Thursday, February 16, 2012

So, this is how the pregnancy is really going

I like to keep the blog light and fun for the most part, but you know, sometimes when you're going through a rough time, you need to keep it real.  A few weeks ago, I was all ready with this post that started out with, "This is the easiest pregnancy I've ever had."  That was so three weeks ago.

Since that time, we've had a rash of sickness in our house.  An ear infection, two cases of pink eye, fevers of 104, coughing all night, and much vomiting.  We're still not totally done with being sick, but we're so much better. 

However, all the sickness kick-started some pregnancy complications.  I had some painful vein issues with Jack's pregnancy, and they have come back with a vengeance.  How bad is it?  Well, sometimes it's not really a problem, and sometimes I can hardly walk because of the pain.  I can no longer pick up my kids unless absolutely necessary or carry the laundry upstairs or vacuum.  Wait, are those last two bad?

Worse than that are the headaches.  Well, the headache.  I have been unable to kick this headache for thirteen days now.  I am not exaggerating to say that it borders on unbearable for much of the day.  Medication doesn't seem to touch it and sleep makes it worse. 

So there you have it.  Now, let me tell you before you get all awwwww, poor baby on me, it's not all bad.  I got some stronger medication today, which will hopefully work.  I'll let you know.  I'll either be doing a jig or crying.

A long time ago I started to memorize the book of James.  There are times I think I should have picked something else, like Numbers or Leviticus, so that I wouldn't feel so convicted.  Anyway, in the beginning of James, the emphasis is on trials.  We all have them, though we don't always recognize them.  Trials are struggles that are hard for us to endure.  That's why we are told to consider them joy, a.k.a. find the good in them.  It is truly amazing how your perspective on a situation can change when you recognize the blessings you would never have had without that trial.

So, obviously, I'm going through a trial.  A painful one, dadgum it.  However, because of this trial, I have been truly humbled to see Handsome Hero's care of us.  I am in awe of his selfless and joyful devotion.  I know he loves us, but seeing this level of care has brought me to tears more than once {what?  I cry a lot right now.  I'm pregnant}.  Because of this trial, I have also had the opportunity to see my church in action.  Friends calling, coming over to help, offering to take the kids or bring food have become a daily occurrence.  Sometimes just having the offer makes it possible to make it through the day. 

Because of this trial, my mom is going to be here in an hour to take care of us for a week.  I promise I wasn't trying to be manipulative, but yesterday, being an awesome mom, she told me to expect her today.  And I cried.  Which made my headache worse.  Man, I'm glad she's coming.

I am going to be a bit sporadic with the blog until this headache is on the mend.  I would appreciate your prayers as I deal with both that and the veins.  My hope in posting this is both to inform, but also to encourage.  I know that many of you are going through something, a trial of some sort, and learning to consider it joy is a life-changing tool.  Truly, life changing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day has never been a big deal in our house.  We don't do a lot for it, but now that the kids are old enough to enjoy the idea, I thought it was time to have them get all mushy for daddy.

We decided to make some valentines for Handsome Hero and take them to him at work yesterday.

Ella said this is how she smiles now.

She likes ribbons, stickers, and buttons. The more, the better.

I was proud of her for writing the message herself.  I think we might need to work on penmanship, though. 

Jack made his valentine sparse.  He's a minimalist.

He thinks I wrote "Ella" on his card.  That's what he wanted me to say, but I didn't think that was exactly the sentiment we were looking for. :)

So we hopped in the car, picked up an Americano and a cranberry/orange scone {his favorite}, and surprised him at work with his valentines.  He loved it!

When Handsome Hero came home, we were the ones who got surprised.  He had gotten valentine gifts for each of us!  This might be the time to state that Handsome Hero doesn't do Valentine's Day.  He never has, so this was a big deal.  I have given myself the challenge of always doing something creative for him {though we are still sick, so I settled for a store-bought gift this year}.  Occasionally, he does bring me flowers on the obligatory day, but it's always a wonderful surprise and certainly not an expected rite. 

Now, before you haters start getting all riled up, you should know a couple of things.  First, I am not one of those people who thinks the world revolves around Valentine's Day.  I just find it fun to give him something I made.  Second, he makes up for it in an awesome way; he always makes me an Easter basket.  Yep!  I wake up each Easter morning to a basket of goodness.  And I don't mean the kind wrapped in cellophane and filled with marshmallow peeps, which are disgusting, but a basket worthy of some applause.  Sometimes it contains an awesome pair of shoes, or a whole skin care regimen, or a couple of unusual vases that he thought I would love.  Feel better?  Don't worry - my man gots game {how weird does it sound for me to say that?}!

