Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Caroline's Big Girl Room, Part One

So it's no secret that life as we know it is in complete disarray right now.  But the stress of it all is lowering by the day as my projects and nesting stage are coming to an end.  Today I want to show you all about Caroline's big girl room in progress.

Our house started out with an unattached dining room in which we never dined.  Over the years we turned the room into a playroom.  That was nice having a place to "send" the kids, but let's face it -- I was never disciplined enough to enforce the kids' keeping it straight, and you could see into the room as soon as you entered my front door.  So every time someone came over, I imagined the following dialog in my guests' heads:

"Oh, hi Emily.  I'm glad to be here.  Wow, your kids have some major crap on display here in this room."

Then came our little bundle of surprise and we needed another bedroom in this quaint little house of ours.  Hmm...how about reassigning this random front room once again?


The room has probably a 10' ceiling with a gorgeous light fixture.  By the way, I took my "before" pictures after all of the toys were cleared out.  I wanted to spare you the shock and awe of the experience.
From the entryway of the room, on the left-hand wall was a little lighted alcove which had (not pictured) glass display shelves.  On the other side of that wall below is a linen closet in my hallway.  These spaces will eventually be combined for a closet. 
Below: another view of the room from the little alcove.
Below: a view of the large window in the room.  This shot was taken after the wall was knocked down.

The room never had doors; rather it had a double wide, cased opening.  The first order of business when constructing a bedroom is to have a real door.  So here are some shots from the outside looking in and the inside looking out:
Next up, sweet C needs a closet.  Lucky girl may have ended up with quite a large closet, too, because we discovered we could go underneath that staircase pictured above.  See for yourself:
During the process, we also laid new carpet throughout the house.  Can you see now why I describe the past week or two as complete disarray?  But I am so glad we did this!  We chose a dark tan frieze (shag) that I absolutely love!
You can also see that the chair rail was removed and the walls were painted Benjamin Moore Wheeling Neutral -- my neutral color throughout my house.  It is a warm, light tan and it goes with almost any color scheme for your decor.

Now, about that dining room light...it was replaced by a ceiling fan which my brother-in-law Jason helped Bobby hang.
Finally the construction phase of the room was finished off by setting up her closet system, which we did on Sunday night. 
My dad had this gorgeous brass / iron bed in storage and a great, barely used mattress set, so he generously gave them to Caroline.  As of writing this post, she has already slept her first night in her new room and did great!  A special thanks to Papa Joe!

Now comes the fun part--decorating.  I'll give you a very small sneak peek of the bedding we chose, but I am far from ready to do a room reveal yet.
I found this sweet, Shabby Chic quilt at Target and I am pulling several different pieces together to mix and match the look.  Hopefully we will feel "finished" with her room soon and I'll do a total reveal.  But for now the room is livable which means the nursery is free to be readied for its third resident!  I just can't believe how much our family has evolved over the years.  But I am blessed beyond words and I wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, July 30, 2012

William's Sprinkle

On Saturday, my sisters-in-law Kristy and Laura threw me a sweet Baby Shower.  Since this is my 2nd boy and my 3rd baby, we kept it small and simple.  A "sprinkle" rather than a whole "shower".   I wouldn't have had it any other way!

We gathered at a local restaurant here in Helena.  In keeping with the casual atmosphere, below is the Evite with an adorable yellow and grey chevron theme, which became the color scheme for the lunch.
The invitation wording said the following:

The new baby won't need a playpen or crib
So just bring the small stuff like bottles & bibs.
Remember it's a baby sprinkle indeed,
A light showering of things that baby will need.

Join us for lunch and celebrate with

Emily Morris and Baby William

It was a success!  Here are some of my favorite photos from the day, and I have to give all credit to my MIL Pam who was the shutterbug!  That way I could relax and visit.
That's a big ol' belly on me!
Caroline (not smiling) with her beloved Aunt Kristy and a sweet baby cousin Harper Michelle!
Caroline loves a baby so much!  During the shower she kept fawning over Harper, wanting to change her diaper and mess with her.  I know she's going to be a big help, but sometimes I worry she's going to want to help too much.

No baby sprinkle would be complete without cake, so after a delicious lunch we had this:

Caroline liked the icing the best -- smart girl!

And last but not least, I was "sprinkled" with love by my friends and family.  Bring on some gifts.  My sweet girl was very hands on with the opening of the gifts.  She was funny!

