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, 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.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thoughts and Projects

So I have a lot of thoughts. I'm going to try and get some of them down and in a seemingly organized way for you. No promises. My mind these days has turned into a whirlwind with no thought coming around twice. It's a constant blur of to-do lists, what needs to be done, what's been done, what's for dinner.. ugh, and then there's the baby stuff. It's a lot.
So one of the first things about being pregnant that is completely throwing John and I both off is my aversion to food. Nothing ever sounds good to eat. Ever. I have no cravings, and so far, I've only lost weight. Granted, I'm only 19 weeks and this is normal for many women. But I never in a million years thought it would be me. I've always loved food; cooking, baking, eating. It's all good. Until now. I have no energy to cook. Much less eat what I've just spent the last hour looking at. So that's been a huge problem when it comes to meals. John is hungry when he comes home from work and the best I can do it shove him in the direction of the pantry and the freezer hoping he'll find something while I choke down some applesauce. No joke. Every day is a different battle, but knowing it will end, makes it a little more bearable. Worst case scenario, we have 4 more months of this. :)

I've been trying to purge the house. Bringing two kids into our already over-stuffed house is overwhelming me. I feel like I need to get the house to a point where it's smart and working for us, not it being stuffed to the gills with stuff "we might need one day". I would rather spend the time now trying to get it up to snuff, than have to deal with it once the kids are here and we're trying to do it with them in tow. Yes, babies are small when they're born, but they grow quickly (and so does their stuff) and I'd rather have growing room than feeling claustrophobic in my own house from the start. So with that said, we have a to-do list. Some of it we've already started, some is going to have to wait for some other projects to be completed. I'll fill you in below.
So as far as the house goes. We have our work cut out for us. Our upstairs, which is rarely on the blog (fear not, it's about to get it's close up), is our biggest priority. When we bought the house all the trim in the house was honey brown. Uck. So over the past 3 years we've worked to try and remedy that. All the trim downstairs is now white and we've been trying to muster the courage to get started upstairs. Then we found out we were preggo, and that lit a fire under us.
Here's what the upstairs looked like when we bought the house:   
 future nursery
Now, we also need new carpet. But we didn't want to replace the carpet and still have all this painting to do, so we decided to knock out the painting process and then have the carpet replaced. So far we've knocked out the nursery, and the hallway. This week we're working on the 4 doors that still need to be primed/painted. Before we make headway in to the office. It takes me about 4x longer to do projects than it used to. But I'm OK with it as long as progress is being made. So each evening this week we're putting on a coat of paint/primer after dinner.

There's more on the to-do list, but I'll save you the anxiety of it and share it a little at a time. That's the only way I can function, just bite off a little bit that's manageable and go from there. In the meantime I just have to keep telling myself that it will all come together. Eventually ;)
I can't wait to show you the finished result. And don't worry, I'll include all the details along with it.

What about you? Was there one thing that threw you off being pregnant? Any homeowners out there feel overwhelmed by the "stuff" in their house? Feel free to sound off in the comments. I'm all ears.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A little Surprise

Hi Friends!

Wow, has it really been since May that I last posted? Holy moly I'm a bad, bad blogger. But since then, John and I have been on the bandwagon. Some of it hasn't been very glamorous, or even exciting. But hard work is being done none-the-less.

When John and I bought this house, I always dreamed I'd be bringing (at least) our first kid home here. So with every project accomplished, thought about and planned, I always invisioned having our first kiddo playing a part in our decisions. John thought I was nuts. He has never wanted to stay in this house for more than a few years, so for him, thinking about bringing a kid home was a little far fetched.

Well, come June 7th. we found out we are expecting! We are thrilled, giddy, and we are falling in love all over again. No wonder people call it a babymoon. Ha. So a few short weeks after the 'holy moly!' wore off we had our first appointment. As a routine "confirmation" of the pregnancy, we had our first ultrasound done. And sure enough. I was right. I would be bringing our first kiddo home with us. But to our HUGE surprise, they're bringing a friend with them. Twins!! Holy Moly, we're having babies!


You can only imagine our complete surprise and "oh-shit" moment that occured right there in the office. I was crying my eyes out (from disbelief, excitement, and holy crap, what now?) while John (thankfully) was sitting in the chair with his chin in his lap.

Since then, our world has been pitched upside down. I can't eat (much) without seeing it again. My poor husband, who is used to coming home to a home-cooked meal each night, is now the king of frozen dinners. Most days I'm lucky to get dressed. This pregnancy has taken every. bit. of. energy. I. have. I love being pregnant, but the symptoms have been really rough to deal with.  

So after some time to let everything soak in, we've returned to Earth, and are ready to tackle some things around here to get ready for these two arriving late January/ early February.

Here's the rundown (more so I have it written down and I can refer back to it for reference) of things we have to get done.

1. finish painting the trim/ doors upstairs
2. replace the carpet upstairs
3. switch the guest room into the office to make room for the nursery
4. organize the laundry room

Those are the biggies to get done immediately so we can get down to the details. But, no worries, we'll be keeping you posted on our progress as we get things done. At least I'll try between trips to the porcelain throne.

We're in for a wild ride, friends! Stay tuned...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Getting it done. And it feels good..

Hi friends!
I hope you all are enjoying the summer-like weather we're having here in the beginning of May. Days of popscicles, swimming, car washes, vacations and fireworks are just a few short weeks away. But before we get all in to that, let's look back just a bit first.

 I mentioned a while ago how some of our projects seem to get pushed to the side. Mainly, projects we've finished, except for a dot of glue here, a dab of paint there etc. So, here I am to show you our laziness when it comes to finishing things up and the final result. Yep, I'm totally rockin' the fact that we've managed to get a few of those nagging "I'll get to it later" tasks completed. So lets get started.

