Sunday, March 8, 2015

March 7.

Yesterday was March 7th.  And six years ago, that was probably the biggest day of excitement, nerves and anticipation that I had ever known.  That was my very first "due date".  The day our sweet Benjamin was suppose to come into the world.

It was also a good lesson in the term "due date" and holding that loosely :)  After March 7th, 2009 I became very familiar and close to term "due month" because Benjamin was certainly not coming on his due date.

I remember my body doing all the right things! I was dilated to 3cm five {5!} weeks before my long awaited "due date".  My doctor, my doula and Patrick were all sure that I wouldn't make it into March. But each day and week passed and there was still a sweet Benjamin growing and waiting in my womb.

There was a point that I was very upset with the wait.  I was tired and ready to be done.  I was annoyed at the amount of expectation put onto my body -- but who can say but the Lord when my baby should come into the world {without medical intervention}.  As the days drew nearer to this impending day of birth, I began to cry more and let go.  I realized that I wanted my baby to come when he was ready and to put my discomforts and expectations aside.

This doesn't mean I didn't work on making labor happen! I sat in the nursery, rocked in our brand new {no spit up, poop or milk stains guys!} rocker and sang songs to my sweet boy.  I prayed and prayed. I walked and walked.  I ate pineapple and eggplant parmesan. But he did not want to come out.

My doctor was leaving town and told me I should be induced before he left.  We went to the hospital one morning and I was given a dose of cervidil and walked for three hours. Nothing happened and I was so upset that I tried to rush this baby out.  We left and I didn't think twice about waiting longer.  We just did.

So on March 7th, 2009, without a baby in arms, Patrick and I drove to Greensburg for lunch and a trip to Barnes and Noble.  We talked and enjoyed this date, knowing there wouldn't be much alone time together after Benjamin arrived.  We had a sweet day.

The following week was nothing special.  I walked to the coffee shop, I went to the grocery store and I was told that I would be induced on Monday March 16th.  I shrugged it off and asked friends to pray.  And wouldn't you know...God is bigger than that.

Either way, it's always so humbling and so sweet to remember this season.  I can't believe it's been SIX years. Oh glory...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Seasons of children...

I've been thinking a lot about how quickly seasons come and go.  Sure, the years are going by faster and faster -- with no sign of slowing down.  But each child has seasons that come and go faster than I can keep up with!

It feels like it wasn't too long ago that I was playing on the floor in our small Indiana house with one little boy.  Cheering him on as he learned to sit, then crawl, then climb, then walk! And he keeps growing...

Surely, it wasn't that long ago that baby Andrew was doing all he could to keep up with a fast big brother.  Long days of teaching and instructing and playing and crying and discipling seem so short now...

And it couldn't have been a year and a half already that Elise was just born and Benjamin was coming home from school at noon and we were all laying on the couch walking Clifford together.  Then Andrew would take a nap, then Elise would snooze, then B and I would talk and play Uno.

It felt like torture when Benjamin decided not to nap anymore.  And now it's sweet to me that I have a little extra time with Andrew on days he doesn't nap.  Sure, we all need rest and quiet time, but these days are fleeting!  I don't want to miss what's now because of what was or what is to come.

Now I know that these days are precious.  It's not that I didn't before, but as we prepare our hearts and minds and home from another sweet treasure -- more seasons will fly by my eyes and then come August I will have a 22 month old, a 4 year old and a 6 year old and a brand new baby!

So just like that. My babies, one by one, change and grow and become.  They are no longer babies, but praise Jesus, they are still under my wing.  I can still pray that the Lord will use me in these little years to love them well, teach them well, and grow with them.  And hopefully when my nest is empty and my days are full of free time, I will not look back in regret.  I will look back with joy at memories made in each season and I will look forward to the gifts of new seasons.

Monday, March 2, 2015

My small people these days...

My children keep growing up, despite my desire for them to stay small.  Although there is something so incredibly humbling and sweet about watching your children become who they are suppose to be.  Successes and mistakes, tears and laughter -- being a momma is so, so great.

