Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sold! Part 3 -- Heading South and a Safe Place to Land

It has been a while since I have blogged because I have been so busy with these two little ones! They both take long naps in the afternoons, but this time is for cleaning the house, which is a wreck by noon each day, getting laundry done, and making dinner in advance. The 5-7 pm hours when I would usually make dinner are occupied by Lily's cluster-feeding. If you have had a newborn in your home you are familiar with this "happy hour" fuss-period which visits us every evening for the first month or two.

Don't be surprised if it takes me a while longer than usual to respond to messages; unless they are sleeping, it is impossible for me to answer emails or write.

I left off last time in the beginning of June where we had just accepted the offer on the Bell Lake Road house and realized we would have to move out within weeks. (My dates were a bit off in the last entry, it was more like June 10 that we found out we'd be selling the house, not June 22.) Nothing was packed, and we had no place to go as of yet. Lily was scheduled to arrive in less than two months, as my every expanding belly reminded me every time I looked in the mirror (or tried to see my feet!).

We had begun seriously looking for a home in Tampa, but we just couldn't find anything we liked. We settled on putting a deposit down on a rental home in my parents' neighborhood, for a move-in date of July 5. We were set to close on Bell Lake Road on July 10, so that would give us a week overlap to move our things in to the rental. The rental home (actually a duplex) was dark and cramped, but they were willing to give it to us for a 60-day term, with an option to continue month-to-month, while we looked for a house to buy. Plus, it was safe, clean and affordable. We disliked the thought of bringing home our new baby to a place that didn't feel like home at all, but we had no other option.

Meanwhile, Ryan had been seriously considering the prospect of a new job in Sarasota. He had considered the job before, because it was all-around a better position (pay, time-off and opportunity for promotion were all better than his current job) but we just couldn't justify the hour commute. He would have more time off, but the drive would result in a net loss of time with the family, which would wouldn't accept.

Now, however, we realized we had nothing tying us to living in Tampa any more. We did some exploratory searching in Sarasota/Bradenton and quickly learnt how well the real estate market was doing down there. Homes in our price range seemed to be snatched up by voracious buyers the day they were listed.

We looked a little further north in a suburb of Bradenton called Parrish, which is off the exit for Ellenton Mall. Here we found more homes for sale, but the market was still red-hot. We were shown one that we loved that was on a quiet cul-de-sac. It had a huge yard (the lot was nearly a half acre) and four bedrooms-- our two primary criteria for our home search. We got really excited and called the realtor, who gave us even more reason to be excited: after 300+ days on the market, the seller was willing to lease the home to us with an option to buy at the end. This would mean we could move in quickly and live there while all the inspections and appraisals took place. The thought of setting up our home in time for Lily to arrive was irresistible. The only thing holding us back from making an offer then and there was the appraisal of the Bell Lake Road house-- the buyers had said they would walk if the house didn't appraise at the contract price. Not to worry, we thought, because the house had already sat on the market for 300 days and would surely hang around a few days longer. We went to bed that night positive that this would be our future home.

A few days later, the appraisal came through, and we were officially "turned loose" to put in a bid on any other home we desired! We were thrilled, and called the listing realtor the very next morning to discuss putting in an offer.

"We went into contract with another buyer last night."

Our "dream home" was gone, big yard and all, and we were left to start over from scratch. Searching for a home is such an emotional rollercoaster. You cannot help but get excited and imagine yourself and your family playing in the yard, making friends with neighbors and exploring the local schools and parks. You start picturing your furniture in the living room, and even begin searching online for a new piece that might fit that one "weird space" you noticed at the showing.You start to wonder what the grocery store might be like, whether good churches are in the area, and how long the drive will be from your "new home" to work, the mall, and other destinations.

And then, in an instant, it's gone, just like that. And you  have nothing to do but accept it and move on.

