!! progress !!

This beauty's getting a makeover, Shelly-style!

Awesome wooden "locker" cabinet that we found for only $45 at an antique shop last weekend
Being scraped...I love orange, but this was a bit much!
(I'll store my upstairs sheets and towels in it, this old house has absolutely NO storage)

Re-purposed porch railing from a flea market
as our new upstairs banister...
NOT looking forward to painting this one!

...sneak peek


it's late but...

I just wanted to talk...

We're still working on that room upstairs. Marvin gets home so late every night now, this project has been quite a bit different from our other remodels. I now know the true meaning of "weekend warrior"! It's so frustrating to walk up there every day and see NOTHING happening. And then in the few precious hours we have on Saturday and Sunday progress just c.r.a.w.l.s along because there's weekend life to attend to.

This morning Marvin had to work for a couple hours, so we did a bit of schooling, I did a lot of laundry, babysat a couple kids for a couple hours, made some food, made a whole lot of bread and did a whole lot of other Saturday-ish things. Once again, the day was two-thirds over and NOTHING happened upstairs.

(In his defense, I will say that Marvin was outside in the garage and at the hardware store working on the new banister that we need to install at the top of the stairs.)

Finally, I dragged myself away from life and headed outside to pick apart a vintage chair and get it ready for it's makeover. Alec and Ava assisted me with sandpaper and pliers and we made a nice bit of progress. By the time it was ready for paint, it was too cold and dark outside so we'll have to wait till tomorrow.


I just finished watching Confessions of a Shopaholic on Netflix. Funny movie! Marvin was asleep. Otherwise I would have never watched it, it would have made him gag. Once in a while everyone needs a sugary girl movie, right?

I loaned three maternity t shirts to a friend this afternoon and when I handed them over I cried. See, we had gotten pregnant at the same time and were all excited to have our babies together so we went shopping for maternity clothes together when we both started showing. (which was early for me since it was my fourth, and early for her since she's having twins!) But, since I don't need the shirts right now, and she really does, I loaned them. I thought I was over the miscarriage mostly, past the crying part, you know? But...as I handed her the bag, I blurted out, "I know this is unreasonable of me, but could you not wear those shirts when you're around me? It would just be too hard for me to see them on someone who is pregnant that is not me." and burst into tears. Awkward. For both of us.


I had a really great time with the kids tonight at dinner. Hee-hee, yeah, I"m sure you're thinking what?  Marvin was sleeping off a headache in bed, and for some reason, I just sat at the table with them long after we had finished and we were all giggling clowns for about half an hour.  Singing songs, making faces, fake burping, pretending to spill stuff...it was hilarious. And silly. And fun. And we should do it more often. Usually they eat while I clean up and there is no hilarity. But tonight I sang them songs and they listened and laughed. It was much more fun than cleaning up.

Right now, I have nine tabs open in my browser. Five of them are File Folder games that I want to print. One of them is the address and phone number of the place I need to take my sewing machine for repairs. One is my email. One is a photo blog that I stumbled across and I'm not quite ready to be finished soaking in their beautiful images and dreaming of expensive lenses while I drool. And the last one is Blogger.  I"m obsessed with tabs. For some reason, bookmarking isn't enough for me. I somehow feel that if I close a tab it's gone forever. Sometimes I really have to just take a deep breath and clear them because I have so many up that they're small and the funny scroll sideways arrow comes up and our computer starts freaking out.


I haven't sewed in a while and I miss it. I screwed up my bobbin case doing all that shirring with elastic thread and now when I sew my tension is totally funky and every seam looks like a toddler did it by hand. Not good. I had to close my shop and I can't even work on my rag quilt or make my new curtains with my new fabulous fabric from IKEA. You'd think that getting it fixed would be a priority, yet there it sits forlornly with it's light off. Why do I always put off the important stuff? I'll call Monday. Maybe.


OK, I"m all talked out...callin' it a night...au revoir!


peace like a river...

Yes, I know this is my second post containing "peace" in the past month, but I've really felt so much of "the peace that passes understanding" that I just can't help it! God is so real and near to me right now, and I'm so blessed and full of JOY to be in His presence...

Monday, September 20th, was our 13th wedding anniversary. It was very timely for hubby and I to get away for a minute by ourselves, considering the events of the past several months. I remembered my camera this time (last year I forgot it and just about shot myself because we stayed in a CASTLE!!) and thought I'd share...

