The Birth of Novaleigh Joy

I’m going to ignore how long it’s been since I blogged (as in, ahem, it took me a minute to remember my blog address) and just dive back in.

It occurred to me recently that I hadn’t yet written Novie’s birth story.  She will be two years old in a few days now and it’s hard to remember life without her.  Her middle name is a true descriptor as she brings us a great deal of it and she is quite the sweet spunky monkey.  Hmmm…in fact, I’m not sure I’ve blogged about her until now due to my blogging hiatus!  Oh, how that will change!  That little one is a walking blog post.

Anyway, after Jude’s birth, which you can read about here, I was a bit apprehensive about giving birth again.  When we found out we were pregnant with Novaleigh, my emotions ran the gamut and I definitely had to work through my fears that something could go wrong.  I know that that isn’t uncommon in most pregnancies anyway, but it was more of a fear than it normally is for me.  Even though I knew God was the author of Novie’s story, from day 1 in the womb and onward, and even though I knew that He was just as present at a home birth as He would be in a hospital room, I confess that I struggled with the idea of home birth again.  I still completely believe it was partly due to being at home that Jude’s birth was a story of rejoicing rather than mourning, but that idea of being in a hospital “in case something happens” is strong in our culture and we considered our options carefully once more.

After a good deal of talking it through and a great deal of prayer, Will and I agreed once more that home birth was the way to go and prepared again to have our baby at home.  After a relatively uneventful pregnancy, we approached her due date.  Not to be outdone by her siblings, Novie too knew that the due date was just a suggestion and about a week after it had come and gone, I knew that labor was starting and called my parents who were prepared to come round up the three older siblings.  It was the middle of the day, and Will and I decided to take a walk up and down the street to get things moving along at a good pace before contacting our midwife.  After our walk, we resumed where we were in our Gilmore Girls marathon (yes, he is a good man) and I did some bouncing on the exercise ball to manage contractions.

Labor grew slowly but progressively more intense as the day went on, and we finally Olivia, the midwife, around dinnertime to let her know that we were in labor and update her on how things were going.  She and one of my favorite birth assistants arrived around 8pm and checked to see how far along I was.  I was super excited and encouraged to hear Olivia say that she expected Novaleigh would be born within a couple of hours as I was already 6-7 cm dilated.  In fact, she said we should forego setting up the birthing tub as by the time it was filled Novaleigh would likely have arrived! I had not thought I was quite that far along!

While I totally know that a woman’s body is designed for childbirth and I had experienced it myself three times already, I found myself questioning when I was ready to push.  I was in and out of the shower like crazy, finding great comfort in the warm water while I was laboring, and I kept feeling like it was time to push.  But it wasn’t like the absolute certainty and urgency I had felt with Asher, or even the less intense but clearer indicators with the other two.  It was just a gentle but firm pressure, and I remember saying to the birth assistant that I felt like I needed to push but I wasn’t entirely sure,  because I was genuinely confused at the lack of strong intensity.  As ridiculous as it probably sounds, I think I was waiting for her to give me permission or to confirm that I was ready, but of course she was trained to take her cues from me (and I was managing contractions well and was fairly relaxed, all things considered).  So this went on for a bit- shower, out of shower, passing comment from me on thinking I could probably push, reply from birth assistant to just let my body slowly move Novie down and I’ll know when it’s time…and then me thinking, “yep, she is probably right because this doesn’t feel like the others…”.  Olivia had gone downstairs for the last 30 minutes of it to take a break and have some coffee (having come off a string of births over the past couple of days that required some additional caffeine input).

Thankfully, my incredible husband, who knows me and understood I was doubting myself, went downstairs to grab Olivia while she was getting some coffee and told her he knew I was ready and that we needed to get ready for Novie to make her entrance.  I had been listening to a playlist I had compiled of some of my favorite praise and worship songs and continued to find great comfort in the music.  Olivia came in and with her typical bold and forthright personality declared we were going to push now and so we prepared for Novie’s soon-to-be entrance. I was relieved- I think I was so exhausted from labor and trying to make sure I wasn’t trying to push prematurely that I needed someone to come in decisively at that moment.

