Our Fixer Upper-Progress Update

It’s been a while since I have updated on the progress of the Brown House.

The house is now a shell of what it used to be. We have been working on making design decisions and getting our kitchen cabinets figured out. We decided to order them from Northeast Factory Direct in Cleveland.

In the past couple of months, we have finished de-nailing the original hardwood from the house. It looks like this when it is sanded down.


The floor boards are getting sanded down, tongue and groove added and the next step is figuring out what color to stain it.

*Update: We have chosen Carbon Gray made by Verathane. It’s somewhat dark, but has the hint of gray in the color. We all love it.

On the building side, we are in the process of framing the inside to prepare for the plumber, electrician and dry wall to be installed.


The early stages of framing

We even got Raelyn a swing to sit in while she’s at the house with us. She loves it!


This past weekend, the framing was finished and three of our exterior doors were installed. It’s exciting progress and now we are, for the most part, waiting for others to do the next step before we can continue with painting, installing, etc.


The upstairs getting framed

See the before and now of the staircase below:

Below is where the breakfast nook will be (right). See before (left) where it was the living room.

Here is the opposite side of the breakfast nook. It will be the kitchen. (Was the living room-left).

Stay tuned for more updates!

Days That I Won’t Forget

You know when you have those dates that you won’t forget? Like the day you got engaged or the day you started that amazing job or the last day of that terrible job?

Or you remember that day someone you loved died or you lost a job or you found out some terrible news? Those are days you don’t easily forget.

November 11, 2016

January 2, 2017

These two days were supposed to be joyous that will forever remind me of something that I am missing out on. On smiles that I won’t ever see and diapers I won’t ever change and noses I won’t wipe. They are days that were supposed to be bringing new life into this scary and unpredictable world. Days that were going to be full of sleepless nights and more pain than any other thing I’ve ever endured, but instead, they will just be another day. To everyone else, they will be a normal day.

I have loved being a mother. It has been hard at times, but the good far outshines the bad. I think my baby is the cutest little human, as I’m sure most moms would say about their own. I honestly didn’t know how much love I was capable of until she was born. I love her so much it hurts sometimes. She is such a good baby. She has only kept me up a handful of nights in her life and is happy, for the most part, to do anything. Why would I not want to have a lot more children after her? She’s great!


When she was 8 months old, I had my first positive pregnancy test. I was going to have another baby. My husband and I were so excited. We want to have multiple kids and want them to be somewhat close in age. Since we are living with my parents (until our house is done being remodeled) we decided that it would be too hard to keep it from them, so we told them the news, along with my in-laws. They were excited, too.

That week, I had to go in to update the nurse with my current medical history, although my first OB/GYN appointment wasn’t until the next week. Right before I went in, I started having unusual symptoms. When I got there and told the nurse, they got me in to see the doctor right away. She confirmed that I was having an early miscarriage. I would have been 7 weeks pregnant. Due November 11, 2016.

I went home that day and just wanted to hide. I didn’t want to have to talk to anyone or see anyone. I just wanted to be alone. I didn’t want sympathy, I didn’t want to cry anymore. I just wanted it to be over.

I felt like I had failed that baby.
I felt like I had failed my family.
I felt like it was my fault.

After only telling a few people, I finally felt like I would be okay and was ready to move on. Then, I took another pregnancy test, and it was positive. Fearful for the same result of the previous month, I didn’t let myself get excited. I didn’t want to tell anyone this time. I didn’t want to have to tell them if I lost another one.

I waited and watched as the pregnancy test lines got darker and I started to get excited. I let myself think about what it would be like to have an 18 month old and a newborn at the same time and how much Raelyn would love to be a big sister and how she probably wouldn’t even remember being an only child. I thought about what it would be like to be a family of 4. I let myself dream. Dream about my unborn child’s future. Coming up with countless names. I couldn’t wait to tell people about this new life that would be coming after what seemed like so much tragedy was going on around me. And after just having lost one two months earlier. I thought it was just what we all needed…some hope.

Then, I started having stomach pain. It woke me up in the middle of the night on Monday morning. I couldn’t sleep because it was so achy and I couldn’t get comfortable. It progressed into a sharp pain and only on one side. I thought maybe it was gas or constipation, but it was never relieved. I tried to rest and thought that as long as I wasn’t bleeding, the baby was probably okay, and it was just something else going on in my body.

Tuesday morning I went to work, against my better judgement, and it got so bad, I called my husband and he told me that I should just go to urgent care. I went, reluctantly. I thought that maybe I was just over-exaggerating the pain. That maybe it was just nothing. At urgent care, they confirmed it wasn’t appendicitis and that I was definitely pregnant (based on a urine sample). They set me up for an ultrasound at another facility to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. I was on my way there and they cancelled the appointment with no explanation. So, I called urgent care and they said they would call me back, so I ran some errands and shopped while my aunt, who was watching Raelyn, had no idea what was going on. I finally decided to go pick her up and just go home when I received a phone call saying that they had an appointment for me in 30 minutes.

As the ultrasound tech was trying to get a look at things on the inside. I knew he was worried. I have seen enough ultrasounds from my first pregnancy when I had gestational diabetes and had one every other week, I knew that I should be seeing something that looked a little bit more like a baby and not just empty space. He referred me to the OB on-call. They rushed me to a room and took my information. When the doctor came in, she told me that she sees a lot of free flowing fluid in my abdomen and it looks like it could be blood.