Back to our story.  Handsome Hero brought presents home for each of us.  He gave some Valentine pretzels to the kids, and a Red Velvet chocolate bar and a French Press to me.

Oh, and for you astute observers, yes, there are TWO French Presses in the picture.  You see, I got one for him for Valentine's Day, too!  It was pretty funny opening our gifts.  Great minds and all that.

As you can see, we aren't exactly traditional when it comes to Valentine's Day {though I did get chocolate}.  It was lots of fun, though, for us and for the kids.  Who knows what traditions will be established in the years to come?

Every comment I get is going to be about peeps, right?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Moving on up!

When the baby comes, he will be in Jack's room until he's old enough for the boys to share.  Ella and Jack will share her room until that day.  Here is what the kids' rooms look like right now.

When we moved into this house, Jack's walls were already blue. Bright blue. I tried to live with it for awhile, but it was too much like a cave, even with two windows. A few months after we moved in, we painted it pale blue.

 The new color almost looks white against the bright blue.

I went with red, white, and blue, but centered around modes of transportation.  Here's the hot air balloon wall.  The 3D one is a wind chime, and the others are fabric attached with corn starch.  I'll probably do a tutorial soon, because I think I'm going to do it again when I redecorate Ella's room. 

My mom made those cute curtains out of things she found around the house while we were in the hospital with Jack.  Creative lady, my mom.

The glider is the same one we had in our old house, but with a new slipcover. The cherry cover is underneath, in case we had a girl next.

This is the Hoosier cabinet that we have used for a changing table.  It was actually my grandparents' kitchen when they were first married.  Handsome Hero calls it the Hoosier Daddy cabinet.  Funny guy, my Handsome Hero.

Here's the choo-choo that's above the closet door.  Just carrying on the transportation theme.

I do like this room, and it will be a great nursery for the baby.  Everything is ready for him. 

Then there's Ella's room.  We left the walls beige until we could think of something better.  Now I'm glad, since it makes a great canvas for a girl-boy bedroom.

Notice the branch over her bed?  That didn't last long.  I started to notice that it seemed smaller and smaller, and finally realized she was breaking it apart bit by bit to use as food in her play kitchen.

We kept the hutch the same, and to make the room more feminine, added this border across the top like moulding.  Its just pre-cut scrapbook paper stapled to a pleated ribbon and attached with tacks, but I hope it looks like bunting that I labored over. :)

This is the bubble wall.  Again, in an attempt to feminize, I put girly fabric in some embroidery hoops.

Now, I realize Ella's room is distinctly girly, but if you look, there is very little that isn't easily changeable.  Once we decide on a color scheme, the embroidery hoops can go or I can add new fabric for under $10.  The fabric in the back of the hutch shelves can be changed out, and the curtains changed.  Take off the border, and you have a surprisingly gender-neutral room.

Jack wouldn't care if I left it as it is.  I know that.  However, I love the idea of making this experience special for both of them by making it their room instead of having him move into her room.  I also love the idea of doing some simple things now for them, and then creating a really wonderful space for Ella once Jack moves out.  After all, she and I will be the only girls in the house!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ooohh, I get to do another kid room!

I love kid rooms.  I almost always enjoy them more than adult rooms.  Maybe it's because you can be as bold in a kid's room as you would never dare to be in the rest of your domain.  I had so much fun creating both of our kids' room in Washington!  Here are a few pictures of those rooms.

I can't believe I never actually took pictures of this room for posterity, but I rarely did things like that before I started the blog.  I'll show you the room from various pictures I found.  The walls were already blue when we moved in, so we went with it and had a dear friend paint a cherry tree coming up in the corner over the crib.

 Sorry for the freaky picture.  This is Handsome Hero showing off his fifty pound weight loss by trying on his old pants, and I said, "Hey, put Ella in there.  I bet she'd fit!"  She's proud.  She's trying to do that fist thing all the cool kids do.  Anyway, if you can look past it, I made some curtains, and another artist friend painted little bugs and flowers all over the "sky" in the room.  She also painted cherries on all of the changing table doors. 

