Home Renovations and Newborns

posted by Andrea | 07/10/2017
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When Dave and I moved into our farmhouse 6.5 years ago, we knew we were in for a LONG few years of home renovations, improvements, total gut jobs, and lots and lots of dust and debris.

We knew it would be challenging, we knew we would get frustrated and probably make several mistakes along the way… but we knew the finished product would be worth all the hard work, time, money, energy, dedication, etc. etc.

We also knew we eventually wanted to have children to fill up the bedrooms in our home — although I don’t think either of us were fully prepared for how much of a challenge having a fussy newborn would be.

We didn’t realize how frustrated we’d get, or that we’d make so many “mistakes”. We also didn’t realize how much hard work, time, money, energy, and dedication it would take to raise a little person (we’re still learning this over and over every day!)

And raising little people WHILE also undertaking several home renovations has been even more of a challenge at times! 

Our most recent home renovation was Nora’s new bedroom. We knew this room would be a HUUUUUUGE project, which is why we put it off so long!

I’m so excited to finally be able to cross this project off our list (and even more excited to share all the before/after pictures with you on Wednesday!!)

It felt so great to put everything away, reorganize our things, and CLEAN the house from top to bottom!

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As I was talking with Dave a few weeks ago, I said, “That bedroom project really wasn’t as bad as we thought it would to be, was it?” 

And even as the words escaped my lips, I knew they were lies. This project was such a huge project, it was SO messy, SO dusty, SO dirty, and despite my best efforts to keep the construction mess out of the rest of our home, my energy levels definitely started to fizzle out towards the end when I desperately wanted to be DONE dusting and vacuuming and sweeping and shaking out a bajillion rugs every single day.

Then, once most of the dust settled, there were the MANY late nights sanding, caulking, priming, painting (and of course, more cleaning) — after which, I’d shower and fall right into bed because I was just so tired.

But the day that project was done, I felt so accomplished and Nora was so excited that I essentially pushed all those negative memories out of my brain.

Isn’t it amazing how quickly we forget a difficult situation once things get better again!

People often ask us how we keep pushing forward with more and more house projects — and I think it’s that “high” of finally finishing a big project and enjoying how much better, nicer, and more efficient the space is. We simply forget about most of the process of getting to that finished space and the horribleness of living in a construction zone!

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Similarly, I have to chuckle every time I get an email or comment (online or in real life) regarding Dave and my decision to have 4 children! So many people assumed we’d only have 1 or 2 after how difficult and challenging Nora’s infancy was for both of us.

However, as most other parents can attest to, you really do forget all the horribleness of pregnancy, labor and delivery, and those sleep-deprived newborn months (sometimes years!)

You just remember the good, the cute, the fun — and you see how enjoyable your older children are and think, “That really wasn’t so bad… let’s do this again!”

Isn’t it amazing how quickly we forget a difficult situation once things get better again!

I guess for us, and for our current stage of life, home renovations and newborns surprisingly have many similarities!

After 6.5 years of continual house projects, pregnancies, and newborns (we got pregnant with Nora only a few weeks after moving in) I think Dave and I will both say that all our house projects and all our babies have required more work, time, patience, and energy than we originally envisioned.

However, we will also confirm that the house projects and the babies have been MORE than worth whatever time, effort, patience, and “pain” (literal pain) we had to put in initially!

We are currently enjoying the finished results of Nora’s huge bedroom renovation… but we also know that another round of sleepless newborn nights is just around the corner.

Ironically, I am actually looking forward to the newborn stage this time around. It has only taken me 3 newborns to get there, but I finally feel like I (sort of) know what I’m doing, like I (sort of ) know what to expect, and I know how short this season is in relationship to the entirety of childhood… I can totally do this!

There will most likely be times when I think, “why in the world did we want another baby?” and then, before I know it, she’ll be sleeping through the night and I’ll think, “that really wasn’t so bad!” 

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Dave and I are currently in the middle of a few smaller house projects (sealing 500+ feet of fencing, a mini renovation for the big closet under our stairs, painting or staining the shed, and potentially repainting the landing areas upstairs) but then we’ll be finished for another school year… and just in time to welcome another newborn into our family!

