It Flies By

Oh my goodness, the weeks are going faster since coming back to work than I was afraid they would!  Our little guy is growing so fast!  He’s such a chunk of love.  Isaiah is such a happy, easy-going baby!  Hard to believe he’s 3 1/2 months now.  He just smiles and coos and babbles.  Such a talker!  Last night he almost rolled over from his back to his tummy.  I’m going to have to start putting the side of his co-sleeper up so he won’t accidentally roll out.

Davie Ann is deep into a princess/ballerina phase.  She LOVES tiaras and poufy dresses and anything sparkly.  Lip gloss is her favoritest evah.  We have to take her purse of pretend make-up with us wherever we go.  Most nights she even sleeps in her poufy dresses.  It’s not worth the drama of getting her out of them!  I don’t know how my mom manages to convince her to change her clothes for school.

I’m finally back to couponing.  I love it, but it’s time-consuming and snuggling with the kiddos was just way more fun. 🙂  So far I’ve gotten a bunch of great freebies and deals.  My favorite so far have been:  45 free P3 protein packs, 30 free PopSecret single bags of popcorn, $0.50 bags of Nabisco snacks (the tall snack bags that are usually $2 of animal crackers, chocolate chip cookies and Nutter Butters), and three cannisters of Enfamil that are usually $24 each for $16 each.  I’m hoping to score some free toothpate, mouth wash, deodorant and shampoo this week.  Some deals work out, some don’t, so we’ll see how it goes!

Troy and I are still committed to our Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class at church every Sunday.  The steps are hard, and making the required changes are hard, but we’re slowly doing it.  I think we’ll probably have to take the class a few times before we really get the hang of it.  But we are determined!  It all seems so ‘common sense’ but I know I learn something new every week.  I’m addicted to the Dave Ramsey podcast and radio show now.  I downloaded the app so I can stream the radio show during my commute.

I love music, but podcasts are my thing now.  I almost always listen to one in the car.  My favorites are Doug Loves Movies (a stoner comedian who plays celebrity and movie trivia games with other comedians and celebs – sooo funny), Hollywood Babble-On and Smodcast (both with director Kevin Smith), the Dave Ramsey podcast, the Nerdist podcast with Chris Hardwick and AfterBuzz TV.  AfterBuzz TV does a review of just about any TV show you can think of, but I just listen to the ones for the shows I watch, usually The Walking Dead, Helix, The Bachelor and Lost Girl.  It’s fun to listen to other fans geek out over the same shows I like. 🙂 

With all the kids and all the couponing lately, I haven’t had any time to work on wreaths.  I miss my creative outlet!  Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to it soon.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!  Tonight we’re having red potatoes, carrots and corned beef roast.  I hope it turns out!


001  Gold and champagne poinsettia wreath


006 004  Burgundy, red and black Valentine’s wreath


015 016  Pale pink Valentine’s wreath


017 Red and green Ho-Ho-Ho wreath I’m making for my girlfriend Judy for next Christmas.  It’s a work in progress.  I’m going to put sparkly green Christmas balls on it, but I have to wait ’til they’re on sale again so I’ll finish it later this year.

008  Purple and lavender feather wreath I made for girlfriend Melissa for her birthday

079  Finally finished with a black and silver “M” added under the bow on the left.

075  My favorite so far.  Burlap wreath with “H” monogram and lace and pearl ribbon.  I made the flowers around the “H” from fabric scraps

080  Fall wreath made for my mother-in-law with a “B” for their last name on the right.  Orange and beige burlap with fall leaves and berries.

I’m working on an orange and pink summer wreath now, then I’d like to do a turquoise and dark brown one with a cross on it.

Now if only I had a covered front door so I could display them!

Casual Pics

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Daddy-Daughter pedicures, and Izzy determined to suck his thumb, and Izzy letting us know he does NOT care for hoodies.  Or carseats.

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First smile and first bath, pictures from Christmas, and Nana dresses Davie and cousin Kinley on Christmas Sunday services

013 016 051 066  Davie is standing up thru the sunroof (Daddy is holding her) while we inch through a trail of lights at the park in our neighborhood.  She LOVES to play dress-up these days.


We had newborn pictures taken and Christmas pictures at the same time.

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It Flew By …

It’s a shock that maternity leave is over and I’m back at work.  I don’t know how it happened so fast.  I know why I’ve neglected this space – I’ve been under a spell cast by this guy:


We had a wonderful time with my family over the Christmas holidays.  We spent a lot of time with my folks and my brother and his family.  Troy had to work quite a bit so we weren’t able to be together as a family as much as we would’ve liked.  Davie discovered she LOVES to open presents.  It doesn’t matter what the present is, she just loves opening them.

