2014 christmas card

Well, I didn't get these printed & mailed, but it's the thought that counts... right?

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!


she's here!

Willa Joy
arrived Tues., October 21, 2014 at 4:56pm
7lb 1oz, 22in
I'm not going to share a full "birth story", as I think details about "mucous plugs" and "tearing" 
are not suitable for mixed company or the Internet in general, 
excepting places like Babycenter or WebMD. 

Anyway. An abbreviated version to appease the masses 
(and by "masses", I do mean the one or two people who still read this blog). 
On Monday night, I had been perusing Babycenter for signs that labor is starting, 
and I was beginning to feel a little frustrated because none of them were happening to me. 
Tuesday was my due date and I had been secretly hoping I'd go early, 
even though I was planning on going late. 

Tuesday morning, Zooey woke me up barking around 4:30.
I jumped out of bed - or rather, rolled out, like a beached whale might try to roll back to the ocean. 
Normally, I would make Doug go scold Zooey, but Bo had woken up in the middle of the night, 
and in the process of getting him back to sleep, Doug had fallen asleep with him. 
Anyway. Abbreviated version!! 
So, I'm lumbering out of bed and I feel what seems to be a bad period cramp. 
Sorry, that's as graphic as it's going to get. Maybe. 
I'd been feeling a lot of "low pressure" for about a week, so I didn't really think anything of it. 
I told Zooey to be quiet, went back upstairs & fell back asleep. 
Only to wake up a little later because of another cramp. And then another. 
After about 4 or 5, I thought, "I wonder if these... Could they be... No, surely this isn't... 
Maybe I should time these, just in case." They were about 10 minutes apart. 
By this time, it was about 5:45am, and I wasn't going back to sleep. So, I got up and showered. 
Doug woke up and walked in the bathroom and asked, "Are you having contractions?" 
And I said, "I think so." 

Abbreviated version!! 
I called my parents and Dad came to pick up Bo and Zooey. 
Doug & I left for the hospital around 8:30am - aka, just in time to maneuver rush hour traffic. 
It was raining. I don't really remember the drive because I was kneeling, 
backwards, with my face buried in a pillow in the passenger seat. 
We arrived at the hospital, I got out of the car and threw up. 
Sorry. That's as graphic as it's going to get. Maybe. 
Thankfully, I had a feeling I might get sick and had brought along a bag. 
I proceeded to throw up again, waiting for the elevator. 
Our doula, Julie, showed up at this moment and just came over and hugged me while I barfed. 
I got done, laughed and said, "Hi!" 
We managed to all get inside and to triage without me barfing again. 

Hey pregnant friends - 
has anyone ever explained how a doctor or midwife checks to see how dilated you are? 
Because somehow, despite our expensive birthing classes, 
no one ever really told me how excruciating this little detail is. 
So much so that, after being "checked for dilation", 
being told I was "3 centimeters - we are having this baby today!" - 
I proceeded to throw up again. 
Abbreviated version! Things progressed far more quickly than I anticipated. 
The contractions were coming fast & furious and I was throwing up quite a bit. 
My midwife, Jo, was concerned that I wasn't keeping any fluids down, so I got an IV. 
Now, it had been my hope & desire to have a natural birth. 
My mom delivered all 5 of us kids without pain meds, and I wanted to do the same. 
We took Bradley classes, I had practiced some labor positions & relaxation techniques... 
but then those contractions started coming one after the other 
and I was throwing up before I was even done with one... 
friends, family, frenemies - I got an epidural. 
And I am not at all disappointed in that decision. 
It allowed me to get some rest and regain some strength before trying to push a human out of me. 
Sorry, that's as graphic as it gets. I think. 

By 1pm, I was told that I was fully dilated and I could push, 
which might be simultaneously the most exciting and horrifying thing someone can say to a person.
 By 4pm, Jo told me that she was a little concerned because the baby's heart rate kept plummeting
 when I would push, and we'd have to "breath through" contractions so the baby could recover. 
I am so thankful that she told me as soon as she had any inclination that we might need an
 intervention. Around 4:30, we decided to bring in the on-call doctor to discuss forceps or vacuum
 delivery. As it turned out, the baby's head was tilted, which was the cause of our problems. 
The doctor recommended forceps, and we quickly consented. 
After that, it was one big push and people were telling me excitedly to open my eyes 
because suddenly THERE SHE WAS. And it was a SHE! 
And Doug was saying, "It's a girl!" 
And just like that, we had a daughter!

