29 July 2011


We've been in Omaha over a week now. What a great week! LE and JA are so, so excited about baby LC. Most of the time they're running around thinking of their own entertainment or interests, but then one of them will stop and get all soft-eyed and gentle and approach the baby. JA actually giggles when he takes the time to notice LC. When LE was born, he pretty much ignored her most of the time for a few months, reacting to her cries and struggling to figure out what had happened in his world. He was just 23 months when LE was born.

Now JA is over 4 years, and LE was 2 years in March. LE is very, very maternal--caring constantly for whatever doll or stuffed animal has her attention, diapering, wiping, rocking, strolling. She's a tender and vigilant mommy, so having a real baby in her house is very special.

It's been extremely hot in the Midwest this summer--in Omaha and in Chicago. The house has been comfortably cool, but it's an effort to think of going outside. With two kids in the house, activities outside are a daily requirement. So, we run errands, go to parks, turn on the water and swim or slip-and-slde... One or several of us get the two kids out twice a day. I take care of meals, but again because of the heat our meals are simple summer meals with not much fuss or muss.

LC is a bit jaundiced, so for several days in a row JE and MA had to take him to either a hospital or the pediatrician's office for a blood test. He's doing well; the numbers are going down.

This little boy is a sweetheart--looks a bit like JA, but then you see some of LE there, too. Since JA resembles his mommy and LE is much like her daddy and Nana, the family resemblances are strong. LC has light eyelashes, so maybe we'll have a blonde baby this time.

The best times? Post-bath-time hugs and kisses; morning wake-up giggles and shouts; holding these small hands; ice cream surprises; reading favorite books; baby holding; encouraging our beautiful and accomplished daughter; feeling so proud of the fine family JE and MA have created; drawing together in love and prayer for future decisions and directions.

We leave today tired and happy, knowing we have will need to rest and regroup over the next few days before beginning the drive to Orlando. There's much to gather and pack, details to be worked out. We are walking very closely in God's loving embrace these days. Our safety, health, plans, dreams and family are held there.

21 July 2011


Three days old.

We're up early this morning, anxious to get on to Omaha to see JE's family and meet our new baby grandson, Levi Christopher. Both LE and JA were born at the same Methodist Hospital facility about 15 minutes from home, but in recent months they've opened the Methodist Women's Hospital way out west of Omaha--we're very happy to have our iPhone's mapping app available to help get us to the right spot.

The kids Nana and Papa are bringing them to see their baby brother this morning, so we'll drive directly to the hospital. We discover too late that our mapping app is not aware of the recent flooding, so we have to double-back from the suggested routing, but we eventually get there!

There's nothing sweeter than a new baby--so fresh from God and the angels' care. Lovely.

Lots of help for the trip home from the hospital. 2 days old.

This is a busy place this morning, and JE is moving about just as if she'd not given birth so few hours ago. The demands and presence of a two and four-year-old is, well, demanding. There's so much energy in this room. By-the-way, this is a large and beautiful room with a comfortable sleeping couch for daddy and plenty of room for the extended family to gather. We're all grinning from ear-to-ear. We're proud, happy, and a bit over-whelmed. Mostly thrilled that this beautiful child is now a part of our families and that JE has done so well. What a blessing to have a loving marriage and family to welcome a new baby.

20 July 2011


Just minutes old. A boxer's nose?
So precious.
How blessed we are to hold this little guy, so fresh from his Father and the angel's care

I have to begin my back-dating, catch-up blogging with the biggest news...

Levi Christopher Smith was born at 8lbs. 7oz. just after 10:00pm on Wednesday, July 20th--two days early and just 4 hours after JE's water broke at home. We'd been on the phone with JE a few times during the day as she was having some erratic labor and was beginning to wonder if this was the real thing. It was!

We have to drive to Florida on August 3rd, taking the Subaru to Orlando in time to meet DM's family when they arrive from Bratislava, and have been concerned about the timing of LC's birth--hoping he'd come on time or even a bit early. Thank you, God! We have a darling, healthy baby boy with a beautiful name and a magnificent future.

Since LC arrived so promptly (not, of course, to minimize the extent of his mommy's labors because she worked long and hard to deliver him) we were still on the road between Woodstock and Omaha. We'd hoped to drive straight through, but planned to stop when we tired. Once we got news of LC's birth, we decided to spend the night in Des Moines--two hours from Omaha.

LE and JA's other grandparents live just an hour from Omaha, so they were on-the-spot and in charge while MA spent the night with mommy and baby son. We're so blessed that D+HS are such godly and loving grandparents. They dedicate one entire day every week to their grandchildren, freeing MS and JE to work, do errands, rest, and spend some time together. JA and LE love their Nana and Papa, and greatly anticipate their weekly visit.

