Monday, November 24, 2014

Table Refinish

As promised, here are some pictures and a wordy post of our table we refinished. It started out a year (or more) ago that I decided we needed to recover the chairs. This was why...

Then I realized I didn't really like the chairs and recovering them was basically putting a bandaid on what we really needed which was new chairs. I didn't like the chairs because they had a million grooves on them and would get gunk and stickiness in them from the boys, I would also get clothes snagged on the top as I walked by, and the chairs aren't even wood they're plastic with wood on the base so some of the finish had worn off and one chair was melted in a spot.

While thinking about what chairs to get for the table we came to a dilemma: we needed to find chairs that would match the table. The table and hutch have a unique finish.

Those are black spots and they were all over all the furniture (this is the hutch). That must have been the look because the bench we made from a bed frame had the same look.

So, even if we were able to find chairs that matched or at least went with it (good luck) we realized we didn't even like the finish. It was dated and yellowed. I wish I would have taken pictures before we sanded it all down because it was mighty yellow.

It felt so good to see that finish come off. We were originally going to take the table legs off and put posts in the corners to get a different look and save ourselves the time of sanding the grooves (and also paint the whole thing a warm white color and stain the very top- a Pottery Barn inspired look) but then we were worried those legs wouldn't be strong enough to support the table when we have it extended and also worried that we might drill a screw through the table top when we connected the legs to the table. So we nixed that idea, sucked it up, and sanded a million grooves.

Once the old finish was removed from the table top I noticed the wood grain had a beautiful pattern. I never saw it before because all I saw was the yellowed stain and black spots. And look, there's hearts on our table!

When we figured out what we wanted to do with the table it was time to think about what to do about the chairs. We finally decided on benches for the sides and chairs for the end and folding chairs for when we have guests and the table is extended.

Patrick has been getting better and better in his woodworking and I'd say the benches are his best work yet. They turned out great! He didn't even have to redo or recut or re-buy anything. It didn't even take him very long to put them together. We're very happy with how they turned out. Now to just get the boys to sit still on them while they eat. They're too fun to turn around on or slide across.

It was a lot of work to do but totally worth it. You might wonder why we didn't just buy a new table set? We considered it but first of all we really like the table and second of all it's been in the family for a long time. Additionally, we enjoy refinishing things and Patrick enjoys building things. Also, we saved quite a bit of money doing it this way. The benches were around $100 to make. If we bought them they'd be around $250 a piece. So it made sense to do what we did.

Now, do amp ourselves up for refinishing the hutch and these bad boys...


We are now the parents of a 4 year old. It's so weird! Not the age, really, but how old Miles acts. He's a kid now who is able to ride a bike with no training wheels, help do small chores around the house, help with Clark, and sing his ABC's. I feel like I should be a mom of only babies and toddlers not a big boy. I imagine I'll feel this more and more as the boys get older. It's crazy to think I'll be a mom of a teenager one day. AH!

We celebrated with gifts in the morning, a trip to Chuck E. Cheese (he'd been asking to go for the longest time), chicken nuggets and fries for lunch, a nap, riding bikes, and having pizza, cake and ice cream with his godparents Tuan and Sara and their boys.

Singing along with everyone as we sing Happy Birthday. He was really into it.

Miles in a nutshell:
Likes: running, riding bikes, helping, fruit, broccoli, Paw Patrol, laughing at Simon's Cat videos and Beaker (from the Muppets) on YouTube, volcanos and lava, shaking his booty while dancing, praying for "all the birds that he scares away in his field," pretend play, wrestling, and asking a lot of questions.


1st Birthday

Dislikes: sitting still, mushrooms, peppers, time-outs, and Grant taking toys from him. There are probably more but he's pretty happy-go-lucky unless things don't go his way.

Miles has a lot of energy and loves to have direction in which to spend the energy otherwise it can be chaos for everyone. We have to make it outside the house everyday whether it's a walk, a playground trip, a grocery store run, or just backyard play. We all go stir crazy especially Miles. He loves knowing the "plan" for the day. He is so much fun and laughs at everything. He enjoys playing with friends and is finally excited about going to his new class Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. He's such a big boy now and I can't wait to see all the new things he learns this year as a four year old!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Catching Up: November Daybook

From a while ago... This is totally late but I thought I might throw up a few photos from our annual trip to Schilter Farm. The boys had a blast. They loved the pony ride even though looking at Grant's face you wouldn't know it. Miles loved the hay jump and Grant loved the giant sand table. At the end we picked out pumpkins while Grant threw a fit about who knows what...


