Monday, July 31, 2017

A Basement Room for Nick and Henry

This summer has been quite an adventure! Our whole house is undergoing major renovations, all towards the cause of making our two bedroom home comfortably fit two adults, three children, and two cats. Step one is now fully complete!

Though they've been sleeping down there for awhile now, just this morning I finished putting together their room. Don't feel sorry for them--we tried our best to give them the nicest, hugest basement bedroom you'll ever see. I'll give you the grand tour in a minute, but first. . . Imagine every toy and piece of clothing these two kids have ever owned, all dumped together randomly in boxes, stacked all the way up to the ceiling of an unfinished basement. . . . That is what this room looked like just a few months ago. In fact, you don't have to imagine. This is what the basement looked like after we cleaned out all of the boxes and before the renovations started. There are lighting issues because the bulb in the ceiling only worked if you tied something heavy to the string (like a saucepan).

Now for the post-renovation pictures. As you walk down the stairs into the boys' "apartment," notice the carpeted stairs and the stained concrete. We wanted everything to be as indestructible as possible, since Henry and Nick are rough-and-tumble guys. The door at the bottom of the stairs is to our storage room, which we left unfinished and with a lock on it.

You can't destroy stained and sealed concrete, right? 

As I was planning out their new room, each boy picked out his own "theme." I originally wanted to divide the room with a bookshelf, but for now, there is a dedicated bedroom area and a big playroom area. They can move the furniture around when they get older and want their own spaces.

Nick picked a Harry Potter theme, and we had wall stickers left over from his birthday party last November. He wanted the poster from the first movie to go over his bed, and his grandma got him a blanket with the train to Hogwarts on it, plus the foam mat between their beds. See the ceiling? It's a special black spray for an industrial look. It was way cheaper than a dropped ceiling, and it makes the room feel taller, too.

Henry, true to form, picked a Minecraft theme. He loves his stuffed ghast and his creeper bedspread--if everything is square, Henry is happy. Their beds are unbunked now, so I was able to fit six plastic bins with lids under each of their beds. Out-of-season clothing? Boxes of blocks and cars? All of them fit under the beds.

This is their study area. I found these desks at a garage sale, and both Henry and Nick now have their own space to study, color, and write. Nick's desk is actually an old metal school desk that was painted red and decoupaged with a world map. Henry has a Minecraft "window" over his desk. Oh, and both boys can play basketball on the back of the storage closet door.

 Here's what the rest of their room looks like. It really is like a miniature apartment. (The little nook in the back is because the hot water heater and the furnace are walled off from the rest of the space, for safety. In their "apartment," Nick and Henry have a trampoline, a reading nook, a TV with a DVD player, a karaoke machine, a Wii system (no cable or internet, though), and of course, Nick has his drum set.

Another garage sale find was the huge beanbag chair in the corner (below). See the Lego table and the shelves of boxes? Everything was dumped together, and it took me about a week to get it all sorted out nicely. Yes, this pregnant lady sat on the concrete floor, day after day, sorting magnets from Squigz from beads from Legos from Zoobs, with crayons and random detritus mixed in for good measure. These guys have more Legos than they know what to do with!

Last picture, I promise. See the blue cabinet to the left of the window? Those are rulers glued to the front cabinet doors--another garage sale find from the same lady from whom I bought the desks. After sitting on the concrete floor all weekend, I just ordered another one of those large green foam mats (24 square feet), so pretty soon they'll have a soft area in the middle of the room if they want to sit on the floor. The boys also got their own brand-new curtains on their window, and you'd think with all the light they block my boys would sleep past 7 a.m. No such luck, unfortunately.

I guess the pregnancy nesting has hit me early this time around. When I was pregnant with Henry, the urge came later. I suppose that's what I get for doing major home renovations two months before having a baby. Our next step? Greg just tore out the carpeting (original to the house, circa 1997) from our bedroom. The entire second floor is getting engineered hardwood and a new coat of paint, and the stairs are getting new, heavy-duty carpeting as well. The hope is to have the whole upstairs done by the time this baby arrives.

We went with a grayish-purple for the master bedroom. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Pregnancy Update: 27 Weeks

I survived a nine-day road trip over ten states! We got back last week, and have been deep into our home renovations since then. Here's an update on my pregnancy:

I know this baby can hear, because she jumped at the sound of the fireworks.

Pregnancy Statistics

Weeks Pregnant: 27 weeks as of today. Depending on the website, the baby is the size of a large eggplant or a head of lettuce. My uterus is big enough that it's poking into my ribs, making sitting up straight quite uncomfortable. Oh, and this little girl likes to tap dance on my bladder, just for fun. I wonder if she'll want to take dance class when she's older? She kicks for sure, but because the placenta is in the front, it isn't regular. I'll just feel a sucker punch to one of my organs, and then nothing for hours or even a day.