In hindsight, our "dream home" was not our dream home at all. A week after our big disappointment, we found the home that we ultimately bought, and we see now how much better off we are than we would have been there. For one, that huge yard we were so excited about would have had to have been fenced immediately (the property bordered a lake), which cost alone would have been $8k-10k. Maintenance of a yard that big would have been another huge expense we couldn't have afforded. More importantly, though, the neighborhood didn't offer much, despite high HOA fees: there was no community pool or other amenities. Also, it was fairly new, which meant no "mature landscaping" -- and we are not fans of the "desert look" of one skinny little oak tree planted in the middle of a huge, barren yard.

We landed at last in a home in a development about five minutes down the road, which after living here a month we can tell you we just adore. The story of how we found the house is blissfully dull and not worth detailing: we found the house online, drove down to take a look, decided it was perfect, and went into contract that night. Our only sticking point was the moving date: we absolutely wanted to move in before Lily was born, and somehow the sellers agreed to be out less than three weeks from signing (closing date: July 17). That gave us exactly two weeks to make the house a home before our newest family member would arrive (August 1). From there, everything just kind of fell into place with no hiccups or problems.

Our new neighborhood, Harrison Ranch, is a perfect fit for us. We have a great community pool and playground, miles of walking trails and tons of "mature landscaping." Our yard is fenced with the see-through rod-iron fencing that allows us to enjoy the nature preserve behind our house. Most of our new neighbors have already stopped by to meet us, many more than once, and one family even brought us a pasta dinner and brownies after Lily was born. We truly love our new home and couldn't be happier living here.

I just celebrated my 29th birthday with a great meal out with my sweet husband. We did the same thing last year for my 28th birthday. If we were told then that in just one short year we would be living in a new home over an hour away from Tampa, with a new baby, and with a new job, we wouldn't have believed it. We literally had no idea this is where life would take us in just one short year.

Thanks for sticking with me while I shared the story of what we've been up to in 2013! We cannot wait to find out and share with you all that God has in store for us in the year to come.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lily's Birth Story

I am at this very moment sitting in our new house (more on that very soon!) with my new baby wrapped snuggly up against me (we are HUGE fans of the Moby Wrap around here), enjoying all the richness and newness of this next chapter of our lives, which began on a very humid morning, six short days ago . . .
Lily and me at the time of this blog post
Last photo taken pregnant, at exactly 39 weeks.
 Thursday, August 1, 2013, 4:50 am. Ryan and I are set and ready to go from Mom and Dad's house in Tampa. We spent the night because they live close to Florida Hospital Tampa, and dropping Logan off there so early in the morning would have required leaving our home at about 4:00 am.

8:20 am: Lily Ryan Husmann takes her first breath, entering the world, at 7 lbs, 8 oz, and 20 inches long. Her cry is so loud and so robust that she sounds to my ears like a little pig squealing from across the operating room. This is what Virginia Apgar would call a "lusty cry." Little Lily earns a 9.9 on the Apgar Scale, 0.9 higher than her big brother did nineteen months ago.

8:30 am: I meet Lily for the first time.  Blessing of blessings, I am actually able to hold her and look at her, which I missed during my surgery with Logan's delivery because I was so weak from the anesthesia. This birth experience was so much better than Logan's delivery, which I can hardly remember.  I was not able to breastfeed Lily on the operating table and I give kudos to any woman who is able to pull off that little feat because I struggled just to keep my arms around her as I was being sewn up behind the big blue curtain.

Dr. Bray holding Lily at the end of the surgery.
Breastfeeding Lily for the first time.

9:00 am: We are in wheeled back into the recovery room (still on the labor and delivery floor), where we stay for a few hours to make sure all our vitals are good. I get to breastfeed Lily at last, and she nurses for almost 90 minutes without stopping. One thing she and big brother have in common, a love of good food!

9:30 am: Logan arrives and meets his little sister for the first time. There are no words for the explosive joy and warmth this moment brought to Ryan and me.

