House Updates- Part 1- //Outdoor//

I can’t believe we have been in our home for 2 years now! Sometimes I get discouraged at what we’ve accomplished and then I look back at pictures from when we first bought the place and it shocks me how far it has come.

Here is a recap on what’s been going around our neck of the woods as of late.

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This is our lovely home when we moved in. Mostly everything was dead because it had been vacant for over a year during California’s drought. We thought of it as a fresh slate. It is more of a “more work than you can imagine” though.IMG_9673

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This front bed was filled with sooooooo many rocks…….so many rocks.

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Now on to the backyard! Looks like the plants aren’t the only thing growing! This was a month before Josiah was born! IMG_3360

The structure behind me had to come down because it was falling apart. Our hope is to build some sort of fun trellis there to replace it. IMG_9543IMG_9544IMG_9541

Some of these photos are horrible. I am way off on my iPhone photo taking game. Get it together Wendy from 2015!

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As we started cleaning up the backyard, we discovered the center was the burial site of lots and lots of random things. Like cement blocks, a tent, a ceramic hand (CREEEPPPY TOWN), a mosaic fish, shepherd hooks, parts of a granite countertop….why. Just why.

As Andres dug he continually commented on how he feared the next thing he was going to dig up would be a body. The most perfect prank could have been played here….muahahaha. Missed opportunities. I’ll blame it on the watermelon I was growing in my belly.

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More photos of the hole. IMG_3408IMG_3411

 

Before Josiah was born we were able to seed the lawn with the help of the Huckabys. ❤

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Good job guys!

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Next was two Redwood trees that were dead. One had a little life left but was growing super close to the house. Now you see them…IMG_1397

Now you don’t. Our yard felt so naked without them! IMG_1411Here is our grass slowly but surly filling in.

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Our backyard in progress. Out of the abyss that was the hole in the middle of the yard, came tons of pieces of slate. Andres and his brothers placed them as a mosiac path which also defined where we would put grass in the back. I love the form it gave to our blank slate of a backyard. IMG_8758

The vine in the back is a pumpkin plant that went crazy! It was lovely to have so much greenery back there. IMG_8760

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Here is the pumpkin plant taking over more and our peach tree that we planted (on the left).IMG_9585

Here is my cutie patootie with said pumpkin plant. This gives me all the feels. So little!

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Jump forward two years and that peach tree is getting bigger! I cannot wait to try our first peach this year as last year the only two Andres left on the tree fell off and were eaten by birds. Sad face. IMG_2492IMG_2493

Don’t mind the blanket tent Josiah made. IMG_2495

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Stay tuned for more to come!

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Annella’s Birth Story

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This is the last photo I have of the bump before little miss made her appearance!

My original due date was November 23rd, but with each appointment that date shifted around and in the end they said November 17th…which is hilarious because she ended up coming on November 23rd which made me think she was 6 days late when she was really right on time. Fun fact! I was born on my grandma Annelle’s birthday and Annella was born on her grandpa’s birthday!

I had a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions with her so for a few weeks I pretty much thought that I was going into labor every other night. Around 1am on the 23rd though I woke up to a significant contraction. I was able to fall back asleep once my adrenaline subsided and woke up  a few times but decided to ignore it. I wanted to get as much sleep as possible because I knew the zombie state that was coming.

Around 7am I started timing the contractions and they were consistently 10 minutes apart. I decided to get ready for the day in between contractions and started texting my doula friend Jamie with updates. As they got progressively stronger I used our exercise ball to work through each contraction while Andres was distracting Josiah. The sweetest moment was while in the middle of a strong contraction feeling a little hand rubbing my back and Josiah was looking at me with worry and said “ok mama?”

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Around noon my mother in law showed up to watch Josiah and I told Andres I could barely speak and the contractions were so close together we needed to go to the hospital. He told me we should “wait a bit longer” and I told him I’d be in the car. We left immediately. Everything started going blurry with the pain as all I could focus on was breathing. We pulled into the valet drop off and they were backed up and I decided I could NOT WAIT. So I hobbled my way towards the hospital with Andres calling to me from the car. I remember having to pause during contractions and leaning against the entry pillars, then continuing my hobble.