Willa Joy. 
Was it my "ideal birth"? No. 
In my ideal birth, Leslie Knope is my midwife 
and all the nurses are those cute singing birds from Cinderella. 
Julie is still my doula and still brings me the most amazing cupcakes in existence afterward. 
There is zero pain, we are all eating waffles and sharing jokes, 
and at one point I just laugh too hard and - boop! - there's Willa! 
Also, she is born potty-trained and Bo is instantly potty-trained as well. 
And surprise, we've been in Hawaii the whole time 
and the next day we all go to the beach and build sand castles. 

But I digress. 
No, it wasn't my ideal birth, but my daughter is safe and healthy and I'm safe and healing. 
Everyone who was there was awesome. The midwife, Julie, the nurses, the anesthesiologist, the 
doctor, and most of all, Doug - everyone was so encouraging and attentive and supportive. 
And during our stay afterward - let me just say, God bless good nurses! 
Heidi at Highland, you are my hero. 
The post-partum process has been harder and more wonderful than I imagined. 
My hormones are ca-ray-zay and have made me cry about... pretty much everything. 
How beautiful my little girl is. How tender Bo is toward her. 
How Bo's attention-seeking often results in frustrating tantrums. 
How lucky I am to be married to Doug. 
How in love I am with my children.
Et cetera. 

I am so thankful and humbled by our family & friends who have been supporting us. 
I haven't had to cook a single meal yet. 
We have hand-me-downs to last Willa until she's 3 months old. 
People have gotten gifts for Bo so he doesn't feel left out. 
Cousins have invited Bo over to play for the afternoon. 
Friends have sent encouraging text messages. 
And I want to say a huge thank you to everyone for the beautiful messages and congratulations. 
I feel so blessed and so loved (darn you, post-partum hormones... I will NOT cry). 
SO - from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you.


9+ months pregnant

First of all, can we all just agree to start referring to pregnancy as 10 months instead of 9?
Okay, thanks.
My first "belly" pic. May 11, 2014 - 16 wks pregnant.
Sidenote: When I was looking for belly pictures in these early weeks,
I had to laugh at all the selfies I have of me and Bo lying on the couch.
Pretty much how I spent many days from weeks 8-18.

The most common question I get is about how I'm feeling.
I feel really good, but sleeping is getting more difficult.
It's surprisingly not so much my stomach that's the issue, but my shoulders & hips get sore.
June 1, 2014 - 19 wks.

I also haven't reached a point yet where I feel really anxious to get the baby out.
I'm sure that day will come, but right now I'm pretty content with little one where he/she is.
July 1, 2014 - 24 wks.

I'm trying to enjoy the last bit of time I have with just Bo.
I'm feeling a little overwhelmed about the thought of having two kids
(as mothers of 3+ everywhere laugh at me - whatever, you were in my shoes once).

July 10, 2014 - 25 wks.

A couple people have asked how I like pregnancy.
I think it's kind of a weird experience. I mean, it's definitely a miracle. I get that.
But it's also... weird. There is a human inside of me. With arms and legs that I can feel moving.
And your body does strange things that no one really talks about.
But overall, I think I've had a pretty easy pregnancy and I sure can't complain!
July 20, 2014 - 26 wks.

I've been surprised that I haven't felt more anxious about finding out the gender.
It seems the majority of people I've heard from think the baby will be a boy.
Bo is now saying that it's "a boy AND a girl"... hmm.
July 29, 2014 - 28 wks.

Hm, what other typical pregnancy things does anyone care to read?
I've gained a lot of weight - wouldn't be surprised if it's up to 40lbs by the time the baby arrives.

August 7, 2014 - 29 wks

I'd like to thank everyone who has seen me wearing the same leggings & t-shirts
for the past 10 weeks and has reserved judgment.
"Pregnancy fashion" is clearly not something I prized highly.

September 28, 2014 - 36 wks.
Okay, this picture seems slightly scandalous, but I am fully clothed - in the ever-classy tank top and sweatpants combo.
Every night, the lights in our kitchen make awesome shadows in our hallway. I couldn't resist!

So, here we are at 37 weeks pregnant.
3 weeks until my due date.
I don't think the reality of this has set in with me.
I keep making myself do things - wash baby clothes, set up the pack n play bassinet,
pack the baby's take-home outfit, buy nursing bras (speaking of WEIRD)...
but it all just seems like I'm playing house, kind of.
It feels very similar to when we were getting ready to meet Bo.
Some nervous excitement, but mostly just surreal!
SO, here's to the last month-ish of pregnancy!



