Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Wooden Box

Ok ya'll. Time for me to brag on my man for a bit.

Way back in July, our besties found out that they were pregnant with their first little one. When they went for their gender ultrasound this fall, they discovered they were having a little girl. {In an effort to make a very long, roller-coaster of a story short}, they were informed that little Noelle had some serious health issues and was not expected to survive the pregnancy.

I'm not sure that I've ever felt so helpless before...because there really is nothing you can do to make things better or easier. And I like to "do"...something, anything! Instead, in our living room, just hours after their devastating news, we began to walk a new road with them. One of prayers and tears, but ultimately knowing peace by trusting in the sovereignty of our Lord. Truth be told, they have been more of an encouragement to everyone else through evidence of how much grace the Lord truly gives.

I really wanted to be able to give them something special...a visual token of our thoughts, prayers, and love for them and their precious girl. I decided that a memory {or keepsake} box for Noelle would be perfect. I really wanted it to be made of a good quality wood and perhaps cedar-lined. I began to look online and Amish-made stores, but wasn't finding anything like I had pictured in my mind. I finally began to see if their were any men in our church that did woodworking. Then {duh!} inspiration struck in the form of {finally!} asking Aaron if he thought he could build the box for me. {Just a quick side-note, Ladies: ALWAYS remember to ask your honey first about these sorts of things! I really wish I really makes them feel valued, respected, capable, etc. etc. I don't know why I didn't think to ask him first, but now I will!} Aaron did some research {as is typical with him} and came to the conclusion he thought he could build this. Now, I know a few things about my husband. I know A) if he says he can do something, he can and B) if he's going to do something, he's going to do it right and C) he won't do a sloppy job.

I was not prepared for the amount of work and detail he put into this project. I was thinking, "It's a box. How much work can it be?!" First, he chose the wood he wanted to use. The box was to be made of walnut and include a removable cedar bottom on the inside. Oh yes...and he wanted to route out part of the cover and add an ash inlay. The first part of the week he spent building a box-joint jig so he could, you guessed it, make box-joints. The rest of the week was spent actually making the box itself. And when I say the rest of the week, I mean just about every minute he was not at work. Several nights he was up until at least midnight. This amazing guy chose pieces of wood with striations he liked, decided where it would be included on the box {ie: top, sides, back, etc.} and cut each piece to fit.

The end result was better than I even imagined.

front with pretty latch

top with the ash inlay

top & bottom are actually 2 pieces of wood. Perfectly seamless!

look at those beautiful joints!

he drilled a little hole through the cedar piece and I added a ribbon so it could be easily removed

so pretty!

Isn't it gorgeous?!?!

There is a guy Aaron works with that is a fairly accomplished artist. He told Aaron that when he paints a piece for someone, he always adds an extra day to the time estimate beyond the actual completion date so he can enjoy the art before giving it to the buyer. Aaron says that he now completely understands that. Of course, he will tell you that the box is not perfect and could point out every "flaw", but anyone else would be hard-pressed to find any errors.

The amount of love and care he put into this gift makes my heart swell and brings a smile to my face.

Oh, and Noelle Christine was born on December 8, 2011. She was 29 weeks gestation {but measuring at 23 weeks} and weighed 13 ounces.  Today, she is three weeks old and weighs one pound.  The roller coaster surely has not stopped, but the Lord is always still gracious and faithful.

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's time to start blogging again when...

Yes. It HAS been a few months. Quite a few months, in fact. And I've missed it. Not that I generally have something profound or original to say, but it's fun to leave my little mark in this corner of the blogosphere.

The past several weeks, I've been thinking that I'd really like to start blogging again. Things are settling into a more steady rhythm with having Levi here. Wait. That's right! You haven't met Levi yet! Well, he's the adorable little boy in the header pictures that isn't Alex. He was born on September 30th. We affectionately refer to him as "angel baby". To offer a bit of distinction, we've never referred to his brother as "angel baby". Not even once. Anyway, with life evolving into a new "normal" and Alex getting older, more vocal, more mobile, more cognitive, more trouble...{you get the picture} and with the fun that's certainly going to come from having 2 boys so close in age, I've been thinking that it's a great time to hit the keyboard again. I just have this inkling that life is going to get {more} interesting. Really, life is pretty interesting all by myself...I don't actually need the extra help. Aaron says the only reason I have so many stories is because I just don't pay attention. And when you aren't paying attention, things seem to "happen".

