Thursday, December 30, 2010

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I can't believe I used to post a weekly pregnancy update!  Now that Mary Harper has arrived I find it a lot harder to get on my computer at all.  And if I do have spare time, I usually have other stuff I need to get done.  So it's been easy to neglect Blogworld. 
Mary Harper is now three months old and is getting more fun each day!  She smiles and laughs and has started "talking" nonstop.  (Hmmmm...wonder where she could get that?)  Her coos and baby talk are so sweet. 

She visited Paris for the first time over Thanksgiving and had lots of fun with her cousins.  We also celebrated my new niece Naomi's first birthday since being adopted.  It was her very first birthday cake and she was so excited about all her gifts! 

In early December, Josh and I spent a long weekend in New York.  We spent New Year's Eve there last December and I fell in love with New York during Christmas.  It was tough for me to be away from MH for the first time but it was nice to spend some quality time with Josh AND have a few nights of uninterrupted sleep!
Christmas this year was the best ever!  I know it will only get better each year as MH gets older but it was nice to not have to buy her any gifts this year and she had no clue!  Josh went out of his way to make sure my first Christmas with MH was a memorable one and the best gift of all was celebrating this special holiday as a family of three!

Josh and I got married two years ago this coming New Year's Eve!  I am so lucky to be married to such a wonderful husband who is now also the best daddy ever!  We celebrated while in NYC because I will not be in town the night of our anniversary this year. 

My best friend Lori lives in Japan so I rarely get to spend time with her so Josh being awesome and is sending me to Vegas over New Year's Eve this year with her!!  Last time I was in Vegas it was 115 degrees and I was 7 months pregnant so I'm thinking this trip will be a bit more enjoyable!  It was probably 7 or 8 years ago since the last time Lori and I went to Vegas together and I am absolutely THRILLED to spend a few days with her before she returns back to Japan. ):

So there's my much delayed update!  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and for those of you who blog, I can't wait to catch up with what's been going on in your world. 

I will leave you with some more pictures of my baby girl! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just to see you smile

Happy 2 Months Mary Harper!
So it's not that I didn't like Mary Harper when she was a newborn of course...but I LOVE LOVE LOVE her at this new stage.  I mean, let's be honest.  Newborns aren't exactly the most entertaining creatures.  And it's not like she's juggling or putting on short plays for me now either.  But lately she's starting to smile more and more and that smile just makes me melt! 

I would say being a mommy has either become easier or more bearable - not sure which.  Ha!  I guess I was a bit naive about becoming a mom.  I mean, I knew sleep would be limited but I just always thought that newborns sleep all the time and I would just sleep when she did.  Oh how perfect that plan sounds...yet it doesn't seem to work out that way once your new alarm clock bundle of joy arrives. 

Let's just say an ounce of sleep deprivation, a cup of raging hormones and a pinch of non-stop crying is a great recipe for INSANITY!  Throw in a tough physical recovery from the labor/delivery and it gets even worse.  But of course babies are routinely called "a bundle of joy".  So when I wasn't exactly feeling the joy in not showering for three days, I felt kind of guilty.  When Josh went back to work, could actually leave the house and even still meet a friend for lunch if he wanted; I felt jealous and even resentful that his life wasn't altered near as much as mine by our new arrival.  And I'm sure Josh wasn't exactly humming "Joy to the World" as he watched his wife cry, his dog hide under the bed and his baby girl screaming bloody murder due to a tummy ache one night.

I know that there are women out there that arrived at the hospital to deliver their baby, they coughed and out came the most perfect baby that never cries and sleeps through the night on their first night home.  And to twist the knife even more, they are back in their "skinny" jeans when they leave the hospital.  But that was not me.  Yet I still feel so blessed everyday to have my little girl and love her just as much as those that got the hang of this parenting thing a bit faster than I did.  And perhaps even those moms that look like everything is perfect on the outside are having some of the same struggles and feelings I do too-but are just afraid to admit it. 

I really feel that if we all are a bit more candid and honest with each other about how hard the adjustment to mommyhood can be, it will make us all better friends, mentors, teachers and moms in the future. 

