Thursday, January 29, 2009

Paint Projects

It's been 5 months since Hurricane Ike, and we are finally getting around to making the needed repairs on our house! We got the roof repaired last month, and last week we had the interior repairs (mostly paint and drywall work) completed. The next step was to get the exterior of the house cleaned and painted, but I have been stuck on picking exterior colors.

Luckily, my friend Amanda introduced me (via blogspot) to a wonderful resource who gave me a written consultation on the colors. Her name is Layla Palmer, and I've posted her blog link on the right. I simply sent her a picture of our house, and she replied back with color options and even specific color choices with a virtual rendition. So cool! We loved her ideas so much that we decided to get her recommendation for our rental house, too. Below are the before/after colors (just the virtual renditions, not the actual after-photos yet) that we've decided to go with. As soon as we get homeowner association approval, we'll be getting started. Let me know what you think!

Here's the before picture of our current house.

And here's the "after" rendition using Layla's color recommendations (black shutters, taupe siding, and white trim.)

Here's the before picture of our rental house.

And here's the "after" picture using a rendition of the new colors (taupe siding and white trim/columns):

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Doctor's Perspective

I met with my regular og/gyn doctor today to get her perspective on our recent ultrasound findings. In case you don't already know this, I LOVE my doctor! She is Dr. Pamela Promecene-Cook and she's been my doc for at least 10 years now. Of course, any woman that has a baby knows how important it is to have a good relationship with your ob/gyn, and having Connor and now with our new little one, I feel so blessed to have Dr. Promecene.

The summary of our discussion together was very positive. Dr. Promecene tells it like it is, and she spent at least 20 minutes talking with me addressing all my concerns. The first thing she pointed out is that our "risk" for Downs was still actually considered normal. The cutoff for an elevated Downs risk is 1:150 and ours was 1:180, so technically we don't have much to worry about there.

My main concern was the baby's 2-vessel umbilical cord, so I focused many questions on that condition. I told the doctor that I had made the mistake of doing Internet research which scared me tremendously, and she definitely agreed that I should NOT be looking on the Internet -- too much unreliable information out there. In my doctor's experience, she has not seen many 2-cord babies that ended up with problems. She reviewed our ultrasound extensively and stressed that EVERYTHING was perfectly normal and that the 2-vessel cord was an isolated abnormality that doesn't indicate ANY problems at all. But just to play it safe, they will be doing extra ultrasounds just to monitor the baby's growth, which is good news for us because we'll get to see our baby girl again!

The last thing we discussed was the baby's size. I have been concerned for some time about her growth. I'm at 19 weeks and I've only gained 3 pounds so far, and each time we go for a scan the baby seems to measure a day or two behind the last scan. But, my doctor impressed upon me that she is measuring perfectly average -- between the 40-50th percentile for all her measurements. I think it dawned on me today that I've been using Connor as the measuring stick, which isn't really fair because he was a boy and a big baby (95th-100+ percentile in everything)! So I just have to get used to having a dainty little girl and realize that she's growing just fine!

That's about it from today's appointment. Our next ultrasound is in mid-February and we'll be anxiously waiting to see our precious little girl. My prayer for that visit will be that the ultrasound still shows everything as perfectly normal and that the baby will have grown proportionally since the last scan. And thank you to everyone for your prayers on our behalf -- I'm convinced the prayers make all the difference!

Monday, January 26, 2009


I'm not sure why, but this afternoon/evening I've been feeling so down. I have been trying so hard to be positive about the baby and to give all my concerns to God, but sometimes the nagging worry just eats me up. So I know it was God's hand when I received such a special email from my friend Christa tonight. She forwarded me an account of one of her friends who recently went through a very concerning time with their own baby girl, and after many, many tests indicating abnormalities with their unborn baby, she was born completely healed and healthy. I read the inspiring email and just burst into tears, because it was exactly what I needed to put me back in a positive frame of mind. Thanks so much, Christa!

I have an appointment with my ob/gyn on Wednesday morning to discuss the outcome of our ultrasound last Friday. I'm very much looking forward to hearing her perspective, because she is always very direct and honest with me. Hopefully I'll know a little more after that appointment about the course of action from this point forward with our baby girl. So stay tuned.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Date Night

Jeff and I were delighted to finally get another date night this weekend. With his busy work schedule and our hectic lives, it is definitely difficult to squeeze time in for ourselves. It was a relatively short evening but a really nice break. We had some dinner and then saw the "Benjamin Button" movie. It was really good...the premise was a little different, but we enjoyed it.

