Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ruth's Baptism

Ruth on Sunday 1-29-12 and Sunday 1-29-17. Hard to believe what a difference 5 years makes.
Ruth was baptized a few weeks ago. I'm not sure I have ever seen her quite so happy and giddy with excitement. But she is most always so happy it's hard to be sure. She out of nowhere Christmas day, while sitting in Church asked me if she could be baptized. I told her that we could talk about it after Church. But I was really surprised. Unlike Britt, which we saw coming from a mile away, we didn't see this coming. If anything Ruth who loves the people she sees at Church and the lunch she eats ever week there, has never cared for anything more than that. She has always been impatient for Church to be over, and gets this giddy little voice when she would tell me that it says "11:50, that means it's almost time for preaching to be over!"

However, I mentioned it to Gary that evening, but it was Friday night before the three of us could sit down and really talk about it together.  Like with Britt we told her that what she wanted to do was two parts, first it was telling everyone that she knew what God had done for her and second she was promising to be faithful to the Church living a life of service.  I didn't think she was ready, but Gary said it couldn't hurt to let her talk with Bro. Chris.  So we mentioned it to him, and he spoke to her at the New Year's Eve picnic.  When I asked her what they talked about, all she said was alot of stuff, but to pray to know when it was time for her to join.  Gary and I decided to sit on it, hoping she'd wait a while longer, after all it's a big commitment, especially when you are 6.5.  We thought maybe we'd revisit the issue in a few months after the Fellowship Meeting.  But she kept bringing the topic up.

In the meantime the Sunday of Christmas she had also asked me for paper to make notes like I do.  So I gave her a notebook and she had been listening and keeping notes for several weeks.  She quit napping during services.  At home, her biggest failing had been having a whiny attitude about clothes and her younger sister.  But we saw an abrupt change in that, a very noticeable decrease in that behavior in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Don't get me wrong, they still fight I caught them at it just this afternoon, but it isn't near as frequent, and her attitude in general has improved.  When she began insisting again, I thought perhaps it was time.

We asked her if she wanted to be baptized that day to do communion that night, or wait a Sunday so Grumps and Ahna could come.  She decided to wait a Sunday if that was ok.  I told her I thought it was ok to wait, that if she lived to 70 and on average sat in communion twice a year, she could wash feet a total of 128 times in her life; but she'd only ever be baptized once.  It ended up being two weeks before we could have her baptism.  But she was so eager.  We initially planned to do it the following Sunday, but it looked like it would be impossible for Grumps and Ahna to come down.  When we asked her if she could wait one more Sunday, her reply was "It would be easier to remember that I was baptized on Britt's 8th birthday, but next Sunday is ok."

We asked her if she wanted to be baptized that day to do communion that night, or wait a Sunday so Grumps and Ahna could come.  She decided to wait a Sunday if that was ok.  I told her I thought it was ok to wait, that if she lived to 70 and on average sat in communion twice a year, she could wash feet a total of 128 times in her life; but she'd only ever be baptized once.  It ended up being two weeks before we could have her baptism.  But she was so eager.  We initially planned to do it the following Sunday, but it looked like it would be impossible for Grumps and Ahna to come down.  When we asked her if she could wait one more Sunday, her reply was "It would be easier to remember that I was baptized on Britt's 8th birthday, but next Sunday is ok."

For her baptism, she called out her favorite song, "I'll Fly Away" 363 in the number 12.  She asked me to make two braids and had picked out the prettiest pink dress with butterflies on it.  It was a little long, but I told her it would be ok.  Right before hand, she said she was a little nervous, and sat on the step and held her breath as long as she could.  Then asked if that would be long enough.  I told her Bro. Chris wouldn't hold her under even that long.  So up the steps she went.  She had the biggest smile, the kind that makes her eyes squish up almost until they disappear.  When she went in the baptistery to Bro. Chris, the water was up to her chest, and if she'd slipped we joked later, she would have baptized herself.  Afterward, on the way home Ruth couldn't quit saying how happy she was, and Rebecca told her, "I don't wanna get bab-i-tized."  I told her good that she was too little anyway, but that she should be happy for Ruth.  Rebecca said "Me like it when Roof is happy, but me not getting bab-i-tized."

I wish we could have gotten a picture with both sets of Grandparents, but Mister
was on turn around at work, and left before we could get a picture with them.
Ruth has been the happiest little girl and we are so happy for her.  We hope that she always finds such happiness in God's house and in His service.  I hope she can always remember this day.  She has always had the most giving heart, she took her own money this year to buy Britt a birthday present, and she was more excited about giving it to him, than he was about getting it.  She almost never complains when I ask her to do something around the house, and even offers to help out with things before I ask.  I hope she always uses that desire to help others and give to others and do for others in a way that will glorify God.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Happy 8th Birthday, Britt


It is so hard for me to believe that you could be eight.  The years seem to have gone by so quickly, even though the days sometimes seem to drag on and on.