Our little bean is three years old!

Your life is a testimony to God's mercy & might, our little man.
We are so proud of you, and we love you so much, Bonsa Douglas!


remembrance leads us to worship

2 years ago today, we became a family of three.
Each year until Bo is 18, we have to send a post-placement report to our adoption agency.
It's an awesome opportunity to reflect on all that has happened the past year,
and all that has happened since we welcomed Bo into our family.
The ways we've grown.
The ways he has shaped us.
The lessons we've learned.
The memories we've made.
The other day, I was listening to a Spotify playlist, and Matt Redmond's song "Remembrance" came on.
The lyrics are really beautiful, and there's one line that says:
"Lord, we remember You, and remembrance leads us to worship."
And that's how I feel every time I reflect on our adoption process and Bo's life.
When I think about how God led us to Bo and made him a part of US...
I'm overwhelmed by His faithfulness and goodness.
Happy 2-year Family Day, Bo.
We love you so much.


family pictures: summer 2014

Because I live in a world with Pinterest, I decided our family needed to have some maternity pictures taken.
So when we were in the Adirondacks with Jeremy & Victoria, I asked Jer to take some photos.
Gorgeous scenery + sunset lighting + awesome photographer =
family photos we LOVE.

Thank you so much, Jeremy. We're so happy with how these turned out!

Also - I can't believe that the next time we have family photos done,
we'll be a family of four!


bo's big boy room

Our decision to transition Bo to a "big boy room" was based on two factors:
(1) We found out we were expecting another child and 
(2) Bo found out he could climb out of his crib.

We decided to keep the nursery in the same room and move Bo to a new room.
The room we selected was our um... "workout room" -
or more realistically, the storage room for my elliptical and our catch-all room.
We were very pleasantly surprised to discover that the hockey wallpaper border peeled right off.
No need for vinegar water and a paint scraper! 

Because our house is so old, the floors angle toward the center of the house.
We decided to have them leveled, but figured it'd be easier to paint the walls first.
We LOVED the work that Mark Miller of Brush and Hammer did on our kitchen,
so we decided to hire him to paint Bo's room (and the nursery too).
For the floors, we hired my cousin, Mike, who I'm convinced can do pretty much anything.
(I mean - just check out his handmade wooden goods here!)
Mike worked by himself and spent a whopping total of 5 days transforming the wonky, slanted floor:
into this glorious marvel:
Oh, did I mention he put in a new closet door and installed overhead lighting in 3 rooms as well?
After all the hard work was done, I got to do the fun part - decorating!
I found this great dresser at "The Barn" on Ridge Road:
I borrowed my dad's electric sander, and between Doug, his brother Nic, and me,
we sanded it down and left it with a nice, rustic look.

So finally I give you, Bo's Big Boy Room!
(And, because I like to pretend I'm part of Apartment Therapy, I'm listing some sources!)
Flooring: Lumber Liquidators
Rug: in the house when we bought it
Curtains: I made with gingham fabric from fabric.com 
Dresser: The Barn on Ridge Road
Lamp: Pottery Barn Kids
Bed: Craigslist SCORE.
Bedside... Ottoman?: Meijer, for Bo's first nursery
Bedding: Target
Elephant Pillow fabric: fabric.com
Denim Pillow slipcover: Ikea
Chest: roadside find from my mother-in-law. 
I had covered the cushion with elephant fabric for Bo's first nursery,
then upgraded it by covering it with an old coffee bag I found on Etsy!
Addis Ababa skyline print: Etsy
Ethiopian bread basket: Etsy

We didn't really have a "theme" in mind for Bo's room.
We decided to go with gray walls again and keep the blue & orange accents  -
let's be honest, because they're Tigers' colors.
Our other ideas were to incorporate some Ethiopian items and give the room a "rustic" feel.

 Now, as with most house projects, you're never really DONE.
Things I'd still like to do:
- Paint or stain closet door
- Steal old school desk from my parents for the empty corner
- Put up industrial shelving above Bo's bed
- Get a different bedside table

All that being said, we love Bo's room, and most importantly - HE loves it!
He was so excited when he first saw his "big boy bed" that he was jumping on it like a madman.
Whenever someone comes to visit, he's always excited to show them HIS room.

A huge thank you to Mark Miller and Mike McGrath for their help!
& thank you, Nic, for letting me put you to work while you were visiting!