Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Monogram Memories Christmas
Create from the Heart: photo Christmas cards from Shutterfly .
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Counting My Blessings - Days 3 & 4

These next two blessings have a lot to do with one another... 

First of all, I am so blessed by my church family.  October was Pastor Appreciation Month, and we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of gifts throughout the month.  Despite both my husband and myself growing up with in families in full-time ministry, the transition from attending our church as congregants to leadership was not easy (especially for me).  At 25 years old, becoming a pastor's wife was very intimidating - but we knew God was leading us here.  We are blessed with a loving and supportive church family that I am reminded of every week.  

The second blessing is our home.  It's the parsonage, so without our church... well, I'm not sure where we would live!  The first 3 years of our marriage we lived in a one bedroom, basement apartment that... had its quirks.  Without going into the details of that, I can say that moving into this 3 bedroom house with fresh paint felt like we'd won the lottery.  Although that feeling has subsided in the last few years, the feeling of gratitude that I (we) have for the home we live in has not.  We are so thankful that God has provided us with a more than adequate home to raise our family in.  

~ Carrie ~

Friday, November 2, 2012

Counting My Blessings - Day 2

Yesterday I counted my most recent "little blessing".  Today I'm counting my first, Jadon.  He was a surprise, in that we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl.  Ever since he was born, he's been surprising us - always keeping us on our toes.  My labor with him was a grand total of 5 hours (which I thought was really fast... until I had Madelynn, who came in 2.5!).  He came so quickly that the midwife was not even ready to "catch" him, so she scooped him up off the end of the hospital bed, only having one glove on.  He's been difficult to "catch" ever since... the fastest crawler that I had ever seen and, once walking, always on the run.  

It's been such a privilege to be Jadon's mommy.  He's an extremely independent little boy, which has definitely brought it's challenges in parenting.  Some day I will need to remember to apologize to him because, as the firstborn, we're figuring everything out with him.  (I'd like the think that as Madelynn grows, we'll have a better grasp on this whole parenting thing.)  At 3 years old, we're facing that power struggle that I recognize is part of his growing up.  We've had our challenges over the last few months, but I can't help but see how God is changing his heart, and using those qualities that can sometimes be frustrating, to glorify Him and encourage others - his incessant talking to speak the gospel, his stubbornness to stand up for his convictions, his unending imagination to remind me that there's more to life than what you can see with your eyes, his ability to make friends with anyone to remind me that we need to surround ourselves with people to encourage and to be encouraged by.  

So today and everyday, I am thankful for my son.  I'm thankful for his smile, his laugh, his wow-ser kisses, his tenderness, his tackles, his creativity, his thoughtfulness, his love for his baby sister, his ability to make people feel loved and special, his singing, his mischievous nature, and so much more.  

~ Carrie ~

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Counting My Blessings - Day 1

It's a rare quiet Thursday morning.  Andy took Jadon with him to the church for a bit this morning, and Madelynn is down for her morning nap.  Everyone is "hungover" from a night of candy, costumes, candy, trick or treating, candy, visiting with friends, and more candy... So, here I am still in pajamas at almost 10 a.m. (a rare occurrence) with the some Christian music playing, and my mind goes back to a year ago.  

Last night, in the midst of all the festivities of Halloween, my mind went back to October 31st 2011 when I discovered that I was pregnant with Little Miss Maddie.  What an overwhelming day that was - Andy coming home around 4, friends for dinner at 5, trick or treating at 6, and then finally having the opportunity to share with Andy something that we'd been praying about for the past year and a half!  (See An Expected Blessing to read about this journey in our life.)  

The past year has been a whirlwind of blessings and challenges.  God has continued to be our Constant Provider, even during difficult times.  He's brought more joy to our life through the life of our precious little girl.  He's taught us new lessons with each day.  He's been our Faithful One.  

As I held my baby this morning before laying her down for her nap, I was overwhelmed with God's goodness - even in the midst of such a busy time for our family.  I am so grateful for this blessing that I've anticipated and enjoyed over the last year!

