Friday, March 31, 2017

The one about 30 weeks

Disclaimer: This post will talk about female anatomy. I am probably going to say cervix a few times. I am also probably going to sound really whiny. So if you don't like that kind of thing, go ahead and exit now. You're welcome.

I haven't done a pregnancy update since I reached the viability mark at 24 weeks. Over the past 6 weeks, a few changes have taken place, and, as always, I feel the desire to share them in my little corner of the Internet. I always wonder if I share too much, but then I remember that this blog has served as a great placeholder for my thoughts, feelings, and photos for the past few years, and I can't just leave important stuff out for fear of making others uncomfortable or worry that people won't like it. I am not a paid writer -- no sponsors to please or target audience to maintain. So, here I am, about to just jump right in.

I have hated just about everyday of this pregnancy over the last 6 weeks.

Ok, hate is a strong word.

I have worried just about everyday of this pregnancy over the last 6 weeks.

Getting closer.

I have cried just about everyday of this pregnancy over the last 6 weeks.

Probably the most accurate.

At around 24-25 weeks, I was feeling really good. I had passed my early glucose test. My cervix was measuring at a safe length (you can read all about the history of my short cervix issues here), and we weren't worrying about whole lot.

At 26 weeks, when I had to retake my glucose test (I was tested early since I had it with Shiloh; then retested at the normal testing time to make sure), I failed. I honestly thought it wouldn't be a big deal if I failed. I hadn't been craving sweets this pregnancy the way I had in my prior pregnancies. I could surely live off meat and vegetables for 15 weeks. No big deal. I accepted the news like a big girl and began altering my eating habits immediately, even prior to my diabetes education meeting.

With Shiloh, I was able to manage my blood sugar pretty easily with dietary changes and a small dose of Metformin. I had no reason to believe it wouldn't be like that this time. However, it has not been easy it all.

My fasting numbers (the first test of the day after sleeping) have been too high. Higher than they were with Shiloh. I have only had less than a handful fall in the ideal target range. My numbers after eating food are only in the ideal range if I eat very few carbs. It is recommended that I eat 30-45g of carbs in my 3 main meals each day, and then have 3 snacks a day between 10-20g of carbs. If I eat anywhere near that range, my numbers are too high. I have found that the only safe foods I can eat are eggs, plain meat, beef/turkey jerky, nuts, and green vegetables. All day. Everyday. Every now and then, I can get away with some very low sugar treats or this non-dairy, low sugar, low carb, high protein "ice cream."

So what's the big deal? Well, I have found that any kind of social gathering makes me incredibly anxious. I wonder what kind of food will be there, if I can eat any of it, if I will be mad that other people can have food that I can't, if people will feel uncomfortable eating around me because they know I am mentally beating them over the head with the dinner rolls and cookies they are eating. Going out to eat offers the same challenges. I am checking menus before I go. I will sit down and think that nothing that I can eat actually sounds good, but I don't want to be dramatic so I will order something anyway.

To complicate things even more, my fasting numbers are still way too high even with a double dose of Metformin, and the risk of the baby getting too big is now indicating that I will be starting insulin. This is what I didn't want to do. I can't explain why I didn't want to do it -- I know that I must do what is best for the baby, but adding another medication to my list, a medication that involves injecting insulin into my abdomen, makes me feel like somehow I failed. My head knows that my body is doing things right now that it doesn't normally do when I am not pregnant, and I should just accept that I don't have control right now, but my heart tells me that if I would be more diligent, more careful, more restrictive, I wouldn't have to do this. Unfortunately, as the days tick on, I can't keep messing around with different foods and limitations and have to wave the white flag.

Just as the last time, learning about gestational diabetes and the amount of carbs my body can handle has been eye-opening to how many I `was taking in before. Last night, I really wanted something sweet. I wanted to indulge a craving (like nearly every other pregnant woman does). Luke suggested a mini Blizzard from Dairy Queen. I looked it up, and it was 56g of carbs for the tiniest size of Blizzard. Obviously, that was out of the question. My regular Starbucks drink? 46g of carbs. More than an entire meal. Rice from Panda Express? 85g of carbs. Waffle fries from Chick-Fil-A (my favorite!)? 55g of carbs.

