sara’s going {back} to doe bay.


last time i was there, i had just learned, one week prior, that this little guy was joining our family. last time i was there, i was sniffing citrus fruits and drinking seltzer water and praying for my nausea to subside long enough to take a car ride with three total strangers who quickly became friends. last time i was there, i shared my heart’s deepest fear – of feeling inadequate as a soon-to-be mama of two – and received nothing but love and reassurance and “me, too’s.” and what’s so, so wonderful is that this time, when i’m back at Doe Bay in one week’s time, i’ll have this sweet Quincy Bug with me to share it all with. my sweet Q is a Doe Bay baby, for real.



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{progress} our laundry room.

hi all! since we moved into our home in the summer of 2013, we haven’t chatted much about our laundry room. in fact, all that we did since moving in was plop down an area rug or two, stored a few baby-related items and paint cans, and added a mini-fridge {from our college days} for convenience when entertaining in our lower level.

but, as can often happen when you’re a homeowner, circumstances sometimes demand your attention…

…and for us, that was true with our laundry room.

Exhibit A: Our Laundry Room.



see the water heater in the picture above? {that’s the cylinder on the left side of the photo.} guess what decided to start leaking {albeit slowly} this past fall? yup, our water heater.

although we had been talking with a local heating & plumbing company since we first noticed the issue last fall, the leak was quite intermittent and slow that we decided to wait to replace the unit until we had saved a few pennies and until the need presented itself.

as of this past weekend, guess what began leaking at a faster rate? you guessed it.

thankfully, our home savings account was prepared for this type of a “hit,” so when the plumber came out to visit today to take a look, i took the liberty of asking him a few questions while he was quoting us an estimate for replacing our unit.

as a reminder, here’s the current layout of our laundry room, which is partially drywalled with an open ceiling and concrete floor:


as you can see, our utility units are spread out around the perimeter of the room. while our washer and dryer are ideally located and offer a wealth of space for our front-loader doors to swing open, the challenge lies in concealing all of our utility units upon finishing our laundry room with drywall. while the picture above isn’t to scale {of course}, when the entry door to the space is open, it nearly hits the existing water heater unit, thus making it rather impossible to conceal the sump pump and the water heater by adding a closet and a door, for instance.

so, while the plumber was here, i asked him about the possibility of moving the water heater over next to the furnace…and happily, he said that not only would it be possible, but that he would also recommend doing so, since the water heater would then be located in closer proximity to the drain on the floor, which is currently positioned in front of the furnace! furthermore, moving the water heater from one side of the room to the other increased our estimate only slightly, making this project completely feasible and budget-friendly.

however, the plumber cautioned us that since our water heater is an electric unit, that we would need to call an electrician to help to make the move of the water heater possible. that’s all i needed to hear before hopping on the phone with a local electrician and requesting a quote. after a short phone conversation with both myself and with the local plumber, we had an estimate that was well within our budget for what we were saving for the water heater replacement itself – not including the opportunity to move the unit to the other wall!

so, after replacing our water heater and relocating it in a more logical space, here’s what our laundry room looks like now:


what has me so excited {and Jord, too, by proxy – he’s excited when i’m excited!} is that when we’re ready to finish the laundry room {perhaps this summer and fall?}, we’ll be able to rock out a layout like this:


a few notes + inspiration images {click here to follow my “our home: our laundry room” board on Pinterest, where all of these images hail from!}:

* i’m loving the look of these ceiling “tile” planks – but i wonder; are they accessible for electrical/wiring issues?:


* i would LOVE to tile the wall behind the washer and dryer and DIY some open shelves, much like this image from BHG and this photo from here:



* i’m obsessed with this DIY faux bois folding counter from Jenny Komenda’s Little Green Notebook blog:


* i also think that painting the concrete floor a rich color {like navy, which is what i’m lusting after!} a la Young House Love would also be fab:


* this paint storage is genius:


and a few more inspiration images for the closet space, which would include ventilated door panels to maximize breathing room for the utilities that we’d be concealing:




Ventilated-Doors-41, 2, 3, 4

as you’ll notice, i haven’t yet brainstormed/decided what we will do with the space below the window in the laundry room, once we finish the space, but i’m currently dreaming of something like this from Fox and Hammer:

Expedit-Wine-Storagewhat could you want more than some storage with a little wine on the side? :)

what projects are you dreaming up for your home?

