Thursday, June 27, 2013

Audrey's First Family Gathering

My lovely niece's birthday is tomorrow. Anna is truly a special gift to us all, and we celebrated with a family dinner at her parents' home last weekend.

As we made small talk and smelled the lasagna, I received a text from my daughter, saying the new mommy was running a bit late, and we should start eating without them if everyone else was there. We were all hungry people, so we did exactly that. Don't judge us.

Mom and Audrey (along with "Aunt" Tiffany) arrived shortly thereafter. The minute they walked in the front door, a heavenly host began to sing. Well, I made that part up, but there were smiles on every face, and sunbeams danced on the entryway floor.

It was Audrey's first time to attend our fantastically fun family gatherings, and it was also her first time to wear an "outfit."

Out of the dozens of clothes hanging in her closet, the only one that didn't swallow her whole was a lovely flowered dress with hot pink banding. (Thank you, Uncle Doug). She looked like an angel in it, sound asleep.

Before the evening ended, we had passed her around to everyone present for a time of serious posing. From start to finish, she never made a sound of any kind. Here she is with her mom and the beautiful birthday girl, Anna Marie. A gorgeous trio, indeed.

Aunt 'Laine and Uncle Doug took their turn. She is blessed to have them both in her life.
Still asleep with Aunt Dayle and Uncle Stan.
I can't wait to see what fun they will discover together.
Andrew and Anna smiling with the little sleepyhead.
Mommy and Nonni huddled around their newborn treasure, totally in awe.
Here's Miss Audrey, sleeping soundly in Nonni's arms.
Mommy posed outside with her tiny ray of sunshine.
With Nonni again on the couch. Anybody surprised?
Here's her mommy, stealing a kiss.
Please check out Audrey's face. It's pure heaven, and I can't stop looking at her.

With Nonni again. Anybody surprised? 
I wish she could stay like this forever - innocence in a purple headband.
 ♦ ♦ ♦
The Oak Ridge Boys used to sing a song that says, "The nearest thing to heaven is a child," and how true that is. In a mere ten days, Audrey has chased at least a million shadows away. Each time I hold her, I kiss her soft face and pray that her life will be better because I am in it. ♦

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Audrey's First Few Days

As all new grandmothers are, I suppose, I am drowning in photographs of my new grandbaby. For every picture you see, there are at least a hundred others.
In an effort to reign myself in and focus, I am creating collages which I will use to ultimately select the photos I print out. It's a total win/win, since you get to share in my collages, too. Aren't you excited? Of course, you are. Scroll and enjoy.

The mom-to-be threatened my life if I got too close with the camera, so I kept my distance.
An amazing, miraculous moment, watching as Audrey entered the world, and cutting the cord.
There were tears all around. My heart was so full.
Nonni was mesmerized the minute Audrey was born.
As someone once said, the tiniest things can take up the most space in our hearts.
Kayla is a friend of Leslie's who supported her throughout her journey to motherhood. She was in the delivery room to experience the joy, and she was also a big help in taking pictures for us.
The cake was Audrey's birthday cake from St. Luke's, and it was delicious!
Family came to visit that evening. Audrey is blessed with a lot of love.
Mommy tries to sleep, but the adrenalin is high. This is one of my favorite collages.
It was hard keeping Audrey Pie awake to eat, but we managed, ounce by ounce.
After Mommy freshened up a bit, she posed with her newborn angel.
After Audrey got cleaned up, we dressed her in a little onesie and tiny shoes her cousin bought her.
We figured she could only fit in them for a few hours. :-)
Nonni kept watch at night while Mommy attempted sleep. It was a special time for me.
Going to Nonni's for a few days. She slept the entire trip.
My next blog will pick up from there. In the meantime, I'm trying to capture every moment of these special days. ♦

Friday, June 21, 2013

Audrey Emeline Has Arrived

Tuesday morning, just as I stepped out of the car at work, my phone rang. It was my very pregnant daughter on the other end. "Mom, I think we need to go to the hospital." And from there, one crazed grandmother-to-be raced down I-45, with hazards flashing, making her way to her daughter's place of abode. She broke a few laws getting there, but she didn't get caught.

Upon arrival at the hospital, daughter was dilated 4-5 centimeters, and Miss Audrey Emeline was delivered at 2:59 p.m. Nonni cut the cord.

It's been an exhilerating, exhausting and amazing few days. Audrey and her mom have been resting at Nonni's since yesterday. More pictures will follow, of course, but for now, Audrey and I are bonding. Blogging can wait.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mosaic Monday: More Shoes for Audrey

It seems impossible, but my grandbaby is due tomorrow (Monday, the 17th). If she doesn't arrive, the doctor plans to induce on the 19th. I'm excited and anxious, as I guess most grandmothers are prior to their first grandchild being born. I found these delightful shoes the other day, and I bought them to add to Audrey's growing collection. My prayer is for God to guide her little feet and keep her in his care all the days of her life. ♦

I'm linking to Mary's Mosaic Monday.

Happy Father's Day, Dear Dad

Happy Father's Day to my dear dad! I am so blessed to have him with me another year. After his fall in November, we all wondered what the future held, but Daddy has risen to the challenge, and is facing life head on. He doesn't walk as he once did, but he is not sitting down and giving up.

Instead of his usual mile, he is now walking 1/4 mile. Yes, he is in pain, but he said each day seems a little easier. He is also maintaining his property, which is a lot of hard labor. The riding lawn mower makes the grass cutting simple, but the edging and weed eating isn't simple (or painless) at all. He's too stubborn to let anybody else do it, and I think maybe that's good thing.