I was slightly coherent as I attempted to scribble my name into sign in sheet and the guy behind the counter leapt up and got me a wheelchair. Luckily by then Andres was there and was able to answer questions because I could barely keep my eyes open. In triage I almost fell trying to get on the bed because I was so out of it. Fear gripped me as with Josiah I felt like I waited as long as humanly possible to go to the hospital only to me told that I was 1cm dilated. She checked me and to my surprise I was a 7! I was in transition which is why I felt like I was basically dying. Everything started happening very quickly and there was a flurry of people. My L&D Kailey was amazzzzzzing and so calm and level headed and I was SO thankful for her! I could make it through each contraction if I had Andres push on my back but I told Kailey in triage that I was ready for my epidural. Labor is such a mind game and I could feel myself slipping. It’s so easy to let the contractions take over and you feel like your drowning. She said I may be too far but she would try to get the guy to me in time. When he walked through the door I told him that I loved him and subsequently told every nurse in the room that I loved them too. The hardest part was staying still through the contractions as he placed the epidural. I barely remember a pinch from that needle.

My Dr. just so happened to be in surgery upstairs and came down to check on me. She wasn’t going to deliver me but since I was progressing so quickly she told me to start pushing with the nurse while she filled out some paper work and she would be back in a little. My head was spinning….how could it be time to push already? I feel like I just got here (flashbacks to being at the hospital for 20 hours with Josiah)…And where the heck was she going?!

I started pushing at 2:30 and Annella was born at 3pm! (On the dot!)

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We were so in love.

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She was so tiny compared to Josiah as she weighed in at 7lbs 14oz. It happened so quickly I felt like I barely had time to process that this was really happening..and fast!! We named her Annella Joy and she was perfect ❤ Annella is of Scottish origin and means full of grace and mercy.

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She got some skin to skin with daddy while they stitched me up. Que all the heart eyes. Nothing prepared me for the feels I would have seeing Andres fall in love with our little girl. Puddle on the floor.

Baby girl had some fluid she swallowed and they had to mess with her for awhile to suction it all out. I knew she was fine but it was terrifying waiting for her to cry.

We got back to our room and the sun was glowing through the windows. It just didn’t feel real. We actually felt pretty alert and so much peace. I remember having Josiah at 1am and how we felt like we had been hit by a bus. We were able to just soak her all up.

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She had a bit of jaundice and had to be on lights to clear it up. Poor baby hated it.

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Family and friends started dropping in to meet our newest addition.

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Josiah was thrilled to meet “Sissy” and he looked so ginormous compared to her.

I was so thrilled he got to meet her that night. Our hearts are full.

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It was amazing what a radically difference experience it was having Annella versus labor with Josiah. I was full of so much fear and anxiety about going through labor again and I felt so fortunate that all those fears rendered false. She came so fast and there was so much more peace this time around which was such a relief. I am still amazed at what the human body is capable of and how so many things are as mental as they are physical.

Baby No. 2

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I can’t believe we are almost a family of 4.

F O U R PEOPLE.

I feel like this pregnancy has gone by at warp speed (my stretch marks can vouch for that) and we are just days away from my due date. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that we could be meeting our baby at any moment.

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Josiah has never been a big cuddle bug but ever since I started carrying this little lady he has been g-l-u-e-d to me. I can’t complain as I am soakings up all the cuddles and hugs now. I have a feeling when she is here he is going to be a bit mad at me.

As my belly has grown he has been very curious and enjoys pulling up my shirt for inspections and staring long and hard at my belly button. As if he is thinking “something is definitely up…just not quite sure what…”

He has small understandings of what is happening but I am sure he will still be quite surprised when we bring home baby A. If I ask him to “hug baby” he will slowly lean his ear towards my belly and hug it. I love how cautious he is about it. Then I get an elbow to my belly button as he tries to scale me. I mean….I know my belly is big, but I’m no mountain, kid.”

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I feel so much anticipation…excitement…fear…as we wait to meet our little girl. Part of it is knowing what labor is like now and truly truly not looking forward to it. I am however looking forward to stuffing my face with all the delicious hospital food. They have got it dialed in people. Another (more important) plus is that I will finally get to see that little face that has been forming for the past 9 months. I am told that is the best motivation for keeping your head up…thinking about that little face you get to kiss when it is all over and done. And falling in love with this new person. I can’t imagine loving someone the way I love Josiah. That parental love is so indescribable. It completely wrecks you and puts you back together again. It makes you feel whole in a way you didn’t know you were incomplete.