Yet another friend upholsered the cherry fabric on the glider.  We also made rolling hills and snow-covered peaks on the walls.  This room was made with love by lots of friends.

When Jack was coming, we changed out a couple of things, like having our artist friend add a tire swing onto the cherry tree and a plane on the "sky" of the wall {again, I can't believe I have no pictures of this}, but the nursery was basically gender neutral, so it was perfect for Jack, and I got to create a big-girl room for Ella.

This room was so fun to do.  We put in dark laminate floors and painted the walls and ceiling the lightest yellow we could find {thanks to a tip from a friend that yellow always comes out darker than you think it will}.  I wouldn't have chosen to paint the ceiling, but the previous owners had painted all of the ceilings {this one was brown}, so it was easier to just paint it yellow than to get white paint and tape it all, etc.  I was impatient.  Still, the room was soft and sweet.

 I took a hutch that had been in the room and made it more feminine by upholstering some pegboard with this fabric and skootching it into the back of these shelves.  It's not attached, so when it needs to be used for something else, it easily can be.

This was my favorite part of the room.  I got this branch from behind our church, and though you can't tell, it was almost the length of the bed.  I found the lifelike birds and butterflies at a hobby store.  Unfortunately, we couldn't exactly pack it to bring with us, so I gave it to a friend, thinking I'd just replace it when we got here.  I mean, for the impact it makes, it only took about fifteen minutes to do.

Those rooms were my favorite rooms in that house.  Here, I can't exactly say that.  I think the combination of having the whole house to put in order plus having Jack be so sick when we moved meant things got sacrificed.  Now, though, I am able to focus on making their spaces into oasises oasi rooms where they feel special.**

I'm excited to share with you some of the ideas I have for their "new" rooms.  We're gonna get creative all up in here!

**disclaimer - a kid does not need a cute room to feel special.  I just wanted you to know that I know that.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Would a Lewis by any other name sound as sweet?

What's in a name?  It's kind of funny, but this one has been hard!  Ella and Jack were pretty easy.  Ella's full name is Elizabeth Joy Lewis.  She's the fifth Elizabeth in the line, and Joy is for her Grandma Joyce.  Her name might have been decided before conception.  Jack is William Jack Lewis, named William after his daddy, poppy, and great-granddaddy, and Jack was suggested by my sister or mom in passing, and we loved it.

When we are thinking through names, we invariably take each name through the following gauntlet.

1.  Does it sound good for a baby, teenager, and adult?  We actually liked the name Frank for awhile.  It sounds so cute for a baby, and of course we can all imagine an adult named Frank, but a teenager?  Not sure.  Now, is this logical?  Probably not.

2.  Does it "go" with Ella and Jack?  It has to fit, especially with Jack, because they will be brothers.  Jack and Melchizedek?  Uh-uh.

3.  Do we like the obvious shortened versions of the name?  There are lots of names that I love, but Handsome Hero doesn't like the shortened form.  For instance, Samuel and Sam, or Joshua and Josh, or Jacob and Jake.  Not that we could name a kid Jacob.  Jake and Jack?  Come on.

I knew a lady who cared so much that her son be called by his whole name, Joshua, that when she heard someone say Josh, she would call out, "-UA!"  Guess what his nickname became?  Ua.  Yep.  I would hate to have this child become a teen and have his friends shorten his name, which they nearly always do, and not like it.

4.  Is it toooo popular?  I don't like bandwagon names.  One year, I taught five Cody's in one grade alone.  This one isn't a huge consideration, but it's in there.

5.  How would we spell it?  This stems from my days as a teacher.  I had students named things like Gaymz, gansta for James.  Handsome Hero and I differ on this, but I have prevailed thus far.  He wanted to spell the kid's names Elyzabeth and Wylliam at first {he has a thing for y's in names}.  But let me tell you, when you do that, and you go on  vacation, and you look in the tourist shops for tacky vanity license plates for your bike that have your name on them, they don't have them, because your parents just had to be original and spell your name like they are illiterate or were smoking something when writing out your birth certificate.  And then when you're in school, you will slump down in your seat on the first day every year, because you know it's coming, that moment when the teacher tries valiantly to be able to pronounce your name correctly based on what is written in front of her, and you inevitably gain as a nickname whatever she said.