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once upon a time, eight years ago today, a boy and a girl began dating. they had met the previous summer at their summer bank job. on the first day of work, the girl greeted the boy, but the boy didn’t return her “hello,” so the girl thought that the boy was stuck-up and rude.

little did the girl know, the boy would spend the next nine months chasing after her heart, until she finally relented one January 27th, when the boy was away for the weekend with a friend.

“let’s date,” she said over the phone, one of her friends silently cheering her on in the background.

the boy, who was playing poker at the time, lost a bit of money while talking to his now-girlfriend on the phone, a sum that he has sworn, since that day, was more than worth it, for the girl on the telephone later became his wife


…and the mother of his two children.


Jord, i’m so lucky to have you – while you may not have won your poker games that fateful day eight years ago, i certainly won, for i got YOU.



{photos by Creative Kindling}

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listy mclisterson update {january 2015}.

hi all! i think it’s time for another look at our good ol’ house to-do list, which, a la the Petersiks of Young House Love, we call our Listy McListerson!

the short version: the biggest changes on the list come in the form of L + Q’s shared bedroom, which is 99% complete – see their room over on the Tiny Prints blog here – and our lower level, which has undergone a major transformation in the past two weeks: the walls have a fresh coat of paint! i’m working on a reveal for next week, so stay tuned.

Main Floor - Floor Plan - Original Paint Colors

hang on tight – here we go!

overall look + layout of our home

– install crown molding in all rooms

– replace standard light fixtures/fans in all rooms in favor of lanterns and chandeliers

– eventually install hardwood floors in common areas, and install tile {slate?} in kitchen + bathrooms

– eventually add a fourth bedroom in the lower level by closing off part of the large family room; resulting family room space will become more of a den/study

– eventually repaint exterior of house in grey with white trim


– add some nice hardware to the garage doors to beef them up {like this}

– eventually replace garage doors with ones with windows/molding/character


front yard

– add a few planters in front of the garage

– paint the exterior entry door{s} to the garage {Blue Lake}

– paint the storm door {white?} when we repaint the house

side/back yard

– build a pergola over stained concrete patio

– add Adirondack chairs in a fun color {red? coral?} to the concrete patio space

– DIY a sandbox for Lionel and Quincy

– add potted tall grasses around perimeter of deck for privacy {multiple planters? one long bench-like planter?}

– plant lilacs

– plant a food garden

– when we repaint the house, refinish the back deck in a light grey color; modernize/replace deck posts {metal?}

entry way

– add a bold stencil/wallpaper treatment

repaint the front door and garage entry door {Blue Lake} – lesson learned: i should have sanded the doors first, or used a high-adhesion primer!

– eventually add a fun lantern or chandelier

- add hooks for coats, art


– paint

- paint a chalkboard wall in the eat-in area of the kitchen

- spray paint {Mint? Coral? White?} and hang empty frames on chalkboard wall {write notes, quotes inside}; also add upside down drawer pulls to hold chalk; also draw a family calendar on the chalkboard wall

- add curtains/blinds of some sort to sliding glass door for privacy

- find a cute vintage cake stand and use it to hold soaps/scrubbers beside sink in the kitchen

- add kitchen chairs in different, fun pops of color

– add art, decorator items above cabinets

– eventually replace the sliding glass door with double French doors {unpaned} or a Dutch door

– eventually add a farmhouse sink

– eventually install tile flooring {slate?} in a neutral tone {dark grey?}

– eventually install subway tile in a neutral tone above counters {white with dark grout?}

– eventually paint/upgrade to white cabinets {or a tuxedo kitchen, with white upper cabinets and darker {navy, gray, etc.} lower cabinets?}

– eventually take down some upper cabinetry to try out open shelving?

– eventually upgrade appliances

hallways + stairways

– add a bold stencil/wallpaper treatment to the wall at the end of the hallway {like this}

– add more frames + art to gallery wall at the end of the hallway

- add decorator items in lighted nook above the upstairs hallway

- organize upstairs hallway closet: main use for upstairs hallway closet = linens and board games

living room {upstairs}

– paint

– add safety gate to stairway before Q is crawling {find a style that doesn’t damage the banister and/or is visually pleasing}

– add an area rug

– add curtains

- mount the television on the wall

– conceal television cords behind the wall

– add a faux fireplace mantle?