This experience has given me a whole new appreciation for single moms and those that don't have the support of two wonderful families and friends.  I can't imagine how much harder it would be without that network of support. 

So this post is for all my friends who are expecting or new moms like me. It's tough and you are not alone.  But while motherhood may be the hardest job in the world, it is also the most rewarding.  And boy, are those smiles worth it. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm alive...and a mommy!

So it's been a while since my last entry so not sure where to start!  I guess I'll start on September 22...the day our lives as we know it changed. :)

To make a long story short, I had a VERY rough labor and delivery.  19 hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing.  Finally my doctor decided I needed to get off the epidural so I could "feel the pain" to know when to push better.  INSERT A FEW CHOICE WORDS HERE.  ;)  After she FINALLY arrived, he then had quite a bit of work to do on me.  And remember I no longer had the epidural.  Fun times.  I think it's safe to say we were all a bit surprised by Mary Harper's size.  :)

But I did finally have some awesome moments in the delivery room with my new little one!  When she 1st came out since I was still being worked on I couldn't hold her.  So I called out to her when she was crying and as soon as she heard my voice, she stopped crying.  It was crazy.  Then when I was finally able to hold her, she was crying again and as soon as I started talking to her she stopped and looked at me with the most alert eyes.  I could see in her eyes that she knew I was her mommy!  It was amazing.

We were able to leave the hospital three days later but I was still in INTENSE pain and was told I had about 3 months of recovery time ahead of me.  I was on pain meds round the clock and also developed post pregnancy pre eclampsia.  My poor husband had to take care of both me and a newborn baby because I could barely get out of bed.  Then throw in sleep deprivation.  Luckily, my parents came and stayed with us to help out.  It was the worst of times and best of times all at the same time.  I was thrilled to finally have my little girl.  But I felt like Mary Harper was bonding more with Josh and my parents because I was so sick to hold her or take care of her.  It was really a rough time for me physically and mentally.  But thank goodness, we are blessed with wonderful family and friends that helped us through it.

So that is why I was MIA for a bit.  But I'm now feeling a lot better and finally starting to feel more like myself.  Even throughout my ordeal, every time I had to go to the doctor, I felt so blessed that I was the one with the problems and not Mary Harper.  She is beautiful, healthy and perfect in every way!  And here are some pictures to prove it. :)

Yes, she's already one month!

Monday, September 20, 2010

41 Weeks: We're 102.5% of the way there! Sigh...

Well the website I have been using for these updates stops at 40 weeks so I had to find my own picture of how big Mary Harper is becoming. :)  Of course she is not quite THAT big but some days it feels like it!  I go back on Tuesday to check my progress and if she's still enjoying her stay at Hotel Uterus, I will be induced sometime next week.  Apparently there is a full moon on Thursday so maybe that will be the night if she doesn't decide to come sooner!

I have been trying to be very patient but I am really becoming amazed at how many symptoms can come with pregnancy!  And can't believe I ever talked back or disrespected my own mom! :)  I always knew she "had brought me into this world and could take me out" but I never realized how much it took to get me here until now!  The past few weeks I have had a sharp pain in my thigh and butt and it makes my leg feel really weak like it's about to give out.  Apparently this fun new symptom is called sciatica.  (The sciatic nerve is a long nerve that runs from the lower back to the back of the legs and feet and the weight of the baby can cause it to become inflamed).  

But I am so grateful to be pregnant and so excited to become Mary Harper's mommy that when I get too uncomfortable I just try to remind myself that it will all be worth it once I finally have Mary Harper in my arms...WHICH SHOULD BE THIS WEEK!! :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

40 Weeks: We're 100% of the way where is she?!

So we of course can't tell for sure how big Mary Harper will be but the average newborn weighs about 7 1/2 pounds (the size of a small pumpkin) and is about 20 inches long. 

My actual due date is THIS WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15!!  My doctor has told me that if she hasn't arrived by my due date, he would let me decide if I want to induce or if I want to wait it out.  He did advise that we only wait one week past my due date.  Part of me really likes the sound of having a set day and time to go in, being able to get ready and not having to make a mad rush to the hospital. But there are pros and cons to both I guess. So right now it's just a waiting game!  At my appointment today, my doctor today said he wants to see me again on Friday this week to see how I have progressed.  Depending on that visit, he said we could go ahead and induce this weekend if I wanted. 

