Barely Here

This is an unusual and very personal post for me. It's certainly a departure from our home updates but I think it's time to share. As many of you know, Corey and I had some challenges while trying to bring Baby M to our family. We know many women who have gone through far more traumatic experiences (and I was shocked at the number of friends who had experienced miscarriage when I shared our own struggles) but I'm a firm believer in sharing, discussing and normalizing experiences like this, so I'm sharing mine.

Before I was pregnant with Baby M, I had three miscarriages. For us, all three miscarriages occurred very early on in each pregnancy. Because of this, I experienced very little physical trauma but it still hurt emotionally. By the third, I was actually dreading seeing the double pink line on the pregnancy test because I felt that a loss was inevitable. 

Now that I'm farther along in my pregnancy with Baby M and she's kicking up a storm (another Bruiser like her sister, I suspect), the losses feel farther away and sometimes (especially with very early miscarriages) it's hard to know what to call them or how to label them in my own mind. At the hospital, when they ask which pregnancy this is for me, I find myself saying "Two... I mean five... I mean... I don't know how you want to count them..."  That's always a little upsetting because it means that even I question how "real" they were. Our first miscarriage was from a pregnancy last spring (almost exactly one year ago) that was totally unexpected but it really helped us to decide that it was time to add to our family when we otherwise may not have.

The experiences sting less these days and it's easy to almost forget that they happened. But they were (and are) real and I came across a poem I wrote after my first miscarriage last spring. I was too upset to post it at the time but I'd like to share it now. Big hugs to all the families dealing with similar (or different) challenges and big thank yous to my supportive family and friends.

Barely Here

We almost thought we had imagined you. But you were here: a faint pink line that threw our universe upside down and laughed in the face of our carefully planned timeline.  It's always the most ordinary days that end up changing the course of your life.

A faint positive is still a positive and I had been sick and emotional for a week.

We hadn't expected you. We weren't ready, and yet, we felt excited about the idea quickly.

But everything about your stay with us was too small. Too short. Too few. Too brief.

For a few days, we imagined you playing with your big sister. Tree forts and whispered secrets and obstacle courses in the yard. We knew your name: A name that is entirely yours and we will never give to another child. We thought you were fate. How amazing that our family would grow sooner than planned! How perfect that you and your sister would be so close in age. Inseparable buddies!

For a few days, we budgeted for your education. Our life. Your future. You would be expensive but we would make it work.

For a few days, we enjoyed our happy little secret. We glowed on the inside and felt so so lucky! I imagined you growing strong in my belly. An entire life, your life, filled with potential, flashed through my mind.

Then suddenly, you were gone and our small bubble burst. Our hearts fell because we would never get to meet you.

You were the size of a pin prick, with immeasurably small mass, but we still felt the weight of your loss. Our world went on and we still woke up the next morning. We joked and laughed and pretended to be dinosaurs and we made your sister breakfast. I went to work. It was just like any normal Sunday. Mostly normal. Maybe a little sad. We were okay, but we wouldn't forget you.

You were gone and I suppose we were meant to stay just three for now. Three musketeers. Three against the world. Not four. Not yet.

You were barely here but a faint positive is still positive. An early miscarriage is still a miscarriage. You were barely here but you were here.

Maybe everything happens for a reason. And maybe you taught us that we're a little more ready to be parents again than we had thought...


Living Room (Before and After)

Now that our living room is close to complete, I'm looking back at this post that I began composing in November. I'm amazed at how closely I followed my initial inspiration photo (above) when choosing furniture.

Our major purchase for the room was a new sofa (we needed two in the larger space) and I'd wanted a blue one forever. We ended up finding a discounted model at West Elm and I used the dimensions to map out the layout before we moved in.

It was in the living room that we initially checked the wall colours (we get a lot of light in the room) and you may recall that we settled on Benjamin Moore paint: Oxford White trim and White Dove walls.

Here's the before facing the fireplace and entrance hall. This was taken on the day we took possession so the previous owner (and his dog) were still at the house. This was also the day we discovered that I was pregnant with Baby M.

Here's the room from that angle now. Painting the fireplace brick and replacing the door made a huge difference. I think hanging photos in the hall and up the stairs has also made the house feel a lot warmer. Right now, I'm loving our theme of blues and greens. We wanted the colours to be more natural and a little rustic/country (to go with all the wood and the exposed beams in the house) but we wanted the room to feel light, fun, colourful and casual.

