Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Expiration date

I was telling a friend the other day, that I hadn't prepared myself for this self-imposed "countdown concept" that makes me spin between being very excited about the future and very grave about the past...everything is a "last time this" or "last time that" ... she laughed and as the mother of two beautiful boys knew exactly what I was talking kind of feels like the little boy in "The Emperor Without Clothes" I can see things (or the absence of them) and no one else seems to notice...everybody else acts like this is just a normal day...but it could be my last day as a pre-mother, how momentous is that?!

So I felt very validated when I discovered in the grocery store yesterday that the milk jugs now carry expiration dates (double entendre there, if there ever has been one) close to my due date. I picked out the one with the biggest margin to my due date (that, for some odd reason, felt like the right thing to do, and we do drink a gallon in a week anyway) and stalked through the rest of my weekly food gathering trip with an air of added people just go on about your daily life is about to change in a BIG WAY! ... and this jug of fat-free milk proves it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Babyboy Dinkins' pad

OK here it goes - tatatah! It's the new nursery!

Thanks to the hard labor of Andy, Cindy, Leah, Ronnie, Jacob and myself, Bean Dinkins will have a beautiful, serene boyish place to call his own...The room originally was a parlor off the living room connected with a set of French doors, charming with its uneven wood floors, plaster walls and high ceiling. The theme is farm (as both of his granddaddys have first-hand experience at farm life) and the colors are pea green, sky blue and barn red with canvas white mixed in here and there. The furniture all has a beautiful dark patina and with the exception of the crib (brandnew and absolutely stunning) are old and distressed pieces that are equally beautiful and comfortable (especially Jacob's beloved, exceptionally ugly, green-yellow plaid rocker-lazy-boy hiding under that tasteful seat cover).

There are so many things I love in this room. All the things we made (from the bedskirt to the boppy pillow cover), all the old things people gave us, all the gifts, all the little details, washed, sorted and ready to be used. I go and sit in it in the morning and just wait...wait for a little life to come and turn it all this tranquil organization (I even hung and sorted the onsies according to sleeve-length and color) on its head.

It's all ready to go - well, except for the quilt. Still working on it - I might be stitching away in between contractions...

Pregnancy Week 38

This according to

Your Body: Although your size is remaining constant, your discomfort might be increasing, as some of the symptoms related to your weight, including heat rashes and difficulty sleeping, might be getting to you. While your due date may be two or more weeks away, pack your labor bag and get ready. Ninety-five percent of all babies are born within 2 weeks of their due dates.
Your baby this week...
Your baby is preparing to be born as you're preparing to experience the true excitement of impending childbirth. You may feel a little nervous, which is perfectly normal. Your Baby: In anticipation of meeting you, baby is busy getting ready for the occasion. The fine hair (lanugo), covering her body begins to shed along with the whitish coating on the skin (vernix). Your baby’s weight is approaching 7 pounds (3.5 kg) but he remains around 21 inches (53 cm) long, which shows that he's getting plumper! If your baby were born this week, she would have no problems surviving on her own.

My own thoughts: I try to picture him now. His movements are so real and I have made up entire stories based on a bump wandering across my he is stretching out his legs, yawning, he has his Daddy's blue eyes and my flat nose... I can't wait to see him OUTSIDE!
I still sleep well but we are moving slow as snails now, everything takes twice as long and sometimes I get impatient with myself. The other day I "forgot" that I was pregnant and leaned over to get something from the passenger seat and then whipped around to get out of the car...I almost fell out, before I realized that while my butt still scoots the rest of me won't follow at pre-pregnancy pace...
Soon I'll be able to touch my toes again or sit down without making "deflating" sounds...I CAN'T WAIT!

Monday, August 27, 2007

My perfect pre-motherhood day

Some people remember the last thing they did before they got married (my sister-in-law has a good story... it involves a bodily function) but I don't have any clear recollection of what occupied me moments before I walked down the aisle...I'm sure it involved some sneaky ploy to get another can of Cherry Coke, but I was mostly excited to get down that aisle...

