Friday, September 10, 2010

Dresser #1... finished

You know that thing I said about wishing I had endless amounts of time? Yeah. Still wishing. Which is why it's now a month later. And I have like two more sentences written of our story. And eighty-seven projects cluttering up my garage.

And so, I'm a bad blogger. :) With the weather now bringing just a bit of relief from the extreme and excessive heat (seriously, this was the first summer that I just COULD. NOT. TAKE. IT. Did you feel that way?), we are spending every waking moment outside. And I love it! Sassy runs off her energy (mostly), takes a fantabulous nap in the afternoon (usually), and then we're back out.

My floors are looking pretty sad, though. And the clutter... oh, the clutter! The inside really suffers when it's this beautiful outside.

Still, I'm taking full advantage of these early autumn cool mornings and comfortable afternoons to turn THIS:

into THIS:

Isn't she loverly? Perfect for a certain little girly girl's room. :) I painted it Valspar's "String of Pearls" (FYI: You can totally have it mixed at Walmart for half the price.), and if I had it to do over, I'd have taken the extra step of priming. I did not, and I think the final count of coats of paint was four... maybe five in a few spots. :)

I love the drawer pulls. Half off at Hobby Lobby made these beauties $2 a piece... woo!

Don't look too closely, though. It's most certainly not in "show room" condition. You might not have been able to see in the original picture, but there was some pretty obvious water damage to two of the drawers. I sanded the top drawer down as well as I could, then filled in with wood filler. The second drawer just needed a little wood glue and a clamp. Perfect? No, but I'm okay with that.

Let's just say it adds character, shall we?

I unintentionally added some "character" of my own. I used a clear glaze as the top coat, and there are some noticeable spots that turned a little yellowish. :(

And we have a spot or two of some glaze drippage. Oops.

I guess that "weathered" style will look nice with this mirror I'm thinking of hanging above the dresser! I found this pretty piece at a garage sale this summer, I believe for $1. It's Pier One... you can bet it wasn't a dollar in the store!

This is the bed I purchased for Sassy last summer for $15 at a yard sale. I touched it up with some white paint, but other than that, haven't done a thing to it. I LOVE the scrolly design on the headboard!

Her "big girl room" is a work in progress, but thankfully, neither she nor I are in any bit of a hurry for her to leave the crib. Yes, I know she's closing in on three. Don't rush me. :) I'm keeping my eyes out for some cute girly bedding on sale (or even better... on clearance?). I'm absolutely in LOVE with this PBK set, but seeing as I haven't seen the set come even close to under $500+ (seriously, who in their right mind??), I'm still shopping. :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our adoption story: The best laid plans

I wish I had endless amounts of time. Don't we all? :) Enough time to get all the housework done, all the dangling projects completed, meal prep, laundry, exercise, running errands... and still have some leftover for "extras," like blogging.

Since I don't have endless amounts of time at my disposal, and since I don't want to spend great amounts of the time I do have staring at a computer screen, I'm going to break down pieces of our adoption story to retell. It goes without saying that some things are non-blog material, and still other things just aren't worth the time -- yours in reading, mine in writing -- to record. But, I hope that I can tell enough to paint an accurate picture. Sound good?

To preface the adoption side of the story, I should first address the infertility side of the story, since that is what first landed us in an adoption agency in the fall of 2006.

In the spring/early summer of 2005, Mr. Incredible and I decided we were ready to start our family. We had the house. We had the dog. The next step? Babies, of course. :) I'd been ready for this step since I was ten; he was finally ready to indulge me. I felt like I'd waited my whole life to be a mommy, and I wanted to shout to the rooftops that I was finally at the threshold! What joy and excitement this would bring our families!

Mr. Incredible wisely urged me to remain silent about our plans until we had something to tell... in other words, a positive pregnancy test. Okay, I thought, a little disappointed. But I quickly got over that need to tell and fully enjoyed the "secrecy" of our plans. I felt like we had this wonderful, special, exciting secret (non-news, really). And besides, I could stay quiet for a couple months, right? Because surely it wouldn't take longer than that. We'd be making our announcement by Thanksgiving. Christmas at the latest.

