A Beautiful Gift

Today marks my oldest daughter’s 10th birthday. Yes you read that correctly TEN!!! I can hardly believe how quickly the time has flown by. As I reflect on the past 7 years, I am so grateful. God fulfilled my dream for a child in such a beautiful way. I look forward to watching her flourish into the amazing young lady God dreamed her to be.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!


Just this evening as we decided to take a walk as a family, my neighbor walked up and in the conversation said to me…”I miss seeing your decorating articles in the paper”.  I shared with him how I have written so many things in my head and then pointed to my children and said…”These sweet little ones are why I never have time to write my thoughts down”.

You see, as of this Monday afternoon I became the mother of FIVE!  Yes you read that correctly.  Three of which are 1 year and under. 🙂

About 14 years ago when my husband and I started trying to have a family we never dreamed that in the years between our 15th and 16th wedding anniversary we would add 3 sweet babies to our ever growing tribe.  It really is an AMAZING story that I hope I can remember in a few years when I actually have time to write out our adventure.  I believe it would make a great book and who knows, I might just have the opportunity to write it.

But for now, I wanted to let all of you my dear and faithful friends meet the 5 special reasons that my life has been abundantly transformed and why I haven’t been transforming too many spaces lately.

Beginning with my beautiful firstborn:

She is such a great help to me with the babies.  I can’t believe how grown up she has become.

Next there is my full of laughter second born:

She is always willing to give a helping hand and so loves her baby brother and sisters.

Then there is my oldest “baby”, my sweet one year old (not able to provide picture at this time).  This happy girl brings a smile to everyone she meets.

My handsome and completely loveable son:

He is growing way too fast (4 months old already) and seems so grown up next to his little sister.

And last but not least our tiniest member who joined us on Monday and is now 5 day old (not able to share a picture at this time).  She shares a birthday with her 1 year old sister.  Such a treasure!

So by now your mind is probably spinning with questions most of which I hope to be able to answer one day but for the obvious ones…

“Have you lost your minds?”  Yes, probably.

“Are you getting any sleep?” At times 🙂

“Is taking on so many babies in a short time worth it?”  Absolutely.  We are AMAZINGLY BLESSED!

It’s A Boy!

Oh how I have wanted to post for some time.  My mind is flooded with so many details to share, but finding time to record them is a totally different matter.  Thankfully I have a burst of energy and everyone is asleep at the present so I thought I would at least take a few moments to introduce the newest addition to our quickly growing family!

Let me present my sweet little boy…John Adrian!

He made his grand appearance on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at around 10:15 pm.  He was 9 lbs, 4.5ozs and 21.5 inches long!  

Our First Glimpse!

My first thought when I heard how big he was…”He must be meant for me!  He was almost as big as I was when I was born!”. 🙂

He is so beautiful!  He has dark hair and blue eyes like his daddy.  God couldn’t have given us a more perfect surprise present!

And if you are wondering about his big sisters…

They are extremely proud!

And me…

Well, I’m pretty much in heaven. 🙂

Our Latest Adventure

It is amazing how one little phone call can turn your world upside down in an instant.  We certainly know this from experience.  A week ago Tuesday, we received one such call.

It had been a long day with the kids at homeschool co-op.  My husband was out of town and I was looking forward to a quiet evening at home and putting my three sweet little girls to bed early.  We were finishing up dinner and expecting a friend to stop by for a visit when the phone rang.

Many times I will answer the phone…”Amazing Transformations, this is Jennifer” when I don’t recognize the name on the caller id.  This particular night I simply said “hello”.  The sweet voice then asked…”Is this Travis or Jennifer?”  I said…”This is Jennifer.” and then the life changing conversation began!

This timid young girl began telling me that I didn’t know her but that she had been working with CPO (Crisis Pregnancy Outreach) and that she was expecting a baby boy that she decided to place for adoption.  And then she said…“and I picked you to adopt my child.”

My response…”oh, oh, OH!”  (I was a little slow catching on! :))  “When is the baby due?”

“March 30th”

And then I began babbling non-stop.  I guess I needed to process this conversation and the poor girl had to endure my rattling on.

What makes this such an amazing call (besides the fact that it was COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED) was that just the weekend before I thought to myself…”I need to write my mentor an email and ask her to send me our family profile book back.  Our book has been with CPO for 2 years now and obviously it wasn’t God’s plan for us to adopt from this ministry.”  Well, I never got the email written and three days later I received this call!