- touch up paint in both bathrooms {upstairs is painted a terracotta color, while the downstairs bathroom is charcoal grey}

– paint {Hale Navy}

– add white beadboard to walls {make sure to use bathroom-safe beadboard + adhesive made for damp spaces}

– replace white waffle weave shower curtain in upstairs bathroom with a ceiling height curtain

– update linens

– add art

- remove builder-grade mirror in upstairs bathroom and hang heavy black mirror horizontally in its place {dry-brush white after painting the walls?}

– eventually replace shower and tub in upstairs bathroom with a stand-alone tub

– eventually tile the entire back wall {behind the new tub upstairs}

– replace vanity in bathroom {repurpose vintage dressers? purchase a modern vanity from IKEA? DIY a rustic vanity, like this?}

– install double sinks

– install tile flooring {slate?} in a neutral tone {grey? white?}

– install new lighting {pot lights above the tub + lantern/chandelier?}


- touch up paint in both bathrooms {upstairs is painted a terracotta color, while the downstairs bathroom is charcoal grey}

- purchase hand towels

– add art

– replace vanity and sink in bathroom {repurpose vintage dressers? purchase a modern vanity from IKEA? DIY a rustic vanity, like this?}

– install a tiled {grey penny tile?}, walk-in shower

master bedroom {upstairs}

- paint {indigo}

- Craigslist/sell IKEA Hemnes bed + replace with a DIY headboard

– add accent pillows {i moved our existing pillows to our living areas!}

– add end table on Jord’s side of the bed {i moved our gold Target purchase to our upstairs living room!}

– remove and Craigslist/sell the ceiling fan; add a chandelier

- purchase a vintage dresser in a fun pop of color

– add a closet organizational system or additional dresser storage {my grandmother gifted my mom an antique bedroom set that includes a small three-drawer dresser…perhaps have it refinished?}

- create a baby nook for Quincy

– eventually purchase king-sized linens for better draping/coverage of our queen-sized bed {much like Young House Love did here}

L and Q’s bedroom {upstairs}

- remove and Craigslist/sell the ceiling fan; add a warehouse-inspired light fixture

- add vinyl decals (triangles?) to one wall to create a focal wall in the room

- purchase/make + hang new artwork

- paint little wooden rocker as well as a twin bed for L {one of two identical bed frames!} that we inherited from my Mom’s younger days {!!!}

– personalize L’s bed with a monogram {wood? vinyl decal?}

– purchase fabric to DIY a crib sheet in a fun punch of color {ikat, like this?}

- DIY a bed rail for L’s bed {we’ve been using pool noodles like this, and they’ve been working wonderfully!}

- purchase twin mattresses, bedding, sheets + accent pillows/blanket for L’s big boy bed

- build + hang wood shelving on either side of the window {2-3 shelves per side} for additional storage

- purchase + hang curtains

– add storage to the closet {2×4 Expedit? additional clothing rod?}

– eventually paint + bring in other twin bed frame {identical to L’s current bed frame} for Q, when he’s older

Basement - Floor Plan - Original Paint Colors

family room {downstairs}

- paint

- bring in TV {at least 55″}

– add a wood accent wall behind TV {like this}

– add a vintage sideboard/buffet/credenza {with doors for DVD/toy storage} under TV {repurpose 2×4 black/brown Expedit in boys’ closet for storage}

– add large area rugs in living space and in playroom nook

- add graphic curtains, art {there’s still a few bare walls that we’re working on!}

- add playroom area for L and Q, complete with a reading nook

– eventually DIY a drop-down double desk + two chairs for homework and art time for the boys + any future sibling(s); hang two farmhouse lanterns over the desk {in red? yellow? teal?}

laundry room {downstairs}

– move the water heater to the furnace wall

– add drywall

– enclose the water heater, furnace and electrical panel in a closet with ventilated doors {like this or this}

– tile the wall above the washer and dryer {white subway tile?}

– DIY, stain + hang open shelving above washer and dryer to hold laundry soaps, baskets, etc.; use 12” shelves {with fun/large brackets spray-painted gold!}

– add a folding shelf made of MDF {DIY a faux bois counter, like this}

– paint the floor {use Valspar Oil Porch & Floor Paint}

– add shelving for paint storage {like this}

– eventually replace washer and dryer for a top-loader washer + steam dryer; place washer in a water-safe metal tray

man nook {downstairs}

- mount two computer monitors on the wall

- mount/bring in a desk

- bring in Operation Nerd Mode PC and Xbox One

– create a cool way to hang/hold accessories, games, etc. {Jord has a plan!}

– address the drywall situation {while the space has been drywalled, it is need of sanding before painting}

– paint {Jord loves Benjamin Moore’s Bermuda Teal}

– give some love to the concrete floor (paint it? add rugs?)

