Archive | October, 2010

Paint Colors

30 Oct

Ok, so I’m having an internal struggle with color. Of the walls.

I seem to get into a rut.  My rut used to be green.  I painted our downstairs green.  Then our master bath – a kind of seafoam.  Then I didn’t like that so I painted it an ocean blue.  Then we had a baby and we painted her room robin’s egg blue.  Then we put our house on the market and we painted the downstairs a barely-not-white color of blue.  So now, my rut is blue.

Now we are moving into a new house.  I don’t want to paint all the walls, just a few accent walls.  But I do want to use fun, bold colors.

Here’s the house….

Clara’s room will stay the same.  Blue.

There are only a couple other places I want to paint at this point.  The dining room and the fireplace wall in the living room.  Here’s the dining room:

And the color I want to paint it…

Blue.  Haha.  But I love it – LOVE it.  With the white trimwork, I love the way it pops!

By the way – if you want to try this out, I did it on, which allows you to upload a photo and mask off a wall, and drag any of their paint colors onto it to see what it would look like instantly.  Love that.

Here’s the other wall I want to paint:

The question is, what color do I paint it?  Our furniture is dark brown, but besides that I don’t have any other color restrictions.  I seem to be gravitating towards…. oh, you guessed it…

Blue.  But I don’t want the whole house to be blue.  So I am asking for your help.  Help me figure out what color to paint that wall.  Just the one wall.  Please?  I have to decide this week, because we close next Tuesday and move in next Friday!

If you suggest the winning color, you can have the satisfaction of knowing that you have amazing taste!



23 Oct

I’ve been a little bit absent the past couple of weeks.

Along with getting used to life with our little Clara, we’ve also been up to a few other things:

1. My parents were here.  For the first week we were home with Clara.  I’ve mentioned before how amazing it was to have them here, and how thankful I was for their help.  Still true.  So glad that they were able to be here.  For serious.

2. Pam and JD were here.  They came for a couple of days to meet their newest granddaughter right after their return from a fabulous anniversary cruise in the Mediterranean. You’re jealous, right?  I know, me too.

3. We had a few days alone.  Just me and Clara.  And Joel at school.

4. My grandma came to meet her first great grandchild.  It was amazing to watch her hold Clara.  I loved every second of her visit.

4. Pam came back for her “official grandma duty.” (Her words.)  She was here for about 10 days.  We had a great time hanging out.  We took Clara out to dinner for the first time while she was here.  What a rockstar – baby girl slept the whole time!

5. We took our first trip to the beach house as a little family.  We didn’t venture out on the beach, but it was nice to know that we are capable of packing the required items for a baby, getting it all in the car, and making a trip together.  It was a great weekend, and JD joined us too.  Clara loved cuddling with her Papa.

6. Clara and Pam and I went to see a house that Kelli and Brandon liked and wanted to buy.  It was the perfect house for them!  And we got to be there when they got the call that their offer had been accepted (after a counter or two)!  I was a little jealous, but mostly really excited for them.  They will get to move to a place all their own, really unpack and move in, and this place couldn’t be more perfect!  I could see them living life in it already – even with someone else’s furniture in it.

7. We  put our house up for rent.  It’s still for sale too.  So, if you know anyone interested in renting/buying an 1800 sq ft house near NCSU, downtown Raleigh, and Cary Crossroads, get them in touch with me!  4 bedrooms, 2.5 bath, hardwoods and ceramic tile downstairs, fresh paint downstairs.  Perfect for college students!

8. Joel and I put an offer on the house we like in Holly Springs.  And after a counter offer and a re-counter, our offer was accepted!!  We will be moving into it in early/mid November!  It’s in a great neighborhood with lots of families and kids, and a pool!  We got a great deal, and I can’t wait to move in!  So, now in addition to all the other stuff we’re doing, I’m working on all the details that go along with moving.  It’s a good thing I’m a list person, because I am going to need lots and lots of lists!  Maybe I’ll write a list of the lists I need to write….. ha.  I took pictures when we were out at the house the other day, but I haven’t gotten them off my camera yet… soon.  I’ll be needing opinions on paint colors and stuff, so stay tuned!

Thanks for sticking around while we are in a bit of transition.  It’s fun to look at the blog stats and see that there are still around 50 people or so checking in on us every day.  It’s hard to type with one hand, and most of the time one of mine is busy with this sweet girl… I’m trying to take advantage of all the snuggle time she will let me have!

