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This Is Attachment

My son, Edward, comes from a place of trauma. For the first three years of his life, he attempted to attach to caregivers who rotated in and out of his life on 8-hour shifts. He endured countless surgeries and hospital stays, not knowing who would be present to support him when he awoke from anesthesia.

He used charm and his adorable eyelashes to gain attention and acceptance. Being cute has gained him more love and attention than his peers.

Until he nervously toddled into my arms the first day we met, he had not known the stability of unconditional, ever-present love.

Edward has a few behavioral issues he confines to our home. He’s comfortable here, so it’s where he can truly let his guard down.

In our home is where he’s the most frustrating and disobedient. But it’s also where he requires the most reassurance.

You see, Edward is waiting for my 8-hour shift to end. He cannot possibly understand staffing and schedules and rotating shifts. He is not privy to the knowledge of labor laws and vacation time.

All he knows is caregivers always leave.

Did he upset them? Were they mad at him? Where did they go? And, most importantly, are they coming back?

This week, Edward’s behavior frustrated me. He blatantly disobeyed me and committed a repeat offense. He’s five, so it’s expected, but I’ve also employed every parenting technique I know on this offense. None are working.

So, I got angry. I yelled and took away privileges.

He cried. And screamed. He threw a forty-five-minute fit repeatedly announcing the injustice of it all.

But near the end of his tirade, he choked back a sob, stood at the top of our stairs, and declared, “Mama, I want you.”

Yes, his behavior was disappointing. Yes, I lost my cool and let him know exactly how this made me feel. He cried injustice and pushed me away.

Until he needed me.

To an outsider, his request might seem backward. Wouldn’t he want to remain far from the source of his discipline?

But not my boy who lived a thousand injustices before he could even walk.

Not my boy who has never known love to continue, to fight, and to remain.

My boy wants to lay his head on me. He wants to feel my chest rise and fall. He wants to know I’m not leaving. He wants me to kiss his thick hair as he cries. He wants my legs to intertwine with his as we sit together on the floor.

Edward wants the reassurance my 8-hour shift isn’t ending, just because he is imperfect. He needs to know I’m not walking out, even when I get upset with him.

You see, this is attachment. Children who have survived the 8-hour shift changes or multiple foster homes live in constant fear of abandonment and loss. They push love away and then pull it close.

This is attachment. This is the reality that adoptive and foster families live every day. Even infants who are separated from their first parents at birth experience loss. They too struggle to attach.

My Edward is further along in his attachment journey than many trauma survivors ever will be. He can verbalize when he’s done pushing me away and when he’s ready to pull me close. Not all kids can do so.

Do you know an adoptive or foster family? Will you pray for them right now as they work to love their children even as they are being pushed away?

And adoptive/foster families, I see you. I understand. You’re not alone. Keep fighting the good fight. Keep pulling them close even when they try to push you away.

This is attachment.

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Five Friday Faves

Women are Scary

I know I recommend a book every Friday now, but, well… I love books. Sorry. Not sorry.

This week I read my second Melanie Dale book. She’s well-known as a blogger and an adoptive mama. She’s recently started podcasting AND she’s hilarious.

Women Are Scary talks about making friends. There’s practical advice, life stories, and humor. It was fun. I really enjoyed it, especially as a bedtime read.

Sherman Public Library

I (obviously) love books, so it sort of makes sense that I would love the source of these favorite things. I love my local library, but this year while Louis is attending preschool in Sherman, I’ve made the Sherman Public Library my mobile office.

In just going two days a week, I’ve become friends with the librarians and met new mom friends!

Sherman recently added an entire kids’ wing complete with books, toys, a barn, and even riding toys. This library has been my sanctuary during school breaks when it’s bitterly cold, but we’re tired of being at home.

I’ve recently joined the Friends of the Library board in Athens, and I’d love to know if your library is one of your favorite things — and why? We need ideas!