It's odd that I have a pet peeve about this, because my name is Beth.  I never had this problem.  People always knew how to pronounce my name.  I could always find tacky vanity license plates or key chains.

So there you have it.  Our naming rules.  And these silly rules are why we have not settled on a name. :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why I still need my mom

Last week:

Me:  Ella has a fever and a cough, and this yucky gunky eye!
Mom:  Could it be pink eye?
Me:  No, I'm sure it's not because it isn't itchy.
Mom:  You should call the doctor just in case.

She has pink eye.  So does my mom.  We think Ella telepathed it to her in Tennessee.


Me:  {pitifully} I've been sick for TWO WEEKS!  I'm not sleeping well, and I've had a headache for five days!
Mom:  You should call the doctor and see if there's anything they recommend that you're not doing.
Me:  All they're going to do is offer to prescribe me Tylenol with codeine, which I can't take because I can't take care of the kids when I'm on that stuff.
Mom:  Call anyway.  You never know.

I am now on an antibiotic and starting to feel better.

How does she know from so far away?  And more importantly, is this genetic?  Will I be able to do that someday?

Thanks, Mom.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


So, I'm on week twenty, halfway through this pregnancy.  I can't believe how different each pregnancy is.  This one seems to be flying by, bringing us closer to meeting little baby boy Lewis.  I'm very excited to meet him!  We were able to see in his ultrasounds that he is active, more so than the others, and true to form, he's already kicking out where I can feel him.

It's funny how differently we look forward to meeting this child.  With Ella, our first, I had all sorts of questions.  Will she obey me?  Will she like to sleep?  Will she be smart?  Will she like music?  Will she be a rebellious teenager {I kind of borrow trouble sometimes}?

In the tummy:  Ella

With Jack, it went from questions to concerns. What if he and Ella don't get along? What if he's a mean child? What if he screams all the time? What happens when he decides to rebel and steals our car and wrecks it trying not to hit a puppy, and then goes out for cheeseburgers with his friends and doesn't come home until three AM and we're worried sick?

In the tummy: Jack

With this one, I think we are finally anticipating the wonders of this child, but without the fears.  He may be easy peasy, or he may be a horrible baby, but then he'll outgrow it.  He will have some rough patches, but we'll iron them out.  He's entering into a family of four distinct personalities who love each other fully, and I have no doubt he'll make a stunning addition.  It's exciting to think of rounding out this family unit.

In the tummy:  Baby Boy Lewis

So, halfway through, we're relaxed and excited.

Having trouble

I'm having trouble getting blogger to work.  My posts are all jumbled up in a weird order that make no sense.  I can't even read them, and I wrote them!  I don't even know if you'll be able to read this.  I'll post when I'm able.  Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How's it hangin'?

Hanging pictures in a space is second only to painting in making a space feel like your own.  Having your art or photos or decorations on the wall makes you feel like you own the space, that it reflects you.  But how you choose to do that can look awesome and purposeful or dreadful, like you threw the pictures at the wall and they splattered there haphazardly. 

I love having pictures of my family around, but try to edit so that each picture gets the attention it deserves.  I don't like a bunch of frames sitting on surfaces, because I hate clutter and I hate to dust them, so having a photo gallery like the ones below would be a perfect fit for me.  Most of our pictures are in huge frames and I can change them out as desired, not that I've done that since we moved in, but I could, you know.  I love looking at the treasures other people hang in their homes, and find it especially pleasing if they are hung in a way that invites a person to look.

When you group pictures together, it helps to have something tying them together, like having all the same color frame, or all black and white prints.

But that isn't necessary.  This grouping looks purposeful because everything looks like it has a story.  It makes you want to see what treasures are on this wall.

Symmetry is also helpful.  I would hate to be the person who had to hang these!  What a chore!

I love this idea.  I don't know if it's paint or vinyl, but what a great way to display your family photos!

I love this collage of frames.

They started from this one frame, and the home owner decided to use it as the inspriration for her space.  She matched all the colors at the hardware store and painted her frames.

Check out how large this collection actually is!

It just keeps going!  But it doesn't feel cluttered or overdone.  It seems casual and elegant.  I love it.

I don't currently have any photo gallery walls in my house.  The hallway upstairs is a bit too narrow for stopping, and the stairway going up is a little dark.  I think I will create one in the piano room over the piano at some time in the future.  I always look at that space in confusion, wondering how to fill it.  I have lots of ideas, but no clear preference, and so I wait for inspiration to strike.  A photo gallery might just be it.

