Welcome to Southern Comfort!

Hi, I'm Elizabeth and I invite you to grab a glass of sweet tea and join me as I (along with my husband, John) renovate our love nest. We're both born and raised in the south and love to share with you some of our favorite recipes, stories and our life. We hope you'll come back often!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Waaay Overdue Upstairs Post

Ok. Here goes. I've finally gotten to the point where I can blog about the happenings around the house. We've done a lot. It's been a wild ride. And I can't wait to show you.

I'll start with the paint job. I've mentioned it before, but we had planned on painting the whole house within the first year of living here. Ha!! It took 3. The downstairs only took a few months. That was the easy part since we live in our downstairs, only needing to go upstairs a couple times a week. But after finding out the girls were coming it lit a fire under us to get. it. done. Here's our progress from start to finish. Enjoy.

The guest room when we purchased the house:

See that ugly fan? Nice huh? It's gone now. Shew! Only took me 2 1/2 years to get that done.
For a long time it was the guest room and looked like this:
I painted the walls a very, very light shade of purple. I chose it from a piece of artwork I planned on using in the room and never hung it up. I guess I should do that. Even though it's the nursery now it will still work. It looks gray most of the day, which I love. Only when it's hit with direct light do you see the purple.
This picture was taken while we were in the middle of repainting the doors. Hence why there are no doors to the closet. I need to do a post on that project. It was a doosey.  
 Moving down the hallway to the office. This room was our catch-all room for ages. Still is in a way. Every house has one of those. At least I pray every house has one. We need a basement. Or a bigger attic. Definitely something to put on the wish list for the next house. Anywho.
Here's what we started with for this room:
 Nothing special. The door on the immediate right is no longer. We removed the door to give that wall more room when we re-did the upstairs bath. You can read all about the removal of that, and get a better view of this room HERE.
We knew we were replacing the carpet. It was original to the house and smelled weird. I apologize to any guests who had to sleep with it. It was cheap-o, smelled of the previous owner(s) and was just plain gross. I'm so glad it's gone. But in order to replace the carpet, we decided to paint first. So once that was accomplished (in early October) we headed down the road of picking out carpet. We decided to paint first, so we wouldn't get splatters on the new carpet. What can I say? We're messy painters.. or, should I say, our pets are. There's been more than one incident with a curtious kitty and paw prints all over the house. I'll leave that to your imagination. It was just as hilarious as you're invisioning. I cant make this stuff up.
Disclaimer: the carpet process was horrendous. We moved, removed, rearranged and scooted all our stuff all over the dang place multiple times. These pictures definately reflect that.
Our poor living room got a little crowded...

See, when the carpet was installed, everything that was on the floor had to go. Beds, frames, furniture, filing cabinets, you name it. If it was on the floor, or in something sitting on the floor (including closets) it had to be moved. Horrendous, I tell you. Did I mention this was the week I was put on bed rest? Couldn't do a dang thing but sit back and enjoy the view. It was my personal hell. I may or may not have gotten a stress rash. I'll never tell. ;)
This was our upstairs bath during the project. Ugh.
Funny side story: while I was upstairs (before bed rest) and helping John finish up the painting I realized I needed to pee. I was determined to not go downstairs. Being pregnant with twins will make you do almost anything to avoid unnecessary movement.. especially when you have to use the ladies room. I decided to use this bathroom instead of going downstairs. We ended up having to nearly empty the whole dang room just for me to pee. Lesson learned. It's easier to just walk down the dang steps. He was ready to spit nails at me... but then we got a good laugh about it and made up :)

Since this project happened the day after I was put on bed rest, I wasn't able to get any pictures of the progress of the carpet going in. Except this one. From the bottom of the stairs.
 And now, everything is painted, replaced, put back together and finally, FINISHED. What a looong 3 year project. And honestly, the worst part was painting the trim and the doors. Sure the carpet was a nuisance to replace, but in 3 days it was over. And the walls are an afternoon or weekend project. But the trim, oh the trim. 5 coats. 2 of primer and 3 top coat, after sanding. Ugh. So glad it's over.
But now, here's the office complete.
We painted it a pale green (Gratifying Green from Valspar, to be precise) that matched the color of the throw pillows on the bed. Thats a trick for you. If you're looking to repaint, always choose a color from an item you already plan to use in the room. Dont just choose a color from the cards and decorate to the paint. It will drive you bonkers trying to find things that match.
I finally have a bookshelf for my craft stuff. Only took 5 years. I've always had my craft stuff crammed in a closet or under a bed. I finally have a place where it's out and I can grab things in a jiffy. This is now one of my favorite places in the house. It still needs a little work. A little organizing, but for the most part, we're ok with our former "junk room". I cant wait to get my sander to that desk and repaint it. The army green just isn't doing it for me. :)
Now, the nursery. I love this room. It's my favorite. As a reminder, here it is before:  

 So there's the finished project. I'll be back to go through the details of the nursery. Most everything in the room is sentimental or a story behind it. I can't wait to share it all with you. Until then, have a great weekend, friends!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Update and Bed Rest

Wow, how things have changed. So here's the update since being scared out of my mind:

I am currently still pregnant. Who would have thought? We didn't.
My doctors still can't believe I'm still pregnant.
Christmas Day made us 32 weeks along.
As of yesterday, both girls are over the 4lb mark. Grow babies, grow!
I am thrilled to be just 2 weeks away from being OFF bed rest. Like whoa. Having been through this journey I've learned a lot. And I can finally talk about it without wanting to punch a wall.