To say this has been a major lifestyle change for me is an understatement. And for my blood sugar to still not be in the right range after all the restrictions and modifications, I am just beyond frustrated and exhausted. Most people can exercise following their meals which will help to reduce blood sugar levels, but my cervical length issues mean that the baby is sitting very low, which makes exercise very difficult. My right hip is also rotated backwards due to this pregnancy, so I don't have much mobility without pain. Physical therapy is helping somewhat.

With regards to my short cervix issues, given my history with Shiloh's pregnancy, I have gone for cervical length ultrasounds (they are just as lovely as they sound) weekly from around weeks 18-24 and then every other week from 24 to now. I have another one scheduled at 32 weeks. My cervix has been measuring on the short end but not in the "worry" range up until this week's appointment. We have been doing weekly progesterone injections in my butt (so glamorous) since 18 weeks. I take a daily medication to help with contractions (I have been contracting off and on since early 2nd trimester). But all along, things have been holding steady. With Shiloh, things got scary around 25 weeks, but we passed that with flying colors this time around.

Now, at 30 weeks, my cervix is measuring 1 centimeter long. That means that 1 centimeter is standing between the baby inside of me and the outside world. To put it in perspective, a cervical length of between 3-3.5 cm is expected for 30-32 weeks gestation. With my contractions picking up more and more these days, I worry that it is only a matter of time before he decides to make an appearance. As much as I want to meet him, I don't want to meet him yet. It's too early.

When Noelle was born, she aspirated some meconium. The NICU team took her away within minutes of her birth. I had to beg them to let me hold her for about 30 seconds before they took her away. The first time I really met her, she was hooked up to machines in the NICU. It wasn't an ideal way to start our bonding experience, and I felt like we were playing catch-up for the next several days. While she only stayed in the NICU for around 7 hours, I missed out on all those cuddles and first feedings.

With Charlotte and Shiloh, they were placed in my arms within seconds of their birth and not taken away for many hours. That is the way it is supposed to be. We bonded. We snuggled. We figured out first feedings, and I could stare at their faces uninterrupted as long as I wanted.

My fear is that our baby boy will be born very early, and with that comes a host of potential complications. I worry that he won't be healthy enough. I worry that he will struggle in his first days of life. My fantasy of holding him when he is seconds old might truly be that -- just a fantasy that won't be able to happen.

And if he comes closer to his due date, will he be huge? Will I need my first C-section? Will there be a delivery complication? Will his blood sugar completely bottom out? Will he end up in the NICU anyway?

As you can see, my mind is on overdrive right now -- worrying, wondering, hoping, praying. I know what I should do -- take it one day at a time, be positive, and have faith that it will be OK. I go in and out of moments of peace. I know that for now, he is healthy. I know that for now, he is safe. I know that there are so many women who deal with much more complicated situations during pregnancy and babies who have life-threatening conditions.

But fear is fear. Worry is worry. I don't wish to contend in the "which pregnancy is scarier" competition. Even with a completely normal pregnancy, expectant mothers fear the worst and pray for the best. The onset of issues in this pregnancy only heightens anxiety and crowds my thoughts.

So what now? I do believe in setting a goal, writing it down, making it a living, breathing thing. So, on my mirror, I wrote these words:

I will carry this baby to 37 weeks. I will do what it takes, no matter how bad it sucks.

I am thankful for my husband who listens to my endless complaining (if you thought this post was whiny...can you imagine what he hears?). I am thankful for all the doctors, nurses, medical staff, and physical therapists who are helping to keep us healthy. I am thankful for the opportunity to carry this little guy, knowing the pain of losing two pregnancies and the gift that children are to this world.