~ Carrie ~

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Home Sweet Home

It's so good to just be home.  In fact, I think we've almost enjoyed being home a little too much!  Is that possible?  We've enjoyed being home and just enjoying our little family, especially now that there are four of us.  Now, that doesn't mean we've just come home and sat around.  It's been back to "normal" for us - Andy's usual work schedule, church services, meetings, shopping and errands, playdates, rehearsals, and visitors to accommodate.  And we're doing all of this while still adjusting to our little Madelynn.  So, I guess we're back to the new "normal".  

Madelynn is 2 months old now.  She recently had her 2 month check-up and is doing great!  She's growing well and impressed her doctor with how strong she is.  She holds her head up entirely on her own and can even fully support her body with her legs.  Her doctor was so surprised by this that he said to Madelynn, "Well, I guess the next thing I should be asking you is if you want to go for a walk!"  Having already had one baby, I am clinging to the days that she is not yet mobile.  Baby steps...

Madelynn has so far been a wonderful, easygoing baby.  She's fairly easy to please and is very happy.  She's so close to belly laughing.  When she smiles big she often squeals and makes a little cough noise like she really wants to laugh out loud!  She continues to pretty much sleep through the night - usually to bed between 10 and 11 and not rising until anywhere between 4 and 7 the next morning.  Hey, I'll take at least a 6 hour stretch every night!  

This week we will be moving Madelynn from the bassinet in our room to the crib in her room.  She has pretty much outgrown the bassinet, and she's sleeping so well that there's really no reason to keep her in with us.  We're also working on getting out of the newborn "sleep when I want to" phase and into a routine that works for her.  In the process we have discovered that she is quite a little princess... that is, princess of the 45-minute nap!  She has an internal alarm clock that unreal!  I'll take 45 minutes for now, but hopefully she'll begin to stretch some of these short naps into longer periods of time.  

Jadon is a great big brother.  He's always been Daddy's boy, but he seems to cling to him and want to do what Dad does even more than before.  He's rough and tumble, always covered in dirt, and always on a mission for this or that, but he rarely passes up on the chance to snuggle or play with his baby sister.

Life is good right now.  There are lots of ups and downs... good days and bad days... and days when I wonder how it is that I haven't pulled out all my hair.  So yeah, life is good.  But God is greater than the worst or best days.  I'm so thankful that for a God who knows me, even when I wonder who I am and how I got here; a God who cares for me, even when I haven't been the most caring wife and mother I can be; a God who is patient with me, even when I'm impatient (which seems like all the time).  When I think of all the ways that I - this novice mother of two, pastor's wife, and sinful child of God - fail Him, it makes me grateful that I serve a God who doesn't sigh or roll His eyes when I mess up.  Praise God that he fails me not.  Some further change is on the horizon for our family (minor adjustments in the course of our everyday life).  How great it is to have our Savior lead us by the hand.  

~ Carrie ~

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Madelynn's Room

I am finally getting around to posting an update on Madelynn's room.  It was a long process, but it was completed in time for her birth.  The room had been a guest bedroom, and now accommodates all that is needed for our baby girl, in addition to still having room for a full-sized bed for guests to use.  

When we first moved into our home, this bedroom was probably in the worst shape - gray walls, navy blue trim, and old stained carpeting.  We opted to rip the carpet up and put down a temporary area rug.  We weren't too worried about the floor in that room since it wasn't going to be used very often.  So that's how the room sat... until February of this year.  That's when the new carpeting was installed and the room finally began to take shape.  

So, after several lots of web surfing and pinning on Pinterest boards and lots of shopping and crafting, the room is done and I love it!  Here are the after pictures...

At this point the room is still serving as a guest room, hence the full bed still in the room.  It definitely makes the room tighter than I'd like, but it's meeting a big need right now.  We already had all of the bedding, and eventually I'd like to make or find some pillow shams and/or throw pillows to dress the bed up a little.  