This picture is from our trip to the beach house.  I grew up in Wilmington, and the youth group at our church there sold (and still sells) pumpkins every October as their fundraiser for the year.  It was really awesome for us as kids, because for every hour we worked in the pumpkin patch, we earned pumpkin credits, which could help pay for trips and retreats we went on during the year.  So since we had to go almost right by it on our way home, we decided that Clara’s first pumpkin pictures should be in that pumpkin patch.  My youth pastor and his wife and a couple of the other youth counselors came out and met us, and met and snuggled with Clara for a while before we took pictures.  It was great to be back there, even for just a quick visit – and I just adore this picture of Clara in her first halloween costume.  My little ladybug. 🙂

How Infants are Like Jiu-Jitsu… and other randomness

22 Oct

Leave it to my husband to equate babies to a sport.  Since I married Joel, I’ve heard about brazilian jiu-jitsu over and over (and over) again.  He loves to go up to his gym – Forged Fitness – and “beat up” other guys (or get beaten up as the case may be).  One of the things I’ve heard him mention more than once is that to be successful against your opponent you have to control their head and their hips.  After we were home from the hospital for a couple of days, Joel says to me: “You know, I’ve always been afraid to hold other people’s babies.  I didn’t know what to do, and I was afraid I’d drop them.  But I realized babies are really like jiu-jitsu… you just have to control their heads and their hips, and you’re good.”  I laughed for quite a while at this, but he is kind of right… I just never would have equated it to that sport.  That’s my husband for you…

Clara has decided that her new favorite game is trying to squirt whoever is changing her diaper with poop while the diaper is off.  Now, normally I would think its pretty gross, but for some reason I just find it hilarious.  One night, she had a particularly explosive poop, and despite having a wipe in his hand that he could have blocked it with, instead, Joel turned her and aimed it at me!  Luckily, he missed, but we had a great laugh about it, and I’ll never let him live down the fact that he tried to get Clara to poop on me.

In law school news, Joel had a midterm in one of his classes the week after Clara was born.  He tried his best to study, despite all the distractions that were going on.  And it paid off.  I’m proud to report that Joel got 34 of 35 questions right on that exam, tying with 3 others for the highest (or second highest, I can’t remember) grade in the class!!  Way to go, Love!  I’m so proud!

Remember this?  I love this movie, but this part is really my favorite – I’ve taken to calling Clara “my Squishy”, because she is so squishy and lovable.  I love our cuddle times… oh man.  Can’t believe that sooner than I like to think, she’ll be too big to want to cuddle with us.

Clara Nicole Schlieman . birth story

12 Oct

So we are home now, safe and sound, and loving snuggling with our little Clara!  My parents are here and have been an immense help already – with dishes and laundry and cooking, and fixing things around here, and they’ve had their fair share of snuggles too.  They notice a lot of things that I forget about on most days – like the clock that hasn’t worked since we got married and has read 9:15 for about 3 years now.  And what’s even better – they replaced the batteries!  🙂

I know that from Joel’s updates to facebook and twitter the day she was born, it seems like she was here in no time at all.  But actually, I went into early labor at about 4pm on Sunday while we were at the movie theater.

We figured it might be our last chance to go on a date and Joel, if you don’t know already, is an avid movie fan.  Really, that doesn’t even do it justice, but that’s for another time.  He had been wanting to see The Town, so off we went to the movie, with intentions of going to Target and Toys R Us later to finish up getting the last few things we needed for the baby.  About halfway through the movie, my back cramped up so badly I could barely stand to sit in the seat for the rest of the movie.  I thought it was just something I’d tweaked somehow – pregnancy had that effect on my back – but it seemed much more intense than anything I’d experienced so far.  We managed to make it through the movie but I could barely walk when we left, so we just headed home instead of finishing our errands.

Little did we know that was our last chance.

Joel gave me a great back rub when we got home, and asked me if I thought it was back labor.  No way, I said, it wasn’t in waves like the other contractions I’d had, and it was only on one side of my back.  Ha.. looking back now, I’m pretty sure he was right.

We had a quiet evening at home, just enjoying our Sunday together, and about 11:00 that night, I started having some contractions again.  They started out pretty mild, and I didn’t say anything to Joel about it.  I didn’t want another false alarm, another hopeful night spent wondering if our daughter would make her appearance soon.  When they became pretty regular and a bit stronger, they were 11 minutes apart, and then 5 minutes in no time at all.  I woke Joel up and asked him to help me time them… poor guy had just fallen asleep.  After about half an hour of 5 minute apart contractions, then 4 minutes… Joel said in no uncertain terms that we were going to the hospital.  So we grabbed my bags, and off we went.

