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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rain Gutter Book Shelf- A Tutorial

I'm in the middle of redoing my girls' bedroom.
This means tons of sanding, even more painting, and oodles of fun projects.
One of my faves- Madison's new top bunk rain gutter book shelf!
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After seeing this brilliant idea all over blogland a few months ago, I knew I wanted one...I just wasn't sure of the best place.
For the first three nights Madison slept on the top bunk of her new bed, I found books in her bed. Then it hit me- the perfect place for a rain gutter book shelf!
Raising Olives has a great tutorial, but I got a little lost on the on the brackets....so I skipped them and went straight for studs. (in hindsight: they sell these brackets in the rain gutter section. If you are making an extremely long book gutter/shelf, you will want these to keep your gutter sides from buckling in on themselves)

You will need:

   Vinyl rain gutter (they come in 10 ft lengths)
   Right and Left end caps for each shelf you plan to make
   Hand saw
   an i-phone and the voxer app so you can talk to a friend who can provide real time moral support as you wrestle with the gutter by yourself.
   Drywall screws (I used 1 1/2" screws)
   Stud finder
   Screw gun
   Level

First, go to your favorite hardware store and pick up your vinyl rain gutter. As a reminder, they come in 10ft lengths so you will need a long car.
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Mine went from windshield all the way to back hatch of my super cool mom mobile-Mazda MPV. It fit nicely between the car seats.
Next, measure and cut your desired shelf length.
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Here's the thing- the gutter is flimsy. The sides will wobble in and out the entire time you are cutting. Extra hands for stability would be great, but I really wanted to finish this before Breadwinner got home from work. I cut down one side, then down the other, then turned the gutter on it's side, and cut the bottom 'side'.
It was NOT pretty.
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I did sand the wonky edge down a bit, but here's the beauty of this project....
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The end caps overlap the gutter by 3/4". TONS of room for error. I know some of you are gasping right now at the mere thought of leaving the shelf like this. Clearly not striving for perfection here.
OK, now you are ready to hang your new shelf.
Grab your stud finder- with kids pulling on the front of this gutter all the time, you will want it anchored.
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Mark your studs. Here is where that extra pair of hands would have come in handy....
Hold your shelf up, where you want it, making sure it's level.
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I used the ihandy level app on my new i-phone. I'm SO excited about this phone.
Can I tell you how hard it is to hold a shelf, level said shelf, AND photograph the event? On the top bunk? Yeah- didn't happen.
 
I used our screw gun (I call it a drill-Breadwinner says it's a screw gun) and my handy dandy i phone app to hang the gutter. First I pre-drilled holes right thru the back of the gutter. We have a little attachment for our screw gun that makes pre-drilling super easy. Then I put my 1 1/2" drywall screw straight thru the back of the gutter and into the wall. I planned on using just the two studs to hold up the shelf. Unfortunately, the flimsy gutter needed extra screws near the two ends to keep the ends from bowing away from the wall.
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When you are finished hanging your new book gutter/shelf (5 minutes before dinner time, when it's dark out and your 5 year old is DYING to see her new surprise) fill it with books and admire! (then wait until the next day to photograph the finished product in better light.

Total cost:
$5.23 for 10 feet of rain gutter.
$3.27 per end cap- make SURE you get a right AND a left
Roughly $12 with tax

The look on Madison's face when she realized she had her very own shelf for books even on her new top bunk-priceless!
The books are nestled so far into the gutter- they are even safe in an earthquake!

AND I have plenty of leftover gutter to make a shelf for Kennedy AND for a friend who is already trying to find the best place for a book gutter in her house!

Where will you put your new rain gutter book shelves?