Like the other day when I was temporarily distracted {notice how I didn't say "wasn't paying attention"?} and when I finally came-to, realized that Alex had drawn with a Sharpie all.over.the.hardwood.floors. Yep! I wish I would have thought to grab a camera and take a picture; however, I was too busy standing there chanting "crap, crap, crap" and thinking about what was going to happen to ME once Aaron came home...and how I would have to 'fess up that I "wasn't paying attention".

So the reason I decided to start blogging right now?

I took the boys to Target today to return a couple of things and to pick up some dryer sheets, soap, and hair spray. Yes...I went out 2 days before Christmas for toiletries. So there I am cruising down the shampoo aisle and all of a sudden, something with my shoe feels very drafty and very wrong. I look down and my shoe had literally fallen apart in front of my face

{right shoe}
{right shoe again}
Totally bizarre, right!? The shoe was in mint condition when I left the house and in a split second, it looks like this?! I'm thinking, "Ok, totally weird, but what the heck?! At least they have a shoe department here and at least I didn't go to Aldi first!" I begin to shuffle across to the shoe department {which is, of course, on the complete opposite side of the store}, when suddenly my other shoe starts to feel strange. Apparently, spontaneous combustion is contagious.

{left shoe}

Seriously. Notice the large chunk of heel missing?! You should have seen it. Trying to keep both shoes on, while pushing a cart containing a newborn attempting to drink from a bottle propped up by blankets and a toddler screaming for more apples. I {finally} made it to the shoes and manage to find a really cute pair, on sale, that match my outfit and that I'd actually wear again, but probably won't because since Levi came along, I find myself consistently opting for sneakers instead of cuteness.

Let me detour for a moment. Over the last couple of months, Alex has realized he can make himself gag if he sticks his fingers down his throat. For some reason, he really enjoys this...while we do not. Needless to say, we've been trying to break him of this weird ritual. No idea where he gets this stuff from. Like the time last month he gave himself a bloody nose on the way home from church by sticking his finger too far up it while quickly inhaling & exhaling....but I digress. {Can you see where this is going!?}

So there I am, trying to untie the stretchy things adjoining the 2 shoes so I can actually determine if a pre-pregnancy 8 will suffice or if, like everything else that's gotten fatter, my feet have as well and I now need an 8.5{of course the latter ended up being true.} Then I hear the gagging. I look up and Alex is choking/gagging, eyes red & watering, mouth hanging all open. At that exact moment, the shoe-stocker lady happens to be walking towards us to put something on the shelf. She literally stops dead in her tracks, leans backwards in preparation for what she's sure is coming and says, "ewww..." or "oh NO!" or something like that. Alex, of course, recovers and shoe-stocker lady sidesteps around us as I try not to make eye contact with her while resisting the urge to spank the daylights out of him as it would be unfortunate to spend Christmas in jail. About 10 seconds later the gagging starts again and the child ralphs Nice chunks of Golden Delicious. Down his shirt, on his pants, on the cart seat... At this point, I'm thinking that Christmas in jail might not be so bad. Maybe even worth it. Then, of course, the wailing starts {because we all know how enjoyable puking is} and the shoe-stocker lady is in the next aisle over speed-dialing CPS because she hears sympathetic mother-of-the-year telling Alex, "well, why did you gag yourself?! It's not my fault you puked all over the place! Stop crying, I'll clean it up!"  And I still hadn't separated that little stretchy thingy from the shoes!! I finally just ripped it off. Tag and all. Then the child has the brass to look at me and say "More? more?" Yeah right, kid.

I put the new shoes on, put the inexplicably wrecked ones in the box and proceed to checkout, where I have to then explain to the lady that I'm wearing the shoes that belong in the box because the ones I was wearing disintegrated before my very eyes.

And that people, is why I've started blogging again.