Ah… home renovations and newborns, my life would be so dull without you both!

(this is Simon, for anyone wondering!) 

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17 comments

  1. Hannah Beth Reid

    07/11/2017

    Thank you for these great thoughts! I love the pictures of yourself with your babies! I never seem to have many of those.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I’ve always paid (a lot) for Newborn photos because I want those pictures of me with the tiny babies. I’ve never regretted spending that money!

    [Reply]

  2. Luba at Healthy with Luba

    07/10/2017

    Andrea, you and Dave are amazing for all that you accomplish while working full-time AND raising a family. You are an inspiration. Yes, I remember reading your story with Nora as a newborn. Praise God those days are over for you.

    [Reply]

  3. Amber Woods

    07/10/2017

    It’s crazy to me that I have read your blog long enough and remember the pregnancies and births of Simon and James. I can see the baby pictures and tell which one it is because I remember the pictures of them during their infancy. You have precious beautiful children and live a very blessed life. I know you realize this. Love your blog!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    that is crazy! Thanks for your long-time readership Amber!!

    [Reply]

  4. JJ

    07/10/2017

    Love those pics and excited to see your pics on Wednesday!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I’m so excited to share the bedroom makeover on Wednesday!!!

    [Reply]

  5. Katherine

    07/10/2017

    Amen to looking forward to that newborn! My fourth is now 2.5 and I remember that feeling. I knew sleeplessness was coming…but by the third trimester my sleep was already poor, so I was ready to just have that baby in my arms! And knowing it was our last baby just let me enjoy each stage as the last time we’d be going through it.

    And- oh my word- the joy of my older kids loving on their baby sister is just pretty special:)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yeah, I’m already not sleeping the best and I still have 10 weeks to go. I don’t want to rush this, but I am SO excited to “have my body back”… eventually!!

    [Reply]

  6. Francie

    07/10/2017

    I completely agree, I had a simple bathroom reno that took days because I could only work on it when my son was either at school or sleeping. http://www.supersimpleways.com

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I feel your pain! I’ve had “paint closet under the stairs” on my list for over a week now and I’m JUST finally getting to it tonight because so many other things came up last week!

    [Reply]

  7. Angela

    07/10/2017

    I wholeheartedly agree! We’ve renovated three houses while having four children, and now that we’re in our forever farmhouse and our family is complete, it’s a nice, comfortable feeling. I’m so glad we did the majority of our renovations (and a huge home addition project) while our kids were young, because now that they’re all in school, there is NO extra time! : )

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that’s a lot!
    We’re only on our 2nd house — but our 1st home reno with kids, and I can’t wait to be finished.
    We have 1 more bathroom and a laundry room to do, then everything else will be outside projects (like a pool!) or renovations in our outbuildings, so we won’t really have to “live through” those.
    It’s a fun season of life for me (I like having things to do) but I am looking forward to less projects and more self sufficient children in the future!

    Also, Dave and I say all the time how glad we are we’re finishing our house when our kids are young — not necessarily because we’ll be busier later, but because we are able to enjoy our version of a dream house now (and not wait until we’re 50 to finally have what we want). Glad you are able to enjoy your home (and kids) too!!

    [Reply]

  8. Erin Heckber

    07/10/2017

    This is so true! I just had my third baby 3 months ago and it is amazing how you forget about the ‘bad’ pieces (pregnancy, labor, sleepless nights of nursing, etc.) Granted it was just when our baby was a month my husband said that we should have another cute baby (I hadn’t forgotten the pain or the sleeplessness yet) and I gave him a bit of a glare. But still over time you remember the good moments more than the bad!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — congrats!
    And yes, Dave literally asked me about having a 4th when James was only 3 days old. I just looked at him and said — give me a few months at least 🙂

    [Reply]

  9. Kim

    07/10/2017

    Can’t wit to see the bedroom reno results………………….and can’t wait to meet the precious new baby girl. Here’s to a fun and productive summer!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kim!! I can’t believe summer is basically half over for Dave already! Here’s to making the most of the last 5-6 weeks!

    [Reply]