Halloween... The boys went trick-or-treating as a robot and a Packers football player. They had so much fun collecting candy and knocking over our neighbor's decorations. We have video of Grant touching a little witch on someone's doorstep and saying to Miles "let's knock it over" and proceeding to knock it over as the homeowner opens the door. I told Patrick he was in charge of costumes this year. He was really excited to make a robot costume for Miles but you may not know it because it ended up just being a box covered with foil. I laughed because it looked a little white-trash and wondered why he didn't add a few buttons to the front or those silver dryer hose things for his arms and legs. Oh well, it got the job done and he thought he was pretty cool. Clark was a race car driver. But he had to miss out on the candy this year.



What I'm reading... I just finished Dad is Fat by comedian Jim Gaffigan. It was pretty funny. I've seen his stand-up before so there were a few jokes in there that I'd heard previously. I liked that he was totally honest, totally loves his wife, and totally loves his kids even though he makes fun of how crazy and hectic having kids can be (which gets a little old by the end). I just started reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Like, just started it so I'm not sure what to think yet. I've never read his work before but have heard good things so I figured why not give it a shot?

Speaking of... Jim Gaffigan, he's hilarious. Check out his stand-up routine Mr. Universe on Netflix. He's Catholic with 5 kids and his humor is clean which is refreshing, but still so, so funny.

What Patrick is up to... Woodworking! We refinished our kitchen table this summer and it turned out awesome. We got this table from my brother and sister-in-law, Mitch and Erica, when they moved to Nashville and they got it from my Aunt Shannon who got it from her aunt (I think?) We're very happy with how it turned out. It was a ton of work but worth it. We talked about what to do about the chairs since the cushions were falling off and the actual chair wasn't actual wood; it was plastic. The "wood" had worn off and there was a melted spot on one of the chairs. We thought we could just buy new chairs but what if they didn't match right or the color was off? Then, Cheri suggested benches. Brilliant! We can pack a bunch of kids on them, there wouldn't be a ton of chair to sweep around and it just makes sense for our family. Patrick decided that he could build them. So, that's what he's been up to once we finally decided on what type of bench and wood. They look amazing and I'd say this is his best work in woodworking so far. We just have a couple more coats of polyurethane to do so I'll post pics when they're complete.

About Clark... he's been such a good baby so far. He nurses and sleeps well and is just plain cute. I just want to kiss him all the time. And sometimes I do!

A few pictures to share... Just some cute pictures of the boys. That is all.

Miles loves holding Clark. Every morning he asks to hold him and then he'll just sit there for 15 minutes holding Clark and watching TV. I keep asking him if he's done holding him but he keeps saying 'no, not yet.'

Grant loves to touch Clark. Especially when he's sleeping. Good thing Clark doesn't mind too much because he'll have to get used to being poked and roughed up a little with two older brothers. (I spy a little smirk on Clark's face).

Friday, November 7, 2014

Clark Conrad

He's here. Boy, have I been ready to say that for a while! Clark is here and happy and so are we. I figured a little birth story is in order since it's been a while since I blogged in general. Like the other two birth stories this one will be lengthy, detailed, and full of pictures. Enjoy!

I guess I should start at the beginning with a quick recap of the pregnancy. Patrick and I had talked about having another baby since last summer but knew it made the most sense for our family to wait until the New Year to really think seriously about it. I had never experienced baby fever until last Fall. I got pregnant with Miles and Grant sooner than I had the chance to feel an extreme want for a baby. So by the time Thanksgiving rolled around I was becoming more and more jealous of pregnant woman and dreaming about newborn babies.
In February we thought we might be pregnant. Then, Patrick went to his old office and his former coworker said she'd had a baby dream and knew it was us who was pregnant. (if you recall, she had these dreams with Miles and Grant and knew we were pregnant before we did). My heart leapt when Patrick told me the news. I went straight upstairs and took a test.
I told myself it was just too early and decided to wait a couple days until I took another test.
The following week I told Patrick I would take a test in the morning before he left for work so he could be there when we found out. It was a Wednesday morning and I was so excited when Patrick's alarm went off. It was time to find out if anyone was in there! We got up and I took the test as Patrick brushed his teeth. I set the test on the counter and at the same time we looked down and saw that little plus sign for the third time. I smiled and said I couldn't believe it and Patrick, still brushing his teeth, gave a thumbs up and mumbled "I knew it."
Patrick was not surprised at all. Figures. I was and wasn't surprised. It was still shocking and crazy to see the proof that Clark was in there but at the same time it's almost as if I knew it all along. That weekend we put in laminate hardwood floors. Remember that?

