming home with us shortly (possibly even when I was discharged from the hospital on Friday).

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We were just so excited to have our baby girl here. Well Friday came, and Harper’s temperature dropped again. It was time for me to be discharged from the hospital. There were many tears shed, and the nurses told us about their Transition Rooms. They are rooms for families with babies in the NICU. They are rented out, like a hotel room would be, but you are just a few steps away from your baby. I needed to be close to her because I feed her every 3 hours and we live about 20 minutes away from the hospital. Friday evening, Dave went to our house to pack up a few things that we needed to have. While he was there, he started throwing up! My mom went out to our house and packed for us, took care of Dave, and then stayed at the hospital with me that night. Dave needed to sleep and stay away from the tiny babies. That night, we found out that Harper had Jaundice.

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It didn’t surprise me at all. Dave and I both had Jaundice, as well as both of my brothers. Harper was put on a bili blanket and was able to sleep in my room with me that night. I was excited, but didn’t get much sleep because I was freaking out about her being ok all night. It was so nice to have my mom’s help so that I wasn’t alone. The next day, Dave came back feeling much better. Harper’s temperature was up, her Jaundice was going down and things were looking great! Our doctor told us that he didn’t see any reason why she wouldn’t go home with us Sunday morning. We were so excited. That night, we had a horrible nurse. We had been so lucky to have fabulous nurses until that point. The doctors had switched so we had a new doctor in that didn’t know Harper’s back story and only had the information given by the nurse. Instead of the nurse telling him that Harper’s temperature had been high all day, and then had one lower temperature, she told him that she had a low temperature and that is it. I went back into the NICU to bundle her up more. I had a feeling she needed to be warmer. I was a little nervous to go back and do it with the nurse there, so I had Dave come back with me. I am so glad he came because when we walked back, she was in an incubator. It was a HUGE shock. It isn’t what any parent wants to see their tiny baby in, especially with no notice at all. We were angry. We hadn’t been asked or told it was happening, or given any good reason why she was in it. Saturday night was tough.

Sunday came around and we had a great nurse that had been with Harper before. Harper’s temperature started rising again and they were able to get her out of the incubator. She was eating a lot, had gained weight, and was producing enough diapers. The doctor came in and told us things were great. He had us go through discharge things, had her take her car seat challenge, and told us to plan on leaving Monday morning! We went home to clean up things in her nursery, crank up our heat, and get everything ready for her, then came back to the Transition Room to sleep with happy hearts.

I was woken up at 2 am by a knock on my door (Sunday night/Monday morning). It was our nurse. Harper’s temperature had dropped drastically. She needed to go back in the incubator. Our hopes were shot down once again. Now I sit here at 4:30 am wondering what is going to happen. She is getting some blood work done in less than an hour to see of there is more to her temperature dropping other than the fact that she is just premature. The results will take a few hours to get here though. I just wonder how much more of this I can take. I am wearing pretty thin. Dave is going back to work on Wednesday and we had totally planned on having a happy, healthy baby home by then. I don’t know what we’ll do about where we sleep when he starts going back to work. Each day, I know that these NICU bills are piling on more and more. My husband works so hard, but he is a school teacher. I have been blessed to be able to continue selling things on my Etsy shop, but I can’t help but stress. I just want our sweet, baby girl to be healthy at home.

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I have faith that my Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that we have to go through this test to make us stronger. I am just really wondering when this test will be over! Sorry for the long, blabbering post. I have been kind of trying to avoid this, but I would like to have it all documented and want to share our experience with all of you great readers. I will continue to have faith and pray for our sweet Harper, and will keep you all updated!

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Accomplishments from the couch

It is a little hard to feel “accomplished” when you spend most of the day on the couch, but I finally had a day that I felt like I actually was able to check some items off of my list! I made Harper 9, yep 9 headbands! I made her practically one in every color.

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She has green, black, navy, purple, turquoise, red, pink, brown, and yellow headbands now! I still have a white one to tackle, but that will be an “accomplishment” of another day!

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It was a lot of fun to use different flower making techniques I have learned to make these. I used a tutorial to make a few of the felt ones, but I will share that tutorial in another post that is brewing! I found the skinny 1/8 inch headbands on Etsy for pretty darn cheap! Go check out her shop here if you need some of these!

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On a side note, today marks 36 weeks for me and baby! She is doing a swell job of staying in there cooking longer! I have to continue to be on bed rest (with an outing here and there) for another week while taking my medication. Next week, I will be able to stop taking my medication, but am urged to still take it easy. I still have quite a bit to do before she makes her grand entrance, so she needs to stay where she’s at for now!

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Calling all moms! Hospital bag checklist!