I am thankful. But I am worried. And that's OK.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

project 365-2017; days 78-84

This week was Spring Break for us. Luke took a few days off work, which is always a welcome treat, but we had a lot to do with regards to the house project so it didn't quite feel like a vacation. We had ideas of taking the girls to Indianapolis for a night or doing something a little more exciting, but we really just stayed close to home (with the exception of a one night excursion to New Albany, Indiana, which I wrote about in my recent tree house update). I think the girls enjoyed the week regardless, but I couldn't help but feel guilty (and a little jealous) that we didn't plan something out of the ordinary for them. I had this conversation with friends over lunch this week -- if it weren't for social media showing me what everyone else was doing, I would probably think our Spring Break was just fine. We spent time together. We enjoyed eating out more than usual. We visited family. We got to see Papa during daytime hours. Comparison is the thief of joy, and I must remember that...always.

So, here is a glimpse at our Spring Break. Call it ordinary. Call it boring. Call it whatever... but we call it ours.


78/365

Luke gets the tire swing spinning so fast it makes me sick to watch, but these girls eat it up. They couldn't stand up once they got off the swing because they were so dizzy, but their smiles tell you they wouldn't have it any other way!


79/365

Charlotte hasn't been allowed to watch YouTube videos for a few weeks because she gave that up for Lent (thank you, Jesus...literally). However, she has had fun exploring some educational apps, and Noelle was being a good big sister and reading the directions to her.


80/365

Noelle mastered her little bike, so we followed through on our promise to get her a "big girl" bike. She is so proud of this thing and is doing great riding it through the neighborhood. 


81/365

The big girls were distracted by something else, so when I found Shiloh, she was quietly playing with their Legos. I am sure the quiet part was on purpose as she didn't want to be found, but I couldn't resist a shot of her adorable little ponytail (and yes, she loves this dress/shirt -- she is photographed in it weekly!).


82/365

One of our excursions this week took us to the girls' favorite dessert place, Berry Winkle. It has been brutal having gestational diabetes and watching them enjoy their treats, but I suppose I am willing to deal with it to see their happy, messy faces.


83/365

Luke had to leave for a conference toward the end of this week, which really put a damper on the end of Spring Break. We all miss him terribly when he is gone. 



84/365

As previously mentioned, I am on my own for a few days. I try to pass the time by doing fun things with the girls. I built a fort in the living room, gave them frozen pizza, and they enjoyed popcorn while watching a movie. I am relieved that it still takes very little to make them so happy.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The one about the tree house: lots of progress and bargain shopping

Over the last couple of weeks, the tree house has really started to take on new life (and shape). The demo of the existing house has been completed, and now the new foundation is under way. I have learned about "footers" and other construction terms, and I have also spent a lot of time nodding blankly while Luke talks about things I can't even pretend to understand.


Standing in front of the existing fireplace that we will refinish. Directly behind us will be the great room (dining room/living room/part of kitchen).


Looking out into what will be the great room. Over the basement will be the kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom, and the kids' rooms and bathroom will bump out at an angle to the right of the basement (you can see the excavation and footers for that if you look closely).

We are finally starting to make some decisions regarding flooring, the exterior materials, and bathroom fixtures. It has been very overwhelming to say the least! When you look things up on Pinterest, it is super fun, but when it comes to pulling the trigger and committing to something, it gets a little scary!

Of course, we are trying to stay under budget, so that has caused us to become pretty resourceful when it comes to scouting sales, closeouts, and other ways to save money. The girls were on Spring Break this week, so Luke took some time off so we could do a little shopping. We packed up the girls, hitched our newly-purchased trailer to Luke's Suburu, and we headed South to visit Luke's oldest brother and his family near Louisville. We took the opportunity to go to a discount tile warehouse in Lexington (Kentucky Tile Closeouts) since we were only about an hour and a half away. We were hopeful that we would find tile for our bathrooms and kitchen for a great price.

When we arrived, the building was locked up with a sign saying they were closed for Spring Cleaning, even though we checked the website and their "Spring Cleaning" was supposed to end the previous week. We were both incredibly frustrated by this.... swearing and other "ear muff"-worthy behavior ensued.... but Luke decided to call the phone number on the website and see if anyone could let us in. Within about 20 minutes, someone came over to open the warehouse for us and allow us to shop since we had driven so far and the website was incorrect. I guess when you travel from out of state to shop, you better call to make sure they are open, even if their website says they are.

