Monday, March 24, 2014

Luke Douglas Dunlap

It seems as though every post I've written this past year has begun with an apology and pledge to write more often. I'm not going to do that this time around--I know that blogging more frequently is an honest desire of mine, but not necessarily a promise that I can keep. So I'll do what I can, and try to not allow my lack of blogging to become one more failure to feel stressed out about. As you can see, I have a few things that keep me busy/sleep deprived/happy during this current stage of life. 

Luke Douglas Dunlap was born on March 5th at 3:06 in the morning. His original due date was March 26th, so you can accurately assume that this little man has had his own agenda from the beginning. Nothing about this pregnancy or birth went down according to (my) plan, but our handsome little baby man is here nonetheless and worth every ounce of pain.

I was feeling pretty normal throughout most of my pregnancy--until I hit week 30. It was like my body was just done being pregnant. At the 30 week mark I started having contractions that were a little too frequent for my liking and I was in constant pain. I decided to go into Labor and Delivery to get checked out because something just felt "off." This was a big concession of mine, as I am not one to cry wolf and willingly submit myself to the barrage of needles/smells/scary medical devices that hospitals are known for. As Steve and I spent our Saturday afternoon at Kaiser, the medical professionals noticed that my cervix had shortened (sorry if this is TMI, but this is a birth story), which isn't supposed to happen at week 30. That sort of thing happens when you go into labor. SO--I was put on progesterone and placed on modified bed rest. I really didn't know how I was going to survive the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy, feeling so awful and unable to do much of anything. And then my wonderful, amazing, generous, loving community came to my rescue. I just don't have enough words to express how grateful I am to so many people for taking care of my little family. Old friends, new friends, church friends, family members, and neighbors all helped out to see that I stayed off my feet and that my little family was well fed and taken care of. If I started naming names, this blog post would never end, but I do need to give a special shout out to my girls Kari Quesada, Laura Robinson, and Jaime Ries. These gals organized the whole gang and cooked for me, cleaned for me, shopped for me, watched my children for me, etc. I do not deserve friends such as these, but I am eternally grateful to have them in my life. Getting little Luke safely into this world was really a team effort.

Anyway, those last weeks of pregnancy were ROUGH, but at least I had a lot of support. At 36.5 weeks of pregnancy, my blood pressure went bonkers. I've never had issues with my blood pressure, other than the fact that I HATE getting it taken--it's so constricting! So, long story short, I developed hypertension/preclampsia at the very end of this whole shebang. I had to go back into Kaiser to be monitored at 36 weeks and 6 days, and my blood pressure was even higher than before. Thankfully, my amazing mother-in-law had the insight to drive me to my appointment while my equally amazing father-in-law took a half day off work to stay home with Delaney and Jude. Well, thank goodness for that because my doctor took one look at me and my blood pressure reading and said, "You're not doing so well, are you?" I instantly fell to tears while my doctor explained that I was going to need to head over to Labor and Delivery and have them monitor my blood pressure, with a possible induction of labor. I'm a natural kind of gal, and having to be induced at 37 weeks was not in my game plan. So, I headed over to L&D and got situated. My blood pressure never went down, and after much hemming and hawing, the midwife made the call to induce labor and start the dreaded pitocin. Steve was on the phone with my mom, trying to figure out plane flights while I got my mind into beast mode (shout out to Team Solorio!). I was on pitocin during both of my other labors and got through without an epidural, but I was nervous about having to ride the pitocin wave for (potentially) such a long stretch this time. However, I'm a fairly stubborn gal, and knew that I had done this twice before and could get through this one last time.  My mom was still trying to figure out flights, and we all came to the conclusion that she wouldn't be able to get into Riverside until the next morning. I was pretty emotional on the phone with my mom, but she encouraged me to stay strong and focused. The nurse started the pitocin at 6pm, and Marsha and I turned on HGTV while we let Steve rest, as we knew that it would be a long night.