Benjamin -- my sweet B will be six in less than two weeks.  He has grown up so much in the last six months. He really enjoys kindergarten and loves PE days.  He's getting better at reading and is doing really well at spelling.  They have a spelling test each Friday and we practice a lot on those words through the week.  Benjamin is a good helper and has a tender spirit.  He works well on a schedule and it's getting easier to talk through things with him when he's upset.  If he doesn't have food, he gets crazy hangry! He loves playing with his BFF Alexander and also enjoys playing with other friends at school.  Benjamin goes by "Ben" at school because it's short to write and sometimes will refer to himself as "Benj". It's funny to watch him figure things out.  Benjamin is a great big brother! He and Andrew have a sweet bond and friendship and B cares for Elise well.  It's really such a sweet sight! Benjamin loves hunters, Harry Potter, camping, exploring and learning.

Andrew -- oh man. Andrew is a darling right now. Mostly.  Patrick and I were just talking about how with B, year three was constantly tough.  With Andrew it goes in waves. He will be four in May! He's an easy going guy and loves life.  He constantly wants to play and hang out with Benjamin and gives unending affection to Elise.  Andrew loves being out -- running errands, going to school, playing with friends, going on lunch or coffee dates.  My little extrovert and I have fun together :) Andrew says the funniest things and will make his own way.  He's pretty confident and figures things out most of the time.  He's also needy and wants to be held or close by often. Andrew loves eating, snuggles, reading books, being whatever B is pretending to be and building with anything.

Elise -- our sweet girl is 17 months old! She is feisty and full of opinions, but she's also soft hearted and full of smiles.  She loves to be held or be near her brothers.  She loves daddy!  When she hears the garage door open, she will squeal and yell "daddy! daddy!"  She says a handful of words and babbles constantly.  She can walk, but chooses not to because any of us will hold her if she wants :)  Elise is on a mostly carb diet, but will eat a variety of things if she's hungry.  She usually just wants whatever you're eating.  Elise is our least friendly child at this age and I feel bad when she scowls at people when they say hi.  But she is tons of fun and really adorable! Elise loves blankies and her thumb, eating, necklaces, socks, making messes and being held.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

First trimester review...

I've entered the second trimester at some point over the last week.  I'm 14 weeks and one day.  And while I see an increase in my energy and I don't need to nap and lay down as often -- there are some lurking symptoms that I wish would go away {mainly throwing up}.

My first trimester was nothing special, aside from shocking and a delightful surprise that I was actually experiencing another "first trimester".  In fact, the similarities in my pregnancies is crazy.  Andrew's pregnancy was the hardest - emotionally and I threw up until 20 weeks.  Benjamin's the easiest - because first kid.  I don't remember a ton of Elise's pregnancy, but this one seems pretty similar to hers.  I think.

So, let's recap: I felt pretty good until week 5.  I then entered a season of extreme exhaustion and mild nausea. This got worse each week until about week 10.  Then I had extreme exhaustion with not as persistent nausea.  

I shall now point out that I don't remember much of the last 10 weeks, honestly. I do know that everyone is alive! And we ate meals and I ran errands and the house was cleaned. I'm grateful for Patrick because he has been a rockstar! I napped and rested and truly didn't have to do too much because he was a champ at getting things done.  He's my hero.

Around week 12 I felt this lift from extreme exhaustion to exhaustion.  I still need to rest pretty frequently and get tired very easily.  My nausea is still there and if I eat consistently, it's not as bad.  But I'm eating every hour and a half to two hours to help.  At 14 weeks, all of the above is true.

