Home is Where...

>> 9.30.2009

A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built on love and dreams.

Here are a few *before* pictures of our new house. I still have not taken the *afters* because it isn't after quite yet! We still have a lot of work to do.
These were taken by my Daddy in mid-July; a couple of weeks before closing. After working on the house for so long, it is interesting to look back on how it started. Not to mention how my belly has grown during the last few months!

A view of the front- (the guy on the steps is our realtor, Clayton). Notice the massive trees growing through the porch and in the backyard.. which are not actually trees at all.. but weeds on steriods.

Here is the view from the front door- the kitchen is to the left and the living room is to the right. Please admire the fabulous color scheme: red hall, yellow living room, turquoise kitchen and BROWN trim. Le sigh. As one friend put it... it is like they were trying so hard to be trendy that they missed.

The kitchen- minus all appliances....

The bathroom- which after taking a couple of broken mirrors down we discovered had at one time been pepto-bismal pink.. but apparently, that was just TOO CRAZY... so they painted it white and included...

this lovely mural... and although the shower rod blocks her left hand, it must be mention that she is wielding a handgun. Yes, there is a pregnant mermaid with a handgun above the shower. Can it get much better?

This is the master bedroom- and the only room we did not paint. Yay!

And finally, le bebe's room- although the walls are white we found about 837 nails (along with many more holes where we assume nails used to be) in the walls- we think it must have been collaged at one point..I have never spackled so much in my entire life.

There are many more pictures of various nooks and crannies, but this is the basic idea. Much painting and repairing has ensued.. but there is still much to be done. Because we know that we will outgrow this house fairly quickly, we are not doing any major remodeling (though I have to admit I have moments when the Extreme Makeover bug hits me and I just want to gut the place). Most of the work is cosmetic and relatively shallow.. but it already looks so much better.

Sometimes, I walk around and it will hit me that this is the house our son will spend his early years in. I will just stare at the bathtub, picturing him splashing in it... or at the backyard, seeing Ryan and Liam running around, chasing the dog and laughing. This is our home- we are starting our family here.

The other day, I put the cleaning supplies in a cabinet above the space for the washing machine, rather than under the kitchen sink...

Because of the baby. That will be here. In a matter of months. AH!

It's all so crazy. When did I become a grown up?!


Only When We Are No Longer Afraid

>> 9.29.2009

The LORD is for me; I will not fear... Psalm 118:6a

Throughout my life, my parents' faith has been a constant source of support and comfort. I have often relied on it when my own faith has failed. It is strange, I know... but even when I am not sure if God exists for me, I have never doubted that He exists for them. I know He will not let them down.

Since the moment I found out I was pregnant I have constantly battled with fear, doubt, and insecurity. It has certainly stolen a certain measure of my joy. I often cannot focus on the wonderful miracle that is happening within me because my mind is so preoccupied with worrying about the health of the baby. I have also kept myself from bonding with him out of fear of falling in love with someone I will never meet. I have been afraid to want him too much. Which is honestly ridiculous because even though he was such a surprise and I did not even know I wanted him... I have never wanted or loved anything more in my entire life.

Last night I went home to my mom and dad to ask for help. I have not been feeling Liam move strongly or consistently for days. While there is still an occasional poke or twinge that reminds me of those first early movements... I can hardly remember what those strong jabs I was experiencing last week feel like. So I find myself headed down the same road I have been up and down throughout this entire pregnancy. And to be perfectly honest... I am just... tired of it. My mind is tired of it. My body is tired of it. I did not feel like I could do this anymore.

When I got home, my dad and I started talking. He reminded me that I have battled with fear since I was a very small child. I would worry myself sick over things I had absolutely no control over- often ridiculous things that made absolutely no sense, like my parents dying in their sleep or whatever it was I imagined lurking behind the shower curtain when it was pulled closed.

When I expressed my exhaustion over this constant worrying about the baby... he made a very good point:

This is a battle I am going to have to fight for the rest of my life.
So I might as well get good at it.

