My New Pie Safe

We are home, again! After our three-week trip to England we needed some serious down time away from work, home and everyday life. We packed back up and headed west to New Mexico where we retreated to a cabin a few miles south of Taos.  It was refreshing to spend our days reading while laying by the Embudo river and exploring Carson National Forest.  So here I am today, unpacking, laundry, picking up the house, working in the yard… yada yada.

Before we left I had a few hours while Eliza was down for a nap to decorate a new piece I have been dying to get my hands on.  I bought this pie safe from a neighbors garage sale before we left for England.

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I probably realistically don’t have time to take on a new project right now but it was too good of a deal to pass up so I bought it with birthday money I have been saving since February. I plan on giving it a facelift with some milk paint, I have no idea when I will get to it but I will just add it to my list of projects!

Even though it isn’t the color I want, the inside was still begging to be prettied.  I gathered up all of my “white things” I had stored in various kitchen cabinets, closets and drawers and laid them out on my dining table, tuned Pandora to Amos Lee and let my creative juices flow.  An hour later I came up with this.

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I love how it turned out!  I also thought I would use this as an opportunity to share some decorating tips with you.

To create balance and visual interest group items in odd numbers.

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Your grouping can be of the same items like my pitchers above or can be a grouping of different items.

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The cream-colored plate acts as a back drop and adds another layer of texture.  It doesn’t compete with the grouping because it is rectangular and the same color as the inside of the piece.

Show case interesting items in front such as this set of salt and pepper shakers.

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Group items together that have a similar shape.

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 I bought this darling sugar bowl in England after seeing one at my friend Jess’s house.

Stack different sized plates to create a group of plates.

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The group of plates becomes one stand alone item.

A piece of furniture created for cooling and storing pastries seems like a fitting place for a cake stand.  I pulled these ramekins out of my kitchen cabinet to make room for baby equipment.  Notice how I stacked them in odd numbers.  If I had stacked them two and two then they would not have been as visually interesting.

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Hope these tips help you on your next decorating endeavor.

With love,
Lauren

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Rest and More England

We are home and jet lag is my middle name!  Ok jet lag is usually pretty brutal but with a 5 month old that doesn’t sleep through the night well that is a double whammy!!  In spite of jet lag I have to say the trip was awesome and exceeded my every expectation. I am slowly easing back into life but can’t seem to find any motivation to get my house back in order.  I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to be on top of my house work so I can move on to new projects.  It seems God is graciously taking that tendency from me.  So I have spent most of my day listening to worship music with tears in my eyes telling God I lay everything down at His feet.  I can’t carry all the heavy burdens I seem to always try to pick up.  Actually this trip has me really wrestling with priorities and how I spend my time.  I spent three weeks free.  My thoughts weren’t consumed with things that need to be fixed around the house or the list of projects I want to complete this summer.  I was free to just be a wife, mom and friend then the moment I stepped back into our house my head was flooded with “must-dos” and “must-haves”.   God is showing me that my identity is not found in where I live or the things I possess or how productive I am with my time.  So I’m going to take this tension that I’m feeling as a sign that God wants to take me into a deeper season of rest.  Ahh just saying that feels like a huge exhale.  I once again give myself permission to rest.

After three pretty intense weeks our team needed a day of fun.  We hopped onto a train and headed to Ludlow.  Ludlow was a wonderful tourist town with a castle at the center.  We spent the day walking around looking at the city’s architecture, eating at a small outdoor café, touring the castle and catching some good deals at a flea market.  It was an awesome day!

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Our baby girl turned 5 months yesterday!  I can’t believe it has already been 5 months.  Everyday I fall more in love with her and cherish every minute we get together.

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With love,
Lauren

Rainy England Days

Our time here is almost over. In less than a week we will be heading home to sunny Texas. Eliza and I are snuggled up in our room staying dry. I’m going to miss rainy England days!

I haven’t taken many pictures this trip, it is kind of difficult with all the baby gear. This is something God is growing me in. I am learning to let go of always being in blog/decorating/have to take pictures of everything mode and to just enjoy my days with my family and friends. It is teaching me to rest and lay aside striving. I have taken a few pictures as I have walked around the city.
Here is where Joel lived while he was at the University of Wolverhampton.