As things start to get closer (possibly closer than I had originally anticipated, I have decided that I should think about what to pack in a hospital bag. I found a checklist online on Planning Family. This is what they said…

For labor:

Insurance info and identification
Hair ties
Chapstick
Music
Camera
Any props you plan to use during labor (photos/birthing ball/etc.)
Socks and a comfortable nursing bra for under your gown

For recovery:

Pajamas

  • You can easily wear the hospital gowns, which provide access for nursing and for the nurses to check your healing. If you want to bring your own, consider whether you will have easy access for nursing. You also want to think about whether it will be comfortable to wear over a c-section incision or if it will allow easy access for the nurses to check your vaginal area after a delivery.

Toiletries

  • The hospital will have disposable undies and pads. If you want a specific brand you should bring your own. You won’t be able to use tampons for at least 6 weeks after giving birth.

Nursing pillow
Laptop/telephone/whatever you need to spread the good news!

For baby:

Clothes to wear home (You can wear what you arrived in – it’ll still fit!)

  • The hospital generally provides shirts, diapers, and hats for baby while they are there.

Knit caps
Car seat
Blanket, depending on the weather outside

What do YOU say? What should I add or take away from this list? Any tips would be great!

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Bumpdate: 34 weeks

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(Please excuse the quality of the picture. Dave took a picture of a picture on his phone)

Well, there she is! In all of her 3D goodness. We were lucky enough to get a 3D ultrasound of our little bundle of joy at 32 weeks. It was so fun to see what features she had from each of us without even meeting her yet. She even opened her eyes up for one of the pictures! She was moving around and sucking on her arm. Seeing her, like a baby, and not just a blurred black and white image was just so surreal.

Yesterday was the 34 week mark. For the 2 days prior, I had been experiencing some back pain. It seems like a lot of my illnesses and pains usually settle in my back so I didn’t think much of it. In high school, anytime my “girl problems” would come around, I would get cramping in my back. It happened on Sunday night, but it wasn’t too bad. Then Monday morning, I woke up moaning in pain. Dave instantly was kneeling by my side of the bed making sure that I was alright and that I didn’t need to go to the hospital. I was in tears in pretty severe pain. Luckily, I am married to an incredible Priesthood holder, who without hesitation, gave me a blessing. After receiving a blessing, along with some heat on my back, things got better. I went throughout the day with a few aches in my back, but as long as I put a little heat on it, I was fine. Then yesterday came.

I woke up with a little back ache. Put heat on it and I was fine again. I got things done around the house and went to a few stores. When I was in the bank drive thru, I was hit with severe back pain. It felt like I was sitting in the line for hours. I squirmed in my seat until I got my receipt back and sped off. I didn’t know what to do. I knew I couldn’t be driving. I called my mom and she told me to pull over and lay down. I drove to Walmart, wanting to scream at idiot drivers that were taking their sweet time, and parked my car. I felt like I was having an outer body experience. I felt like I was going to throw up. No matter how I adjusted my body, my back just ached. My mom called my dad, who works on the same part of town I was stranded in and he came to my rescue. He brought me hand warmers that had been in his truck for me to put down my pants, on my back to soothe me over until he could get something better. He went into Walmart and got a heat “belt” that works like a giant hand warmer. We laughed a little when we realized that it had to go around my stomach and he had only purchased the S/M size. It stretched to it’s max and started working it’s magic. He asked how I was doing, I told him I was fine. He laughed at me again and asked if I did realize I was laying in the Walmart parking lot right? I am so glad he was close, to come save the day.

I continued talking to my mom on the phone and she decided that what I was experiencing, were labor pains. Not just any back pains. Luckily, I had an appointment scheduled to go to the doctor yesterday anyway so I knew I could have her take a look. After I thought I could function again, I drove home. When I was about 5 minutes away from my house, the pain came back. In my rush to get into my house, I left my groceries in the car, left the car door open, threw my coat on the floor, and fell to the floor. I called my mom. She agreed that it would be best if she came to get me so I wouldn’t have to drive to my appointment. I have such a sweet, loving dog. My little Sadie laid by me, gave me “kisses”, and was sure to keep me company until my mom came.

When we went to the doctor, she checked everything and saw that I was “a little thin” but not dilating. Halleluiah! She prescribed me some medication to calm my body down and told me to be on a temporary bed rest for a week.

So here I am, resting. Dave is convinced I don’t know how to rest. He is right. I can’t just sit. This should be interesting. I am so thankful that Harper decided not to come yesterday. She needs to keep cooking. I am also thankful for my sweet family and friends who helped me and were willing to do whatever I needed done. I’m sure you’ll hear more from me on my “rest” week!

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The TABLE and CHAIRS tutorial!

