Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"What's life without Whimsy?"

Even though around week 40.5 of my pregnancy, I began to doubt her actual existence, our little girl did finally arrive on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 6:03 in the morning.  And then it was finally time to share her name with everyone...from the Grandmas to the waitress at Grubbs...who has been wondering what W stood for.

Months ago, when we found out we were having a girl, we began the arduous task of trying to find a name. When your other kids are big, though, they have interacted with a lot more people than the typical family of little kids, and therefore, have many more opinions.  Throw in
-an enormous extended family that so far, has only a small amount of overlap in monikers,
-at least three past churches of perfectly good hipster names that are back in style (c'mon...old lady names are adorable!)
-and then just basic preferences
and let me tell you, we had searched every website, and read every page of our old stand-by baby-name book that had been good enough to name an entire generation of my siblings and cousins, and then some.

So when Robb announced rather boldly that he had it, I was dubious.  I should have remembered how confident I was when I stumbled across "Charleigh" a decade ago.  When it fits, it just fits.  I was a bit skeptical, but I was comfortable enough to roll it around a bit.  Charleigh liked it immediately. Vin paused, thought about it and then decided he was all in. Mattie mulled it over night, and pronounced her support in the morning.  I was afraid it was too old lady at first.  One night, Robb - who is terribly prone to talk in his sleep - cautioned me while I attempted to roll my big bell over in bed..."Please don't squish my Whimsy-baby."  Hearing his protective concern, especially in his sleep, made me realize how real she was to him already. I realized in that drowsy moment that Whimsy was her name, no matter what.

Frankly, is there any better way to tell everyone how we feel about this little post-script?  She's no accident. No frustrating back-track down a missed turn.  She's a scenic little drive down a pretty little side road that most people choose to avoid because it's not the most direct route.  We are just soaking in the joy of the journey.

And for her middle name, we rolled around some other options, but it was important that she have a family name, like the other kids have.  As the months passed by, certain events stood out as important moments in the bigger story of our lives and her middle name became an obvious choice.  And so we named her Whimsy Catherine after

- Robb's sister Cathy who came with Megan for the baby shower back in July. September 15th marked 5 years since her husband Kevin left us all missing him and his giant, kid-loving heart. If our Whimsy has half the wit, strength, brilliance or hilarity of her Aunt Cathy, she will be a sparkly human indeed.

- Our friends Sara and Carl's precious baby Katherine, born sleeping just a few weeks before our daughter.  She is always in our hearts. I still don't have words to express much else about this.

- My dear Aunt Cathy, my mother's sister.  Just weeks before Whimsy was born, her youngest daughter, just 25 years old, passed away from a vicious cancer. Tessa was the youngest of the cousins and was quite simply the sweetest human being any of us will ever know.  She was like a warm, simple candle that welcomed you wherever you were coming from.  It broke my heart to think of her loss as she was one of the babies who bounced on my hip at family gatherings like Aunt Cathy bounced me on hers. This lovely ribbon of care has been cut and I ache for my aunt, the whole family and for myself.

- My dear, dear, dear friend, Kathy Freeman.  It's not enough to say that she was present at Whimsy's birth. She's been tangled up in the life of the Ryerse family for 8 years now and when Robb asked me what role I wanted her to play, I said, "I want Kathy to be the hostess of our birth."  And that is what she did.  She arrived in the room with only the energy she has at 5:30 am, and started applying hot, wet towels to my labor-weary back.  She cheered me on when I was sure I couldn't go on without pain medicine and she gave me the empowerment I needed to go ahead and push before anyone else realized how ready I was.  And then, when Whimsy arrived, she did her amazing actual job of being a lactation consultant, which is to help babies and mamas learn to nurse. Women all over this town take one look at Kathy and say, "You!  You were the one that helped me!"  To top it all off, she then went to pick up my other kids, and came back with coffee, breakfast, and a bowl of beautiful fruit.  If you don't have a Kathy in your life, you need one. Immediately.