Logan, meet Lily!

Logan could not get his hands off his little sister from the very beginning and
kept trying to climb up the side rail to get a better look at her.

I am in love with her beautiful dark gray eyes and messy tangles of jet black hair.
 11:00 am: We are all rolled down to the Mom-Baby floor and Lily gets her first bath from the nurse. She must stay in the baby warmer for 20 minutes after the bath, but this does not keep Daddy from covering her with kisses while we wait for her to return to our anxious arms

Daddy giving lots of kisses to Baby Lily as she warms up in the baby warmer after her very first bath.
We have been so richly blessed by this birth experience, and have really come to embrace the peace of knowing that all of our children will be born in the same way, by C-section at 39 weeks. We love that this is our story. True, it was handed to us by events beyond our control, but we have surrendered and made it our very own, and by doing so have come to cherish the special way we bring our children into the world.

I will be posting more photos of the rest of our hospital stay and our first few days at home very soon.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
Lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your path straight.
Prov. 3:5-6

Monday, July 29, 2013

Photo Blog: Lily's Nursury

Here is the view when you walk in the door. We have also ordered a great area rug online that hasn't arrived yet, but once it does it should really pull the room together. It is pale pink and brown stripes.

This is my American Girl doll which I am so happy I can use in Lily's room. I hope she likes the American Girls as much as I did when I was a little girl.

Lily's new dresser. For the room color we chose a soft Sherwin Williams color called "Downy." I wanted a very pale ballet slipper pink (one great SW color was called Barely Blush) but I was persuaded that the pink walls with the pink accents and bedding would be overwhelming, and I am glad I went with the beige.

Lily's crib. The theme is lambs, mostly beige with tiny pink flower in the trim. The fitted sheet that came with the set is also kind of a calico design with the tiny pink flowers.

A close up of some of the sweeter items in her crib, including a pillow made by Memere that has a little girl and a goose, and says "God Made Me Make a Joyful Noise."

Her changing table all set to go!
Well my next post will be after Lily has arrived and I am back home with her! Ryan will be sharing photos of Lily from the hospital. She is scheduled to arrive at 7:30 am this Thursday morning. We will keep everyone updated on how the surgery goes and how Lily's first few days are going. Thanks for all your calls and emails and support during this incredibly special time for our family! Signing off now . . . see you next time when I am a mother of TWO! 

Family and Friends Shower Us with Love!

We are having a lot of fun getting ready for Lily to arrive. It is so special to see so many of our friends and family getting excited along with us.

A Sweet Shower

Right before we moved out of our house, we were given a surprise shower by our friends the Atwells. Rachel's parents, Marianne and Richard, graciously opened their home to us for the occasion. Amidst a super busy and somewhat stressful time of  packing and making arrangements for the closing, it was nice to get away for a few hours and be lavished with love and presents for our little girl. Here are some photos of the details of this precious shower.

I was completely shocked, thinking Ryan and I were going to Rachel's parents' house to pick up some extra boxes for packing. Little did I know what awaited me inside!

Rachel used Lily's presents (mostly outfits) for decoration, which was such an adorable idea. Little girls' clothes is so pretty; why buy a bunch of pink frilly stuff from the party store?

Diaper cake and diaper table. Since we have all the gadgets and functional items we will need for a new baby, Rachel asked guests to bring only clothes and diapers.

Lily Pad

Lily and Logan's Pops has a cabin in Murphy, North Carolina. Besides gutting and rebuilding the interior with some cool and unique elements like secret passageways and a forest-themed play room on the first floor of the cabin (like a basement) called LogXan Forest (after his two grandsons, Logan and Xander), he has also built a treehouse in the very back of the property. Both these areas remind me a little of the Swiss Family Robinson ride at Disney World. He has named the first floor of the treehouse (yes, it's two stories), "Lily Pad." The woodwork is so unique and over the top you have to see it to believe it. We cannot wait to get back up to Murphy to see the tree house and the LogXan Forest. Logan and Lily are going to adore these spaces more and more as they gets older. I will post just the photos I have on hand of the treehouse for now, but I want to do a post just dedicated to the cabin. It is so one of a kind you really have to see photos for yourself.