08 July 2011

HUGE PROJECT: Sneak Peak - The Fabrics and More

So, the fabric decisions have been made for 7 pieces of furniture and draperies for our French doors in the Great Room. We're going for a Country French, or at least a Vintage, look. In addition to reupholstering, we're changing out seat cushions for a firmer seat on two chairs and the 3-cushion sofa, re-styling one lounge chair by exposing the legs and tufting the seat back, re-styling the sofa by exposing legs. And since the legs will show, we're changing them out to something a bit more grand.

None of the swatches below are actually to-scale, or even proportional with each other. I've lifted them from the Duralee, Durlee Highland Court, Robert Allen, and Pindler and Pindler websites.


(re-styling with tufted back and exposed legs)

(with cording to match embroidered medallion, pleated skirting)

Covers the sides of the top cushion and the bottom base. I think its used for the cording, also.
This ottoman will be fringed in blue. I NEVER thought I'd actually have a piece of fringed furniture! Love it.

This covers the middle cushion of the ottoman. 

And, this is the top.

(Brownish cording that matches Lounge Chair #2s cording.) 
This is probably my hands-down favorite fabric, but I'm also in love with the sofa fabric and the red tapestry (below) we're using on the wing chairs.

Rear and sides of chairs.
This is so not the actual shade of green, which is more closely replicated in the birds nest drapery fabric below. Still, it is representational of the design and texture, and the scale of the print is very close.

 Seat back and arms of chairs.

 Seat cushion and lumbar-support pillows.
I love, love, love this fabric. It is so rich and vintage--and horrendously expensive. Thus, we've limited our use of it, but it is going to pop.

I'm not sure I've ever been drawn so immediately to a fabric. At once I knew it was perfect. 
These curtains will tie the entire color scheme, and its multitudinous patterns. together. I can't wait. And, I always thought I wanted my French doors unadorned.

Got a brilliantly creative idea for skirting a small console table to use in the back hall--very country French to have skirting in or near the kitchen cabinetry.
Fabric Finders is the source. From bessiemary.com

My head has exploded, but I am happily relieved to have these decisions made. Surprisingly, the fabrics cost almost twice as much as the labor costs.

Still finalizing hardwood floor installation and refinishing. We'll go a shade or two darker than the existing red oak to contrast more dramatically with the Kraftmaid natural birch cabinetry. But, not so dark as to highlight every crumb or dust bunny.The timing is in flux because of our busy travel schedule and family responsibilities, but we know for sure we'll use a water-base satin finish that is both au courant and eco-friendly. 

Pretty sure this is the sconce that will grace the side of our fireplace mantle. It's kind of fancy compared to the finishes in the great room, and I've waffled about, but it's sitting in our loft and too late to return. I think having a fancy-pants accessory or two fits into our Country French look, or Vintage as I'm prone to re-classify it. The final descriptive will be determined by whether or not we select French-style side chairs for the study-dining room and/or master bedroom.).

We have several lighting changes in-play: adding a recessed fixture over the stove, (maybe adding) two small pendant lights over the breakfast bar, under-cabinet lighting and over-cabinet rope lights, a replacement sconce over the first stair landing, changing out the chandelier from the dining area in the great room with the ceiling fixture in the library... As soon as we stay home long enough, I'm going to trap the electrician into finally showing up. He's willing to do some handyman projects as well, so my list keeps growing.

Sometime this winter we'll have our house painters back to refresh our interior walls. I'm sticking to Sherwin Williams blonde in entry, great room, and loft. Our bedroom will keep a version of its current spa-robins egg blue; we'll lose the caramel-colored chair rail in the great room and back hall in favor or more blonde. And, the dark brick red in our kitchen is tentative. I'm still liking it, but have faded a bit from my initial (5 years on) love of it. Red kitchens are more than likely passe, but DV says it can stay.

After replacing the queen-sized bed in our master bedroom with a 2-twins/king bed and moving the furniture around a bit, I'm backing off going any further until all the above is near completion. Enough is enough. We will eventually need a new comforter (again...), dust ruffles, headboard, lounge chair(s), and wall art. 

I've chosen two new fabrics--the 30+ year-old Ethan Allen Chippendale camelback sofa (that's been stored for 10 years) will be recovered Pindler and Pinidler's 8952 Salonica Claret, and we're having throw pillows made up in P and P's 1479 Abbellito Mystic. Gorgeous!

Salonica - Claret

Abbellito - Mystic

05 July 2011


The painters are here. Our exterior cedar siding and facia is being renewed. I love small changes that make a subtle difference. I don't bemoan the expense at all. I love the freshened look, although no one visiting will actually see much difference. For me, the clean, crisp surfaces please me greatly. One less big project on my horizon. Sitting on the screened porch will be total relaxation. And, we're adding fairy lights to the mix. Dinner on the porch will be dreamy.