Pregnancy is different for me though...I grapple with this "any day now" concept, passing through days and nights with my mind constantly sorting things into "before" and "after"...

Last week it was a motorcycle ride with Jacob that got me all sappy-blue - who knows when we'll be able to do that again? and the other day I got almost teary-eyed over the thought of never reading a newspaper front-to-back in one sitting - never mind that I haven't read a newspaper that way in a long time (I'm mostly online for my news gathering) still there is a bit of sadness as I pass through my last precious days of being responsible for no one but myself...the refrain in my head alternates between "thing of the past" or "you'll never do that like that again" as I move through every-day activities...

Having a baby changes everything - I just can't imagine yet how...

So it was a lovely surprise when Saturday came my way and shaped itself into a sweet farewell day to pre-motherhood...I didn't plan it (surprise, I'm ususally a diligent plotter to a fault) it just sort of happenend.

Jacob had to work (he is the hardest working almost-dad around) and I found myself aimlessly wandering through our new home realizing all my possibilities in the absence of a to-do list. So I started my day sitting in our skychair on the porch enjoying the cool morning, eating my oatmeal and drinking my coffee...while NPR reved up into my favorite lineup of programs...then I started two crafts project involving crocheting, one sewing...both I hoped would eventually turn out well enough to be worthy gifts for two good friends...

I sewed inside and when it got too hot or too complicated took a break and sat on the porch with my crocheting project...the entire time I listened to "car talk" "all things considered" and my favorite "wait, wait don't tell me"...I made Jacob lunch when he got home and then repeated the entire thing again in the afternoon, switching to a book on tape for audio-entertainment...

Both projects came out as I envisioned them. Both will be fun to give, both made me appreciate that despite not being artistically inclined, I have talents for crafts and it gives me satisfaction to think through a creative process and find problem-solving steps...

The day got capped with dinner, church and then we went to a dance-birthdayparty in the American Legion Hall - Jacob said it reminded him way too much of "too many junior-high school dances" but I adored the exhuberant dancers, the streamers from the ceiling and having top-of-lung bellowed conversations with friends over bad 80s music...

It was the perfect day to say good-bye to "just womanhood" I'm ready - well, as ready as you can be for something and someone you don't know - and I am excited to be a mother and still do things - just differently.

Jacob keeps telling me that we will just "drag him along" to whatever we do now...I'm not so sure but I do like the idea of trying to keep some of the beloved elements in our lives - and it is my hope that a baby will make them either pale into oblivion or will enhance them as we get to see it all over again through his eyes ...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pregnancy Pros & Cons

It's been a fabulous ride! I wouldn't trade the past 9 or so months for anything. I was blessed with good health, few ailments and an overall great summer to prepare me for motherhood. I'm grateful.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pros & Cons of pregnancy

Yesterday I ruminated on the fact that soon I won't be pregnant anymore...I will probably be too busy to care then, but right now I have a certain melancholic feeling about saying goodbye to a state of being where the breaks, are as abundant as the stares, all without the dirty diapers and sleepless nights

One of my friends remarked to me early in my pregnancy, "you're only pregnant for the first time once, so enjoy every moment of it" and she is so right.