Things (and by things, I mean contractions) didn't get too gnarly until about 10pm. I used a birthing ball, walked a bit, and repositioned myself to try to relieve some of the pain. Just like my two previous labors, I had a lot of back pain, and Marsha literally rubbed my lower back throughout my entire labor. I told you she was amazing! Steve was in my face, coaching me with our trusty breathing techniques. The nurse came in at midnight to check me, and I had only dilated to 4 cm. Grr! I was pretty frustrated, as I had been laboring pretty hard for a handful of hours. I knew that I had to stay focused, though, and just reminded myself that each contraction was bringing me closer to Luke. The midwife decided to break my water, and my contractions really increased. I labored until 2 am, and was pretty much spent. I hadn't slept in such a long time, and had started this labor out feeling so exhausted from the pregnancy and hypertension. The nurse checked me again and I was only at 5 cm. That news temporarily set me back--I had been laboring HARD for so long and didn't know how much more my body could take. I also knew that if I let my mind slip now,  there would be no gaining it back, so I refocused and poured all my energy into my breathing techniques that Coach Stevie was leading me in. The nurse came back at 3am and checked me and told me that I was at 9 cm! As soon as she told me the good news, I felt the urge to push and said, "I have to push this baby out NOW!" Of course all of the midwives and doctors were delivering other babies, and I was told to wait. HA. HA. HA! You try holding a baby in! Somehow somebody showed up, and I pushed Mr. Luke out and into this world with just a few pushes. That in itself was an amazing blessing--I spent a lot of time and effort during my other deliveries at the pushing stage, and I just don't think I would have had the energy to do that this time around. I was so surprised that Luke came out after just a few pushes that I looked at Steve with disbelief and said "Is it really over?" The relief and immense joy a new mother has after labor and delivery is pretty indescribable.

Luke Douglas Dunlap was born at 3:06 on the morning of March 5th. He weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces and was 19 inches long. He is as perfect as they come, and our family feels complete. We also feel totally exhausted, but our hearts are so full.

Sleepy, happy mommy and sleepy baby boy.
Proud daddy and his THREE kids. 
First car ride!
In true Dunlap child fashion, Luke is not a fan of his carseat. 
Yay, Grammie made it!
Alert Luke
I love that Delaney's preschool (FUMPS) made the big sister feel so special!
The big brother!
The big sister!
The littlest Dunlap kid.
And if you're really interested in reading Delaney and Jude's birth stories, click here and here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Out with the old, in with the new.

While I know that I have months of blogging to catch up on, for today I'd like to focus on more current events. This past weekend, Steve and I sent Delaney and Jude to Saint Nana and Saint Papa's house for the weekend while we completed a room makeover for the kiddos. We have a three bedroom home, and with the advent of Baby #3 we decided to throw the big kids into a room together. It was an easy sell--all we had to do was mention the words "bunk bed" to Delaney and she was on board. Jude doesn't realize that he has an opinion on these matters, and idolizes his big sis, so he happily went for it. Anyway, we kicked the kids out for the weekend and went to town transforming Delaney's room into Delaney AND Jude's room.

I have to admit, I was emotional parting with Baby Delaney's room. I loved her orange walls, I purchased her vintage artwork BEFORE she was a little bean in my was a room that I loved designing and dreaming up. So, when the first coat of primer went onto the wall, a few tears were shed. But, change is good! I still had loads of fun dreaming up and designing the new room, and I'll get to redesign the baby's room once we find out the sex.

It took me awhile to land on a theme for the kids' room. I didn't want anything babyish, or too girly or manly. Both of my kids are country at heart, so I decided on a vintage cowboy/cowgirl theme. I still have all of Jude's cowboy party decor, which I was more than happy to rummage out of the garage's attic. I found some fantastic prints on Etsy and fabric online, and we were just about there.

Steve, however, was WAY more concerned about the peeling (possible) lead paint around the windows and baseboards than the decor--he's much more function vs. form. It's no secret that I'm the other way around. Somehow, miraculously, it all got done. And when the kids saw their new room, they were thrilled. So excited, in fact, that it took them HOURS to fall asleep. We're still adjusting sleep-wise to them sharing a room, but all in all it's been a success.

Good bye, sweet Baby D's room.

