Friday, February 24, 2012

Seeing Green

Ugh!  Wish I had a before picture and wish I had better after pictures!!  But...

Over Christmas break I found this piece that is now green.  It was at my favorite thrift store in Des Moines, DAV.  It was what I call fake wood or factory finish = very shiny.  I bought the green from the mismatched paints at my local True Value.  One thing that I have wanted to do with my room at the Columns is to have "different" furniture.  Anyone can paint things white or black.  Yes they sell, but I wanted to have something different than everyone else.  That doesn't mean I don't like white and black or will never sell a white or black piece, but I want to be different, for better or worse!

I get to work on this piece, don't sand or anything, duh!  The paint is not sticking.  I remember reading how you guys mix your own chalk board paint or mix your own chalk paint and I had plater of pairs laying around for when I would someday attempt this.  Since the paint wasn't sticking I thought, hmm, lets dump some plaster of paris in the can and see how she goes.  Amazing, it's sticking!!  I put two coats of the green with plaster of paris on the dresser.  I left the back, top, and inside untouched.  Then, I stopped.  I didn't put any sealer on it because it's the sides and the front, not the top where it will get a lot of wear and tear.  And, in case I decide that I want to paint white over it because it's not selling... it'd be better to not have any sealer on it, right?  What do you think?  The top was in great condition and has factory finish, so I'm done!  I left the hardware because I liked it. 

Wouldn't this look great with a flat screen??

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Seeing Red

Awh... red buffet/dresser I wish I could fit you in my house.

So, I get this dresser at what has become my favorite thrift store, DAV in Des Moines, Iowa.  I think I've bought a piece of furniture everytime I've been there.  I live two hours away, so that's only been like 3 or 4 times.  I wish I could get up there more.  I have become addicted.  I can't wait until this summer when I will have more time!!!

So, here is what the dresser looked like when I got it. 

It got to be a catch-all in my mudroom for a couple weeks.  It came with an attached mirror.  The mirror is gorgeous.  The mirror made me think it was a dresser, not a buffet, but without the mirror I think it looks more like a buffet.

Really it was in fine shape, but I wanted to "practice" what I'd been reading about on blogs.  I already had red in my head.  This is my mudroom color and I already had the color picked out, but my husband likes to say that he came up with the color red.  :)  Because I did ask his opinion.

I took off the handles, put some orange stripper on the top and stripped.  It took forever for the top to dry.  While waiting for that I painted the dresser red.  I did not prime, I did not sand.  The dresser accepted the leftover latex fine.  I painted three coats because it seemed to go on streaky  showing the brush strokes.

Here is what I learned...

Never use stripper!!  I guess the top has a veneer layer on it?  So, the moisture of the stripper got up under it and made this bubble.  I learned that next time, just use the sander!!  I know I could take a syringe and shoot glue under it and clamp it or lay a heavy book on it or something, but I didn't think it was worth it.  It is still a beautiful piece.

It also discolored the top.  Not sure why, but it wasn't like this when I started...

Now this beauty is for sale at The Columns in my room in the basement.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

What do I eat?

Everyone always asks me what I eat.  Right now I am approximately 5 months out from my Pro Figure debut.  I will be competing in St. Louis on July 7.  I started this cut diet a month ago.  I had gained more weight than I wanted to, plus I know that my body likes to hold onto weight, so the longer I give myself, the better the end result. 

Here is what I'd have in a typical day:

Breakfast is normally eggs & oatmeal or eggs & Cream of Wheat

6 egg whites/ 1 whole egg , 1/2 c. oatmeal OR 6 egg whites/ 1 whole egg, 1/4 c. Cream of Wheat

Morning Snack is often a protein shake

(this is a collection of some of our shaker bottles)

1/2 scoop Casein Protein Powder & 1/2 scoop Whey Protein Powder

Lunch is 6 oz. of meat, a serving or two of carbs, & vegetables

(we cook in bulk, here is me weighing some chicken - we use lots of containers)

(here is a pot of rice, always cook in bulk)

ex. 6 oz. grilled chicken, 1 cup brown rice, 1 cup steamed broccoli

Afternoon Snack is a protein shake

(some of my protein powder)