Monday and Tuesday are officially my last two days at work until nearly February.  Josh even gets 6 weeks of PAID PATERNITY LEAVE (doesn't even count against vacation days or anything!)...crazy huh?  I doubt he'll actually take off all 6 weeks but I am very grateful we will be able to have so much quality time together as a new family. 

As far as my nesting, I am pleased with the progress we made and actually feel "nested out"...which is a good thing because Josh has me on a spending freeze.  :)  Our master bedroom and nursery turned out exactly the way I had envisioned them and I am content to take some time off before we start back on other rooms. 

My "to do list" is very small now and no big priority items remain.  It feels so great to have accomplished so much over the past few weeks/months to prepare for her arrival.  It feels really weird to look at our upcoming calendar and not have something planned for every day of the week.  The only thing we have scheduled is family time with our new baby girl!  It may be a great opportunity for us to slow down a bit...we'll see how long that lasts before I go stir crazy!

I can't believe this may be my last post before Mary Harper makes her debut!  Josh and I have been overwhelmed by the love and support we have received over the past 40 weeks.  This has been such a special time for us and you have made it even better. 

And once again, your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated as we await her arrival!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Possible Blog/Privacy Setting Changes

So with our little one's impending arrival, I am thinking about making this blog private.  I'm not even sure if there's anyone in blogland that actually reads my blog and I really use it more to document "life" for my own benefit.  But if you do actually read it and would still like to able to keep up with the Brown family from time to time, please either comment on this post, shoot me an email or message me on facebook with your email address. 

I believe your email address is the only information I need to give you access to it.  Anyway, still not sure if that is the route I am going to go...maybe I'm just being paranoid.  I know other friends post pictures of your kiddos on your blogs so it may not be a big deal. But I wanted to at least start gathering the information in case I do make it private once Mary Harper arrives.

Would love to hear other parent's thoughts on public vs. private blogs too if you have an opinion one way or another.  It's just something I've never really thought about before becoming a mommy! 

For those of you that do read it, I hope you will continue to do so even if it's no longer public.  I can't wait to finally introduce you to Mary Harper!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

39 Weeks: We're 97.5% of the way there!

Mary Harper is just ONE week away from her due date!!  It's likely she already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds, a mini watermelon.  My biggest achievement each day now is actually getting out of bed in the morning!  There have been times I thought I was going to have to call a towing company.  I now look at my feet and feel like I'm looking at someone else's body's so weird.  But I keep telling myself in just a little while I can start trying to get back to normal. 

I haven't really started worrying about the actual birth other than worrying that MH arrives safely and healthy.  Of course that may change when I actually start feeling REAL labor contractions for the first time!

Here are a few more maternity pictures from Katie Mosley Photography.  Is she not great?!  I never really thought I would want to capture this big ol' belly for all eternity but think she did a great job of capturing such a special moment for us. 

The picture below may be one of my favorites.  For those that know me well, they know that Miss Scarlett has been my dog-child for over 11 years now so she naturally will be Mary Harper's big sis!  She normally looks away and hates getting her picture made so I love how she is looking at the camera and even looks like she is smiling!
I can't believe I just have one more random veggie/fruit post of Mary Harper's size to make!  I'm starting to get a bit freaked out  excited about her arrival and would really appreciate your prayers this last week as we prepare to bring our precious baby girl into the world.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Nesting-mania! Decorating Reveal Pics!

I can't believe we have already been in our home for a year now!  When we first moved in, our goal was to decorate/renovate/etc...within a year.  A year later, I now realize that was a crazy an ambitious goal!  But it didn't take me long to step up the pace once I found out I was pregnant.  Nesting is an odd phenomenon.  So I don't know if we should call what we've been doing decorating or nesting but regardless, we finally have progress!

First, for the outside, we took out lots of trees in the back so we have more sun and less leaves around the pool (sorry, forgot to take back yard pictures).  We also had the outside of the house cleaned up landscaping wise.  I usually like to plant flowers but just didn't feel like it with the heat and inability to bend down well pregnant!  So I hope to have more color next year. 

