Amber Housley

Housley Party of Three on Day 3

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We are on Day 3 of being home and we are slowly getting into our groove. The nights are rough, but Brandon and I make a good team and are learning what works and what doesn't. :) Colin had his first pediatrician appointment yesterday and had a great visit. We are going back on Wednesday to meet with a lactation specialist that is available in the Dr. office, so we can get some more tips and she can evaluate. Slowly I'm gaining confidence in the nursing department, but I think the special visit will help even more.

My Mom arrives today and we are so excited for our first "family" visit. We've been sending the grandparents videos and photos every day of their grandson, and I'm so excited for one of them to finally meet him in person!

The past few days have been a complete blur but one thing is so true, we are so blessed with such loving friends and family. We had so many offerings of help since Colin has arrived and lots of wonderful deliveries of flowers and treats from friends near and far. Mary Alice and Jessica have even been bringing us homemade dinners for days now which has been a godsend. Lots of wonderful notes and emails and messages from others…all of them are so appreciated and read even though I don't  have the time to reply right now. :)

I am so excited to share a slideshow of Colin's birth story. Amber V. arrived at the hospital at 2:30am when I was 7cm dialated, when we thought Colin would arrive within an hour or two. And it turned into a good four hours instead…and she stayed until about 8:30am…what a trooper! Brandon and I keep saying over and over again how glad we are that we documented this. Special hugs and thanks to Amber V. for doing such a wonderful job and for being such a great friend!

The song is by Allison Kraus (it's so wonderful isn't it??), so have your speakers turned on.

http://www.lotusblossomphotography.com/#/slideshows-colin/

(If the link doesn't work, copy and paste the address into a new web window).

More updates to come…

Happy Birthday Colin

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 Housley Party of 3 - bw

Dear Colin,

It is 9:50pm at night on your birth day. I am one exhausted Mommy, but you are so, so, so worth it. Today is the end of one very long day…but I wanted to get down the details of the day you were born while they were still fresh in my mind. You are the most amazing little boy, Daddy and I can't take our eyes off of you. We are so happy you are a part of our lives and we can't wait for all that you have in store for us. We love you so much!

When I woke up yesterday on February 18, I was pretty adamant to your Daddy that you were coming that very day. I just knew it. Of course, you had other plans…

After some sporadic conractions during the day, I had your Daddy take me to some stores to walk around. I really wanted to get you moving! I think it did the trick…I even had two really "good" (though they didn't feel that good of course) contractions in the aisles of Marshall's and Target. It makes me laugh to think what I looked like as I gripped the store shevles! (I had many strangers this week tell me how much I looked like I was going to "pop"). The walking paid off, and around late afternoon, the contractions were coming more and more frequent (and painful). We were so anxious for them to speed up to 5 minutes a part so we could officially head to the hospital.

We ended up checking in to the hospital around 8:30p.m. and it was the start of a very long night. I guess you thought it was nice and cozy where you were at…because you weren't wanting to meet us any earlier than you wanted to. The contractions up until this point were very painful and I felt so much relief after the epidural that was given quickly after check-in. We were looking forward to progress in the hours ahead (even hopeful for a midnight delivery) as our nurse explained what was next. Things changed rapidly when the alarms on all the machines went off and nurses came running. There was suddenly a lot of people in the room, an oxygen mask was placed on me, and they were moving me from side to side and rubbing my belly really hard to get you moving again in my belly. My body had started contracting very rapidly and strong for no apparent reason, and you were having trouble with the little available space, so your heartbeat dropped extremely low. While they tried to counteract this with medicine to get you better, my blood pressure dropped extremely low too and they couldn't find a reason for what was happening. I remember looking at your Daddy through the oxygen mask and catching his eyes that were filled with the utmost love and concern for us both. Thankfully, the nurses got both of us stabilized in the next ten minutes, but you still went back and forth between being happy and unhappy for the rest of the night.I was supposed to be resting in the dark hospital room, but instead spent the rest of the night just watching your little heartbeat on the glow of the monitor through every contraction to see how you would react.

Unfortunately, because of the medicine from the earlier scare, my body didn't want to make much
progress and the labor was taking much longer than it should. I prayed and prayed and prayed for you to be strong and for God to take care of us because you meant so much to me, your Daddy and so many others. Around 5am, the nurse started to discuss how the need for an emergency C-section was a very real possibility. I was really scared at the idea of this and your Daddy helped assure me while we waited for the doctor to arrive at the hospital and make the final decision. During this time, I prayed some more that you would move down and we could safely have you as we planned.

And my prayers came true! We finally had convinced you to make your way down. Your Daddy was such a great coach as I pushed for only about 20 minutes (something that I was so proud of as a first time Mommy) and you were out! When we heard your firstlittle cry, our hearts were so relieved and filled with so much love for you. You were so perfect in every way.

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I have enjoyed this day so much. I loved watching your Daddy cart you around in your hospital bassinet. He just loves to talk to you and hold you. I love watching him interact with you as he changes your diaper or swaddles you up. He is such a good husband to your Mommy and has taken care of me so well. You have been born into such a loving family and we can't wait to spend the rest of our lives with you. We are so very blessed and honored to be your parents.

All my love,
Mama   

38 weeks.

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Watch out. Big Mama coming through. ;)

38weeks (1 of 1)

Had my 38 week appointment yesterday…and all things are looking good! So good in fact, that little guy is going to make his appearance very, very soon according to the Dr. We were so excited about the news that last night we were running around getting last minute things done around the house…I was over-analyzing every little twitch or pain…and then…nothing. HA! Actually had a really good night's sleep. So there you have it, our first lesson in parenting: this little one is going to do things in his own good time. ;)

I'm actually pretty calm and relaxed…most of the to-do list is complete…so now we just wait..and wait and wait and wait. Not too long though..we've scheduled a birthday party for him next week after my Mom arrives just in case he needs a little coaxing. :)

We'll see if he shows up early for the party.