Edward’s School Photo

Um, I never buy school pictures. I feel like they are outdated, and I’d rather spend the money on a family photo sessions once a year.

But this.

This is Edward’s school picture from the spring. I’ve kept the order form on my counter all week because I can’t stop smiling back at him.

Edward is one of my favorite things, and this adorable picture represents him well!

Audible


Again with the books… I’ve been listening to some really great audiobooks in the car lately. I love my Audible account. I pay $15/month and receive one credit every month. It is fun to research and find good books that I know will captivate me during the long drive to visit Nasko!

Sign up for a free month trial by clicking on the photo above.

My Dad

My dad had open-heart surgery this week. He had a valve that wasn’t working properly, so it received a repair. He’s doing very well with his recovery thus far. During his hospital stay, the nurses are commenting about his sense of humor frequently. While I regularly roll my eyes at him, I do love my dad’s sense of humor!

From my mom: “A couple of nurses have told Roger they like his sense of humor.  I’m just glad he feels good enough to entertain all of us.  He has dubbed a folded blanket (that he holds over his incision if he needs to cough) his teddy bear.  He really confused one of the nurses when he requested his teddy bear!”

I’m thankful his surgery went well this week because he’s one of my favorites!

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Farmhouse Renovation, Before and After Photos – Nasko’s Room

When we moved into the farmhouse last May, we knew Nasko would not be at home much longer. We were actively seeking placement for him as his behaviors spiraled out of control.

But he is our son, and he would still have a room in our home.

His bedroom is actually part of the original servant’s quarters (more on that with the next house post). His bedroom is significantly smaller than the other upstairs bedrooms because part of it was closed off when indoor plumbing was added!

As we were renovating the farmhouse, we asked Nasko which bedroom he wanted. He first chose what is now the playroom, but since we shot that idea down, he then moved on to this room. He took great pride in being able to choose his own bedroom.

On to the before photos! It’s nearly impossible for me to believe we used to play pool in this room!

And now:

Decorating for a tween boy isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Add in the fact that Nasko behaves more like a preschooler, but desires the freedom of an older child.

I think though, with the black, white, and green, I was able to capture his personality well. I also kept in mind his love of dogs.

 

His bedroom was used as an office, several years ago. And before that, it was part of the servant’s quarters – which have a separate back staircase.

Now it houses Nasko’s stuffed dog collection.

When Nasko was accepted to his group home, we attempted to make his bedroom there reflect his bedroom here:

We wanted the transition to be smooth and the decor to be homey.

As you can see, he left many of his stuffed dogs behind, but also brought part of his collection with him! That boy is serious about his toy dogs!

And the final element of Nasko’s bedroom that always makes guests giggle –

Doggie tail hooks!

We continue to pray that Nasko’s behavior would calm and he would be able to return home to us. But for now, his toy dogs and his bedroom are waiting patiently.

 

[In case you missed my other before and after posts, I’ve written about Louis’ room, Edward’s room, and the playroom so far!]

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Five Friday Faves

Forget the Frock

While many people rush out to buy their children button-down shirts and frilly dresses for Easter Sunday, that idea never settled well with me.

Forget the Frock is a movement I became aware of a few years ago. Forget the Frock (#forgetthefrock) is all about putting our money to a better use. Instead of purchasing those frilly clothes our kids hate, you donate the money to a charity or organization. You can have your children wear hand-me-downs or clothes from the resale shop, or you can purchase t-shirts for your whole family to support a cause.

My family usually wears our clothing from Sierra Leone, Africa and donates money towards a specific project taking place there. Other options might be donating to an adoptive family (I have friends needing support here) and wearing jeans and old t-shirts.

Yes, the “frock”, the fancy clothes, look great in photos (well, other people’s photos as is evidenced below), but the donations have the possibility of changing lives.

Our family loves the movement and would love for you to join us. Learn more about Forget the Frock.