We stayed in a small, no frills (well, except for a hot tub on a private deck overlooking the woods!) A-frame cabin about two hours south of us. We used to go hiking in that area every weekend when we were dating and engaged, and Marvin proposed to me on one of the trails there on Christmas Eve!

We hiked that trail...after climbing all these steps...

and I had forgotten how *hard* it was! We counted on the way up...98 thigh burnin' risers!

Here's my makeup-free, weekend-clothes self,
not too excited about climbing the SECOND set of stairs!

The view from the top was worth it...

and we hiked on for a while, enjoying the beauty in the details...

After such a peaceful start to our day, imagine our surprise
when we suddenly came upon *this* on the side of the trail!

While Marvin investigated a nearby dried up waterfall,
I experimented with various camera angles to make the remains look extra gruesome
to show the boys...

It was a deer carcass that had been industriously picked clean by all manner of woodland creatures
and was lying, in it's natural, undisturbed (as far as we could tell) state on a flat rock just off the trail...
a dinner table for the scavengers!

We tore ourselves away from the fascination of nature in action after a while,
and enjoyed a few last glimpses of creation...

We spent the rest of our time combing the local antique shops
and pigging out on sugary snacks and cheap Mexican food.

The kids enjoyed a brief stint at Grandma's house before spending the night at Nana and Papa's.
After we picked them up, Ava informed me that Nana had taken them to Salad River and fed Benji a baked pillow for breakfast!

And I thought we had a great time!


giddyap! {there's really no point to this post}

We love us some horses here in this town! 
Each year we all line the streets for an hour-long parade of the state's finest equestrian blood. 
This was the weekend for it.

Saturday we spent in front of the college football game and eating cake for my sister in law's birthday and Sunday we spent at church, up in our junk room, at this parade, 
and at the kitchen table for dinner with friends.
It was a great weekend, full of beautiful weather, good food, and extreme productivity! 

That room upstairs is nearly empty and I'm faced with the exciting? challenge of incorporating that deer head and two birds into my quirky, whimsical, IKEA-inspired playroom design...Yikes!

This week I hope to decide on paint, order fabric, and come up with a plan for those animals...I"m thinking painting the sky on a wall and hanging the birds on it? Hmmm...it can't be too serious...but not too funny or my dear husband that shot them will be quite dismayed.

I'm also faced this week with a decision to make about attending this semester of our homeschool choir~ we don't do well with an overload of structured activities, and our full day of classes at the homeschool co-op seems like it's enough. I"m torn, though, because choir is fantastic, and our teacher is even more fantastic and it's so good for the boys...

Oh, I did forget to mention that on Sunday we also hauled one of our area rugs out to the backyard, put it on a piece of plastic over a piece of plywood, and I cleaned it with our carpet shampooer.
That was some fantastic people-watching for our perpetually out-of-doors neighbors, I'm sure!

I struggled with that stupid, leaky behemoth for nearly two hours...leaves and bugs falling on the rug, dirty water puddling everywhere, wet carpet slipping on wet plastic...
The carpet was cleaner, but much wetter than it should have been and VERY heavy!
We clumsily dragged it to the back of the yard and heaved it over a couple sawhorses to dry only to have the sawhorses collapse...
After baking in the sun for about 5 hours, it's not as clean as I'd like it to be, but at least there's no question that the dog fur and fleas are totally gone!

And finally, I got my long-awaited steam mop a couple days ago! Yipee! Come and enjoy a meal on my kitchen floor sometime! This baby heats up to over 200 degrees, hot enough to sanitize even the dirtiest, pee-encrusted bathroom floor...AND you can clip on any dishtowel, etc. if the two included mop pads are in the wash...NICE!

Now I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite vintage children's stories, 
The Gingham Dog and The Calico Cat (Eugene Field)

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)
{Something about this story reminds me of my children tattling on each other...}



We thought it was a good idea...

and we still do..

It was really hard to get out the door that early
We had to wake nearly everyone up 
(with the exception of Ava who probably hardly slept all night because she was so excited)

I had burnt my two hot cereal pans the day before so we ended up eating
cold organic turkey hotdogs for breakfast
No one was very hungry!
I really wanted coffee
Everyone was cold

We made it there on time, despite a last minute crisis with Ava's shoes and the absolute necessity of band aids
Keeping Ava and Benji happy for two hours was a challenge
Alec loved Physics class 
and used his walkie talkie to find me afterwards even though he knew 
exactly where I was