Troy’s family couldn’t come – in fact, we haven’t seen them since the day Isaiah was born.  Troy’s mom Marilyn married a year after we did.  Her husband has two adult twin daughters, one who lives with them (both are single).  Both of the girls have been in and out of the hospital through the holidays and one is still in.  We tried to go see them twice but both times they called and cancelled.  I know it’s been a really stressful time for them but I hate it that Marilyn is missing out on Isaiah.  Troy is her only child and Davie and Izzy are her only grandchildren.  We’re hoping everyone’s health improves and we’ll all be able to get together soon!

Maternity leave was a dream.  Days flew by – Isaiah and I would get up in the morning and nurse, and I would smell his head while he slept on my chest, and somehow it would suddenly be two in the afternoon.  I cooked every dinner, had a clean house and all the laundry caught up.  I even caught up a bit on the DVR!  Isaiah seems to like the Property Brothers  but he sleeps through Lost Girl and Supernatural.  He’s not a fantasy/sci-fi guy yet, I guess. 🙂

I got all kinds of crafty during leave.  Mom and I started making wreaths with geo mesh.  It’s so fun!  I LOVE having a creative outlet.  I even gave up couponing for the whole two months!  It was so much more fun to snuggle with my Squishy and be artistic.  I could really get used to being a stay-at-home mom, if only we could afford it.

Davie is adjusting pretty well.  She adores Izzy and loves all over him – then she gets bored and wants to put him away in the toy box.  She’s still a baby herself and needs some good one-on-one time with each of us every day.  It seems impossible she will be three in just a few weeks!  She seems so smart and grown-up already.  We are working hard on potty-training.  She loves to go potty, but then she’ll get into playing and forget to tell us she needs to go.  So for now, we’re still using Pull-Ups but we’ve got to have her completely trained by the start of the school year in August.  It’s a requirement for the 3-year-old class.

Coming  back to work was easier this time since my folks are just 15 minutes away from our house and they are watching Isaiah and Davie.  Still, I have weepy days where I can barely bear to leave him.  Especially since he will most likely be our last, which is a whole other (debatable) topic.  It helps getting texts and pics from mom during the day.

Breastfeeding has been so much easier this time.  With Davie, I had a vaginal birth, but it took 10 days for my milk to come in.  I pumped constantly and we used the PSS system and tried everything, but I dried up at four months.  This time, even though I had a c-section, I had milk the day he was born!  Of course we supplement and the majority of his intake is formula, but he loves the boobie and I love the bonding time.  I’m so grateful it’s been so much easier this go ’round.

As a family, we seem to be falling into a new routine.  As long as I have lunches made and clothes laid out for everyone and we all get baths the night before, mornings seem to go smoothly.  I get up, nurse Isaiah, then get ready for work and get Izzy changed, dressed and in his carrier.  Troy gets ready and dresses Davie in the clothes I’ve laid out, then he takes the kids to my folks’.  I pick them up after work, start dinner, and get their bags re-stocked for the next day, lay out clothes and pack lunches.  When Troy gets home he helps me finish dinner and clean up.  Then the kids get baths and sometimes we do, too.

The only bad thing about routine is that it makes the days fly by so fast!  Davie and Isaiah are just so cute and fastinating and wonderful.  I want these days to last.


I checked into L&D Sunday night, had the c-section Monday afternoon, and left the hospital Thursday afternoon.  It seems like I was there for weeks, though!  I have to be honest, there are moments during recovery that I’m not proud of.  I’m not big on pain!

The first night was hard, just because they came in CONSTANTLY.  I mean, every 30 minutes to an hour they were there to check on me or the baby.  It was a long night.  I was afraid because they didn’t seem to be in a hurry to supplement and I really felt he needed the extra calories.

The next day seemed a bit better.  I still had a lot of the spinal block in my system, and the pain seemed manageable.  I itched all over, though.  They said it was normal as the spinal block wore off.  Isaiah had bloodwork done.  His glucose was too low and he was breathing a little too rapidly, but they still wanted to wait a day before supplementing.  His bilirubin was borderline normal/high, but they felt it was fine and would go down by the time he left the hospital.

That night, it got hard.  The last of the spinal block was gone and the pain was on in full force.  To top that off, sharp, stabbing gas pains settled in my right shoulder.  It hurt to stand, to roll over to breathe.  The nurses had to press on my abdomen every shift to feel if my uterus was hard (they need it to clamp down and stop bleeding from where the placenta detached).  The uterus was doing great, but OMG the press/checks hurt soooo bad.