Here are a few of my favorites pregnacy pros:
- It's a 9-month-long all-you-can-eat buffet (well, minus the beer or wine and you should eat your greens and fruit and hold off on too many sweets and carbs)
- Hair that's both luscious and grows an inch a day
- Skin that's blemishless (well the brown spots aren't that fetching, but not a pimple in sight)
- Sleep so deep, I have to "dig out" in the morning
- No matter what I do - put on a shoe, ride a bike, sit and do nothing - people complement me for looking good and being so active
- You can always mention "bedrest" if someone wants something from you
- If I say something stupid, the belly explains it all (literally)
- I suddenly float in water like I've always wanted to - I'm like an inflatable toy
- A pregnancy belly is an amazing fashion accessory - suddenly anything goes...
- I get first spot in line automatically at any buffet-style dinner party
- Lots of knowing smiles from older ladies (I know I'm clueless, but someday I get to be smug too)
- Suddenly being sweaty is "glowing" not embarrassing
- I have a "built in" conversation starter wherever I go
- Free belly rubs with some people (if I was a dog I'd be really into this)
- You can fall asleep anywhere at any time - everybody is so understanding
- Free hands, people will jockey for position to carry things for you - purse-sized packages out of the post office, for example
- Old men flirting at the post office - they're the only males not intimidated by my circumstances and they get a kick out of me hoisting myself onto my bike or shouldering my backpack...

As with anything in life, pregnancy, too, comes with some challenges. Here are a couple that kept me on my toes:
- Going to the bathroom - first, all the time, then all night, then hardly ever, then again all the time put only for a teaspoon full at any one time.
- Going to the bathroom in weird places; I know where every construction site port-o-potty is, along with all businesses who don't care if a sweaty pregnant women comes breezing through. Lowe's has really nice facilities, Wal-Mart not so much
- Going to the bathroom - just kidding I'll move on
- A rapidly declining IQ - I swear, I used to be halfway smart!
- Scatter-brainedness - Ask me anything and I won't know and then forget that you asked...
- Indecisiveness - Ask me to make a choice and I'll explore all the options enthusiastically before exhausting myself in not being able to settle on anything
- Brown spots on my face - at first it was freckles, now they are continents about to chin is a color entirely unrelated to anything else on my body
- A stuffy nose in the morning and leg cramps at night - what will sneaky pregnancy hormones think of next?
- A weight gain of 25 lbs plus - on certain days that's unsettling
- The inability to bend over - nice when others pick things up for you...challenging when your husband refuses to polish your toes or shave your legs for you
- The waddle - I never thought it would happen to me, but it has. I'm waddling - toes out, trunk swaying from one side to the other, yup it's a waddle
- Rapid nail growth - I can't keep up, clipped neat one day, claws the next!
- Bleeding gums - increased blood volume makes you want to seek medical attention everytime you brush your teeth
- Getting cornered by other pregnant women, to exchange an endless litany of complaints...I get bored talking about how hot I might be or how achy my back is
- The labor horror story: I still can't figure out the motives behind them, but certain women LOVE to share their tale of survival, think Texas Chain Massacre. Each time I hear another one, I promise myself that even if my labor story is gruesome and long, I will not mess up some innocent pregnant woman's day with it someday.
- Fashion catalogues in the mail - Do skinny jeans, big belts and high heels look silly to anyone else?

Fish & fun

...don't ask me it's an Alabama thing...they like to wear funny hats to scare the fish...Cindy and Ronnie and Jacob and Leah give the brown trout in Pisgah National Forest a good show...we took Sunday off from nursery set up and other home improvement projects and went fishing and swimming in a secluded spot along Cove Creek...the water was refreshing and the butterflies friendly...a golden day indeed.

New nursery

I have been looking forward to this moment so much - together with my trusted style advisors, Cindy and Leah (and Andy the tireless, patient and uncomplaining male helper) we finally unpacked Bean's boxes and set up the nursery in all its glory. There was much head-scratching, manual reading, drilling, ironing and even pinning and sewing going on, but the end result is gorgeous. Jacob and I still have a couple of final touches to make (pictures of the complete nursery will follow sometime next week), but we are very happy with the results.
Jacob paid it the biggest complement by calling it "boyish". To me it's a sweet place with lots of bright colors that I hope will house a happy and healthy baby.