The bed rest journey has been amazing. In some ways in a good way. In a lot of ways bad. All amazing. Here are things I have learned:

  • My hips hurt all the time. Before bed rest I could get up and walk it off. Now, I have to treat it with Tylenol and re-positioning. Neither work some of the time. Ouch.
  • Don't tell someone on bed rest to "enjoy it". Yes, I understand you're trying to make me feel better. But the last thing you want to tell someone who is fighting for the lives of their children is to "enjoy resting because you'll never be able to again". Isn't that what all moms want? Healthy children to chase and be worn out over? It may not be the most pleasant, but all moms-to-be plan to be sleep deprived. It's a given. But a sure way to get on a mom's bad side is to say to enjoy bed rest. There's nothing fun about it. Period.
  • There is no sleep. Because you don't do anything during the day you can't sleep at night. Because you don't move during the day, your body spasms.
  • Your mind tells to you stay still, you're body tells you to get up. It's a constant battle of willpower.
  • You constantly feel claustrophobic.
  • There were times when I didn't step foot outside for over 10 days.
  • You find yourself craving the short amount of time each day you can take a shower. Even if your husband has to wash/shave your legs. Any amount of time standing is a treat.
  • Friends, visitors and phone calls are a girls best friend. Any connection with the outside world is such a treat.
  • You learn to HATE TV. This has been difficult in our family. I watch TV all day to "zone out" and make the day go by for when John comes home and I have human contact. And when John gets home, he wants to zone out from his day. That's the time when I need him to talk. To hear about his day, news from the outside. Anything. He could tell me he saw a dog take a dump and I would find it interesting. We've had to learn how to compromise on this.
  • If you know John and I, you know we don't do sports. John knew I needed to get out more when I started talking to him about sports news. He knew at that moment our marriage was going to chance drastically if he didn't nip this in the bud and get me some outside attention. He planned for more visitors and had a planned activity for me each day. Call the insurance about this, research that etc. It helped a lot.  
  • I love watching my girls move. I know their movements, when they're asleep, awake or playing. I feel like I know them already. Even though we've never met. I will always treasure the moments I've been given getting to know them in my tummy. They are the reason I fight. They are the reason I put myself through this. And I feel I have a better connection with them after spending hours upon hours watching, talking to and enjoying them.

Now that I am in my 10th week of this, I can talk about it without crying. I'm looking at the tail end. There is a light. We have an end date. 2 more weeks and I can stop. I can get up. I can do laundry, wash the stinky Maggie. Not get fussed at for looking in the fridge for too long. I may not be able to fit behind the wheel of the car, but I'll be able to walk up the street. Heck, I'll be able to walk to the mailbox! Just 2 more weeks.

It's going to take a lot of strength to get back to myself. Ive been laying on my ass for 3 months. I don't have the stamina I used to, I may need physical therapy. It's going to be a slow recovery. And I may have the kids before I'm up to my full potential. And with carrying 10+ pounds of baby I will not see my old self for many, many months. But I'll have plump, screaming, healthy babies. I've tried to be a good patient. It's the hardest thing mentally and physically I've ever had to do. But it does pay off.

I may go in to labor the day I come off bed rest. Or I may actually reach our c-section date (Feb 8th). We don't know and we wont until I'm given the OK to get up. I do know I don't dread Dr's appointments anymore. I look forward to them now. Amazing how something that most parents love  we dreaded for so long. Not knowing if we were going to be sent straight to the hospital again or not. We keep a hospital bag packed at all times. For each Dr. visit we pack like we wont be home for 3 days (at least). We drop Maggie off at my mom's just in case. It's a superstition that, so far, has worked in our favor.

So here we go. We're in the final stretch. I pray we keep them in another 3-4 weeks. We will see. In the meantime, I've been cleared to go up to the nursery once a day. You'll know where to find me. :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Unimaginable

I know I keep promising to post updates about the house. And I do plan to. But right now our focus is on our family. The house can wait. Over the past 3 weeks John and I (and our families) have been through quite an emotional wringer. I'm going to back up and explain, but it's emotional. This is a post I've been putting off writing. I know I need to write it for my own sake, but it doesn't make it any easier. It's for me to look back on one day. For our girls to know what their parents/ grandparents went through for them. For me. Yes, I'm making it public, and I'm ok with that. It helps me feel human.  If you prefer to only keep up with our house progressions, then just skip this one. ok? Ok. Glad we got that over with.