Normally, when a family works with CPO a mentor will contact the family and set up an appointment with the birth mom to meet and decide if everyone wants to proceed.  Apparently this time, the birth mom was certain of her decision and wanted to call us herself.  Boy was she brave! 🙂

After a week I have begun to get used to the idea that we are about to have a newborn in the house again.  It really is crazy isn’t it?!  Two babies 8 months apart!  God really does have a sense of humor…and I am glad!

We have had the opportunity to meet the birth mom and she is BEAUTIFUL!  I can’t wait to introduce you to my son and his birth mom!  We are going to have an open adoption and I am so thankful.  The birth mom has already expressed that she would like to see him as much as we would allow her to.  I am thinking that having two sweet babies to hold will offer lots of opportunities for her to come and see our family! 🙂

The girls can’t wait to welcome a little brother!

Ever Changing…

Ever since we moved into our home about 3 1/2 years ago, my husband has been ready to sell it. He likes our house mind you, he simply is always looking for the next “deal”.  I guess this might hinge on him being raised in a builder’s family, having moved about 20 times before college in the same small town.  They didn’t even have to change their phone number!  I, on the other hand, lived in the same home from the age of two until I left for college.  My parents still live in that home.   I am completely content to stay in a house long term.  He feels like he needs to move every couple of years.  Talk about opposites attracting!

I’m sure you could imagine my disgust when he first started talking about selling our house only days after we moved in. After 2 1/2 months of hard work and finally putting everything perfectly in its place, the last thing I wanted to hear was talk of selling.  I will say, it was a large compliment.  He was so impressed with how nice the house turned out that he thought we could make a lot of money on our investment.

Well, I was able to ward off any “For Sale” signs in the yard for the past 3 1/2 years but it appears selling is on his mind again. He has been busy getting lots of things done around the house with plans of trying to sell in the spring.  I’m still not ready to change but I am humoring him at the moment.  At least, he is getting a lot of “honey-dos” accomplished.

He has figured out with me that if I have an idea of where my next home might be, I am more agreeable to negotiate a change in houses.  About a month ago he heard about another house auction.  Since we had such great success with our current home as a result of an auction, I was game to check into it.

As we did the first time around, we took advantage of the opportunity to visit the home during the arranged open houses.  We showed up on a very chilly day with our tape measure in hand.  The auctioneer knew he had a good prospect, seeing we showed up and at least looked like we knew what we were doing. 🙂

We asked many questions and took lots of notes so we would be able to go home and agree on our top dollar bid. We learned early on that it is very important to know what our top dollar bid is before we go into the auction.  It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and bid more than what the property is worth or what we are able to pay.   Of course, this is what the auctioneer would like us to do, but we were ready to stay strong! 🙂

This auction was a fun one to participate in because they were selling the contents of the house and the house that day. The contents were bid on individually before and after the house auction.  The house was auctioned off at a specific time.  This was very nice for me so I could just show up in time for the house sale and not have to stand in the cold waiting for a couple hours.

My husband and the girls headed to the house early to check out the competition and see what items were up for bid. It was a little scary sending that three-some off without me there to supervise their purchases but I just didn’t want to take the baby out in the cold so I had to trust their judgment.

Everything imaginable was for sale that day and the prices were great! In fact, my husband called me very excited and said…”You need to get down here ASAP!  Hardly anyone is here and great stuff is selling for cheap!”   Thankfully I am trying to downsize in the “stuff” department so I was able to use self control and show up just in time for the house sale.

You should have seen my face when my middle daughter walked up to me and announced…”Mom, we bought a piano!”. I had visions of a Baby Grand dancing in my head and thought “where in the world are we going to put a piano?!”  Instead, I smiled and said that’s nice honey and decided to find out more later.  It was time to get ready to possibly purchase my new home!

There was an excitement in the FREEZING air. The last time we participated in a home auction, it happened so quick we almost missed it!  This time we were armed and ready with our bid.

My man was concentrated and ready to get a “great deal”! We just had this feeling that this would be our next house.  And then a very funny thing happened…

The auctioneer started the bid about $70,000 more than our top dollar bid! Talk about a quick auction!  I immediately had a relaxing feeling swoop over me!  Another move averted…at least for now!  😉

Our day was not a total loss though.  We didn’t come home empty handed.   Remember the “piano”?

See this keyboard…it is the “piano” my daughter was so excited about. Isn’t it beautifully “compact” and doesn’t it fit well in my daughter’s room?!  We were able to purchase it and the amp for only $10!  The entertainment it has provided was well worth the investment.  So glad we went to the auction!