Dinner time

From left: Sara (Jacob's cousin), Leah (Jacob's sister), Jacob, Ronnie and Cindy (Jacob's parents) Andy (Jacob's brother-in-law), and Will (Sara's boyfriend)

Family time

We were incredibly blessed this past weekend, having the chance to spend time with our family (the Dinkins side) and celebrate impending parenthood - Jacob's sister Leah and her husband, Andy, are 3-months pregnant.

We fished, swam, walked, set up a nursery, set the house on fire (only almost), sang, sat, told stories, cooked, ate, laughed and even smoked cigars (only some of us).

It was a most blessed time and I'll cherish the memories of it already. It was our last get-together as a family without little ones about - very special!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Here are a couple of closeup pictures of the belly that contains the Bean. We're still doing really good considering that Bean is increasingly less comfortable in there and is fond of sticking a foot out under my left rib cage just whenever the fancy strikes - we scared a little girl at the post office yesterday with that trick...her eyes got huge and a hand went searchingly for her Mom's skirtfold when she saw the belly changing shape...
It's amazing how many people now are an authority on how that belly measures up. Depending on whom you ask, I'm carrying "high" or "low" - I think I'm carrying just right...any lower and I'd be going to the potty non-stop and any higher and I wouldn't be able to breathe...

Friday, August 17, 2007

What a find!

With Bean in the right position we have nothing to do but wait...but wait! That's not all we have to do...with our new/old home we are plenty busy trying to get odds and ends and some bigger projects finished before Bean decides to make an appearance and monopolize all our time...

For the past two weeks, Jacob's been busy turning a dusty, cowebby barn in the backyard into a "guest cottage" and today - just as the first crop of guests are arriving - we finished a rough draft of's not quite up to Martha Stewart-standard yet, but it's snug and cozy and almost cute...I'll get a picture of it uploaded next week.

Most of the improvements have been made with salvage items that Jacob has a real knack of finding...but this week he's outdone himself...he spotted this beautifully crafted and absolutely adorable cooking stove in a client's storage and she let him have it for absolutely free!

I have to smile every time I walk by's the French-furniture legs and the childlike proportions and above all the fact that once upon a time, even the most utilitarian things had undeniable style and attention was paid to the smallest of details.

The plan is to clean it and shine it up (not too much) then set it in our living room in front of our "ugly" gas-log fireplace and let the mantle just naturally frame it...I can't wait to feel its warmth and hear the cozy crackling of fire in its belly...

I hope Bean will be a quick study when it comes to "hot" and "don't touch"

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bottom's up!

Good news from the Doc this morning!

Bean is upside down like a good baby should be, all crouched up and in the ideal birthing position. He appears healthy with a strong heartbeat of 130 and he now seems to be seriously crowded in there...making grotesque shapes of my otherwise lovely belly when he puts his mind to it..."any day now is here," Dr. H says.

Jacob keeps an eye out for the mucuous plug!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pregnancy Week 36

This from ...

Well there’s no getting around it—you’re feeling like a beach ball! Driving will become more difficult, as will sitting in the front seat of a vehicle; going up and down stairs will start to feel like climbing a mountain! Even though you have a few weeks to go, your weight may stabilize around this time, so you won’t get much larger.
Your Baby: Nearly 21 inches (53 cm) long and weighing in at 6 pounds (3 kg), your baby is rapidly approaching her birth weight. You may notice your “belly” seems to have dropped and may seem slightly smaller. That’s because your baby has dropped lower in your pelvis, relieving some of the pressure on your abdomen. While she may still move around a bit in the weeks to come, generally she'll settle comfortably in the lower part of your uterus. In the meantime, baby's brain tissue continues to develop, and finally, the lungs and respiratory system are nearing maturity.

Note from me: Yup. I'm slow and weighed down now, waddling wherever I go, wearing a wardrobe chosen solely for comfort not style (today sack-dress and flipflops, the least amount of layers and weight with not a strap or elastic in sight), everytime I sit down I have to think of "an exit strategy" getting off the couch alone requires effort, getting out of Jacob's truck means abandoning all dignity and sitting on the floor (which I can still do, wonder over wonder) is always a bad idea, which I forget until it's time to get up...