I have wanted to eat salads for every meal.  Really.  I love salads in real life, but in pregnant life -- the struggle was real and I spent a lot of time {and more money that I should have} getting salads instead of making them myself :)  I can't eat greasy food, soda or too much sugar.  Right now all I want is Cracker Barrel.  I think it's mainly the idea of comfort foods.  Hearty, filling, sort of bland things sound great -- but I would prefer not to cook them myself ;) {BUT when you're pregnant with your fourth child, be warned -- people still need to be cared for and you still need to make dinner every night.}  Per usual in each pregnancy, coffee sounded and tasted awful.  Each pregnancy it has lasted less and less {praise Jesus!}.  I am able to enjoy small cups of coffee now -- and that started around 12 weeks. Whew! 

I have been able to work out fairly consistently.  In fact, there were only a few days moving around made me too nauseous.  It was usually the other way around!  If I was distracted and moving, the nausea wasn't too bad.  Although there were several times that I paid for it by needing food immediately after my workout! But, as you probably know, I'ma firm believer in exercise during pregnancy.  I am still lifting weights two to three times a week -- mainly 15-20 pounds, but I'm still able to squat a decent amount {I mean. For me. It's like 50-70 pounds. Just to be clear.} Doing cardio has been more of a challenge because I get out of breath pretty quickly - haha!  But on strength training days, I try to get in 15-20 minutes on a machine.  About twice a week I do only cardio for 30-60 minutes.  PLUS, I carry around a 25 pound baby and play with all three children.  I need to go take a nap, now.

I'm sporting a very noticeable baby bump and imagine that will only get more noticeable.  If you don't know I'm pregnant, then let me turn to the side so you can be surprised! I started wearing maternity clothes around 9-10 weeks...mostly because it was easy and comfortable.  Although, my pants still slide down and I just really, really want to be able to wear shorts already! 

I have gained 10 pounds in 14 weeks.  I am slightly discouraged by this because I have tried hard to be wise and not gain so quickly.  BUT as I have humbly noticed -- my body knows what it's doing and has done the same thing four times.  In the last three pregnancies, I gained 8-11 pounds in the first trimester and by the end came in at 31-34 pounds.  So, my body clearly can do its job.  Isn't God amazing? I'm so humbled at all of this.  I will say that because I was seven pounds heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight, I was hoping to avoid much gain.  But it's just weight and by God's grace and lot of personal chilling out -- I'm sure things will go back to how they are suppose to be.  I'm no longer worried.

I have a fetal doppler that a friend let me borrow {er, keep?} and that has eased a lot of anxiety about the baby.  I do have to limit myself and pray that it won't become an idol.  God is the giver and taker of life -- and while hearing a heart beat is reassuring, He is my hope and my peace.  I have prayed and prayed through this struggle and look forward to baby kicks {another tiny gift from the Lord}.  But when I have listened for the baby, its heart rate has been consistently around 163. There is a typical range of 155-173, just to be clear. My uterus is tilted, so hearing the baby can be tricky.  

I think that's a good overall summary.  Benjamin and Andrew have been so helpful to me over the last several weeks, too.  They clean with me and serve me.  They play with Elise and play together.  It's been so nice and I couldn't have made it through as easily without their sweetness.  Elise is a 17 month old toddler, so she's doing what she is suppose to do and I pray for a lot of patience as she grows. I don't want to take these days away from her because of unrealistic expectations! 

Okay. The end! :)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Snow day {well, half!}

We haven't had much winter weather here in Oklahoma.  It's been cold off and on, but nothing too consistent.  But we love to see snow! And today we got more snow than expected! The drive to school was uneventful and there wasn't much of anything on the roads.  But just two hours later and the roads were covered! The snow picked up and school was released early!

After nap time {for the littles}, the boys decided they should go outside! While it was so, so very cold -- I did throw on a coat and take a few pictures.  This seems like the first snow day where the boys have actually played outside and both of them enjoyed it! Elise was very upset that she was inside and I did sit her on the patio for a few minutes.  She enjoyed that -- until Andrew threw snow on her.  {Such is life with brothers, I guess.} That was when the ladies retreated to the warm indoors!

Yay for snow days! Yay for snow! Yay for both that like the snow!

Being the little brother is tough.