“Chocolate Cake”

Each time I have an occasion to work in someone’s home, redesigning his/her beloved space, I remember why I love my job so much! I am given such an amazing opportunity to help not only in creating beautiful spaces but also making a positive impact in someone’s life.

Right after Christmas I was invited to help my new client and friend with three spaces in her home:  formal living, den and sun room.  Her husband generously paid to have me work in her home for the day as a Christmas gift. Her is a little background on the project…

About 3 years ago, my client and her husband purchased a “fixer-upper” in a historical district of a nearby city. The remodel turned out to be more costly than they originally planned.  This expense, along with the fact that they struggled to find the best arrangement for the furniture in the home, left a bad taste in her husband’s mouth toward the house.

Although my client would love a “beautiful looking” home, she ultimately wanted a home that worked well for she, her husband and their four young kids.  She desired to help her husband overcome the regret of buying the house and begin to enjoy living there.

We decided to get started in the den and sun room.  Because these two rooms were open to the kitchen, they were the most used by the family.

In this photo I am standing against the bar of the kitchen looking toward the sun room.

There are a couple things to take note of:

First of all, the dining table is a long, long way from the kitchen which means the family of 6 rarely used it.  Instead they ate most of their meals scrunched around the small bar in the kitchen.

Secondly, there is a large chandelier hanging from the center of the room which tells me this room used to function as the dining room but apparently didn’t work well for them to use it that way.

Actually there is a very funny story that goes along with the dining table and will explain the funny title of  this post…”Chocolate Cake”.

When the family first moved into the home they were given an enormous formal dining table that they placed in the center of the room under the chandelier.  Although it was a lovely piece of furniture, it was so impractical for a family with children ages 6, 4, 2, 4 months.  It simply became a obstacle to get from one side of the room to the next.  The family returned the table to the generous family member and went out and purchased the table seen above.  Determined to not allow the table to become a frustration again, it found a new home in the sun room but consequently was rarely used.

As I normally do, I took the time to tour the home and ask a few questions about how the family uses the space, what was working and what wasn’t.  Not a whole lot was said except…”Do not put the dining table back in the den!”  The husband was so adamant about this very request that he looked at his wife and followed his statement up with “Remember…Chocolate Cake!”

My client and I quickly shooed her husband out the door and she began to explain “Chocolate Cake”.  Apparently it was a code word for “I am really serious!”  You see, they knew a couple where all the husband wanted for his 4oth birthday was a chocolate cake and his wife wouldn’t make him one, so they got a divorce.   Isn’t that crazy?!

Anyway, guess what was the first thing I wanted to do once he left? 🙂  Yep, move the table back into the den.

Don’t you agree that a dining table would work so well here?  This sofa just isn’t taking advantage of the tremendous view from the huge picture window.

Plus the table would be soooo much closer to the beautifully redesigned kitchen!

Fortunately, my client agreed and we rolled up our sleeves and got to work!

Here is how everything turned out…

Instead of placing the table in the center of the room, placed it closer to the window which left room for easily walking through the space and

left room for a nice seating area.

On a side note:  I recommended to my client that she buy a standard height dining table when she is able so that the view from the “comfy chairs” would not be blocked by the table.  Secondly, the family has plans to move the beautiful chandelier into another room as soon as they get the electrician to come by.  Oh and the tv?  Don’t worry, we found a better place for it in an under used room but more on that in a later post.

The sun room became a great place to read a book in the natural light and that is exactly what my client’s husband did when he got home!  Yes he loved the space and forgave us for not listening to him.  Thank goodness! 🙂

Merry Christmas!

What an amazing year this has been for our family.  I am still having difficulty believing it has almost come to an end!

Every Sunday this month I have had so much fun dressing my girls up for church.  Even Travis and I have managed to coordinate as well.   This past Sunday we were blessed with the most amazing weather and spontaneously had family pictures taken.  We asked our dear friend Kyle to come over and snap a few pictures of us once I set up my camera.  I couldn’t be more pleased.  Spontaneous family pictures are the best!

Merry Christmas and blessings for the New Year from our house to yours!

Yes I had a little too much fun making matching hair attire for all the girls! 🙂

I love my blue eyed girls!

Travis made fun of my “silly” pose.  At least I look good, right?!

(Sorry for the addition of the heart.  I am unable to share pictures of one of my children at this time.)