Riding my bike is starting to be a bit of a challenge and walking is taxing on my back and legs, but I'm determined to keep moving in anticipation of labor. My appetite is good and I still sleep really well, which I am very grateful for. No contractions or other changes to report.

I'm going to the doctor tomorrow and after that every week until D-day. Bean is moving at a good pace, alternating big expansive moves near my rib cage with cute little hiccup-like contractions in my lower belly - either hiccups or maybe a nervous tic? He's settled into a daily routine where he gets active when I get sedate and vice versa ... he loves to kick hard when I eat or sing (who wouldn't?) and he gets real quiet with languid moves when we do something relaxing like sitting down after a walk or floating in water ...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Any day now ...

Starting this week we're on the official last month countdown. Today is the 29th day from our due date ... time has been flying furiously, but at the same time it seems like we've been pregnant forever ...

"Any day now" is something I now hear often posed as a question with a finger pointed at my big belly ... the same three words also cross my mind during quiet moments as a tought that is always accompanied by a plethora of emotions - from anxiety to excitement, I can't believe I'm almost done growing this little boy ...

My prayer is that we will part physically following a meaningful labor, that we both will come out of it changed but healthy and that the three of us will always remember how truly amazing this pregnancy has been and how strong our bond will be, if we take the time to grow it carefully.

A special chair...

I've written a lot about all the things that Bean will get to use that have history behind them - in fact, few things in his nursery are the product of a simple shop-n-pick tale. Most of his things have been other people's things...and that makes them all the more special to me.

This sweet high chair is the latest example. Saved by Bean's great-grandmother and restored and updated with a cute new pad by his grandmother, this little chair has already seen two generations of hungry mouths before Bean will ever mash up carrots or cheerios on this tray. That's right - his own granna, Cindy, as well as his Dad (and his aunt Leah) have eaten a few fine mashed up meals on this throne. Jacob actually perfected his one-of-a-kind spaghetti-slurp-up technique in this very chair (there is footage of this...and someday it will win an America's funniest home video contest)

I'm so excited to add another chapter to this chair's story - it is my hope this latest user will be a polite little gentleman with impeccable dinning manners and a non-discriminate appetite, yeah right!

A big haul for the little one

Here is the proof...

If you have a baby, you need a lot of stuff - a truckbed full of stuff and that's just part of it.

While we were in Alabama, Jacob and his Dad, loaded up our truck with some of the bigger pieces of Bean's dowry - his crib, his dresser, his washer&dryer (cloth diapers, friends, I know, I might be completely crazy) and an assortment of other baby's amazing that something so little requires so many things...but look his Daddy ain't complaining!

A special shower

We decided to make the most of our last travel-safe weekend before D-day and visit Jacob's folks Locust Fork, Alabama and see some friends while there. Jacob's parents, Ronnie and Cindy, hosted had a sweet little shower that was special in every way - babies almost outnumbered adults and guys with baby bottles were more common a sight than gift bows.
In attendance were Nathan and Natalie Hinds and their feisty & fun twin boys Graham and Cole, both of whom are must be taking after their firefighter Dad since they like to crawl into the fireplace whenever the opportunity arises. Bean is a direct benefactor of the Hinds family's double blessings - a good portion of his entire first-year wardrobe comes in doubles! Nathan, Jacob and Mitch, who also attended, have been best friends since middle and high school.

We also invited Julie and Dusty Rayburn, friends of Jacob's parents, and their adorable 11-month-old daughter Anna. The Rayburns, too, have gone above and beyond in sharing with us everything from great maternity wear to a baby tub and a boppy pillow.

Both Julie and Natalie are wonderful new mothers and inspiring role models for me. Nathan and Dusty too, made Jacob feel right at home in fatherhood - he even got to "practice" bottle feeding Graham, who seemed to approve of his technique. I'm glad we got to spend time together.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Helping hands...