Here's the room from another angle. Before:

And After:

Most of the accessories are from the thrift shop or Homesense. The greyhound statue was a gift from my cousin. The large fiddle leaf fig tree is actually a staging piece but I've decided that when I'm not using it, we should keep it in the living room so it doesn't get too lonely in my storage locker. It's a very convincing fake.

The shelving unit (Homesense) needs to be styled but I haven't unpacked our books and Barkley is a notorious book eater (we want to give him some time in the new house before we trust him) so I've just placed some colourful vases there in the meantime.

Rudy loves the accessories on the coffee table. She likes labeling "dog" and "flowers" and then pretending the coasters are cookies (her favourite) and walking around the house with them.

Having the living room set up makes the house feel a lot more like home. Corey is finishing the dining room as we speak and he's going to start painting Baby M's room in the evenings this week, so we'll have lots of exciting reveals. We're also planning a pretty special (and unexpected) reno which has delayed completion of the nursery. Stay tuned!


Fireplace Makeover (Before and After)

I know I've taken a long vacation from blogging when I have dozens of posts outlined in point form and yet, I have no photos and need to check my Instagram to see if I have any relevant pictures.  I think I'll commit to taking a bunch of photos around the house this weekend or next, but I actually did manage to find some fireplace photos on Instagram so I can publish this post now.  :)

When we bought our house, we were excited to finally have a wood-burning fireplace!  I love the smell of logs burning in the winter and fall and it seems so cozy to me.  We rolled the dice and decided not to have a proper fireplace inspection (WETT Inspection) because we knew it wasn't a dealbreaker for us and we figured we'd put the inspection money toward what we assumed would  be necessary repairs.  We had the fireplace and chimney cleaned after we took possession and were shocked when the company told us it was in great shape!  Finally, something in this house that didn't need repairs!

Of course, the fireplace itself wasn't the most attractive but we had some plans for that!  We already knew we'd be painting the brick white and leaving the wood mantle to match the ceiling beams.

On the day we took possession of the house, the seller told us the fireplace door had never fit properly and was basically just resting against the brick.  Um... thanks.  Oh well, it wasn't our taste anyway.  What we did discover is that our fireplace is an unusual size so a custom order was necessary.

We ordered a custom door and were excited when it was installed before Christmas. We love our new door and it's secure enough for us not to worry with Rudy and the pets running around.  Our favourite thing about it is that instead of the chain mesh curtains that you always need to fuss with, we had the mesh installed as a second set of doors.  They're lovely and far more solid than just a curtain. Even better: they're easy to open and close!

Rudy uses the glass doors as her personal mirror and loves to look at her reflection when she's wearing a funny hat... which is basically every evening after school.

And here's a shot to prove that we did manage to get it ready in time for the holidays (and Santa) this year.  :)

Here's one last (more recent) photo. We're finally unpacking and hanging art! I'll post some living room before and after photos soon. Not a bad update, right?


Rudy's Room (More Progress)

Last time, I showed you Rudy's room in the early stages. Well, it continues to evolve and we still have a list of things to do but she's been enjoying it so much and I wanted to share. Her drapes still need to be hemmed but she loves her window seat filled with little drawers and cubbies to hide books and toys.

First thing in the morning, Cricket often sits at her widow to look into the yard. It's quite cute and she'll greet him as she rubs her eyes with a sleepy meow.

We are a family of avid book lovers and we wanted Rudy to have a special reading corner with her current favourite books on display. She loves climbing up at bedtime to choose.

Rudy loves her big girl bed and we love that we can snuggle with her during story time now.

At first, Rudy needed a step to help her up. She doesn't really need it now but we've left it along with the retractable bed rails. I suppose we're not ready for her to grow up too quickly.

We've started working on her closet. The plan is for her to have a "secret" reading nook in there as well. We'll be adding lighting soon. :)

We're working on a little gallery wall with some prints and family photos. We will add to it over the years.

When we turn out Rudy's light, she takes her little star nightlight and turns it on. Sometimes she even cuddles it in bed as she falls asleep.

I'll share more as her room continues to evolve but for now, it's a sweet space for our little warrior.

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