Elise is not spoiled at all. Also, she likes necklaces.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

I love to tell His story, part 9 {the one where I'm pregnant}

As 2014 came to a close, we were ready for a slower pace and the plans we made for 2015.  Vacations and time together, time for just Patrick and myself, planning for school in the fall and whatever else we could come up with.

I got strep throat the week before Christmas and I just felt awful.  Let it be known that strep throat in adults is wretched and torture. But in the midst of fevers and chills and coughs, there were some things that seemed off.  So, on Friday the 19th {before I had to be in a thousand places} I took a pregnancy test -- just to "make sure".

A side note: This isn't abnormal.  I have never had regular cycles and we have never gotten pregnant without a lot of drugs to help. So I have always checked a couple of times a year. I have never ovulated on my my own.  I have ovulated five times in my life -- and all were induced with a trigger shot. And while we are on numbers...we have done 12 rounds of fertility treatments and have had three babies.   That's a solid 25% success rate getting pregnant -- with drugs.

SO imagine my shock and surprise {going right along with the yearly theme, you see!} when there were TWO pink lines. My mouth dropped open and every emotions possible ran through my mind.  I shook it off and loaded everyone into the car to take Benjamin to school.

On the way home, I call to tell Patrick.  Here is our conversation:
Me: Hey. So. I took a pregnancy test this morning...
P: Okay...
Me: And there were TWO pink LINES.
P: Okay. God is sovereign.... {pause} So you are either kidding {long pause as he waited for me to tell him I was kidding}...or you're not kidding.
Me: Right. I'm NOT kidding. I'm totally serious.  This has never happened before. What am I suppose to do!? {#infertilityprobs}

So after talking through it, I call my midwife who tells me to come in for blood work. I do and I don't hear from her until later that evening.  My HCG numbers were 19 and in her exact words, "25 is pregnant, 10 is not.  So, you are not pregnant, but it's not negative." I felt so confused.  But honestly, I felt grateful that God did something that was impossible!  And a little relief because the Lord surely knew that I was not handling three children well and there was no good reason for me to have four. At least right now... {right? right?}

Flash forward to Monday when I go in for more blood work.  My numbers were 128, a "robust increase".  Wide eyed and a big sigh -- okay.  My midwife is certain that I tested with a HPT the very earliest day possible, so my numbers were barely detectable.  With Christmas just a few days away, we tell immediate family and share God's miracle with them.  To say that we received shocked faces is an understatement.  In fact, most of them were left speechless.  We got several hearty laughs. I knew their feelings.

My midwife asks me to come back eight days after my last blood work, just to follow up and make sure things are going okay.  I have mixed emotions still and I go in with such a neutral heart.  My numbers were suppose to be at 2,000.  They were 4,038.  Another "robust increase" {a favorite phrase of hers!}.  She tells me that we have been given a miracle and she is so happy for us.  She wants to do an ultrasound in two weeks to check on dates and growth.  I honestly, at this point, have no idea when I ovulated.  I remember having crazy pain and saying something dramatic about severe abdominal pain to Patrick at some point in December. But I don't even know how long my cycles are, let alone when I could calculate ovulation.

I go in. A tiny baby that was 6 weeks and 6 days was on the screen.  A little heart flicker and then...sudden shock resurfaces!  I maintained in a shocked state until this week.  Fear and anxiety take over my heart and mind as I've never been "normal" pregnant before.  I've had blood work galore and at least three ultrasounds.  This time...I prayed and waited and trusted a God who created life when it was impossible by all standards.

For four years we prayed for a baby.  And then we started fertility treatments and prayed they would work.  And between each baby I prayed and prayed that we would get pregnant without drugs -- "just once!". And then we come to this point, after ten years of praying and three babies those prayers didn't seem necessary as God has gifted us these precious treasures.  We were strongly against doing fertility treatments ever again, but I always noted when people asked, "BUT if God gives us a free miracle baby, I'll be grateful."

And that's just what HE did. God gave us a miracle.