Every wood carving you see was done by Lily's Pops and every bannister rail is a stick of driftwood collected in wooded areas around the cabin in Western NC, by Pops and Tutu. No word yet on their various trespassing charges!!
Here is one of the walls of the tree house which leads out to the balcony (you can see the banisters through the door) of the tree house. Can you see Lily's name??

A close up of "Lily Pad"


Visit with Aunt Rachel at Siesta Key

To close out this blog entry, I have to share a great photo from visiting Rach at Siesta Key this past weekend. It was so fun to catch up for a while and let Logan spend some time getting to know Rach. He has met her about six times now and he is definitely beginning to recognize her when he sees her. Since she is Lily's godmother, its really important to all of us that both Lily and Logan get to know and love her as much as we do.
That's all for now! PS Lily dropped today! :) :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sold! Part 2: Farewell Bell Lake Road

Note: can anyone email me and tell me how to post a link from a previous blog post into a new blog post? I don't know much about blogging and really want to learn more!

I am writing this blog from my mom's computer because we are staying with my parents for the time being. . . we are currently homeless! Here is an update on our journey to sell our home and make a better life for ourselves . . .

I left you in my last post in mid-May, when we had decided this was just not the right time for us to make our big move. We moved Logan into his new room (the guest bedroom), moved the guest bedroom into the office, and began transforming Logan's old blue room into the perfect haven for a sweet little Lily who would arrive in a few months time. I planted some tomatoes and a little herb garden as we had decided we would just be staying put for another year or so. We called our realtor and let her know we would be taking the house off the market on Friday, May 24.

Soon after this decision was made, we got a call telling us we had a showing request and it was a second showing. A second showing is very good because it means someone who already saw the house is interested enough to take a second look. The feedback from this showing was different: their realtor advised they were putting together an offer for us to review by the next Wednesday. We were shocked. We had waited for months and months for exactly this moment.

We eagerly agreed to keep the house on the market for another week to give them time to make their offer.

Wednesday came and went, and no offer. A whole week went by and we heard nothing but crickets.

It had felt like this eleventh hour offer was just too good to be true, and now this feeling was confirmed in our minds. We had made peace with staying at Bell Lake Road before and we would do it again. We decided we would not let ourselves get excited over any news any more.

Finally we got a call that the buyers had gotten their affairs in order and would be submitting their offer by Sunday, ten days after they had initially told us. We smiled and said we'd review any offer that came in, and then put it out of our minds. Sunday came and went, and no offer. We patted ourselves on the back and went back to life. Too many fun and exciting things were happening unrelated to the home sale, and we decided these precious last weeks with Logan as an only child, and preparing for the joy of a new baby in our home, would not be disrupted again.

The following Wednesday, the offer finally came in at $50,000 below our asking price. For a second time we congratulated ourselves on not getting excited, realizing we had been low-balled once again.

Another week passed and we continued to prepare Logan and Lily's rooms and to look for the positive in our current home, glad we were past this one final twist.

Then, out of the blue, the buyer's agent contacted us again: the buyers had come up $25,000.  Finally we let ourselves get excited. This was something we could work with!

We countered a few times and finally came a number we could all live with. We are very proud that we did not budge a penny from our rock-bottom minimum in order to get out of the house faster. We waited it out, and we eventually got exactly what we had to to make this move worthwhile financially (but not a penny more!!).

We accepted the final offer on June 22, and immediately made arrangements to get into a rental home, realizing it would be a true miracle to find a forever-home in just over a month (Lily would arrive August 1). We called family and friends and told them, "We're moving!! Now!" and heard their shock over what we would be doing at eight months pregnant.