It was raining, had been most of the evening, and even though I know Joel wanted to drive 150mph to get us there, he did really well at going a reasonable speed to get me there.  I didn’t want to walk in by myself (I know, call me crazy or dumb or whatever, but I just did not want to be alone), so we parked and Joel helped me walk in to the hospital, stopping every now and then for my contractions to pass.  He tried to call our doctor, but even the answering service wasn’t picking up for some reason.  Awesome, right?  So they weren’t really expecting us, but there we were anyway.  They sent us up to triage and there a nurse checked us out and when our doctor arrived, of course it was the one doctor in the practice who I had not met.  She was younger than me, fresh off her residency at Duke, and had just started at the practice 2 weeks ago. I should have known that it wasn’t going to be a good experience, when the first thing she did was ask Joel to read my chart.  No really.  She said, “Hmm, I wonder what this means… Do you know what this means?  It looks like you declined to see a high-risk specialist at some point?”

Umm, no.  I was never told at any point that my pregnancy was high-risk.  Nor would I have declined to visit a high-risk ob if I’d needed to.  I asked if she meant the cardiologist visit, but she was positive that wasn’t it.  She was sure though, that I had declined treatment, and said she would figure it out.  Hey, I’m sorry… aren’t you the doctor? Aren’t you supposed to know what the notes on the chart mean?  And shouldn’t you NOT ask me or my semi-panicky husband?

She was nice enough, but despite the fact that my contractions were now 2 minutes apart and getting stronger and stronger, she didn’t think I was far enough along to admit to the hospital.  She had us walk the loop  of the maternity ward for an hour and then checked again.  Still not enough progress – even at 3cm, 1.5 to 2 minutes apart and having to stop talking and walking every time a contraction came.  She sent me home (HOME?!!?) with an Ambien and instructions to try and get some sleep.  I was skeptical, and asked if I would really be able to sleep, to which she responded – “Oh yeah, you should be able to sleep fine.  I think you’re just in early labor.”  Ummm, ok…

So I took the Ambien and we went home.  Joel was furious.  I was mad, but in too much pain to be able to do or even think much about it.  By the time we made it home (around 3am), my parents had made it all the way to Raleigh, unloaded tons of food into our freezer (my mom rocks!), and were about to come to the hospital.  Turns out it was a good thing they were there, because the Ambien did NOT make me sleep.  It just made me loopy.  It didn’t slow down contractions, dull them, or anything of the sort.

I tried sitting and laying on various pieces of furniture, but just couldn’t make it through the contractions that way.  So I walked.  Or, rather, I tripped over myself.  I staggered.  I stumbled.  I must have looked completely drunk.

I stumbled around our downstairs all night long, leaning against a wall, a table, or a door frame every time another contraction came – still every 1.5 to 2 minutes, and still getting stronger.  Until 8am, when my doctor’s office opened.  I called – well, really my mom called – and told them what was going on.  They told me to come in right away, they would see me immediately.  And they did.  I saw my favorite doctor, who basically took one look at me and had me wheeled right over to the hospital and directly into a delivery room.

There, my nurse, Ann, got me all set up on the monitors and with an IV for fluids.  Luckily, by this hour, there was a new doctor on call, and she did not suggest an Ambien and another ride home.  I was 4cm, still with contractions every 2 minutes or so, and in more pain than I’ve ever felt in my life.  Joel asked me what it felt like… it’s so hard to explain.  It’s really not like anything else I’ve ever felt.  A special kind of pain, reserved just for this miracle that was about to happen.

After a couple hours, the anesthesiologist came in to give me an epidural.  Someone asked me if that hurt.  Not really.  They numb your back before they give you the real epidural.  I felt a little pressure, maybe a small pinch, but that was really it.  And then, within 10 minutes, everything started to feel amazing.  All the contractions pretty much disappeared, and I felt great.  The doctor came back in to check on me, and I was 6cm.  She broke my water, and told me that I had a really poopy baby.  Baby girl had passed meconium, so in order to avoid any complications, she said they would call in someone from the nursery and a respiratory specialist to be on hand when I delivered.  They basically wanted to keep her from inhaling any of that nasty stuff, which apparently can cause some respiratory issues or infection if she did.  After that, everyone pretty much cleared out, and I was actually able to drift off to sleep for a while.