You have grown so much this year.  You have gotten so tall, and I can sometimes see the man that you one day will become in your face.  You are anxious for more privileges that come with age, and yet you don't want any more work.  You wanted a big boy room and the big bed back, but you still want to cuddle with me in the bed on early mornings and have me read to you in your bed alone at night.

You love to play Mario.  Your favorite part of school is science.  You love your free time to build and explore whether that's outside in nature, or tinkering with your inventions.  Your imagination seems to be endless.  You love your sisters, and include them in everything you do.  Perhaps the biggest surprise to me this year is that you've found your first love.  She's smart as a whip, feisty and funny, and she's a red head.  You talk about how much fun she is, and how pretty she is.  And you've asked so many questions in the last several months about when you can get married and how to pick the right job when you are grown up.  Thankfully, there are still the questions about your elves and superheros.  After all, I'm not in a hurry to see you too grown up.

You still struggle with defiance, and being honest with me.  You are persistent and determined, and when you direct those traits you are amazing to watch, you can accomplish so very much.  When you dig in those heels and won't be directed though, law you are a terror.  You haven't grown to the point that you understand it is better to fess up to your mistakes than to hide it and be punished twice.  You still like to run the gamble that no one will find out.  It's something that you are working at.

Last night we had your cake after supper, we opened your presents, and you were so happy to be turning 8, even though I insisted you wouldn't be 8 until your birthday minute.  You were so excited.  You were so much fun to watch.  The best news may have been telling you that Daddy is going to build a new nature table, and you are going to get to help.  You want to do everything he does and enjoy when he lets you be a part of things with him.  You were also so excited to get the big transformer fat head style stickers from Grandmother and Granddaddy.  You were so disappointed when I told you that the wall was too textured for them to work.  But now you have some that fit your closet doors, and you couldn't wait to have me hang them up.

Little boy watching you sleep last night in one of your many strange positions, it struck me all over again, just how blessed we have been to have been your parents.  We love you, more than you know, and always pray that God will guide you and that you will grow to be a loving and honorable man.


Monday, January 16, 2017

21 weeks and 5 days

Twenty one weeks and five days, that was the point in pregnancy that we found out that Abigail was gone.  Presumably lost sometime around 19 weeks, as that's when I'm last sure I felt her.  Today marks 21 weeks and 5 days with Kate.  Everyday we make it past this, is more time than we had with Abigail.

I haven't written about Abigail in a while.  I think some people have made the mistake of assuming that somehow this pregnancy erases or at least completely negates the last one.  As if a new baby somehow replaces the child we lost.  Don't get me wrong, we are very happy to be pregnant again.  We tried for what felt like a long time.  We very much want this child, but it is a complicated thing to be pregnant again after loss.  In someways the time between pregnancies was a blessing, though it was gut wrenching to wonder if somehow in our loss if I could even get pregnant again.  Just as I read alot of Still Standing after our loss, and found much of it comforting and reassuring; I now find myself reading alot of their sister site, Pregnant After Loss.  I have also relied alot on some women online who have also experienced loss, a few of us were able to get pregnant about the same time, and that too has been an encouragement.  Even though a few of those women have already lost these new pregnancies.  Through these women, I have learned that having a year to grieve before we become pregnant again has helped me in alot of ways to deal with this pregnancy.  I did have the time to work out alot of my feelings about our loss, and to come to terms with it.  I don't know how long it will take to get over my anger toward the doctors who should have been managing my care with Abigail.  I don't know how long it will take to get where I can completely trust medical professionals again.

I'm not entirely sure if I will ever get over this feeling of "waiting for the shoe to drop" as Gary describes it.  He said the other night, it's almost this foreboding feeling in the back of our minds, as if we are just waiting for the inevitable bad news that is coming.  It doesn't mean that we aren't happy about this pregnancy, or that we aren't doing our best to enjoy this pregnancy, but we are also no longer naive.  Babies do die.  71 babies were stillborn a day last year in this country alone.  1 in 100 births will be a stillbirth.  That is more than 10 times the number of children that die a year from SIDS.  So why do we act like it doesn't happen?  And what's even worse, so little of why and how to prevent it is even known.  There are some correlations, such as having one still birth increases your odds of having another, but no real answers.