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A friend and I took an afternoon to explore my favorite part of the city, Tettenhall.

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Here are some random shots from around the city.

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One day we took a train into Birmingham to watch some friends at an open mic night.

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We had dinner in an area called the Bullring. Right next to this modern shopping area there is an amazing old church that rises up in the middle of it all. It was a great place to take family photos!

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Another day we rented a car and drove to Stratford Upon Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare!

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Here is the home where old Bill was born.

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We ducked into a 1940’s tea room to get out of the rain. It was soo charming!

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Here is one last photo… Eliza in mommy’s new glasses.

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Hope you all are doing well. Take care!

We Are Here

We did it! We have never traveled internationally with a 4 month old so we had no idea what to expect but we did it! Eliza is a fantastic traveler. Wolverhampton, England has been our home for the past week and are seeing God move in awesome ways! We already hit up Jivan’s twice and have had countless cups of tea. In our short time here we have met many new friends and look forward to seeing these relationships go deeper. I haven’t had my camera with me but here are some pictures I snapped with my phone.

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Future Plans

The semester is winding down around here and we are gearing back up for the summer.  We will be heading back to Europe in a few weeks.  Last summer we spent four weeks in Greece

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 and this year we will be in England with Eliza in-tow!  We are going back to Wolverhampton, the city where Joel lived during his last two years of college.  Wolverhampton, England is a very dear place to us.  Our favorite restaurant, Jivan’s, an Indian Balti house, is in Wolverhampton.

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Our first dinner date at Jivan’s

Some of our closest friends are from Wolverhampton.  Wolverhampton is the city where we fell in love!  I just can’t wait to introduce Wolverhampton to Eliza.  Last time we were there, in 2011, I found a charming antique shop that I am dying to check out again.  But what I’m most excited about is the new people we will meet and the friendships that will develop during this trip.

After we get back from England our plan is to finish painting the outside!!!! I decided to paint the window sashes in Weathered Shingle by Sherwin Williams.

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 We are also planning a master bathroom remodel.  Last summer, I was still suffering from morning sickness and extreme nausea so Joel remodeled our master bedroom while I laid on the couch, eating crackers all day.

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 I am sooo excited about this remodel because the state of our bathroom right now is just well, disgustingly embarrassing.  Our plans include extending the ceiling from 9 feet to 11 feet, adding antique ceiling tin, reconfiguring the layout, reworking our closet to utilize the maximum amount of space, changing the door from a hinge hanging door to a pocket door, a new vanity made from an antique dresser with a vessel sink and new hardware, new flooring, new subway tile on the walls and new light fixtures.  Pretty much a gut job!  The only thing staying is our claw foot bath tub that needs to be re-finished.  I’m not sure how it is all going to work with Eliza around, but it should be an adventure!

Here are a few inspiring pictures.

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I also had to add a few pictures of my little nugget! She has grown so much this month.

E and Joel E and Mommy E owl hat Eliza 3 months

With love,
Lauren

A New, Old Front Door

It is a rainy, spring day here in San Marcos, Texas!  It is wonderful, my little one is laying next to me sleeping, my curtains are pulled open and I’m watching the rain fall. What a good day!  I love spring because everything seems to glow.  All the new leaves look flourescent and full of new life.   Here is how Eliza and I have been enjoying spring…

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just lying around in our yard.

The past few weekends have been productive ones around The Rescued Home.  We started the remodeling process on the outside of our house in the fall of 2010 and it is still not complete!  We are still chipping away at it.  Joel was able to get some sanding done and the first coat up.

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Since I can’t help Joel with the painting I have worked on smaller projects.  This past weekend I decided to paint our front door.  It needed a fresh coat so I thought I would go with a completely different color after looking through my latest Country Living magazine.

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What caught my attention was the colors on the seed box.

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I loved the blue-gray  letters, with the lighter blue accent against the yellow.  Since our house is yellow and I have a light blue bench on my front porch I decided to paint the door in Homberg Gray, a Sherwin Williams color.