At the door of her first class, Ava hugged me hard and said,
"Mommy, I'm your sugar-bean forever!"
I knew she was a bit scared but being very brave
That class lasted two hours
Afterward she threw a tantrum in the hallway and screamed, "i'm TIRED!!!!"
She looked very funny throwing the fit because she is so tall
I tried hard not to laugh

Benji looked completely bored in Science and had nothing to say about it later
He and Alec loved the LEGO engineering class and I loved their teacher
Ava quickly got over her tiredness and she and Benji had a blast in gym class
All of Alec's teachers gave him candy

Halfway through Benji's Science class I started a headache
By the end of the day it was a full-blown migraine
Once I get a migraine all I can do is go to bed with an ice pack for the rest of the day
It was only 2:00 when we got home

I like the idea of this and I liked how happy the kids were
next week needs to be easier 
(with no headache!)



We sent Alec to kindergarten, first grade and second grade at our local public school. The first day of school was always a bit sad for us, but especially the FIRST first day of school! I cried like a broken fire hydrant that day (and so did my best friend, also dropping off her son, so I didn't feel so bad. Ha!).

Benji and Ava have never formally "been to school", consequently, I have only ever had one FIRST first day of school as a momma. That's fine by me. However, we have decided to enroll the kids in a one day a week co-op where they will be taking classes not taught by me.

Ava is taking a class called Story Stretchers where she will listen to a story, eat her lunch, and do a related activity with 7 other adorable preschoolers. Benji is taking a beginners science class, a Lego-based physics/engineering class and a gym class (that Ava is in also).

Now, this is technically NOT school, and I will be in the building supervising classes and participating (it is truly a co-op)...BUT...in my mind, it's still Benji and Ava's FIRST first day of school.

We'll be packing our lunches, packing backpacks (full of other school work to be completed during down time, and other activities), leaving bright and early (8:00am), and returning during the afternoon fade (2:00pm). While there won't be any teacher assigned homework, or parent teacher conferences, or curriculum night, or door-to-door fundraisers, there WILL be the moment where I send them through the door to be taught by someone else.

We're all looking forward to it, it's a great opportunity to make new friends and learn new things. The teachers are all parents of the students and share the same values that our family stands for. The classes are held in the church we used to attend, and the pastor is praying with us in the morning to kick off our school year.

The Lord has lead us here and provided, and we're grateful.

But...*sigh*...it's just one of those milestones...they're just a bit older...a bit more independent...and my arms are aching just a bit more for another little one...



dust~ boxes ~ donate ~ toys ~ sneeze ~ take out ~ put in ~ memories 
paper ~ kids ~ sad ~ tampons ~ chocolate ~ laughing ~ paint ~ animals
camera ~ attic ~ ugly ~ ladder ~toilet ~ new ~ old ~ dresser 
fix ~ wipe ~ chairs ~ bounce ~ sleep ~ fresh ~ chalk ~ music ~ history



I was pregnant

and then...

Two weeks ago, we found out that our precious baby was going home to be with Jesus before we got the chance to hold her in our arms.

A week ago today, I had the miscarriage.

This baby was an answer to the prayers of a mother's heart yearning for more children

It was not something we had planned, but not something we had planned against...
we were yielding to the Father's will

It was the perfect gift, 
the perfect surprise, 
the perfect answer to the prayers of my children for another to join their ranks

Each time I've been pregnant, the Lord has given me a word for each baby. Alec's word was "blessing", Benji's word was "compassion", Ava's word was "grace". I knew the word for this baby very early on, it was "peace". Now I know why.

Through every minute of confusion, 
and pain, 
the peace that passes all understanding washed through me

I believe that we who are honored to be parents are learning life's lessons through the most perfect teachers; our children
Our children force us to look to Christ again and again
and when we do, when we submit to His perfect plan,
they, in turn, shower us with the physical manifestation of His unconditional love

My Benji, my child who teaches me compassion, has been love personified through these difficult weeks.  He would catch me crying and just climb up on the bed or my lap and sit...quietly...tenderly stroking my arm...furtively glancing up at my wet eyes...saying, "Mom? You're sad about the baby again, aren't you? I"m sad, too..."  Now, weeks later, he still comes to me often and hugs me, sweetly saying "Mommy, I love you..."

I don't have any answers for why
and I may never have them
but I do know this:

Jesus Christ, mighty God, creator of the universe, who calls the stars by name,
will meet us where we are,
 In the fog of my tears and broken heart,
in my grieving for my loss,
in my inability to pray,
or even think,
he met me  

in the arms of my child,

my child with the compassionate spirit 

~Psalm 139

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