A letter to my little poppy

To my sweet little poppy,

As it stands today, I am 33 1/2 weeks pregnant and this is the first time I've been able to write these words down. They've been navigating my heart and swarming in my brain since the day I found out about you, but I haven't let my fingers get it all out.

You see, the last time I wrote a letter to my unborn child - your soon to be big brother - tragedy struck and paralyzed my heart for a long time. I lost sight of a lot of things and had to navigate my way back to reality one short and difficult breath at a time. But this letter is not about that tragedy. This letter is about the miracle that is YOU. Being afraid of losing you or people that I love couldn't dare stop me from taking the opportunity to express to you my joy and anticipation that you have already brought to this world. I'm just sorry it took me so long.

You, my precious baby boy, represent so much in our family already and you don't even know it! You epitomize redemption, healing, love, and already you have brought our family closer together. Just the idea of your arrival has changed our world. And what an unexpected and beautiful change is has been.

Your daddy and I never intended to have you. Coming together with 5 children seemed crazy enough and our house was already bursting at the seams. But God always seems to have better plans than the ones we create for ourselves. When He put you on our hearts, we knew it would be worth every sleepless night, every corner of space we would lose, every tear, every dirty house day, and every exhausted evening.

It is my prayer that by the time you are old enough to read this letter, you will understand the uniqueness that is our family and learn about the joys and trials that blended our family together, but that you will feel nothing short of unconditional love. Your brain might understand some of the broken pieces that create our family, but your heart will only know of the completeness that was and is the result.

From day one, this pregnancy has been completely different. Nausea like I've never experienced before, weight gain in all the wrong places, aches, pains - it's so funny how I thought I knew what was coming, and you continue to be a surprise! But every time I feel you kick or giggle at your hiccups (which you get ALL the time!) all those things melt away and I soak up every precious moment of you. You are so well loved. Your brothers and sisters are going crazy waiting for you to come out already! They love to read to you, talk to you, kiss you good night, pray for you - you are a very important piece of our family.

Life has been so crazy these last 7 1/2 months, we barely have anything ready for you! But I know it will all come together and you will never know the difference. I also want you to know how excited your daddy is to hold you and rock you to sleep. He is such a blessing in my life and I pray every day that God keeps him safe and in our family for many years to come. He teaches me so much about love, service, humility, hard work, and God - and I pray you grow up to learn the same qualities from watching him. I'm afraid once you get here, he may not put you down for the rest of us to hold!

I can't wait to see what you look like, to see what pieces you posses from each person in our family. I know you will be beautiful. I can't wait to see the look on your daddy's face, and on the faces of your brothers and sisters. And I absolutely cannot wait to watch our family evolve and grow and love because you are in the world.

I love you, sweet baby boy.

Love always,


New house tour

Okay, now that I FINALLY shared our before and afters of our house in Michigan, I can give you the house tour of our house in West Virginia - since it is now officially ours and people have been bugging me about it! So, without further ado - our beautiful new house:

After the first time we walked through the house, Steve and I had an ongoing argument about what the color this house actually was....he thought white, I said light blue. Truth is, we were both off (it's actually a light grayish blue), but what really counts is that I was MORE right. ;)

This is the main entry way. Straight ahead to the kitchen, upstairs to the bedrooms, right to the main floor bathroom and an entryway to main living room. And if you turn right....

You'll see the coat closet and the front living room:

Walking through the front living room takes you through this entry to the dining room...

With 5 kids, white carpet, and beautiful floral wallpaper, what could go wrong?!?!? (Sense the sarcasm...I can't WAIT to get rid of this wallpaper and put wood floors down since our 2 year old has already stained this carpet with red koolaid, among other things!)

Turn right again (I hope you've figure out we're walking through in a clockwise circle), you'll enter the kitchen...and the door across goes to the main living room, which you'll see in a minute.