Moving on. The pregnancy felt exactly the same as my other two. It went extremely quick until September rolled around. I loved that we were so busy during the summer because it took my mind off of how much time I had left. I thought having a low-key Fall would be nice because of how big I'd be but honestly it sucked. It made each day feel so long. My last 8 weeks felt like 8 months.

Finally, the weekend before Clark was born my Braxton hicks picked up in intensity and one night I claimed they were contractions because they kept me awake and pacing the house for a good 5 hours in the middle of the night. They acted just as they did when I was in early labor with Miles; they didn't get stronger or closer together so I knew it wasn't quite time to go to the hospital. The next day everything was back to normal so it definitely wasn't "go time."
The following weekend Patrick and I planned to have the boys up at his parent's house from Saturday to Monday so we could have one last weekend to get things together and enjoy a little quiet time together. Turns out we had great planning...
David and Rhonda came down Friday night because we would all be going to Austin's birthday party the next day. On Saturday morning Rhonda and I figured we'd try to get some contractions going because the night before I noticed things were getting going a little. So, she and I went shopping and walked all around the mall and Toys R Us. I only noticed a couple contractions throughout the morning but nothing trackable. Then we went to the party. I stood almost the whole time I was there but was practically contraction-free.
After the party David and Rhonda took the boys back to Everett with them and Patrick and I invited his brother, Jason, and his girlfriend, Tatiana, out to see a movie and get Thai food. I had a popcorn and slushie craving so after getting everything we got settled in our seats. About 45 minutes into the movie I felt a rather strong contraction. I didn't think much of it until another one hit about 5 minutes later. Then another, and another all roughly 5 minutes apart. These were so strong that I needed to breath through them. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and was worried I was huffing in Jason's face so I got up to walk around and see if they spread out.
The contractions spread out like I thought they would but didn't stop completely. I stood for the last 20 minutes of the movie counting only a few more contractions. When the movie was over we were concerned/excited that I was having some good contractions but I said it still wasn't time so we should go eat some spicy Thai food to see if I can light a fire under these guys and kick start this labor thing.
I timed contractions through dinner. They were coming every 4-8 minutes. Very inconsistent but they still didn't stop. I really enjoyed myself spending time with Patrick on what I started to realize would be our last date night for a while. It was fun spending time with Jason and Tatiana too because they were excited about me being in labor and the prospect of meeting Clark soon. But alas, dinner came to an end, the contractions didn't, but I could tell it still wasn't time so we said our goodbyes and headed home.
I continued to time the contractions throughout the night but they basically stayed the same. Around 2:30am I had to get up and walk the house again because I couldn't sleep through them and had to breathe through them. The morning dragged on like this. Patrick and I took it easy and watched the last episodes of The Office (we never watched the final season) while I bounced on the exercise ball.
We ate lunch and then I announced that we're going on a ridiculously long walk and getting this baby out. I was DONE timing contractions. I was DONE wondering if this was "it." I was just plain DONE.
Around 2pm, out we went on our 3 mile waddle. It was beautiful outside. It was 70 degrees with a light breeze. The leaves on the trees were slowly falling off and we kicked leaves as we walked the sidewalk. We walked the loop around our neighborhood that Patrick normally runs and we joked that his fitbit would have 3 times as many steps than normal because we were walking so slowly. I only had a handful of contractions so by the time we returned home I was ready to get my mind off the labor.
I suddenly felt an urge to clean. I made the guest bed, tidied Miles and Grant's rooms, cleaned our bathroom, dusted our room, tidied our room and made the bed, swept, cleaned the kitchen, and cleaned the downstairs bathroom. I was having contractions while I cleaned but I just ignored the meaning of them as best I could because I didn't want to get my hopes up that these really strong ones were leading somewhere. I guess I was still in denial about it all. Looking back it's obvious that I was in early labor because I had contractions since 5pm the night before that hadn't stopped. I just didn't want to think it and then everything stops. Nothing is more disappointing than thinking a baby would be in your arms within a few hours and then nothing happens.
Halfway though cleaning our bathroom a contraction hit me so hard I had to support myself on the door frame. The contraction pain peaked 4 times, each time worse than the last. On the last peak of pain I felt a small snapping feeling and teensy gush. I still didn't think much of it and continued cleaning. That is until I felt like I was peeing my pants...
I went to the bathroom and sure enough it was not pee but in fact my waters! My very own broken water. I never thought I would get to experience it. I was so relieved that it was now obvious I was in labor and it was time to go to the hospital. Patrick was at Lowes so I finished cleaning while I waited for him to return. (So that's when I swept and cleaned the kitchen and bathroom.)
Patrick arrived, I announced my water had broken, and we packed up and headed out. I was so excited. I was so ready. I was in so much pain. The early labor contractions had nothing on those!
We got checked in and set up in our room around 5pm. I got my IV, was checked and found to be almost 5cm, and waited patiently for the anesthesiologist to bring my epidural. He came around 7:30pm. My goal has always been to make it to 5cm before I got an epidural. That way I'm able to feel and know what contractions are like and my body is able to get close enough to active labor that getting the epidural will basically help me glide through the toughest part of dilation without any slow down (sometimes getting an epidural too early will slow things down or wear off to early).
The epidural worked instantly. As I was getting it Clark was moving around and I realized those were the last movements I was going to feel from him on the inside. I said goodbye to those little kicks and looked onward to seeing his legs making those kicks from the outside.
Although the meds worked right away they didn't work perfectly. I still had a "hot spot" on the lower right side of my stomach. The meds took the edge off the pain but I still had to focus and breath through the contractions. It was tough! You mommas who do it naturally are warriors!
My parents arrived around 9:30pm. While we chatted I breathed through more contractions. About 15 minutes later I felt pressure and let the nurse know. She was surprised I felt pressure already and reluctantly checked my progress when I asked her to. To our surprise Clark was rightthere. He was minutes from crowning. My parents excitedly headed to the waiting room while the nurses and doctors rushed around getting ready.
The nurse was too nervous to move from the table to help get things ready because she could see him moving down with every contraction even though I wasn't pushing. She kept saying she didn't want to move in case he came flying out.
Finally everything was ready and I was told to push. I did a set of three pushes to get my bearings. Then, one of the nurses said that I could deliver on the next contraction. I said "really!? Okay, let's do this." On the next contraction I pushed twice and out he came, not even stopping at the shoulders. He just slid right out at on October 19th at 10:05pm, arms flailing and everything.
He was placed on my stomach and I snuggled him up to my face and just started bawling.  
He was another perfect, perfect baby. He let out the sweetest, softest little cry. They cleaned me up as I nursed and later cleaned him up and gave him to Patrick to hold. One of my favorite parts of childbirth is seeing Patrick hold our boys. There is something magical happening between them and seeing the beauty of how God created family is the most fulfilling feeling I have ever experienced.