1/2 scoop Casein Protein Powder & 1/2 scoop Whey Protein Powder with creatine & glutamine

Pre-workout I take NO Explode

Post-workout I have another protein shake

(some supplements I use)
1/2 scoop Casein Protein Powder & 1/2 scoop Whey Protein Powder with creatine & glutamine

Dinner is normally a repeat of breakfast, but I will soon drop the oatmeal and eat a vegetable instead

6 egg whites/ 1 whole egg , 1/2 c. oatmeal OR 6 egg whites/ 1 whole egg, 1/4 c. Cream of Wheat

Boring I know, but I can't eat while I'm teaching, so I have to drink more shakes than I'd like.  My husband also follows this diet, so we have lots of meals to make weekly.  It basically boils down to time.  We cook 1/2 the day on Sunday to make enough food to last us the week.  We try to spruce it up a little bit by make different things each week.  Different meats, or veggies, we eat lots of salsa and season pretty much everything with no salt Cavendars.  Thank you to another Brooke I met on bodyspace at for that suggestion.  But, that's what I ate for the first month of my cut.  Here is a picture of me in the tightest jeans I could find that I could zip up.  The only reason they fit is because they are super stretchy, but they are too tight to wear in public.  I'll post another picture next month and we will see what changes I've made.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

10 things about me ... guess thats 25

At Red Hen Home she wrote a numbered post and I loved it.  The things she said made me really feel like I knew her.  Then, I read Aimee's numbered post about things she liked.  I thought to myself, hmm, I want to make a numbered post about myself.  So... where to start.  Will I be as insightful as I hope?

Then, I read Primitive & Proper's 25 things and found out that it's a link party at Perfectly Imperfect!

  Here goes.
1.  I am the mother of FOUR!  You only see me toting three because I have one in heaven.
2.  I am a wrestling coaches wife, aka single parent much of the year.
3.  I am a bodybuilder.  No I do not look like a steroid using bodybuilder, at least "in-season" I'd like to think I look like that fitness model you admire in the magazines.
4.  I am type A personality.  Anal, rigid, and I like everyone to do things my way!  Who doesn't?  Any way blame that one on my dad.
5.  I am married to my best friend.  When we got engaged my family continuously asked Matt if he knew what he was getting himself into.  (See #4)  Despite my flaws he loves me.
6.  I am blessed with wonderful children.  Son Kellen, named after a student/wrestler; son Karson, named after an opposing teams quarterback; daughter Kyler, named after a family friend who thought it was a girly name and therefore went with his middle name Blake; and son Kash, named so because we listened to a lot of Johny Cash when Karson died.  Despite Karson's death I still feel blessed.
7.  I am creative and need to make more time to do things I enjoy.
8.  I am rough around the edges, maybe a little unapproachable, but there really is nothing to be scared of because I am nice.
9.  I am not a talker.  I don't like to talk on the phone.  I don't like talking just for the sake of talking; I am fine sitting in silence.  Being a high school teacher and three kids at home, silence is golden!
10.  I am sexual.  I know, TMI, but my husband and I both have friends who haven't had sex for weeks, months, even YEARS!  I'm sorry, but that is not normal!  It's great stress relief, and who isn't stressed?
11.  I am lazy when it comes to cleaning.  I always keep my house picked up because it makes me feel better to have things in their place, but it's dirty.  I love a clean house, but can't stand to clean it and then two seconds later the kids undo all my work.  So, for now I'm just going to live in dirt.
12.  I am amish.  Ok, not really, but I have a friend who always kids that I'm going amish.  I eat clean and try to make my family too.  Meaning if it doesn't have a mother or come from the ground, we try not to eat it.  I don't have cable or an antenae.  And, I almost got chickens last summer because between my husband and I during contest prep we eat around 28 egg whites a day!
13.  I am a contractor.  We hired the amish to move our home.  It used to be a couple miles down the road on our neighbors land.  We bought some land from my dad and moved it.  Gutted it and made it what it is today.  We kept the wood floors, trim, and doors, but pretty much everything else is new.
14.  I am a yeller.  If I love you, I yell at you.  Wrong I know, and something I continually try to change.
15.  I am busy.  Too busy!  I try to remember that my kiddos won't be like this for long and I'd better enjoy it.  It's hard sometimes when I have a million things I'd like to do.
16.  I am a natural at Just Dance!  I have the other video games, but dance I can do.
17.  I am a recyler.  I am in desperate need of going to the recycling center.  I wish they came curbside!
18.  I am a granddaughter to two living grandmas who both just moved into assisted living.  One is 96 and even this past summer, still mowed her yard which is like two acres!
19.  I am the oldest and possess the oldest characteristics - leader, responsible, controlling, bossy, organized,...
20.  I am cheap.  Most of my clothes are hand me downs from my mom and sister who are shopaholics.
21.  I am weird.  My body is weird, it is near impossible to find jeans that fit.
22.  I am moley (is that even a word).  My husband said the first time he say me naked he thought, man she has a lot of moles.
23.  I am a giggler.  I giggle when I'm nervous and I'm loud.  People hear me sometimes before they see me if I'm laughing.
24.  I am a teacher.  I have been off and on for 8 years.  I've also worked in a movie theater, as hostess at Applebee's, taught step aerobics, babysat, worked in an ice cream shop, Victoria's Secret, Casual Corner, been a realtor, a vendor, and a stay-at-home mom.  I enjoy teaching, but I don't love it.  I think I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
25.  I am a new blogger.  I am suprised by how much work this is or how addictive it is to read other peoples blogs.