I felt a renewed sense of purpose and that rush of adrenaline that comes with knowing that the first time you will hold your baby in your arms is imminent.  My water hadn’t yet broken (of course this explains in part why I wasn’t feeling that super strong intensity) and as we began to push, it finally broke and Novie was born within 20 minutes of pushing.  After a prolonged transition phase, I was extra thankful that pushing was quick!  We heard that beautiful cry and there she was.  A perfectly pink, 8 lb bundle of sheer preciousness.  I remember the immense feelings of joy and relief and seeing Will’s eyes bright with tears as he held her.  I remember cradling her close to me and looking down at her bright, alert little eyes.  After I held her a bit and once the cord had stopped pulsing, Will cut it and Olivia weighed her and did the usual post-birth health check.  Her APGARs were great.

God was and is so good to us, and we were and are so incredibly thankful for His faithfulness as He blessed us at 1:08 am on November 12, 2015 with Novaleigh Joy Adair.  We had always wondered if perhaps there was a little Novie in our future, just waiting for the right time to come into being, and now we have the privilege of being part of the story God will tell through her life.

 

 

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Starting Fresh

After sporadic blogging over the past couple of years, I found myself avoiding my blog altogether.  Often out of being tired enough that I wasn’t sure I could string coherent sentences together, but more so because I’ve just let life crowd out my enjoyment of writing.

So I’m starting over, kind of.  I want to breathe fresh life into this blog.  Really, it needs to be resuscitated– quite possibly with an AED as well as CPR.  So after choosing a new name and a new look, I’m ready to give writing some time again.

I hesitated in picking the word “mundane” to use as in my new title.  While my life is often somewhat repetitive and by most definitions, not super exciting, I don’t exactly consider it dull or lacking interest.  But it does fit in the sense that my life is often that of the everyday, the ordinary.   And then there is the fact that the word “mundane” is becoming more commonly used in many circles, especially it seems, in mommy/women bloggers.  So there’s that.

Oh, and the dancing.  Yeah, that’s not really my gift.  I have decent musicality, I love music and I love to move, but I do not qualify as a “dancer”.  So given all of this, titling this blog “Dancing in the Mundane” may seem a little off.  But to me, it’s perfect. Life isn’t clearly defined by set terms, at least, mine certainly isn’t.  And when this blog title popped into my head, it felt right because it wasn’t a 100% perfect description.   It traces the lines of my life without filling them in, and I find comfort in that.  My ordinary, everyday life is sometimes tedious, often repetitive, and with three children 6 and under, frequently tiresome!  I stay home with my children, which I sincerely love, and on top of that I homeschool, which I also love.  Most days.  And of course, being home with young children does allow for some mundane to creep in.  But I want to dance through it.  Crazy, goofy, sometimes graceful, aspiringly joyful dancing right through the routine diaper changes, the stereotypical-for-a-reason never-ending laundry, the shouts of both frustration and joy when learning something new, and the little arms thrown around me for a hug that can make all the hard stuff worth it.

That is the life I want.  A life that offers praise to God through every bit of it- whether dancing with arms open wide or teeth clenched tight.  And ironically, as I did look up the word mundane with the help of ever-present Google, I learned something else about it.  A secondary definition of mundane is “of or relating to this world or earth as contrasted with heaven”.  One of the first things I hope anyone will realize about me is that I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, so the idea of this world here being mundane speaks to me in a deeper way.  It’s not our ideal, it’s not our final home.  I want to dance through it in anticipation of what is to come, making the most of what CS Lewis called “the Shadowlands” and knowing there is ever more color ahead. I want to redefine a life mundane into a life extraordinary.  Not due to a change in circumstances but due to a change in perspective, in vision, in attitude.  Because, really, life is extraordinary, and those mundane moments are what define it.

Even when I have a toddler that likes to wipe his nose on my shirt.  A lot.

My guest post on Organizing A Homeschool Space

I’ve decided it’s time to start blogging again.  I am nowhere near having this mother of three thing down yet, but I think I can safely squeeze some writing time in more frequently than once every five months or so.  I actually started back a couple of weeks ago when a friend of mine (who is also a professional organizer) asked me to do a guest post on her blog about organizing a homeschool space.  If you are interested in checking out her site and want to find out why I laughed when she first asked, here’s the link! http://getsimplespaces.com/guest-blogger-homeschool-organizing/

 

Holiday Traditions- Part 2

I decided to blog on holiday traditions after our MOPs group came up with a wonderful list of ideas to inspire anyone looking for some traditions to throw into their holiday fun.  They are great ways to make memories and bless your family!