I saw a tutorial on one of my favorite blogs, Jones Design Company.  She painted her house numbers on her door and then gave a tutorial on how to do it, including free downloadable numbers.  Here is the link for that tutorial.

I just love our front door! It has a great story behind it, we bought it at one of our favorite architectural salvage shops, Pieces Of The Past for only $100.  It originally hung in a 1920’s school-house in New Jersey.  When we first brought it home it needed to a little work, well actually a lot of work.  And on top of all the work it needed it didn’t even fit in the door frame because our house was soo wonky.   Joel and my very talented father-in-law had to push, pull, bang on, and shim the frame so the door would fit.

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We ended up painting it red and I have loved the red for the past three years.

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But I think I like the blue-gray color even better!

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We have plans to build window boxes (I will share that tutorial) and paint them the same color as the door.  Oh they are going to be soo charming!

With love,
Lauren

A Little Yard Work

I’m here on my in-laws back porch enjoying the beautiful Texas sunshine and some much-needed R & R!  My in-laws went skiing for Spring Break and we needed a place to retreat to, just the three of us, so we are here lounging around in our pjs, watching tv, reading, writing and eating junk food.  Life is good!

This is how Eliza is enjoying her time away.

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She was 9 weeks old this past Sunday!  I love being her mommy! Everyday I fall more and more in love with her and Joel.

For the past two months I have been sitting on our couch watching home improvement shows, dying to get my hands dirty.  We had some free time last weekend so we decided to do a little work in our yard.  We put in front flower beds last spring and plan on working some more on them this year.

Here is what the yard looked like when we bought the house.

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Here it is last spring after we put in new beds.

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A huge improvement!

 I have been admiring the rock in these flowerbeds for the past seven years.

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 I love how natural and organic they look, like they have been there for years.  My favorite kind of outdoor spaces are ones that look like they naturally happened there.

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So last weekend we loaded up in the truck and headed to the rock yard to find some rocks.  We came home with 1,500 lbs of rock!

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This is how it now looks when we do projects…with a little one in tow!

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After a few hours this is what we came up with.

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They are going to look great once the plants grow in.

I was so sore the next day but it was the best feeling to get to work with my hands again.

With love,
Lauren

Newborn Photo Session

Ok I have attempted to write this post several times but when it comes to a shower or post I choose shower every time.  I want to share these aaammmazing photos we had taken of Eliza when she was three weeks old.  My friend, Bethany, with Two Times Photography came to the house one morning to capture us in our new roles.  Bethany is such a talented and creative photographer.  We loved working with her and seeing her in action.  I would recommend her to anyone who is looking for a photographer to capture a special event.  Check out her work at twotimesphotography.com.

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I am so grateful we have these pictures of our baby girl!

With love,
Lauren

A Few Changes Around Here

Yesterday marked four weeks since Eliza’s birth.  The past four weeks have been the most life changing, challenging, life-filled, love-filled, exhausting weeks of my life!  Sleep deprivation is brutal but we turned a corner this weekend and I slept like I’ve never slept before and for the first time in four weeks feel like a normal person again! One thing that has gotten me through these weeks has been the amazing support I have around me.  Joel is the best man, husband, dad, and friend I could have ever asked for.  He has jumped into his new role with ease and full of strength.  My mom and mother-in-law have been amazing.  My sister-in-laws, who both have children, along with many of my friends who are a few months ahead of me in motherhood have been a God send.  I don’t know how many times I have contacted them with questions on how to be a mom and how to keep a little life alive!

All this sitting around, spending hours looking at interior design magazines and Pintrest has got my wheels spinning for new projects around the house.  Ok side note,  I now know why Facebook, Pintrest and Iphones were created, they are for moms who are up at all hours of the night, trying to stay awake while they tend to their babies! Anyway, I know all new house projects will be on hold for a while but I am itching to pick up a hammer and paintbrush!   Our next goal is to finish the outside of the house, a project we started over two years ago.  Our neighbors have been so gracious with us, thanks Danny and Marsha!  Once that is finished we have dreams for a new front porch, a fence and a back deck.

So I don’t have any pictures of new projects but I do have a few of some changes that we have made (or have happened) around The Rescued Home.

