I’ve been wanting to post pictures of baby Andy’s room for the past week and half, but a few things have gotten in the way (got some stomach virus, our internet was cut off and won’t be re-installed for awhile, and then just mom/wife stuff). There are so many reasons I wanted to explain the pictures, number 1 being I wanted to say a big thank you to some people who have blessed us in some really tangible ways. The first thank you I wanted to write about is to Steve & Charlene Fleming. The Flemings are a dear family that we met in 2001 as college students at Christ Church Presbyterian (now called Christ Community Church). At the time the church had an “adopt a college student” program, and they were my “adopted” parents/family. I got to eat good food with them at their house, stayed the night when I was having boyfriend struggles (who, by the way, is now my husband:) and enjoyed hanging out with Leah (their daughter) at the community pool for the first time when she was in 7th grade (and who just got married!). Steve and Charlene have loved Jared and I really well over the past 10 years, from throwing wedding/baby showers for us to helping take care of Ethan at an early infant age to now. Steve is incredibly handy; he has a man cave that he built that is his workshop where all the magic happens. I had seen a great wooden tree at a local children’s store (Treehouse on Baxter Road) and told Steve and Charlene how much I loved it, and asked if I could commission Steve to carve one for me. That was all I said and before I knew it, Steve was asking for measurements and pictures. I intended to buy the supplies and bring everything to him, but they surprised us by coming to our house with a 7 foot wooden carved tree over a week ago, and not only was it what I was imagining but so much more. He carved a little owl family (mom, dad, toddler and baby owl) in the knot hole (is that what you call that, Charlene? I keep forgetting!!!) AND he carved out little birds, squirrels, etc. to live on the branches. It is amazing. He even put it up on the wall when they got there (which is half the battle- to actually get something up on the wall once you get it!!!). I love it. Steve said he wanted to make it for us because they loved us and were grateful how we had been a part of pre-marriage counseling for Leah and her husband, Drew. I have so much gratitude in my heart for them. After they left, I just sat in Andy’s room and starred at the tree, enjoying it. I love it when a room reflects joy and gives you good feelings… which sounds kinda weird. I like happy rooms. I’m sure everyone’s definition of a happy room is different but for me, this room is one of the happiest places I could be. And this is so needed and appropriate as we anticipate the arrival of baby Andy. Babies are known to cry a lot, need a lot, sleep at odd times (i.e. not at night), and for those reasons sometimes the first few months of a baby’s life can be difficult for parents. But somehow having a room that is bright, cheerful and decorated with things given graciously by others is a reminder that children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord. Everything in the room has been a gift to us in some way. The crib was given to us from a family who had an extra crib they didn’t use anymore, the dresser was purchased for us by Jared’s parents, the crib bedding was made by my mom, the chair was an ikea craigslist find for $35 that my mom picked up in Atlanta, and even the wall color is a gift of grace. Originally my parents drove up to Athens to help us paint… so we picked up a color I thought would be great but turned out to be way too similar to the color of baby poop. I was trying to make it work, thinking it wasn’t that bad in the sunlight, just ugly under the yellowish lightbulbs. But I couldn’t stop thinking about how I would hate going in there to change diapers. Then my dad mentioned that at least it wouldn’t matter if baby Andy pooped on the wall because it would match. That confirmed it… I hated it. Jared was a super kind husband and said he would repaint it, and that he knew it would be better just to go ahead and fix it now. Even a lady at Lowe’s saw our previous paint color and mentioned baby poo. How was I so blind? Clearly not a natural decorator. So my dad and Jared primed the walls to repaint, and Jared finished the job that week. The walls are a reminder to me of grace and patience and love. Finally, the fun yarn balls (I know they have a much cooler name than that, I just don’t know what it is!) that are white and hanging over the chair were given to me by a great and talented woman (Ossie Brewer, mom of Katie Brewer). I photographed Katie and Gabe’s wedding in August, and Ossie made so many great decorations for the reception. I told her how much I loved them and she ended up giving me these for the nursery. I love that it reminds me of how my job is a blessing as a photographer and how God has given all us of so many different talents (you should see some of the other stuff Ossie made… she’s needs her own business!) The quote above the dresser is from C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. I have a major literarry (sp??) crush on Lewis, and this quote seemed so perfect for a baby. One day, God willing, Andy will know that God is big, bigger than he ever imagined. Our prayer is that he will know that God is our creator and redeemer, and find out how that plays out in every little corner of our lives. As he grows, we pray his love and view of God would grow bigger and richer. Just like Lucy begins to understand the majesty, power, and greatness of Aslan as she grows, we hope Andy will begin to see God as the lion that doesn’t use his power and strength to crush people, but instead lays down his life to rescue needy people like us. I have a little ”Andy” banner that I hope to finish soon, but no pictures of that yet:) So we are making room in our home and hearts for baby Andy. I’ve had lots of contractions in the past 2 weeks, and they’ve been good reminders to me that he is coming. They’ve also been reminders to me that birth is painful… so pray for me if you think about it for courage and help in the labor process. But I know once I hold him for the first time I will quickly forget all labor pains in light of the joy of holding this little gift that I’ve carried for nine months without ever seeing his face until that moment. I can’t wait to meet him. We love you baby Andy… all of us.