By: Jennifer Murray

{Almost} Eight…

Eight years ago I looked like this…

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No, this is not a Biggest Loser “Where Are They Now” Segment.

That’s me with 3 placentas inside of me taking up every bit of rib cavity and pelvic floor space possible. YEOW.  {My final days pictures are unpublishable. Just picture anguish, swelling, and a whale all mixed together in one hot mess.}

It’s one week from the Fantastic Four’s 8 year old birthday. It seems like both a lifetime and just a breath ago. The week leading up to their birthday I’m always struck by a variety of emotions. Excitement to celebrate their mega-holiday with them, a little sadness over another year older and the less they need of me, an anticipation of things to come, but mostly I get very nostalgic of reliving those last pregnant days.

I can still smell the bleach of my sheets after they had been changed during my 10 minute allowed daily shower.

I can still hear their heartbeats and shuffling on the monitors. 

I can still remember the homesickness I had for my own bed and just being in the comforts of my own home for over a month. 

I can still hear Dr. Sumner’s dress shoes walking into my room in the early mornings and wondering if that would be delivery day.

I can still taste the blueberry pancakes I ate as my last full meal before delivery (when I could no longer fit my belly in a booth)

I can still remember how much I hated not sleeping with Brad and how he slept on the floor for over 30 nights so he didn’t have to leave me. 

I can still see the evidence of my body that was recked and put back together from the war I fought to get them here. 

I can still see the calendar that hung in my hospital room marking off each milestone and day completed. 

Most of all I’m still in AWE of how the Lord spared all of our lives and has continued to allow us to enjoy their lives here on earth.  There’s just no way to describe the gratitude we have for these past 8 years of our journey.

If you’ve never read our Birth Story series, perhaps you’ll feel nostalgic along with me this week and go back and take a read. So thankful for those of you who have joined us somewhere in this 8 year blog chronicles.  Sharing our story and God’s grace with you all has been a pleasure.

Just for fun this week, will you leave a comment on when you started following our story and how you found us? I would love to share it with the boys as I don’t think they’ve ever grasped this community of support that we’ve appreciated so much these past years.

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By: Jennifer Murray

Life in the Bowling Lane: Duckpin Bowling at Fountain Square

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Photo Credit: Fountain Square Bowling

 

One thing I LOVE about the boys’ school is Early Release Fridays.  It’s just a 1 hour early dismissal, but it makes the weekend seem even longer, and it gives us a chance to be out of school when most kids are still finishing up their school week. (It’s like a little taste of the perks of homeschooling.) Most Fridays, Brad and I try to wrap up work obligations and other commitments so we can spend the Friday afternoon as a family.  Usually it’s something little to celebrate the end of the week, but on occasion we’ve made it more special – like our overnight trip to Louisville.

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Last week we surprised the boys with Duckpin Bowling at Fountain Square.  We recently were introduced to it by our friends on a double date, and we knew the boys would love it too!  If you aren’t familiar with Duckpin Bowling, it’s similar to the mainstream game, just with smaller (harder to knock down pins) and smaller bowling ball with no finger holes.  You also get 3 tries to knock all the pins down, instead of 2. Although only Brad was successful in knocking them all down. No lucky strikes or spares for me and the little dudes…maybe next time.

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The Duckpin Bowling alley at Fountain Square is the only authentic one in the Midwest, which opened in 1928.  The boys were struck by the history of the building and the nostalgia on display.  In fact, when we walked in, Clark said, “It feels like we’re in the movie Hoosiers”.  That’s my Indiana basketball boy.

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For a larger family, it’s a better option for us price-wise than traditional bowling, because there is no shoe rental and you reserve by the hour rather than per game.

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We love finding new adventures in our city and fun for a family of 6!

How about YOU? What’s your favorite family outing? Maybe we’ll try it on an upcoming Friday! 

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By: Jennifer Murray

Creating a Simple Gallery Wall

One of the best books I read in 2014 was The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by one of my favorite bloggers Myquillin Smith. I savored each chapter, not wanting it to be over.  In it I found inspiration and permission for a home well-lived over perfection. One idea that I’ve drooled over for quite sometime is her infamous gallery wall with the giant chalkboard.

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Photo Credit: The Nesting Place
 

I wanted to incorporate it into our home, but I had a lot of excuses why not to in my head…

It’s cost prohibitive to buy that many decorations for one wall.

I don’t have the eye for it.

My husband will think it’s too crazy or cluttered for his graphic line up things perfectly structure.

I don’t have time to work on it.

I don’t have time to shop or collect things for it. 

But after taking the tree down and deciding to keep the piano in the playroom, our canvas picture was no longer centered on our wall above our leather couch.  The Gallery Wall began by mistake.  I added a “You’re My Greatest Adventure” Plank that I found at Target for under $20, and it took off from there.  I shopped our house and found frames I wasn’t using, a few odds and ins from other places in the house,  a couple of things I hadn’t found a place for, and began arranging them on the floor.

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It took some tweaking and even starting over a few times until we found something that worked well.

The result changed our home.

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It’s not quite perfect, and there’s room to tweak it and add more, but we LOVE it.

It feels so warm and personal and quickly has become my favorite room of the house.

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So here are 5 Tips I Learned from Creating My First Gallery Wall:

1. Lay it out on the floor first to visualize and arrange.

2. Incorporate depth, size, and shape.

3. Don’t be afraid to add color. Go with black and white photos if you want to play it safe.

4. Find things you LOVE and are meaningful to display.

5. Leave room for it to change seasonally and grow.

How about YOU?  Do you have a gallery wall in your home? What’s holding you back?  I’d love to see pictures of yours so share them on the 4tunate Facebook page this week so we can all get ideas! 

 

 

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