Friday, October 23, 2015

Dining Room Update

The last time you saw our dining room, it looked like this:

The biggest change we made to our dining room was building a farmhouse table! We used Ana White's plans and I love love love it. It's probably my favorite thing we've built (okay...3-way tie between that and the built-ins and our bed :)). We built it awhiiiile ago (March 2014). It was our first major project since becoming parents AND our first one with a Kreg jig! We love our Kreg jig now and use it all the time.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Quiet Times During the Little Years

Disclaimer: I don't generally like to talk about "how to do quiet times" - it feels a little bit like taking an Instagram picture of my quiet time and saying "look at this awesome time that is just between me and the Lord.....and all of you".  :) I don't want this to come across as boasting or pretending like I have it all together at all. I have read other tips from mommas that were really helpful for me in setting up a quiet time in this season of life so I wanted to share as well. Please also feel free to share your tips in the comments! I'd love to learn how you prioritize your quiet time in the day...whatever season of life you are in! 

2+ years into motherhood, I feel like I am just starting to get into a rhythm for my daily quiet times. And honestly, most of the rhythm is knowing there is no rhythm.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Living Room Update

When we bought our house, one of the things that drew us to it was the big open living room. For an older house that didn't have the modern "open floor plan" that's common today, it still feels very open and spacious. Here's what it looked like when we bought it:

We added built-ins which were a TOTAL game/room/life-changer. I still look at them daily and think about how much I love them. I seriously still love them so much. I think the last time you saw the room, it looked something like this...

Since then, we've changed out a lot of the furnishings (I'll have a source list below) and it feels homier and homier as we go.

Here's what we're working with these days...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Books I'm reading

I always find it interesting to see what others are reading and enjoying and I LOVE getting good book recommendations :) Here's what I'm currently working my way through...AND I would love some good, fiction, easy-read book suggestions! (By easy-read, I just mean not like theologically deep or challenging :) ). 
Okay so I haven't started this yet (or bought it even) but I'm dying to! I LOVED her first one. Any other Mindy-fans out there??

Friday, October 9, 2015

Sunroom/Mudroom/Playroom: Update

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When we first bought our house, we knew we loved this room. But it took us a couple years to really find what it was best used for! It's such a great bonus space - so much natural light, vaulted ceilings, durable tile...and it is a pretty large room. It's naturally a sunroom - a lot of windows and two doors - but it's also a mudroom/entry room. It needed to hold our shoes, bags, outdoor items, and be fairly durable. Our home is always lacking in storage so we needed it to have some storage built-in...but it needed to be creative since there are so many windows and we didn't want to lose any of that light.

Once we had Kate for a few months, we realized it would be an amazing playroom. We could keep the toys (saving our feet from endlessly stepping on toys), and still see our kiddos. Plus with the tile, it's totally fine if they make a mess because it's super easy to clean up.

My biggest hurdle in this room was getting over the 90's style that was allllll over it. Red square tile. Yellow paint. Brass fixtures. I die. I finally convinced Rob that board & batten was the way to go and we pulled the trigger one weekend (with the help of Sarah Jane, obviously). We immediately fell in love. The red tile suddenly didn't seem so bad when it wasn't right next to that 90's yellow. The tan and white muted everything beautifully! It was a little bit of investment of time and money (lots of paint and wood and a borrowed nail gun).  But it was so worth it.

Here's the sunroom/mudroom when we first moved in:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Preparing for Baby #2

I wondered a lot before having Charlie if we were prepared for Baby #2. I felt like we didn't have that much to get and I wondered if I was just missing something. Since then, I've had a few friends expecting their second baby who asked for advice on what they needed to get. I thought it might be helpful to list out a few "staples" that we added to prepare for Charlie. In addition to this, we also had to get some new clothes since Rob wasn't too keen on Charlie wearing Kate's dresses :)

So here are the new things we bought in anticipation of Charlie:

-Rock-N-Play. My friends kept telling me how amazing this was and I finally decided to try it out. When we had Kate, there was recall issue going around for these that they have since resolved and that kept me from getting one at first. But OH MY GOODNESS - one of the best baby inventions ever. We used ours for at least 3 months constantly. It was a life-saver.

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Navy & Nautical Nursery for Our Little Boy

Well this is only 10 months late :) But I wanted to share some pictures of our Charlie Boy's nursery! When we envisioned a room for our little boy, I knew I wanted to do navy as a main color. I never get sick of navy, I think it's such a nice masculine color, and I knew that I would reuse anything that I got for this room in the future. We decided to add a slight nautical theme as well since we hope that Charlie will grow up to be a brave, courageous, adventurous explorer! :)

(Wall color - Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore - same color from when this was Kate's nursery)

First up- gallery wall! We reused what we had here, except for the C and the oar! We spray-painted 2 old frames and the mirror with navy paint. I bought this print from Jones Design Company. Top left is a sailing picture that Rob took at the beach. Top right is a little DIY art I made with letter stamps (it says "sail away with me" over and over - from one of my favorite songs "Sail Away" by David Gray). And the hats are hand-me-downs from sweet, generous friends!

Friday, September 25, 2015

What We've Been Up To

Let's see... it's been a minute or so, hasn't it? :) Besides my two most recent posts about our miscarriage, I hadn't blogged since November 2013. Here's a few *minor* things that have happened since then :)

We announced we were expecting our 2nd child! Kate is 8 months old here.

