Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We pray abundant blessings in your new year!
Chris, Ginny & Emmalyn

Friday, December 24, 2010

{Ten Weeks}

Our sweet little candy cane :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two Months Old

 Happy Two Months, my sweet baby Emmalyn!

At two months you are becoming your own little person.  You talk so much, especially after you eat.  You are happy ninety-nine percent of the time.  If we can lock eye contact, you give us huge smiles.  You go almost four hours in between eating, and have been sleeping five to six hours at night. 

These past few days you have been sleeping a lot!  We think you are going through a growth spurt, which would be okay, because you are still so little.  Don't get me wrong - Momma loves her tiny baby, but we have issues with pants staying on your cute little bottom.  But if you'd like to stay this little forever, I wouldn't complain.  I'm in denial that two months have already flown by.  It's unreal how fast it has gone.

I now know that God gave mothers fingers in the unfortunate situation that a pacifier cannot be found.  Black may be figure flattering - a postpartum mother appreciates that - but it is not snot and spit up friendly.  I would take that snot and spit up any time, any day if it means that I get to cuddle with you.  My favorite time of day is after your morning feeding (around 6 or 7), because I put you in bed with me and we snuggle and sleep for a couple more hours.  Most of the time I just look at you while you sleep.  You're intoxicating.  I can't get enough.

Momma and Dad love you sweet girl!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bake Day 2010

This year we had our ___th Annual Knowles Girls Bake Day.  I can't remember how many years it's been official, but it's been unofficial ever since I can remember.

Da Girls

Mom always has fun little gifts for us...

A small plate of the many snickerdoodles that were frosted

We did a lot more dipping than baking this year... But all of it was yum-o!
Three kinds of Oreo balls, Ritz and Peanut Butter sandwiches dipped... Not pictured is chocolate dipped pretzels, Rolos/pretzel/pecan bites, fudge, and chocolate PB bark

I love Emily's face in the corner of the picture :)

The flash did a silly thing for our silly picture. Oh well.

What is your favorite thing to make/bake for the Holidays?

{Six Weeks}

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Little Bit of Chicken Fried

Fried chicken is something that makes me feel connected to my Great Grandma Emma - living on the farm, keeping Grandpa well fed, and shooting possums off the porch.  They both lived well into their 90's - Grandma was 98!  I love hearing stories of her and her spunk. Up to the day she passed, she would stick her tongue out at you, but if you blinked, you might miss it.  She ate her peas with a butter knife.  My parents say she would tell you "You probably want that baker's bread [store-bought].  Mine is hard as tack, it ain't worth eating."  Yeah right!  

Now that I know how to fry chicken, I hope Grandma is looking down with a smile of approval.  Thank you Mom, for passing on your infinite knowledge of hot lard :)

the best teacher ever

getting nice and golden brown

No final product picture (with mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn) but rest assured, it was amazing. Dad said that it was as good as G-Grandma Emma's.  I'm pretty sure he was being nice.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

{Four Weeks}

Yesterday Emmalyn was 4 weeks old, but Saturday is her one month... This is a conundrum I've given up trying to solve.  Hopefully no one will ask me how old she is from now to Saturday, I don't know what to say!! ;)

My sweet little girl - At one month you have finally gotten back up to your birth weight at 7lb. 12oz.  At birth you were 22", now you are 21". We are thankful for that, because that means your cone head has gone away.  I loved you with it, but you're much prettier without it.  You eat well, so I guess you're just not in a hurry to gain weight. Actually you're not in a hurry to do anything, which we already knew given your arrival story. But maybe you take after your maternal grandma and you'll be tall and thin :) Speaking of eating, you take your sweet time doing that too. Silly girl. Your umbilical cord has yet to fall off...  Just another part of you that is in no rush, much to mom's chagrin. It's yucky and I would much rather see your cute little belly button :) You smile, really really big sometimes. It's not quite on demand, but I can usually coax it out of you if I try hard, and wait long enough.  After you eat is when you're most awake. You talk to us then, and it's stinking adorable.  After you sneeze, you make the cutest *sigh* sound... I'll get it on video someday :)  You go to sleep to the sound of my hair dryer and the sweeper, and the dogs barking doesn't bother you in the least bit. Can we say "convenient"? :) And about sleeping - you've gone about 5-7 hours from about 10pm-4am(ish) here lately.  Other than that, you wake up to eat every couple/few hours.  

I could go on, in true parent fashion, but I'll stop now and just say...

Happy one month, my sweet baby love.