She has no way of being sure without going in, but she thinks I’ve had an ectopic pregnancy in my Fallopian tube, and that the tube already burst. I would need emergency surgery right away. I should call someone to meet me at the hospital.

I was 7 weeks pregnant. Due January 2, 2017.

I wanted to scream and cry and give up all in that moment. But, I knew if I started crying, I wouldn’t stop. (And,she just told me how stable I look and that it’s a good thing for the surgery, so I figured I should keep that up.) I called my husband and he calmly said he would leave work right away. He called my mom and I went to the hospital where they met me later.20160517_164859

In surgery, they removed one fallopian tube. The whole surgery was done laparoscopically, so all I have to show for it is three incisions in my stomach. They call it a minimally invasive surgery, but I don’t think any surgery is really minimally invasive. I was put under general anesthesia and had a breathing tube in. Which just gave me a sore throat for the following few days. I had a few hours to recover in the hospital, where all I wanted to do was sleep. I was just so tired.

At this point, I was still numb. Numb to any pain, numb to any emotional trauma, numb to loss. I had not shed a tear. Yet. My husband sat by my side being supportive this whole time.

Throughout the next days, I wasn’t really sure how to grieve. I wasn’t fully able to process the fact that I lost another baby, had surgery (for the first time in my life) and had a piece of my body removed.

Ectopic pregnancies happen in about 2% of all pregnancies and hemorrhage from ectopic pregnancy is still the leading cause of pregnancy related maternal death in the first trimester and accounts for 4 to 10 percent of all pregnancy related deaths.

I know I am not the only one to have gone through something like this. I wanted to just deal with it on my own, but I need others to make it through this time. Don’t be afraid to talk about it.

Through all this I wonder what any YWAMer would;

“God, what do you want to teach me through this?”

What I know is that I am grateful to be alive. It could have ended much differently. And I am going to savor each moment that I have with my wonderful husband and precious, perfect little girl, because having a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby is a blessing that I won’t take for granted again.


As November 11ths and January 2nds come and go, I will probably eventually forget those dates, but I will never forget the beauty and value of each life that comes into this world and the Creator who made it happen.

Let’s celebrate these new lives, while remembering the pain of those who didn’t get the chance to celebrate theirs.

Our Own Fixer Upper- The Progress

After 3 months and many weekends of tearing out 137 years worth of house and dirt, we are finally coming to the end of the tear-out phase. While it doesn’t always feel like progress, there is much satisfaction that comes with seeing walls come down, dirt being cleaned up and stacks of wood being piled. We have torn out every interior wall, the whole second story, all of the flooring, all the old wiring and so much more.

The next stage? Start framing and re-building. Along with that, comes many decisions. What color cabinets to have, what flooring to use, colors for paint, etc.

Take a look at the progress we have made so far. (Click here to see the before.)


Our Own Fixer Upper

We have started our own fixer upper. We are calling it “The Brown House”.

My dad is a dreamer, my mom is a realist, I’m the designer, and my husband (also a realist) helps keep us on track. With that combination, we end up with a beautiful end product (that doesn’t break the bank).

Our first one that we did together was my home in Louisville, KY. It took us a little over three months, just working on the weekends when my parents could make it down. After moving back to my home town, we have now started a much bigger project that will probably still be in demolition after 3 months.

The Brown House was built in 1879 and has the original Chestnut hardwood floors underneath all of the years of added carpeting and linoleum. This house is right next door to the house that I grew up in, and I knew the lady that lived there previously.

We are in the midst of demo right now and are excited to be done with that soon. Thanks to great family and friends, it’s getting done faster than if we had been doing it on our own.

See the before video (and more photos) below.

Come back for more updates on the progress of our fixer upper.



Engagement and Spring

Spring is such a beautiful time of new growth and life. I have been so excited about it and bought a bunch of flower seeds in that excitement hoping to become a green thumb overnight, I suppose. Pretty funny now that I think about it.

This past weekend I had the privilege of taking my good friends’ engagement photos. It’s so fun to watch two people who are really excited about starting their lives together. It was also fun just to be out taking pictures again. Here’s a few pics from the shoot. Enjoy!

The Summer Past

Dad Packing My family goes on a vacation every year, and it’s always one of the things I look forward to the most. Sometimes, because of what I do, I’m out of the country and am unable to go, but this past summer, that was not the case. This summer was also a little different than past summers. In March, I got married and three months later, my maid of honor got married (who also happens to be my cousin). My aunt (her mom) and my mom are sisters and best friends and we always go on vacation together since as long as I can remember.
This summer, we visited the Poconos in Pennsylvania. It was a different experience than ever before because we went from having our married parents and 5 kids to 4 married couples and 2 single “kids” (who are not actually kids anymore). We had a more adventurous vacation than ever before. We went on a 15 mile bike ride, played tennis, went on a hike, some went fishing, zip lining, and on a segway tour all within 5 days. Let’s just say it was an adventure of a vacation. We ended the week by spending two long days in New York City.

What did I learn from this whole time? That my parents can’t stand sitting still, and that being active can bring family together.