For anyone who is interested and missed Part 1, you can find it here.  Part 1 focused on Thanksgiving traditions- now we are moving onto Christmas!

1) Ornament exchanges.  If you do a Christmas tree, one memorable thing to do is to exchange ornaments each year.  I grew up with my parents exchanging with each other and my brother and I exchanging.  We typically did it Christmas Eve and an added benefit of this as little ones was that it always gave us one gift to open early.  An added bonus of this idea is that when we were both older and starting our own families, we already had a wonderful collection of ornaments to decorate our first “grown-up” trees with!

2) Reading Luke’s account of the birth of Christ on Christmas Eve.  There are tons of variations on this- some families tie this to setting out their nativity set (adding in a new figure as they get to that part of the story).  Another option is to set up the nativity set on Christmas morning- have family members look at the nativity set on Christmas morning before eating or opening gifts as a parent reads Christmas story in Luke. However it is done, it is a great way to keep our focus on the reason we celebrate Christmas.

3) Making Jesus a birthday cake.  We started doing this once we began having children, and it is one of my favorite traditions.  It is a terrific, concrete, and enticing way to help children grasp the reason for Christmas!

4) Speaking of sweet things, one way to bless others is to make an abundance of Christmas cookies, fudge, etc and deliver to neighbors, various local ministries, local law enforcement, and friends.  We like to make cinnamon rolls and share them with others.

5) Getting hot chocolate and riding around to look at Christmas lights.  Or a twist on this…Living by the Light, where one evening, choose to do everything by candlelight.  Talk about the verse 1 John 1:5 “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.”  Talk about what life would be like without light, and what life would be like without the light of Christ.  Then get in the car and go look at Christmas lights!

6)  Another one we personally incorporate is giving three gifts per child, to symbolize the three gifts given to Christ by the Magi.  Not only does this also relate directly to why we celebrate Christmas (even though the Magi didn’t visit Christ until he was a couple of years older), but it helps keep the craziness of commercialism down a bit!  There are also variations on this idea (you could do something like a gift to wear, a gift to read, and a gift to play with; or one family does a play off the gold/frankincense/myrrh idea- gold is something to give that is valuable, so something that the child really wants, their heart’s desire; frankincense was a spice used in the temple during prayer and fasting, so this gift could draw the child closer to God- a Bible, a Noah’s ark toy, etc.- myrrh was a fluid used upon death that covered the whole body, so perhaps something like pajamas, a sweater, jeans, etc.). Another idea with gift-giving is to give gifts to various ministries in the name of a loved one- World Vision has a great catalog that explains how you can bless families living in poverty with a goat or cow to provide milk, or hens to lay eggs.

7)  I can’t wait to start this one this year!  25 Names of Jesus for 25 days of ornaments- 1 to hang each day.  The idea is that you either take ornaments and write 25 names that are used for Christ, ie Wonderful Counselor, Alpha and Omega, Rock of Ages, etc.  You can make your own or use store-bought.  I came across this idea at http://www.iammommahearmeroar.net/2011/11/christmas-kojo-designs.html and think it is fabulous!

8) Christmas movie traditions.  This is a common one, as many people and/or families may choose to have certain movies they watch annually, like It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, and so forth. 🙂

9) Another one I hope to start incorporating is that of Christmas Mail: sometime a few weeks before Christmas, family members write letters to each other and use stockings as mailboxes.  Family members read their letters quietly at the same time on Christmas Eve.  Obviously with really young ones this could be tricky, but pictures can be drawn or short letters can be dictated also.

10) For those that are fans of crafting or baking, one tradition that could be fun are incorporating parties with friends as you make handmade gifts.  Bring potluck and enjoy time together while preparing gifts.  Cookie swaps can fall into this category.

And as always, there are many ways to serve others with the love of Christ- mentioned above are giving gifts through groups like World Vision and making baked goods or items to serve to others.  As in the Thanksgiving post, you can invite others to share a Christmas meal with you.  You can visit nursing homes and pass out handmade cards or sing some Christmas songs.  There is such wonderful joy in giving to others, especially to glorify the One who gave all for us.  My family is trying to do a better job of remembering this and putting it into practice!