We truly believe that this process was the direct working of God in our lives. A year ago, or even six months ago, we could never have imagined that we would be living with my parents, looking for a new house to move into, and freed of so much of our debt. We feel really good about accepting the disappointments over and over again, and still moving forward together as a family. This journey has confirmed to us the importance of trusting in the Lord in every detail of our lives, large or small. It has also shown us that even when everything is up in the air, we are an unbreakable family unit and we can be content with whatever challenges and disappointments life brings.

Believe it or not, there is a lot more to this story. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer Photo Blog and a Recipe

Helping Daddy get ready in the morning!

Honeymoon Island -- Fourth of July

Napping on the way home

A fun Fourth of July at the Olds' Home

Beautiful Fourth of July Spread

With Jason, 4, and Ashley, 7

Loves his afternoon bowl of yogurt

I like to make yogurt for Logan and me at home because its affordable and easy once you get the hang of it. It does not have the thickeners and flavorings that store-bought yogurt has. It may seem high-maintenance at first, but once you get the hang of it its as easy as putting a chicken in the crockpot.

Affordability: Yields one gallon organic plain yogurt. One gallon organic milk = $5.99; one cup Fage yogurt = $1.29. Total: $7.28/ 16 cups per gallon = $0.46 per 8 oz serving. Pennies for your favorite sweetener/flavor means about fifty cents for a cup of organic yogurt-- you won't find that pricing anywhere! :)

Homemade Yogurt Recipe

1 gallon full-fat milk
1 cup plain, store-bought yogurt (Fage brand has worked best for me)

Supplies needed:
Large stock pot
Fine-mesh strainer
Instant read thermometer
Large bedspread or a beach blanket

1. Heat entire gallon of milk on low in large stockpot until instant read thermometer reads 180 degrees F.
2. Remove from heat; uncover and allow to cool until instant read thermometer reads 110 degrees F.
3. Use a ladle to remove 2-3 cups of milk from stock pot; ladle into a medium bowl.
4. Add cup of store-bought yogurt to the medium bowl and gently mix. Add back into stockpot and gently mix. You should see large lumps of yogurt among the warm milk.
5. Re-test your temperature to ensure your milk did not fall below 100 degrees F in the course of adding the cold store bought yogurt. For the next 6-24 hours (see note) your stockpot of yogurt must remain between 100 and 110 degrees. To do this, wrap the entire stockpot in the blanket and tuck in all ends. Periodically throughout the day, unwrap your stockpot and test your concoction to make sure the temp is between 100 and 110 degrees. If needed, place the stock pot on low heat for 5-10 minutes to bring the fermenting yogurt back to the necessary 100-110 degree window.
6. At the end of the fermentation period, you should have a bottom layer of thick white yogurt, and a top layer of translucent, yellowish liquid (this is the whey). Skim off your whey and save for another purpose (see note). Ladle your yogurt into a bowl and refrigerate. Yogurt is best eaten after a night of refrigeration because it becomes firmer and creamier after being thoroughly chilled.

Serving suggestions: mix in honey or maple syrup to sweeten. Also add a splash of vanilla extract or some other type of extract for flavor. Add granola, fruit or anything else your normally eat with your yogurt.

Notes and Suggestions:

One gallon of milk yields one gallon of yogurt; one half gallon of milk yields one half gallon of yogurt; a quart yields a quart, etc.

Heating the milk in the first step on too high of heat will scald the milk.  Cooling it with no lid (the fastest way to cool it) will result in a skin forming on top of the milk. Both these result in unappetizing skins and fibers floating in your finished batch of yogurt. To prevent this, skim the "skin" off the top of your milk after Step 2. If you suspect you may have scalded some of the milk, strain the entire gallon after Step 2 in the fine-mesh strainer.