– add/build concealed storage furniture {for baby items, holiday items, etc.} in smaller space under stairway {beyond the “man nook” area}?

third bedroom {downstairs} – remember, this space will likely serve as a guest bedroom/be in flux until it becomes L’s big boy room in three years or so!

– paint

- bring in full bed, which is currently housed at my parents’ house

– DIY a headboard

– purchase fun duvet color, solid color Euro shams, colorful throw pillows

– replace light fixture with a chandelier/drum shade

– bring in a dresser, a chair/chaise

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i’ll take you back.

last week, my Mom and i primed and painted our lower level {sneak peek coming soon!}. while i was touching up the edging on the walls, i had sweet Q downstairs with me {yay for Natura no-VOC paint by Benjamin Moore!}. my iPhone was blaring out some of my favorite tunes while i worked, which seemed to please both Q and i, so i let the music shuffle through without a second thought.

then, a song came on that i hold super-close to my heart – Jeremy Camp’s “Take You Back.” Take a listen here.

when the opening notes of the song began to play, my heart swelled – i’ve been chasing after God’s heart off and on throughout the past decade of my life, yet i’ve never felt closer to God since becoming a mother. i even wrote the following in sweet Q’s birth story:

I know that people always say this about childbirth, and about children in general, but it became clear to me, as my eyes met yours for the first time, that I have experienced two distinct moments in my life in which I truly saw God, in which I could feel His presence at the helm of my life, and both resulted in the birth of a beautiful boy. While I have long loved God as someone in great need of grace, I realized that never before in my life – not during times of worship, not in moments of stress, of grief, of complete joy or utter sadness – have I so intimately felt God’s hands around mine, and around those of my children, than in the moments in which you and your brother were born. Oh, to feel His love realized in the form of a baby, my baby; yes, as I looked at your sweet face and promised you the best of me – to be for you, and for your brother too, an indestructible, endless net of love and faithfulness, ever positioned so that I will always catch you – I was able to glimpse how immense our Father’s love is for us.

and as the lyrics of “Take You Back” washed over me for the billionth time {i’ve seen Jeremy Camp in concert three times, and each has been a wonderful, worship-filled experience}, my eyes fluttered, holding back tears, and my hands tingled. i set down my paintbrush and reached for my sweet baby, just nine weeks old. as i clutched his dear eight-pound-body to my chest, feeling his breaths wisp in and out, two or three for him in measure to mine, these lyrics struck me anew, on this, the billionth time that i heard them.

for this time, as i listened ever-closely to the lyrics of this oh-so-special song, as my body danced and swayed to the music with dear Q in my arms, i was struck, over and over again, by the immense love of our Father God, and how each day, i strive to show my love for my sweet sons – my Lionel and my Quincy – according to His great example:

I’ll take you back always
And even when your fight is over now
Even when your fight is over now
I’ll take you back always
And even when the pain is coming through
Even when the pain is coming through
I’ll take you back

for this is the promise that i have made to each of my boys – despite your mistakes, because of your mistakes, i’ll always be your Mama, and i’ll always take you back; even when you feel that there’s no where or no one to turn to, even when pain strikes your heart so deeply, your Mama will always be here, will always be your safety net – and through the strength of God, i hope to keep this promise.

and this, oh, this part of the song – it’s the song of my heart, for it’s exactly the prayer that i lift up to God each night as i give thanks for this life, for my life, and especially for my two wonderful sons:

I can only speak
With a grateful heart
As I’m pierced by this gift
Of your love

I will always bring an offering
I can never thank you enough

oh Lord, that you may take these boys’ lives and hold them close, and that you may strengthen them each day to live their lives in You.


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christmas 2014.

hi all! we had such a blessed Christmas holiday this year, and i wanted to share a few pictures with you of our celebrations.

let’s start with the cutest photo of them all – L and Q in matching Christmas jammies {from Hanna Andersson}:


Baby Q got a lot of love this Christmas, especially from his Grandma Patty and his Uncle Brian and Brian’s girlfriend Kenna:



L was a pro at opening presents this holiday; he even left the wrapped gifts under the tree {relatively} alone for two-and-a-half weeks!