It is all this uncertainty combined with our very real life experience, that makes a new pregnancy so difficult.  As much as we want this child, it is normal to steel ourselves against the very big what if.  However, I feel like we have done a really great job in managing our anxiety.  We have tried to find understanding and knowledgable doctors.  We have researched and watched my thyroid, which remains our best guess at what happened to Abigail.  We talk about our fears and try to mentally check them logically.  And when even that doesn't help, there is always crying together and prayer.  While many families can only cope with the possibility of another loss by acting like there is no pregnancy until the baby is born and is ok, we have tried to enjoy as many things that we did with the others as we can with this baby.  We have taken pictures, picked out a name, and talked with the kids about what they might do with their sister.  However, when they ask if this baby will die too, we are honest.  We tell them we hope not.  We tell them we are doing everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen again.  Just this weekend we had a scare and had a rushed appointment today.  An appointment that scared me to death, one that ironically enough was on the same gestational day.  You better believe I was not only reliving the last time I made it to 21 weeks and 5 days, but seeing the horror of what this 21 weeks and 5 days could be.

There is alot of joy over a new baby.  We got all of our family photos hung, and optimistically I had Gary hang an empty one for Katherine.  However, it co-exists with grief and longing.  I miss Abigail every day and all she might have been.  I see her around our home in my mind's eye.  One day in heaven all of that will be resolved, but for now I am here. We are here. To share that you can be both joyful and sorrowful and that it doesn't make us anything less, but is a testament to both our incredible journey and our strength.  This pregnancy may not look like the others.  I didn't announce it the second the test said positive.  I'm not positively giddy.  I'm waiting on making big decisions like registries, baby showers, and setting up a nursery until after we reach 26 weeks and the age of viability.  Even then, I may not be 100% comfortable until Kate is born and I'm holding a child that is ok in my arms.  And you know what, that's ok.  If there is anything that I have learned from Abigail it's that I do the best I can with what I know, with what I have at the time.  And I can't spend my time beating myself up for what I think I should have known or should have done.  Just like I can't flay myself for what I should have known about my thyroid, about how I should have never blindly trusted a doctor, and for just not knowing.  This baby is loved, and we'll get through this pregnancy no matter the outcome.  I'm not going to fake what I'm not or regret what is different, because I can't beat myself up for being where I am, I'll just continue doing the best I can with where I'm at.  Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, and enjoying each day that we get.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Living Room

This space has turned out to be my favorite in the house.  Have a look.

The blue grey in here was the first thing we painted.  I worried a little at first that it would be too dark, and then I was surprised that it was more blue and less grey than I expected it to be, but I absolutely loved it.  With the white trim it has such a classic feel to it.  It's so neat and clean.  I love the back of our front door.  It's got this beautiful red-oak finish, and all this carving.  For some reason though, no one carved the front and they painted it this flat confederate blue.  So sad.  I'd kinda like to move it to our room at some point, and repaint the outside, since the door at the office opens to the outside on the side of the house.  And get a door with a big glass piece in it, to let more light into the living room area.  Again down the road.  The only other thing I would change about the space is at some point, we do want to change the tile floor out for wood, and we can't decide if we'd prefer the red oak finish or the dark wood finish.



When it came to setting up the room though, it took me a little longer to figure out what to do here.  Since we weren't able to pull down the wall before we moved in due to the delay in closing, it left me scrambling to try to figure out where things would go.  Dad and Gary have this move things once policy.  And since I was trying to do the bare minimum of lifting this pregnancy, I needed to make decisions as much as possible while Gary had help there.  Turns out the furniture fits the space even better than I had thought it might.



With the front door and screened porch lined up with the french doors and the back porch (which is also screened in), I can get a great cross breeze during the day, and even with the porches we are getting a surprising amount of light.  The front of the house faces almost due South, a little Southwest-ish maybe, and of course all the white trim helps brighten up the room.

I have all of our favorite pictures hung up in here.  Nearly everything in this room has been a gift.  there is the Bible verse from the Mizells that Sis. Lori Gowens made.  There is another Bible verse from my Secret Sister, Sis. Carol Rowel.  There is the verse from Be Still My Soul that Sis. Lydia Crouse got for us.  And the three pictures on the other side of the tv, were all gifts when we got married.  One of them Sis. Kelly Spezzano made for me.  Right by the door is a small plaque about family that Old Carrol gave us (I believe Sis. Wanda picked it out).  There is also the bird picture that use to hang above my parents couch when I was small, a picture I learned to count with.  This is where all the pottery Aunt Cindy made for me sits.  And during Christmas I had my manger scene out here.  Everything just feels so comfy about the space.

