The arrival of Devon

I hope you can forgive our complete radio silence on Vanderhouse as of late, but we have a pretty good excuse. He's little, he's cute, he's a cute, little handful. He's our son, Devon.

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We welcomed him into the world on July 6th (missed 7-7-17 by one day!) weighing 8 pounds 10 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. He was born with his dad's blond hair and blue eyes and his mom's chubby cheeks.

After the long, and at times painful, process that was pregnancy and pre-pregnancy, I didn't know what to expect from the birth experience. I had prepared as much as possible with birthing classes and a tour of the hospital, but I still felt apprehensive and clueless about what lay ahead. The only thing I was certain of was that I was sick of being pregnant and just wanted it to be over.

Luckily, the baby agreed, and on Monday, July 3rd, 9 days shy of my official due date, things began to happen. It was very subtle at first, but as the week progressed, my symptoms ramped up to the point where I finally decided to go to the hospital on the morning on the 6th after being awake all night long with painful cramps. I wasn't sure if they were contractions or not but I wasn't willing to take the chance of staying home and having something happen. The hospital was about an hour away from our house so I was definitely concerned about making the drive while in labor. I was glad that we left when we did because my contractions became much worse in the car. I became the typical movie-mom-in-labor as I yelled at Denny to go faster but also to somehow avoid every bump on the road.

We did make it to the hospital and after a quick check, I was admitted. Even after being in labor all week, it was somehow a shock to find myself putting on a gown and getting hooked up to an IV, knowing this might be the day that I meet my baby. The timing couldn't have been better. We were admitted around 7:30 am so we didn't have to labor overnight and Denny had a full night of sleep so he could fully support me. And best of all, the entire Vanderburg clan was in town for a few days and would be able to be there for the birth! That was a miracle because Denny's brother and sister and their families live on opposite ends of the country and we are very rarely all together.

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We settled into the birthing suite for what I thought would be a long day and possibly night, but that ended up to not be the case. Every time they checked me, I had made substantial progress. I opted for an epidural so I wasn't aware of any discomfort at all and in fact, I slept!

My doctor came around 11:30 to break my water and then things really went quickly. I had to call Denny back from the cafeteria at 1:00 because I was about to start pushing already. Again, I was in no discomfort at this point. The epidural, while painful to receive, had eliminated all of the contraction pain and left me calm and able to focus on what I had to do.

Half an hour of pushing later, and Devon entered the world!

He was immediately placed on my chest in all his squirmy, slimy, naked glory. He gave a few ear-piercing shrieks that let us know that his lungs were working perfectly.

I held him skin to skin for about ten minutes until they needed to do a few measurements and put a diaper on him. They brought him right back and then everyone except Denny left the room. Those first few moments as a family of three were such a blur. I just wanted to see what he looked like, but he was too close to focus on. I could see bits of him: a tiny ear here, a little tuft of hair there, perfect little fingers scrabbling around on my skin. I could have looked at him for hours, but we knew that we had family eagerly waiting out in the hallway.

Once everyone left, we were moved to our postpartum room. It was late afternoon, and we relaxed and had some lunch. Everything felt so peaceful. The entire birth process had been quiet and peaceful, just the way we wanted Devon to come into the world.

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After such a rocky pregnancy, I was so relieved to have him earth side. Every minute with him has been a joy (okay maybe not the ones at 2:00 am). He's a very content and intelligent little guy (as much as a baby can be). He doesn't cry unnecessarily, and we're beginning to understand him when he does. We're looking forward to some upcoming travel adventures with him, even though he's only three months old. We know there is so much to look forward to as parents. We're only just beginning this new phase in our lives.

Vanderhouse pumpkin carving extravaganza

Every October, we celebrate fall and the changing of the seasons with a fun, family-friendly get together where we carve pumpkins, eat tasty treats, and enjoy the cooler weather outside with friends and family. This was our first year having this event at our new house as a married couple so it was really special and we had a great turn out! Check out some of the photos from the event below. Hope to see you there next year!

 This year's invitation designed by Leah.

This year's invitation designed by Leah.

Saturday Haul

We don't like a lot of clutter here at the Vanderhouse. Every weekend we load up the trusty Ford Explorer with assorted items from the house that either need to be sold, donated or returned. We head off on our rounds to consignment clothing stores, the Goodwill and whatever other stores we need to return items that we've changed our minds about.

Then we fill it back up! We never know what we're going to find on our Saturday adventures. Some of our favorite places to look for bargains include the Goodwill, Salvation Army, Outreach Thrift, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, garage sales and estate sales, and various mom and pop thrift stores in the metro area. There are some real bargains to be had and we've bought everything from furniture to clothing, all second hand.

This weekend we made the rounds and came home with several good finds.