Weight: (from starting weight) =20 pounds, approximately. I've been retaining water, so my weight fluctuates a lot.

Exercise: My average is still 10,000 steps a day, though there have been a few days I didn't meet my goal recently. One of those days I was grocery shopping (at two stores for several hours) and Fitbit only recorded 400 steps that whole time. I was robbed! I had another day where my feet and legs hurt so badly I just couldn't go for a walk. On hot days or when I can't put my feet up, I've definitely had some swelling. But nearly every night, if I'm not close to my goal, I go out and walk circles around my cul-de-sac. My neighbors must wonder why there's a pregnant lady in her pajamas walking around in circles, reading a book on her cell phone.

Cravings: Lately I've been having corn tortillas with black beans, avocados, shrimp, and cheese nearly every day. I've been craving peanut butter, too. Oh, and red meat. (That's the anemia.)

Sleep: My master plan to sleep in all summer and get 8 hours per night hasn't panned out too well. For one, I've had morning tutoring jobs many days. Also, I keep waking up in the middle of the night, and it's hard to get back to sleep. I'm averaging about 7 hours, which isn't enough for me. The night splint I wear for my plantar fasciitis doesn't make sleep any easier, either.

Mood: I've been a little less irritable since getting back from our vacation. Something about driving across 9 states in a minivan with two whining children made me more on edge than usual. Oh, and the pregnancy brain has been quite severe. I've now lost my car twice in grocery store parking lots, just in the last week.

I'm still pretty anxious, though slightly less so now that I've had my 24 week ultrasound to measure the baby's heart. (No problems detected.) Check out the pictures we got--I should have grown ultrasound pictures at least every 4 weeks from this point forward.

She's covering up her face with her hand.

This one is full-length, with her face down.

She looks perturbed in this one. Maybe she doesn't like having her picture taken?

Medical: The Fetal Medicine Specialists said she looks great and her heart has all the necessary parts. I find it amazing that they can see and measure each chamber of the heart when she's so tiny and still inside me. I have another growth ultrasound scheduled in about a week. It's getting close to the time when they check that really closely, because the third trimester is when Nick ended up with growth restriction.

I go to see the Hematologist tomorrow to see if IV iron is necessary yet. My iron was dropping at a pretty fast rate, so this afternoon they called me to come get blood drawn. When the results come in tomorrow I'll know if I need to have infusions. To be honest, it's more likely a case of when than if I'll need IV iron. The hematologist has told me I'll most likely need iron infusions at least once a year for the rest of my life, and anemia gets much worse in pregnancy.

With Nick, they tried all kinds of iron pills and even liquid iron (nastiest stuff ever), and it didn't work--he was still born with IUGR (Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction) and a smaller head. This was likely due to my RNY Gastric Bypass surgery, which I had in 2003. With Henry, as soon as my anemia got below a certain point, they just cut out the middleman (my stomach) and went directly to IV iron for the last six weeks of my pregnancy, which worked. Henry wasn't a huge baby (6 lbs., 14 oz.), but he wasn't growth restricted and his head was more normal-sized. Small babies are not normal in my family (I was 9 lbs, 14 ounces, I believe), so the stomach surgery has a definite impact. However, without the RNY surgery I would never have been able to have children at all.

I'm still using a Dexcom 5, which is a continuous blood sugar monitor that sends constant readings to my iPhone and alerts me if I go high or low. (It's basically a tiny filament that sits under my skin, and no, it doesn't hurt at all once it's in.) I have low blood sugar (40-60) at least three to five times per day, but the high blood sugar readings I was getting last month are more rare for some reason.

Nesting: I know nesting isn't supposed to hit until later in the third trimester, but it has definitely arrived for me! Our basement renovations are underway, and hopefully in a week or two the boys will be fully moved into their new basement room. Don't feel bad for them--it's easily triple the size of their current room. Here's the before and in-progress pictures.

This room was once stacked six-feet high with boxes, so it looks great to me!

I think it already looks brighter in here with the drywall up.  

This week, I've been planning out colors to paint our upstairs. (I've been going crazy on Pinterest.) After that, it'll be time to tear out the carpet and put down some Pergo-like flooring throughout the entire upstairs. I'm thinking a pale pink and grey for the nursery.

Who decides to renovate their entire home just three months before having a baby? We do, I guess. With a two-bedroom house, though, it was kind of necessary. Plus, we haven't painted or done any kind of updating to our upstairs since we bought the house in 2006. Everything is original to 1998, when it was built, including floral wallpaper in the loft and a hideous border of hearts (!) in our bedroom. We're going to need a lot of luck to get everything finished before this baby arrives!