Thanks for reading!

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Music Sheet Dresser

From all the blogs I've been reading the past few months, something about MissMustardSeed's blog kept me coming back for more.  She is very inspiring and has taught me a lot - how to blog, take pictures, how she picks things to buy/sell, how she works with paint and wax and music sheets....  I can't put my finger on it, but I like her and her style.  The first "copycat" project I undertook after I had all this inspiration was a music sheet dresser.  I got the dresser at a local Thrift Store.  I say local loosely because it was an hour and 45 minutes away.  What can I is the closest big city!  I then got some old, at least older looking, music sheets from my mom.  Bought some Mod Podge and went to work.  I've never worked with Mod Podge before - I know, where have I been!  But, I read up on it a million times on the web - I get nervous about messing up.  I read the back of the container and went at it.  Basically the best way to learn how to do something is to do it!  I've used up a whole container of Mod Podge since and I'd like to say each time I get better and better, but...  I'm still working on a technique that works for me.  It looks good, but sometimes feels bumpy. 

No before photos because I never imagined I would actually need them.  I loved how it turned out.  The dresser was very yellow, so I watered down some black and basically dry brushed it on the side, legs, and between the drawers in the front.  I put it in the basement of The Columns, were I am a vendor, but it has never sold.  I think it needs some tear drop pulls or something that will dangle, even though functionally it doesn't need them.

Here is the finished dresser for sale at The Columns. 
Taken by my hand dandy cell phone.
Aren't those walls gorgeous!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The day my son died

February 1, 2006 I went to the hospital 9 months pregnant, expecting to come home with my son Karson.  February 1, 2006 there is no heartbeat; there will be no baby to bring home.  He would be 6 today and it continues to tear me up inside.  I never know when the pain and tears will rush over me, but they come often.

Pictures are pages from the scrapbook I made after Karson died.

That day 6 years ago, I went to the hospital because I was having contractions, but I couldn't remember the last time I felt him kick.  The night before I remember around 5pm I had a stabbing pain, I think that's when he died.  When I wasn't feeling kicks that night I thought it was because I was going into labor.  Babies aren't as active when you are in labor, right?  I went to work the next day, still nothing, but I wasn't that worried.  2nd hour was my planning period so I called the doctor and told her I couldn't remember the last time he kicked, and I wanted to come in.  I get in.  I go straight to the room where the nurse cannot find a heartbeat.  She seemed very calm.  Sometimes we can't find the heartbeat, let me get the doctor to check.  I sit and wait.  I wasn't that scared.  Who looses a baby at 9 months?  When there have been no problems?  And, I was in great shape, followed all the "rules?"  All my appointments were normal/perfect?  The doctor comes in, no heartbeat.  No one really says anything.  We go to the ultrasound.  No heartbeat.  He looks perfect.  No signs of why there is no heartbeat.  Do you want to call your husband?  I had called Matt earlier, but no one could find him.  When I called him this time he was speeding to the hospital.  No heartbeat.  We went the "back" way to the hospital so that we didn't disturb the happy pregnant people in the waiting room.  We call our parents.  We call siblings.  Kellen was 2, we had to make arrangements for him.  Our parents came.  We delivered Karson to find that his cord was tied in a knot.  Like completely knotted until he couldn't breathe anymore.  Matt's uncle baptised him.  We held him.  We took pictures.  We shed tears.  We were in shock.

