Sunday, October 30, 2011


"When you are like. . . one. . . you can play basketball with me."

Friday, October 28, 2011

glitter glue & gourds

Glitter glue + gourds & pumpkins from my friend Becky. . . so autumn!! 

(and can i just say it feels good to be sleep deprived & typing with one hand again?)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

eli {pt. 2}

The kids went to Deeann's until my mom and dad could get them and we headed up to the hospital (a forty minute drive). 

We googled name meanings on the way and narrowed our list down. . . both of us had been planning on two more days of baby preparation.  You can do a lot in two days and . . . we felt a little rushed and harried. 

I was trying to be relaxed, even though I wasn't, and so I requested a smoothie from the McDonald's drive through before we got to the hospital. As I sat there, breathing through my contractions and sipping my smoothie, Daniel started snickering and suggested that I finish my drink before we got to labor and delivery:  "They'll never admit you if you walk in slurping that. No one ever believes you're in labor anyway, and your smoothie won't help!"

I thought he had a good point, so I stood in the hospital lobby and gave myself a brain freeze before facing the daunting task of convincing the triage nurses that I was indeed about to have a baby.

And once again, I didn't exhibit enough classic labor symptoms to be admitted, so we hung out on the floor and walked the halls, burned our baby playlist from itunes, chatted about names, with me growing crosser and crosser as my labor progressed.  Anyone who has had a baby knows that you can be okay one minute and when that next contraction starts, you can turn into a grumpy bear.  My fear has always been that I'll swear.  That didn't happen, but according to my husband, I was really rude.

We were walking around the corner of the nurses station and Daniel didn't know that I was laboring and he pointed to this little fuzzy orange hat placed on the statue of a child.  "Look, isn't that cute?"  Apparently I growled:  "I don't wanna look at that punkin hat."  He loves to tell that and point out that all of the nurses heard me, too.

I had such different emotions this time.

I didn't want any pain. I was scared and stressed. I think the past months have just been so painful and so stressful that facing the prospect of known pain was discouraging and scary to me.

After four hours and my doctor's insistence, I was admitted and finally had a beautiful warm room and a hot shower and music and soft lights. . . all of those cool delivery room things that I love about our hospital;  I was in transition and didn't really know it and since everyone else thought my labor was going to take awhile, I requested asked for  begged for an epidural. 

Another thing Daniel loves teasing me about:  I didn't realize that the anesthesiologist was on call and had to drive to the hospital. . . I guess I just thought he was taking his sweet time in a doctor's lounge or something and I said at one point "Where is Mr. Epidural?!?!"  Daniel insists I said that just as he walked into the room.  I don't know.  I'd like to think he didn't hear that.

I'd never had an epidural before, but it wasn't a big deal at all;  however, just as he finished, and advised me that I would be feeling warm tingling in my toes, I told my nurse. . . "Ummm. . . I have to push."

And I did and squeezed Daniel's hand about in half and the room filled up in a minute and the epidural was pretty pointless and my doctor was looking at me and saying, "you push and I will lay him right up on your stomach!"

Pain, pain, pain, a year and a half of hopeless, wrenching pain, ache ache ache, so much loss.  I was so, so scared.  Daniel was turned away with his head against the wall, crying out to God. 

And more pain, now.

All this pain

I wonder if I'll ever find my way

I wonder if my life could really change at all

All this earth

Could all that's lost ever be found

Could a garden come up from this ground at all?

And suddenly there were tiny cries.  And Eli.  And he was in my arms and we were looking at his perfect little body  and Daniel was weeping.  Oh, Jesus, thank You, thank You, thank You.  I couldn't believe he was alive.  I sobbed.  He was warm.  He was perfect.  He was ours.

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of us.

His cries were different than Gabe's and I was thankful for that and instantly aware that Eli was his own little person. I can't even describe the way my heart exploded with love for the little person God had given us in the midst of so much grief and so much darkness.

All around

Hope is springing up from this old ground

Out of chaos life is being found

In You. . .

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of us.

. . .You make me new, You are making me new. . .making me new. . .
(Beautiful Things, Michael Gungor Band, playing while Eli was born)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

shining moments (eli pt.1)

***I am not a fan of pt.1, pt.2, pt.3 blog posts, but the way my life is going right now it's that or nothing!  So pt. 1 of Eli. . . .

I want to capture all of these shining moments. . .

so much beauty and so many tears. . .

laughter that these walls haven't heard for so, so long;

deeper grief over the little man who completes our family circle. . . yet isn't here to share all of this joy.

more questions from our kids.


my heart thudding to a stop as I peek at my precious Eli, sleeping, my hand reaching out. . . and tears and limp relief to feel that warmth, that tiny beating pulse. Thank You, God. God, let him live.

Jacob, holding a pacifier up to his chest: "Hey, Mom, if I hold the fass-i-pier right *here* Eli seems to like it a lot better!"

Cambria: "So was he crying when he came out of your belly button?"