Wearing condiments and a dress

Another week of fun with fashion. Thanks to Lindsey from The Pleated Poppy I'm linking up for another week of What I Wore Wednesday accountability. Ditching the jeans and t-shirts- making an effort in myself. I'm taking it a step further. Not just getting dressed every day- really, I've always done that. Lindsey started this little journey to keep her from staying in pjs and softie pants all day. For me, it's about finding my fashion. Digging deep in my closet. Mixing new pieces with old. Re-purposing, re-mixing- finding the joy in my closet and in myself.
Thanks for encouraging me along the way!
This week I started something new. My friend Alissa from Rags to Stitches wrote about her love of blazers last week, so I reached into the back of my closet, grabbed a blazer, and pieced together a whole new outfit. Each week I plan to use another WIWW blogger as inspiration for the following week.
Ready for my blazer outfit? I'm calling it a HUGE bust!
I felt like hot dog condiments all day. Red, yellow, and brown looked so much better in my head.
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Oh, and Madison took my photos for me in front of our next to-do list project-new media wall in the living room. Sorry for the fuzzy photos. Oh look- the living room is yellow-the nesting toy boxes are red- Hmm..the combo that can't escape me. Guess that's part of the reason I'm desperate to paint the living room!
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yellow cross hatch button down and fluff pin and plum skinny belt-NY&Co
red cords-American Eagle Outfitters
brown cropped blazer-Ann Taylor Loft
caramel colored booties-Charming Charlies
Sunday-church
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black dress-NY&Co
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old slouchy black boots- JC Penney I feel like they are too short, or too tall- weird in between height. What do you think?
black lace bow headband- Lillybug Lane
Did you take a fashion leap this week? Was it fabulous or a bust?

Test

OK, friends. I need your help.
My little ole blog had some technical difficulties. I think I fixed them, but I need your help.
Try clicking on the orange RSS feed button over there ---------> and tell me if it lets you subscribe to my blog.
Also, are you a Google Reader follower? (does your face appear over there --------> under followers?) Did this post appear in your feed? Or is it still stuck on the Dust post back in March?
Please leave a comment and tell me what you see.
Thanks!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blog Lovin

So, with all the hype about Google Friend Connect disappearing for non-blogger blogs, I thought I'd give you one more way to keep up with my lil ole' blog.
Who knows, maybe I'll even go totally nuts and make the big move to WordPress this year.
I promised you big changes, then my life took an interesting turn.
Are you still with me?
I'm hoping things calm down in the crazy department and ramp up in the fairly normal again.
In the meantime, Follow my blog with Bloglovin.
Hugs and kisses,
Meagan

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Headbands and Spring meets Winter

Back again for another What I Wore Wednesday.
I'm joining Lindsey and hundreds of other women stretching our wardrobes and inspiring each other through fashion. It feels great to jump out of my comfort zone more each week. This week is all about the head wear. It's a quick way to dress up a less than lovely wet or second day hair pony tail or sass up an outfit. I had fun re-purposing Spring pieces for Winter. Not a true winter- let's face it- 50 and 60 degree days- not Winter.
Wednesday-working on the website and blog at the Preschool. Last time I wore a headband like this they all called me Pocahontas. Today, they asked if I was going to a Hippie Rally. *sigh*
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dress work as a tunic-Tucker for Target, caramel belt-Target, skinnies-Forever21
are you loving the sassy child as much as I am?! Kennedy is holding Rapunzel wearing a Barbie wedding dress
Photobucket   yummy booties-Charming Charlie, mustard boho headband- Sugar Blossom Boutique
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the girls dressed themselves today. Madison wore the pants to her new Hello Kitty outfit from Aunt Darlene and Uncle Michael with a Spring dress from Crazy 8, and a long sleeve tee from Crazy 8
Kennedy wore her special Hello Kitty outfit with her brown boots- and yes, her pant leg looked like that most of the day. Silly girls.
Sunday-church
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I got this long sweater at Anthropologie in December. I was shopping with with a friend and fell in love with the price tag, but wondered how/if I would ever wear this. She asked the question- 'Are you buying it because the price is insane for an Anthro sweater? or would you buy it for that price at Old Navy, too?' What an awesome way to look at a purchase! It's too easy to get caught up in the 'Anthro' of it all. This outfit seems successful, but I could definitely use some pointers on other ways to style it. The first time I wore this outfit was the day I started spotting. I thought I would never wear the sweater again- but it still makes me happy- what do you think?
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Breadwinner didn't believe I'd put these silly photos in the post.
red sweater-Anthropologie, gray dress-Old Navy, brown belt-Forever21, favorite boots from my best friend
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red modern pearl rosette and creamy large felt rosie-Allorahandmade
Monday-visiting with my sweet friend and her son
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My favorite StacyLynn dress layered with NY&Co gray sweater, vintage flare American Eagle Outfitters jeans, and my Charming Charlie booties
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and the Emily Sparks headband I picked up at Queen Bee in November
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Tuesday- working at the Preschool
No full outfit photos today. I wore a Springy dress layered with a ruffled cardi and my favorite tall boots.
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long dress and ruffled cardi-NY&Co, navy tank-Old Navy, green Allorahandmade rosie bracelet
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new Lillybug Lane headband. Oh I can't wait to tell you about this special treasure.
Thanks for stopping by for another week of fun!
Oh, and don't forget- I'd love some suggestions on how to style that red Anthro sweater and your feelings on it.
 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Just one day