The moment we have all been waiting for is finally here.
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Isn’t my new set up the cutest thing you have ever seen? I am so in love. It was a lot of hard work to get it to this point, but I am so glad that I did it. This is what I did…
Your first step, is to sand everything down. I didn’t take pictures of this, but you’ll want to sand it all.
Then you need to prime it. For the chairs, I used tinted (gray) primer on the blue and purple chairs. I used white primer on the yellow and red chairs. For the table, I used the tinted primer on the legs and white primer on the table top.
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Now it is time to get out some color! For the chairs, I knew that I wouldn’t need a lot of paint for each of them. A great little tip is to just purchase the paint testers. Most of the chairs only used one. The yellow chair needed another bottle.
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I announced what colors I was using here, but when I got to the store, they didn’t have Rich Raisin. I substituted it for Regal Purple. All of the colors went on great, or at least I thought they did…
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Until I got to the red chair. The paint just wasn’t covering like the other paint colors had. I put 2 coats of paint on all of the chairs and the red one still only looked like there was 1 coat on it. Something had to be fixed.
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Luckily, my mom had some extra paint that we had used to paint my bedroom at her house when I was in high school. It worked perfectly! I was so excited once I had all of the paint on my chairs because that meant I could start painting my table! I was sure to paint the entire top white, and the legs and edges black. I put 3 coats of white on the top, and 2 coats of black on the legs and edges. Then I measured the entire table. I knew I wanted 4 black stripes and 3 white stripes. I took the entire measurement of the table and divided it by 7 to get the measurement of each stripe. I marked the measurements on each side of the table and then taped it off.
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The white is already painted, so be sure to put the edges of the tape right where you want the black paint to go to. I wanted to be sure that I didn’t paint something black that was supposed to be white, so I labeled the black stripes with the letter “B”.
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I put 3 coats of paint on each black stripe. Everything looked good, but I wanted it all to look glossy, polished, and be protected. I used Minwax Polycrylic clear gloss over everything. When using it, I was sure to have thin coats and to coat everything 3 times.
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I am so glad I went to all of the work of putting the clear gloss because everything turned out beautifully!
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My favorite chair is the Peacock Blue one. It is such a rich, stunning color. I nicknamed him “Little Blue”. Dave teased me for it, and maybe it was the paint fumes getting to me, but I love the name.
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Overall, the project was a lot of work, but SO worth it! Now to just make some things as a centerpiece! I have some ideas!
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Life lessons and a great example

Dave’s poor family has had to go through so much. When Dave was just a newborn, his grandma passed away at the age of 45 from breast cancer. She left 8 kids and a husband behind. Her oldest was in his 20’s and the youngest was only 5. Dave’s dad “Big Dave” is the oldest child and was the only one with a child able to meet his mom. His brother just younger than him was married, but had not children. The brother just younger than that was serving an LDS mission when his mom passed away. I can’t even imagine how Paul felt when he was unable to say goodbye to his mother. The other 5 kids were still living at home. Dave’s grandpa, Gary was left as a young, widower. He got remarried shortly later, but I losing his “sweetheart” would be so hard!

When Dave and I went to his family reunion this summer, we told them that we were going to be having a baby. They were all so excited. Telling Dave’s grandpa was such a neat experience. He told us the story about he and his “sweetheart” finding out they were going to be parents. He also told us about what things were like when they found out she was sick. He is such a faithful man. He had such faith in his Heavenly Father, that he was able to be comforted through her illness and knew that she had to leave this earth for a greater purpose. He is such an incredible example of unquestioning faith.

3 years ago, Big Dave passed away from ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease at the age of 45. Dave was only 21 when he lost his dad. It was one of the most difficult things that we have had to go through together. We had only been married for 3 months. Poor Grandpa, had to lose his wife, and first born child at the age of 45 to disease. He easily could have been angry and bitter, but instead he was such a source of strength for the entire family. He reminded us that “Big Dave” was once again with his mom. “Big Dave” really struggled through his lifetime with living his life faithfully, but before he was diagnosed with ALS he came back to church and was there with us in the temple when Dave and I got married. We knew that his hard work to live his life faithful again had paid off and he was able to be with his mom again. Grandpa reminded us all of that.

Last week, Dave went to SLC to be with his family because his uncle Paul passed away from an illness at the age of 44. He left 4 children behind. The oldest being 20, and the youngest only about 3. He had just moved back to the USA from Cambodia so that his family could be taken care of after he passed away. Once again, Dave’s grandpa could have been negative about losing 2 children at the ages of 44 and 45 and his wife at 45. He wasn’t negative at all. He was once again a source of strength for the family. I hope to be as faithful as he is someday. He has taught me one major life lesson. Turn to my Heavenly Father in all things. Have faith always.

Who is one of your greatest examples?

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What is Shellac?