Good bye, beautiful orange walls.
Good bye, lovely peeling lead paint.
Well, HELLO happy little roommates!
Ok--this is one corner of the room. The Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls were a gift from my Grams (their Great Grandma). The same lady who made my childhood Raggedy Ann doll made these as well. Those pennants are from Jude's cowboy party, and the boots are hand-me-downs from our friends the Robinsons. 
I know the decor is hard to see, but the print is from Canter Lane Design (Etsy), a few leftovers from Jude's party, and Delaney's cowgirl hat from her Grammie and Grandpa. 
The bunk beds! Our budget only allowed for the boring Ikea bunk beds, and I do have dreams of painting them someday. For now, I painted the top and bottom red for a pop of color.

The other print from Etsy, framed bandanas in embroidery hoops, and an old horseshoe from Jenny Q's house!

The happy top bunker! Yes, she picked out the outfit all by herself. The framed horsey picture came off the interwebs. 
Oh, this sweet cowgirl. I didn't have it in me to make her a "real" quilt, so I fake-quilted her a bedspread with this wonderful Michael Miller fabric and scraps that I had collected over the years. 
The other side of the door. Nothing too exciting to report over here.

The cowboy/cowgirl curtains! That's Michael Miller fabric once again. And I highly recommend that you zoom in on this picture to see the Happy Trail sign that my dear friend Taryn hand painted.
I just wanted you all to get a close up on this great fabric.
This is kind of hard to visualize, but there's this perfect space between the windows and the bunk beds for Delaney's mini roll top desk. 
Are you bored yet? The wall color is a semi-glossy misty gray color, not blue. I really do love how it turned out and the kids have done a great job keeping it picked up. You know, all three days they've been in the room. The best part of the whole weekend was the opportunity it afforded me to go through their toys and pair down. Aah, I love that feeling! Here's to change and starting a new chapter in our Dunlap home.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Round 3

Steve and I are proud to announce that a new baby Dunlap will be welcomed into our family this coming March 2014. That will make for three children under 5 years old, and two strapping, young(ish) parents. Being outnumbered terrifies me quite a bit, but what's life without a little bit of suspense and excitement?

Deciding to go for Baby #3 wasn't any easy choice to make. Our home is very cozy as it is with four of us living here, we already have a healthy girl and a healthy boy, and Jude man just tires the heck out of me. Steve and I have always said that we wanted "either two or three kids," and we were both on the fence about that decision for a long time. In seeking an answer to the two vs. three conundrum, I continually asked parents of three or more children how they knew to have more kids, and the basic response was "you just know when your family feels complete." And that was the problem--Steve and I both have had "complete" moments with our little family of four. But still, we both felt so uncertain that our family was rounded out. A friend this summer said, "If you keep asking the question [Is our family complete?], maybe you already have your answer." That made a lot of sense to me, so I causally mentioned it to Steve and he said that he was having similar thoughts. So, we prayed about it and felt that time was of the essence, what with none of us getting any younger around here. And without divulging any details, I found myself pregnant that summer.

So, there you have it. We're having another baby and all of us (Delaney and Jude included) are SO thrilled. We find out the sex of the baby next week, so stay tuned. Delaney is fairly convinced that it's a girl, and Jude would like a little brother to tackle. Thankfully, God gets to make that decision for us, but we're praying for a healthy, semi-calm little person. We are overwhelmed with the love, support, and level of excitement that our friends and family have bequeathed upon us during this exciting/exhausting stage of life.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Delaney's Dance Recital

I know that I don't have to offer up an apology and/or list of excuses as to why this blog has been silent for a few months. Suffice it to say that I've been very busy, very tired, and in survival mode these days. Here's hoping that I turn over a new leaf and get on with my bad bloggy self...

Delaney is our dancing queen. She has a song in her heart and a bounce to her step most hours of the day. Delaney had been attending dance class for a few months this past spring and summer, and on June 1st she had her first dance recital.

Let it here be known that the Dunlaps are not cut out for the dance life. We are not a dance family.

Oh my golly, who knew the amount of time and MONEY that goes into a dance recital? I sure didn't. I now have a lot of respect for families that do choose the dance route. It is such a huge time/money commitment, and those kids have to want it. Anyway, as much as Delaney loves to dance, I don't think that will be our lot in life.

But man, she sure did look cute for her dance recital. Delaney had to wait backstage until it was her turn to go on. You'd think that the little ones would be slated to dance first, but nope! We got to wait THREE HOURS until it was her time to shine during her 2.5 minute routine. I'm not exaggerating. But again, she loved every minute of it (even the waiting backstage with her friends) while the rest of us had to sweat it out.