It's also more in the middle of our floor plan.  The kids rooms to one side, the dining and kitchen to the other, guest room sort off the side of it along with the big screened in back porch.  I can have the kids doing school at the dining room table while I work.  I can read in my big chair while they play on the back porch.  They can watch Netflix while I work in the kitchen.  It's just a really great spot.  I have mentioned several times now, but I absolutely love how the layout works for us in this house.

The living room is currently L shaped as long as the wall remains in place.  I was at a real loss what to do with the smaller leg of the L.  For Christmas at least I decided I wanted to keep the fireplace.  It was a real eyesore before, several different color schemes going on - pink inside, the greys and browns on the outside stone, that off white/pale cream on the top and the hearth.  Alot of places where the finish was completely knocked off, dingy, and full of cat fur.  Memaw even accidentally vacuumed up a dead mouse out of the fireplace.  It seemed to fit really well on the smaller wall, so Dad and Gary with alot of effort and some piano rollers moved it across the room for me.  I decided if it was going to sit there for Christmas pictures that I at least wanted to try to clean it up and touch up the paint.  After I was finished, it looked so much better that I've decided to keep it.  That wall is where we are hanging all of the really nice family pictures we had made back in the fall.  And I even have a frame set aside and saved for Kate.

On the opposite wall for now, I have the last two book cases.  One has some fun books as the kids get older, and the board books for Kate.  The rest of their school stuff that didn't fit in the big cabinet is in the other bookshelf.  I had school stuff at the last house on the two small shelves that Britt has in his room, and they were really too cramped.  So, this works better.  I also have the rockers in here, and have spent alot of time reading to Rebecca since the move.  The others like for me to read, but she can't get enough of it.  She often wakes me up in the morning with a book in her hand.  She reminds me of myself more and more each day, and not only in the worst way.

This wall, currently has the tiniest good for nothing closet, and the AC thermostat, so taking it out will be a little more work.  But again, this will do for now.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Laundry Room

The same night that Gary hung my blinds in the laundry room, he also hung the shelves and hooks back up in the laundry room for me.  So the tiny room, that should have been super easy and a fast one to finish, was one of the last ones on the priority list.

We ran into a couple of snags in this room.  The first was that somehow in the move our old washer had the dispenser tray break off.  It was already cracked, but when it finished breaking off, the washer was dumping all the water it pumped back behind the tub where the dispenser use to be.  Gary tried several things to force the tub further back, but when it started it's rotation it would stay back.  So, off we went to replace it.  We found the replacement for a good deal, but it took us a little time.  It was money hadn't initially planned to spend, and it left me washing clothes at the laundrymat or Mom and Dad's for a few weeks.

The other issue, is that the paneling in this wall moves back and forth quite abit, so I was a little worried about hanging the same shelves back up on the wall.  We tried the sturdy shelves from Mom and Dad, but the post that help them stay in place were just too long.  They wouldn't fit around the sink.  We debated keeping the sink or not.  Taking it out would give us so much more space in there for acutal storage, and as it is the water comes at little more than a trickle.  However, Aunt Joanna when they were here suggested taking some of the stone paint and giving it a speckled rock finish, and repainting the stand.  I like the idea, but I'd have to find some of the paint, and I'm not sure how much trouble it will be.  I also have a tough time fitting around the sink right now, with my pregnant belly.  So maybe that will be a project for down the road.

It took a little time to decide on a color.  I love the green/blue color that Bro. Chris and Sis. Lydia have in their house, but I wasn't sure how it would go with everything else in the house.  I also, typically have looked for cooler colors to make the space look bigger, but totally threw that out the window this time.  The color is the same as the office, though it looks a little different in here, due to the paneling.  When I was painting this space, I was a little worried, with less light it looks more crimson.  A color that I'm not fond of as an Auburn fan.  But I think it all turned out very nice.  Despite again, not being quite the shade I was initially going for.

So with the original shelves cleaned up and hung back up and some of the hooks hung back on the wall, it looks pretty neat and organized.  At some point I might like to find a pin board to hang over the drier.  I have some papers on how to wash my LulaRoe, and a cheat sheet for more Norwex projects that I'd like to be able to hang up and not have to shuffle through a stack of papers to find, and that's when I'm not knocking them behind the hot water heater and trying to climb under the sink to reach them.  There's not tons of room on laundry day.  I typically leave the folding door open and have my piles in everyones hampers, some inside the door and some into the hallway.  But it's not a big deal.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Office and Library Space

Last night after we got back from our busy day in town, I found the final piece of my Christmas had arrived.  It was something I got for organizing my craft stuff near my desk.  At the old house, I had the desk up against the big bay window, and I used all that window as extra storage space.  I don't have that here, so I was having a little trouble getting everything organized in a usable fashion.  The solution was to get two items I had been eyeing for a little while with my Christmas money.  So I finished up the space last night, and wala!