Create Hope Cuffs

An online friend of mine has started a business of designing and creating unique bracelet cuffs. She offered me one and asked what I would want on it, as personalization is part of her business.

I knew instantly.

When Nasko was at home, I would grow frustrated with his seeming lack of progress. His behaviors would revert and I would feel hopeless. One night, I decided to add up the number of days our sweet boy lived before he came into our safe and nurturing home.

One thousand nine hundred and ninety-five.

That’s what we were undoing with every act of discipline or unconditional love. When he rejected our hugs or ignored our rules, I trained my mind to return to that number.

1,995 days.

That’s how long he was treated poorly and did not know the love of a mother. Those are the days we are redeeming.

Danielle wants to honor all of those who have children who spent time in orphanages or foster care. Check out Create Hope Cuffs and use MOMENTS20 code for 20% percent off and order a cuff to remind you of the days you are redeeming. (You can also use the coupon for ANY phrase or cuff!)

P.S. This would make a great adoption gift for a mama!

P.P.S. Your purchase helps bring literacy to the people of rural Swaziland, Africa. LOVE.

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey

I first learned of Jamie Ivey seven or eight years ago as we were deep in the adoption process. I was searching for blogs to follow and mamas to learn from.

I’ve continued to follow Jamie through a variety of life stages, but she seems to have found her calling these days — podcasting!

Her podcast is called, “The Happy Hour,” and the premise is simple; Jamie brings on guests and shares their stories to encourage other women.

I look forward to her program every week as I love to learn what other women are doing with their God-given talents. I also get so many book recommendations from this podcast!

Fish in a Tree


Oh, my goodness. This book. It’s a Young Adult book, but it shares a message of differences and inclusion that every adult needs to learn and relearn.

The main character, Ally, is a sixth grader who doesn’t fit in at all. She has moved frequently, and on top of that, she can’t read. The book follows her school-year journey to a diagnosis of dyslexia, but bigger yet, a discovery that we all have things that make us different.

The author, Lynda Hunt, without labeling or giving diagnoses, creates characters with signs of autism and ADHD. She also includes victims of abuse and racism.

I fell in love with Ally’s substitute teacher and his unique ways of bringing a class of difference together. Every educator could learn from his example.

Fitness Blender

Chance and I decided we probably need to start working out… We’ve both gained a little weight through our stressful changes with Nasko, so, you know, it was time.

A couple years ago (probably when I should have started working out) my friend Sarah turned me onto a couple on YouTube. They have a channel where they share high-quality fitness videos. The couple is honestly adorable (especially as they bicker) and they seem so real.

They make working out not so awful.

I still feel like I’m dying though.

But check them out. Misery loves company.

 

So, how about you? What are your favorite things in your life right now?

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When my child drew a family portrait that didn’t include his brother

When my child drew a family portrait that didn’t include his brother:

It’s cute. There are heads and bodies and even arms and legs. My preschooler drew a picture of our family.

But this darling expression of his creativity hurt my heart in ways a family portrait never should — it didn’t include his oldest brother.

Edward loves to draw pictures. He usually sticks to horses and unicorns (he draws a mean Princess Luna), but a month or so ago, he changed his focus to drawing people.

One day, he stood at our art easel for a long time with his medium of choice — a black erasable marker.

I watched his creative process without giving suggestions or input. I allowed him freedom of expression without critique.

But his finished product was not without sorrow in my heart.

Edward, in his five-year-old innocence, drew a portrait of the people who live in our home. He looked for a typical family unit and created that on paper. He didn’t draw his brother because his brother does not live in our home.

———

Our oldest son moved into a group home over six months ago.

He was adopted from a country that is famous for its abuse and torture towards orphans. He is of Roma descent and is believed to be incapable of learning or developing.

Nasko’s past trauma coupled with his autism and Tourette’s diagnoses caused him to be unsafe in our home. For his safety, and the safety of his brothers, we chose to place him in a group home for children with special needs.