L’s gift from Santa this year was a wooden bowling set – he LOVES it!


L also received a Fubbles Bubble Blaster, which, given his obsession with blowing bubbles, was a huge hit:


here’s what we got the boys this year for Christmas; as a reminder, we always follow the “want, need, wear, read” list for our kiddos. {click here to see last year’s Christmas gifts list}:

L: want - soccer ball; need – Number Work, Letter Work and Shapes Work {Montessori books}; wear – Christmas jammies; read – Otis and the Tornado and An Otis Christmas.

Q: want - Baby Einstein radio; need – personalized Christmas ornament; wear – Christmas jammies; read – LMNO Peas and Cordoroy.

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{big reveal} our boys’ shared bedroom.

hi all! if you’re just finding Our Family Roost, we’re so happy that you’re here!


to catch you up quickly, i’m Sara. i’m married to Jord, who also blogs in this space. we are blessed to have two sons – sweet Lionel Conner {who we call L here} joined us in June 2012, and dear Quincy August {who’s known as Q around these parts} made his debut this past November {click here to read L’s birth story, and click here to read the story of Q’s birth}. Our Family Roost is our little corner of the web where we chronicle life as it happens {and as we remember to blog it!}. for more on who we are, check out the About Us page!

a quick tour of our site, as well as a few of our favorite posts:

* Jord and i were married in 2010 in a DIY, vintage-inspired ceremony; click here to check out posts about our wedding!

* we bought our first home in August 2013 and have been slowly putting our own stamp on the place; click here to see a tour of our home!

and now, a few favorite posts and DIY reveals:

* Q’s baby haven in our master bedroom.

* conversations with a two-year-old = always enlightening.

* a poem – “mama’s owies”

* our DIY bed – thanks again, Ana White!

* a glimpse into my emotions surrounding trying for our second child – when bad news turns into a good thing.

* sick kiddos = no fun, but under all of the ick, blessings abound.

* on weaning L after 15 months of breastfeeding.

* on the eve of my first “big girl job,” i penned a letter to L all about what staying home with him for fourteen months meant to me.

* our DIY farmhouse kitchen table, a la Ana White.

okay, now, moving on to today’s post…


in case you missed it, head on over to Tiny Prints’ blog today to check out the big reveal of L and Q’s shared bedroom! it was such a labor of love to put this space together for our dear boys – i hope that you enjoy this glimpse into our boys’ space.

if you’re wondering where to find any of the items in the boys’ room, check out the reveal post on Tiny Prints’ blog, which is full of source information. feel free to also comment below with questions!

if you’re looking for the sources of artwork in the room, here you go!

“Bear, Bunny and Balloon” print: The Parchment Place
Thoreau print: We Heart Paper
“Wild Rumpus” print: Nothing Panda
“Explore” print: White Lace and Cotton
“Woodland Bunny” print: Sweet Melody Designs
Hedgehog Needlepoint: Sleeping Fox Stitchery
Dr. Seuss print: Ulysses Design
USA map: ARMommy
Arrow Bible print: Printable Wisdom
Horseshoe: Cast and Crew
Cardboard Rhino: Cardboard Safari
Personalized wooden teethers: Little Sapling Toys
Marquee Letters: Vintage, purchased via Etsy
Lionel Train metal art: Vintage, purchased via Craigslist
Triangle decals: Twig and Nest
Felt bunting: AmpersandGO
* all other artwork DIYed by me; most frames are from IKEA

many thanks again to Creative Kindling for taking photos of the bedroom for us, to Jesse Michener for the use of her amazing photograph of the view from Orcas Island for the metal photo print, and to Tiny Prints for collaborating with us to make this space so special and personalized for our boys!

{photos by Creative Kindling}

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{home tour} Q’s Haven in Our Master Bedroom.

hi all! TOMORROW is the big reveal of the boys’ shared bedroom, which will be published on Tiny Prints’ blog {click here to read more about our collaboration with Tiny Prints!}, but today, i’m overjoyed to FINALLY reveal to you the little space that we carved out in our master bedroom for dear Q!

here it is:




isn’t it adorable?! :) we’re so pleased with how the space came out.

a few details:

* the changing pad is placed on our awesome vintage dresser and will be there as long as Q is sleeping in our room; it’s working out wonderfully so far!

