simplifying

As we prepare to move I am doing a lot of weeding. Not garden variety weeding, the indoor kind.


All those items in the dark corners of our closets? That I haven't seen since we moved in to this house over three years ago? Those items are going.

The crazy number of dishes I have? Slimming down, majorly.

The clothes in my closet that haven't touched my body in a year. Going.
Supposedly most people only wear 20% of their wardrobe. I fall into that category, so the 80% that I don't wear?  Passed on to friends or charities.

The handbags that lined the top shelf of my closet? I'm sticking with 4, one for each season.


Simplifying.

That's what we are doing. Not just with our stuff, but with the way we live.

Our hope is that our smaller space will be more functional.

That we will live a bit more thoughtfully and intentionally.

That we will protect our lives from getting cluttered with stuff both exterior and interior.

For me to do that I need to cut out a few things in my own life.

One of those things is going to be this blog.

I started Blessed Chaos in March of 2007 after we moved from Florida. It was a good way to keep our friends there updated on our family and our church planting adventures.

It became a fun outlet for me. It also became a great way for me to document the life of our family in photo's and stories for posterity. I mean, my oldest is nearly 8 and he still doesn't have a baby album! This has been my virtual family album. Much more to my liking than creating a photo album.

It also connected me to a number of moms-of-kids-with-Ds blogs and for a time I really needed that. I was still processing various aspects of having a child with Down syndrome for years after Bean was born. It was good to have a platform to write about that, to tell Bean's story, to advocate for Bean and other's with Down syndrome.

As time marched on I just didn't have as much to say about Ds anymore. Ds is a part of our lives and while it's a big deal. It's also not a big deal. Bean is Bean.

And eventually, this blog gave me a place to start sharing some of my home ideas, updates, projects, and to connect with so many wonderful DIY bloggers out there.

For a while this blog was having a major identity crisis as my life and interests were changing and developing.

After Green Seed Creations was born last July I have tried to maintain this blog and take it back to it's original purpose of documenting and writing about our family.

I think, however, that in simplifying my life, it is time to end this blog. Or at least take an indefinite break.

I have been a bit half hearted in developing Green Seed Creations. Partly because it's just been a crazy summer and now we're moving, the kids will be going through new adjustments, etc.

But. . . It is something I want to give more attention toward. And with our impending move next week to a radically different home than we live in now, it just seems like a good time to stop writing here at blessed chaos. 



 I am looking forward to documenting the changes we make to our Quinby Cottage as we make them. It is going to be slow and steady and require a good bit of creativity to make our new, smaller space work for our family of five. And as I do that, I hope to slowly develop my business.

So, for now, it's goodbye from Blessed Chaos. I am not going to delete the blog. I can be fickle and may want to pick it back up one day. So, it'll be here and I may pop in from time to time to give an occasional update but nothing regular will be going on.

If you want to follow the renovation of our new place and see how things are developing business wise then please follow me over at Green Seed Creations.

I'd really love to have you there!

Remembering. . .



It feels like yesterday in many ways. The smells, the sounds, the people, the activity, I remember it all very clearly.

I woke up at 4.30am, after a very sleepless night at the Ronald McDonald House, to shower and prepare for a long and uncertain day. We had to have Bean to pre-op by 5.30 am. It was a big day for him.

The night before, after having dinner with friends from Gainesville who came to be with us, I was sitting in their hotel room with Bean. My friend, Kim, and I were loving on him when he offered the sweetest smile. It was his first. It was as if, after five months of struggling to stay alive, he knew what was coming and was excited.

When I woke, that smile was the first thing I thought about and it kept me going all day.

My little Bean had been in heart failure since the day he was born (two months premature) and hadn’t had the energy to smile. His smile the previous night was a sneak peak of what I could expect post-op and it gave me confidence that morning. It was a day I had been dreading yet I woke up ready for it. Partly because I just wanted it behind us and partly because I knew Bean was finally going to be able to take a deep breath without turning blue, eat without sweating, begin the big business of growing and learning and laughing. I could hardly wait.

But first we had to get through August 31, 2005. It was a long day and I remember almost every detail. I remember Bean’s whimpers as they stuck him repeatedly trying to find veins in his dehydrated little body. I remember wishing I could feed him. I remember the moment pastor j and I had to hand him over to the o.r. nurse. I remember every call to the parent waiting room letting us know what was happening. "He’s sedated. . . he’s on bypass. . . he’s opened up. . .patches are on and looking good. . . Dr. Q. is closing. . .he’s off bypass. . . Dr. Q. will be out to see you soon."

the day after surgery, getting his bandages changed

In between all that, much time passed. I remember pacing the halls. I remember where I stood on the outside deck to talk with my parents and give them an update. I’m pretty sure that was the first time all day I broke down. I remember wandering the halls and seeing every t.v. streaming the devastation in New Orlean’s after Hurricane Katrina. It was surreal, to see the devastation a few states away caused by natural disaster and to look around the children’s hospital where so many kid’s were fighting for their own lives because their bodies had betrayed them in one way or another. The realities of a fallen world.



But that day, five years ago, wasn’t about me. It was about my Bean. About his tenacity and his strength. He was 9 pounds and some change at five months old. His cardiologist wanted to get him to a year because kids do better with open heart surgery with a little more weight on them, but Bean had other plans. His little ticker, the size of a walnut, just couldn’t make it that long. And, I’m pretty sure he was just itching to play with his older brother.