Sometimes it feels like my weeks run Wednesday-Tuesday instead of Sunday-Monday.
Monday night is my Sunday night as I 'work' at the preschool Tuesday and Wednesday.
It's also my 'hmmm...did I wear any super cute outfits since last Tuesday to share on my blog?' day.
The reason I started linking up with Lindsey over a year ago was to truly put an effort into myself. To WEAR some of the cute clothes I have in my closet and learn to piece existing articles with new finds to create fabulous new outfits...every.day.
I've learned over the past 16 months or so, the days I put effort into myself...put on makeup, do something with my hair, wear a cute outfit...I feel BETTER about myself. I feel confident. Sassy. Beautiful. I feel like me.
Last Tuesday I got some news that made me throw myself into projects for distraction. (If you haven't given me your opinion or advice on that project yet, please click over and help me out!)
Wednesday I was at the preschool. I wore a cute coral jacket from Ann Taylor Loft, but didn't feel 'with it' enough to take photos and share.
After Wednesday, this big project ramped up. The thing is, when you are sanding, painting, cleaning, and refinishing....OH, and staying home with sick little girls, you don't want to wear your best duds.
When my Monday night rolled around, I realized today- Tuesday (my Monday) was my first and only opportunity to share with you. It was also my opportunity to feel put together. Confident. A real person again.
So here is my effort. a little sass. ruffle. an untucked tail. mixed patterns.
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Sometimes, just one day is all you need to turn things around again. One day at a time.
Photobucket argyle sweater-NY&Co- few years ago
pin stripe ruffled poplin-NY&Co last Spring
trouser jeans-American Eagle Outfitters
gray booties-Charming Charlie's
**
The walls are finished in the girls' room. A nice, fresh putty color. Their new loft bed is all white. The twin bed is next, then the dressers. I'm still stuck on the dressers. Suggestions welcome!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pinning, Dreaming, Painting-Need Help

In an effort to distract myself from my emotions, I've decided to redo every room in my house...one room at a time.
There wasn't a hugely grand announcement. It was just a little tidbit. Did you catch it?
We bought a HOUSE! Not just any house, the incredible gift of a house we've been renting for nearly two years. We NEVER thought we could afford to buy a house in California, EVER...let alone a dream of a house like this one.
For nearly two years it's been the house we were renting, now it's time to make it OUR home.
Paint is the first order of business for me. The kitchen and dining areas got a facelift just after Christmas. The halls and entry were next-just finished two days ago.
Now- the girls' room.
Back in April it looked like this

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Since then, Kennedy traded her crib for a big girl bed, both girls got 'princess beds' for their birthdays (aka IKEA bed netting thing), Madison's net was ripped down, Kennedy's bed moved, I made a few things, and the room turned into a disaster zone.
Today:
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See?
Here's where the pinning comes in.
You've heard of Pinterest, right? Well, I've avoided it like the plague. I mean, I signed up months ago, looked around a little then logged off and erased it from my memory. I know what happens when you log into Pinterest. Time stands still in Pinterest land, and speeds up in the rest of the world. 4 hours later- a day is wasted. Pinterest sucks you in.
Never the less, after countless not so gentle suggestions from my friends, I logged in last week in search of inspiration for this disaster of a space.
Oh, and I failed to mention, I talked Breadwinner into helping me build a loft bed for the girls. Ana White has fantastic, easy to follow plans that suit our needs perfectly. Fortunately for him, last weekend when we listed a few free things on craigslist, I stumbled on this little lovely for a cool $100. The desk was broken, but we didn't intend to use it, so no worries there. It just needed pick up and assembly...well, and a little refinishing love.
Madison's existing bed was Breadwinner's when he was a little boy. You may remember I refinished it with a creamy distressed look. Their dressers are both hand me downs, too. The really crazy painted one was Breadwinner's as a child, too. When I first painted it I loved it...now? um, not so much. The peachy dresser is from a friend. I painted that one, too. Also, no longer in love.
So here is the plan and where you come in.
The new loft bed is in the process of getting a crisp, white makeover.
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I finished the top half yesterday,
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but the wind halted my plans to finish the bottom today.
(hence the really long photo filled post right now)
My plan is to put this new piece of crispy white goodness on the wall that is currently covered in polka dots-in place of Madison's existing twin bed.
Her twin bed will also get a crispy, white makeover and turn 90 degrees under the loft bed, with the head under the loft, and the bed against the wall that currently has the crazy painted dresser and chicken wire bow holder.
Did I lose you? Scroll back up and look at the photos again.
The two beds should look like an L, or half a square.
Make sense?
The bottom bed will stick out to approximately where the dresser currently ends.
Now to the dressers.
I'm thinking about putting one at the end of the bottom 'bunk' and maybe putting one under the bunk, in the space next to the bottom bed. Kind of like a bed side table. It will fit (I already measured)
Do you think that will be too crowded/condensed in the one part of the room? Or is that the perfect way to open it up and give the girls tons of room to play?
They both still LOVE rocking at night, so the glider and ottoman will probably stay for now (but eventually it would be nice to move it next door and have a nursery again)
I'm really struggling with the over all furniture placement.
Oh, and then theirs painting. (maybe this should have been 10 different posts!)
I'd like to paint one dresser crisp white and the other one really fun-like a statement piece.
Either a nice pop of color like this