* the Moses basket was purchased from a local secondhand store and repainted in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. as far as what’s inside the basket {apart from sweet Q, of course!}, the bedding was custom-made by my Mama {and i couldn’t love it more – it’s perfect!}, the faux sheepskin is from IKEA, the adorable fox lovie is from Carter’s, and the snail pillow is from Laura Frisk on Etsy.

* the sling that is hanging on the wall is a Rockin’ Baby pouch that i purchased when L was little; Q loves it!

* the artwork that’s hanging above the Moses basket is a collection of items, including the “I Love You to the Moon and Back” canvas from Hobby Lobby, black and white animal cards by Wee Gallery, and a poem written by a stellar writer {and fellow mama!} that i met at Write: Doe Bay, Annie Flavin.

also, since our lovely photographer, Kara from Creative Kindling, took these photos, we’ve updated the wall decor above his nook; check it out!



* the {amazing} shelf is from The 807 on Etsy; i love its geometric shape and weathered finish!

* as far as what’s on the shelf, the print “Love Makes a Happy Home” was a bargain find from Hobby Lobby, the adorable little kitty plush rattle {part of a set of two} was a gift from my Mama from IKEA, the zebra and keys are baby toys from Target, and the sandals are from Gymboree.

{top three photos by Creative Kindling; bottom two photos by me}

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quincy august {a birth story}

Quincy (KWIN-see): A name that we found when Lionel was just a wee baby; we held this name – and the dream of another son – in our hearts. (French): estate of the fifth son.

August (AW-guhst): Our second son’s middle name was chosen to honor Jordan’s eldest ancestor, August Gillis, who immigrated to the United States from Belgium. (Latin): revered, exalted.

* *


Dear Sweet Quincy August,

The contractions started as our lips kissed your big brother’s cheeks, nose, lips, head, our little family’s nightly ritual of story books, songs and snuggles finished for the day. This was the second time this pregnancy that I felt those familiar little currents of tightness run through my belly – the first labor scare came at nearly 34 weeks, which was too soon for this mama, too soon for the doctors, and, thankfully, you decided, after two rounds of medication to stall my contractions, it was also too soon for you. Yet, just 2.5 weeks later, on a Wednesday night in mid-November, I grabbed a glass of ice water and tried to rest as I assured your Daddy that this round of regular contractions was just practice, just a warm-up exercise, like last time.

Because your first attempt at making your debut left me dilated two centimeters, the nurse’s voice on the phone that night was a bit more strained than I expected once I told her my symptoms – regular pains, seemingly coming one on top of the other, for an hour. “You need to be seen,” she said to me. We called your Grandma Patty to stay with our slumbering Lionel, and after brushing his cheeks with a few quick kisses, your Daddy and I left in a flurry for the hospital.

I remember your Daddy testing the validity of my contraction pain on the way to the hospital by offering to procure a variety of food items for me. Certainly, he remembered your brother’s birth, when I wasn’t permitted a single taste of “real” food for nearly 30 hours, and while his offers of pizza and ice cream and cake and red wine were laughable and adorable – two words that aptly describe your father – these favorite foods of mine did not seem even slightly appetizing to me. This, I’m sure, perked up your father’s sense of what, as we would shortly discover, you had in store for us that Wednesday night – well, rather, that Thursday morning.

I remember feeling grateful that since our last trip to the labor and delivery triage unit just 2.5 weeks prior, I felt more at ease upon entering the doors of our local hospital that night. Perhaps I was simply feeling relieved that your Daddy didn’t turn on the wrong road en route to the hospital this time. Or, maybe I was feeling hopeful about being sent home again, allowing you to remain inside of me a little longer. Or, yet another possibility, perhaps I was comforted because I had packed my hospital bag and readied your room, as well as your little haven in our bedroom. Even still, I lifted up prayer after silent prayer to God, begging Him to be present and to hold tightly to all of us as we made our way to the hospital, and as you made your way to our world.