And no, I didn't get her routine on video. Because you're not allowed to videotape, and I really didn't want to shell out $25 to see a bunch of unknown youngsters dance and THEN watch my kid in all of her 2.5 minutes of glory. We had already invested enough money into this ding dang recital! If you'd like to see her dance, just ask her to do her routine for you. She really likes having an audience to perform form (yikes!).

Head tilt, hands on the hip! 
Delaney and her "Dance Mom." Ha! I didn't even know that I was supposed to put make up on my kid. Mom fail.
Delaney and her adorable friend Abby.
After the performance, the dancer graciously accepts her flowers from her fans. 
It goes without saying that Nana is one of her biggest fans. 
And this is how her brother felt about the whole ordeal. No big surprises here!
The rest of her fans, minus her mama. Daddy, Nana, Papa, Auntie Beans, Uncle Monkey, & Jude.
Nice work, Laney Cat. We love watching you dance and explore the things that make you happy.

Monday, July 1, 2013

May in Oregon

As I am starting to think about our upcoming trip to Oregon at the end of July, I am reminded that I never really finished blogging about our Oregon trip in May. Although it was a whirlwind trip full of wedding activities, we managed to smash some fun friend time in here and there.

We started off our trip with a visit to the Rodrigos. These kids take no time picking up where they left off!
The girls tried to have a sleepover. Tried, but failed. Very little sleep transpired . 
The next day we paid a visit to the Oregon Zoo. Such a fun place to spend with  these friends.
We also got some hang time with this cool dude. Steve and Yoppie share an affinity for Key Lime Tillamook yogurt. 
We also share an affinity for froyo! Love our Dorr family.
So we tried to get the "cousins" together for a photo op. This never really goes as planned. 
But look! They're all actually smiling and looking our direction! L-R: Ayeresam, Delaney, Jude, Sam, Jack
And of course, we had some good clean country fun with Grammie and Grandpa. We took a walk to the river and had a little camp out in the orchard. Well, we didn't do any camping, but we did make s'mores. You know, the important stuff.

On our walk to the river. Look at that amazing sky!
Country kids at heart.
Grandpa and J. Billy 
This girl owns it! 
Grammie and her boy
Grandpa and his girl
And this is my guy. Love him.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Jimmy & Jessica's Big Day

My twin brother Jimmy is a very lucky man. On May 18th, Jessica Chipman said "I do" and I gained a new sister. It was a beautiful, beautiful ceremony, and my blurry photos don't do it justice. I do want to admit from the get go that I shamelessly stole wedding pics from Jessica's Facebook page. The non-blurry photos that are to follow are most assuredly not mine. 

But a few days before the wedding was the rehearsal dinner, which I had the privilege of decorating. And my hubby drove 17 hours straight to be with our family that night, which was really wonderful. And did I mention that the rehearsal dinner was at a fancy restaurant with a free steak dinner and red wine at my disposable? And also that my kids were not present at said restaurant but rather with Auntie Beka? That was a good night--and I took photos to prove it!

Some of the pretty centerpieces
More of the decor...
Perhaps the best looking part of the decorations, Mr. Dunlap.
Look at the happy couple!
And then came the big day. The wedding venue was a really cool, refurbished barn called The Green Villa Barn. Jessica's cousin and decorating team did an amazing job making the beautiful barn even more perfect for the day. I was very nervous about how Delaney and Jude would perform. They were selected to be the ring bearers and Jessica's sweet nieces were to be the flower girls. Delaney has been in a few weddings before and she's a performer at heart, so I wasn't too concerned about her. However, her brother Jude is a very unpredictable two-year old, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I am happy to report that the kids performed perfectly. They were seriously perfect. I was almost a little ashamed at how much I doubted them.
Uncle Jimmy looking at his adorable niece and nephew. 
Here they come! (So blurry!)
Jimmy and Curtis congratulating the kids for doing so well! 
Big kids! 
Now Jimmy's looking at his beautiful bride.
Isn't she lovely? 
Mr. & Mrs Lee
Much to everyone's surprise, Jimmy didn't smash cake in Jessica's face. Now that's true love!
The farmer and his wife. 
Welcome to the family, Jessica! We love you both so much.