Hello there, Stander


The post I was going to write for today is not ready because we had a monster virus attack at our house. Miraculously, Precious is the only one who escaped it. (It = norovirus, we think.) I’ll spare you the details but it was violent! When Jason got hit Saturday night, we were all convinced it was food poisoning. After dinner Monday night I started feeling “carsick” and then “bloated” from the Mexican food I had…anything but that awful sickness Jason had for 24 hours. But then I could no longer deny it. The next morning my mom got it and the following night, my dad. I pray that we didn’t spread it to anyone else. So…I’m a bit behind on everything this week. Thankfully, I had a few posts prepared in advance.

Precious is just as cheerful as any teething baby this week, making us all smile with her babbling and silly faces and her peek-a-boo games. She’s getting really good at standing and getting around the room in a combo of rolling, dragging and backwards crawling. Her fourth tooth is all the way through, the 5th is visible and the 6th is coming soon. No wonder she’s more interested in chewing on the spoon than eating purées this week.


New Home Update


Nothing too concrete to report yet but our construction loan was approved and we’re just waiting for the appraisal to come back so we can close on the loan. Then… the contractors can start. YES! Finally… so that will probably be in the first half of June. This whole process has been taking a lot longer than I thought it would. I’ll be reporting more about that later, if anyone else out there is building a home and would be curious what our process was and how long each stage took.

In the meantime, we’re doing lots of dreaming, planning and window shopping. Pinterest has been a great resource for inspiration and cataloging ideas.

Recent Estate Sale Finds


It’s estate sale and yard sale time of year and we’ve been hitting the streets hard looking for treasures. It’s interesting how sales are so hit or miss. A few weeks ago I saw a listing for an estate sale about 30 minutes from our house. It was a huge house with tons of mid-century modern furniture items. We actually went out on a Thursday at lunch time. Usually sales run Thursday – Saturday and we just go on Saturday when everything is half price. By noon, all of the good stuff was already sold – couches and tables still sitting there with “SOLD” signs, mocking us. All we got were a few glasses and a metal wall shelf. On our way home we stopped at an estate sale we spotted a sign for, just a few streets away from our house. We ended up finding a ton of great stuff there! (Everything else pictured below.)

These juice glasses looked really grungy but they look brand new after a pass through the dishwasher.

I envision this metal shelf spray painted and hanging in the bathroom, or above a dresser in a kids room, or in the mudroom.

Jason is a lamp guy. I walked right past this one several times and didn’t even see it. It’s actually a very nice color (in our opinion). I like the shade but Jason thinks it’s ugly. It’s pretty dirty so we’ll probably replace it eventually.

An organizer for nuts and bolts and screws, just the way my Papa used to label and store. And an empty red metal tool box.

I’m not sure what we’ll do with this metal magazine rack table but it could benefit from a fresh coat of paint, too.

This handy little cart will be nice in my office or to store toys in the playroom. I’m hoping to find a minty seafoam green like this cart from IKEA.

I was super excited about this tin Marx toys dollhouse and I probably overpaid for it a little bit. It’s missing one wall (on the second story between the master bedroom and the terrace). If you look closely, you may notice I have a couple of the first story walls in upside down.

Phone Photo Friday


First home grown tomato of the year

Foster Parenting: What to do the day the kid(s) arrive


Having our foster care license on hold because of our new home build is hard because Jason and I have both been growing more and more passionate about helping the kids in the system. Trying to learn what I can and stay connected while we’re unable to open our home, I’ve been listening to podcasts and reading blogs. This one, I Was a Foster Kid, is raw and difficult to read at times, but so insightful. LT has a whole list of posts that are geared towards foster parents and things we can do better. I found these Top 10 Things to Make a Foster Child’s First Day Easier to be especially helpful. It got me thinking about how I want to set up some things in the bedroom for foster kids, our kitchen and items to have on hand when we get “the call” again and accept another placement.

Things like… making sure I always have kid-friendly snacks on hand (should be easier next time around because of Precious); giving a tour of the house, especially a detailed tour of their bedroom, explain house rules like bathroom etiquette and where to eat as we walk through the house; having lots of stuffed animals, pillows, a bop bag for punching and a swing for calming overwhelmed senses. Another thing I gleaned from her blog (from this post), is to make sure the kid(s) know we want them at our house, they’re wanted and loved; not a burden to us. And they’re not in foster care because of anything they did wrong.

(Photo above: breaking the ice with Ladybug, our first placement in July 2011, the morning after she arrived.)

New Home: Kids Room Plan


At our last house, I designed a combined nursery and kids room as we were becoming foster parents. It had to be suited for 1 or 2 kids, either gender, newborn up to age 5…all within a 10×11 bedroom. In our new house, we’ll have a nursery for Precious and another bedroom that’s set up for our future foster kids. I’m not really sure what parameters we’ll set next time around so I’m planning this room for 1 or 2 kids, boys or girls, ages 2-12. The room is approximately 10×12. We already own the bed, dresser, curtain, book ledges, owl, sheets and chair. The rest would be new purchases.