Oh, those best laid plans. :)

For the first three months or so, I was completely relaxed about the whole thing, which is funny to me now because "relaxed" is hardly the word I would use to describe myself in most situations! :) However, I just wasn't worked up about it. When I still wasn't pregnant in October (our fourth cycle trying, if I remember correctly), I took up charting my temperature, but just casually. By November though, I became religious about it. I kept my thermometer on my bedside table, and would set my alarm for the same time each day to check it, even if I wasn't planning to get up yet. Then, I'd recorded all the temps in an online calendar I'd found, watching it desperately for my temps to creep up, up, up... only for them to come crashing down a day or two before my period inevitably arrived.

What was happening? Why was this taking so long? I was supposed to be making a pregnancy announcement by the holidays. I'd selected (and purchased) meaningful "grandmother" Willow Tree figures for each of our moms, and this would be how we would give them the news. And now they just sat in a cabinet mocking me, hidden behind any mish-mash of items to conceal them from others, but also from myself. I didn't want to look at them or be reminded of what I perceived to be my "failure."

By February 2006, I was ready to lose my mind. I made an appointment with my OBGYN to ask him what the heck was up with my body. No testing at this appointment, just a plea to relax and let it happen naturally. He ordered me to stop charting, because he could see it was making me a crazy person, and was likely hindering rather than helping by this point. He explained that it's a vicious cycle... with every passing month, I got more anxious and less relaxed, meaning my body wasn't as "able" to conceive as naturally. He encouraged me that conception would be very likely on our upcoming Alaskan cruise, scheduled for June, and that he had no doubts in his mind that I'd be returning from that trip with a little extra "souvenir." I really did feel so much better after talking with him that day. I just felt like I could put my fears at ease, because if anyone knew what he was talking about, a doctor certainly would.

The next few months came and went, and off we flew to the Pacific Northwest for a memorable trip. If I'd had doubts about conceiving on that trip, they were only more confirmed by how seasick I felt for most of the trip. I couldn't have brought home that "souvenir" even if I'd wanted to. :)

The bottom line was that I was still not pregnant, and now we had been trying for more than a year. I could not believe it. I never would have thought we'd have still been without a baby by this point in our life.

Summer 2006 was primarily occupied with fertility testing and doctor's appointments. Initial bloodwork came back fine for me, and my next scheduled test was an HSG, which I was completely horrified by. I'd heard it was an invasive, painful test, and could lead to a significant amount of cramping even afterwards. I dreaded that test with every fiber of my being, but what made me even more concerned was what would happen between my bloodwork tests and the possible HSG: sperm analysis.

This falls under the "not worth the time" category (because it's gross, and private, and did I say gross?), but I'll summarize this part of the story by saying we had a winner! Or a loser? I'm not sure which. :)

Due to some complications going back to his birth and toddlerhood (again, I look back and can't believe this sincerely NEVER occurred to me as a possible problem in the midst of it), we were given two options -- IVF or adoption.

I remember the moment those words came out of the doctor's mouth. I remember we were sitting in a white, sterile, tiny room on metal exam chairs, and that it was the least possible environment of comfort. I remember a vision in my mind's eye of a young girl with soft, blonde ringlets pulled back in pigtails, skipping off to a tree swing, laughing with a beautiful smile and sparkling eyes. And I remember feeling that girl had been taken from me in that moment, in that exam room. I remember the doctor could barely offer me a tissue, let alone a sliver of hope to hang my dreams on.

