Sunday, August 21, 2016

Kaleb Daniel arrives on due date!

You all know that I'm not good at making a long story short. I'm great at making a short story long, though. So rather than dive into an inevitably lengthy narrative about Kaleb's blessed and timely arrival, I will stick with a timeline.

July 20: OB appt, baby still breech, schedule External Version for Monday
July 20-25: Pray that baby will turn on his own, perform many awkward poses and stretches to encourage baby to flip to head down position
July 25: Drop all five kids off at the Bishop's house to play with his good family all day, report at hospital in Great Falls with Aaron for the version procedure, discover that the baby is still breech, wait a lot, then endure an intense but brief procedure involving the doctor and nurse pushing really hard on the poor baby, SUCCESS! Like a spring, he feels like he's about to flip right back into the breech position, so Doctor and nurse instruct me to wear a maternity support belt in restrictive fashion atop my uterus to squeeze him in and to stand up and walk for the next three hours, no sitting for the hour drive back to Choteau until 3 hours of gravity and walking help him engage in the head down position. We comply.
August 2: bring the girls to OB appt while Aaron keeps the boys for some guy fun, baby still head down but not fully engaged so keep doing what you're doing (wearing that squeezy band day and night, walking, and praying lots), barely dilated to just over 1 cm
August 9 @ 10am: drop off all 5 kids at my kind visiting teacher's house since Mirien's travel plans were slightly delayed and she was still en route, drive with Aaron to Great Falls for OB appt
11am: appt delayed 3 hours due to my doctor having had her baby the day before and her Midwife fill-in attending a delivery right then
2pm: return to clinic for appt, baby still head down and fully engaged (woohoo, freedom from uncomfortably squeezy band!), membranes stripped, dilated to nearly 3 cm, so we walk around and I eat Jalapenos to see if we can get things going while we're there in Great Falls,
4pm: Walking around Sam's club, contractions are just frequent and noticeable enough to make me wonder if it'll turn into the real thing, but not progressing enough to convince me, so we head back to Choteau
5pm: pick up kids, Xander makes tacos, we tidy up and make beds for our guests
6:45 pm: Mirien and Jillian arrive! Taco Tuesday, get guests settled, enjoy their company, Jillian tucks Hazel & Max in bed, try unsuccessfully to figure our how to watch Olympics via streaming, mild contractions continue
11:23 pm: Go to bed wondering if I'll be able to sleep through these contractions or if they'll progress into active labor
August 10 @ 12:23am: contractions have been consistently every 5 minutes for the last hour, and I haven't been able to sleep through them. Is it because they are more intense or just because my mind can't stop wondering if this means we should head to the hospital soon so we don't cut it too close with a long drive? I get up and print out the shipping label for my first eBay sale ever, package up the Ooma device, and get it all ready to ship, just in case, so I can assure shipping within the required 2 days. Find Hazel's card for Great Grandma Lowe and finally put a stamp on that, too. When distracted, I don't notice and time every contraction, meaning they are pretty mild.
12:50 am: Back to Bed
1:50 am: Contractions  have been consistently every 5 minutes for the last hour, and I still haven't been able to sleep through them. I feel like we need to head to the hospital, though I hate to wake Aaron up because the contractions are still so mild. But if I was dilated to a 3 in the early afternoon, and I've been having regular contractions, by the time I get to the hospital in an hour I figure I'll probably be dilated to a 5, so I decide it's a go. I don't want a miserable hour-long drive. I wake Aaron up anyway and tell him it's time. With barely more than a word, he gets our things into the car. I wake Mirien up to tell her we're leaving.
2:02 am: We drive off for the hospital. Contractions are now every 4 minutes, but not uncomfortable. Aaron is exhausted and just drives. I breathe and relax comfortably. The trip feels calm and easy.
3:04 am: We arrive at the hospital. My contractions still feel mild enough that I opt to park the car with Aaron and walk up to the door. I comment that it feels weird to be at the hospital when I'm at such an early, easy stage of labor.
3:27 am: After the initial registration stuff, the nurse checks me declares that I'm dilated to a 3. So disappointed!! I feel like I shouldn't have woken Aaron up for this. He reassures me that I did the right thing. Since we came all the way from Choteau, the burse and midwife come up with a plan: monitor for 30, walk for 60, monitor for 30, check again. If progressed, admit. If not, send home. I can hardly describe how disappointed and deflated I felt. I mustered my courage and faith and prayed for help in moving past the negative woulda-coulda-shoulda thoughts. I feel reassured that it will all work out and I trust.
3:47 am: The monitor shows I'm having contractions every 2-3 minutes, so the nurse has me get up to walk the hall of the Labor and delivery unit. We walk around and around and around the loop, pausing to breathe and squat and maximize every contraction. I finally convince my poor husband that he doesn't need to wear himself out by walking with me--I'll need his strength later! He goes to rest on the chair in the triage room. I keep walking, thinking about how I had been hoping that once I was in the security of the hospital, I would actually be able to relax enough to catch a little bit of sleep. Nope, I'm walking and walking and so so tired after not a minute of sleep all night. The hallway is about 2 minutes long at my pace, and I stop at nearly the same place each loop to breathe and maximize each contraction while praying very fervently for the Lord to bless my labor to progress so I won't have to go home and wonder more and more about when to come back. I feel the contractions increasing in intensity and feel so grateful.
5ish am: the triage nurse finishes with another laboring mom who came in and brings me back to the monitor from the halls.
5:15ish am: The tocometer shows that my contractions have increased in intensity and are about 2 minutes apart, so she checks me. I'm dilated to a 5-6! Hooray! Prayers answered! Admitted to a L&D room.
6ish am: The Midwife arrives and checks me. I'm dilated to an 8. She offers to break my bulging bag of waters. For some reason, in my exhausted state of mind, I was still enjoying the breaks between contractions too much and didn't feel ready to leap ahead to the increased intensity that I feel after my water is broken. I figure I can break it on my own when I push after being fully dilated. Aaron continues being the amazing, wonderful, encouraging support that he is during intensifying labor. I love that man!
6:20ish am: Contractions have gotten much more intense and I'm wishing I had let the midwife break my water. We call for the nurse and ask for the midwife to come back. She's stepped away, downstairs eating breakfast. Too bad for me, but she did look completely exhausted when I saw her, she definitely needed some fuel. Nurse checks me, dilated to 8-9. I try to push during a contraction, though I don't have the urge, just to see if I can break that water and get things moving. Doesn't work. I'm so tired and it feels like it's taking so long. I start begging for Aaron to do something to help me find a comfortable position because nothing is remotely comfortable during contractions!
7:05ish am: Midwife returns, checks me, I'm nearly complete. She breaks my water. Very soon I feel the urge to push and push very exuberantly, remembering the feeling of relief on the other side and craving it. In the intensity, I remember Meredith calling it the ring of fire, I push like I mean it!
7:18 am: Baby boy is born and I feel an amazing flood of awe, relief, disbelief, gratitude, joy, wonder, love, and concern. His complexion is a bit dusky and his face is rather bruised from his rapid descent. Sorry, little guy.