The lady who let us in informed us that she needed to leave in about 30 minutes, so we instantly felt rushed and overwhelmed. We began to frantically pace around the warehouse and quickly eliminate tile that we knew we were not interested in. We were able to quickly separate the tile that we liked and the tile we didn't care for. We settled on a gray, linen texture, rectangular tile for our master bathroom, the kids' bathroom, and the guest bathroom. For all 3 bathrooms, it was only $340 for the tile. We felt like this was a good deal. Given that we only had about a half hour to look through a warehouse full of tile, when the store was actually supposed to be closed, I would say we got pretty lucky. I have found that pregnancy helps the sympathy factor. The lady who let us in knew that I was pretty frustrated and felt rushed, so she gave Luke a wooden vase to make me feel better. :-)

The tile we chose was priced at $1.19 per square foot. I have found it online for around $4.19 per square foot. I am happy with this deal!


Silver Melody 12x24" by Rhyme

We stayed the night with Luke's brother and his family. With plenty of room still on our trailer, Luke's brother called in a favor to a local business owner and asked if we could get in to shop (even though it was also closed) a really awesome store full of the most random, amazing things. The shop is called Kentuckiana Trading, and if you are ever near Borden, Indiana, it is worth stopping in! The owners buy new overstock items and then sell them to the public for around 50% off the sticker price. There are 3 or 4 huge stock rooms full of everything from furniture to lighting to bathroom fixtures (like sinks and toilets)...exercise equipment, kitchen gadgets, toys, home decor, etc. It was overwhelming, but we got lucky and found some great items! We could have bought more, but the trailer had reached its limit.

We bought two vessel sinks for the kids' bathroom for $25 each. We looked up the item numbers while we were shopping, and you can see that these same sinks on Overstock.com are over $370 each (WHAT?).

American Imaginations Oval Vessel Sink


I love this starburst light we snagged for $60. I have no idea where it will go yet, but we couldn't pass it up.

I can't remember the brand of the one we bought - this one is similar


This coffee table will be perfect in the great room. You can purchase it from Pier One for  around $350. We got it for half of that price.

Pier 1 Takat Coffee Table


I might have had to beg Luke for this crib, but thankfully, he caved. Of course, he said we already have two cribs, why do we need this one? But I have wanted this style of crib for years, and we just never could justify the cost. We actually bought our first crib from Craigslist for $50. It is the drop-side style that you aren't supposed to use anyway. Our second crib (because Charlotte was still in the first crib when Shiloh was born...and I am a crib-for-life kind of mama) was free! So, I feel like we more than got our "money's worth" out of those cribs, and now our little guy can have something new and special. You can find it online for around $280-$300. Again, we paid half price for this crib.

Babyletto Modo 3 in 1 Crib


This is definitely part of the home building process that I find the most fun. I love searching for deals and sales. It makes me so happy to pay a fraction of the cost for items that we love. Nothing about this process is cheap, but every little bit that we can save will add up over the course of this journey.

I say this all the time, in every post, to anyone I talk to, but I am so thankful for Luke and all the time he has put in to making sure we are doing this right. From spreadsheets to file folders to meetings on meetings on meetings....he has been amazing. His mind is like no other -- extremely detail-oriented and thinks of everything. I am proud of him and am happy to just stand back and watch him work.

We look forward to the progress that will take place over the next few weeks. If the weather cooperates, we should start to see something that actually looks like a house in the very near future. I have a feeling the fun (and headache) is just beginning!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

project 365-2017; days 71-77

Highlights from this week... entering the last trimester of pregnancy... the beginning of Spring Break... hopefully our last snowflake for the season... another week in the life of our family.


71/365

This pregnancy has been difficult for me emotionally. Not only am I dealing with the constant battle in my mind regarding whether or not this will be our last child, but I am struggling with feeling uncomfortable with the way I look. It's a long story that maybe I will write about in the future, but my body image is in complete shambles -- so it took some serious guts to take this photo of myself. However, regardless of how I feel about my looks... I want to remember this time in my life and what it felt like to carry this special child.