———

Last night as I was cooking dinner, Nasko FaceTimed us from his iPad. He calls us frequently (97 times one Saturday) and just wants to know what we are up to. He regularly requests to see different things around our farm – from the cats to the playroom to our van key fob.

As I was chopping and preparing to cook supper, I decided not to answer Nasko’s phone call; I would call him back after we ate. Louis heard the phone buzzing though, and said, “Is that Nasko? I want to talk to Nasko!”

I answered the call and handed Louis the phone.

As I turned back to supper preparations, I became engrossed in what I was doing. At least ten minutes went by and I realized I needed my phone to double-check a recipe. Now, where was my phone?

I remembered Nasko’s phone call and wiped my hands on the towel. I needed to find Louis.

I followed the sound of his sweet voice and found him in the middle of our playroom. He wore a smile that lit up his entire face. He was holding the phone and telling Nasko all about the train track he built that afternoon.
When I got closer, I could see that Nasko was leaning in, listening and observing.

My sons were having a conversation.

——

Our family doesn’t look like the average family on your block. From skin color to traumatic backgrounds to special needs, we aren’t easily captured in a preschooler’s family portrait.

But I would not trade the value of raising a typically-developing son who can hold a ten-minute, give-and-take conversation with his brother – a boy who was said to be incapable of learning or developing.

The family portrait hanging in my kitchen has four people, but my heart – and the hearts of all my sons – do include all five members of our nontraditional family.

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Five Friday Faves

I started something new last week and decided to share some of my favorite things with you all on Fridays.

This week’s edition is a little heavy on relaxation though as my family is currently vacationing in Florida.

(Some of these links are affiliate links because, while I do love you all, it would also be nice to get paid once in a while. I only recommend things I TRULY love though. No worries.)

Vacation

My family is having a blast visiting my parents in Naples, Florida. We’ve already eaten too much, swam too hard, and slept… well… can one ever sleep enough?

One of my favorite things right now is most certainly Florida with my family!

GAP shorts

I snagged these adorable shorts from my favorite shopping app: ThredUp. It’s a second-hand store, entirely online!

I had purchased a similar pair of shorts at GAP last year and decided I needed another pair for our vacation. I got these babies for $9.99!

Because ThredUp loves me, AND because they love you, they have a code for anything GAP on their site! It’s an amazing deal of 50% off anything GAP, up to $50. (The code only works for first-time ThredUp shoppers.)

Use code GAP50 and search all the GAP merchandise by clicking here.

I’m going to hurry up and go shop again…

Tinkle

This may be the weirdest product I ever recommend… The Tinkle.

This little gadget is marketed as an eyebrow shaper, but a friend turned me onto it as a facial hair trimmer a while back.

Thaaaaaat’s right.

Facial hair.

It’s amazing though. You just run this baby over your problem areas, put a little facial lotion on, and BOOM – baby-smooth face.

I gave one to my mom, and she ordered twelve more. If you know my mom, that’s a big deal. No one messes with her beauty routine…

Hillbilly Elegy


People have been telling me to read this book for a while, but when I requested the e-book from the library, I was number 36.

So, two years later (kidding) it was finally my turn. It has been a great read!

Over on my Goodreads page, I wrote the following:

“J.D.’s book is written as a memoir – a peek inside the hillbillies’ lives. I see it as covering much of the low-income problems throughout our whole country though. Excellent writing with an optimistic voice.”

The book taught me a lot about the lower socio-economic class and the struggles being faced daily. My husband has a similar story of overcoming and achieving, so the author’s words had extra meaning for me.

I loved it.

Art

Since life has been a bit slower on vacation, I’ve had time to appreciate art and creativity. I stopped and took this photo of a cool mosaic today. Just because.

Also, while at the beach yesterday, I decided to create something in the sand. I knew my creation would wash away in a matter of hours, but I really enjoyed the process and the art of it.

I imagine my creation made at least one person smile; the work was worth it.