After a quick admission process and some time spent monitoring my contractions, which were coming about 2-3 minutes apart, the medical staff checked my cervix, which hadn’t changed from two centimeters dilated. Fortunately, your heartbeat continued to be stellar throughout all of the contractions and monitoring, which was a relief – just like your brother who came before you, we felt so blessed that we didn’t have to worry about you during the birth process. The nurse midwife on call – who I liked a lot, dear boy – then decided to give me a dose of terbutaline to attempt to slow my contractions. I had already experienced how this medication made me feel when we visited labor and delivery 2.5 weeks earlier, so the next hour went by without much surprise. I didn’t dilate any further during that hour of monitoring, despite the fact that I was still enduring contractions {albeit with more space between them}, so the nurse midwife gave us two options: since I didn’t dilate any further, there was no medical reason for them to keep me, so option no. 1 was to go home and rest, and return if my contractions intensified. Option no. 2, on the other hand, was something called therapeutic sleep, which involved staying at the hospital and electing for medication, including morphine and a muscle relaxer, which would work together {while I got some much-needed rest} to help my uterus – a muscle – to determine its course of action {either to continue contracting or to relax}. Because I was still experiencing contraction pain, I elected for the therapeutic sleep option. At this point, we were moved to another room, and I was given medication to begin the therapeutic sleep process. Your Daddy quickly took up camp on the pull-out couch in the room; he was as eager himself as I was for a restful few hours of sleep.

On that night, circumstances changed dramatically as my nurse walked out of the room after administering the medication for therapeutic sleep, as it was then that I felt a marked, pulsating pain ripple through my abdomen. Believing wholeheartedly that the medication just needed time to kick in, I breathed through the contraction, just as I had been doing throughout the night thus far – except – oh, the inevitable “except” – except the contractions didn’t stop coming: they intensified. For the next ten minutes, in the muted light of the middle of the night, inside a birthing room that I never anticipated being mine until early December, I endured contraction after contraction, with little more than thirty seconds of rest before another wave would hit. A quick glance at the ever-noisy machine that was monitoring my contractions showed me numbers in the high nineties, and that was all that I needed to see to know that what I was feeling was, indeed, for real. As I hit the call button on my hospital bed, I informed the nurse {who calmly asked via intercom, “How can I help you?”} in an exasperated hiss of urgency that my contractions were coming so hard, so fast, and that this was not what I was expecting out of therapeutic sleep.

Two nurses came running fast into my room, one of whom I recognized as the nurse assigned to me; the other introduced herself as the head nurse on the labor and delivery floor and proceeded to check my cervix for further dilation. I was now dilated to three centimeters, so the nursing staff attempted to contact the nurse midwife who had prescribed the therapeutic sleep process earlier in the evening. In the meantime, I awoke your Daddy and begged for his hand to hold as I continued to battle intense, fast-moving contractions.

By the time that the nurse midwife arrived in my room – perhaps twenty minutes later – I was dilated to five centimeters. She looked me in the eyes and said the words that I didn’t think that we would hear that night: “You’re having this baby.” My mouth dropped open in surprise, and as the nurses began moving faster and faster to ready me for a repeat c-section, my eyes, anxious and fearful, scanned the room for your Daddy’s. In his eyes I found the same anxiety and fear, yet he concealed his emotions with an air of composure that I simply couldn’t muster in that moment.


“I’m scared,” I told him. “It’s too early. I’m only 36 weeks and 4 days along.”

“Everything will be fine,” he told me.

“I don’t want things to just be ‘fine,'” I replied, my voice making known the panic that I was feeling inside.

“Everything will be great,” he said, emphasizing the word “great.” “We’re going to meet our boy!”

At some point, another nurse introduced herself as the nurse who would be attending to my needs during the c-section. She was unbelievably kind as she informed us that all births at our hospital are attended by the NICU staff, regardless of the baby’s gestational age, but that their hope was that you, our baby, wouldn’t be in need of their services. She asked what felt like a million questions about my pregnancy and birth with Lionel, about my current pregnancy, and about our reasoning for a repeat c-section, and I barked out answers to these questions as I breathed through contractions that seemed endless.

I remember asking your father to contact your grandparents to check on Lionel, who was, of course, fast asleep, as the clock ticked away the first hours of November 13. After some time, I remember someone throwing your Daddy some scrubs, and I remember giggling when he asked for bigger booties to cover his size 12 shoes. The giggles gave me a quick respite from the nerves that I was feeling, so I asked your father to snap a few pictures of me, scrub cap and all, to mark the moment before my bed was wheeled down to the OR, where we would finally, yet prematurely, meet you, our second son.