Look at these! Don't they just tug on your heart-strings?

These are tiny little mittens made for Beans little digits by my lovely cousin-in-law Sara, who has been nothing but a wonderful extension of the Dinkins family here in Brevard.

They are just another one of those lovely contributions that have made me realize the immesurable value of friends and family in times like these...I'm not sure if I want the entire village to help us raise a child, but so far it has been unimaginable not to have a great circle of caring friends and a core of generous family members to help us get ready for this child.

I boasted to one of my friends the other day that all counted I have spent less than $100 on Bean's "dowry" - amazing considering what the talleys I've seen in the Baby/Parenting magazines when it comes to nursery budgets...I've bought $50 worth of fabric for a quilt and a crib mobile that was on sale, a few odds and ends and that's about it.

I may be a bad mom-in-the-making, but I have no problem admitting that so far, I haven't bought Bean a single outfits - not a one - although I look at them in the stores and find most of them incredibly cute, I have been blessed with bags and boxes full of equally cute outfits that are either gifts or hand-me-downs... and I see no reason not to accept the kindness and generosity of others with a heart-felt thanks...

So between gifts - ranging from the big ticket items selflessly purchased by the grandparents and great-grandparents to gift cards from dear friends for necessities like crib sheets - to hand-me-downs -washed and softened used cloth diaper covers, a high chair saved from his grandmother's childhood and well-loved dog-eared first story books - we have been able to stock an entire nursery on a pauper's budget, and I love every piece of it, because each comes with a story, with a wish for a well-provided early childhood, each is wrapped in an ounce of care for a child that isn't even the giver's own.

Bean is blessed.

Aside from the material things, I have been fortunate to have friends and family - new and old ones - generous with their experiences and advise. From how to make re-usable wipes to what to hunt for at yard sales to baby-safe home-made cleaning products, I have been the happy recipient of free wisdom freely shared...and I look forward to that continued support of shared advise as we go from infancy to toddlerhood and beyond...your teenager will help me raise my teenager someday.

And last but not least, a core group of precious women, have helped me put that special hand-made touch that I so love, on this nursery. While I haven't handed over plastic for designer names, I have spent hours crafting things and in that I've been supported by my mother-in-law and my mother and others. When it is all done (hopefully before Bean makes his appearance) we will have crafted a boppy pillow cover, a high chair seat pad, a baby cardigan, countless booties and hats, teddy bears, a wall organizer and maybe even a quilt...and an adorable pair of mini-mittens.

I am grateful. Thank you to you all.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Pregnancy Week 35

Notes from

Your Baby: Well over 5 pounds (2.5 kg) and more than 20 inches (51 cm) long, your baby is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. If you were to give birth this week, your baby would probably need the warmth of an incubator to survive. That’s because he still doesn’t have enough fat cells to keep his body warm. But hopefully, he will have the warmth of your tummy for just a little while longer!

Bean's definitely starting to be a load to be reckoned with. At times I feel so front-heavy, that I'm convinced my toes are growing bicepts to keep me level. My back aches even on an easy day, which doesn't worry me, since carrying around all this weight is plain supposed to hurt. I don't have any notable swelling, which I'm very happy about - picture wearing support hose in 90-degree weather...on someone as naturally sweaty as me - not a pretty picture.

Monday, August 6, 2007

From Switzerland with love!

It's here! Our Bean will have a front-seat to everything and a fancy one at that...super-slick styling, manly colors for our boy-child, feather-light with lots of added extras this car seat will come in handy we are sure, as Bean grows from a floppy infant into wiggly toddler. It's made in Sweden, where safety was invented and is the gift of my wonderful parents, Erna and Albert.
It sits in the nursery now, another one of the many "things" that make the nearing date with parenthood a bit more real with every passing day.


The picture does it no you can tell, I'm having trouble focusing in more ways than one...