This kitchen feels much smaller than it is. There is TONS of storage, a huge food pantry, which is a dream come true, but the cabinets are so dark and close off this space, and of course the 80's wallpaper and floral curtains don't do it for me. Can't wait to get to work on the after of this space!

The door below you see on the left with a doggie door in it goes to the basement.

Okay, here is the main living room. Love the brick fire place and the giant space....but Lord have mercy, that wood paneling will be the FIRST to go! (In fact, we've already started painting it the day we closed on the house!)

 From the main living room, you walk out to the deck...

And you get to see this beautiful view....

We live next door to a wildlife preserve, so we get to see TONS of deer in our backyard!

Okay, to complete the full circle of the main floor, here is the main bathroom. Complete with more floral wallpaper...

Alright, now onto the upstairs... (this is from the top looking down)


We'll go counter-clockwise on this level. If you reach the top of the stairs and take an immediate right, you'll come to Reagan and Faith's room...

Nothing too exciting, YET, but it is significantly bigger than their last room..with a lot more closet space.

Next up on the same end of the house, is our oldest Zada's room. Also, much bigger than her last room - and we plan to Zebra this place up soon!

Keeping with our circle, next you come to the upstairs bathroom with double sinks and a shower! What a novel idea for the upstairs where all the bedrooms are! (I kid because our previous house only had a bath upstairs, the main level had the shower)

Next we come to another bedroom that was converted to a laundry room. As much as we want to convert it back to a bedroom - I absolutely LOVE having our laundry room upstairs. No more folding laundry on the couch, transporting clothes everywhere and making a big mess. The kids can grab their laundry and bring it right to their rooms. Not to mention, it's HUGE. So for now, it will stay a laundry room.

It's actually a turquoise color (the same color you'll see in the boy's room next, in fact, but you can't tell in these pictures because the lighting is weird)

Next is the boy's room. All of the rooms are significantly bigger than our last house. Lucky for these guys, cause there might be three rambunctious boys in here for a couple years.

Last room upstairs is our beautiful master bedroom...

Our master is the size of our old living room! So needless to say, we barely have enough furniture to fit in it. But we're happy nonetheless. Plus, it makes plenty of space for baby for the first few months. And...check out our own master bath....yes, double sinks again. 

If you think I'm spoiled now, check out this walk-in closet!!! I about peed my pants when I saw this. I have no reason to leave my bedroom now (I'll just order room service from my children and husband hehe)

That completes the tour for now. I don't have any pictures of the garage or basement yet. The basement is the ugliest space in the house, and the dog lived down there, so the smell is messing with my pregnancy nose big time. But right now, everything we haven't unpacked yet is being stored down there. Someday, it will come together. It's hard to be patient to watch things come together, but I'm brewing with excitement to create a space that suites our family.

Thanks for taking the tour with me. More importantly, thank you for all the prayers and kind words of encouragement that got us here in the first place! I love you all.


Updates (and pictures)

I know, I know....

I've been terrible about blogging lately. I can't even begin to tell you how crazy life has been lately. Between moving, starting school, working at the church during the day, unpacking, events, dinner, homework....yikes, it gets crazy. It feels good to have a purpose though. I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be right now, and that God is using me in his church again. I decided that I'd give my September to focus on church work (cleaning/re-organizing office area, clean up and renovate youth house, help Steve plan Children's ministry program, church Rummage sale, and head up Trunk-or-treat) and we've gotten a lot accomplished! And, I'm exhausted :)

Now, I am splitting my time between church and our home which we officially own as of yesterday! In celebration, we went to Sherwin Williams to pick out paint for our living room, which is currently wood paneling and just icky and dark. I can FINALLY start taking down wallpaper and paint rooms and make this house a home. Just wait, people...I am gonna rock this place!

Oh yea....and somewhere in there I AM HAVING A BABY! sheesh - we are unprepared for that! We have nothing really ready for baby, but as long as this little bundle of joy doesn't come too early, we will devote some time to getting ready for that. We spent some time last night just before bedtime with all the kids just watching my belly move and shake....what a special time with our children to watch them bond over become brothers and sisters again and together. This baby will be well loved.