We found out we were having a boy!!! This is us telling our family at Goodberry's.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Living with Loss

It's been a few months now since we lost our third baby and I shared about it publicly here. The response was seriously incredible. I could have never imagined the outpouring of love and support we received. It was truly amazing and really ministered to my soul. It was encouraging that people took the time to say something (when it can be really difficult to know what to say). It was encouraging to hear other people's stories of how they have experienced the loss of a baby through miscarriage or even a different type of grief. It has even been sobering and sweet to hear how God has used our story since then to friends who have recently lost babies. God is so good to bring beautiful things out of pain and heartache.

I wanted to talk a little about what it's been like in the months following "the worst days". It really helps me to process it all by typing it out and maybe God will use it to help someone else in their processing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Severe Mercy

On June 3rd, we found out we lost our 3rd baby. The baby was a surprise but we were so excited and already picturing life with a newborn, 1 year old, and 2 year old. We had known about him/her for about a month. I was picturing welcoming our baby right after Christmas. We were talking about names. I was sorting through maternity clothes. I was envisioning the nursery, planning for how Kate and Charlie would share a room. We had already had our first ultrasound and everything looked normal and healthy.

When we went in for our 2nd ultrasound at 10 weeks, the baby had no heartbeat. We were heartbroken. We were immediately flooded with intense grief while simultaneously having to decide how we wanted to proceed with the miscarriage. I felt like I was floating above my body, watching myself weep while trying to make such a difficult decision. I ended up having to have 2 surgeries (D&Cs) in 4 days. The first one was unsuccessful and we got a call 2 days later to go in for an ultrasound followed by an emergency surgery at the hospital we had just left 2 days before. More emotional trauma than I could have imagined, and much more physical pain than I had hoped for.

I can honestly say this has been the hardest time in my life. I have never known grief like this. I have never felt such a cloud of sadness hanging over me all the time. I miss our baby every day. I have never loved Rob and our children more - never felt so bonded and close to our little family. I have never clung to Scripture more, feeling it truly feed my soul. I have never felt more near to the Lord while still feeling so incredibly weighed down with grief. 

The "why" questions creep in (why did I have to be pregnant only to lose the baby? why did the baby have to die?) but my heart has been quickly silencing them. Because I know that God is good, no matter what. And I know that He weeps with me. And I know that His ways are higher than mine and His plan is perfect. And ultimately, deep deep inside, my heart rejoices because our baby has everything we would've dreamed for them already - he/she has it all in Jesus.

While we are still grieving and processing and recovering, life moves on...which is really beautiful and also can be really hard. Our children still need to be cared for - and just taking care of them is really healing and soothing. We are so thankful for two beautiful, healthy, awesome, hilarious kids. But it also feels so strange - everything from a practical, logistical standpoint is the same. It's as if the pregnancy never happened - everything has been erased. But I'm not the same at all. I feel totally different and changed forever. And I don't have a lot of physical evidence of this huge thing that has happened. I don't have a baby to hold - no pictures, memories, nothing...just one ultrasound picture of when we saw our baby's little heart beating and their body growing. So I'm learning how to balance honoring the baby's life with the process of letting go of our child and trusting them in the arms of Jesus. 

I share all of this for a couple reasons. First, I have had brave women before me share about their miscarriages and their stories have helped me tremendously in processing mine. Some family, some dear friends, some from a distance. I had resources to ask questions, ask for prayer, etc because women before me had shared. 

I also share because our baby's life matters. Because God created it. Because life is beautiful and precious and worth honoring. While I only have 2 children with me here, I am a mother of 3 forever. I was still our baby's mother, even for just a short time. I am forever changed. And one day I will get to meet this sweet baby. Praise Jesus.

A few things that I wanted to share that have comforted me:

-Our community of family and friends. We shared with our family and our closest friends as soon as we found out. We shared with our small group soon after. They have all been so caring and supportive and loving through this time. They have brought us meals, prayed for us, sent us Scripture, cried with us, sent us beautiful flowers (in picture above) and have consistently checked in with us. We are so thankful for the community the Lord has blessed us with.

-Psalm 16 - pretty much all of it. But particularly these verses...
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”....
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

-This quote from Tim Keller (Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering)
The grief and sorrow drive you more into God. It is just as when it gets colder outside, the temperature kicks the furnace higher though the thermostat. Similarly, the sorrow and the grief drive you into God and show you the resources you never had. Yes, feel the grief. There is a tendency for us to say, “I am afraid of the grief, I am afraid of the sorrow. I don’t want to feel that way. I want to rejoice in the Lord.” But look at Jesus. He was perfect, right? And yet he goes around crying all the time. He is always weeping, a man of sorrows. Do you know why? Because he is perfect. Because when you are not all absorbed in yourself, you can feel the sadness of the world. And therefore, what you actually have is that the joy of the Lord happens inside the sorrow. It doesn’t come after the sorrow. It doesn’t come after the uncontrollable weeping. The weeping drives you into the joy, it enhances the joy, and then the joy enables you to actually feel your grief without its sinking you. In other words, you are finally emotionally healthy.
-And this beautiful quote from Elisabeth Elliot, who continues to minister to my heart:
God never withholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God's refusals are always merciful -- "severe mercies" at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better.

I am thankful to God for our baby's life and for how good and gracious the Lord has been to us during this time. Thanks for taking the time to read a little bit of our story.