Jacob is a hard-working man, whose hands have almost single-handedly (actually both working together in concert) toiled tirelessly to allow us to save up for a it only just that I report on this most unfortunate occurance of last week, when he heartily hit his index finger with a framing hammer while on the job.

The nail is blue/black, and the little hole he drilled into it to relieve the pressure (a move approved by his nurse mother) only adds to the "ick" factor. I can't imagine taking a drill bit to a throbbing appendage and fussing with it, but then again Jacob's pretty tough without a question.

For the first few days the finger changed shape, color and texture like a lively science experiment, going from waxy to shiny, from bright blue to dull black and from hot-dog back to a semi-normal night I woke up because Jacob was softly wimpering in his sleep...his hand with the hurting finger was gingerly placed at the edge of the bed, the finger stretched out by itself so only air touched it - even if I had doubted it at to that point, that image adequately illustrated the measure of pain he was in.

The finger is back in use now (he moved heavy furniture with it), the nail will likely fall off completely (I hope the same isn't true for the finger) but at least Jacob doesn't wince anymore every time something or someone touches it.

Did I mention that he is a hard-working man? I'm proud of all his accomplishements as his business nears its first anniversary.

Home is where the heart is...

I love our new-old house...

It's full of odd angles, lovely little touches, warped door and window frames and there is a faint musty smell that comes up from the basement that reminds me that the foundation is partly made out of beautiful smooth river rocks.

It is light, cozy, unassuming and it simply makes me smile whenever I think of it. I can't wait to go home to it (although there is always a project waiting) and with every passing day (6 now) I fall deeper for it. I take possession of it anew each day.

I know it's wrong to place so much importance on an earthly possession, but it is my prayer that this this home will allow us to share our blessings with others and welcome them into it as a peaceful refuge, a place where God dwells. A comfortable home for us, a place where a little child will run wild but be safe.

After our closing on Monday and our move Wednesday, we have been busy, whipping our cottage into shape. Jacob has nearly torn his arm off getting the wheedwacker to cooperate and has tirelessly groomed the entire landscape around it to a point where I'm certain if we sold it today we would get a neat penny more for it on account of the neat lawn and weed-free driveway. We have three beautiful old trees in our yard, two in the front and one in the back. They invite to tit and contemplate the pasing of time in their generous shade. I'm still taken aback that we "own" these beautiful living creatures, all so big I can't get my hands around them...don't be surprised if you ever see me out there hugging them. They are simply gorgeous.

The porch is another place I simply can't get enough of. It's impossible to be agitated or in a bad mood when you stand or sit on it. It simply spells serenity to me. We have a swing and I feel like I'm in a movie when I sit on it...yesterday we hung our cool skychair - a wedding present long stored away and it beckons everyone to come and sit and be happy.

On the inside things are coming together nicely. We have lovely curtains and the living room, bathroom and kitchen are set up completely. The bedroom, hallway/dining room and the nursery still need some work, but it's one of those houses where even a matresse in a corner looks we'll take our time.

We even went ahead - after Jacob's friend, Laurie, a talented interior decorator, suggested some color, and painted the kitchen. Meander Blue a perfect cool match that makes me take a deep breath every time I walk into it. Jacob can paint trim without an inch of masking tape and I did my best with a roller (the color is the low-tox kind that isn't harmful to the baby, by the way) and we managed to paint and reset the entire kitchen in less than 3 hours.
The painting was so much fun...I'm now wide-eyed with possiblities. Yellow for the bathroom, a swampy green for the living room and a quiet Kaki for the hallway-dining room....

So much remains to be done. Jacob's list is about a mile long and wide, but we know that any investment will be worth his while (and mine as a helper, as well). It's wonderful to be a new homeowner and see a to-do list as a privilege...I'm sure there will be long weekend days when we'll feel different about it...but for now it's wonderful.

I love the Lord, I love my husband and I love this child growing under my heart - and I'm falling for this heart is big with contentment.