Or something super fun, like this
 

I'd like to use some of my growing collection of oops paint for this project.
So far, these are the top two contenders.
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One is kind of turquoisey/robin's egg blue-y. The other is a muted minty color.
I'm all over the place here, are you still following along?
The girls have the Love and Nature bedding set from Target (not quilt set in the link, the regular comforter set) in their room now, along with the coordinating tree decals (did you see them all over the room and under the hat clothes line?). They are only 2 years old, so it seems silly to replace them, but since I have to get a whole new twin set anyway (remember, Kennedy's existing set is the toddler bed size), should I just get new bedding? I don't want to be wasteful. Should we just hold off for now?
Back to the dressers...the brighter color coordinates with their current bedding much better. It's almost the same color as the turquoise in their bedding. I LOVE the look of the muted minty color with their soon to be new, white furniture, and freshly painted walls.
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This photo was taken in the hallway, which is the color the girls' room will be. Not much different than their current color, just slightly brighter and cooler tone putty.
I could do a similar treatment to the tree dresser from Pinterest using both these colors in the same way the browns were used-kind of striations?
Or use one of the colors as the base and use the other for large polka dots or stripes all over the dresser and drawers? Kind of a tone on tone look?
So many ideas, I just can't decide!
I also don't know what to do with the large brown IKEA wall shelf in their room.  Photobucket 
Leave it chocolate brown? Paint it white? Or one of the bluey/green colors?
Leave it where it is? Move it?
OK, are you totally lost here?
See why I'm having so much trouble? My brain is ALL over the place.
I would love, love, love some opinions here.
Feel free to completely disagree with me, or suggest something totally different.
Any and all suggestions and opinions are welcome!
Please help me give our girls a new and fun space.
Ready? Comment away!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stepping Out

It's been a long, strange month and a half to say the least.
Through it all, I managed to get dressed.
Nearly every day.
In some pretty fabulous pairings and some adorable new boots.
Sadly, the camera and I didn't always connect.
That just means I have plenty of time to put those outfits back together and try again!
Way back in mid December it was actually a little chilly around here and then Southern California got this weird Spring weather spell. Some people are loving it.
Me?
It's WINTER friends. W.I.N.T.E.R.
You remember from Kindergarten- in the winter it's cold. We make snow men. There are snowflakes on the bulletin boards.
We do not wear tank tops.
We do not go swimming.
Wrong season.
While waiting for the real winter to return, I have had some fun pulling forgotten pieces out from the depths of the closet.
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Charcoal cowl neck-American Eagle (I think? maybe Gap? it's pretty old), long black jersey skirt-NY&Co, black slouchy boots I haven't worn in...eh hem- let's just say they were pretty dusty-JCPenney- who knew?

New Year's Day- my church outfit
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pink ruffle cardi-Old Navy, black eyelet full skirt- Stacy Lynn, white tee/black tights-old
silver flower belt-NY&Co, Gray Rosies-AlloraHandmade
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Do you LOVE my new booties as much as I do? I'm stepping waaayyy out of my comfort zone. Short boots/booties with skirts are new to me but I'm loving the look.
These gorgeous gray suede babies are courtesy of Charming Charlie
Did I mention we have one at our mall? feel free to send gift cards. Kidding...but if you really want...