Okay, I will do my best to catch everyone up date. I wanted to start with our home in Michigan (which sold in 3 days BTW!!!) Since this house was so special to me and our family, it was definitely hard to leave behind. Unexpected tears took over when we pulled away from the house to move in. But, I worked very hard on the house and we put a lot of love and care into the house, so I wanted to share with everyone the before and afters of our home.

 The front of our house before (with white shutters, broken garage door, and no landscaping...)

And, the front of our house after we replaced the garage door, painted the door, post and shutters black, replaced light fixtures, added landscaping and took a picture in the summer so the grass looks green and pretty...hehe)

My mom came over one day to help me put some pretty black mulch and a few flowers in the front yard...

Walking into the front of the house, here is the living room before:

And the living room after:

Walls went from green to gray, trim painted white,  and floors stained walnut)

Oh yeah, and our beloved wood pallet wall, which was hard to part with, since we just put it up!

Our kitchen BEFORE:

We named the paint color in this room "Baby poop yellow."

And the beautiful AFTER:

Painted walls (thank goodness!), trim and cabinets, stained floor, and new appliances)

Before and after of the main floor hallway to bathroom and laundry room (not too much to report):

For some reason, I don't have a before picture of the main floor bathroom...this is when I painted it the first time (which ended up being way too dark for my taste) and what you can't see is the nasty floor, oak counter and marble green counter top:

Steve and I replaced the floor, vanity, lighting, mirror...pretty much everything. I wish you could see it all!

The laundry room before and after is also not too exciting...but we did paint it the same bright color as the kitchen. 

Now onto the upstairs....again, I don't have a before photo of the girls' room, but it was yellow with red carpet (think ketchup and mustard). It also did not have a closet. We were lucky enough to be able to build one into the attic of the garage. And here is the result:

Eventually, I WILL paint those beds white to match the monogramed headboards I painted. You know, when I have a bunch of free time.

Apparently, I did not take pictures of the kids rooms upstairs. Or, I just can't find them. This room was brown and smelled severely of animal urine...I think it was a tan color. This was the only picture I could find of it, because the first night we spent in the home was on Caleb's birthday so I wanted his room to be finished first. You can't see much of the room, since he slept in his birthday bed tent lol:

Then, we transformed it into one of our favorite rooms when Zada moved in - a zebra and pink, perfect for an almost teenager, and surprised her with it!

You can't see in the picture, but the inside of the closet is painted Zebra as well :)

What started off as Carter's nursery eventually became the boy's shared room. It was the most decent room in its BEFORE, just gray. We painted and replaced the carpet in the whole upstairs.

I promise they both had their own beds! We took one out for showing so it didn't look so cluttered.

I did take BEFORE pics the master bedroom. Not bad to begin with:

After paint and staining the floors, this is the AFTER:

And the last room upstairs...the master bath. BEFORE:

This was mid-project, I remembered to snap a pic. You can see the same green counter tops that were also in the main floor bathroom.

And the AFTER. If we had lived here longer, it would have been much more dramatic, but we just painted the countertops and cabinets and added a tile border on the mirror. Made a big difference though.

And finally...the basement. When I bought the house, the basement was completely unfinished. To my blessing, a group of amazing men traveled from Indiana after raising money to refinish my basement and transformed the space...

This is walking down the stairs....

A living space and craft area. We never got to completely finish this space, but it sure came a long way!

What you can't see in this next picture is to the left is the utility room, closet space under the stairs, and a bathroom we never got to finish. 

I never got to get it 100% to where I wanted it to be...but who ever does?! In just over 2 years, I came pretty close, and I can't believe how much we were able to do. God is Good. I will forever treasured this home in my heart as the place I started over, the place Steve and I became a family, the place that Jeremy blessed with his approval and presence, and the place I really started to figure out who I was. 

Next, I will give you the tour of our new home in West Virginia. Stay tuned...


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