How about a photo montage of my best guests?
Me and my girl.  Rob was invited but he decided he didn't want to come.  Oh well!
My mom, "Nona", and her granddaughter

Two preggo SILs -- Laura and me. 
(L-R) Heather, Laura, Amber, me, Kristy, Kylee, and Sheila

My sister-in-law Mary caught eating cake!
I'm so excited about Baby William's upcoming arrival.  Hopefully we will settle on his middle name soon.  We have it narrowed down to two options but just can't commit on which one we like the best...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Forgiveness vs. Justice...Have Mercy!

"The quality of mercy is not strained,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's,
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy."
The Merchant of Venice Act IV, Scene I

Seriously, what is wrong with the world today?  You don't have to look far to find someone whose life will never be the same because of some unexplainable horror.  The 8- and 10-year-old Iowa cousins who are missing; the families of the victims, the traumatized survivors and the family of the alleged shooter in the Denver Movie Massacre; the victims, their families and the family of the alleged shooter in the Tuscaloosa, AL bar shooting...Then there are the sewing needles found in airplane food; a bomb threat here in my local area; an ex-police officer wanted in my local area for shooting a woman; it goes on and on and on.  I can't watch TV right now unless it's Nick Jr. or Disney and not just because my kids have total control of viewing.  Also because if I insist on watching the news, I would have to explain some real hard information to my son who misses nothing!  I'm not ready for him to leave that bubble of innocence yet.

As I sit in a dark house watching my innocent son sleep off a nasty virus, I cannot help but quietly reflect on sinners, tragedy, revenge, forgiveness, mercy, grace, trauma, horror, healing, and restitution. Is there any action that cannot be forgiven? Is there any wrong that cannot be righted? Again, for everyone involved in the nightmares mentioned above life will never, ever be the same. But does different always equal worse? And if not, how vehemently must we demand justice? When making the guilty pay, how, exactly, does one define "just"?

My word is not the be-all, end-all since I am neither politician nor preacher. Crime and punishment is established and enforced by our legal justice system. Beyond that, however, is our own ability to forgive and show mercy to the guilty. Today a "death penalty" of sorts was issued to Penn State University's athletics program and that reopened the horrors we all felt at the revelation of what happened behind closed locker room doors.  What went on at Penn State is inexcusable and unimaginable.  I am glad Sandusky is serving his punishment and can only hope Paterno sought God's grace before his death.  I have a hard time understanding why some key personnel involved are still employed by the University.   Yet the years of pensions, loss of scholarships, the seemingly excessive fine of $60 million proves what, exactly?  That a pound of flesh can be extracted without ending the life of an educational institution?  I would never try to undermine the helpless terror of what the young victims experienced and most likely still live with.  But this seemingly revenge-filled punishment doesn't take that away, either.  It changes nothing of the past and affects the future of persons who truly had nothing to do with this.

When we first started hearing the name James Holmes, I thought, let's tie him up and let wild animals have their way with him.  When we first started hearing this could be a death penalty case, I remembered the scene in [spoiler alert] The Green Mile where the one guy was electrocuted without a wet sponge and literally fried in that chair.  But demanding similar "justice" from Holmes would change nothing of what happened early Friday morning.  It does not bring back the lives of those 12 and it does not erase the permanent horrific memories of the 100's of others who were there that night.  Should someone -- likely Holmes himself -- be held responsible?  Absolutely.  Please do not misunderstand what I am suggesting. 

I go back to what Portia said in The Merchant of Venice and I take poetic license to paraphrase it.  When you are able to show mercy on someone who has wronged you in anyway, not only are you blessing that guilty party, but you are blessing yourself with a Christlike mentality of forgiveness.  We all want justice for anything that makes us feel violated; even the trivial ant who bites us is more often squashed than flicked away.  I believe in crime and punishment.  But I also know I am called to offer forgiveness and show mercy, gentility, and humility to others.  It sounds like quite the paradox.  Yet today I challenge myself to show more mercy to all in hopes it is someday shown to me.

*Author's note: if you cannot tell by the title of this blog, I am a lover of Shakespearean literature.  If you have never read The Merchant of Venice, I encourage you to do so.  Timeless doesn't begin to vocalize its relevance to today's society of religious and racial hatred and stereotyping, terrorism, and capitalism.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Baby Chancellor is on the way!

So my brother-in-law Jonathan and his new bride Laura are expecting a baby.  Well, they were very much surprised and far from expecting to be expecting so soon after their wedding, but God has plans for us and that includes creating life when He thinks is best.

I am so incredibly crazy for Laura that I forget sometimes I haven't known her forever.  I have watched Jonathan grow up and if he had ever asked me to pick the perfect person for his other half, I hope I would have been wise enough to pick Laura for him myself.  They are the yin to each other's yang.  Together they truly make a whole. 

