May 23, 2016

The Kitchen Reveal

The day has come! Our kitchen is finally complete after months and months. I shared our progress over on Instagram and on a blog post here. Remodeling is a crazy process but it is very worth it in the end! That is something we've learned with our first home. This home is a work in progress, we've done so much since we moved in yet it feels like we still have TONS to do. The kitchen was one of our biggest projects though so I'm glad that one is checked off of our list. This is what we started with...
 and this is what it looks like now...
Here is another before from another angle...
and here is the after...
Basically everything in this kitchen is new except for the stone wall. That is the one thing that stayed the same and I love it! The very last piece to this kitchen puzzle was the island vent hood.
We had this thing since we moved in a year ago but it took a while to get the remodel started so it sat in our garage for a while and then when we finally took it out, we realized it was TOO LONG. So my husband had to figure it all out and thankfully we were able to get it up there. I snapchated the whole ordeal. 
I LOVE the way our kitchen turned out. It turned out way better than I imagined it. I've always wanted a white kitchen and I feel truly blessed to have it now. 

Backsplash: White Subway Tile with Delorean Gray Grout
Countertops: Silestone Lyra
Shelves: Stained with Special Walnut
Cabinets: Custom Made Shaker Style Cabinets 
Island Color: Sherwin Williams Peppercorn
Island Range Hood: KitchenAid
Apron Front Sink: KRAUS
Faucet: KRAUS Mateo
Hardware: IKEA Lansa
Refrigerator: Kitchenaid
Oven: Kitchenaid
Stovetop: Kitchenaid

May 18, 2016

Kitchen Sneak Peek

Our kitchen remodel is ALMOST complete! It's basically finished except for a couple finishing touches which we hope to finish this weekend. The last BIG thing left was the island vent hood and my husband was able to install that during the two weeks off he took to help me with my recovery. 

Our kitchen has come a long way from this...
I can't wait to show you the afters! I'm hoping to take pictures and post them sometime next week. I'll also be announcing something you can join in on next week! Things have been quiet around here long enough. Stay tuned, you're gonna be seeing a lot more of me around here...

May 9, 2016

My Umbilical Hernia Repair Experience

WARNING: this post may contain graphic photos (photos of my hernia and my recovery). 
     I did what almost everyone does when you want more info on something especially when it's something medical: I googled hernia repair experiences. I found one or two posts out there which were helpful but I wanted more so I decided to document and share my experience as well for those like myself searching for more info. If you are in the process of or thinking about getting your hernia repaired then I hope you find this post helpful. This is my own experience and everyone is different so your experience might be completely different from mine. For all of my regular readers I apologize in advance I realize this is not my usual type of post. 
     So let me start off by giving you my background. I am a twenty-eight year old mom of three. I developed an umbilical hernia after the birth of my second child (Sarah) but didn't realize it until I got pregnant with my third child (Levi). As my belly grew I noticed a small lump on top of my belly button. My OB determined it was a hernia and referred me to a surgeon after I gave birth. I saw the surgeon but decided to wait to get the surgery until Levi got older because of the recovery. Three years later I was having complications and decided that enough was enough and I scheduled my surgery. I scheduled my hernia repair with mesh for April 25th. 

My surgery was scheduled for Monday, April 25th so I was asked to go into the Hospital to do labs and leave a urine sample the Friday before surgery. They also gave me instructions for surgery day and gave me an antibacterial wash for me to use that morning. The nurse was super helpful and answered all of my questions. I was worried about being nauseous after surgery and having my glasses close by because I'm pretty blind. 

Surgery Day:
I was asked to go in at 7:00am with a 9:00am surgery. I didn't sleep well the night before because I was pretty nervous so I kept waking up almost every hour until my alarm went off at 5:30am. I was asked to shower with the antibacterial wash before going to the hospital so I did that and got my stuff ready to go to the hospital. We got to the hospital,  I signed some papers, changed into a hospital gown, and then got an IV. I mentioned to the nurse that I didn't want to get nauseous after surgery and she put a motion sickness patch behind my ear and I was also given an anti-acid in my IV. The anesthesiologist came next and explained how they would put me to sleep. My surgeon came next and once again explained the surgery he would be performing which was a hernia repair with mesh. The anesthesiologist came back and gave me something they said would "erase my memory" into my IV. Last thing I remember is them injecting that into the IV, getting a hug from my husband and BAM everything else I can't remember. My husband said I was awake when they took me back for surgery but I honestly don't remember anything! The surgeon estimated my surgery would be 45mins long. My husband said that the surgeon took longer than usual because it turned out I had TWO hernias rather than one. So he said I was in there for about an hour and a half. They had to use two mesh strips to repair both hernias. One was in my bellybutton (the larger one) and the other was a smaller one just above the bellybutton. I always thought it was just one large one!