The 6-24 hour fermentation process (described in Step 5) will get easier in subsequent batches. You will get the hang of knowing about when you need to re-heat your yogurt on low for 5 minutes to bring it back to the fermentation temperature. Your fermentation time will depend on your taste and schedule; the longer you leave it to ferment the tangier and thicker it will be. I have left it for as short as 6 hours and its fine; I have never actually left it for 24 hours because we are always too eager to eat the yogurt.

Overnight fermentation: start your yogurt at around 4-5 pm, before you cook dinner. Keep an eye on it throughout the evening. Right before bed, put it on low one last time for 5-10 minutes, and then immediately remove it from heat and wrap it in the bed spread or beach blanket. Leave on kitchen counter while you sleep. When you wake up, your yogurt will be fully fermented and ready to refrigerate.

Greek Yogurt: One last step if you want Greek-strained yogurt so thick and white and tangy that you can turn the whole bowl over and it will not drip out! No kidding! After you have removed the yogurt from the stock pot and are ready to begin the chilling process, line a colander with cheesecloth  and add about 2-3 cups of your yogurt. Place in a larger bowl to catch the whey. Allow to strain in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Scoop into a new container, empty the whey, and add another 2-3 cups of yogurt to your cheesecloth-lined colander.

What to do with the whey: This is a nutritious, protein-rich liquid that can be added to smoothies or stirred into oatmeal to boost nutrition for kids. Also, substitute whey 1:1 for water in bread recipes or pizza dough recipes; I substitute whey for up to half the recipe's water. Adding whey is like using buttermilk instead of regular milk-- it makes breads and doughs tangy and moist. One caveat: I have never used whey to proof yeast; I would therefore use plain water to proof the yeast and substitute whey for the remaining water.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sold! Part 1: Waiting

Now that all the dust has settled and we have all the approvals we need, we can share that we have sold our home on Bell Lake Road! And what a rollercoaster ride it has been.

We knew we needed to do something when we saw a car overturned on the sidewalk where Logan and I walk almost every day. The quiet suburban/country road we lived on was opened a few years ago (some of you might remember the construction mess when you came to our engagement party in Summer 2009) to connect two major roads in Land O' Lakes. Since then it has become a major road itself with cars and trucks zooming by above 50 mph. Accidents happen too frequently right in front of our own driveway. It just isn't safe for children to be riding bikes or even playing in the yard.

We decided to put our house up for sale immediately. The next day, Kathy Muscatell came into Ryan's dealership, a realtor who has sold property to another person Ryan works with, and Ryan and her struck up a conversation. This is the first instance of God's leading in this saga of selling our home. Kathy came over the next Sunday to meet with us and discuss putting our house up for sale.

The credit-card shaped cake at our final Financial Peace University meeting--
at every weekly meeting we had a credit-card cutting ceremony 
We listed our home January 29. Shortly thereafter, we attended a church service where we were introduced to Financial Peace University (I know I bring this program up a lot!) which teaches financial planning based on biblical principles. The theme of the class is, owe no debt to anyone except love (Rom. 13:8). This means living without credit card debt, car loans or even a mortgage. This course gave us a second reason to sell our home: downsize, use the rest to pay off debt, and start attacking remaining long-term debt with "gazelle-like intensity."

For a long time, we were doing a lot of showings with almost no signs of follow-up interest. Requests for showings came in clusters, people said they liked the house (or didn't) and we never heard from them again. Logan and I scrubbed and cleaned and then headed out to the pool or the library so that potential buyers could see our home privately, and nothing ever came of it.  We even invested in updating and fixing up our home, as I described in another post. We got a short and intense burst of activity after this, but again, nothing came of it except a few verbal offers way below asking price that we didn't even bother countering. As the weeks ticked by and my belly got bigger and bigger, we got a little more discouraged. We thought we were doing the right thing in selling a home we both loved, because a different place would better suit our children's needs and our financial goals, but it just didn't seem like the right time.