I just realized that I forgot to post week 3, hence the back to back "week" posts :)

{Three Weeks}

- better late than never? -

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

{Two Weeks}

Happy fourteen days, my Sweet.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

{One Week}

I'm quite positive this blog will quickly be inundated with pictures of our babe, but I'll be taking an "official" picture every week for her first year of life, then will put them in an album.  Although I'm posting a few days late, here is her One Week photo.  She has already changed so much since we left the hospital.  I keep telling her she's not allowed to grow up so fast, but apparently she takes after her mom and doesn't listen.

She fills me up so much I skipped dinner.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Emmalyn Grace

October 13th at 11:37am she entered the world at 7lb. 12.5oz, and 22" long.

I'm overwhelmed.  I'm intoxicated.  I'm completely taken.  And her name is Emmalyn Grace Shields.  I can't believe she's a week old today.

Here are the details of her arrival...

Tuesday, October 12th:

7:30am - Chris and I checked in at Wesley Medical Center (not the Birth Care center, the LDR floor in the  actual hospital) on Tuesday October 12th at 7:30am for a scheduled induction.  By the time we got to our room and got settled, IV was started at 8:45.  At that point, I was dilated to a 3, 70% effaced, and engagement is "high" (see here if you're not sure what the heck I'm talking about).  Shorthand would be "3/70/high".

9:25am - Pitocin started.  My wonderful Doctor - Melissa Hague - stopped in to check on me, and broke my water at 9:42a.  Didn't notice until my next contraction :)  Officially and medically speaking I was "in labor".

11:45am - Pitocin at 20 (max is 40)

12:30pm - Contractions started to get pretty uncomfortable (an 8 out of 10), so I asked for a local pain reducer.  Stadol given.  That stuff is pretty fun :)  It made me woozy - in a good way.  I couldn't open my eyes because the room was spinning, hard to describe exactly how it felt, but it felt good...  I told Chris if this is the way people on illegal drugs feel, I understand why it's addicting ;)

1:00pm - 4/75/-2

1:40pm - Another dose of Stadol given.  I was rating the pain a 10 at this point.

2:00pm - 5/80/-2.  Stubborn kid.

3:00pm - 5.5/80/-2.  Seriously??

3:13pm - I tried sitting on a birthing ball to ease the pain of contractions.  That lasted about one contraction.  The bed was way better.

4:00pm - Cervix remains unchanged.  One more dose of Stadol.  Stadol is a medicine that doesn't work as well the more times you use it.  The first time was great, but by the third time, it wasn't doing much.

4:25pm - This was the hardest decision yet.  Up to this point, during each unbearable contraction I told myself "I can do this one more time"... But that only lasted to this point.  I broke down and got an epidural.  In hinds sight, it's a good thing I did since my labor lasted as long as it did - 26 hours.  I was nervous about the whole needle-in-the-back thing. Turns out there was no need to be.  I didn't even feel the first shot they give you to numb the area.  The anesthesiologist said I'd feel a bee-sting. I felt something touch my back, but nothing even close to pain.  Kellie said it's because it was nothing compared to what the contractions feel like.

5:00pm - Pain rated a 0 out of 10 :)

5:14pm - 6/80/-2

6:17pm - 6/100/-1

7:16pm - 6.5/100/-1.  The Pitocin was now at 40. 

7:35pm - 7/100/-1

8:10pm - Unchanged.  Talk about frustrating.  It had now been 12 hours since we started everything. Pitocin decreased to 20.  

8:40pm - I started to run a temperature, so Tylenol was given.

9:23pm - Cervix unchanged.

9:39pm - Pitocin turned off.  They said sometimes if it's turned off, then back on it will kick things into gear.  

10:00pm - Pitocin restarted.  They turn it up a few notches every 15 minutes until it reaches 40 again.

Wednesday, October 13th

-- Nothing really happened between 10pm and 2:45am.  I tried to rest some, but how well can you really do that in a hospital, and while in labor? Oddly enough, time seemed to go by quickly. I don't remember feeling like there was a pause in time.

2:44am - 7/90/0.  At this point I was still not progressing much, and it was coming up on 24 hours of my water being broken.  Dr. Hague wanted to give me every chance possible to have a vaginal birth (as opposed to a C-section), but time was running out.  She said one more hour, and if nothing has changed (aka - if I wasn't dilated to a 10), it looked like a C-section would probably be necessary.  After crying (a lot), I finally came to terms that I would probably not deliver my child the way I had imagined.  Yes, I know a healthy baby is the desired outcome and that is all that matters, but I prayed hard the next hour... Chris went out and updated the family, and they were all praying too.