That frame and wreath above didn't work, so right now there's nothing in this space but big beigy beigeness.

Here's another area where I might add a photo gallery.  The map is huge, and fit the wall perfectly at first, but then we added this buffet underneath. 

As a rule of thumb, your artwork should be narrower by a few inches than your furniture.  Otherwise it looks topheavy, like this does.  Not very pleasing to the eye.

Now that we have a desk in the office {that is significantly bigger than the map}, this map will most likely live in there.  Handsome Hero loves maps.  Once that happens, this will be the perfect space for a photo gallery wall.  We have lots of frames that are sitting in a closet awaiting a home, and they are calling to me.  Beth!  Use me!  I won't be real until I'm used!

Maybe I'll make it a goal to get that done this month.  Maybe I won't.  Hey, I'm pregnant.  I'm allowed to be wishy-washy.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Poem for Moms of Sick Kiddos

You know, when you have sick kiddos, you want to be sweet and patient and cuddly.  And the first day or three, I am.  I'm a saint.  I'm Dream Mom.

Then, when they first start to feel better, they get all crabby.  Then I get all crabby. 

Dream Mom turns into Snarky, Just-get-over-it Mom.

That's where I am now. We've had sickness in this house for ELEVEN DAYS with no end in sight.  I'm still sick, myself, so my patience level is plummeting with each day.  Seriously, I'm kicking my patience around on the floor like a ball and it's just lying there limply.

This is the time when writing poetry helps to soothe my frazzled nerves.  Why?  Because you can't take yourself too seriously when you write poetry as bad as this!

Ode to the Sickos

When you first get sicky,
And your nose is really icky,
I'll hold you close,
And clean your nose,
And feed you, though you're picky.

I'll be so very calma,
And I'll put you in pajamas
We'll sit and read;
Your back I'll knead.
I'll be the model mama.

But when you're not as puny,
And you start give 'tude to me,
Don't mess with me,
my dear sweet pea,
I've no patience for 'tude, see??

There's no need to be catty.
I'm not your new doormatty.
I'll care for you-
{You still feel blue}
But don't but such a ... gnatty.

Oh, that took willpower.  Lots and lots of willpower.

Ah, now I feel better.  I think I hear some sniffles that need my attention.  Please excuse me.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Under the weather

The kids and I have been under the weather {read - sick as the proverbial dog} for a week, so I haven't kept up with the blog.  I'll be back next week, but with the pregnancy, it seems to take me longer than normal to recover.  Throw in one kid with an ear infection, and another with an almost 104 degree fever, bronchial infection, and PINK EYE, and you have a recipe for one tough week!  I have a few things I'd like to say, though.  If you're queasy, this is not the post for you.  It's about to get mushy up in here.

When the kids get sick, we deal with it and move on.  When I get sick, it's a little harder to do that.

This week, Handsome Hero was Mom and Dad.  He never once complained or made me feel badly for being in bed while he had two kiddos and all the housework.  And let me tell you, he played the role of "me" better than I often play "me."  He did laundry.  He vacuumed.  He did dishes.  He cooked.  He mopped.  He did school with Ella.  He brought me food, gatorade, tea, water, anything I thought I could keep down.  He took one look at me on Monday morning as he was getting ready to leave for work, and called in to say he needed to stay home {wow, I must look beautiful...}.  He was pretty much amazing.  And lest you think I asked him to do any of those things, I didn't.
So here's the thing.  If you've been married any length of time, you know that different displays of love are of higher importance at various times.  There are times that being romanced by your spouse means flowers, a sweet note, a surprise date.  There are other times that having your spouse love you enough to confront you in a kind way about your behavior shows more true love {and courage} than anything else could.  At other times, love is most shown through doing an act of service for your spouse.  True love is loving not just as you would like to be loved, but as sacrificially as Christ loved us.  That is the love with which I have been blessed this week.

In conclusion, I've been wrapped up in a love caccoon {with my box of Kleenex and my heating pad}.  My love tank is reading FULL.  My love cup runneth over {it's more like a tankard}.  You get the idea?  For this Valentine season, I have already had the best valentine ever. 

But I wouldn't say no to flowers....

Especially tulips....