Grandpa and Memere's community pool was a great place
to hang out during afternoon showings.
In May, we decided it was best to take our home off the market and wait until after Lily arrived, as keeping the house in show-ready order was becoming difficult for me as my belly got bigger and Lily started kicking and pushing more and more. It is very disappointing to believe you are doing the right thing and following God's will for your life, only to be told, "not now" or "wait."

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day and Dropping Some Dead Weight!

We had a big yard sale on Saturday where we sold several big items, including a treadmill, a kayak and some wakeboard equipment that we hadn't used in a while. We also sold a lot of clothes and home items that were starting to gather dust. The garage sale was a big success, and the weather was perfect. It was overcast and on the verge of raining--but never actually rained-- for the entire morning. By noon we were pretty much cleaned out and ready to haul the rest off to Christian Social Services. My mom and dad helped us and we definitely could not have done it without them, because Ryan was working as he usually does on Saturdays. It feels so good to get all of that dead weight out of our home and to have nice clean, clear shelves and closets at least for a little while.

Sunday was Father's Day, and Logan gave his daddy a ceramic cereal bowl that he made for him at You Do the Dishes. We have some really cute pictures of Logan sponging the bowl with light blue paint and then making a big hand print right in the middle. He wore a cute little apron and had a lot of fun working with the paint. I think its time to get him some finger paint to experiment with at home very soon. We went to Bonefish for dinner with Mom and Dad and all had a delicious seafood dinner. It was a great end to a fun Father's Day.

Logan making Ryan's Father's Day present

Ryan lost 13 pounds over the past few months.

Ryan also got a t-shirt that says "World's Greatest Dad." In the photo you can see that he looks a little thinner than in previous photos-- its not just the angle! Ryan has lost about thirteen pounds over the last few months, without trying. We think its because he rough plays with Logan and works out in the yard and around the house so much, and also because we have started Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University program, which teaches you to budget and save more. We really enjoyed the program and feel as though it has improved our budget as well as strengthening our marriage. As a result, there are much fewer impromptu stops at McDonalds and pizzas ordered in when we don't feel like cooking, so Ryan has dropped some excess weight. People are really starting to notice the change in him and I think he looks great and more handsome than ever.

To close, here is a cute photo of Logan and his sweet buddy Connor enjoying some oversized slices of watermelon on Memorial Day. Happy Summer Everyone!

Connor Atwell and Logan on Memorial Day

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lily's Check Up and Details of Her Birthday

Lily Ryan Husmann at 20 weeks
This past Friday, Lily and I went to see Dr. Bray, the doctor who delivered Logan. Lily is 31 weeks and going strong. Dr. Bray said that she will probably be more average-sized than Logan, which may make the surgery easier, especially if she is also breech. Logan was 8 lbs 12 oz, but she thinks Lily will be closer to 7.5 lbs. Its a bit early to tell, but my gut feeling is that she will also be breech. I feel a big lump just below my rib cage just like I did with Logan (this would be her head). Could also be her little bottom but I think I might just be a woman who has babies upside down. Thank God for medical technology that makes breech births no big deal. We are so blessed to live in a time when a breech baby just means a C-section, and isn't life threatening. The actual statistics show that vaginal breech deliveries turn out okay 95% of the time (not a horrible number), which I thought was kind of interesting. But obviously no one wants to gamble on that 5% in modern times.

Dr. Caryn Bray (green) and me before Logan's birth

I really like my OB-GYN group. I go to Women's Care Florida, next to Florida Hospital Tampa. Since I was just there with Logan, I know all the doctors, nursing staff and office staff and they all know me. There have been a few times when I have come in with scary symptoms (once late on a Friday afternoon) with no appointment and they have shifted around other patients and stayed late to squeeze me in so that I wouldn't go home not knowing whether the baby was okay. One of our favorite staff members is Monique, the sonographer. We have seen her a lot (more than the average patient) and she has been there for some very special and unforgettable moments in our lives. When I thought something was wrong with Logan, she is the one who told us that his heart was beating away and nothing appeared out of place in my belly. I think all three of us cried that day. We always try to schedule a sonogram for when she is scheduled to work because both Ryan and I like her.