 

How about you? What are you loving this week?

Do you have anything you think I would love (especially items you sell or create yourself? Contact me!)

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Farmhouse Renovation, Before and After Photos – The Playroom

The playroom was the hardest room for me to redecorate when we inherited my family’s 1885 farmhouse.

This room has previously slept family members such as my great-grandparents, my mom, and my aunt. But most recently, it served as “the dormitory” – the place my cousins and I slept and played when we came to visit Grandma.

I made many memories in this room. It was difficult for me to picture it with completely different furniture and an entirely different purpose.

Also, there are four floor-to-ceiling windows, a built-in vanity, a radiator, and a closet – there’s not all that much wall space left!

Thankfully, with the help of a designer, we have created a perfect playroom for my rambunctious boys.

The before/after photos:

This picture showcases three of the windows in the room. These windows form the polygonal tower that is common in a Queen Anne Victorian style home.

Now that triangular section of the room holds a loveseat and recliner – in case any adults might want to visit a room FULL of toys.

My goal with this room was to make it cozy, inviting, organized, and fun.

We achieved these goals by including comfy seating, painting the walls with bright colors, sectioning off portions of the room for different activities, and including more bold decor throughout the space!

(I mean, where else could I decorate with a rug that resembles grass?!)

Somehow I did not get a “before” photo of this corner, but with the sensory swing and the wall of children’s books, the “after” photo is worth sharing!

This vanity was left from when my mother and aunt were little girls. I loved it, but it just didn’t make much sense for all my little boys!

With a few alterations, it has become a desk and play surface!

The surface is perfect for puzzles and farm animals!

 

The bookcase between the radiator and the door held many of the treasures I remember playing with as a child.

That same location now holds Louis’, Edward’s, and Nasko’s treasures.

We chose to redo the flooring (the previous floor had many cracked tiles) but we wanted to maintain a smooth playing surface. Louis LOVES to build wooden train tracks that cover the entire room or race his Hot Wheels on the wood floor.

To prove this point, I leave you with a photo of the room on a more typical day (not on a day when I was taking fancy-schmancy photos for my blog!):

My sweet little family has already enjoyed hours of play in this room. We have many more hours to come…

 

To read more about the farmhouse my family inherited and renovated, click here. Other rooms I have written about are found here:

Louis’ Bedroom 

Edward’s Bedroom

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Five Friday Favorites – Coffee, shirts, boots, books, and Instagram!

I’ve decided I need a space to share the things I love with the people I love (you all!). Sometimes I receive products from different companies or I read a book I absolutely love, and I want to shout those from the rooftops.

I promise you, I will not share anything I don’t use myself or don’t absolutely love.

On Fridays, I’m going to share five of my favorite things, starting right now:

1. Red Bud Coffee

This is a brand new coffee brewing start-up here in my area, but they ship nationwide. If you live locally, they deliver the coffee TO YOUR DOORSTEP the very next day. Talk about fresh roasted deliciousness…

Check out this video for more info on what they are all about. 

The founders of the company are members of our church. They are donating part of their profits and in general just being awesome. I’d love if you’d support them as well!

2. Instagram Stories

This is going to sound totally stupid, but I am loving Instagram stories. If you’re on that form of social media, you totally know what I am talking about. If you’re not an Instagram user, run away, far away!

I just love sharing 15-second clips of our lives. This week (while Chance was in Africa) I went a little bit crazy and organized a big room of our basement. It contained a bajillion (no exaggeration) boxes of little boys’ clothes. People had donated these items to our family and many were hand-me-downs. Our kids have worn some of them, but I just couldn’t seem to get organized.

So why not while Chance was out of the country?!

I captured the whole experience on my Instagram stories. I’m sure that makes you want to go watch rightthissecond, but seriously. It’s fun. Even if I don’t describe it well.