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I am cherishing these last days as a family of three. These last days of just Josiah and I spending time together. I have been trying to get our room ready for baby and finally have it mostly together.

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It has been fun to fold little pink things with bows. So here is to waiting when it feels like it will be for no time at all. Waiting on you baby A and trying to choose peace over this delivery and life change…and choose joy.

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Furniture Projects- Dresser Makeover!

As the saying of old goes- better late than never? I have discovered I think I am super awesome at taking before and after pictures, but I am very wrong about that.

I have been d y i n g to redo Andres’ dresser for ages now and finally tackled it last week. The only problem is, I took a before video of it on snapchat and forgot to save it. So my before pictures are basically non existent. Boo.

I was able to scrounge up some photos if you look in the background.

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The picture above is pretty true to life of what the dresser looks like every day. I don’t know why Andres has to open so many drawers to get the clothes he needs for the day….or why it is basically impossible for him to close them afterwards. Insert monkey emojii covering eyes….

I took Annie Sloan’s Old Ochre Chalk paint to dress this bad boy up.

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The hardest part was selecting knobs. I ended up being disappointed with the ones I settled on. Andres loves them. Go figure. They are from Hobby Lobby and were $2.50 each!

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I think I want to go back and distress around the edges of the piece again. Or I might just add a tinted wax.

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Cannot get enough of that cutie.

These show the original finish:

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The piece that is resting on top of the dresser is a cabinet I got from the Restore for $5…like 3 years ago.

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I eventually would love to put mis matched knobs to hang jewelry on inside.

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The bottom glass knob is the one I wished I had gone with for the dresser. Darn you gut instinct!

So there you have it! One project finally documented.

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Mama Life

Post partum is no joke. I straightened my hair during Bubba’s nap and realized it looked like a 2 year old chopped off the front of my hair and gave me bangs. And sideburns….

They were all baby hairs (I think?) that were growing in from all the hair I have lost since Bubba was born or my hair was breaking off. Crazy town.

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Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories which has been a blessing and a curse for me. I have weighed less than when I got married WHICH IS SO EXCITING! But none of my pants fit…and my body is showing me that it is not retaining enough nutrients because it is passing it all over to baby. My hair breaking…my vision has been getting blurry at times and my nails have been basically disintegrating among other things. SO! I decided I needed to really put forth an effort to take care of myself and make sure I am getting enough food! I am really bad at it!

Case in point, I didn’t eat the egg Andres made for me before I went to change Bubba’s diaper and when I returned it had vanished. Luna is quite the opportunist. And I have ADD and am super slow so it’s quite the perfect storm.

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My sister in love is a genius. Last time we went to visit she came over with a bag of pre-prepped veggies and we all mindlessly munched on them while hanging out. I almost never eat veggies so this was amazing.

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With me it is all about what is easiest. Taking the time in advance to get a bag together with veggies makes it so easy to snack on later. Here I put together orange bell pepper, celery, snap peas, and cherry tomatoes.

Easy pea-sy!  heh heh

 

 

Living with Grief

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Grief is a never ending process. It may have an origin point, but I don’t think you ever completely recover from loss or pain. I think of grief like a body of water. Eventually the surface settles and it appears to be calm and serene. All the dirt and debris settle at the bottom…but when you step into it again it get all gets stirred up and everything at the bottom comes swirling to the top. Your perspective of it gets muddy and unclear….distorted and overwhelming all over again.If you leave it alone…it eventually settles down.

Grief takes on different forms, but is an ever changing presence that shifts and alters as we grow and continue on. Sometimes it gets better. Some days it will feel worse. The stinging pain will fade to a dull ache like a picture slowly blurring out of focus as you step back from it, but you can also step back towards it…

1084My mother lost her battle with pancreatic cancer when I was 9 years old. I have been without her for 19 years….I can’t even comprehend how it has been that long. There were a lot of years where my grief consumed me. It became my identity and it owned me. Eventually I was able to take a step back and really see and appreciate who she was and what she meant to me and everyone around her. She became someone I wanted to emulate. Someone I wanted to become.