72/365

The girls love doing crafts with stickers, glue, fuzzy pom poms, and anything else they can get their hands on. I just love to see them working together and Shiloh in a ponytail.


73/365

We got a little bit of snow this week. The weather has been so random and weird, but leave it to a child to enjoy it, no matter what! She immediately stuck her tongue out in hopes of catching a flake or two.


74/365

Shiloh gave herself a marker makeover about 5 minutes before we needed to leave the house. I asked her to show me her lips, and this is the face she made. You have to love it, right?


75/365

Noelle was literally jumping for joy at her dismissal on the last day before Spring Break. 


76/365

We got Noelle an Osmo for her birthday. If you don't know what it is, Google it, because it is a super cool, hands-on, educational tool that works with your iPad. She was enjoying the tangrams game.


77/365

Charlotte is exponentially more needy at bedtime than our other girls. She needs tickles, snuggles, songs, stories, beverages, and often times a few "put-backs" into her bed. She has always been this way. I keep hoping she will grow out of it, but then I would miss out on sweet things like this. I am not exactly sure what Luke was doing, but they were both giggling.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

project 365-2017; days 64-70

Ok, wow! 70 days into this photo challenge. I think this is further than I went the last time I attempted Project 365 in 2015. Let's keep it going!

As I was pulling up the photos for this week, I noticed that Noelle and Shiloh were photographed more than Charlotte. Other weeks, Charlotte is photographed more than the other two. It is interesting to see how some weeks, certain children hold more of the "spotlight" or command more attention than others. I love all of my girls equally, dearly, and (quite honestly) differently as they require different acts of love from me -- but they are all beautiful and so fun to capture on camera.

We had a really busy week. Noelle turned 7 years old and had her first "school friend" birthday party. We also celebrated the other March birthdays in our family, including Luke's mom and dad (his dad and Noelle share a birthday) and our niece, Alice. We made more headway in the demolition of the Tree HousE, and a group of my sweet friends threw me a surprise baby shower (no photo of that in this post, but I had to highlight it as it was so unexpected and truly caught me off guard)!

Scrolling through this post of seemingly ordinary photos reminds me to find the beauty in all things and to thank God each day that I have with my family. I am truly blessed.


64/365

I love the passion this child has for brushing her teeth. She's a go big or go home kind of gal.


65/365

Just a couple weeks ago, this kiddo was nervous as heck to take the training wheels off. Now she cruises down the street with no problem at all. She has earned her new bike!


66/365

The girls love messy things like sand and play doh. I am thankful that we have had some nice days so the mess can stay outside where it belongs!


67/365

Oh, this child. Charlotte's dinnertime photo for the week! Such a silly girl. As you can see, it was Chick-Fil-A for dinner as Mama was feeling lazy.


68/365

Something about squeaky clean babes. If you look close enough, you will see scratches on Shiloh's face from her many scuffles with big sister Charlotte. The girls are tough and absolutely do not need to be boys to be a little rowdy!



69/365

I snapped some photos of Noelle in her special birthday Free Dress outfit (the students get a Free Dress day on their birthdays). She loved this skirt and how it twirled, and I absolutely love the light coming from behind her curls. It is insanity to me that this baby girl is 7 already.


Here's a bonus picture for the week. Noelle had a painting party where Meghan from Works of HeART came and taught the girls how to paint a cute elephant on canvas. They also got to decorate cupcakes on paint palettes. All but 2 of the girls in Noelle's class could come, and it was so fun watching them all play and sing and celebrate together. Noelle was slightly embarrassed when it was time to sing "Happy Birthday." She was stone-faced the entire time until something, or someone, caused her to crack a smile. 


70/365

As mentioned above, Noelle shares her birthday with Luke's dad. Luke's mom had her birthday a week before, and little Alice turned 2 just a few days ago. All of the cousins came to celebrate with the birthday people over the weekend. That would be 14 kids ages 10 and under! They always have the best time playing together and miss each other so much in between visits. 


Sunday, March 5, 2017

project 365-2017; days 57-63

Birthdays to celebrate, major progress on our house, a Thyroid Going Away Party, and the beginning of Lent... we had a fulfilling week! As Spring gets nearer, our calendars are getting busier, and I have to remind myself, "Oh yeah, you're having a baby in a few months!" We are taking things as they come...one day at a time. I hope you enjoy this week's photos.