Post Surgery:
I heard a nurse call me by my name and I woke up to see her and fell back asleep. Next thing I remember is waking up to see my husband and parents next to me. I was groggy but felt fine. I remember feeling shoulder pain and dry mouth. I was very sleepy and would wake up for a minute or two and go back to sleep. I got something to drink and later felt the urge to pee but couldn't completely empty my bladder. I was sent home this way. I struggled to pee at home and finally called my surgeon who told me to go to the ER where they would have to put a catheter on me. This was the most painful thing! Not the catheter itself because I've had them before after each kiddo. I've had difficulty emptying my bladder after an epidural but never thought it would be a side effect for general anesthesia or maybe I just forgot. The painful thing was having a super full bladder and not being able to pee and being in constant pain because of it. It took forever to get a room because the ER was full that night but finally I was given a catheter and I felt such relief. I was sent home hours later with the catheter. That night I began to feel pain in my incision as my anesthesia was finally wearing off. 

Day one (after surgery):
I have been taking my pain meds. My stomach feels super sore and I need help getting in and out of bed. The nice thing about having a catheter is not having to get up to pee at night or at all. I haven't gone #2 but I don't feel constipated. I was able to walk a bit today.

Day two:
I woke up with abdominal cramps and knew I had to go number two. I tried for 30 mins but was too scared to push. I had taken stool softener and laxatives and those didn't really help. I asked my husband for coffee because coffee usually cleans me out. I drank coffee and 10 mins later I had my first bowel movement. I was able to then shower with my catheter on. I had an appointment at 3pm to get the catheter removed and felt so much better after it was removed. I was able to use the restroom fine after that. I was still bloated and felt pain so I took my pain meds every 4-6hrs. After about day four I stopped taking my prescribed pain meds (Norco) and decided Advil was good enough. The pain meds made me sleepy and feel lightheaded so once I stopped things got better from there as well. I have been walking more but when I over do-it I can feel the effects at night. I get bloated more at night. After the first week I was able to finally sleep on my side without pain. I still use the little pillow they gave me at the hospital to sleep and sometimes when I walk.

My Tips & Notes:
  • Make sure you clean your system out before surgery. Meaning, empty your bowels so there is less chance of you getting constipated after surgery. I went that morning of surgery and I feel it helped things go so much smoother afterwards.
  •  Make sure you are able to empty your bladder after surgery and before you are discharged. DO NOT let the nurses discharge you if you don't feel you can pee. I went a little and the nurse heard so she thought I was fine to go but I still felt like I had to pee and I felt like my bladder was full. I told her this but she thought it was because of the patch they placed behind my ear which she said would go away once it was removed. WRONG! I was in pain and I should have listened to my instincts and not gone home right away until I felt I had emptied my bladder.
  •  If you are worried about nausea, ask for meds before surgery to help. The motion sickness patch helped A LOT. I felt NO nausea at all and I am very prone to nausea. 
  • You will get a small pillow at the hospital. This pillow acts like a shield and helps when you have to get up and use the restroom. If you don't get one, I would ask for one. My little pillow was my BFF. It's not the prettiest little thing but it got me through my first couple of weeks.
  • I noticed a small lump, not quite like a hernia but still noticeable the day of surgery and since then. I went to my surgeon and he told me this was normal as everything is still swollen. We will see!
  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing. I wore dresses an skirts the first couple of days. Your belly will be swollen and you will look pregnant. I have never had a flat tummy so I don't expect to have one after I am fully recovered but I have noticed my swelling going down. 
  • You will need someone to drive you because you will be loopy after surgery, even if it is an outpatient surgery. 
  • I had pretty bad shoulder pain for a week and half. The shoulder pain was pretty bad that I took my pain meds mostly for the shoulder pain because the actual incision I could pretty much tolerate.

You can see the hernia made me look like I had an outie. That is where my main hernia was but they found a smaller one just above which I thought was art of the umbilical hernia but it was separate. The photo on the right is after surgery. 
I am currently two weeks post op and feel mostly like myself again. I am still not 100% because I still feel some swelling and some pain on occasion but I can walk and do almost everything I was able to do before surgery. I will try to update this post once I am six weeks post-op with updates and maybe a photo. I hope you found this post helpful and if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. 

May 3, 2016

Exterior Changes

We haven't quite finished our kitchen yet. In fact my husband is working on that vent hood this week. He took two weeks off to help me with my surgery and recovery. I am feeling better this week but I still can't drive or carry Levi so he's here and he's been taking advantage of his time off to figure out our vent hood dilemma. I'm hoping we can have the vent hood up and installed by the end of the week. While we finish that, we are beginning another project. One we've planned to start on this year and hopefully finish by next year. 