Photography Class

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I was really excited about taking a beginning photography class my friend Whitney (Dove Wedding Photography) was teaching, but I had no idea how truly excited I'd be with the results. I am officially 100% able to shoot in manual mode with my DSLR camera and actually come out with pretty good results if I do say so myself! ;)

(The collage is work of all of the students).

It took a good 4 years to get to this point…I've had my trusty Canon Rebel XT for that long using Auto function and now it is finally getting some good use. I used my 50mm lens for most of the class and came out with great results. I can't wait to apply what I've learned to lots of baby photos. :)

The first two days consisted of lecture and practice around the downtown Nashville Dove studios, and the final day we headed out to Cedarwood to do a real shoot with a recent bride and groom (friends of Whitney & Peter).

Taking the class when you're 9 months pregnant is a small feat…check out this photo of us…I'm the one in the back left  sitting in a chair shooting (getting down on the ground just wasn't working out at this point and I was tiiiirrred at this point in the day. LOL!

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Here are the two images I shot that Whitney featured on their blog (she picked some of our best work from each of the students:

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A few more of my favorites:

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I made a whole album of my favorites that I played with in Lightroom when I got home. You can click here to view.

Whitney is offering the class again in March, and other classes are being developed for the future (can't wait for the Lightroom one). Locals, you can contact info@doveweddingphotography.com to get on their newsletter list to find out about upcoming class schedules.

37 Weeks & Prepping for Baby

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37weeksweb (202 of 3)So this is what 37 Weeks Feels Like.
The end is in sight…so close yet still weeks away.
Lots of funny, not-so-good pains. My back especially. Ugh. Every little twitch and jerk and cramp I wonder, "is this it?"…and then of course, it isn't. Excited. Tired. Feeling large and puffy. (lol) So many things in my head…

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So, in preparation for baby, a few things are ending up in my online shopping basket these days…and some other things I'm getting organized…

1). Creating Keepsakes Sweet Baby Kit
I have one other CK Kit of the Month I purchased last year (a destination-travel theme) that I used for our Puerto Rico trip, and I loved it. (Hmm…I don't think I ever shared pictures of the pages, so I'll have to do that…)I was surfing some other blogs and saw some pages done with it, and I think it will be perfect for me to use for the first year. (The paper it comes with is reversible so it works for both boy or girl. I haven't done nearly any scrapbooking since I've been pregnant, so I'm looking forward to getting back into it!

2). Brooke Burke's Belly Wrap
Hey, if Brooke Burke can look like that after four kids, she must be doing something right! I'll let you know how it goes and if it helps any. :) Even my dentist's (female, 30-something, just had a baby a few months ago) first piece of advice was to get one of these. LOL. I plan on doing Weight Watchers and some of Brandon's P90X DVD's as my plan post-baby. I'm soooo excited to wear my wardrobe again.

3). Hospital Bag Packing
I have a pretty good list right now of what I'm going to bring and my bag is about half packed. My childbirth classes (which were the best – totally recommend to any first time Mom!) really helped with this. The delivery nurses at the hospital taught these, so I know exactly what to expect and what I can or can't have or should or shouldn't bring. That said, please do share if there's anything you really couldn't live without and I'll see if it's not on my list! 

Cominghome (201 of 3) 

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A few of my friends have asked about baby's coming home outfit. I'm happy to share this with you…it is a cute little simple teddy-bear set complete with hat and mittens…it's one of the few newborn outfits we received. It was given to us by my Auntie Eleanor (yes, I'm 28 and I think I will always call her "Auntie" vs. "Aunt"), my Mom's long-time friend, who was there the day I was born, which makes it all the more special. We have a back-up or two in case this little guy ends up being a big boy and needing something larger, but I'm holding out that this will work.

4). Birth Photography
This, I am especially excited about. Though most people who are not into photography or scrapbooking as much as I am, look at me like I'm crazy to be doing this. My friend Amber V.  is going to be present during the end of labor, the delivery and the special moments after, to catch all of it photojournalistic style. I approached Amber a few months ago about this and we have been working out all the details…

Brandon and my family have come to grips over the years with my insistence at capturing everything on film, but this is an all-time new one for them. I am sure that yes, while they could attempt with the point-and-shoot camera like everyone else, they know I would never be happy with their photo skills, and especially with something as important as this…so the type-A person in me is leaving it to the professional, and a friend I feel comfortable with. The way I look at it, one less thing they have to worry about and instead can just sit back and cater to me and baby (Ha). Plus, there is the fact that if baby comes before my Mom arrives by plane, and it's just me and Brandon, I want someone else there to help capture this for all our friends and family far-away.

 To see examples of the look we're going for:

http://alisonbynum.com/category/birth-story/
http://www.lifeinmotionphotography.com/slideshows/teaganbirth/
http://www.katekellyphotography.com/slideshows/Rhonan/
http://www.pennynoell.com/grace/

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I've been going at the same pace as I always do, and I'm finally slowing down these last couple days…this week I'm trying to get EVERYTHING done on my to-do list (design wise) so there is nothing to worry about…I completed a photography class the past couple weekends…we had a real bride and groom photo shoot with real people…I will share the outcome of that here soon! :)

Then it's time for relaxing and waiting patiently for baby. So excited the weather is blessing us with 60+ degree days for the next week. :)