Clark weighed 8lbs 2.5oz and was 20.5 inches long.

After we had our time together we invited our parents to come back to meet Clark. They fell in love with him as quickly as we did. We took pictures and relished our first moments with Clark. Later, we decided it was time to head to the recovery room and get some rest.

The next day Rhonda brought the boys back and they all met Clark for the first time. The boys were so precious. In fact, Grant kept calling Clark precious. They gave him kisses and wanted to hold him right away. Miles asked if I could run again because throughout the pregnancy I told him I couldn't play "chase" because there was a big baby in my belly. Grant said "I like the big baby." Rhonda fell in love with him too and enjoyed getting time to cuddle him. 

It was all over. The 9 months of growth, discomfort, baby movements, Dr. appointments, frequent peeing, waddling, sore pelvis, cravings, and heartburn had culminated in the most exciting/scary/perfect hours of giving birth and now it was over. It was now time for a new chapter that lasts a lifetime, one that will come with it's own set of joys and struggles.
All in all this was the quickest labor and delivery I've had yet (if you don't count the really early labor). I prayed throughout my pregnancy that I'd carry to full-term and have a safe, quick, and smooth labor and delivery and I must say that my prayers were definitely answered. Clark was 4 days early and I couldn't have asked for a better labor and delivery. I was hoping all along that it would be obvious to me when to go to the hospital but never thought it would actually happen that way.  