That day, as with every day since his birth, Bean taught us about perseverance, hard work, love, patience, acceptance and trust. He came through it all beautifully and, after a few hiccups in picu, woke up ready to eat, play, and explore.


getting ready for home therapy a few months after surgery

Five years later, he works just as hard. He works hard in therapy, in school, and at play. He embraces life and all of us fortunate enough to be in his world. I have watched him impact so many with his warmth, love, and acceptance. What a privilege to be Bean’s mom!


saying goodbye to his teacher of more than two years who had such an impact on him


ready for his first day of kindergarten

And, what a privilege to have access to the kind of medical technology that makes it possible to open up the chest of a 5 month old baby and apply pig skin patches to the holes in his tiny little heart, thereby correcting the flow of blood, and prolonging his life. Amazing!

playing with his brothers in the mountains

*******************

Bean saw his cardiologist last week for an echocardiogram and general check up. We were thrilled to get the news that his heart has healed so perfectly that unless a doctor was looking for those patches she/he would likely not see them. The tissue has grown over the patches so well that even if he experiences some leaks at any point in the future it would be a very different scenario than what we faced five years ago. After Bean took over the appointment by listening to the doctor’s and nurse’s heart with their stethoscope they sent us on our way and told us we didn’t have to return for two years! Two years!

It’s a great feeling!





oh happy day

last thursday spinner and bean had their last first day of school in our current school district. for three weeks they will be in the same school.
while we are psyched about moving we are a little sad that these two will go back to being in different schools.


they were really excited to go back to school. bean even did his happy dance when pastor j was getting him dressed.

tank was none to happy that his big brothers were off to school and he was not. he doesn't start until sept. 7 but could not give a rip about that right now. all he knows right now is that his brothers get dropped off everyday and he doesn't.

knowing the first day would be a tough one for tank his nonnie had him over for is own special day.



he's trying hard here, folks.

after spinner and wil were dropped and tank was satisfied that he, too, would have a fun day i hit the road.

i love my kids. i also love a day to myself.

i headed north and one hour later pulled in here. . .



i'm pretty sure the heaven's parted and i heard the angels singing.

i had two goals.
1. find a section of butcher block for a kitchen work station i'm making out of an old dresser.
2. find some inspiration from their showroom kitchens and come home with
some space saving items for our kitchen-to-be.



beautiful.

after two hours i had my oak butcher block, kitchen space savers, and some bedding for tank.



mission accomplished!



with a 50 cent hot dog in hand, i hit the road and was home in time to pick up the boys from school and tank from nonnies.

they had a great day.
so did i.

changes

 This is what things are looking like around here lately. There is a good reason, though. We sold our house! It didn't come easy. The selling of our home nor the "finding" of another. The home we have had a contingency contract on all summer. . . the home that I envisioned our family in. . . the home that I had fully decorated in my mind. . . was sold out from under us. It's a complicated story, but in short, we came down on our price drastically in order to sell to a family that couldn't go any higher. We only did this because the seller's of the home we had a contract on agreed to come down enough to make it doable for us. We signed the contract for the sell of our home and the re-negotiated contract for the home we were purchasing. In the tiny little window of time between our signing the contract and it getting to them to sign they received word that they had someone else coming for a second viewing of their house. They decided to hold off on signing the renegotiated contract with us. And, you guessed it, they received another offer. We could have still had the house since we had the first contract on it but it would have been at the original offer. Which we could no longer do because we dropped our own sell price so significantly.

So, what can you do but go out and find another house? And that's exactly what we did. We spent a day with our agent moving from house to house in search of a home for our family. We found one that we all liked and made an offer that afternoon. Our offer was accepted and everything has been smooth sailing since.

We were pretty peeved when the owner's of the other house reneged on their verbal agreement with us. But things tend to work out, don't they? While I was at our new house meeting with the inspector and our agent I was told that the inspection on the other house was pretty bad. Lot's of issues, including structural. I tried hard to refrain from breaking out into a big grin. Not because I was glad they were having to deal with that. But because, wow, we were spared from having to deal with that.  Our inspection? Nearly perfect.
It was pretty affirming. It was a great reminder to me that just because there are difficulties, bumps in the road, even detours, it doesn't mean the Lord's not at work. He most definitely is.

Additionally, His work, is broader than just getting out little family settled.

I know, duh!

I am thrilled that the family moving into our home got their dream house. They are a military family, the husband is an army chaplain and just returned from Iraq. They have three children, one with special needs, and the husband is also a cyclist and runner, just like pastor J. Knowing our neighborhood, filled with military families, I know they will love it here. And I am really happy for them!

The Lord's timing is perfect. It's awesome to see how he works things out!

We move in a few weeks so I have a lot to do. The boys start school tomorrow, in this district, but will be changing schools when we move downtown. I am doing some major purging and selling and cleaning out as we are moving into a much, much smaller home.

I am excited about making 1700 sq. ft. functional for our family. It will take some creativity, to be sure. I already have several idea's floating around. If you want to keep up with the how-to's of maximizing a small space I'll be documenting it all over at green seed creations





Deedah

Deedah is a 26 minute documentary about siblings. One of them has Down syndrome. One of them does not. Their relationship reminds me of Spinner and Bean. I haven't seen the full documentary but have it ordered.

All three boys sat with me to watch this trailer. Half way through the second viewing Spinner said, "this just makes me smile."

It makes me smile, too.

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