Friday, September 28, 2012

A New & Unexpected Journey

"I'm concerned that Mason might have Down Syndrome."

These were the words spoken to me the morning after our son was born.  Nothing could have prepared me for this and it was one of the most difficult things that I had ever heard.  "What makes you think so", I asked. 

The Doctor paused and began to explain what he saw--one less crease in the palm of his hands, extra skin on his neck--things I hadn't even noticed.  Without other common medical conditions present in children with Down Syndrome, he couldn't be certain until they ran a blood test, the results of which would take two weeks.

In that moment all that I was capable of was to cry and wonder.  My mind began to flood with questions right away:  What would this mean for our family?  What would Mason look like?  How would I be capable of raising a child with special needs?  Why my son?  In the midst of all of these questions, there were three things that I did know:

1. I loved my son.
2. I didn't want my son to have Down Syndrome
3. God was good and sovereign.

Bradley arrived later that morning with the girls and after spending a few minutes together as a family of five for the first time, the Doctor broke the news to Bradley.  We cried hard that night and expressed to each other our frustrations, fears, and all sorts of emotions.  Bradley went into research mode scrambling to try and understand how our lives might be different, but I couldn't.  I wasn't ready to accept it until we had the test results back.

The two weeks waiting for the results were hard.  I cried every time I nursed Mason; I cried when I thought about how our life was possibly changing; I cried wishing that it would all just go away.  I cried because I didn't want to be crying.

Finally, the results came back--the test was positive for Down Syndrome.   We left with stacks of papers full of information and with a son who, although he didn't look much different from our other children, had one extra chromosome that would change the course of his life.

Much has transpired in my heart and mind over the past five months of Mason's life.  I still have questions about Mason's future, and our future with him.  But, there are three things that I know:

1. I love my son.
2. Although I still struggle with some of the realities Mason faces, there is absolutely nothing I     would change about my son. 
3. God is good and sovereign.

Mason is a precious gift from God and we love him more and more every day, just as we do our other children.  This is a new journey we are on, one we certainly didn't expect, but God is giving us grace every day to face the unknown.

Mason's first smile caught on camera

It's taken me months to compose this post.  And, now that I've finally written it out for you, I still have much to share!  So, I thought I would write it over the month of October.  If you've been around this blog for awhile, you might remember my 31 Days series last October, 31 Days of Fall from the Kitchen.  The Nester  started the 31 series, and I decided to participate again this year.   It will have a different flavor this time, but I hope you'll stay around for it.  Come back on Monday for my series title and a little introduction.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sunburst Mirror with Wooden Shims, Neiman Marcus Knockoff

The project I'm sharing with you today is me jumping on the sunburst mirror bandwagon only about two years behind!  I've gone back and forth in my mind about making one of these, and when I started thinking through our Master Bedroom project, I decided that over the bed would be the perfect place for a large mirror.  I prefer a simple approach to decorating, so one piece of art above the bed, rather than a gallery wall of sorts, seemed like a good solution.

I am so happy that I went with this option!  It's exactly what I was picturing, and I'm loving it!  I followed Thrifty Decor Chick's tutorial for her mirrors {she copied a Ballard design}, and I just made it look a bit more like this mirror I found by Neiman Marcus.


The natural wood look wasn't working for me, so with two coats of ivory primer/spray paint, and then some brushed on Ivory Dust, by Valspar, my shims were looking the way I wanted.

There are tons of great tutorials out there for variations of a sunburst mirror.  Mine required two packs of builder grade shims, hot glue and glue gun, two scrap pieces of wood, a mirror, hook on the back, and some paint.  Total cost = $15.  Neiman Marcus cost = $375.  I prefer the lower dollar amount.

And, to keep it real, here is the pile of stuff I removed from my nightstand in order to take this picture.

