27 August 2008

More Than Words

19 August 2008

Boy oh Boy oh BOY!

In case you couldn't tell from the title of this post, we had a BOY!

I'll spare you all the gory details that make the menfolk cover their ears and say, "La, la, la, LA, LA, la, la..." and whatnot. (I don't particularly wish to share that much anyway--so I'll post a collage of photos here for that part.)

But anyway, in a nutshell: I went to have an ultrasound Friday afternoon. There was some concern about the possibility of issues with the cord, so they admitted me that evening, and the baby was born Saturday evening on his great-Grandfather's birthday. He weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces, measured 22 inches long, and is perfectly healthy and beautiful. We decided against naming him after Great-Grandpa Fred. Instead we named him Brendan Joel.

Now the two of us have returned home, and are trying to adjust to life in general. I think Brendan is doing superbly, and I still could use more prayer. Since Grandma and Grandpa Rowley have been here, our cupboards and fridge have begun to look like we're staying at Grandma's house. I discovered a half-consumed package of Oreos in the cupboard, a bag of Cheetoh's and a box of butter crackers in the snack drawer, and packages of Jell-O and Pudding and Fruit Punch where my water used to be in the fridge. And, as you can well imagine, I haven't really mentioned it all (nor have I probably found it all, either).

While this doesn't thrill me to pieces, I'm not complaining (too much), since these are only temporary treats that will go away when Grandma and Grandpa go home. Plus I'm trying to make myself take it easy as much as possible while they're here. So they get to spoil the whole lot of us for one more week.

The next biggest thing is the upcoming start of school. The first day back to school is also the day the grandparents go home, so I hope my body and my brain have recovered enough to jump in with both feet. It will be a challenge to get my oldest two dressed and fed and walked to school by 8:40am while also dealing with a newborn and a nearly-two-year-old. So if I failed to make subtle mention of it before, PLEASE PRAY FOR ME!

15 August 2008

Garage Door and Basement Photos

We started the morning off with some light rain, and the forecast was for more possible showers throughout the day.

Ok, so here's some photos of the garage door renovation project. Although it was a much more labor-intensive project than the bathroom, and much more important to our family's safety and comfort and economic efficiency, we didn't take nearly as many pictures.

First we removed the fiberglass garage door and rails, and prayed for the rain to go away.

But this is only "phase one" as it were. Essentially for now, we have traded in a big drafty garage door for a cement wall with a much smaller garage door. Once the cement block cures, we'll seal it (and the small draft in the new door), and eventually do something more pleasant to the eyes to finish the outside (like stucco). Then, at some point, we'll tackle "phase two," which involves running electrical wiring and putting up two walls to make it separate from the basement area. It's unknown what other phases will follow (it's potentially endless, you know). But we'll eventually build in storage for the garage items to be stored most efficiently, and we hope to also do more improvements in the basement, as time and money and family needs allow.

Well into it! Making some encouraging progress and a giant mess of the driveway.

By the end of the work day on Saturday, we had not completed everything. All of Sunday was necessary for finishing the top of the wall and installing the door, which opens and closes beautifully, thanks to our good friend Dale V.

The "finished project." We still need to rid ourselves of a few leftover blocks, but it still looks a lot better than before!

So I imagine more photos will be taken. Meanwhile, we're considering the completion of phase one to be another domestic victory!

Same Old Story

So I suppose those who have been anticipating news of the arrival of this baby are most likely tired of looking at pictures of my bathroom, and I can't say I blame them! Having my parents here to help with the arrival of their 14th grandchild has been a great blessing, and at the same time has altered our routines quite a bit. So posting on my blog of course has pretty much been lost in the shuffle, not to mention the fact that I'm supposedly about to go into labor any moment, since Sunday was my due date!

But apparently, it's the same old story: going for a week past my due date yet again. I am scheduled to have an ultra-sound and then a visit with my o.b. afterwards, and it's possible I'd be favorable for an induction (not something I'd prefer, but I'll gladly do if the conditions are favorable). So that's the scheduled activity for this afternoon.

This may seem strange to some people, but this morning we're also planning to attend a funeral of a friend from our former church, who recently died of congestive heart failure. Some people think that's a bit morbid, and even Enoch's co-workers at his summer job told him they thought it was "bad luck" to take your pregnant wife to a funeral. But I find that to be just a bit silly. While we are sad for his untimely death, we know that he knew the Lord and trust that he's in His presence now. We are sad, and we feel sadness and sympathy for the family and their loss, but at the same time our grief is also out-shined by the hope and confidence we have as Christians that we who believe will one day be raised up with Christ. So for that reason, we can even rejoice in the midst of the sorrow.

So, unless I'm in labor, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't attend. His widowed mother has been a great encouragement to us by loving and caring for our kids in times of great need. He and his wife used to teach our boys in the 2's and 3's class at church. His son and daughter were in the youth program when Enoch and I worked with the youth. Of course we'll go!

06 August 2008

Bathroom Project: Before and After

(Since I'm planning to post photos of the garage door renovation project, I thought it only fair to post the promised photos of the bathroom at the same time, although I've decided to do them as two separate posts.)

Before: "Frosting" on the walls was not such a sweet thing to look at. Ugly brown cabinets and beige/putty colored counter tops with a black and white tile bathroom just don't blend well.

When we bought our home nearly two years ago, the bathroom (to me) was the scariest room in the house. The walls made my stomach turn; they were plastered with some kind of plaster (thankfully water-soluble), and looked like someone had haphazardly smeared frosting everywhere to cover up some kind of nightmare underneath. But you learn to make do and be thankful for having a safe, warm place to live, and then work to make it more comfortable over time.

Everyone is helping out to get the job done.

One day as I was washing down the black and white tiles, I realized that the plaster "designs" on the walls came off easily with a wet washcloth. One day I took a wash cloth and wiped off an area on the wall. I made it heart shaped just for fun. Then I decided that little by little I'd wipe all the hideous frosting away, and we'd eventually have flat surfaces on which to paint with bathroom-grade paint.

I also learned the secret to removing those nasty mildew stains in the corners of my tub: soaking them overnight with bleach-soaked rags makes it look like new with hardly any effort!

After photos above: No frosting on the ceiling or walls (though the paint job wasn't touched up by professionals). One happy homemaker showing off her muscles and maternal figure. Below: The red helps to blend the beige counter top and sink, and adds warmth and beauty. Now just what to do with all that white wall space?

Since this makeover was mostly cleaning and re-painting, we decided to paint the cabinets a spiced apple red. I figured this red would go with the beige counter as well as the black and white. I found a great idea in Better Homes and Gardens magazine about how to spruce up a plain white shower curtain, so I sewed up the floral valance to go with my new hotel-grade shower curtain and liner, and I love how it all ties together. Now we just need to know what to do with all that wall space...

With results like this, I consider it one of my favorite rooms in the house now. Now that's what I call domestic victory!