Today, I'm 11 weeks pregnant.  We've seen the baby again and have heard the heart beat several times.  It's a sweet sound to my ears and music of God's grace overflowing through my heart.  These were not our plans.  This is not how our year was suppose to end {of begin!}.  But it was God's plan and it was His timing. 

After ten years of prayers and tears, mine and Patrick's and all the saints who prayed for us -- God stored up everything and formed it into a tiny miracle baby.  Aside from being completely terrified of being in charge of FOUR children, I am excited. Patrick has been excited since day one.  Benjamin has asked and prayed for another baby for a while {because our van has an empty seat...}.  Andrew can't keep the baby a secret and told everyone at school after Christmas break.  Elise has no idea what's coming.  Bless her sweet little heart. 

I feel awful and I hope that eases up in the second trimester. But I'm sure I'll be this exhausted for the rest of my life. Prayers are appreciated -- after your shock wears off, of course. 

And hopefully we will meet this sweet treasure at the end of August!


Friday, February 6, 2015

I love to tell His story, part 8...

I want to keep up on these posts so I can look back and see our story unfold....I just have been lazy about writing. And blogging.  But here's to a new year!

I do love that I get to tell His story.  It's always different that I would expect it to be.  I suppose that's the beauty in life, though.  I trust a sovereign God who has never, ever been unfaithful to me.  I walk though life with sinful people as an awful sinner myself.  I believe that God's word is alive and true -- so when it says that {paraphrased} we can make plans, but the Lord directs our paths OR that God's thoughts and ways are higher than our own -- it's truth!

I feel like 2014 was a year that felt so unstable, so shaky. Things were sudden and shocking, at times.  It tested my faith and steadfastness of my heart.  There was deep struggle and loneliness.  There were joys, for sure.  But looking back, it was a hard year.

The transition to three babies was fairly easy, in all honesty.  Benjamin was at school half of the day, then Andrew napped the other half.  I got really excellent at making the most of the chaos hours of 3:30pm to 5:30pm.  It wasn't always pretty, but we survived! All in all, I wasn't too phased by adding another baby. That was all the kindness of the Lord.  And in hindsight, I needed that confidence and rest on the Lord to get me through the rest of the year.

I don't remember how it all happened, but all at once my mom may have cancer again, my gramma was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer, and school was out.  Oh, and we were building a house.  I feel crazy just thinking about all of these things.

Elise was about 7 months old when everything felt crazy, so I felt like I should have had things together {but I didn't. And who does?!}. "Didn't these feelings come right after having a baby? Not this late in the game!" I would think. It was hard and overwhelming. It was the height of all the crazy.  God is kind and kept me together, but I felt like I was barely hanging on. Enter feeling like a failure.  Which turned out to be the beginning of a fabulous {er, in hindsight} season of being absolutely useless and learning to abide in Christ.

SO - flash through big events/memories for the year: We visit Morgantown to say goodbye to my gramma.  We keep having meetings and making decisions about the house.  My mom is getting better, so we get to be excited.  Having three children is hard. Benjamin starts kindergarten. Andrew starts preschool. We are trying to get the house ready to sell.  Patrick is working a lot.  And a few other things happen.  {whew!}

I hit an emotional peak the week of closing, which was also my birthday and our anniversary week.  So. many. tears. My gramma had died just a week and some earlier and we were closing in on the end of all things hard. But in the overflow of God's grace and through a mighty amount of prayer -- we saw things happen that felt crazy.  Certainly 2014 would end on good notes at this rate!

We close on time {yay!} and our new house felt like home instantly!  Things we prayed for the whole time decisions were being made.  Family came for Thanksgiving! We started decorating for Christmas! Life felt a little easier.  School things were less chaotic and family time felt intentional and good.

But this was the year of sudden and surprise and shock. And so the day before Thanksgiving, we find out that the contract on our old house has fallen through.  Now we have two mortgages and a tighter budget. We start praying for our house to sell quickly -- but with Christmas coming, real estate wasn't moving.  A few other things happen that allow us to feel the crunch of a budget consumed by mortgages.  But still, the Lord showed us more of Him and that He is kinder than we deserve....