My father's life has taught me a lot of things, but the most important thing my father taught me is how to pray. Even now, at the age of 86, Daddy gets alone with God in prayer every day. His prayers have impacted my life in ways only eternity can reveal. I love him so much, and am so grateful to have had another year with him.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday: My Thrift Store Find

A few weekends ago, I spotted a set of dishes while trolling for treasures in a local thrift store. The dishes appealed to me from afar, so I studied them closer and found a possible reason for my instant lure. The name of the China is "Lovely," and the pattern is "Gayle." What's not to love?

It was an "89-piece" set, and they were reduced from $100 to $49.99. I immediately snapped a photo and sent it to Twin Sister (who leases a space at our antique gallery). She was interested, but only if they dropped the price to $35. I asked, and they did, so I loaded them up and hauled them out. (It was no easy task, believe me.)

 When I informed Dayle that the dishes had taken over my SUV, waiting for their new home, I didn't hear a ton of excitement in her voice. It's a lot of dishes, after all, and she has limited space. I get it.

She had already suggested I might keep them, since my name is on the bottom, and after her less than enthusiastic response about my bargaining power, I decided to do just that: Unload them and make them mine.

I think they will be perfect for my Thanksgiving table. ♦

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Room for Audrey

WARNING: This is a long post, and there is no reward for enduring to the end. ♦

Many moons before I knew I had a grandbaby on the way, I had this empty space upstairs needing a makeover and a purpose. I already have an office and a guest room upstairs, so my plan was sketchy at best. Three things I was sure of, however: The walls needed paint, the blinds needed a bonfire and the ceiling fan could cool somebody else on hot summer days.
After hearing a grandbaby was coming (you can read more about that here), I decided to make it a transitional room of sorts. The baby wouldn't be living with me, of course, but I would put a crib in there and let the space evolve as time and age dictated.

And so, the fun began!

After two coats of Beher's "Gentle Rain" (a color I had chosen many moons ago), I started thinking about furniture. Other than the crib, I wanted everything to be somewhat vintage. I had already bought a $20 coffee table at Goodwill, so I decided to paint it and figure out later if it stayed or went. I used Benjamin Moore Advance paint in "Super White."

I liked how it turned out, but I had no clue how to use it in a nursery. Maybe inspiration would strike before long.
Next, I wanted a chest of drawers, and I spotted the perfect one at a roadside flea market. It needed some sprucing up, but the price was right, so me and Twin Sis loaded it up and hauled it to my garage.

My original intent was to paint it, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked the warmth of the wood. It would bring contrast to the white crib I had ordered. The handles were corroded, so they would be soaked in Brasso and cleaned. The missing trim could be disguised with a brown marker until a more final fix could be done. (Don't judge me.)

Of course, every newborn needs a rocking chair, so I asked Mom if I could borrow hers from an extra guest room. She said yes, and agreed to me painting it. I used the Benjaman Moore's "Super White" paint.

Slowly, but surely, things were moving along. (And you may have moved along, too, but the story continues.)
I had planned to use "travel" as an underlying theme in the room, prior to grandbaby news. I wasn't sure how I'd incorporate that into a nursery, but where there's a will, there's a way.

I bought a few globes, and then my daughter mentioned a book from Dr. Seuss, "Oh, the places you'll go!" I ordered this custom piece from Etsy, and I think it's perfect.

Twin sister knew I was interested in using maps as decor, so she brought me some old ones that Mother was discarding. I was immediately drawn to the Texas map and decided to make a bunting banner out of it, which would be a real stretch for me, since I am creative, but not necessarily crafty. I didn't realize how special the map was, until I saw the date on it: 1969 - the year the Allen clan moved to Texas. (Is that special, or what?)

I can hear me telling Audrey the story now. "In 1969, your great-grandparents moved me and your great aunties from Mississippi to Texas, and this bunting banner was made from the map they used to help us navigate our way across the fruited plain in our covered wagon...I mean, Pontiac."

I have to tell you that each step of this project was oozing with "Nonni love," and this is, by far, my favorite thing in the room. Maybe I'll do a blog later with step-by-step instructions for making it.
There were a million other small projects and purchases along the way, but I think it's time to show you how it all came together. I do hope you are awake for the big reveal!

Drum roll.....

Audrey's Room!

 Special friends await Audrey's arrival.
The bunny on the upper left in the collage is Flopsy.
She was Leslie's favorite stuffed animal as a little girl.
The orange dog was Nonni's.

The suitcases and the white wicker chair came from our local antique gallery.

 I think the old Dixie chest brings such warmth to the room,
and I'm so glad I didn't paint it.

Thanks to my friend Ann for this wonderful picture frame.
It has special meaning to me.

 I love the colors of the maps and the globe.

 The ceramic dog basket on top of the chest was Mother's.
I loved it as a child, and I love it even more now.

This side of the room makes me smile. So many memories here.

Leslie got Big Bird for Christmas, the year she turned two. The little ladder he's sitting on came from a vintage shop in Galveston. The "Jesus Forgives" sign was made by Leslie in Sunday school while staying with Nana and Papa in the summer of '91. The wood rocker was a gift to Leslie from her MiMi Cox, and the lighted globe is a vintage Fisher-Price that Twin Sis found during her last trip.

I think the coffee table fits right in, don't you?

 This wall represents Audrey's mother, grandmother,
great-grandmother and great-great grandmother.

 The shoes (and dresses) are her mother's.

 The thimbles on top of the blocks are her great-grandmother's.
The letter was sent to me in 1979 from her great-great grandmother.

This adorable print was also her great-great grandmother's,
and Nonni adored it every time she went to visit.

 The tall "Fuzzy Wuzzy" puzzle was mine.

Well, I guess that's enough about "The Nursery that Nonni Built." If you are still reading, thank you for enduring to the end. I've spent many hours and a ton of energy in creating this room for my first grandchild. I hope only happy memories are made here, and that she comes to visit me often. ♦