Linking to:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DIY Drapery Hardware

Finding the proper hardware to hang window treatments is always a challenge.  The nice ones are pricey {ranging from $20-$100} and the cheap ones are never the right size.  There are three windows in our Master Bedroom, so if I was going to put in the kind of hardware I wanted, I was looking at spending more money on the hardware than I did on my drapes {read about the drapes here}.

Instead of spending a ton of money, I decided to purchase some materials and put together my own hardware.

1. Purchase materials from Lowe's {or hardware store of your choice}.  These were found near the building materials.  I bought 1 1/4-inch dowel rods, brackets, finials, and little wooden tabs to put into the brackets {not pictured}.

2. Cut dowel rods to size and paint with paint color of choice.  I used a sample size of Ivory Dust, by Valspar.

3. Hang on the wall and put the little wooden piece in to cover the screw.  I then used a q-tip to paint the wooden piece.

These were so easy to do and I love them!  You could easily paint these any color to get a little pop  of color over your windows.  For just about $5 per window, it's not too shabby!

Linking to:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Little Ramble and Fall is Here!

Whew!  The past week has been quite crazy around here.  All 3 kiddos have been sick, and Mason ended up in the hospital Friday/Saturday with pneumonia.  Poor little guy!  It sure is tough to watch your children struggle to breathe!  He was a trooper, though, and barely even cried while on oxygen all night, getting meds throughout the night, and being handled by lots of people.  He was hands down the cutest patient in the hospital that night!  Thankfully, he's on the mend and it seems like we may be back to 'normal', whatever that is.

Since I spent most of Friday and Saturday at the hospital, I didn't finish some of the projects I was working on, so I'll just show you a few pictures that say fall to me.  It is fall, can you believe it?!  The weather here has just begun to cool off in the mornings and evenings, and very soon we'll be opening up the windows (Bradley says I have to dust first--I detest dusting).  I'm ready for pumpkins, trying out new recipes, shorter days, and curling up under cozy blankets.

Source: via Lauren on Pinterest

Source: via Lauren on Pinterest
Source: via Lauren on Pinterest

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sometimes it's the Little Things




Much better, don't you think?  It only took about 5 minutes to remove it, but it made such a difference!  That iron piece bugged for over a year before I finally did something about it.

Is there anything quick and little that you can tackle today??

Monday, September 17, 2012

How to Customize Store Bought Drapes

Decorating our Master Bedroom has been a challenge for me, as I'm trying to do it on a very tight budget, and I've had difficulty deciding how to go about it.  Last week I shared with you the paint color, and a peek of the fabric that I used for my window treatments.  Today, I'm sharing my new drapery panels.

For months I searched for the perfect fabric to make some drapes.  The fabric I loved was a gorgeous paisley and for a mere $45/yard, I could have some beautiful panels.  Why is it that I always like the expensive fabrics??  There was no way I could afford that, so I kept my eye out whenever I would shop for fabric that I liked.  I looked at fabric stores, TJMaxx, Target, etc., and not just at drapes; I was also browsing sheets, tablecloths, and anything made out of fabric to see if I could find something similar.  Finally, one day at Target I saw some panels on clearance that were the colors and paisley that I was looking for.  I purchased all four of what they had left.  The best way to describe the material is linen-sheer {if there is such a thing}, though, so a ton of light came through, which I didn't like.

What do you do when you like part of something that you bought but not all of it?  You can return it, but I decided to customize it to make it work in this space.

There are 3 windows in our bedroom.  In order to achieve the fullest look on a window, you would normally use 2 panels per window.  However, the store only had 4 panels {I even looked online, but they were all sold out and discontinued}.  Since I knew I wouldn't be closing them {we have mini-blinds on all the windows} I decided to cut 3 of the panels in half, giving me two panels for each window.  Instead of a fuller look, they would just frame the window.

Then, after cutting them in half, I added lining to each one {purchased for $1/yard at a remnant store} similar to how I added lining to my Dining Room Panels.