{to be continued when I have more time!}

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Free money.

Do you shop online much? I have found over the last two or three years that I am going to the internet to do my shopping! Not that I don't enjoy walking around Target or the mall -- it's just really hard to do that right now!

I use to help get back a little cash.  The site is super easy to use and you get cash back just by shopping through their site.  Right now, just from Christmas shopping, I'll be getting $35 dollars back! That's a gift I've bought, that's practically free!

Either way, try it out and use this link.  It will link back to me and I will get a bonus in my account, so thank you in advance!

I also use swagbucks as my search engine.  I get "swagbucks" every couple searches and can save bucks for gift cards.  I feed my Starbucks addiction this way :) You can sign up or learn more by going to this site!

Happy shopping, friends!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Random bits about the kiddos...

The other day we were driving to school and "South America" came up again.  It's an on going topic, mind you.  {But I will refresh you that South America in our house is "Captain America" to Andrew}.  Here is the conversation we had:

Benjamin: Mom, which direction are we driving right now?
Me: {thankful for my informative rearview mirror} West!
Andrew: South America is west of us.
Me: Actually, Andrew, South America is SOUTH of us.
Andrew: No. It's up. And South America is a man.
Me: Oh right, of course.

And today Andrew and I had this conversation --
Andrew: Hey mom! Guess what Mayer's name is?!?!
Me: Um, Mayer?
A: YES! You got it! Yay!
Me: Yay!
Andrew: Mom. Guess what Elise's name is.
Me: your sister, Elise?
Andrew: yes! Guess what her name is!
Me: Elise!
A: Yes! Now mom, guess my name!!!!!
Me: Andrew?
A: Yes! My name is Andrew! A-n-d-e-w! {he always forgets that pesky "r"}

Yesterday we were driving around, listening to a Christmas CD.  "Little Drummer Boy" came on and at the end of the song there were beautiful {girl} voices singing over and over: "Me and my and my drum".  Andrew was in the back yelling, "No! My drum! It's my drum, girls! No, my drum!!!"  I was seriously laughing so hard.

I'm so grateful for that boy.  Truly, three may be a hard age, but he is the sweetest thing.  Not a single day goes by that he doesn't throw his arms around me and yell -- "I love you, mom!"  He tells me often that he likes me and wants to marry me.  He has so much love and affection to give -- it's wonderful.

Elise loves socks.  While I am folding clothes she will always find the boys socks and lift her foot to me.  Yesterday, she had two socks on each foot and took a nap that way!  I'm always laughing at her little ways of life.  Elise is also very opinionated and you will usually be able to find us in any store by the sound of her screams and squeals. Oh my goodness, it's so humbling.

Because it's just Elise and I on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she's becoming quite a fun companion!  We have lunch with friends and run errands.  She makes friends and blows kisses to all the people we see.  It's really fun and so sweet to have that time with her.  Granted, she's a great sleeper and needs her naps -- so we are always home for nap time.  But I need that time management and schedule.  It's good time for me to work on chores around the house or read or wrap presents!

Since Benjamin is in school from 8am-3pm each weekday, I get so little one on one time with him.  Now that things in our lives have calmed down just a bit -- I plan on reintroducing dates with the boys.  I know they love it, and so do I.

Benjamin is getting really good at reading and writing.  It's so fun to hear him read to us and even more fun to try to figure out what he writes.  Most of the time, he gets things on his own -- but you have to sound out his words very phonetically and be prepared to work around eliminated vowels.  This past semester he has grown leaps and bounds.  He's so much more confident and truly learning great things!  Listening to him recite scripture or passages from Dante or the states or counties of Oklahoma is so humbling!

He also has a five year itch going on.  He can be so sassy and is fighting for great independence.  He wants to be in control and have the last word.  He wants to be right in all ways and make all the decisions.  But at the flip of a switch, he exudes kindness, obedience and manners.  Hopefully that means the last five years of encouraging, correcting, discipline and guidance has made a difference.  I wonder when you start to reap the fruits of that kind of labor...