When I am at the salon, I have a lot of people ask me, “What is Shellac?” and most of them feel really silly for asking. That is not a silly question at all! Shellac is a gel based polish that is cured under the UV light with every layer. On your fingernails, it usually lasts between 2-3 weeks and on your toes it can last for about 8 weeks! It is so shiny, and makes your nails feel harder. It isn’t damaging on your nails like acrylic, gel nails, or rock star toes. I have always just done Shellac on my toes. I finally got it done on my nails! I had my dear friend, Nellie give me a French polish. Pictures taken in dim light don’t do them justice at all!

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They look and almost feel like acrylic nails. They are hard like them, but not so thick. I absolutely love them. I would 100% recommend getting this done. It makes me feel pretty without feeling as high maintenance as I do when I have acrylic nails. So in short terms, Shellac nails=totally worth it!

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Project Runway and College Football

I have been a Project Runway addict for many, many years. I have watched all but one season faithfully week by week. There have been a few seasons that I haven’t totally agreed with who the winner is, and other seasons that I have totally loved. I have learned a lot about fashion and how very much I don’t know about fashion while watching. This season has been TERRIBLE though! I am so disappointed with who the final 4 are!

I was so excited for the episode last week to eliminate one of them, then they didn’t eliminate ANY of them. Lame. This season especially, I have realized that my idea of “style” is really not the same idea of “style” that the judges have.

I’ve decided that because this season of Project Runway is so terrible, college football teams and analysts got together and wanted to appeal to the Project Runway crowd. Don’t know what I am talking about? This is what I am talking about…

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These teams have the most talked about new uniforms this year. There are several other teams that got new uniforms this year. While watching the show “College Gameday” on ESPN on Saturdays, they unveil uniforms on mannequins and discuss them! They even call them “unis”. Since when is a college football field a runway? It is a little silly to me, but if you are as disappointed in Project Runway this year as I am, you may want to tune into some college football.

Photos found here

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Answered prayers and grown up decisions

When I woke up that morning this Spring and decided to take a pregnancy test, I had no idea what kind of curveballs that one word that was about to show up on the test would throw me. It was like as soon as I saw the word, “Pregnant” my entire world paused and I realized that I needed to grow up. Very soon, there would be a new person in my life that would take my number one priority in life.

Before I knew I was pregnant, I had a complete breakdown to my sweet husband. I told him that I hated my job. I hated doing hair. I felt like a complete failure. I didn’t feel like I was good at it anymore. I had a few clients come in during a short period of time that really ripped apart my self esteem. That happens to EVERY stylist out there. If it hasn’t, it will and it is the worst! Nothing makes you feel more low than to work so hard on something, then have someone tell you that you don’t know how to do it correctly (as if they have any idea what they are talking about, when the stylist is the one that has studied this art for days on end). Well, after this breakdown, we sat down and looked at our finances to see if there was any way I could quit. That is when I realized that I had been making a lot of money in the few months earlier. There was no way that I could quit because of how tight we still were living. It was really hard to hear, but I am glad that I didn’t quit because I learned later, that a lot of my feelings were due to the crazy emotions that come with a pregnancy.

About 2 months later, Dave went through something very similar. He was really struggling to love his job. He didn’t have the passion he felt last school year, and just didn’t even love himself. The only thing that kept him sane was coaching a 7th grade football team. He loved that. I am so grateful that he had the opportunity to coach those boys. They saved him. After a lot of tears, lack of sleep, and many prayers, things started getting better for him. He was slowly able to start enjoying things about his life, and he is much happier teaching 3rd grade now. He was ready to get out of there and do something completely different with his life. He does want to teach older students and coach at a higher level. He will have to take some classes for those to be qualified, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We had SO many answered prayers.

Lately, I have realized how much I would like to go college. I went to beauty school, but I have always wanted a college learning experience. I know that it is a silly time in my life to even play with that idea, but I honestly would like to go. After the craft fair that I did, I realized that I love networking with people and creating things. This really opened my eyes. I decided to sit down once again and look at what my finances were like at the salon. Lately it has gotten a lot slower for me because they have done a lot of hiring. I have had to stress a lot more on how I am going to pay booth rent. When I looked at numbers I was bringing home, it really opened my eyes. I have been wasting a lot of time waiting for walk in appointments and really wasn’t making much money. After talking with Dave and doing a lot more praying, I decided to talk to my boss about working 1 Saturday a month at the salon. She was so supportive and willing to let me rent a booth 1 Saturday a month. I will be able to cram all of my clients in on that day. I will still be able to make some money for us, but I will be able to stay home and do what I love doing the most. That is creating things. Such as my items on my Etsy shop that has been SO ignored. I also get to learn interesting things to blog about. I may even start taking college classes online in April. What I am most excited for though, is being able to spend time getting ready for, then being with my baby girl.

Making grown up decisions is so hard, but I know that when we have a strong support system that really just wants what is best for us, the best decisions are made. I am so blessed to have the friends and family that I have.

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