I’ll stop there to prevent this from becoming way too long! If you want more ideas, a great resource is this site, which has a list of 50 Christmas ideas (some from this site are in my list above): http://www.defrumpme.com/2011/11/50-things-to-do-at-christmas-25-days-of.html

And feel free to share any of your traditions in the comments below!

Our Living Room Project

My husband and I recently decided that while the painting we had had for over 7 years hanging over the couch in our various living rooms was beautiful, it didn’t really reflect our family.  We wanted something with a sense of fun that was also wonderful to look at and something we would truly enjoy seeing on our wall multiple times a day.

As a pinterest fan, I tend to save DIY projects and recipes the most frequently, and I strive to actually do them.  Well, I strive to do some of them- I am fully aware that some of those will never happen. 🙂  One project I did want to tackle can be found here.

I’ve always liked the photo canvas look but never quite could digest the price- or when I did find a good deal, I often didn’t have a great quality picture to upload because so many of the pictures I take are from my phone and the resolution is too low.  When I saw the link on pinterest to Girl in Air’s blog tutorial about her 4×3 art work that cost under $10 to make, I was intrigued and determined to try it!

Knowing that Staples provides 4 x 3 black and white engineering prints for only $4.99 definitely took the pressure off of needing perfect picture quality.  We had gone to the beach recently and had a picture of the kids running towards the waves with that amazing child-like abandon they possess, and I knew that was the picture I wanted for our wall.  Not only does it put a smile on my face every time I look at it, but it reminds me to let go and not be uptight and anxious about things, as I have a tendency to do sometimes.

After picking up our print from Staples, we made sure I had the other supplies we would need like spray adhesive (Loctite), the foam insulation board from Lowes, black craft paint, and the sealant to apply after we had attached the print to the board (Krylon’s “Preserve It”).

Once the kids were in bed and presumably out for the night, Will and I got to work.  The foam board was certainly the most expensive cost of the project (Girl in Air already had the board and we had to purchase ours, so it made our cost go up a bit).  The nice thing about the board is that when you buy a sheet of it you end up with enough to do two “canvases” if you like.  Anyway, Will cut the foam board down to the right size using a razor blade and we then sprayed it down with the adhesive.  (In hindsight, we should have peeled the plastic off the foam board as it makes for a cleaner finish around the edges, but it works with it on also.)

We then CAREFULLY laid the print down onto the adhesive-laden board.  I didn’t have a flour separator handy to use to smooth out the wrinkles so I used my Pampered Chef scraper :).   I can’t remember what random item Will was using in the picture below.

So after smoothing out any wrinkles to our best ability with our random smoothing items, it was time to make the picture look even more like a canvas with a bit of a vintage-y feel by emulating the treatment Girl in Air did and applying black craft paint to the perimeter.  I did this while Will used a roller on the sides to make it all uniform.

After letting the paint dry, our final step was to spray the whole thing down with the sealant we had bought.  Don’t do what we do and skim the directions- really read them! 🙂  This way you will know to hold the picture upright when you spray it rather than laying it down to spray it.  Apparently laying it flat can result in a few water spots.  This was no problem for our picture, as since it is a beach picture, it looks like there was water on the lens and I like the effect!  Anyway, here’s the final product hanging on our wall…

I love how it turned out!

Next on the list is to track down some pretty pillows for our new-to-us sleeper sofa off Craigslist that we got for a great deal and maybe doing a refinish on our floor lamp. Now that the canvas is on the wall, I’m thinking the lamp would look nice with a different metal finish… oh well, one thing at a time! 🙂

Finally! The post about our “new” headboard and other fun things.