3. MWF seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search For A New Best Friend

This book isn’t super new, but I had it on my reading list for a while. It is a social experiment of a gal in Chicago who is trying to make friends after moving to the area. She commits to making friends by scheduling 52 friend dates in one year. Her thoughts and reflections really got me thinking (especially after one best friend moved to Africa and the other just moved to Indiana). It was a good read!

4. Elly and Grace Tees

I just discovered Ellie and Grace about a month ago, but I am IN LOVE. The company is based out of St. Louis and designs Christian t-shirts. My absolute favorite right now is this one:

It reads, “It is well with my soul.” Life can be really hard, and I LOVE to wear such a bold reminder as I go about my days.

There are so many other cute designs and even some brand new ones I want to get my hands on.

5. Rain boots

I bought a pair of rain boots when I saw them on sale at Walmart recently. I rarely go to Walmart, and I NEVER browse there. I just happened to see these pink-red beauties and they were super cheap, so I decided to make the impulse purchase.

I love them.

While Chance was gone, I took care of the animals, and these babies were perfect for slipping on and traipsing through the yard to collect chicken eggs.

I don’t remember ever owning rain boots before, but I honestly think they are now a staple of my small wardrobe. I even bought some for Louis the this week. He’s loving them too.

What about you guys? What are you loving? Anything I should be checking out? Leave me links on Facebook or Instagram in the comments.

Do you own a business and want me to love your product? Let’s talk. I’m rather selective, but I’m open to chatting too!

Happy Friday, friends!

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Let Us Be That For Each Other – Encountering Special Needs in Public

As a mom of children with special needs, I have learned to let my pride fall and apologize quickly. When my son calls a stranger fat or my other child licks our neighbor’s ankle, I am humbled and often embarrassed.

A few weeks ago, we took our sons out to eat. The restaurant was having a fundraising night (unbeknownst to us) for one of the local school districts. The store was packed and children abounded. We bought our sandwiches and even supported the local school. We ate, and our boys expelled their energy in the playplace.

As my husband and I sat after the meal, we unpacked parenting and the lives we’re living. Soon, a gentleman and his son appeared at the table behind us.

From the moment I saw the boy, I knew.

There wasn’t anything about his appearance that might trigger this knowledge, but watching his interactions and his demeanor, I saw my sons in him.

I saw that this boy was special.

His father was struggling to keep the boy close. The child was overstimulated by the large number of patrons and the busyness of the restaurant. Within an instant, the boy appeared at my side.

He hurriedly nabbed the card game from my sons’ meal. The young man opened the game and began to examine every piece. His presence was near and he leaned against my arm as he bombarded me with one hundred questions.

I smiled.

He was close in age to my oldest son and had similar social boundaries. I delighted in this boy’s presence.

His dad, on the other hand, was mortified. He quickly apologized and pulled the boy away. He returned the game and hung his head.

I nodded and reassured him everything was fine.

Soon the boy was seated. He spoke fast and loud as he inquired about everything in his surroundings. His father seemed exasperated and tired.

The boy grew bored of his father and turned back towards me. He began to show me the letters he knew in sign language.

He obviously had no idea I had studied sign language in college.

The next thing I knew, the boy was practically in my lap, and I was teaching him to sign “sea turtle” and “rabbit.” Again, his father was stressed. He apologized profusely and pulled the boy away again.

But the boy would not be dissuaded. Chance and I spent the rest of our meal talking with the boy, practicing sign language, and encouraging him to try the fruit in his cup. At one point, this sweet child peppered my arm with kisses.

As my own children grew tired, and it was time to pack up, tears flowed from my eyes. Chance saw me and nodded in agreement. He knew what I was thinking.

Chance stood and walked over to the boy’s father. He shook the man’s hand and thanked him for sharing his son with us.

Chance thanked the man for letting us love his son. He explained to the man about our oldest son. Our son lives in a group home because the actions that accompany his autistic diagnosis have led him to be unsafe. We have spent years on the side of apologies and attempts to keep him within the confines of social boundaries.