Above the bed is a vignette I put together.  I had the "All Because Two People Fell in Love" sign (that coordinates well in the room) already.  The 3 - 8x10 frames under it were from the Christmas Tree Shops ($4 each or so).  I made the mats for the frames out of scrapbook paper.  Then I inserted a picture of Andy and I with Jadon when he was first born, a wedding picture of us, and an ultrasound picture of Madelynn (which will be replaced to match the one of us with Jadon).  It was an easy diy project that took very little time. 

The canvas painting was one done my husband's grandmother who passed away a few years ago.  It's a wonderful addition to the room that ties in the whole color scheme.  I look forward to telling Madelynn about her loving and talented great grandmother who painted this.  

Now onto the actual nursery part of the room... 

All of the nursery furniture was the same that we used with Jadon.  It was given to us by a family member in a gently used condition and has served us well so far.  Nursery furniture is so expensive, so we were so grateful to have received this crib, changing table, and dresser set... and will get as much time out of it as possible!  

Above the crib is a vinyl wall decal that I ordered from Etsy.  If you've never perused this online store of anything and everything homemade then you are missing out!  Check it out!  This decal came just as it was pictured, only personalized with Madelynn's name of course.  It took both Andy and I about 20 minutes to get it up on the wall.  We took our time to really be sure it was straight, but even still... don't look too closely!  

As I mentioned a while back in a previous post, the crib bedding came from Target.  It took a lot of searching, but I finally found bedding that (after patiently waiting) ended up being in my price range!  The stuffed animals are two that I had when I was a little girl! 

Now, there are 3 windows in this room, and it gets the morning and most of the afternoon light, so I knew that curtains were essential.  I didn't want to spend a lot though... So I ended up finding some blackout energy-efficient panels from Target that matched the shade of purple I was going with perfectly!  The thing was that I didn't want to buy 2 panels for each window because of the expense.  So, I went with one panel and made my own ties for each one.  I didn't want to block out the 100% of the time, but I wanted it to be easy to tie and untie - no hassle.  So, without giving a whole tutorial, I made the ties out of a receiving blanket that matched the crib bedding.  The best part about them is that even though there is a button sewn on them, the ties actually all velcro together.  Like I said, no hassle at all!   The double curtain rods and sheers were all purchased from The Christmas Tree Shops, so you know they were a good deal! 

Moving to the last part of the room is the changing table area.  The white shelf was one I bought from a yard sale many years ago (just needed a coat of paint and was ready to hang).  The three pictures above were inspired by something I saw on Pinterest, but I definitely put my own spin on it.  

Once again, without getting into a whole tutorial... the frames were purchased from The Christmas Tree Shops for about $4 each.  The rest was all made from my scrapbooking supplies.  I scanned some of the pictures from Madelynn's quilt (the crib bedding) and traced silhouettes of those pictures (a dragronfly, two flowers, and a butterfly) onto the scrapbooking paper and cut them out.  A few decals and some hand-drawn details finished up the project easily.  

It's been fun doing all of these little projects, and I was really happy with all of the results.  I'm glad to just enjoy the room now though.  Ironically, we haven't used the room a ton because Madelynn's sleeping in a bassinet in our room for the time being.  I'm sure she'll enjoy it more once she's completely "moved in"!

Here are a few more pictures of the room...

Jadon has a similar one in his room, so when I found this one on clearance at HomeGoods for $7 I just had to get it!

Also, I already had the mirror (a CTS buy), and the picture frame on the dresser was one that I made.


A final shot of my baby girl hanging out in her crib for a few minutes!  Loving her new room!  

~ Carrie ~

Monday, July 9, 2012

Presenting: Madelynn Nicole

The time has finally arrived.  Actually the time arrived on June 13th, but the time to blog about the newest addition to our family has come.  Life leading up to the arrival of our baby girl, and then since she has arrived, has been incredibly busy.  I'm finally attempting to chisel out a little bit of time to announce the arrival of our little girl. 