Here are a few pictues from a previous post about this subject.

These doors are in our bedroom. The first leads to our kitchen (the master is on the first floor), the middle door is to the bathroom and the one on the right is our closet. All the doors and trim were the wood color in the entire house. So slowly and surely, we've been painting our hearts out. This was the last door we had to do downstairs.


Much better right? We think so. So much crisper. Amazing what a little paint can do. Part of that may be the new camera. But who's counting? :)

Another painting project that was put on the back burner, was this:

Oh my goodness. This was a super-duper no-no. I can't believe I #1 let this go for so long without being fixed, but more importantly, #2. I can't believe I didn't finish is while I was in the middle of painting!? I can't imagine what happened when I decided to leave it. Obviously the world didn't come to an end, no one died, and no one was hurt (that I can recall). So who knows why I left it like this. The important part is It got fixed.

 I wish I could decide whether or not to replace the door knobs and door plates. I would love to have oil rubbed bronze ones, but they are really pricey. And I would never see that money again at resale. But these brass ones have certainly seen better days. Thoughts? Suggestions? I digress...

Anyway.. now we get into the larger of the "unfinished projects". These were primarily thresholds.

Because these are wood projects, left over from when we re-did our floors, we needed to find a stain in a very similar color as our floor. So we got our measurements and headed off to Lowes to see what we could come up with.

Here's the arsonel we came up with to tackle the job.

  1.  A box cutter. If you don't have a miter saw (which we don't) this is your new best friend. I seriously love this thing. It's perfect for making precision cuts easily. And the best part? It's only 8 bucks for the whole kit at the hardware store.
  2.  Liquid nails. We needed this for around the fireplace. I'll get to that in a second.
  3.  Minwax polyeurothane and Cabot wood stain for staining and sealing our trim pieces.
  4.  A tape measure. Just to make sure we don't screw up.
  5.  Old rags for applying the stain/ poly.

We took a piece of scrap wood flooring to the store with us to find a stain that would make the best match. Here's the two next to one another. They're slightly different, but I'm ok with that. It really makes the floors pop against the trim. And it doesn't look at all like it doesn't match. They're a perfect combo that really highlight each other.  

 Here's another shot, after our pieces were stained.

When it came time to install the trim around the fireplace, things were a little more complicated than just nailing the strips in place. There was a band of cement from the brick that ran around the perimenter of the hearth, making any nail job completely useless. So, we opted to use liquid nails. We applied it to the floor first, and laid the trim on top. We sat heavy books on it and after the recommended time, we got this.

Not bad right?  We love how finished everything looks.

So there you have it, our now finished, unfinished project list. :)

What sort of projects do you need to complete? Hopefully I've given you some motivation to get some items on your list accomplished.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Master Bath details

So it's been quite a while since the master bath reveal post, and it's high time I got around to updating you all on the details.

Now, let me back up a little bit. This house was built in 1988. And in that time period, large bathrooms weren't a builder focus the way they are now. We were ok with smaller bathrooms in our first home. We knew when we bought this property it wasn't going to be our forever home, and we're ok with that.  We've never had plans to rip out walls, make things bigger or gigantic. It's not where we wanted to put our money. Looking at the real estate in our neighborhood, we likely would never see that money when we do sell, so we never made it an option. That being said, because things are a bit smaller, we knew we needed this room to work hard for us.

When I left you last, the bathroom looked like this:

And not much has changed. We added some shoe moulding around the room which really makes the room looked finished. See?

Now, about the fixtures. We chose to keep the existing plumbing fixtures for now. We're on the hunt for a nice solid surface countertop and once we replace it and get a new sink, we will replace all the fixtures at one time. We weren't in a hurry for this step, and honestly, we would rather wait and find the perfect piece than make a rash decision we would regret later. Besides, fixtures are costly and we liked keeping the budget pretty tight for this little upgrade.

But the old ratty, plastic/brass-y toilet paper holder and towel rod had.to.go. What a nightmare they were. So we purchased a new set along with the glass shelf and light fixture. They really help pull the room together. But you hear over and over how the fixtures are the jewelry of the room. So true.

Now, for storage. We removed the horrible brown medicine cabinet (see previous post) and replaced our mirror with a true medicine cabinet. One day we will recess it, probably when we replace the counter, but for now it's fine. And it does solve some of our storage issue. But like a lot of things, it's a work in progress. I would like to add a shelf in the vanity cabinet to utilize some more vertical space for bottles, etc. Ah, the to-do list continues.

But we've been living with the room now for about 5 months and we love it. Over time we've added a little art. I found some fabric that I really liked, so I bought a yard, cut out the parts I like and stapled it around a couple pieces of canvas. Simple and effective. 

Now for the floor. We hemmed and hawed about this for a while before we made a decision. We thought about trying to tile, but we really couldn't decide on a pattern we liked. Add that along with having to rent a tile saw, buy all the grout, sealer and mastik, we decided to look at other options. We had put in peel-and-stick tile in our bathroom upstairs and love it. We've had zero problems with water at bath time, our guests have no complaints and it's a very affordable option. So we carried ourselves to the store and found the perfect pattern.
It makes our "off white" tub actually look purposeful instead of like we're trying to cover it up. That was a huge issue for both of us. We knew we couldn't replace the tub, so whatever floor we went with had to be able to pull the room together. Luckily, for us. This is perfect. And for around $8 to do the whole room, SOLD! And, we're happy to report, after 5 months and 2+ showers everyday it still looks brand new. Love.

So there we go. Done, for now. Story of our life :) What have you been working on? Any big plans your way? Any other bathroom warriors out there?

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