That being said, we were all gathered on Saturday evening to find out the gender of their upcoming arrival.  Everyone was so excited, but first we had to have some goodies:
There were so many people there.  The room was filled with love for this happy young couple as they embark on parenthood.
My father-in-law Bob showing off some fancy footwear!
Jonathan's (L) and Laura's (R) maternal grandmothers.  It looks like they are swapping "war stories"!
In the middle are the Chancellors -- Jonathan's Dad and family
I had to make the photo rounds by getting some photo love from the Chancellor/Morris bunch. 
At last we had been made to wait long enough.  What is the gender of that baby?  Well, look for yourself:
It's a boy!  I am so excited, too, because now this new Baby Chancellor and new Baby Morris will be cousins and they will be so close in age.  Keep in touch with the blog because I see lots of stories of these boys getting into and out of trouble together over the years.

Once again, congratulations Jonathan and Laura.  I love you both!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tales of Traveling...Sunday Social

I'm trying to allow some of you the chance to get to know me better.  You know, maybe you'll become loyal readers and I won't always feel like I'm typing into blank cyberspace...so I have caught wind of a new blogger Neely who writes at A Complete Waste of Makeup.  I'm still getting to know her but so far I really like what I read!  And each Sunday she does a Sunday Social linkup party.  There are still 4+ hours left on today's Sunday, so I thought, "Why not?"

Neely (and all of you, I am sure) wants to know the following about all of us.  So, with no further ado, here goes nothing.

Best trip you've ever been on?
This is a hard one to answer.  Bobby and I took a honeymoon cruise about which we still, almost 9 years later, discuss memories.  We sailed on the Carnival Holiday out of New Orleans. But before the grand "Bon voyage," we were able to spend the night in New Orleans where I drug him on a walking ghost tour -- which he enjoyed -- and later we just strolled along the French Quarter happily married. 
While at sea we had so much fun.  Back then we thought the world was our oyster.  We had no worries about money, child-rearing, reconstruction, etc.  Being on a cruise is a great type of travel, too.  I have never stayed at an all-inclusive resort i.e. Sandals so I have no comparison, but to me cruising makes you feel like something pretty special!  I really want to cruise again someday, but now we have 2 (almost 3) children to think about.  Money saved is spent on family vacations, college savings, bills, etc.  I just don't know when we will be able to pick up and leave reality for that long anytime in the near future.

Then again, my other best trip I've ever been on is my college graduation trip to Italy.  My mom and step-dad took me to a tour of Rome, Venice, Florence,  and Pompeii in the spring of 2000.  Now 12 years later I realize that was truly, literally a once-in-a-lifetime trip.  I cherish pictures and film images from Italy knowing that I have actually been there once.

Best idea for a girls weekend trip?

There are so many obvious choices here.  I would love to have a girls' weekend at the beach sometime in the near future.  On this trip there would be no kids, no sandcastle building, no husbands, and no cell phones.  Just a handful of girls some wine, great easy reading and SPF.

Another great idea (albeit a little more planning required) would be a trip to New York City.  During the Holidays.  It would be somewhat Sex In The City meets Eloise at the Plaza.  I have been to NYC before, but to go with a group of girlfriends would be a dream.

Best idea for a couple's trip?

I mentioned above that I love cruising.  But every time I bring this up to someone who has been to an actual all-inclusive, (s)he trumps me and says all inclusives are better.  So I'm gonna say I would love to have a few couples join us for a few days at a Sandals, etc.  But only if we could just chillax.  Like Couples' Retreat minus the therapy and TMI yoga sessions.

Place you most want to visit?

Hands down, I want to go to Hawaii.  It's here in the US, it's supposedly beautiful, and I just have to go there sometime in my lifetime.

Vacation Necessities?

I have some quirks here.  Those who know me know my biggest secret: I sleep in a sleep mask every night!  I cannot sleep without it.  It started when Bobby and I first began cohabitation.  He liked to sleep with the TV on and I did not.  Over the years I have gotten him to turn down the volume and now set a sleep timer so it goes off.  But I got so used to sleeping with the mask that now it's a security thing and I feel vulnerable without it.
Earth Therapeutics® Dream Zone™ Sleep Mask
I also like to travel with a good book, my camera, and waaay too many outfits.  I can't just bring one outfit per day; I literally like to have choices and set up a mini-closet.

Well, that's it for tonight.  I hope happiness and safe travels follow you wherever your path may lead.