A few weeks ago John and I had a normal appointment to do a growth scan on the girls. They look great, always have. Growing on schedule and within an ounce of each other. Bouncing around. They decided to go ahead and check my cervical length while I was in the ultrasound room and check that things were fine. They were not. My world crumbled. The normal cervix is about 4cm in length. I have what's called a funneled cervix, which is where the amniotic sac is bulging into the cervix making it open from the inside to the outside. A funnel, and that's what it looks like. At this particular appointment I was funneled to the 2cm point. That's 1/2 of my cervix.. gone. Here's a little diagram of a funneled cervix, it gives you an idea.

So bed rest it was. For 2 weeks. We hoped my stopping work, stopping house work including projects (hence the lack of house posts), no driving, no stairs, no laundry, no nothing and hopefully, that would stop things. The hope was give it 2 weeks, reassess the situation and then either continue bed rest or possibly come off it for a little while.

Fast forward to this past Monday 11/5/12. Went back to the OB for follow up. Not good news. Funneling progressed to 1cm left. Another centimeter gone while I was on bed rest. Now, we start to really worry. My OB made an appointment with Duke specialists for the next morning.

Oh boy. Here's were things get really scary. Had another growth and full anatomy scan of each of the girls. They are measuring right on schedule. 25 weeks. Perfect. Then they looked at my cervix again. More progression had been made since the day before. I'm down to 2mm of cervix left. 2 millimeters. They're coming. Soon. Too soon. They lay be back on the table, put my legs up and call in the doctor. At this point it's been John and my Mom with me in the room. Mom being a RN in Labor and Delivery for 30+ years was such a comfort to have her with me to ask questions that I may/ did not have the mental forethought to ask about. I could see the concern in John's eyes as I lay there. Helpless. I cried. He held my hand.

We were told to go straight to Duke and be admitted. They wanted to get a better look at the girls. Make sure I wasn't going in to pre term labor, get steroids on board for the girls' lungs in case of early delivery. I'm a ticking time bomb.

Over the next two days, they watch me closely. They watch the girls closely. No labor. No dilation. Thank God. Then, Wednesday morning they decided to do another cervical scan and see where things stood. We were up to 4mm!!! I had regressed some! They felt confident my cervix was stablilzing, but wanted to keep me for observation another day just in case. The OB/NICU team spent hours going over possibilites, expectations and statistics with us. They have a plan for every scenario we could have. They've been wonderful to work with. Yesterday 11/8, I was discharged. I'm home now. Resting. On strict bed rest. I'll go back to the Dr. on Monday for another scan and see where things are. Either I stay on bed rest at home, or I head back to Duke. We will have to see.

John is amazing. He's exhausted. I'm exhausted. Emotionally, physically. Everything. He's had to take care of meals, clean the house, feed the cats, making sure our fuzzies are ok, going to work, helping me bathe, brush my teeth, put clothes on. Not to mention working all day and then driving to the hospital to stay with me until 10 pm... or later, then driving home, and repeat the next day. This could easily be our life for a while. We are trying to wrap our minds around that.

My parents have been keeping Maggie for us while I was in the hospital. Not to mention spending every moment they have at the hospital with me, even after working all day and an hour drive. My parents were supposed to go on a cruise for 10 days, leaving today. They canceled their trip. Since we dont know what could happen, they couldn't leave the country. What if something happened? They'd never know. It would take them days to get home. And would they enjoy the trip spending the whole time worrying about things back here. I hate it for them. They work so hard. They deserve this trip. But not now. Not like this.

We worry for our girls. Each day they stay in is a blessing. There's no cure for what I have. We just have to wait and see what happens. I struggle with the thought that my body is failing my family. Making everyone around me work harder. I know it's not my fault, but I can still be mad about it.

I struggle with the thought of preemies. Never in my life did I see myself as a mom of multiples, much less preemies. Who thinks they will though? As of right now we're sure they'll come early. How early? We don't know. No one has mentioned December. Or being pregnant in Decemeber. Which means they could be here today, tomorrow, next week. 26 or 27 week-ers. This scares me to death. It hurts me so bad to think of my babies having to struggle to live because my body failed. They'll have such a hard, long road. Luckily, I have the steroids already for their lung development. They're strong. They're measuring a week ahead in weight. But it's still going to be difficult.

The dreams of having babies and not taking them home immediately is gone. I won't be able to hold them for days.. even weeks. Tears stream my cheeks as I write. Suddenly birthday parties will mean more than another year marker. Suddenly all the sleepless nights most mom's fear is something I crave. I crave to hold my babies, rock them to sleep. Comfort them. I crave normal. I want plump, overweight, screaming babies. And it's a possibility I have to come to term with that may not happen.. and it sure wont' happen for a long time. I want to chase them around the yard, I want to scare away the monsters from their closet. I want to be a mom. I want to worry about if they've peed and pooped today. I want to worry about normal mommy stuff. Not if my baby is going to stop breathing, have brain bleeds or need CPR today. I just want normal.

I write this for me. I write this so I can remember. I never want to forget what I'm working for. I never want to take my children for granted. God knows best, yes, he has a plan. But its hard to tell a scared mommy that.

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