God has truly blessed us. Every day I thank Him for our family, our extended family and all their love and support, and for our health, that we can accept such a perfect gift that was made specifically for us through ours and God's love. Thank you to all for your prayers, well wishes, and sweet comments. We're looking forward to having him meet everyone!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Summer's End

Why, hello! It seems as though I've dropped off the face of the blog world for the past 3 months. I think it's funny how I post about wanting to blog more often and then take a huge hiatus. I must be jinxing myself...

Since there are people out there (hi mom and maybe one other person!) that like to keep up with the Mendels I thought I might give a broad update since I'll probably disappear for another 3 months, but I guess I'll have a better reason like having a baby.

Starting in May our summer basically went in 3 week incrememnts. We had stuff planned for three weekends/weeks in a row and then three weekends "off" where we got to spend time at home. Although everything we did was fun, by the end of the summer it got to be a bit much. It did, however, make the summer fly by. I really can't believe it's mid-September. I'll throw some pictures at you by way of "summer in pictures" style to save you from all the tiny details.

Our annual River House trip near Chelan. It's always a great time!

Our annual trip to Lake Pearrygin in Winthrop. This year it was cut short due to the forest fires. We planned to stay from Wednesday to Sunday but after watching the fire and smoke only grow and the helicopter refill his bucket in the lake to contain the fire to no avail, the park was shut down on Friday morning. We got in a full day at the lake on Thursday where Grant learned to swim on his own. It was a great day and a half but we really don't have any pictures to show for it but this and a few blurry ones of the kids playing on the beach. We didn't want to cut the vacation short so we went over to my parents' house to finish out the weekend.

Patrick's grandparents, Tom and Carole, came over from Michigan. We hadn't seen them since we got married almost 5 years ago. It was so great to visit with them for a weekend and share some memories with them and the boys whom they had never met.

After our visit with Patrick's granparents we went out to his parents' property in Wenatchee. The boys *loved* it. It's total boy world out there. They especially like the wood chopping and stacking.

Miles adopted a log and used it as an ax.

They helped grandpa build a fire for dinner.

Miles liked driving the remote control cars but Grant was very scared of them because of Miles' rogue car almost ran him over. Grant was convinced the car was a robot trained to get him.
Mitch and Erica came back from Nashville to celebrate the baptism and baby shower for their first baby, Jackson. He's so cute! We were all very excited to meet and cuddle him.

There's about 15 of these beauties and 2 came out somewhat presentable. Aren't they cute!?

Around the House
Our weeks spent at home during the summer included evening trips to the local lake to cool off, refinishing our dining table, and catching up on the previous vacation's laundry.

I have 5 weeks until my due date! *dancing with joy* I'm ready for him to be here for all of the above reasons but mostly so I can meet him and have my full mobility back. I keep wondering what another version of Patrick and I will look like and I have so many more questions waiting to be answered: will he have hair? will it be dark or light or red? will he be 10lbs or more? will he come early or late? (fingers crossed for early).

The pregnancy has been smooth like my other two and it's gone very quick until the past couple weeks. Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel time has significantly slowed down. I mean, it could potentially be 7 weeks until he's here if he doesn't want to come and my OB won't induce me until week 42. I don't think that'll happen unless I request it but it sure takes the wind out of my sails when I think how long 7 weeks is. But then again it could only be 3 weeks... who knows?

At this point I feel like he'll be almost right on the due date. Miles was a week early and Grant was induced a week late. My only natural sign that he'll on his way (eventually) is that I'm starting to nest a teensy bit and have stronger Braxton Hicks.

Lately, he moves a lot. He's been laying with his back to the left and kicking my right side pretty hard or running his feet along my ribs. What a weird feeling! He's been in this position for the last 5 weeks, flipped over once for a day and clearly didn't like it because he's since flipped back and continues kicking away at my right side.

Send some prayers up for the baby and I, that everything goes smoothly and we're both healthy before, during, and after the delivery. Thanks!! Here's to a quiet Fall and lots of baby snuggling.