7:30ish am: The baby nurse takes him over to the warmer to suction him some more and give him some blow-by Oxygen to get him to pink up. His initial Apgar scores are a bit low, but he responds well to the nurses efforts and scores fine after about 30 minutes. While they're taking care of our sweet, miraculous baby boy, I rest and realize that while my exhaustion made it feel like it was taking a long time, it was actually only about 4 hours since we got to the hospital and I was only dilated to a 3. Amazing. Intense gratitude. 7:48 am: Weighed in at 8lbs 9oz, 22inches long--also thankful that he didn't follow the previous pattern of each successive child being larger than the previous one. Oliver was 9lbs 4 oz!

6ish pm: Over our celebration dinner in the hospital, complete with Sparkling cider, Aaron and I finally decided on a name for the little sweetie: Kaleb Daniel Dahle.

Then we just enjoyed the baby honeymoon in the hospital and tried to recover from the sleepless night, relishing the feelings of gratitude and wonder as we cuddled our sweet little Kaleb. How wonderful that I was able to travel to the hospital in the comfortable condition of early labor and still hold my baby in my arms just over 4 hours later! Such a tender mercy from the Lord in the timing of it all! He answered the prayer I've been offering ever since we decided to move to Choteau, with the OB care an hour away, that I would know that it was time to go to the hospital in time to get there comfortably. It just amazes me how fully he answered my specific prayer. I knew it was time to go.

Mirien had just arrived 7 hours before, so I could leave with the reassurance that my 5 kids were well-taken care of at home. She could only stay for just under a week, so this timing maximized her ability to help when we need it. My mom had wanted to come help, but the baby was due the week they needed to report for their mission, so she had delegated helping to Mirien. With her busy family, she also didn't have huge flexibility in the timing of her visit, so the Lord blessed her for her willingness and me for my parent's willingness to answer the call of a mission and made the timing just perfect.

Further, I was blessed to have the sweet baby stay head down for optimal delivery and recovery. I did not have to have a C-section and the more difficult recovery, so it was fine that Mirien could just stay for a couple days after we got home from the hospital, because my recovery has been so easy.

And of course a huge highlight was seeing the siblings' joy and excitement upon meeting their little brother!

When we got married, Aaron and I discussed that we wanted 7 kids. We figured it would be great to have 7 kids in 10 years. According to the Lord's will and timing, of course. Our 7th was just born and Xander is 11, so pretty close. 7 kids eternally, 6 to raise. Wow. Amazing that we're to this point. We will just see what the Lord has in store for our family in the years to come.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

One Shoe and and One Shoe Off

Aaron was off in Helena fulfilling his National Guard Duty to country. While it's a bit close to my due date to feel totally comfortable having him 2 hours away, we felt fine about it and had a loose "meet at the hospital" plan, which would have required some serious begging for help on my part, in place just in case. Aaron had the Beast with him so he could camp in it rather than spend moolah on a hotel, so Xander and Elodie were planning to bike to church since we wouldn't all fit in Little Red. Seeing as how I really want to do what I can to get labor going in its own good time, I decided to put the other kids in the stroller and walk to Church. It was a lovely, cool morning after a rainstorm, and I was excited to enjoy it.