The way she selflessly loved people and was a true friend encouraged me to try to do the same. She made me want to be better, even if she wasn’t with me…I desperately wanted to make her proud of me. I still meet people to this day that talk to me about my mom and what a friend she was to them.

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When I was pregnant with Josiah the pain I thought had faded away hit me like a ton of bricks. I was realizing that she would never get to meet my little guy. This was one of the many life experiences I felt robbed of. I wouldn’t be able to ask her for advice at 2am when he was crying and I was out of ideas. I didn’t have this irreplaceable person to walk life with. It’s strange. It wasn’t that I wasn’t blessed with people in my life to walk through motherhood with me. It was the unbearable desire that

I wanted h e r .

IMG_3641-002Moms are so special. They cannot be replaced. There is no love like the love of a mother…

and the love we have for our mothers.

Being a mom now and experiencing that kind of love is incredible. You love someone so much it hurts. I remember growing up and listening to friends complain about their moms and how I couldn’t help but think “but at least you have a mom….I would do anything to have mine…” Especially during my awkward and emotional teenage years. (Which it typically when daughters and mothers fight the most).

What has helped me deal with this loss has been my perspective of it, and the support and love from others in my life. Being able to see my mom through the eyes of others and understand her personality and heart made me appreciate her that much more. Realizing that I could feel fortunate for the time I did have with her…and that even though it doesn’t seem fair that I don’t get to experience life with her, she was incredible and I got to be her daughter. If I looked at it from the perspective of something was taken from me, then I would take on more of the role of a victim. I wanted to take this horrible situation and let it affect me in a positive way because the other way would slowly destroy me. One avenue is life giving, by letting your hardships make you stronger– instead of destructive by being overcome with the pain. I also realize she wouldn’t want me to be sad. She isn’t in pain anymore. I believe she is with her Savior that she loved with an unshakable faith. Even when she knew He wasn’t going to take her cancer away.

1002I didn’t realize how sick she was. How she became skin and bones– stripped of her energy from her treatments and still trying to keep up with her three spirited (crazy) children. She had so many people in her life that stepped in to help carry the load. It was incredible the amount of community I sensed, even as a small child, that surrounded our family during those last hard months.

And after she died….

I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for countless people who decided to invest in me. I would get terrible stomach aches from the stress in third grade and would constantly be in the nurses office. My third grade teacher (Mrs. Sj) made a pact with me that if I didn’t go to the nurses’ office for a month, then we would go get ice cream. Years passed and we would still get together to get ice cream, which eventually became coffee dates. Playing checkers which evolved into a friendship I have gratefully carried into my adult years.

My dad got remarried and I got to have a new mother daughter relationship with my step mom. She will never replace who my mom was to me, but we still get to have our own special bond that I am so grateful for. She chose to love me like I was her own, and got to deal with my crazy self when I was a tween and a teenager. Oh myyyyyy.

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When I got married I hit the jackpot and gained a mother in law I consider one of my best friends. Life can deal out some pretty unfair circumstances, but there is still balance. Even in the midst of terrible events there can be joy…but you have to choose it. You can’t control what happens to you but you can always control how you respond.

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Hang alllllll the pictures

We lived in our apartment for way too long before I began to attack the walls. Something about wanting to get some semblance of our deposit back had me hesitate to fill the walls with nails. But ho-man…when I started..there was no stopping me. I successfully filled every wall with something to my cluttered antics delight. It was beautiful chaos to me. People that would see our apartment kindly called it “warm and cozy” but it was a hoarder’s quarters to my poor minimalist husband. Give me allllll the frames.

I tried my hand at a collage wall to incorporate some odds and ends in our kitchen nook. It was hard to visualize how all the pieces would come together so I took tissue paper and cut outlines of all the pieces and noted where the hangers were on the paper. I let the paper sit for a few days and I messed with the composition a few times before feeling like it was the way I wanted it.

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I eventually filled the gold frame with some scrapbooking paper….so classy….but I am IN LOVE with the colors.

Of course I can’t scrounge up a decent picture of it.

Here it is stage right.

IMG_1622I loved the way our apartment felt. It’s funny that I am having the hardest time putting pictures on the walls in our house. Our living room currently has a nice tall stack of frames just waiting to be hung but I can’t decide what wall to put them on.