As a side note: I have a lot of friends who have opted to go the natural route for their childbirth experiences.  More power to you.  I had a lot of respect for that decision before, and after my experience, I respect it even more.  My decision to have an epidural had more to do with being afraid that without one, I may not want to have any more kids.  Joel and I want probably a couple more  – we’ve discussed adopting, and will probably do that at some point as well (another post) – but also want at least one more of our own… I didn’t want to look back on Clara’s birth and think – “No freakin’ WAY, I’m not doing that again!”

At this point I completely lost track of time, but I remember they gave me an oxygen mask at some point, because the baby’s heart rate was dropping pretty significantly during my contractions, which, apparently were pretty strong at that point.  I was blissfully oblivious.

When the doctor came back maybe around 3:30 or so, she told me that because of the baby’s heart rate dropping, that they might have to give me pitocin to get things moving… but then she checked and said, “Oh! I can see hair!”  So thankfully, no pitocin, and then it was time to push.  The doctor got really intense and yelled at me a lot, but I was kind of oblivious.  I think Joel gets a big kick out of that part of the story – you should ask him to tell you sometime.

I probably pushed for about 10 or 15 minutes (again, my timetable is a bit skewed), and then there was a baby on my belly!  She was almost completely brown and even the doctors said she looked like she’d been swimming in a mud puddle.  And she didn’t cry right away, which I guess, in cases like this, is actually a good thing, since she didn’t inhale any of that meconium.  The whisked her away over to the corner where they suctioned out her nose and mouth and got her all cleaned up.

After the doctor got me cleaned up and we got to snuggle for a few minutes with our little Clara, my parents came in to meet her for the first time.  My mom acted as the photographer for the day, since I was in no condition to be doing so.  She got pictures of them measuring and weighing Clara and doing the APGAR scores (8 and then 9 – for my sister, who is in med school and wanted to know) I think, but I can’t find them anywhere.  Mom, if you have these, could I get them next time I see you?

Then they moved us into a sweet corner room with lots of windows that would be our home for the next couple of days.  Here are just a few shots my mom got…

I think she’s just beautiful!  She looks a lot like her 3-D ultrasound, which still kind of blows my mind.

I think the funniest thing was when people kept asking us what her name was during and even after delivery.  We hadn’t told anyone, so it was a little strange to say it out loud.  Every time someone asked, I looked at Joel, as if to ask if it was ok to tell them.  Silly, I know.

Clara is a good baby – quiet for the most part, not terribly fussy.  Noises don’t seem to bother her – she’s been subjected to the dryer buzzer going off, the tv noises, cheering for football games, things falling off the walls, the vacuum cleaner, and none of it seems to really phase her.  It’s awesome.

She makes the most amazing facial expressions.  I’ve never seen so many on a baby before…

I have a lot more pictures – but really, most of them are from my iPhone, because I didn’t have the energy to pick up the camera.  I’m sure I will be sad about that one day, but I am thankful for technology that let me document our first days with Clara in some way.

I have so many more things to share.  Baby product reviews, stories, pictures… I promise I’ll be back with all that soon.  For now, I am enjoying cuddling with my little Squishy, and soaking in all this fleeting newborn baby time.

She is precious, and my heart is full.

We are learning more every day.  How to be parents.  What to do when she cries.  What those little faces mean.  How to get a shower during naps.  How to sleep when the baby sleeps (even if you’re not a napper).  How to fit in normal, every-day activities.

I hope to add to that list: How to fit back into pre-pregnancy clothes.  How to get a full night’s sleep.  How to look like a normal human being, not a sleep deprived new mom.

All in good time.  Right?

What a Difference Some Sleep Makes

8 Oct

I promised you I’d post Clara’s birth story, but I’m having trouble finding the time to finish it.

Between feeding her, changing her, and just staring at her beautiful face and watching all those silly expressions she makes, I haven’t even touched my computer for about 3 days now.  I will finish it though.

I will say, a few hours sleep makes a major difference.  Even just a nap in between feeding that precious girl can make me feel about 10 times more human. After one completely sleepless night, I lost it every time I tried to do anything.  Literally.  But that afternoon, Joel’s mom took over baby duty and pretty much told me I had to go sleep.  I’m generally not a good napper, but I am learning to appreciate them more and more.