He left the room, and I was relieved to see him go. I can understand now, all this time later, that he was just doing his job, and that this was the hard part of his duties. But he didn't have much in the way of a bedside manner, and all I wanted to do was cry and scream... and that's what I did. I wailed and sobbed and gasped for air. I knew patients in other exam rooms, nurses, doctors, and anyone nearby could hear me, but I didn't care. Mr. Incredible held me tight and stroked my hair, allowing me to only begin the grieving process.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The prompting

I'm considering trying to write a series of posts (over who knows how long) to tell our adoption story. There are good moments and bad... high points and low ones... and I will say that it doesn't necessarily paint the agency we used in a positive light, much to my dismay. :(

I've wanted to write this "story" (although, it's our life, not a fictional essay) since we were in the midst of it happening, but I couldn't... for a number of reasons. And now, nearly three years later, I'm at the point that I don't know how much time and effort and emotional energy I have available for sharing the hard things... but I also know there won't ever be a day when I have endless amounts of those things, anyway. :)

It's easy to pop in here and write about "fluff" once in a while. I've gotten to be a pretty lazy blogger as it is, but that's all for good reasons. I want to use my time in the best, most productive ways that I can, and I want to honor the Lord and serve my family by doing that.

But maybe? Maybe I should not be silent. I've chatted with many people over these past few years about it, and I've shared privately with some. But I get the itch from time to time to stand up and speak publicly about our experience, not because I think I have a well-heard platform, but because this is where I am, right now. This is where I can speak... if I choose.

My chest is tight right now. I'm physically tensed up and my heart hurts to remember. I think I'm willing to speak, albeit reluctantly. Not because it is not important, but because it is hard. Because it is painful to relive.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Well, here's a new one

Just when you think you've heard it all, people never cease to amaze you!

Mom #3 and I were working in the nursery together again this weekend. Another mom is apparently expecting her fourth, and at twenty weeks has less of a tummy than I do with only the previous night's supper in me. That's always nice to see.

So, as we know, no topic is off limits among nursery workers. Oh, nursery duty days... I just love how I never know what to expect from you!

So as the other two moms in the room were talking about their various delivery experiences (seven, between them) at different area hospitals, which had a good nursing staff, which did not, which nurseries were the nicest, which doctors they preferred, etc. I know this topic tends to come up among younger moms, and I do know that it's just one of those things I can't control, but also that I don't really have much to add to the conversation... obviously. :)

Finally, Mom #3 (see the linked post) asks me, "Where did you have Sassy?"

Um? Wasn't the whole "adoption" thing clear from previous conversations we've had?

Thinking she must have just forgotten, I smiled and said, "I didn't have Sassy." It was at this point that she looked at me like I had grown a third eye.

I filled her in on the fact that we had adopted Sassy, so I didn't actually birth her. :) The response was one that I can honestly say I had never gotten before. She told me I was wrong. I actually had someone tell me I was lying about Sassy being adopted. HUH??

Of course, she wasn't being mean... but apparently the adoption was just so incredulous to her that she sincerely thought I was telling her a story. I don't for the life of me know WHY I would lie about that, but okay then.

"No, you didn't! You HAD her! I know you did!" Exact. words. And repeated over and over... and over... and over...

I finally had to say, look, I was there, and it wasn't me she was coming out of. :) (Although I wasn't actually in the delivery room for a number of reasons, it was the only thing I could think of that seemed to get her to acknowledge that, yes, in fact, I was being completely honest!)

She never really indicated why she so strongly thought that Sassy was my biological child. I didn't ask... didn't seem productive.

Oh, it gets better though!

"So, whose is she then?" YES, REALLY!

"Mine!" was my reply, because that's the honest answer!

"No, I mean, who had her? Did you know her?"

"Well, we do now!" I said. I was into literal answers on this occasion, I guess!

I explained that we went through an agency, that we had a home study, that it was (ironically) about nine months from being approved to Sassy's birth, that Sassy's mom chose us from the profiles she had to view, that we have an open relationship with her, and that we do still visit when we have the opportunity.

I think she was still pretty shocked, though. I just didn't realize we were so... abnormal! Are we really that weird?!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I love a good project!

I lurve garage sales. Love, love, love. I'm very possibly the cheapest person you'd ever hope to meet, so finding unique pieces at ridiculous prices AND being able to bargain with them is right up my alley. And plus, half the fun is in the process. You never know what you might find! Worst case scenario, you'll certainly find something to laugh at. :)

So here is a recent purchase of mine! Want to guess how much I spent on this dresser (which, by the way, is NOT missing a drawer on the top left side... that drawer has been painted black for some reason)? $3. I'm not kidding... three dollars!!