Approximately 12 months ago, I began my quest to replace our headboard (the one that I had had from middle through high school) with something more grown-up and, for my husband’s sake, less feminine.  I had started a list of fun headboard ideas in my mind and started at the top.  First up was a fireplace mantle (I wanted an older one big enough to serve as a queen headboard).  I learned over time that finding one that was both big enough and the style I wanted would be too expensive for our budget (which, on a scale of 0-100, was on this side of zero).  Next up was creating a fabric-upholstered headboard.  As I thought about what I wanted our bedroom to look like down the road, I realized this wasn’t exactly the look I wanted.  Third on my list was finding an antique or vintage door that could serve as a headboard.  Given that this search started a year ago and that we actually implemented our plan months ago (ahem, beginning of September), it is a bit embarrassing to just now be getting around to writing this post.  It appears I am not so good at remember to upload pictures, hence the wait…but better late than never!  And I had promised many of my friends that I would do a post on it when it was done.  Or close to done, in our case.

This is the before (please ignore my little boy fast asleep and his little belly)…

I’m sorry I couldn’t find a better before picture of the headboard, but this gives you the idea!  I loved it in middle and high school, because it was unique and pretty.  Will, however, was ready to move on. And having had it for so long, I was as well.

And here is the after…

I looked at a couple of flea markets and couldn’t find the door I envisioned for the right price. I ended up checking out our local Habitat for Humanity and found it.  It was simple with clean lines, and while it wasn’t as old as I had hoped for, I figured with some distressing it would be perfect.  After my husband sawed it down a bit to just the right size, I cleaned it up and decided to go ahead and put it on the wall.  I’m very visual when it comes to DIY projects and wanted to really picture it before we did any more to it.

As I looked at it up there on the wall, I discovered that I didn’t want to distress it any more after all.  A few coats of on of my favorite paint colors (Laura Ashley’s Ivory Glow) and it would be perfect.  Well, that and I’m still looking for the vintage doorknob I have in my mind.

Since getting the headboard up, we’ve gotten some other projects checked off the list as well.  My definite favorite is the project above the headboard.  Will and I debated over what we should put in the empty spot above our bed, discussing framed pictures of landscapes from trips we’ve taken to one big piece of artwork, but we couldn’t quite decide on something.  I’ve been a sucker for vintage windows for awhile now, and had already worked on one that is in our living room.  When a good friend called me and said she had gotten some extra windows and would I like some, I jumped on the offer (thanks again Margaret!).  I had various ideas bouncing around in my mind, but what I wanted to do most was convert it into a mirror.  I wasn’t sure of the best way to go about it and explored how to get glass fitted to the individual panes.  It was then that I discovered this…

Krylon Looking Glass spray paint.  This stuff is great.  If you are looking for a perfectly clear, looks-just-like-a mirror surface, then you may not want to go with this.  But the slightly hazy appearance it gives was perfect for our vintage window.  I love the way it turned out, and as a bonus, the mirror really adds a lot of reflected light and makes our small bedroom look bigger.

Our most recent project then became our curtains.  Oh, sometime I need to blog on our curtain story- craziness (and thanks again Kristy!).  When we first bought this house, I purchased many of our curtains at World Market during a great sale they were having on window coverings.  For our bedroom, we went with some ivory burnout drapes in a jacquard pattern, which were light and pretty and would go with a variety of colors.

This is what they look like:

As time went on, we discovered two minor issues: 1) they let in a LOT of light and 2) we need more color in our bedroom as we also had ivory colored bedding.  We decided to move those over to our office/extra room and after looking for quite a while for some that were both affordable and fit with the warm spice color of our bedroom walls, we ended up getting some gorgeous floral/tree of life patterned ones that add some wonderful color to our room.

So here is our room currently:

I still have some other projects I want to tackle- the doorknob for the headboard, painting our nightstands a matching color (I found our current ones at a consignment shop and liked the fact that they were similar but weren’t identical) and putting a long shelf up between the headboard and our window mirror.  I’m thinking of some whitewashed reclaimed wood on wrought iron brackets.  Something like this

but a bit more simple and spray-painted white.  A shelf would allow me space for books, pictures, or other fun things.

Anyway, there it is.  I enjoy changing things a little at a time and have come to really love filling our home with things that we love and doing so on a budget.  It is stretching my creativity and allows me to dream a bit more than I may otherwise!

Bad mom moment

I totally forgot to mention Asher turned 2 last month (during the blur of the part-time work phase)!  I pledge to blog on this later 1) so that I can record his birthday as all modern day mommy bloggers do, on the Internet of course (note to self- pull out baby book ASAP); 2) so I can share the joy of Asher’s birthday with others, and 3) to assuage my mommy guilt.