More randomness later...I need to fold laundry and get ready to pick the boys up from school!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

We built a house... part 2!

If you know me, you know that I hate cardboard boxes.  Especially when moving! I've made it my cause to rid our house of cardboard boxes each time we move.  I ponder a plan for days, weeks even, so I know the best way to tackle the box situation.  This time was no different.  And in similar fashion to previous moves, there was a holiday or visitors {or both} days away.  That my friends is what we call "bonus motivation".

When we planned our home in the early stages, we didn't want something extravagant or too big.  Rather, we wanted an open living space where we could all be together.  Plus sleeping rooms.  And an office for Patrick -- he needed an office in a bad way.  Our room, the boys room and Elise's room are on one side of the house.  The guest room, play room and laundry room are on the other side.  Kitchen, eating and living rooms are in the middle. Patrick's office is right by the front door. And we have a blue front door.  For the record, I didn't get excited and squeal about too much with house building...but when I saw the blue door I definitely squealed and did a dance! Live life in color!

We didn't buy too much to add to the house.  I needed to get a new shower curtain for the kids bathroom because there were things on that curtain that I would rather not discuss. Bleh! We got barstools for the island and two couches {that are not in yet} so we could have a good amount of seating when friends are over! Oh, and I bought the most fantastic rug on! A few bathroom rugs here and there, a few things to hang on the wall, and two new pillow covers for the living room and we were set!

I did my absolute best to stay within budget for each section.  I went over a little in lighting, but I've been told it's hard not to do so.  We were budgeted for granite counters, but chose to get soapstone in the kitchen.  Because of that, we did quartz in the bathrooms and laundry room to offset the cost a little.  I was under in hardware and right on with flooring and tile.  We got a few "extras" just by asking for them and I'm so very glad! 

The other day a friend asked if I would change anything.  After thinking, I simply replied "no".  I can confidently say that I made the best decisions I could at the time, with my circumstances in hopes to make our house feel like home.  And honestly, at the end of all things, it's just a house.  It's nothing crazy or defining or life changing -- it's boards and beams and concrete and stuff.  I don't want to spend the rest of my days thinking of what I could have done differently.  I want to enjoy this space and this place and do what I'm called to do -- that is love and serve my family well. 

I didn't tell too many people we were building a house and it was always something very uncomfortable for me to talk about.  There were a small number of people that would make odd remarks or not respond kindly about building.  After the house started taking off, it was slightly easier to talk about because there was a tangible thing.  It just felt {feels} so extravagant and luxurious and high maintenance.  I am not those things! {well, I bet Patrick would say I can be high maintenance...haha}  It's humbling to build a home and I don't take lightly the gift that this is.

We are grateful, though, for this home.  It's not something we deserved or earned. We pray hard and try to be good stewards of our finances and things.  This was an incredible extension of God's kindness.  It's not been without trial and struggle and tears.  In fact, after a slew of unfortunate events, we still own our old house and are praying fervently for the Lord to provide new buyers {after the old buyers fell through twice}.  You are welcome to join us in prayer for this.  I believe God will provide and do great things -- for His glory! 

So here are a few inside pictures.  I took them with my iPhone several days ago, so they quality isn't really great!

Mud bench and the little counter space that has become my desk :)

Laundry things....

Straight into the laundry room

Guest bathroom

Living room and hall to bedrooms, from the table.

Fireplace and living room from the table.

Kitchen, from the fireplace.

Entry way -- coat closet on the right, Patrick's office on the left

From the guest hall way

Play room with an extra bed!

Play room closet

Guest room {come visit!}

Master bathroom, with our closet in the back.

Boys bedroom, well lived in ;)

Built ins in the boys room.

"Great room" from the bedroom hall

"Great room" from the corner by the table :)

I will eventually do a post with some fun details about the house that I love, even if I didn't love picking them out ;)