We want to replace all of our windows eventually but windows are expensive and our budget is super tight after our kitchen remodel so we are taking things slow and starting off with the six front windows and working our way to the back. We are planning on getting new siding as well since ours is pretty old and rotting away in some places. Here is a little photoshop mock up I worked up on what we would like our home to look like...
We'd love for our home to look a little more modern. We are looking to paint all of the new siding a medium/dark gray. This color is Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams. We are replacing our windows with new windows without the little squares which I'm thinking is going to make a big difference in how our home looks. I would also love to eventually get a new front door. Something modern like the one shown. If you know any door companies that offer modern style doors at a reasonable price then please let me know. I love the look of wood with gray and stone so I think adding some wood beams to our windows will add some character as well. We are hoping to order our windows tomorrow so I will share our progress on both instagram and snapchat. I just got snapchat so I'm fairly new but I already love it. You can find me under: cinsarahblog. 

My next post will either be my surgery experience or our kitchen reveal! Stay Tuned!

April 24, 2016

Five Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day

Mother's day is coming up and you might or might not already have that weekend planned out. If you don't have plans or you want to try something different this year, let me help ya out a little with some ideas. Here are five different ways you can celebrate Mother's Day this year:

All you outdoor lovers, this is for you. We all know parks get super packed on holidays so why not set up the backyard for a day of fun? For food you can either pack sandwiches and snacks or order pizza and eat it outside. The best part is the clean up is easier because you don't have to wash any dishes if you use disposables! Set up a tent and read together, sing, play board games, look through old baby pictures, or simply talk! You can plan fun outdoor games, maybe have a nerf gun war, or plan a scavenger hunt. You can also plant some flowers together, start that garden you've been wanting to do, and maybe even have a water balloon fight afterwards. There really is no limit to what you can do outdoors. 

Again restaurants are FULL this time of year so you can eat a fancy dinner at home without cooking. How? You can get a dinner catered and delivered to your home. Have everyone dress up, set a beautiful table, and then dance with each of your kiddos. 

This one could either be fun or torture depending on if your kids cooperate or not. You can schedule a photoshoot on Mother's Day. Again you can get everyone dressed up and have a family session. Photoshoots with the family can be exhausting, trying to get everyone to smile, but they are very worth it when you see those beautiful photos of your family. 

Maybe you work all week long and all you want is a day at home to relax and do nothing. Have a lazy day. Let the husband and kids pamper you by cooking all the meals and cleaning up afterwards. You can set up the living room to eat and watch a movie together. Take a nap! I know all mamas want that. Have your husband take the kids outside to play while you nap. 

Just the other day we were in Austin and we had so much fun going through the city sightseeing and taking pictures in Austin landmarks. Plan a day to visit a nearby town or city and play tourist all day! 

I am still not sure what we will end up doing for Mother's Day but I'm sure it will be a little bit of #1 and #4 since I will still be recovering from surgery. One thing is for sure, I love having my kids all dressed up and matching. Gymboree has got the cutest clothes! I am able to have my big boy match with my little man. They get so many compliments walking around matching. So no matter what you decide to do, check out Gymboree for your kiddos! Also make sure to follow me on instagram as I will be giving away a $50 Giftcard to Gymboree
This is a sponsored post in partnership with Gymboree. All ideas and opinions are my own.

April 18, 2016

Life Lately

Things have been quiet around the blog for months now. Home projects have come to a halt for a number of reasons but the main one being I'm about to get my umbilical hernia repaired and so projects are not on our priority list right now. I will be in recovery between 4-6wks and I want to write a post on my experience because I did research and found very few posts on people's experiences so I want to share mine. I am not sure I will share photos but I will be coming back to a post and documenting my experience and hitting that publish button once it's complete. 

Once I recover I've got a few projects in mind but mostly just finishing up our kitchen remodel. We are about 90% finished. We just need our island vent hood installed. It is too long and so we have to find a way to install it so we are looking for someone who can help us with that. Other than that we just need a few paint touch ups and we are DONE! Can't wait to show you what it looks like now.

I also want to get a regular blog schedule going as I used to. I at least want to post once or twice a week. I do miss blogging but ever since we moved it's just been hard getting back to it! There's just always something to do around here! 


April 7, 2016

Our Dining Room - Currently

Here is a room in our home that I haven't shared completely. It isn't 100% finished but it's come a long way from where we started. Here's what our dining room currently looks like...

and to refresh your memory here is a photo I shared the day we purchased our fixer upper...
and the glorious listing photo...
Our dining room has come a long way but it's still not where I want it to be. For starters I am not in love with the lighting. It's not ugly but I feel it is too small for this space. I chose it at Ikea kind of as a meanwhile fixture. I would love something like THIS from West Elm.
I'd also love a rug and some colorful curtains to take away from all of the brown in this room. I also plan to do a small gallery wall on the wall where I've got two frames right now. 
Our mid century dining set was a craigslist find. I had been searching for one like this for weeks and then this beauty and the perfect price appeared and my husband brought it home after work. The previous owner re-covered the chairs. Love our dining set! 
The centerpiece is one my husband built for our Thanksgiving table and I added some candles and Ikea pots and it is now our dining room centerpiece. Even though this room is not yet where I want it to be, I am thankful and proud of where it is now. We have done a lot in just the first year we've lived here. I plan to share more photos soon as our home evolves because it's an ever changing process.