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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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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30 Days of Thankfulness

I am in my 14th year of working for a cancer treatment center in Austin, Texas.  I’ve been so lucky to work with wonderful doctors, nurses and patients on the front lines of battling cancer in all its various terrible forms.  I’ve been lucky to see more victories than sorrows, but I’ve also seen how devasting it can be, not only for the patients themselves but for for their families and loved ones.

Heather Von St. James is a mesothelioma cancer survivor who, along with her husband and daughter, is sharing her amazing story of survival.  Heather does not live in Austin and I don’t know her personally, but you can read her full story at mesothelioma.com/heather.  She was diagnosed just three months after the birth of her daughter.  I can’t imagine facing a deadline – of looking in my sweet baby’s face, and knowing we only have a limited amount of time together, knowing I might not get to see him grow up.  I can’t imagine how going through that would change me, my husband and my family. 

Heather’s husband Cameron writes, “Her diagnosis was in November, and every year around this time she gets what we call the “November Blues.”  Therefore, she created “30 Days of Thankfulness” where she acknowledges something in her life that she is thankful for every day.  It is also National Caregivers Month.  We’ve been so lucky to meet some incredible bloggers who have helped us in our journey to spread awareness and (we) are asking bloggers this November to post about something they are thankful for, along with sharing a bit of our story.”

I hope you will take a moment to share something on your blog that you are thankful for.  It goes without saying that we have a LOT to be thankful for this year, and this month specifically!  God has answered so many of our prayers.  My folks are finally living close to us.  My toddler is thriving in school.  We miraculously have this baby boy on the way.  Thank you, Lord!  I couldn’t imagine asking for more, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Odds ‘N Ends


The pink sock monkey wouldn’t wear her pink ears.  She LOVED getting “trick or treats” though. 🙂  We went to the church Fall Festival.  She was a little overwhelmed at first, but the candy quickly won her over!

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Playing in a tent at Nana & Pop’s house with cousin Kinley



Wearing a tutu Meemaw made her at the school costume parade.

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Picking out pumpkins

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Konked out after ear surgery.  So cute when she’s sleeping. 😉

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