The two weeks leading up to her arrival were stressful, to say the least.  I had been told that I would have my baby any day... but of course that didn't happen.  After lots of appointments with the midwives, ultrasounds, and a non-stress test, I was finally scheduled to be induced on Wednesday, June 13th at 7 am.  Baby girl decided to rush things and my water broke that morning at 5:15.  So we rushed to the hospital and two and a half intense hours later I was holding my precious (and big) Madelynn Nicole- all 9 pounds 5 ounces and 21.5 inches of her.  It was a crazy, fast, and smooth natural delivery, and I am so thankful to God for His protection over both my baby and myself.  

I've had an awesome recovery, and we've had very few bumps in the road in the last three and a half weeks.  The biggest hurdle we've had to deal with has been Madelynn's positive Coomb's test (we have opposing blood types that mixed at some point during pregnancy or labor), which resulted in her having jaundice and therefore phototherapy beginning at about 15 hours old.  We were so grateful to have an awesome nurse who paid close attention (even during an overnight shift) and caught this so early.  Originally we were going home on Friday morning, but because of her jaundice levels we had to wait (and weren't even certain we'd be released that day) and were finally discharged at 7:30 pm.  It had never felt so good to be home.  We were only released because the doctor made arrangements with a home healthcare company for Madelynn to continue to have phototherapy at home.  It was pretty neat, and we were so grateful that he pulled some strings to make this happen.  The icing on the cake was when the doctor called us at 8:30 to check in on us and make sure everything had worked out with the home phototherapy.  We've got a pretty awesome doctor.  

We've had lots of grandparents around to help, both before and after Madelynn arrived, and it has made our life so much easier.  Andy was also able to take some time off.  The first several days home went something like this: Saturday, doctor and blood work; Sunday, doctor, blood work, and church; Monday, doctor and blood work; Tuesday, blood work; Wednesday, lactation consultant; Thursday, stayed home and began packing; Friday, lactation consultant, more packing, and left for camp/vacation.  All of this = craziness.  

The last 2 + weeks have been... busy.  When Madelynn was 9 days old we packed up and went to New Hampshire for a week of camp, followed by a few days of vacation.  We returned when she was 22 days old.  That means that at just over 3 weeks old she had spent more time in New Hampshire than at our home!  It was nice to be away though.  The cottage we stayed at had air conditioning and lots and lots of family around, so it actually made life much easier for me.  It is nice, though, to finally be home and really start figuring things out as a family of four.  

It's been fun getting to know our little girl.  From the get-go we pinned a particular cry that, in our interpretation, means "don't mess with me".  She got so many pokes to her heel during that first week, and several nurses expressed her great displeasure with them.  She also despises diaper and wardrobe changes.  What does she love?  That's easy.  She loves snuggles, of course, and sleep.  She has been, so far, an incredible sleeper.  Since her jaundice levels have been back to normal (and we haven't had to set an alarm to get her up to eat during the night), she's been getting up once (sometimes twice) during the night to eat and for the most part goes right back to sleep.  She's slept through the night once, and one morning she slept until 9:30 am - and so did I, thanks to my hubby.  She's starting to have more awake and alert times, and she's even begun to give us some real smiles.  

Madelynn has already been such a blessing to our family.  We're spending our days getting to know her better and enjoying all the firsts of both she and our family of four.  

~ Carrie ~

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Life in "The County"

Happy Mother's Day, From My Hubby

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Whatever happened to that "to do" list?

Back in January I came up with my master to do list for 2012.  It was lofty... but if you can't be ambitious with a list then what can you be ambitious about?  So, about a month later, I posted an update on how my to do list was coming along.  Then March and April hit annnd... life got really crazy.  Thankfully, we are moving along in the process!  My hubby and I have just been so busy with the list and life that there's been no update!  So here's what's been happening...