If I keep giving into these insecurities, doubts and fears... I am going to live a pretty miserable existence. Liam Eliot is now a part of that existence; he was from the moment I saw that little pink line in the window of the test and he will be until the day I die- regardless of how long he is a part of my life.

The struggle with fear will not stop when they place Liam in my arms. It will not stop when he takes his first steps or goes to school for the first time or gets his driver's license... or goes to college.... or gets married....

I can't stop the fear from knocking on my door... but as my Daddy put it: That doesn't mean you have to accept the delivery.

When my mom and dad prayed for me, I realized how very familiar that sound was: they have been praying for me my entire life. They know exactly how I am feeling right now because they experienced it for the first time when they found out they were having me.... and they have relied on prayer throughout my entire life; trusting for my safety.

I don't want to be miserable. I want to enjoy every moment I have with my little boy... so I am determined to get good at this. I am not going to give in anymore.

Even though my folks and I don't see eye to eye on everything... I gotta say:: they are pretty darn smart.

My family at my brother's high school graduation in 2008


Sweet Dreams

>> 9.28.2009

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one.
Leo J. Burke

So I have been M.I.A. due to the craziness that surrounds a move. But we have officially moved into our new house now... and I could not be more pleased. We are still getting unpacked and situated (and probably will be for some time) but I will definitely be posting some before and after pictures as soon as possible. We have been working on the house for so long that it feels like a miracle to actually be living there. Sleeping there last night was both strange and wonderful. But I must say... it is already feeling like home.

In other news, Ryan and I have started the daunting task of mentally preparing
ourselves for a newborn. I think a lot of people tend to get so hung up on physically preparing their homes for the arrival of their little one that often their heads get neglected. Because this pregnancy caught us so off guard, I started to worry that this could easily be us.

All four of the kids I take care of were taught healthy sleeping/feeding patterns using the methods laid out in On Becoming Babywise. After watching it work consistently in four kids, I was pretty much sold.. but what completely sealed the deal was having a stranger walk up to me in a used bookstore, ask if I was expecting my first, and say,
"Well, can I suggest you read Babywise? I have three kids- including a set of twins- and it really, really, really works!!"

Yep. That was it. Sign us up.

Attachment Parenting advocates beware- you are probably not going to like this book... and may find yourself occasionally offended. It is strongly against child-centered parenting. However, the calm, confident, happy kids I have watched it produce and had the pleasure of taking care of over the last five years cannot be argued with. It creates an environment that all members of the family can enjoy and it seems to greatly reduce the stress and exhaustion associated with being chained to an infant.

So, that is what is sitting on our night stand at the moment. With all of the craziness of the last few weeks we have not actually made it past the introduction... but we are planning to read it together over the next couple of months. While I am pretty familiar with the techniques, I wanted Ryan and I to go through the book together so that we are on the same page. I think being solely in charge of Liam Eliot's schedule would be an unnesessary stress. Plus... it sets a good precedent for moving forward in the future: making parenting decisions together.

As I have said before, the decisions a new parent has to make can be overwhelming. I think Liam is going to be raised with an ecclectic mix of parenting techniques as Ryan and I prioritize our lives and try to figure out what the hell we are doing (which I am not entirely sure can ever actually be achieved) ... but every decision we make will be made out of love for our son. We love him so much and want what is best for him.


She's Got Style. She's Got Class.

>> 9.17.2009

In every girl is a goddess.
Francesca Lia Block

As I have mentioned before, I basically have the most amazing job in the universe. When I first started, it was just me and the boys...and my days were spent playing in dirt, talking about bugs, wrestling, chasing, tickling, catching balls, and working on my dinosaur roar. Even after their little sister was born, boy activities ruled on by sheer force of will; however, our days are now spent a little bit differently. With her brothers in school, my little princess revels in her girlishness.
Check out the kicks...
"'Chelle... It's a gurlwee day. Yet's go to my woom," she will often say almost immediately after hearing the garage door close behind her departing boys, "There is wots of pink fings to wook at."