I "knew" to take pictures, hold him, love on him because for some strange reason I read the section in What to Expect When You're Expecting that covers infant loss.  I didn't read it with my first child and I didn't read it the first eight months of my second.  I believe God had me read that chapter because he wanted to guide me and prepare me for what was about to happen.

I did go to a support group and it did help, but it also didn't.  I wasn't alone.  Here were other mothers who had experienced something similar to me.  I wasn't alone.  But, there were also mothers who had something like this happen MULTIPLE times.  Not what I wanted to hear.  Karson was going to be our last, two kids, we were done.  For some reason after Karson died my husband and I both decided that we wanted to have two more.  And we did.  And, we were lucky; the other pregnancies, deliveries, and babies were "normal."  Even though the women in the support group had multiple misfortunes, I just kept telling myself that God would not do this to me again.  Maybe it was fairytale thinking, but it helped me keep some sanity during the pregnancies.  At the support group a lot of the mom's who were in my situation today said they wouldn't change anything.  Oh, how I love Kyler and Kash, but if I could go back I would.  I'd have two boys and who knows what would have come of my life.  I wouldn't have known Kyler or Kash because they wouldn't have even been a thought in my mind.

So, how do I feel today?  Sad.  Not just today, on Karson's birthday, but most days.  Especially holidays, or when I see babies, or when someone asks me how many kids I have, or when I meet a kid named Karson, or a kid with a birthday close to Karson's, or when I see pictures, or pregnant women, or sad commercials, or movies, or stories of kids, or a I hear a song,...get the picture?  There is always a part of me that feels sad.  A part that feels alone.  Who remembers today?  Me.  Matt.  Maybe a handful of people who know I expect them to remember so they have it on their calendar.  But, I am the only one who remembers.  Only a mother remembers.

