before & after : front yard edition

we've tried and tried and tried again to make our front yard even a tiny bit presentable....
but, at the end of the day (or at least by the end of month) we were left with nothing but some dead plants and a shoddy yard.
we had to face it, our thumbs were brown at best.  we had no clue what we were doing.
after pulling in from work every day, i set my sights on the front door and practically ran for it.  our second year in the house, we spent {almost} our entire tax return on sod, top soil, mulch, shrubs, flowers, fertilizer... you name it.  we spent hours/days getting everything situated and into the ground.  for a month or so, our little white cottage was sittin' pretty with it's green grass and young lively little shrubs and blooms...
then, everything changed.  
wait, it doesn't just stay that way??  you have to maintain it?  water it, fertilize it, prune it, shape it??  
by spring, when all the other yards were in full bloom, ours had returned to its days of being a barren wasteland.  
this made me so sad.  the inside of our home had so much character and love and creativity put into it... i just wanted the outside to match.
actually, i never even got a picture of it at its worst, but you get the idea.


this is immediately after the first renovation, with the sod

and here, despite the snow, you can see how blank it is

then, last fall, our brother-in-law {my sister's hubby, also named Justin} came to our rescue!
he's a landscaper, and a dang good one. 
he mapped out a beautiful design, complete with all the perfect shade/sun plants and just the right amount of shape and color for our taste.
Justin {the hubs} started by using a bobcat to dig up EVERYTHING!  
we started from scratch.
once finished, it looked like a new house.  
now, we just had to keep it that way.
i've been determined ever since.  i don't think i'd be exaggerating too much to say that i put in a call to Justin {the brother-in-law} about every other day...
"there's this boxwood that's looking a little sad, how can we fix that?"
"what's the best way to prune my geraniums?"
"which fertilizer should we use for the yard and how much?"
"how often should we be watering the yard versus the flowers?"
"the squirrels are digging up all the beds... the only way to stop them is to shoot them, isn't it?"
anyway, turns out my thumb's on its way to turning pretty green.  
i LOVE working in our yard now.  it's therapeutic.  i never got that when others said it, but SO true!


there's a beautiful japanese maple, miniature boxwoods lining our brick pathway, giant hostas framing one side of the tree with hydrangea on the other, monkey grass lining the right side/front of the main beds and lilies on the other, knockout roses and black-eyed susans in the front beds, lantana in all the annual beds, a tea olive and 5 gallon boxwoods linging the front of the house.

we even took it a step further and planted a small raised garden in the back,
along with some potted herbs!
we've got better boy toms, cherry toms, banana peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, rosemary, mint, and basil.

but the transformation is far from complete.
so, here's to the next decade of cutting green grass, trimming shrubs, pruning flowers, watering the garden and more planting!
we're keepin' it beautiful over here... it's happening.


momma & the babes...

Psalm 127:3
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.

pondering how the Lord's stretched and molded me as a mother.
how i have so much more to learn.
how they are His reward to an undeserving me.
how thankful i am for this fantastic privelege.

here are just a FEW of my favorite shots of me and these precious babes i've been given...



all together now

{oh, i might not have told you... that's her name. we're sure now.}

24 weeks


precious moments...

one of my {small} resolutions for 2012 was a memory jar.
it sits on our kitchen counter with scrap paper and pens nearby for anyone and everyone to jot down happy thoughts and special moments as they please.
the memories stay in the jar until they're read out loud as we ring in 2013... 
then, we start all over again.

here are just some of the many precious moments put in the jar by my hand the past few weeks ::

  • the time when Asa said "bye-bye, Daddy. ah-yu (love you)" for the first time WITHOUT being prompted as J headed off to work.
  • the time when Bellamy was having a little trouble getting to sleep, so momma snuck in, picked her up to calm her down and her head rested on my shoulder, nestled in my neck for the next 10 minutes.  {this NEVER happens... Asa's my cuddler}
cuddles all around these days
  • the time when Asa made his dinosaur talk to Bellamy in the tub with his goofy voice and she nearly fell over laughing.  {she's all giggles and smiles, but a belly laugh is rare}
  • the time when Asa insisted on holding my hand {for at least 15 minutes} while J pulled the babes in the wagon on our evening walk.
  • the time when hubs and i stepped out into the quiet night at half past 11 to see the super moon and were overwhelmed by God's majesty.

our hope is to make this a yearly tradition.
i can't wait for our kids to add to this jar someday soon.  


22 weeks...

i'm a bit over 22 weeks now...
reaching the halfway mark is such a sweet victory for my heart.
my monthly baby check-up was yesterday and i was in and out of there, which is always a good thing. 
her heart rate was right at 160 and i'm measuring just right.
i've gained 16 lbs so far. 
{i'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that most of that resides in my hind quarters. hmph.}
believe it or not, i didn't feel this girl move much until very recently.  i expected it so much sooner, being my third, but it seems she'd just rather relax.
honestly, i can't wait 'til she's running out of room in there, stretching from side to side, lodging her feet under my ribs, and pressing her little tush against the side of my belly.
it may be a bit uncomfy, but gosh... such a sweet miracle.
we still haven't completely settled on Olive {although we truly love it} or a middle name.  there are a couple other names in the running, so we shall see.
it may just take meeting her to know for sure :)

{this was taken at 21 weeks, but looking pretty much the same}

i was overwhelmed and so encouraged by all your prayers and kind words in response to my heavy heart post. 
seriously, thank you.
choosing to trust Him with this precious baby's life is one of the hardest and most liberating things i'll ever do.  renewing that trust every morning.


before & after : bathroom edition

our home sweet home has undergone quite a few major changes lately...
all things that we've talked about doing since we moved in 5 years ago. 
the house was built in 1932 and has some amazing character to say the least.
we knew before we started our hunt that we wanted a home with history and we didn't mind a few projects.  

in the past few years we've :
-- painted/wallpapered all the walls
--replaced radiated heat and window cooling units with central heating and air
--refinished all the hardwood flooring
--installed a gas fireplace {was a non-working coal burning}
--majorly upgraded the kitchen
--installed a large brick patio out back
--renovated the sunroom
--added on a master bath
--overhauled the front yard

did i say we didn't mind a few projects... well, we kinda LOVE projects!
and i'm fairly sure there will be many more to come!
anyway, thought i'd do a little before & after series about a few of our most recent endeavors.
starting with the bathroom.
we shared a bathroom with the kiddos, which was fine, but
when we found out the third baby "B" was on his/her way, we decided it was time to allow for a little privacy.
{many of these shots were taken with my iPhone, in the evening... so, not the best, but it'll do}


we were able to climb out of our bedroom window onto the flat roof of the sunroom below and decided it made so much sense to convert that window to a door and build the master bath on top of the sunroom.
of course the sunroom wasn't in the best shape, so the walls and roof had to be majorly reinforced before we could begin bathroom construction.
Justin did so much of the work, along with a few hired hands {family/friends} along the way.
handsome, manly and handy... a triple threat. i love this about him.

this space has made such a world of difference for us.
there are still a few finishing touches, but we're seriously loving it so far.

next week, the sunroom.