3:56 - Nurse came in to check me.  I was prepared for her to say that I hadn't changed.  But God is SO good... I was dilated to a 9, 100% effaced, and a +1!!  No C-Section! :)  Thank you Jesus!  Dr. Hague wanted me to "labor down" (let the baby come down a bit more), so I did that for a couple more hours.

4:21am - 9.5/100/+1

5:37am - Pitocin turned off / Oxygen turned on.  Something to do with baby. I want to say her HR went up and down slightly?  I can't remember).

6:25am - 10/100/+2! Oxygen off, thank goodness. Hate those masks :)

7:35am - Pitocin turned back on starting at 10, to get contractions going again.  Started pushing.

11:37am - 4 hours of pushing later, Emmalyn Grace was welcomed into the world.

So many thanks to several people...

First of all, Kellie (mentioned above) was so amazing.  She wasn't scheduled to work that day, but she picked up an extra shift just to be there, AND she worked 4 hours over her shift! A 16 hour day, and she didn't even get to be there for the fun part (they made her go home at 16 hours).  But it was sososo wonderful to have a familiar face in the room!  Kellie, you are awesome. Thank you just doesn't cut it, but thank you for everything you did that day!!

Thank you Ginger for coming in and taking beautiful pictures when the family came in to meet Emmalyn.  Your talent amazes me.

We've heard that Wesley is the place to have babies, but we were very impressed with everything and everyone.  The nurses, staff, anesthesiologist... We didn't have a "bad" experience with anyone.

Thank you to our supportive families!  We know they wouldn't have left the hospital for anything, but they stuck it out the whole time in the waiting room while waiting for their [stubborn] Granddaughter and Niece :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

And the Crazy Comes to an End

Well there was good and no-so good during our crazy two days... Here's a quick re-cap:

Ginny's Doc Appt - Everything went well, nothing new, blood pressure and protein were fine. Doc said "We'll keep you pregnant another week unless you go on your own".  So no news is good news I guess :)

Chris Board Interview with WPD - Not so good.  The way this is set up is a panel of 4 or 5 different people that are in law enforcement.  They ask you questions and grade you.  Last time Chris did this, he passed with flying colors (you need a 36, he got a 40-something).  This time he got a 32.  Apparently they said he "didn't seem passionate about it".  Maybe they wanted him to jump on the table?  Unfortunately, it's solely those 5 people's opinion after a short interview process.  Detective Giffin has been Chris' point person throughout this whole process, since Day 1 over a year ago.  She wasn't involved in the interview, but afterwards, she went in the room and asked "Are you talking about the same guy here? Because every time I've talked to him, he is very passionate about this".  I think this made Chris feel good, but unfortunately, they can't change their scores.  He now has to wait a year to re-apply for WPD.  It's hard to make sense of it, and you'll make yourself crazy trying to do such, so we just have to know - in our heads and hearts - that this was God closing a door for now.  It wasn't anything Chris did.  It wasn't the Board - even though we really want to blame them ;).  Chris' heart continues to be with law enforcement, so he will continue to pursue.  

2pm - In-home interview for Sheriff's Reserve and Detention Deputy (they went ahead and used this interview for both since they are both County).  We both think it went well.  The two guys that came were pretty laid back and easy going.  We will more than likely know about the Reserves sooner than DD.  They are looking to start a Reserves class very soon, whereas a DD class wouldn't start until January or March.  

6pm - Board Interview for the Reserves.  Chris said he thought this went well also.  We now wait on a call from them.

So that's everything in a nut shell!  Glad to have this week behind us :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Help a Desperate Wall

Here's one of our living room walls.  Yes, I know that brown on brown couldn't be more awful.  We used to have the couch in front of the front windows, so it broke up the monotony... But this set up is best for now.  

I can't do anything about the wall color or couch color at the moment, and can't/don't want to spend much money on wall decor, so here's where you come in! I need help!! :)  After I took this picture, I did put a sage green and blue throw over the couch to help a bit, but I'm not sure how long that will last.  The husband isn't a big fan of throws on the couch.  It's understandable.  The couch is slippery.

I found an adhesive wall Bible verse, but the size I would need was about $60. Ouch.  

My next thought was I could buy a stencil and paint.  Lots of time, but pretty inexpensive.  

So even if I do a stencil, I'll still need something else... And if I don't do the stencil, I need a couple more "somethings" to go along with the framed art I already have up.  

Any relatively cheap ideas??  And yes, I've tried to come up with stuff I already had around (either in other rooms or from the basement), and that was a fail.

What do I do?????

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Busy Week...