I was terrified of the first poop after surgery.  Finally, one kind nurse talked me into a suppository.  I was truly terrified that it would cause more gas pains.  But just 30 minutes later I finally pooped, and it was super soft and I passed a TON of gas.  The next day I didn’t use another suppository but I passed more stool and gas.  After that, the gas pains were gone!  And Isaiah’s doc finally agreed to begin supplementing with Similiac and his glucose levels stabilized and his breathing went to normal.  All good signs!

Each day we had a visitor, and I have to admit, one visit was all I could handle.  Dad came the first day.  Good girlfriends Judy and Melissa the next, then my brother and his wife.  I was so happy to see everyone, but exhausted after each visit.  Troy stayed with me Wednesday night (mom finally got to go home and rest) and took me home Thursday.  Here we hit a glitch – the doc who discharged me sent me home with a prescription for Percocet for pain, but she wrote it on the wrong kind of pad.  The pharmacy waiting until 5pm to tell me they weren’t going to fill the prescription!  I called the on-call nurse, though, and we finally got some pain meds on board.  The next day my mom took my by the OB’s office and they gave me the right prescription and did a wound check and took my BP.  All looked good!

Since then, each day gets better.  Isaiah is doing great and is slowly regaining his birth weight.  He nurses like a champ and doesn’t mind switching to the bottle to top him off at the end of each nursing session.  His booty is a little sore and he has a mild infection in one eye (a blocked tear duct) but both are healing well.  For me, the pain gets less each day.  Now it’s mostly just uncomfortable first thing in the morning.  I still can’t hear out of my left ear and my hands still go numb, but I’m hoping by the time I go back for my final wound check in two weeks both of the other issues will have resolved themselves.  I seem to be back on a regular routine poop-wise, which is a relief after nine months of constipation.  And happily, Troy and I have already been able to resume intimacies, which I know is a relief for him. 🙂  I’m so lucky to have such a patient, sweet husband.

I just love being a mom.  I really wish I could have two more.  I adore Isaiah.  It’s still hard to believe I am this lucky, that he is really here.  I couldn’t be more happy.  Pregnancy doesn’t agree with me but motherhood does.  I am so thankful.  I can’t even express my gratitude for this opportunity to be a mom once again.  Thank You, Lord Jesus.  There are no words for all that is in my heart.

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40 Weeks (kinda :)

Ok, I’m not really forty weeks pregnant!  Thank the Lord!  We’ve just been a bit preoccupied the last week and a half.

“For this child we prayed and the Lord has granted us what we asked of Him.”  1 Sam. 1:27

Isaiah Johnnie Edward Harlan was born by c-section on Monday, December 2nd, at 3:13pm.  He was 9 lbs, 3 oz and 21.4 inches long.  Isaiah is a name I have loved for many, many years, and Troy came to really love it, too.  Johnnie Edward is the name of Troy’s father, who passed away when he was a teenager.  All three generations share the middle name Edward.  It meant the world to Troy’s mom to include his father’s name in Isaiah’s name.  And Davie Ann has four names, so it kinda works on that level, too. 🙂

Sunday, December 1st I woke up feeling awful.  All the pregnancy-related symptoms were out in full-force.  Both arms were completely numb but pains were shooting up from my middle fingers up to my shoulders.  My lower back burned.  Cramps were non-stop.  My left hip felt weak.  On top of all that, I had a nagging headache and I could see stars in the periphery of my vision.

Out of sheer stubborness, I got us all up and off to church.  On the way home I still felt awful so we stopped at a CVS pharmacy and I took my blood pressure twice, and both times it was sky-high.  When we got home, I paged the OB on call. I had a sneaking suspicion they would keep me if they sent me L&D.  So we cleaned the house up, swept, mopped, did the dishes, the laundry and took care of the animals.  We packed out bags and loaded everything in the car.  I washed my hair and shaved (truly a Herculean effort at this point).  After three hours, I still hadn’t heard back from the OB, so I had him paged again.  It turned out, they had been paging my actual OB, who was on vacation in Chile!  The OB on-call told me to go to L&D right away.  My dad came and picked up Davie Ann and took her to their house for the duration.

In L&D, they had me change into a gown, started an IV, and hooked me up to monitors.  My urine showed no protein, which was a relief, and my BP was down but still high.  I asked the OB on call and my RN, if my BP is better, can I just go home and keep my regular OB appt on Wednesday?  At this point I was still thinking that a c-section was inevitable, and if I was going to have to schedule one anyways, I might as well work one more week and get the extra paycheck.  They just stared at me and then said, “No, you won’t be going home until this baby comes.”  So I had to let go of my ideals and go with the flow.  What I didn’t know at the time was that if my BP was over 160 twice in a row, they were planning to rush me into an emergency c-section.  Fortunately, although it was all over the place all night, it never got that high twice in a row.  I liked the OB on call, but the one who came on at night was VERY young, and I think I would’ve freaked if I had known that not only was my trusted OB not going to be there, but that someone so young was going to do it in the middle of the night.