1. Sherwin WIlliams Mélange Green – accent wall color

2. Sherwin Williams Greek Villa – other three walls

3. IKEA VANDRING RÄV duvet cover and pillow case $20

4. Woodland shower curtain from Target Home (as window curtain) – no longer available

5. Owl wall art – vintage

6. Dresser – vintage

7. IKEA VANDRING RÄV Soft toy, set of 2 $8

8. Jimco orange lamp with drum shade from Lowes $40

9. IKEA KURA reversible loft bed $199

10. IKEA RIBBA picture ledges (to use as book ledges), x2, $10 each

11. Target Home 325 Thread Count Wrinkle Free Sheet Set – Blue Diamond $28

12. Chair – vintage

13. IKEA RINGUM 2′ round rug in green, x3, $10

Floor Plan (to scale)

For Better or For Worse


Today is a special day. I wouldn’t normally pay much attention to this date but since I just finished sharing Our Love Story, it was on my mind…it’s the 13th anniversary of our first date. Thirteen years?! Can you believe that? That makes me feel old and I’m only 27.

Jason and I have a really good marriage. We’re best friends and have been for 13 years. But, if I can be perfectly honest, we’re in this transition time right now, limbo, semi-homeless—and it can be…stretching. More than I want to admit I’ve taken out my frustrations on my dear husband. I’m generally pretty easy going, sweet, quiet (I’ve been told) but believe it or not, behind closed doors I’ve snapped at my husband and be an all-around jerk plenty of times. I’m ashamed of how selfish and careless I have allowed myself to be at times towards the one I love the most.

In case anyone out there has the impression that we’re perfect, I just wanted to set the record straight.

The other day I had been particularly snarly at Jason as we prepared financial documents for the 4th bank. He cares too much about me and our relationship to let that kind of misbehavior get swept under the rug. He holds me accountable for my actions—and I do the same for him. Eventually, I was apologizing and asking him to forgive me, again, which he did. The next morning, he left a very generous love note sitting on my laptop before he left to go on the road for the weekend. I won’t post the photo I took of it but it was something about what a great wife, woman and mother I am—generous because it’s so not true but I’ll accept it as him calling what’s not as though it was, in a prophetic, blessing kind of way. I want to be the kind of woman he says I am.

We’re definitely not perfect, but we’re committed to making it work, to forgiving, to changing, to doing it better next time. Later that afternoon, my Mothers Day gift arrived with the mail. It was a few days late because the Etsy seller had been out of town but I didn’t mind. (I knew it was coming.) We call our daughter Ali-gator and I love the idea of a piece of alligator-themed jewelry to remember my first Mother’s Day as her mom. I love it!

On the ring finger of my left hand, I have the engagement ring Jason gave me when we were still kids (17 and 19) and the band from the day we vowed we’d never give up on each other, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and all that good stuff. On the ring finger of my right hand, I have a silver alligator in honor of our precious daughter. It’s a subtle, clever, unexpected way to celebrate my unconventional motherhood. Every time I look down at my hands I’m humbled and awed that God would allow me—far from perfect me—to be Jason’s wife and Ali-gator’s mom.

Precious: Monthly Portrait 10


Precious daughter, you are 10 months old. It’s getting harder to remember how small you used to be. You look so different now that you have a beautiful head full of black curls. This month has brought an explosion of new tricks. You’re now rolling both directions and slithering/pulling yourself along the floor which means you’re all over the place. Looks like crawling is going to happen any day now. You eagerly pull yourself up to a stand if I offer you my hands. I haven’t seen you attempt to pull up on a table or chair yet but I’m sure it’ll be soon. You can stand on your own, holding onto something, for several minutes before you fall now. As I suspected, now that you’re moving around a lot you are starting to even out and get more slender and muscular. The 18 month pants that fit snuggly around your waist last month are now a little loose. You have an arsenal of silly expressions, ready to pulverize anyone’s bad attitude. Your favorite seems to be Oh!/Whoa! with big eyes and O-mouth. You do this when you notice a new thing—The ceiling fan? Oh!—or meet new people—Hi, Baby. Whoa! You’re so funny. Sometimes you play peekaboo with your arms. Our favorite new trick is your baby wave. Sometimes you mimic our sing-song “Hi-eye” and other times you say “Diya diya diya diya” (for bye-bye) as you wave, because you haven’t mastered “b” yet. It’s super cute when you put it together and it sounds like “Hi Dada.” Strangers love the waves and Oh! face—please don’t stop making people’s day; you have the gift of contagious joy. You are still a great sleeper and eater and so easy to take out. You’ve just cut your fourth tooth—two on the bottom and two on the top now. You’re still loving peas, carrots, green beans, cheerios, apple sauce, peaches, pears…pretty much anything we offer you will eat. You even had some black olives, artichokes and mushrooms off my veggie pizza the other day! You are a very special girl and a delight to your dad and me. Now that you’re standing up a lot, I’ve started putting shoes on you more often. These are one of the 3 pairs that stay on your feet. (Mad scientist hair courtesy of the pool.) It’s exciting to watch you grow and change and learn right before our eyes.

Update for my own records: At your 9-month checkup (at 10 months + 1 day old) you weighed 19.1 lbs (50%) and measured 29″ tall (75%). You really have stretched out!

Phone Photo Friday


New Home Update


I wish I had more exciting news to report. I was really hopeful that we’d be breaking ground this week. We’re working things out with the bank, trying some different options to see who/what/where will be a good fit to finance our new home. In the meantime, our contractors have the building permit in hand and are ready to go as soon as we close on the construction loan…which could be a few more weeks. Boo. We’re really eager to start moving forward.

I have some samples of countertops and wood flooring on my desk. This is honed granite, which is an option we’re considering for the kitchen countertop. The wood sample is hickory. Jason picked it up at the hardware store because he likes the fine, straight grain and the variation of colors. I do too. We’re still quite a ways away from needing to make those decisions but we’re looking at options as much as possible now so we can decide quickly later on.