57/365

We made a quick trip to New Albany and back last weekend to celebrate Luke's grandma, Mary Ruth, turning 86 years old. We had a great time celebrating with family. Luke's dad is one of 11 children, and of those 11 children, most of them have 2-3-4-5 children of their own, and most of them now have 1-2-3 children of their own...so we overcrowded her tiny house to shower her with love. I think she looks pretty stunning. I love how the second image shows just a small fraction of the little ones surrounding her, and how eager they were to help her blow out her candles.


58/365

We took a drive out to the country to check on the progress of the house demo. This was Noelle's reaction as she examined the aftermath. My thoughts, too, Noelle.


59/365

Noelle has started reading Charlotte's Web at school. She is so into it and asked for her own copy for her birthday. Spoiler Alert: We bought her one. I was going to move Luke's coffee cup out of the way of this photo, but then I realized that it suited her. She's an old soul. Responsible. Diligent. Perfectionist. It just seems like she should be drinking coffee, too.


60/365

Ash Wednesday. Enough said, right?


61/365

Aunt CeCe had to have her thyroid surgically removed this week, so we made some special thyroid-shaped cookies for a family dinner. Yes, there are thyroid-shaped cookie cutters. Shiloh stood here on a stool making funny faces into my mixing bowl for several minutes.

 

62/365

The girls wanted their nails painted. It was difficult for Shiloh to wait for them to dry, as shown by the exasperation on her face. Thank goodness for iPads and Moana on digital copy.



63/365

We had a super random, super rare date night. It included dinner, walking around Target, walking around Wal-Mart, and coming home. Fancy, right? Oh, this season of life we are in. But it was great to have a few hours to ourselves and not worry about the girls or life or anything. When we got home, all the girls were in bed, until this little one came wandering out. Pictured here is her hard sell for some milk that will "make her go to sleep." Ok, Char. Whatever you want.

Friday, March 3, 2017

the one about the tree house: house history & holy ________!

It has been unseasonably warm in our area for most of Winter, and we have had very little precipitation, so we really wanted to take advantage of that with regards to our project. The sooner we can get started, the sooner we can be living in it, right?

Well, "real" demo started this week. I have posted some photos of the process up to this point, but maybe I wasn't clear -- the project is not a renovation per se. The project is basically a tear down of the existing house structure with a renovation of the basement and the garage (plus one room off the garage that will be included in the new house).

A few questions you might be asking (and questions we have asked ourselves) are:

Why tear down an existing house just to rebuild a new one in that spot? 

We went back and forth on this idea so many times. When we originally began this journey, remodeling the entire house was the plan. We were going to deal with the "interesting" layout and footprint of the house and simply do cosmetic renovations to bring it up to date and into our style. We also wanted to add on so that we would have a larger living space and more bedrooms.

We soon learned that task was going to be really tricky. The house was originally built in 1942. It was a pre-fab "Gunnison" home that was basically delivered to the site as a kit (we have all the original photos of the original home building process -- it's fascinating!). These homes were popular in post-war times because they were able to get homes up very quickly and pretty inexpensively.

However, 70+ years later, the home had some quirks. The interior wall thickness was about 2 inches thick. Imagine having a family of 4 children and 2 inch-thick walls! Also, because the house was designed to fit together in a certain way, moving or removing these walls would jeopardize the structural integrity of the home. This left us very little wiggle room when it came to altering the floor plan to meet our large family's needs.

The house had been updated in phases over the years. The original house did not include the existing garage, so the newer garage that you see today was added and a room was built to connect the new garage to the existing house. This created some interesting roof lines and basically a very long rectangular shape to the home.

When we started getting ideas with regards to how much money it would cost to replace the aluminum siding on the house...to put new floors throughout...to update the bathrooms and add on another bathroom...to make the current bedrooms larger and add on another one... to replace the windows, the roof, and interior fixtures... we realized that renovating was going to cost just as much, if not more, than if we would just start from scratch with our "dream home" in mind.