This past Sunday the girls wanted their hair curled like Mommy.
They looked so sassy, we couldn't resist a few photos together- even though Madison tried to knock me over.
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They are beautiful reminders of how richly God has already blessed our family.
All their sass and self expression makes some days challenging, but over the last week it's made me fall more in love with being a mom!
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They are my heart and my reason for staying strong this week.
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Madison-fuschia sweater dress and white tee-Crazy 8, tall Fancy Nancy socks-Target, fuschia bloom clip- Lillybug Lane
Kennedy-Yellow dress gift from my best friend, Kimberly- likely Dizzy Dragonfly, white tee/green leggings-Carter's, gold sparkle shoes-also from Aunt Kimberly
Me-dress and shrug-Target, boots- my faves from Kimberly

Today.
I knew it might not be an easy day. I wanted to feel confident. I wanted to feel strong.
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(side note: make sure manual focus is not clicked on when you hand your camera to a friend who is afraid of your camera)  Photobucket
Black and white stripes with yellow multi-colored stripe skirt, plum belt and rarely worn black boots-it worked for me today. It was out of my comfort zone, but it felt good.
skirt-Stacy Lynn, tee-Old Navy, belt-NY&Co, same black boots

Thank you for staying with me through this journey.
Thank you for praying with me, for encouraging me.
Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for lifting me up.
It's a new year, full of new adventures.
Let's continue to pray LIFE, live LIFE together this year.
Welcome 2012.
Let's DO this!

I will PRAISE you in this storm

Finally talked to my doctor.
Great news!
Not the news I wanted, but news to be happy about.
My levels dropped to 13.
This means I already miscarried.
No ectopic pregnancy. No horrible shots or procedures.
I had no physical pain and should not experience much more bleeding.
God is GOOD. SO Good!
Very little bleeding. No pain.
He took the hard part away.
I'm sure I'll be a ball of emotions as time passes, but for now....
now, I feel Peace.

Today is the Day

I had blood drawn yesterday.
Waiting for the results today has me on pins and needles.
Here's the long and the short of it.
Friday, December 30th I went to my old OB (90 miles away). They completed an exam and ultrasound and saw no sac. My uterine lining was thickening, but no sac. Not necessarily bad news because it was still early (they had me at 5 weeks and 5 days). The doctor ordered my hcG levels checked and sent me home. The results came in Tuesday. 63. They said that is normal for early in a pregnancy. The levels should be 1,000 in order to see a sac.
Later that day, I started bleeding. Just spotting, but enough to scare me.
Wednesday, Jan 4th I went back to the doctor. They did another ultrasound, saw an even thicker uterine lining, but still no sac. Took more blood to check hcG. They started talking about ectopic pregnancy, chemical pregnancy, and natural miscarriage. The doctor did not believe this was a viable pregnancy, but said it is still possible.
Thursday I called for the results. My levels were up to 86.5. Up is good. Only up a little is not good. This is a classic sign of ectopic pregnancy.
In the meantime, the bleeding stopped for two full days, then spotting started up again very light on Saturday night. Friday the doctor said we are at a wait and see point. She said I should have pain if the pregnancy is ectopic. I have no pain. She still does not believe this is a viable pregnancy, but says sometimes embryos implant late, and sometimes hcg levels are abnormal in the beginning and level out.
She ordered more blood work for Monday.
That was yesterday.
I'm waiting.
I'm actually getting kind of good at this.
OK, not really.
The waiting is excrusiating.
I must confess, the waiting has been good.
God continues to PULL me in to Him. Back to where I should have always been,
Leaning on Him. Praying to Him.
Praying for LIFE.
So many of you have reached out. You've shared your stories of loss and life.
You've prayed. You continue to pray.
I see God's hand so clearly on our situation.
Regardless of the outcome- I know God's hand is here.
Keep praying for high hcg levels.
Keep praying life.
I'm working on getting things back to normal around the blog.
There is so much to share!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Updates

I updated my personal Facebook status last night. I'm not on Facebook much, but what a forum to share how the Lord is speaking to me and working in my heart.
Here are the updates from last night and this morning.

Made it through the night. Praying life over this baby. Calling the doctor this morning for a checkup. Satan may have taken Christmas night from us. I won't let him have our baby without a fight. Thank you for your kind words and prayers. He is listening!
· · 2 seconds ago

A friend of mine gave me sweet reminders tonight. Speak life. Speak life. My heart feels peace and strength. I know God is taking care of our baby. I'm so blessed to have been chosen as this baby's mommy- whether I see that sweet face in August or with the Lord at the end of my life, I feel at peace tonight. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to speak life.
· · 8 hours ago