Aren't the legs adorable? The casters came right out... with a little help from Mr. Incredible. As in, he did that part for me. :)

I've sanded the whole thing, and we've taken the old drawer pulls off. I'm planning to paint it white or an off-white and use it in Sassy's "big girl" room, which is a sloooow work in progress. It'd probably help to have a better "vision" of what I'm doing in there. Help, anyone? We like pink. And girly. And possibly some type of cute birdie/tree combination.

So this? Yeah, had to have this one, too. I nearly had a coronary over this thing before I even got out of the car. A little bargaining and $10 later, it was mine.

One slight problem. My sister has requested this dresser or similar for her new house. Blood might be thicker than water, but I think she's going to have to look past my offense on this one. Because it's mine!

It needs a little work, no? But it's got so much character. So much appeal. So much storage.

So here's the thing... my knee-jerk reaction was to sand it down, paint it black, and then distress it. It's not going to be anyone's actual dresser; I'm going to use it the living area and store office supplies, magazines, and yes, probably toys in it. But, thing is, I actually really like the color it is now. And now I'm sort of wondering if I should do something a little more "unpredictable" with it... something reminiscent of one of my favorite eye-candy blogs. And I'm seriously loving all shades of aqua these days. One look in Sassy's closet, and there's no doubt of that. But I just couldn't see a big piece of AQUA furniture in my house. Just not sure if it would "fit."

And then, this morning, I came across this. Quite accidentally. I was on my way to drop some things off at Goodwill and totally missed the turn. There was a garage sale at the turn-around. ONE. DOLLAR. Hello, lover!

LOVE these glass knobs. Love, love, love!

I wasn't sure about the print at first (and the little rose buds are actually magnets... the picture part is magnetic), but it kind of grew on me. I still may give some chalkboard spray paint eventually, but for now, I think I'm keeping it as "inspiration" for Sassy's new room. Maybe not quite so Victorian, though. But the frame color? Ooh, la, la! I could maybe see that color on my green dresser. Thoughts?! If it helps, it's likely going against that caramel colored wall...

Friday, May 21, 2010


After a week-long nap strike, Sassy is NAPPING!!!!! I put her down earlier than usual today (easier said than done), and it worked like a charm.

I feel like singing! But I won't because I don't want to wake her up. :)

Could I possibly be so lucky as to have naptime back in our normal routine?!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I got a new vacuum cleaner last week. It was overdue.

We'd shopped around and I had surprisingly (for me) sold myself on an Oreck. Gosh, they're nice, aren't they? Crazy power and light enough to lift one-handed without breaking a sweat. That little old wrinkly man sure does know what he's doing, I'll tell you that.

Downside? The pricetag. Ouch. And then our garage door spring broke. And our air conditioning went out. And some part on the TV blew a fuse and had to be replaced. All in the same week. Double, triple, and quadruple ouch.

Bye-bye, Oreck money. Hello, Target vacuum aisle.

I checked out the reviews, and finally decided on a Bissell that everyone seemed to have awesome things to say about. It was in the price range I was planning to spend, and let's face it -- the only other choices out there are the Hummers of the vacuum world and the $30 joke that you're afraid will break after two uses.

So, hooray for making a decision! I was actually pretty excited to test it out. I've never had a bagless vacuum before, and I will say that this is the #1 quality I hate about it, but there really aren't many bagged upright vacuums on the market these days that don't cost an arm, a leg, and a kidney.

THIS is what I found after vacuuming one room. Seriously?!? What disgustingness we've been walking and playing on without even realizing it!

Even my husband, who shall thus forth be acknowledged as "Mr. Incredible" (per his new toy -- uh, phone), noted that the carpet seemed softer... "fluffy" almost. I won't say it's turned my beige carpet three shades whiter or made it look brand new again... but for eighty bucks? I'm happy.