Dr. Young (left) and Dr. Bray (right) delivering Logan
Dr. Bray and Dr. Young are my two favorite doctors. They are the doctors who delivered Logan. When you have a C-section, you have two surgeons present in the OR, one is the head surgeon and one assists. In both my deliveries, Dr. Bray will be the head surgeon and Dr. Young will assist. They are calm, even-keeled and deliberate in everything they do. They are straight-forward and understanding, and they always spend extra time making sure I have no other questions at every visit. I really appreciate the great doctors at this practice and the incredible staff.

We have scheduled Lily's birth for Thursday, August 1, at 7:30 am. Ryan and I are scheduled to arrive at 5:30 am for pre-op. We are so excited to meet our daughter and introduce her to Logan. When I think about holding the two of them in my arms I am just overwhelmed with happiness and love. We are truly blessed family.

We have other big news but its still in the works and I will post about it next time.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Home Transformation

In late March, Ryan's family came visited for a few weeks to help us do a few renos and updates to our home to make it more marketable. His mom and dad came down from Orange Beach, AL and his Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Tom drove down from Ohio.  I want to post the before and after shots of the changes that were made because they really made a huge difference. The week after we posted our new photos on, we got seven showing requests in five days (that was a very busy week for Logan and I . . .).

Everyone worked together on the master bath (although Steve, my father-in-law was definitely the foreman). We laid tile, painted the cabinets and the tile on the tub, replaced the shower door and painted the walls. Aunt Syl helped me pick out some beautiful staging items from Home Goods and Target that have really helped highlight the brightness of the space.


 View from our bedroom-- no, there is no door separating our bathroom from our bedroom! (We do have a bedroom door :)) Our carpet was a very old and shabby berber (sp?) that pre-dated Ryan buying the house back in 2002. Carpet in the bathroom is never a good idea, trust us.

 Our lovely early 90's pink mauve tile tub and the his and hers vanity to match. Also from the early 90's (or earlier?), we had gold brass fixtures and a gold brass shower door.


 We painted the walls the same sagey/mossy green color as the bedroom walls. Steve and Tom also laid beautiful whitish gray tiles (12x24" rectangular). Also, we applied a beautiful acrylic tile paint to get rid of the mauve tub, and also painted the cabinets of the vanity. Aunt Syl suggested removing the shower door and replacing it with a clean, crisp linen shower curtain. We were trying to create a spa-like feel. My favorite part are the accessories she picked out, for around the tub and the big vase on the countertop, as well as the towels and the framed art. She is a really talented designer and she  didn't mind working within an extremely tight budget.


 Steve and Tom spent one entire day standing waist deep in lake water, replacing the wood boards on our dock. The wood had begun to rot in places, making it look warped and wavy. We had a very cold spring this year, and that day the high was in the low sixties. By the time they finally finished, the temperature was well below 40 degrees. There are also a lot of critters in our water! Brave work, great result.

We didn't really have the funds to completely upgrade the kitchen, so we settled with painting the walls a wonderful soft antique gray/linen color (I LOVE this color so much). Aunt Sylvia's decorator's eye saw that this color would de-emphasize the mauve marble tile which is all over the house. It worked beautifully. Steve also installed a butcher block countertop on our center island to warm the area a bit and to cover over the ugly white tile and stained grout that used to form the countertop.

A lot more work was done, including painting the entire living room, cleaning out the garage and painting the garage floor, touching up the exterior paint and a few other things like fixing electrical problems. No real offers yet but we are extremely grateful to the Husmanns and the Rodbergs for traveling such a long way to help us update our home. Even if we have to stay in this house for another few months or years, we can really enjoy it and take pride in our home now.