We have been so thankful for our friend and babysitter, Cindy, because she LOVES the opportunity to come over and watch Connor for us. They play nonstop when she's here, and Connor just adores her. We laughed last night -- Connor watched Jeff and I walk out the door for our date, and he just said, "Bye!", and went right back to playing with Cindy! He didn't miss us a bit!

Here is a picture of Cindy and Connor from last year.

Jeff and I are still digesting all the news from last week with the baby updates. I admit I've been praying often, and if I find that I can't sleep or have a nagging worry, I am doing my best to hand it over to God. We both still laugh and shake our heads at the thought of a little girl in this family. We couldn't be more ecstatic! I have been a little more emotional these days, no doubt because of the additional female hormones! :-) But it has also been very reassuring these days when I feel her move and kick inside me. This little one is VERY active in the mornings, usually between 5 and 7 am. I wonder if that's a sign of times to come!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Little Baby Courtright

For those of you that don't know, my doctor sent us for an ultrasound today after our recent bloodwork indicated that we have an elevated risk for Downs Syndrome. Although the risk isn't significant, it was worth checking out. I'm at the 18-week mark, so it was still a bit early to see a lot of detail on all the organs, but overall the ultrasound looked really good. They did, however, discover that the baby has a 2-vessel umbilical cord (most babies have 3 vessels instead of 2) so they will be closely monitoring the baby's development from now on. Unfortunately there are a lot of scary things on the Internet about this condition, so I am vowing to stay away from Internet research and just rely on God and our doctors that everything will work out fine.

The exciting news from the ultrasound is that we now know what sex we are having. If you haven't heard by now, the male-dominant Courtright clan is about to get an injection of estrogen. That's right -- we're expecting a girl!! Jeff and I were both SHOCKED in a wonderful way. We have no idea where to begin...girl names, girl clothes, and girl emotions! Yikes! :-) Below I've attached our ultrasound pics and I'll describe them for you because they are a bit hard to see at first.

That's our update for now and I'll do my best to keep you updated. We certainly appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and we have faith that everything is going to turn out just fine with our precious baby girl.

This first picture is a 3-dimensional picture of our baby girl's face. Her little hand is curled up by her cheek on the right side of the picture.

It's almost impossible to tell in this picture, but it proves that she's a girl! These are her leg bones with her little girl parts in the middle marked by the tiny X.

This next picture is a profile shot of the baby's face (towards the left side of the picture) and that's either her arm or leg in there (at the top), I can't tell which.

The picture below is, again, almost impossible to see, but this is her nose and lips. (I'll take their word for it!)

The next picture below is a 2-dimensional shot of her face...looks a little smooshed at this angle!

Finally, the below picture is another profile of her face. Right next to her face is her little hand, almost like she's about to suck her thumb but instead making a number 1 sign. (Texas Tech fans will like this shot because that's their hand signal!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Little Anxious

You always know something's up when you get a call directly from your OB/GYN! My doc called today with the results of my Quad Screen. It's the test they do at 16 weeks to screen for abnormalities, including Downs Syndrome. Although my test levels were perfectly within "normal" range, my test for Downs did indicate an increased risk. My chance for having a Downs baby is 1/180, which is still considered normal, but based on that figure my doctor is sending me for an ultrasound this week to get checked out.

I have many friends/family members that have had the "false positive" of the Downs Quad Screen, but of course it's just one more thing to be anxious about. The good news is that Jeff and I will get to have an earlier ultrasound this Friday (our next scheduled ultrasound wasn't until Feb 3 to find out the sex.) So if we get lucky, maybe we'll know this week whether we'll have a little boy or girl addition to this family!

Of course, our guts are still telling us it's a boy...that's the only gender that seems to be produced on the Courtright side! We'll be thrilled either way, but we are definitely saying more prayers today for the health of the baby. We also appreciate your thoughts and prayers as well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome to our new blog!

I remember back in the day when I first heard the word "blog" and wondered what it meant! I just look at it as a cool way to keep our family and friends updated on what's going on with our busy family.

I've always enjoyed posting new pictures and videos through various methods, so maybe this new spot will be the perfect channel to bring it all together. I owe my dear friends Dana and Amanda for getting me excited about blogs and inspiring me to start this one. I hope you enjoy, and check back often for updates!