Before thrifting, we stopped at the Dollar store for some party accessories for our upcoming luau. Then we stopped into Dodson's Health Food which is our favorite local organic/veggie/healthy store. I picked up a box of Gin Gins which is a ginger candy and several Quest bars. Maybe I'll make a separate post about my love of Quest bars someday!

At the Goodwill, Denny bought 4 new shirts for $1.50 each (except one which was half off making it .75). I bought a brand new Lauren Conrad lace dress for $3.99 and a peasant top to use for my next Medieval Fair costume for $2.99.

Denny's new swim shorts are vintage and came from an estate sale just down the street that was full of treasures! We had to leave many behind as we prioritized our purchases. Let's just say I'm still dreaming of a certain typography letterpress kit with tons of old, kitchy stamps that was sadly out of my price range.

But the things we did get were very useful and will no doubt aid in future Vanderhouse projects. We picked up a chainsaw, jigsaw and belt sander for $80 total. These tools will be going to work shortly on the kitchen renovation we're planning. Stay tuned!

Along with the swim shorts, I grabbed a few rolled prints of Audubon's birds. We are currently having an Audubon exhibit at the Sam Noble Museum so I was familiar with his work. It's beautiful! These were a bargain at a $1/each. It will cost more than the print to frame them but it's well worth it.

Hope you enjoyed this Saturday's haul! We'll have haul posts from time to time so you can check out all of the crazy places we go and things we buy. It can be quite the adventure sometimes.

The backyard project

We moved into our house in October of 2013. When we first moved in, our backyard looked like this:

Insert fail horn sound

If I was the only one living here, it would still look like that today, but luckily Denny had other ideas and together we began to dream about what our perfect backyard might look like.

Step one was to hide the clutter of our neighbor's yard (and their annoying dog) and the alley behind our house. We began planning for an 8 foot high fence to surround the backyard and really give us a private and enclosed space to enjoy. I was dubious that we'd be able to build such a big structure and have it actually stand up and look nice! With some major help from carpentry whiz and all around handy person, Denny's dad Dennis, we were able to pull it off. So in the spring of 2014, we built a fence.

It took all of the spring to finish, including a weekend of staining the entire thing. Then it was on to the landscaping. Denny, being the beast that he is, hand-tilled and then reseeded the entire yard!

We let it rest through the hot summer months and finally finished up in the fall with a few final touches.

At a last minute end of season sale, we bought several trees and shrubs and began the landscaping project.

Fast forward to this year and the plants are in full bloom! We decided that it was time to tackle another project on the back porch. The previous owners had left a mess of different materials, including brick, concrete and stone, forming a path from our back porch to the driveway.

When Denny planted the grass last summer, he pulled up a flagstone path that had originally lead to our back gate. We decided to recycle those flagstones into a new path, lined with the brick that we pulled up from the existing pathway.

And last but not least for this year was the addition of our backyard lights. I bought these during an Amazon lightning sale over the holidays so we've been hanging onto them for awhile waiting for the perfect spring evening to finally put them up and enjoy them.

Our backyard is an ever changing and evolving place. Plans that we have yet to accomplish include:

  • A new grill
  • Painting the table
  • Planting and landscaping under the big tree and behind the garage
  • Filling containers with the flowers we're growing

Making Norman's 39th Annual Medieval Fair The Best Yet!

Good day to ye fine visitors of Vanderhouse!

That's Medieval speak for welcome to our latest project.

Every year in April, Norman plays host to the Medieval Fair, one of the largest free outdoor fairs in Oklahoma. We have faithfully attended every year but this year we wanted to try something a little different and actually dress up for the fair.

A few months ago, we began planning and constructing our costumes. Denny researched armor and I searched for a good dress supplier. His costume was a little more involved than mine since he ended up creating all of his armor from scratch (more specifically from cereal boxes!) Many a pleasant winter evening was spent in the company of the hot glue gun, attaching thrift store belts and fitting grommets.

The final results...

Denny's shirt came from Historical Clothing Realm

My dress came from Holy Clothing

All of the hard work paid off when we were finally able to put on our finished costumes and parade around the fair in full Renaissance attire! This is definitely only the beginning of this kind of activity. We already have our sights set on attending another fair in May where we will tweak our costumes even more. For now, this is farewell from Sir Denny the Dashing and Lady Leah of Lorien...

Brought to you by Harlequin

1 Second Everyday Video 2014

Last April, I decided to start a project using an app called "1 Second Everyday" that would allow me to capture a video clip each day and then assemble them into a video at the end of the year. After missing a few (hundred) days, mine ended up being only about 200 seconds long. Still, it's a good glimpse of 2014 with a bit of 2015 thrown in at the end. We'll see what new twist we can come up with for 2015's version.

A quick recap of 2014 (with a bit of 2015) by recording a second of video each day I could remember.

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