I had these high hopes of getting our entry hall, stairwell, and upstairs hallway painted (the only areas of our home, other than the basement, that we have not painted since moving here 2.5 years ago).  It's bugged me for a long time that as soon as you enter our home you are greeted with white flat paint.  Yuck.  So, at the end of February and beginning of March I convinced the hubby to help me do at least the front hall and up to the top of the stairs.  (Seriously, what decent and intelligent man says no to his 6 month pregnant wife.)

We did it all in pretty much 2 weekends.  I'm thankful to Andy for doing the bulk of it (and making several trips to Home Depot).  We paint well together.  We both do the taping.  I do the trim, he does all the rolling.  

The entry hall walls were painted "sagey" and I don't love it.  I'm not sure how long it will stay this way, but I wasn't about to make my hubby go through me picking another paint... again.  The stairwell walls are a very neutral "cornerstone" that I like.  It really makes a difference and I can't wait until we get the upstairs hall done, too!  Here are a few before and after pictures.  


The plan is to eventually make a new rag garland and make or find a new pillow for the bench that will include some of the sage, gold/mustard, and black colors that in the hallway.  For now I'm content enough to call it done and have moved onto the next thing. 

Jadon's Scrapbook

Well, very little progress was made on the scrapbook.  I think I've done 2 more pages since the last update.  But, progress is progress...  No pictures, so you'll have to take me at my word.  The weather has been so nice, who wants to sit inside and scrapbook!

The Nursery 

Well, I'm not really going to give away any new pictures of the actual nursery, but we've made a lot of progress.  I've done some projects and shopping and am very happy with how everything is coming along.  Hopefully by the next "update" I will have tackled the closet... 

After a lot of shopping around (my poor, poor husband), I finally got a crib bedding set that I love!  I had purple in mind for the nursery from the beginning.  I also knew that I didn't want to decorate the room in a way that made it seem too grown up.  It's a little girl's room and I want it to have that feel - pretty, fun, and girly (to contrast the little boy that I have who's current favorite thing to do is play/dig in the dirt... oi).  

Andy (and Jadon) worked on installing double curtain rods (Christmas Tree Shops - $7.99 each).  Cheap screws kind of made the job a hassle, but they are all up and look really nice.  Just don't yank on my curtains...

Here are the curtains that I got.  I really had initially considered making panels myself, but as I have been in that room more and more I've realized it is the sunniest of the 3 bedrooms in our house (particularly the afternoon and late day sun).  That, combined with the fact that since the time change my son has most often been up between 6 and 6:30 am, was enough for me to decide to invest in thermal blackout curtains (as I'm about to do the same for his room which gets the morning sun).  There will be no regrets for me.  I found these (that match pretty perfectly to the crib bedding) at Target for $14.99 each.  One for each window will be enough.  Shortly I'll be tackling a kind of curtain tie project that I'm going to make up as I go along.  (That's always scary... for everyone in our house, so prayers are much appreciated.)

Speaking of projects... here is just a part of a project I was inspired to do from a Pinterest idea I saw.  I definitely went about it a whole lot different, but it was a success and I'm very proud of it.  I'll reveal the entire project and directions on how I did it... eventually.  

Last, but certainly not least, here's a sneak peek at the baby bedding we purchased, as well as the mobile my mom bought to go with it.  This set is from Target.  It was initially more than what I wanted to spend on baby bedding, but... you know me... why pay full price when you can stress and wait impatiently for weeks until it goes on sale at a price you're more comfortable with.   Yup, that's what I did.  So if you follow the link to the Target site, I paid about $20 less, plus had free shipping (it's an online only item).  Normally I worry about getting something like bedding without actually holding it in my hands first, but our Target actually had this set on a display crib in the store, so I checked it all out before purchasing!  

That's about all for an update for now.  Up next on the list is our yard sale, set to happen on Memorial Day weekend.  Hopefully we get rid of a lot of stuff and make a little money.  We have 6 weeks until the due date, so lots to do between now and then!  

~ Carrie ~