These are the stories of her names. She represents so many things. Her smiles and her tears express our joy and our grief and our very lives.  Truly, what's life without Whimsy Catherine?


Friday, August 29, 2014

Master Closet turned Tiny Nursery

Our master closet has been anything but a master closet since we moved in almost 5 years ago. It has held Robb's books and tried to be an office. Then it held all my dishes and tried to be a studio.  Then it became the perfect hiding spot to hold all the vintage items in my Etsy shop, The Classic Butterfly. Finally, it has become a tiny space to hold our new tiny human. Situated just off our master bathroom and across the hall from the laundry room, I am happy to have her little room close by and not banished to the upstairs where the three bigs battle for the conch and sole posession of the bathroom.

I love how much love and care has gone into making her room ready, not just from us, but from our dear friends, family and community.  From the hard labor of cutting the door to the soft sweet things for her to wear, she already has a little village of people who love her.

Before: mosaic studio
before: vintage storage

during: removed shelves
during: cut a new door and walled off the old entrance

New door, new gray paint, new light fixture

After: accent wall, shelves, furniture
Dresser : The Velvet Otter Changing pad cover: Land of Nod via Gingiber herself!

We opted for a mini crib: or as they call them in Europe, a crib.

Rocking Chair from an antique store in Prairie Grove

Sheep pillow via Land of Nod, Gingiber design  with some other Etsy finds!

This gorgeous mobile was a gift from the wonderful Kara of  Arch + Craft

A little vintage reading card from Vintage Market Days

Amazing board books from Nightbird Books
And let's not forget, our stash of cloth diapers from Terra Tots!
And finally, this mobile I made of our family: It plays "You are my sunshine."

Just Nine Months

How amazing that a person who weighs just 7 or 8 pounds could incite a household into so much change and activity!  These past nine months have been spent arranging and rearranging to absorb all that a tiny human could possibly require.  As I wait for her arrival, I am finally taking the time to look back over these crazy months and show what got accomplished.

note: carpet on the floor, tiny little belly, and my hair still red

First glimpses

morning sickness and weird food cravings and aversions

a real belly shot

And did I mention, morning sickness?  Gah.
Finally feeling better so it was out on a date to eat a gigantic steak at Hermans!     

The projects start: Job one...this burned up dryer needs attention quickly!

These two are on the job! 

And now the dryer is safe and functional!

Now it's time to work in the garden: I finally feel well enough to tackle last year's pampas grass.

Tomatoes and peppers tucked into their beds

Patio clean and ready to use.

19 weeks...aka, "the cute stage."
My guys remove this too-small linen closet, patch the holes, paint and....

add wall to wall shelves to hold my vintage Etsy store stock. 

Robb assembles the pool
Add caption
The rotten gates finally get some attention

I add bead-board paneling to the bar

and hit the 6 month mark

Our 14 year old Dodge Caravan bites the dust to be replaced by this Honda Odyssey  
the gates are finally finished

so we can stop chasing the dogs.

I finally try out Annie Sloane Chalk Paint and fall in love

I use "Graphite" on the bottom and "Old White" on the top cabinets, plus two coats of wax.

I cleaned and rearranged all of the kids rooms

This does not look like this now, but it was nice while it lasted.

Bright and sunshiny, just like her.

And I was tired. 
Our dear friends Donny and Matthew spent the 4th of July cutting a door in this wall for the nursery

They built a wall to create a new closet and added an electrical outlet and fixed the light switch

Meanwhile, I added a mosaic to my backsplash made from the leftover white dishes from various projects

And I made a lemon pie from scratch. Matthew was outside blowing things up with my children at this point of the night.

I paint the kids bathroom, and hang towel racks, but they still live like cavemen up there.

Robb puts in a heroic effort, laying the flooring in our room, which has been stripped of carpet since he put up the pool back in May

We celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary
Our bedroom turns out great!

The kitchen is mostly done (still have half a backsplash to finish...shhhh!)

And the nursery is painted, stocked, decorated and ready.

Now, if I could just get this kid out....