Surprisingly, I was finally dilated to 1 cm and 50% effaced.  Despite that progress, the baby had still failed to descend into my pelvis and was still very high.  It was also surprising to find that what I was calling “cramps” were actually very hard, regular contractions.  Troy and I settled in and had a snack of cheese and crackers (I could eat and drink until midnight) and watched The Walking Dead and The Talking Dead.  Finally, we drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, the contractions were getting really uncomfortable.  But still the baby had not descended.  One of my OB’s associates, Dr. Harkins, came in to talk over options with me.  I remembered Dr. Harkins from my pregnancy with Davie, and I trusted him as much at Dr. Breen (my OB).  I was so happy and relieved to see him!  He was so kind and thorough.  He took over an hour just to sit with us and discuss all my options.  He had reviewed my case over the phone with Dr. Breen as well as with the board of OB at the hospital.  All agreed scheduled c-section was the right choice, although they were very sensitive to my desire to try for a vaginal birth.  But the worst case scenario would be to labor for 24 hours and then have to do an emergency c-section.  I came to really understand and make peace with the knowledge that a scheduled c-section was what was best for me and for the baby.  Surgery was scheduled for 1pm, although we got bumped for an emergency and didn’t actually make it in until 2:45pm.

Two good things happened after this:  1.  They allowed me to have two family members in the surgical suite with me, my mom and my husband;  and 2.  Dr. Breen made it back from Chile during the night and was able to do my c-section!  I was so, so happy he was there!  My mother-in-law Marilyn and my sister-in-law Sharon visited with us a while before the surgery and were able to  wait in my recovery room.

Everything else was … hard to explain … the worst experience of my life.  The spinal block took FOUR tries to numb and FOUR tries to put in.  Horrible “electric shock” pains shot up my spine and down my legs with each try.  Finally it was successful but was one of the most awful sensations I’ve ever felt.  To be numb from the waist down but still completely aware of a tingling, “my-foot’s-gone-to-sleep” sensation.  From the moment the block was done, I began to shake uncontrollably.  The shaking lasted until I was back in recovery.  There was a horrible 10 minutes before mom and Troy came in that I strongly considered begging them to put me under.  Then Troy was there, holding me hand, hard.  Then there was violent shaking and pulling on my body.  It turned out the cord was wrapped three times around Isaiah’s neck.  It was so shortened, it prevented him from decending into the birth canal.  If he had, it would have pinched off his oxygen.  They actually had to cut me extra wide so they could reach in and unwind the cord before they had enough length to lift him out.

Then the most beautiful sound – his first, wet cry.  I know it’s a cliche.  I don’t remember Davie’s first cry.  But in that situation, in the depths of a terrifying experience, it was so beautiful.  If nothing else, he was here, and he was breathing.  There were several comments about “generous man parts.”  Lots of suctioning.  I could see him in the isolete, a perfect pink color, a perfect round head.  The average infant head circumference is 11-13 cm, his was 15.  My little round-headed boy.  Then Troy left with the nursery staff and my mom smoothly moved in and grabbed my hands.

I could hear the OB talking to the two students with him.  See, there’s her bladder.  We need to hook it back up here.  Below that, see her colon.  Pull that facia together with this one.  That knot is quite ugly, let’s try again.  It was hard to wrap my mind around the fact that he was describing MY innards.  That I was lying literally spread open.  I was shaking so hard.  My mom began to chat with the anesthesiologist, and it was a blessing to join in their conversation, to drown out the anatomy lesson going on on the other side of the sheet.  Please let this be over.  I don’t think I could’ve borne it without my mom and the kind anesthesiologist.

Finally, finally, finally it was over and they were rolling me back into recovery.  I was handed my sweet boy.  Ps. 113:9 became my reality:  “He makes the barren woman to be the happy mother of children.”  We have a son!  Everyone was exclaiming over him, telling me stories from his short time in the nursery.  He latched right away.  Another surprise blessing – I had colostrum!  After the difficulty breastfeeding Davie (after a breast reduction 10 years ago), I never thought I’d have colostrum right after a c-section!  What a joy!

Just a short time later good friend Melissa came and stayed with us a while in recovery.  Later, my dad brought Davie Ann and my two nephews.  They were fastinated by Isaiah.  I’m not sure at the time Davie Ann put it all together, that Isaiah was the baby that was growing in mommy’s belly OR that he was here to stay.  But she gave him lots of kisses and then lost interest.  Finally, everyone left except mom and we were settled in a post-partum room.  I’m so glad she was there to help me for the first few days while Troy had to go back to work.

Recovery story to follow!

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