Here is what I wear to work everyday, pjs and my baby!  Eliza loves to sleep in her homemade Moby Wrap.  I found a tutorial on how to make it here, Moby Wrap tutorial.  And here is a link on how to tie it, How To Tie A Moby Wrap.

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I have traded my well staged decor for an array of baby items.

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We moved her pack and play from our room into the living room because she coos and grunts all night.

Our couch no longer houses our beautifully arranged throw pillows but now serves as a purely functional part of our living room, a place to sleep, feed and change baby.

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There are clues all over that a baby lives here.

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The new changes may not be magazine worthy or “pinnable”  but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

With love,
Lauren

The Day You Were Born

It has been 9 days since my sweet baby Eliza entered the world. I love her soo much, my heart is wrecked! The greatest part is watching Joel with her. He is giddy and full of life in spite of sleep deprivation. Since many of our friends and family follow The Rescued Home I thought I would share a little of my delivery story and these amazing pictures my cousin, Carlie, took on Eliza’s birthday.

Our plan was to have as natural of a birth as possible. I had done my research and decided I wanted to fully experience what it was like to be a woman in labor. I had dreams of a dimly lit room, worship music playing in the background and birthing my baby and then walking around a few hours later. God had other plans.

My contractions started Saturday, January 5th at 2am. I spent all day Saturday on the couch experiencing contractions. Around 9pm on Saturday I knew it was time to go to the hospital. Also around this time Joel was experiencing the tiring effects of the cold that had set in the night before. We checked into the hospital at 10pm on Saturday. We settled into the labor and delivery room and waited to see the doctor on call. After laboring for about 2 hours, Eliza’s heart rate took a dip. Alarms were going off and other nurses were running into the room to quickly hook me up to an iv and oxygen. At that time the doctor rushed into the room and saw that my eyes were the size of marbles. I was terrified! He explained that her heart rate had dropped and we were going to monitor her closely. My labor then progressed slowly and over 6 hours later she was stuck. My contractions were becoming increasingly painful and pain medication became a very appealing option. Then my contractions became unbearable and with every contraction her heart rate dropped. The doctor said he thought something was wrong and believed her cord was wrapped somewhere around her. He then told me around 10 am Sunday morning that I was going to need a c-section. I lost it. I began crying and asking God why this was happening. I had an amazing pregnancy and had expectations that my labor and delivery would be without complications. I had dreams of what my birth experience would be like and in that moment I felt all that being ripped from me. Me and Joel held hands as we cried out to God for wisdom and comfort. The next thing I knew I was being prepared for surgery. I was soo scared and shaking all over. I have never had surgery or broken anything.

They wheeled me into the surgery room and there were bright lights everywhere. Shortly after that my body went numb and Joel walked in dressed from head to toe in a blue, paper outfit. All I remember was thinking wow, he looks hot! Then after 34 hours, at 12:23pm they lifted our little girl out of me. The doctor said her cord was wrapped tightly around her neck and she was face up. It was the most beautiful sound when I heard her cry for the first time. My baby was alive and safe! She weighed 7.1 lbs and was 21 inches long.

Then the hardest part came over the next hours as I recovered. I was exhausted and full of emotion as I processed what just happened. The next few days were a whirl wind of different nurses and one hour sleep spurts. But even in the middle of all of it God was right there, sustaining me, comforting me. We were released four days later after Eliza’s sodium levels came down and she was able to nurse properly.

As we recovered in the hospital I asked Joel to read scripture to me and Eliza. He opened his bible and turned to this scripture,

I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me… Psalm 18:1-5, 16&17

Wow God’s word is alive and actively pursuing us!

Ever since we have been home it has been a gradual incline as we settle into our new normal. Joel and I have laughed everyday together and have never been more in love. I’m at complete rest being home with my family. I thank God for his protection and provision. I know Eliza has been given to us. A great gift from a loving father! I look forward to introducing her to all of our friends and family and can’t wait to see the amazing story of Eliza’s life unfold before me.

These are the pictures that captured the story of Eliza’s birth. I will forever cherish them!

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With love,
Lauren