We, too, have dreaded taking our son in public for fear of the public’s reaction.

But along the way, we have met warm and forgiving people. We have been accepted and loved. Our son has been engaged and encouraged by strangers.

More often than not, our son’s hugs have been received with open arms and his inquiring utterances have been answered with grace.

That day in Chick-fil-a, we were given the opportunity to be that for another child with special needs.

The tears came to my eyes because until you have a child who pushes boundaries and forces apologies, there is no way of understanding the kindness of strangers who accept your children for who they are.

To the tired father in Chick-fil-a, I want to be that for you.

Dear readers, let us all be that for each other.

Let us be forgiving and kind as children explore and question. Let us be the village of support parents need as they struggle through bringing their special kids into public.

Let us be loving, accepting, gracious, and kind. Let us be that for each other.

 

[Please feel free to share pass this message along as we all need reminded of how to interact with those who have special needs. They are a blessing.]

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Farmhouse Before & After Photos – Edward’s Room

Today I’m sharing a tour of what is now Edward’s bedroom!

When we inherited the house, the room was being used as a guest room. My grandparents had attended multiple fertilizer conferences at the Greenbrier Resort, and my grandmother was inspired to decorate one room of her house in a similar style to the resort.

The room was Grandma’s very own Dorothy Draper-style room with a canopy-style bed, red carpet, and (previously) wallpaper featuring large flowers.

Because of the red carpet and the red flowers on the wallpaper, the room was aptly dubbed, “The Red Room.”

Prior to being The Red Room, the room was used to host the traveling milk tester.

The farm here used to be a dairy farm, and a milk tester would travel his route to, well, test the milk! My grandparents always hosted him overnight (and undeniably fed him – I come from a long line of that…). In those days, the floor was wood and it was painted orange! No wonder Grandma wanted to redecorate!

Edward has somewhat eclectic tastes. He (unlike Louis) hasn’t necessarily settled on one specific interest (Louis – anything with wheels!). This made decorating his room a bit more difficult.

We finally decided to go with very neutral stripes that are eye-catching, but not something he’ll quickly outgrow. We also chose arrows throughout. Edward has so much to overcome in his life, we wanted to decorate his room in a way that empowers him to be brave.

My cousin took this canopy bed. It was such a beautiful bed, but let’s be honest, my wild boys would attempt to climb onto the top… Not a good plan.

One thing in this previous photo may seem a bit out of place, but I assure you it serves a purpose – my great grandfather’s cane! See if you can spot it!

Edward’s health condition causes him to have a growth delay. He’s almost six but is closer in size to a three year old. Therefore, he cannot reach the high light switches of this house.

One day (when Chance was tired of going to the second floor to constantly turn on and off the lights) we taught Edward to use an antique cane we had lying around. He uses this cane to push the switch up and turn on the lights.

The pictures on the wall (in the before photo) are of John and Ella Kincaid. They are my great-great-grandparents who built the house.

The center picture is of the house when it was first completed in 1885.

 

Due to Edward’s traumatic past, he has a few hoarding tendencies. We want to keep these habits under control, so we have allowed Edward to fill one drawer of his nightstand with his random (and sometimes weird) keepsakes.

The large bureau in this photo was Chance’s favorite piece in my grandmother’s house. He used to bring friends over just to see it!

This dresser was brought by my family from Pensylvania to Kentucky in 1794. It then came to Illinois in 1832. It was transported by covered wagon. It is now housed at my aunt’s house.

Of all Edward’s interests, he has stayed true to horses, unicorns, and aquatic animals. We didn’t want to use these loves in our decorating of his room (I mean, unicorns?), but he has covered my childhood desk with his favorite stuffed animals and cuddlies.

He also talked me into purchasing this shark once. So now all the arrows in his room make it seem as though our family is interested in harpooning…

Edward’s room had quite the dramatic decorating change, but we love how it turned out. The stripes always gain comments as we give house tours!

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