... that would be a little less hectic knowing it was covered with lots of prayer :)

Ginny has weekly doc appointment - prayer that my random high blood pressure is good and that I'm not dropping any protein.  You could also pray that I go into labor anytime after Wednesday ;)

Chris has Board Interview with the Wichita Police Department.  This is the dream job people.  After this interview if they want him to proceed, the next step will be an interview with the Chief.  And the Chief tells you if you're hired or not right after he interviews you.  No sweat, right? :)

Afternoon: Chris has an In-Home Interview for the Detention Deputy job at the jail.  This would be a good job to have under his belt and on his resume, as he will continue to pursue WPD until he gets on.  In-home means I have to be there too. Yikes.  Here's hoping I'm not the reason my husband doesn't get a job.  This is the last step before they would give him a conditional job offer (a psycho test and physical exam would need to be passed).

Evening: Chris has a Board Interview for the Sheriff's Reserve.  This is a non-paid job, but once again, would be excellent to have the experience.  My understanding is that a Sheriff's Reserve basically does the same thing as a Sheriff Officer (after an academy and training), but just doesn't get paid.

So when it's dry, it's a famine.  When it rains, it pours.  I am [surprisingly] staying pretty optimistic for a pessimist.  I know with everything that is happening this week, absolutely nothing could pan out.  But that's okay.  My God is bigger than all of this.  But it doesn't mean I won't pray myself out of words.

Thank YOU, friends and family, for continuing to cover us with prayers!  We'll keep you updated :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

DIY "Antiqued" Wall Art

I wanted something unique - and cheap - for our Kid's room... So here is the step by step, trial and error, actually-turned-out-okay wall art - all for about $12.

This cute story is in a reader that my mom had - that I used to read out of - called "The Frog on the Log".  

I photo copied and enlarged the three pages... You can't see it very well, but I creased and tore the edges instead of cutting with scissors. I like the imperfect look it gave.

Next I steeped two large tea bags in my kettle and poured it in a 9x13

Completely submerged the paper, one sheet at a time to give the "old and worn" look.

Laid them out on paper towels... Checked them every once in a while and flattened them with my hand so they didn't get too crinkly.  When they were almost dry, I placed them underneath a heavy book.  They still had a bit of wrinkle, but that's the point to giving it the "old" look...

I found these painter's canvases on sale at Hobby Lobby

I already had some brown craft paint, so I painted a "border"...

Next was deciding how to apply the story to the canvas.  I thought about modge podging... Then I remembered I had some craft brads hidden away in the basement, so I excitedly got those out.

Since craft brads are not sturdy in any way, shape, or form, I needed to help them out with punching holes in the canvas so they would slide through.  Placing the holes right where the joints of the canvas frame made everything line up and center.  Used a small screwdriver and a hammer to do this. *Make sure you are doing this on a surface you don't mind getting beat up! I used an old piece of wood.

Next, I made sure that the story page was centered on the canvas...

Then I first poked the brad from the back to the front to punch the hole in the paper (not pictured),  then put it in correctly...

And the finished project.  I like how the edges are "free" to curl and bend a bit.  Imperfection is what I like.

I wish I could get a better picture of all three, but I think you get the idea.

Like I said, it cost me a total of about $12 for the canvases... I had the paint and was able to make copies on my own, but I figure even if you had to go out and buy everything and pay for the copies, it wouldn't be much more than $16-18.  I sure like that price tag compared to store-bought wall art! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Boy or Girl?

We will see in a few weeks which outfit will adorn our Baby on the way home from the hospital! :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Enjoying Life

Chris has been laid off since June 15th.  Three months. Crazy.

With the exception of a couple of mornings that I've gotten annoyed that he's still in bed while I'm leaving for work, it's actually been kind of nice having him around.  He's great at keeping up with laundry and dishes as needed.  Random projects have been completed - the ones that don't cost much, of course...  It will never fail in life: When you have the money, you don't have the time. When you have the time, you don't have the money :)  But thanks to him, our Baby has a beautifully painted room and a restored dresser, along with many other things.

It's been [mostly] fun finding different things to do together that are either cheap or free.  Taking the dogs to the park (or just around the neighborhood), long weekend trips to the family cabin...

The other day we enjoyed a random trip to the zoo together.  Chris hadn't been there since (he thinks) middle school, so lots of stuff was new... We spent almost three hours there!  It was so gorgeous... But apparently it was too sunny and beautiful for the boat rides ;)

{I text my dad this picture and asked him what he was doing at the zoo... hardy-har-har}

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sneaky... Very Sneaky

I came home the other day.  The other day, as in two weeks ago.  To this sign on the Kid's room door...
As much as I wanted to go in there, [don't tell me not to do something, I will most likely do it... "Don't jump off that bridge, Ginny!] I restrained. I knew once I opened the door, there was no going back to The Unknown.