Once the sides were finished, I simply used stitch witchery to adhere the lining to the top of each panel, placing it right below the pocket rod.

I kept the original hem and pocket rod of the purchased portion of the panels, which made this customization quite simple.  And, the total cost for 3 windows was just about $50.  If I had gone with my favorite fabric choice in the store, I would have only been able to purchase one yard of fabric--not even enough to cover half of one window!

Later on in the week I'll show you how I made the hardware for these--another fun and very inexpensive project!  Also, for those of you math-minded folks, you might be wondering what I did with the 4th panel {you were wondering, weren't you??}, I'll share that as well.

Don't be afraid to customize things that you purchase, even items that are brand new!  With just a little bit of work and a few supplies you can get the look you want for much less.

Linking to:
Home Stories A to Z

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Project Master Bedroom

One of the last rooms in our house to finally get some decor is our Master Bedroom.  We've been living with the builder grade paint, no window treatments, nothing on the walls, and no coordinating bedding since we moved in.  Last summer, we purchased some furniture that Mother-in-law found at an Estate Sale.  We are so thankful for it and got a super deal, but it was a king-size bed, so I only bought some sheets and a cotton blanket on clearance until we could decide what we wanted to do in there and have some money to make it happen.

I found some fabric that I liked at my favorite fabric outlet in town, an ivory and brown pattern, which would become Euro shams.  I knew I also wanted some shade of blue in this space.  Back in February, I found some drapery panels on clearance at Target, for $12.98 each, so I bought all 4 panels that were remaining and decided to use those for the windows.  Here's a peek of the fabric:

Going off of the fabrics I had chosen, we then moved on to a paint color.  This was a tough one!  I really wanted a deep blue on the walls.   These were the colors we had on the wall for a few weeks before we decided.

We opted for the darker tan because we were trying to think of re-sale; the blue color I love is a lot of blue for this space, especially if someone is going to either rent or buy our home when we move.  We're planning to use the blue in the bathroom {a much smaller space} and I think it will look nice in there.

Here is the bedroom  before any work was done:

And, here is just one of the finished walls:

Simply putting this color on the walls instantly made our room feel warmer, less sterile.  And, that plant you see was on clearance for $4!  I've actually been keeping my house plants alive this year {gasp} and really wanted one for our bedroom.  This one is perfect and didn't cost too much!  Yay!

I"ll be sharing more of how this room is coming together in the next few days and weeks.  I'm having a lot of fun just putting together items that we already had, fabrics I had purchased for very little money, and some DIY things that make me feel like I accomplished something in here.  It's been a slow process, but when you're trying to make a home 'from scratch', that's what happens :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Beach Week Wrap-Up

We've been back from the beach for a few days now, but it's taken me that long to really believe that vacation is over, thus summer is over, and now we're moving into fall.

We had a fantastic time at the beach!  A few highlights:

-seeing my girls enjoying themselves so much.
-walks on the beach with my husband and kids
-not wearing shoes for 6 whole days!!
-eating lots of M&M's
-talking with my parents, sisters, and brothers-in-law every night
-riding a wave in on a boogie board {it's been a few years}
-crab stomping and hearing Isabella say, "I haven't pulverized one yet!"
-riding out past the breaking waves on an inflatable boat with Bradley and coming back in without tipping
-watching the ocean while drinking my coffee and reading my Bible in the mornings
-chasing Mallory because she had no fear of the water or waves
-watching Isabella, who doesn't like to get dirty, roll around in the sand and be covered from head to foot

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Six Years

Six years of marriage and it just gets better and better!  There's no one else I'd rather laugh with or cry with.   I look forward with great eagerness to all that the Lord has in store for our days to come.  

I spent some time the other night going through old photos and collected some of my favorites of Bradley and me together through the years.  Enjoy! 

Wedding Day

Honeymoon in Belize


Charleston Reindeer Run

Spring in PA

My Sailor
My Man

And, now, we're off to the beach!  See you next week!