The only room in the house that has pictures up is Josiah’s nursery.

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It did look like this for quite a few months. Then I taped the outline of the frames on the wall to get a feel for it. I started in the center and arranged everything around the J.

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Beefing Up Your Furniture with Crown Molding- The Corner Bookcase

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In Fresno, we have a nifty little shop called the Restore, where you can buy used home supplies for super cheap and the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity and affordable homing projects in the area. Most of the goods are donated from projects instead of thrown in the trash, which is a fantastic way to upcycle and give a second life to perfectly good materials! I scored a piece of crown molding for a dollar and had BIG plans for it. We had a pretty blah corner bookcase that I had been itching to revamp into something wonderful. The great debate insued with the hubs that adding molding to the piece would NOT look good. I think it’s safe to say I proved him wrong on this one. I don’t have his conversion in writing but he did finally admit it turned out well.

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First, Tiffany and I cut the crown at an angle to miter together around the top of the piece. After applying wood glue, we tacked it with finish nails into place.

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Because of the angle of the crown molding, we used a paper towel cardboard roll to protect the crown from getting dinged by the hammer.

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We added wood filler to hide the finish nails and to bridge any gapping from the crown to the top of the piece. IMG_0057

Next, I applied some fancy appliques to the doors to beef them up a bit. IMG_0097

It was then time for some paint! As I painted the outside I realized how beautiful the grain and stain looked on the inside and I couldn’t bring myself to paint it. I ended up leaving the inside the same and loved the contrast it gave the piece! IMG_0098 IMG_0110

Before the shelving was put back in.IMG_0122

Voila!

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I realize you don’t usually photograph corners so I tried to round of some pictures of it through the seasons, but it was never the focal point.

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Here it is peaking in at our harvest party last fall in our apartment before we moved. Oh man, these makes me want to bust out all my fall things now in our new house! It is Septemeber…….annnnnnnnd 105 degrees outside.

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Here is the corner bookcase in our new home! This picture was taken at my baby shower. *Also, when opening gifts my excited face looks like I had someone stomp on my foot. Alright then.

Have you guys ever vamped up a piece of furniture that you already had? Did you like the way it turned out?

-W

Painting- A Process

This is a painting I did for a friend’s nursery. I found it fun to document the various stages that evolved into the finish product.

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First, I added blue paint to the top of the canvas and took a wet rag and created an ombre effect. I then penciled in the content of the painting.

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Painting is all about the layers. I slowly started filling in the different areas of the painting with darker colors on bottom, and then layering lighter colors on top as each stage dried.

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I would alternate between adding dark areas and light areas to created a dimensioned effect. IMG_8984 IMG_8478

The last part added were dots off white to create where light was hitting. Here is the final result:IMG_8486

Human Kindness

I am loving the new found freedom that month 5 has been giving me! Josiah no longer screams bloody murder every time I put him in the carseat and we can actually GO places and DO things. I was definitely going stir crazy so it is fantastic to have a change of scenery. Yesterday we went to the grocery store and I strapped him into the Ergo 360. He.loved.it.

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The challenge is always trying to keep my shopping list out of his hands (and mouth) as he is constantly snatching it from me. For the most part, it went very smoothly, until checkout. It was hard bending into the basket and fishing everything onto the conveyor belt. I felt a little flustered that I couldn’t go any faster than I was. As I struggled to open the paper bags and fill them, an older gentleman who had just finished packing his groceries into his cloth bags (I always forget mine) walks over to me and smiles, then starts helping me put things into my bags. It caught me completely off guard but felt like such a blessing. It wasn’t that I wasn’t capable of filling my own bags– but it was nice that I didn’t have to do it alone. He then picked up all the bags and loaded them into my cart for me. It was such a simple but impactful gesture that truly touched my heart. He offered to help me to my car but I waved him off, thanking him for all of his help.

This encounter changed me. It reminded me that we are all on the same team. That helping others with their tasks, circumstances, burdens……it means something. It is powerful. It made me want to be more available to help when I see visible needs. To be kind. Even exchanging a smile with a stranger can lift their mood. Because there is something about being seen…and acknowledged in a positive way.