I remember the nurse anesthetist greeting me as I was wheeled into the OR, and I remember thinking how kind he was as he cracked jokes with me while we waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive to give me my spinal. I remember meeting my surgeon and thinking to myself how calm she seemed in comparison to my desperate desire to jump outside of my body for the next few minutes, like one of those creepy Jack-in-the-Box toys that children play with. I remember looking off to my right side at the baby warmer and thinking about you, the little boy that I was about to meet, and how in just a matter of moments, you would be placed in that bassinet, newly in existence in our world. I remember thinking, at every moment, from the instance that I jostled my body from my hospital bed to the surgical table, that this experience – this opportunity to be conscious and awake for your arrival, for the birth of my second child – was quite awesome, and, at the same time, was unbelievably overwhelming for me, precisely because I didn’t have that opportunity when Lionel arrived.

A few moments after your Daddy entered the operating room and took his place by my side, I remember feeling the odd tugging of pressure, a sensation that was new to me because I wasn’t able to be conscious during Lionel’s birth. As tears flooded my eyes and slipped down the sides of my cheeks, I remember feeling surprised, embarrassed and a bit shameful about my reaction to actually being able to experience your birth, for by the time that the surgeon peeked around the curtain, her gloved hands holding you, a tiny baby boy, pink and beautiful and boasting spiky hair and not making a single sound, my tears had morphed into sobs.


With every ounce of strength that I had, I let out a sigh of relief upon seeing your little body, your sweet face cradled in the surgeon’s arms. Between sobs, I begged your father to be by your side as the medical staff checked you out. Your father looked so proud to stand by your side as you experienced your first moments in our world; I had missed experiencing these first moments with your brother, and I felt so overwhelmed with the emotion of seeing your father as a new {again} Daddy.

The nurses announced your weight – five pounds, eight ounces – and another heaving sob escaped my throat; I couldn’t believe how small you were. Your little lungs needed some help at first, so after a few minutes of oxygen, you finally let out a wonderful burst of noise – your first cry – and I dissolved into a sobbing mess once again.

“He’s so small…he came too early,” I choked out between sobs to your Daddy, who was still by your side.

“He’s perfect,” your Daddy said. The nurse anesthetist echoed his sentiments, too, to try and ease my worries as the surgeon continued her work on me.

My sobs only continued when your Daddy finally brought you over to me. You were swaddled tightly in a blanket with just your sweet plump-cheeked face greeting mine, and I stared and stared at your little face through my tears, begging you to be okay, to be strong, to be healthy.

I know that people always say this about childbirth, and about children in general, but it became clear to me, as my eyes met yours for the first time, that I have experienced two distinct moments in my life in which I truly saw God, in which I could feel His presence at the helm of my life, and both resulted in the birth of a beautiful boy. While I have long loved God as someone in great need of grace, I realized that never before in my life – not during times of worship, not in moments of stress, of grief, of complete joy or utter sadness – have I so intimately felt God’s hands around mine, and around those of my children, than in the moments in which you and your brother were born. Oh, to feel His love realized in the form of a baby, my baby; yes, as I looked at your sweet face and promised you the best of me – to be for you, and for your brother too, an indestructible, endless net of love and faithfulness, ever positioned so that I will always catch you – I was able to glimpse how immense our Father’s love is for us.


As tears continued to wet my face, I asked your Daddy to bring your cheeks close to my lips so that I could kiss you, just like I do to your brother countless times throughout each day, just like I will do for his, and for your, entire life. When my lips finally brushed your skin, an act of love that left evidence of my tears on your sweet face, my sobs finally calmed, and I relished in the joy of your beautiful, unexpected arrival.


{all photos by Creative Kindling}

welcome baby quincy!

in the wee hours of the morning just one week ago, Jord, Lionel and i welcomed little Quincy August Gillis into our world. he has quickly charmed his way into our hearts, and we couldn’t be happier to have him in our family!

his early arrival {2.5 weeks ahead of his scheduled c-section, at just 36.5 weeks} granted him a short {36 hours-ish} stay in the NICU due to issues with maintaining his blood sugar levels, but {all thanks to God}, he rebounded quickly, and we were able to come home together as a family this past Sunday.

here’s our youngest boy at birth; he came to us at 3:39 in the morning, arriving at 5 pounds, 8 ounces and 17.25″ long:


and with his big brother, who {thus far} has been incredibly kind and gentle with his baby brother:


that’s all for now – birth story to come. xoxo, Sara, Jord, Lionel and Quincy