I text my mom to see if she knew anything about this.  She was coy.  But I could see right through her.  Either Chris was in on one of her plans, or she was in on one of his...

So I went to my shower that evening, thrown by my amazing co-workers...  Ate some amazing food:

{Cookies! Someone said they were too cute to eat.  I got over it.  They were delicious}

{chocolate fountain with the fixins}

At the shower, the gift from my Mom and Dad was a quilted sheet for a pack and play.  On the front of the package was a picture of the P&P I had registered for, telling me that it was waiting at home!

So apparently while I was at work, my Mom came over and dropped it off, and Chris put it together.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kid's Room... Finally

I'm not a great blogger.  I know you know this by my months-on-end hiatuses... My apologies.  Life happens.  But another reason I'm not a great blogger is because I tend to forget to take "before" and "during" pictures.  Did I take any photos of my amazing husband putting hours and hours into the kid's room (I don't like the word nursery. I have no idea why)? Nope.  There's no proof except the wonderful "after" pictures. And I take no credit.  So let's dig in. Because there are plenty of after pictures.  Oh, are there plenty.  

As I go along I'll be letting you know what the cost was, with the grand total at the end.  With many "DIY" projects and wonderful gifts, I think we did pretty great on a slim budget.

{before... long before.  after this picture, it was an exercise room}

- Rocker/Ottoman: gift
- Crib/Mattress: gift from my aunts
- Laundry basket: already had
- Trunk: wedding gift, moved from the living room
- Throw on rocker: hand-knitted Christmas gift from Chris' sister, Tera
- Baby book: Mother's Day gift from Chris :)
- Giraffe and Turtle: gifts from my aunt, the giraffe is a sound machine and the turtle lights up stars and a couple constellations all over the room


Bumper is two different materials

(excuse the quality of the curtain picture, it was taken with a phone)
- All material and supplies for bedding (quilt, crib sheet, bumper, crib skirt) and energy saving, black-out lined curtains, 4 panels (including grommets and rods): $195

These bears are so very dear to me.  When I was very young, my parents didn't have much (if any) money for Christmas, so my mom made these bears for me, and ducks for my older brother.  I don't care if we have a boy or a girl, these bears will be a permanent staple in all of my baby's rooms.

{to the left is the door to the hallway}
- Changing Table/Dresser: the one I used growing up, re-stained and put a new top on: $20
- Bookcase: garage sale find, repainted with paint we already had: $10
- Lamp: found at TJMaxx, couldn't stop thinking about it, splurged and bought it: $30
- "Frog Story" wall art: $12 (blog about that coming later)
- Mirror & Shelves: already had
- Curtain for closet: $5 
(if you remember, I put up a curtain in our master room also... Our house keeps settling, and until we figure out why, doors are a pain.  Curtains are also cheap and easy (no heavy duty tools or big time commitment needed. It's convenient at this time in our life)

- Basket for miscellaneous baby things: TJMaxx find: $7 (I think I'll paint it cream)

Shelf deco are things I already had and a few things my mom picked up at an antique store.
Love the deer, thanks Mom!
- Moon/Heart deco was in my baby room.  Made by a dear friend, Dana Ferrell.
- CD/Radio: already had.
Duck and books thanks to Mom

This wall looks bare, but only until baby gets here.  I painted frames and bought colorful scrapbook paper and will cut baby's name out and frame each letter and hang it above the crib.  Yes, I'll post a picture later :)
If it's a girl, I'll use the ribbon to hang the frames.  
My husband thinks the ribbon is too girly if it's a boy.  *Pshh*
- Frames and Paint: already had
- Scrapbook paper: $2.25

- Bucket: already had, spray painted with paint we already had
- Blankets: gifts, and one that was my baby blanket
- Snoop Dog: a Christmas gift that I never got around to giving, and decided it fit perfect in my kid's room.  I probably shouldn't have admitted that, huh?

{closet before}
After trying to peel 27 layers of wallpaper off, I decided it would be easiest [for my husband] to just paint over it.  Chris put a coat of Kilz on first, which worked like a charm.  The wallpaper was stuck so good, there were no problems with it bubbling.  Then he appeased his loving wife and painted the bottom half yellow and the top half blue (both of which we already had, they're actually the colors in our 2 bathrooms).  I think the two colors work great with the green walls of the room.  Conveniently, we only had to by the paint for the walls. So a couple gallons of paint and a gallon of primer was about $65.

So there it is my friends.  Final cost - $346.25