You may or may not have noticed when I took the photos of our bedroom, that there was one side that wasn't photographed.  That's because it is completely open to what was designated as an office space.  I almost immediately new that this is where I wanted all my good books and my desk.  I have a clear sight line down the hall toward the rest of the house, but it's outside of the of the main bustle of the rest of the house, so I can have quiet to think.  These windows also look across the bulk of the backyard, so it's a good place to watch the kids from while I work.  I don't have as good of a view of the backyard from anywhere but the back porch.

The one challenge with this room, was that I needed to be able to find a way to differentiate the space from our bedroom area.  I finally settled on painting it differently.  We were using lots of red in accent colors in our room, mostly pulling from a blanket that Gary really liked that we use on the bed. So, we looked at the two reds in the paint book we had.  We felt like going dark, would work in the space due to the large windows, and the white trim looks amazing against it.  I was going for a slightly more muted rustic red, but apparently we got the other red from the page mixed.  I like it, even though it wasn't quite what I was shooting for.

My big pretty bookcases covers most of the space on the one wall without windows.  Since we added the 6 white bookcases around the house.  I went through my books.  I gave some of my childhood favorites to the kids.  Britt got the least, he ended up with all my Matt Christopher sports books.  I gave Ruth all of the American Girl series, she has really enjoyed them.  Rebecca got all the horse books and my Beverly Cleary books - because if there is anyone out there like Ramona it's Rebecca.  Having one of the white bookshelves in our bedroom for some of our more fun reading books, gave me more room on my nice shelves for more churchy books from Granddaddy, and it also gave me an empty shelf to place all of Abigail's things.  And of course all my literature and history books are near the bottom of that shelf still. Her glass angel was broke in the move, but everything else is on the shelf.  The white furniture also looks really good in the space I think.  When I was painting everything else white, I also painted our little filing cabinet/printer stand to match.  The rolling organizer in the corner is one of the new pieces I got with my Christmas money, it holds alot of washi and still has plenty of room for my scrapbooking paper and the like.  The little mint/pale teal caddy is another piece I have wanted for a few years, that I got with Christmas money.  It currently holds all of my stickers, mailing supplies, and misc desk items that I need.

It's a great space for my planning, for doing bills, and lesson planning.  In the evenings if I'm still working when Gary is ready to watch tv, or relax, I can hang out with him while I work.  And since the tv pivots on an angle from the wall, sometimes I watch tv more than work.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dining Room

We finished up the dining room on Monday.  The last thing Gary had to do was to hang the three blinds in the window.


I mentioned in the kitchen post that I used this blue grey color in all of the common areas.  It looks a little different in the dining room area.  For one thing there is more light in there and for another about half of the room or so is paneling instead of the heavily textured drywall that's everywhere else in the house.  The paint looks a little different on it.   But like so much of the house, a clean coat of paint and white, white trim does wonders for it.

The other thing that totally transformed this room was taking out the huge cabinets.  I already mentioned that I have used the 6 bookcases around the house.  They were all painted white.  There are two in the girl's rooms, and of course you saw the one in our room.  We took the back off the fourth and put it in the bathroom.  The last two are in the living room area.  The cabinets are holding kids toys on the back porch now.  The wall was really open without the cabinet overwhelming the space.  Of course with the fridge sitting in here, it's a little bit unbalanced looking now.  I love all of the space in this room though.  We can pull all the chairs out from the table and still have plenty of room to walk around.Right now I have nearly all the school stuff in the big cabinet in this room.  I've thought about trying to add one more shelf inside it to hold a few more small things.  Especially since the larger section is really bigger than it needs to be.  I still really love this cabinet.  It looks nice and it closes up to hide all that STUFF.  I have a couple of items out next to it, that I need to be able to get into.  Would rather have them out of sight too, but I don't have some place else readily in mind to put them.

One of the odd things about this room is that they cut a hole in the wall to plug the microwave into an extension cord to plug it in on this side of the wall.  This is the wall that we want to take out.  For now though I have the chess table and a couple of chairs there. I also have the kids school posters up there for the time being.

Other than that I just have the china cabinet and my spoon racks up as usual.  I also hung two of the shelves and placed some of the glasses we've collected around the country over the years on them.  Gary has often complained that I keep those glasses that he likes tucked in the bottom of the china cabinet so I thought this was a good way to display them.  The table was especially pretty at Christmas.  Now it just looks a little plain, and I'm trying to think of what to do with it.