When I knew we had to leave for the hospital. . . I wasn't ready. . . wasn't prepared for the emotions. I hadn't been to Gabe's grave to tell my baby that he would still be my baby, that I wouldn't forget him. I'd planned to go on Friday; the irony of October 15 as Eli's induction date and the cemetery cleanup day wasn't lost on me. How strange and twisted life can be.

My heart - breaking to take away the little special things that mark one son's life here;

The same heart - singing to welcome the precious unborn son inside of me.

But it was Thursday.

I hadn't even packed the kids yet.

I was in the middle of painting a verse above Eli's bed.

And in the middle of chicken enchiladas.

And (using my friend Pam's Cricut) putting a huge READ sign in the upstairs hallway. I had the R up.

I hadn't colored my hair yet (pre-labor ritual for me) or packed myself, or burned our baby #4 playlist.

But sometimes babies don't wait for all of the checks to be marked in the boxes.

I called Daniel, and he came home to me distractedly tying up the loose ends of my multitasking.

"Why in the world are you making *chicken enchiladas* when you've called me home so that we can go to the hospital?!"

Well, I don't know, I guess it was all out on the counter and I didn't want it to spoil?   Side note: We ate them four days later. Worst enchiladas EVER.   I'm not sure how I ruined them in my distraction, but I did.

We left.

We stopped at our little man's grave.  

I stood there, looking at his tiny grave, at his beautiful name, Gabriel James, remembering his tiny first cries and the joy he brought to our lives. I would never forget him; yet as soon as I left I knew that my grief road would branch. . . Gabe would be a big brother.   He wouldn't be the baby.

I wept for how cruel and wrong the picture seemed.  I wept for the little man I would never hold again. . . here.

The kids left tiny pumpkins.

I blew kisses to him. 

Took a deep breath. . .

then we drove away.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Eli David

He's here, our little number 4! Eli David, born early this morning at 1:36 am. . . 8lb, 5 oz, oh so beautiful, so perfect. Thank You, Jesus.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

roman shade out of mini blinds (nesting pt. 2)

My friend Rebecca made a roman shade out of her kitchen blinds over a year ago and I still can't believe I waited this long to try it out myself.

So easy.

You need existing blinds.

About two yards of fabric.

And some sort of glue.

I used a glue gun.

Very simply, you cut out all of the blinds except for the "bones" of your roman shade.  I left  6 blinds. . . they were about twelve inches apart.

Then cut your fabric so that it overlaps the stretched out blinds about two inches all the way around. 

I ironed my fabric so it would have nice creases where I wanted to fold it.

Then I laid everything out on the dining room table and started gluing.  I did the "bones" and edges first, then the bottom, and glued the top at the very last when it was actually hanging on the window.  **Note:  beware of gluing the cords.  You want those to move freely.

The detailed directions on Apartment Therapy's site absolutely forbid hot glue.  Call me a rebel, but hot glue works just fine.  But maybe that's because I use my grandpa's super duper industrial florist's glue gun which is a step above most cheapie versions.

The hardest part is carefully cutting a hole for the blind cords.  I cut a tiny, tiny slit.

This took me about an hour. . . it is seriously one of the easiest projects I have ever done.  My total cost was $15 and that was because I bought heavy canvas fabric just because I liked the pattern on it.  $2-$3 per yard cotton should work just as well.

Detailed directions at The Little Green Notebook.  Or google "roman shades out of mini blinds" and see what you find.

Jacob's room is next, but I'm looking for some atlas / world map fabric first. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nesting Pt. 1

So if you talked to my husband he would tell you that I am nesting.

I think that may be too kind of a term.

Nesting at our house sounds a little more like Angry Birds than soft cheeping and layering of layette pieces.

Ever read P.D. Eastman's The Best Nest? I texted my sister in law the other day that I was becoming the mean mamma bird in the book. . . she sends the papa bird all over the place frantically trying to find the perfect spot for her baby and is really quite crabby in the process. I always thought she was mean. And then, this week, I was reflecting on my nesting and this thought popped into my head. . .. I nest like. . . . . oh my goodness, I nest like the mamma in P.D. Eastman's book!

Anyway, my husband promised me two days at home and that he would do all in his power to cross off all items on my honey-do / baby-get-ready / nesting list.  My absolute favorite item on this list is not baby related at all, but I am in love with it.   Daniel doesn't want anyone to know that he made it because he fails to see the beauty in reclaimed trash and doesn't want his name or carpentry skills attached to something that took him two minutes to make and two minutes to hang. But, drumroll, I have a pallet shelf rack now!

Did I say that I love it?

Now I think I need some words in the space between the pallet shelf and the alphabet board (from Loren. . . the giver of perfect gifts).

I keep mulling over ideas for a short phrase that would just fit.

Grab a Kleenex, blow your nose and keep studying. not kind enough

Study to show thyself approved too King James-y {Jacob was reading something in the unfamiliar-to-him King James Version the other day: "Mom, is this supposed to be Godlier or something?!"}

Readers are leaders ummm. . . no.

Oh well, I'll think of something. Suggestions welcome!

Nesting Part 2 tomorrow. . . check back for instructions for a DIY roman shade out of existing blinds.   I love this allllmost as much as the pallet shelf.   But not quite.