February 1, 2006 I found therapy in making a web site and scrapbook for Karson.  Here is what I wrote then ...              
I think I was around 12 weeks pregnant when I felt you move for the first time.  Too early according to the books, was such an assuring feeling.  We already had the furniture in your room set-up and ready to go even before we got pregnant.  Around Thanksgiving Kellen and I attended a "big sibling" class.  He got a new book - The Big Snow- and Jackie the nurse said she was very impressed with how well he did, as he was 2.  Over Christmas break we painted stars on the wall, got out the clothes: really started getting the room ready for you.  At this point my pelvic bone was hurting and I had already started "waddling."  Teachers would just chuckle when they saw me walking down the hall.  Carol B at RAN would do the same.  They made me laugh too.  Your room was ready, we were ready.  Crissy wanted to have a shower for you, so we did in January.  She made her first cake and we got lots of cute outfits, a pack-n-play, and a beautiful blanket with your name on it.  All of my appointments were progressing as normal.  It was a relief each visit to hear your heartbeat and a relief to feel your movements.  On January 31 in the afternoon/evening I had some sharp pains in my belly and I realized I hadn't felt you move in awhile.  I didn't sleep a lot that night, mainly because I had to go to the bathroom every hour.  But, I didn't feel you move during the night either.  But, I was having contractions for the first time, so I thought I would get to see you soon.  It was Wednesday and we had "special" late start meetings.  I talked to a lot of teachers I normally don't see much of.  Still no movement, still some contractions.  First block, still no movement, still some contractions, but now I'm getting nervous.  I know babies don't move much during labor, but you had been SO active the entire pregnancy that I was getting concerned.  During 2nd block plan, I called the DRs office first thing and the nurse told me to come in and get a stress test.  As I'm going I'm thinking to myself that I'm just paranoid and this is stupid for going.  When Tina calls me in to get hooked up, she weighs me and we walk down the hallway and I tell her again that I wasn't feeling any movement and that I was probably going into labor and had gotten a bad thought into my head and needed to get rid of it.  She hooked me up to the contraction monitor, but couldn't find the heartbeat.  I put my hand on her shoulder and told her she was starting to freak me out.  She didn't look too worried and said she was going to get someone else.  A few tears, but I thought everything would be fine, you would be fine.  Then, Dr. Hartung came in and said - I'm not even going to ask how you're feeling because I know not well.  Then, I really started getting scared.  The nurse really couldn't find your heartbeat.  The Dr. tried - she found something fast and faint - there was hope!  But, after checking my pulse realized my heart was racing like yours should have been.  I said - Can I call my husband? She said we'll do an ultra-sound, sometimes the babies can get into a position where it's hard to hear the heartbeat.  I called your dad on his cell and got his voicemail.  I couldn't remember Souths phone number, so I had to call PH and Denise gave it to me.  I called South and he isn't in his room or the office.  I told Leslie that she needed to find him.  She said - we can't.  I said you need to.  She said - is it an emergency.  I said -yes.  I waited...and waited...minutes later she asks - do you want to keep waiting or do you want me to have him call you?  Me - call me.  Then, Dr. Hartung takes me to the ultrasound.  She gets the monitor on and no sound, nothing.  Again, I wasn't sure if she just had the sound turned off or what, but the black thing on the screen that I thought was your heart wasn't moving.  All of this happened in probably 30 seconds and during that time Matt called and I told him - there's no heartbeat.  She said normally this late in pregnancy it's the cord, but they can't see the cord on the ultrasound, so they don't know until I deliver.  She asked - do you think you want to go to the hospital and get induced or would you like to go home and absorb this, sometimes women will go home for a couple weeks before inducing.  I said - I'll see what my husband says, but I think I want to go right now.  She asked me if it was okay for Dr. Abney's nurse, Tina, to sit with me while I waited for Matt.  I nodded.  Tina cried with me and then Matt opened the door - tears, sobbing, anger - why?  Matt and I agreed we wanted to induce.  Tina took us the back way so we didn't have to walk through the waiting room.  We went to the hospital and decision time - epidural, funeral home, what tests, autopsy, why?  We started making calls.  Matt called PH, but couldn't talk so I told Denise - we lost the baby.  Oh, no!  I'm so sorry - she said.  I asked her to tell Cheryl and Cheryl could tell whoever and asked her to call South and tell them.  Matt called his dad and I called mine.  They gathered the troops and headed to Kansas City to be with us.

I was dilated 1 and 70% effaced.  They needed me to be 100% effaced before starting the petocin.  Although I was having contractions, they weren't regular.  They put a pill in my vagina to help me efface.  This was around 11 or 12am. We spent the day holding hands, talking, crying, hugging family.  All the grandparents-Janie, Dave, Jody, Susan, Aunt Erin, Uncle Doug and Aunt Sue all stayed with us.  Uncle Chris and Aunt Kathy stopped in and took care of Kellen.  At 6 they started petocin.  My evening nurse was Jackie from the sibling class.  We sent family home and then asked them to come back to see you.  Just before midnight you came.  Labor was relatively easy and quick.  I had natural labor just like I would have if everything had been alright.  When you came out Dr. Nichols layed you on my belly.  You were beautiful and perfect.  You looked a lot like your older brother - both of you just like your dad.  I had kept a little hope all day that there was a mistake, or would be a miracle and that you would come out fine - alive.  You, laying on my belly felt SO good, your weight comforted me, but you weren't breathing.  As you layed there smooshed faced and vernix, no blood, there was some happiness.  We got to see you and hold you, finally!  But, this would be the only time.  I wish I would have held you longer.  The family came in to hold you and say goodbye.  Doug baptized you and we took pictures.  I wish we would have taken more.  Then, we said good bye.  I wish I would have held you longer.  I went home the next day without you.

A moment in our arms - a lifetime in our hearts.

We had professional "belly" shots taken about a week before Karson died.  This will be the only time Kellen will get to "hold" his little brother.

The picture where my husband and I have our hands on my belly is the picture that is in Karson's "spot" on our family picture display.  It is one of my favorites.