So, our days are filled with pink.
We read pink books and use pink construction paper. We play with pink dolls in their pink clothes and put them in their pink dollhouse. We do our hair with pink ribbons.

We also do "wots of girl fings." Coloring in princess coloring books. Dancing and singing (and a fair amount of chasing and tickling- but in a girly way, of course) Oh, and.. we cannot forget dress-up- the dressing up the little one can do.

This little girl is so precious and loving. Everyone must be loved extensively before they leave her presence. She is my "diaper helpah," my "wunch (lunch) helpah," and, of course, my "cweeneen (cleaning) helpah." She has a soft heart, a fiesty spirit, and a sense of fashion second to none. Watch out, world!

She is always happy to see all "her boys" come home at the end of the day... and when they do, she can discuss bugs, wrestle, and play dinosaurs with the best of them, but I know she looks forward to our girl time. Maybe almost as much as I do.


Feel the Burn

>> 9.16.2009

Indigestion is the failure to adjust a square meal to a round stomach.

Oh, man... my chest, as usual, is going up in flames in protest to..well, pretty much anything I put into my mouth. I find myself guzzling milk like it is going out of style and popping Tums like candy..but it only helps temporarily.

I looked up what causes pregnancy heartburn and this is what I found:
During pregnancy, the placenta produces the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus. This hormone also relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach, allowing gastric acids to seep back up, which causes that unpleasant burning sensation. (You can read the entire article here)

I tell myself that it is payback for my complete lack of morning sickness and, the truth is, I would rather suffer from heartburn every day of my pregnancy than suffer through three months of puking my guts up. So I am trying not to complain.

Speaking of complaining, I am slowly starting to wonder what it is I ever had against my pre-preggo body.


Now:In comparison to my ever-expanding waistline, new set of thunder thighs, and extra chins... it was so beautiful... and all I ever did was point out all its flaws and tell it it wasn't good enough. I was so abusive! I only hope I haven't scared it away forever!

Dear Body,
After Liam has vacated the premises.. please return to me. I promise to be nicer to you, to compliment you more, and to appreciate all the hard work you do. Remember all the good times we had together? We will exercise and eat right..and I will be satisfied that you are doing your best. No longer will I stare in the mirror, pinching and prodding, critizing your every short-coming, or fussing when you do not fit into that size 4... a 6 is fine, really. I will even take the 8.... I promise.
I miss you.
Love always,


Revalation at 23 weeks, 3 days.

>> 9.15.2009

He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything.

I have been thinking lately that I may not being very fair to my body. Here it is, working hard, trying to grow a PERSON... and because it hasn't complained too much, I just continue like nothing has changed.

There is much going on at this moment: work and school take up a lot of time and every spare minute is spent painting, packing, cleaning and (eventually) moving into the new house. We will find ourselves headed over there at 10:00 at night to start our evening's work... and drop into bed exhausted at 2:00 in the morning- only to do it all over again the next day. I have a lot on my mind and spend many restless nights tossing and turning before the alarm goes off at the ungodly hour we have it set for. There is always something to do and somewhere to go... and I truly do not remember what it feels like to spend an evening at home. Relaxing? I know not of this "relaxing" you speak of!

My body finally decided it had put up with enough.. and went on strike this weekend. If it was only here to serve me.. I would most likely ignore its whining and continue on as usual; however, this is Liam's home as well. It was not a fair amount of cramping made me realize that I could potentially be putting him in danger that I really stopped and evaluated the situation. I apologized profusely for my lack of consideration to both him and said vessel and I believe we are back on good terms... However, I have definitely decided I need to make a few adjustments to how I am handling life. As difficult as it is for me to do, I need to cut myself a little bit of slack: rest, hydrate, eat well, sleep often... and stop all that heavy lifting, for goodness' sake!


Contact Me

>> 9.01.2009

Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don't isolate.
Michael Jordan


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