I believe I first met with Lindsay of LDS Designs in May.  Our top priorities at the time were our bedroom, living room, kitchen and nursery.  Now we are only focusing on completing our bedroom and nursery and will start back on living room and kitchen after MH arrives. (Other rooms in the house to come later but I think the bonus room and sitting/wine room will be next in line!) 

Ever since moving into our home, I started saving pictures of how I wanted each room to look and then shared those with Lindsay so she could grasp the look I was trying to achieve.  I think you'll agree we were successful!

So for my first blog REVEAL, I will start with our bedroom!

Here is what our bedroom looked like when we moved in:
Here are some items I liked and "inspiration" pictures of what I wanted our bedroom to look like:

Here are some details of how we acheived our look. 

*Canopy Bed & Sisal Rug:  Pottery Barn
*Bedding:  Restoration Hardware, Ross
*Window panels & panels on canopy bed:  West Elm
*Mirrored bed side tables:  Z Gallerie
*Chifarobe: 1st piece of furniture my parents bought when they got married 44 years ago!
*Bed side lamps & bench at end of bed & curtain rod:  Marshall's
*Letter "B":  Ross
*Mirrored star burst: Hobby Lobby
*Cool linen chair:  Scarlett Scales Antiques in Franklin
*Dresser: MISSING - Still searching for the perfect one! :)

When I first found out I was pregant with a little girl, I decided I wanted the nursery to be more like part of the rest of the house and not use pepto pink everywhere.  You may recall this entry of what I was thinking for her nursery 3 months ago:

I wanted more neutral colors with light pink accents.  I also HATE "characters" like Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, etc...or things like butterflies, fairies, etc...  So I knew what I didn't want.  I found the picture below on a website called and couldn't afford anything on that site.  But I still hung on to the picture and showed Lindsay at LDS Designs and we began to try and replicate for less!
My husband would say otherwise but we have really created her a beautiful nursery on a budget!  We did have a few splurges like the new carpet but everything else we really tried to keep affordable.  I would say 90% of the items came from TJ Maxx, Marshall's and Ross!
For instance, the monogram above cost $155!!  And I found the one we used on etsy for $26.  Anyway, I will post more details below on where we found what, but here are BEFORE pictures of the nursery:

 Here are some details of how we acheived our look.
*Crib:  My dad made this crib in 1998 for my oldest niece Camille.  Since then, all of my nieces and nephews (besides my new niece Naomi) used this crib.  There are walnut inserts that came from The Hermitage in Nashville that dad was able to buy when the tornado came through and knocked down a lot of trees there.
*Monogram and tutu: Etsy
*Bedside lamp:  Target (with added trim from the Fabric Store)
*Floor lamp:  Tuesday Morning
*Crib bedding by Glenna Jean:  Bed, Bath and Beyond (and 20% off)!
*Curtains:  Fabric from the fabric store, my mom made them and they are beautiful!
*Curtain rods:  Lowe's
*Nursery furniture and glider rocker:  USA Baby
*Dress form:  Pier One
*Baskets:  TJ Maxx
*Magnetic pink crystal accents on chandelier:  Hobby Lobby

Here is the one spot we are still waiting to fill.  My dad made Mary Harper a bookcase and it will go here this week once he brings it down.

Here is a picture he sent me of the bookcase (and a special message for her on the back):

Here are also pictures of the adjoining bathroom:
Once again, most everything came from Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshall's except for the AWESOME bench I found at Nadeau Furniture in Green Hills.

And finally, one last accomplishment.  Here is a before picture of the green runner on our staircase.
And here is the new staircase with updated carpet!  It is brown on brown zebra print!  Since it is all one color, it really is subtle but still fun!  This was actually used in an entire room in this year's Westhaven St. Jude house.

So there are a few items I can now check off my to do list!  It is amazing how much better a decorated house makes you feel.  I can't wait to start on other rooms but I think I will slow down once Mary Harper arrives.  And more importantly, until we can afford to start on any more rooms!  Even on a budget, things add up and I think I've pressed the boundaries of what Josh is going to let me spend for a few months!  But something tells me, I'm going to be too busy to care!