I am looking out the window at the beautiful weather we’re having – sunny, gorgeous almost-fall-feeling weather.  I want to go out in it, but after the day we had yesterday, I’m beat.

We got a call that someone wanted to look at our house, so we spent 45 minutes furiously cleaning and trying to make sure that it didn’t look like complete and total chaos in here, and then we dashed out of the house just in time for them to show up.  After all that activity (I’m aware of how silly that sounds. It’s not actually all that much activity, but it sure seems like a lot.), I don’t feel like much of anything today.  Except holding my little peanut and catching up on tv I’ve missed in the last 2 weeks.

So that’s what I’m going to do – hold my baby girl and watch tv.  It’s the simple things.

Welcome to Mommyhood

5 Oct

Yesterday, my little Clara turned a week old.  It’s kind of hard to believe.  All at once it seems like she’s brand new and like she’s been in our lives forever.  She fits so perfectly.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an easy transition.  Our first two nights home were kinda rough.  She wanted to eat every 1.5 hours.  And it took me an hour to feed her because she kept falling asleep.  So by the time I’d put her back down, there would be about 20 minutes left until she wanted to eat again.  Joel had classes, so I got up and took her out to the nursery to feed her every time, so that he could get some sleep and stay awake in class.  I really didn’t sleep all night.

By the time Friday morning rolled around and I had to get myself together and out of the house to take Clara to the pediatrician, I was a total disaster.  Joel got up and headed out to class, but came back upstairs just as she was waking up because of another dirty diaper.  He came into the nursery and saw me about ready to break down completely.  He grabbed my sister and had her come up to help me – and just in time, because I couldn’t see through my tears to put a new one on her.  And I had to pee.  Those little things become incredibly more complicated with a newborn.  It’s hard to believe.

I had just enough time to get dressed, put on some makeup that I promptly cried right off, and eat breakfast before my mom drove me to the pediatrician.  Our visit went well.  When we’d left the hospital, Clara was somewhere around 6lb 13 oz.  The pediatrician was thrilled to find that she had already gained back 3 oz and was back up to an even 7 lbs.  I think all of that 1.5 hour apart feeding was because she wanted to show off for the doctor.  Little showoff.

I’m so thankful that my family was here for a week to help us with things.  My mom made food and got me drinks and cleaned and did laundry and dishes and kept the house cleaned up in case anyone wanted to come look at it.  Which they didn’t… but anyway.  They would hold Clara when I needed a break, and the best part is that they just couldn’t get enough of her sweetness.  So they didn’t mind at all.  I really couldn’t have done it without them.

Being a mom is so far one of the best, most rewarding things, and at the same time one of the most challenging, difficult things I’ve ever done in my life.  I love this little girl with all my heart, and at the same time, I find myself getting frustrated because I don’t always rarely understand what she needs from me.  I want more than anything to be a good mom.  What exactly that looks like I’m not sure.

If I am being really honest, this week has been tough for me.  I haven’t left the house but twice in over 8 days.  I want to be outside enjoying the beautiful fall weather that everyone is talking about.  At first I couldn’t leave because I was in too much pain (stitches aren’t fun, sorry if that’s TMI).  I didn’t want to move from the couch.  Now I’m not sure I can get myself and Clara all together enough to actually make it out the door by myself.  I’m gonna have to do a practice run soon while Joel is here, just to prove to myself that I can do it.  I know that I can.  People do it all the time, right?  Go out by themselves with a baby.  I don’t know why I feel so paralyzed about it. But I do.  I am going to make it work.  I’m ready for these crazy raging hormones to level out so that I can stop crying every day.  I have this amazing miracle, this perfect, beautiful baby in my life now, and I’m crying every day.  Sometimes it’s because I am so in awe of her, and sometimes it’s because I just feel helpless.  Nevertheless, I am crying.  And I really hate crying.  Seriously.

At any rate… this is the cutie-patootie face I’m looking at as I finish typing this (it’s only taken me 3 days to write this post. Hard to type while holding/feeding a baby or changing diapers…please excuse any grammatical errors.)

I know that I’m baised, but I happen to think she’s beautiful!

Joel’s parents arrive tonight – they’ve been in the Mediterranean on a super awesome anniversary cruise!  Happy Anniversary Pam & JD!  I know they’re dying to see her, and we’ll need more pictures, so you can expect a pictures-only post in your near future.  I know, I know… you can’t wait! 🙂