Couldn't you have just left the current house in its place and built somewhere else on your property?

We could have done this. We looked into it, for sure. However, we weren't thrilled with the idea of knocking down a bunch of beautiful trees to make room for a new home when we could use the perfectly good home site that has already been developed. In fact, where the house sits now is perfect as it is visible from the road, but not too close to the road, either. We like that you have views of the woods in all directions and that there is still a yard around the property for our children to run and play in.

Just next to the house is a large, open field that produces thousands of daffodils each spring. It is a beautiful sight to see and something we intend to preserve. The previous owner of the house enjoyed cutting daffodils and taking them to the hospital to be distributed to patients and the cafeteria for decoration. We would love to carry on this tradition and include our girls, too. Putting a home in that large, open space would ruin the field of daffodils, and that is not something we ever wanted to do.

So, taking down the home and using the existing site seemed to be the best choice for us. We made a pretty decent promise to the previous owner that the land would be our priority and that we would do everything we could to make sure that the property (trees, flowers, animals, trails, etc) remained in-tact.

Don't you have any appreciation for the history of the home? Why does everything have to be "new?"

No one has actually asked me this. However, I often wonder if we are giving the impression that we do not care about what has sat on the land for 70+ years and all the history and memories attached. I am probably the most sentimental person you will meet. It is hard for me to part with anything that my children have touched. When we moved from our first house in Indianapolis to Muncie, we had a pink swing in the front tree that Noelle used to love. It was attached to the tree branch with these black woven straps. Well, shortly after we moved out (like, days after), the tree collapsed due to a lightning strike, and it was going to get cut up and hauled away. I made Luke go back to the tree an hour away to retrieve the black straps of the baby swing because I couldn't deal with the thought of them getting hauled away with the cut up tree branches. See? I am super sentimental about things that are kind of ridiculous.

So, I am sensitive to the fact that we are tearing down a perfectly fine house that has been someone's place to raise children and grandchildren for many, many years. We could have lived there and dealt with the quirks and been just fine.

However, this was our shot for our "dream house." We have lived in an apartment and two different homes throughout the (almost) 10 years of our marriage. We are currently in the largest of those three dwellings, a 2,000 square-foot, 3-bedroom home (that we have loved for nearly 6 years). We have been dreaming of having a place that is big enough for our family to spread out but is laid out in the right way to bring us all together (at once, in the same room, with enough space for everyone to sit). Luke's immediate family alone is very large, and we long for the days of being able to host gatherings that are comfortable and welcoming. We have so many people we can't wait to bring into our home for parties, holidays, bonfires, and church events (and more). We want to share our property with people we love and make it a special place for them, too.

There are pieces of the home that reflect its history and original style that we hope to reuse in the new version. There are beautiful, solid wood doors from the basement that we hope to refinish and use as our interior doors throughout the house. We are keeping an original fireplace in the home and hope to give it new life. There is an amazing concrete sink in the basement that has to be used somehow -- I just haven't figured it out, yet.

I maintain that the real history is not in the wood and nails of the original house structure. It is in the trees. It is in the daffodils that my husband and his brothers helped plant when they were in high school. It is in the trails that lead to any which way of 40 acres. It is in the birds and other animals who call the woods their home. I can't wait for my girls to make their own memories out there -- out of the house...regardless of how new and awesome it may be.

Now that you know a little bit of the history of the house, I will show you the demo progress of this week alone. It is a bit terrifying. When you drive by, it definitely looks like something horrible happened -- a fire, a tornado, a crime of some sort. However, this is all part of the plan. The old will come down. The new will go up.


Siding has been taken off; most windows out; room on far left is the newer garage that will not be torn down


Chimney down (from a second fireplace we will not be keeping)


Interior view; insulation everywhere (among lots of other breathing hazards)


The girls couldn't believe what it looked like!


Action shot of some of the house coming down


The yellow wall you see was an interior wall to the room that used to stand in the gap; to the right of this space is the original house (built in 1942); to the left is the original garage; outside of the frame of the photo is the new garage that we will be keeping. 


The adventure continues.