We were actually doing really well at getting everyone ready early enough to walk and arrive on time. We had a girls' night Saturday evening, putting the girls' hair in rags and painting finger- and toenails,

and we had even made time to undo the rags and kinda fix the girls' crazy, unevenly curly hair.

I was feeling pretty good as we were gathering our stuff and heading out the door at 8:23, even if my big blue dress was tight around my middle this week. I put on my supportive, neon-salmon tennis shoes for the walk due to my terrible third-trimester tripping and twisting tendency

and begged Xander, Elodie, and even Max to help Hazel find her other sandal. Well that sandal was good and lost and NO ONE could find it. Hazel sat with one sandal on and one sandal off, passionately declaring that she might as well NOT got to church because she couldn't find her other sandal and she did NOT want to wear her white Sunday shoes because then no one would be able to see her pretty toenails!! Tragic.

I tried reasoning briefly, I tried searching, but both to no avail. She stormed outside, still with one bare foot, and refused to get in the stroller and continued her expressive rant. She still really wanted to ride Max's bike, despite her footwear issues. I grabbed her matching Sunday shoes and ruffled socks, in addition to my own Sunday sandals to change into upon arrival and we tried to head out. At this point, I wondered if we should just drive since we now had under 20 minutes to make it, but the little boys were both already happily sitting in the stroller, ready to go, so we stuck with the walking plan and headed off. Hazel had angrily thrown the one sandal into the garage and was walking down the gravel alley barefoot, weeping and wailing, as I tried to coax her to just squish in with her brothers in the stroller. Oh what a spectacle we were! Eventually the sharp rocks convinced her to climb into the stroller, and I calmly told her that I had her shoes and socks when she was ready for them. About halfway to church, she had calmed down and told me she was ready to put her shoes on. She is such a sweetie--she comes around to reason just fine when she's given her own time to do it rather than feeling forced by someone else's timetable. Unfortunately, time constraints are real and it was 8:59 when we were walking up the hill in the Church parking lot. We made it to the door right at 9:00, but I still had to get the kids out and change my shoes. My shoes, my sandals, plural. But where was the other one? I searched under and around all of the scripture bags in the stroller storage compartment, and verily, verily, I say unto you, there was but one sandal in the midst of it. One of them must ahve fallen out unnoticed on the walk there. (Yep, Xander and Elodie found it near the school on their ride home from Church.) What? Really? I only have one sandal to wear?!?! Oh the irony! It was so funny I couldn't help but explain to the kind sisters who were holding the door open for me and trying to help me get all my stuff and corral my three little kids inside.  I had a quick choice to make--I could follow Hazel's initial attempt and just wear one sandal with one foot bare, I could walk in to Church completely barefoot and pregnant, or I could wear two vibrant tennis shoes.

Yep, the tennis shoes won out and we paraded in to sacrament meeting late, right up into the third pew that Xander and Elodie had saved for us when they arrived on time after their uneventful bike ride. Spectacle much? Like I don't get enough attention just "still being here" this hugely pregnant.

I must say that this only served to intensify my desire to not have to wear this big blue maternity dress to Church next week! Oh please let this baby come this week!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Feeling Adventurous

I'd say that camping at a day shy of 37 weeks pregnant up in the mountains of the Louis and Clark Wilderness with 5 young kids counts as adventurous. Aaron has a great work schedule up here, with a day or two off during the week, so we took advantage of that and headed out right after work on Monday. 

After driving about 40 minutes into the mountains on a bumpy, windy gravel road, which road was about a 25 minute drive from our little rural town, we were feeling pretty far out into the wilderness. The area had been burned by a forest fire about 9 years ago, opening up a great long-distance view. The wildflowers and undergrowth were beautiful. We were excited to discover that we're far enough north for fireweed to grow--one of our favorite Alaskan flowers!

Within minutes of arriving, we had blood and screams (thank you, Hazel) that probably made the neighboring campers think something far more tragic than a scraped knee had occurred. Let the craziness begin!

Since it doesn't get dark until after 10:00 up this far north, we had plenty of time to set up camp. Aaron went for a tent village arrangement, with 3 tents for our family--a girl tent with an air mattress for me, a little tent that Xander and Elodie set up on their own for Xander and Max, and a tent for Dad and Oliver--instead of one huge tent. It seemed to work quite nicely. Oliver LOVED his first camping trip!
As it was finally getting dark, we enjoyed singing and sharing scriptures around the campfire, watching the moon rapidly rise above the mountain, and of course, roasting mallows. When Aaron finally put Oliver to bed in his tent, that exhausted little guy just laid right down in that big, cozy sleeping bag, laid his head on his favorite blanket, and went right to sleep, not waking up until morning. We've never had a one-year-old who was such a champion sleeper on a campout before! Everyone slept well and that made the campout SO MUCH more enjoyable! I'm glad we squeezed this little adventure in before a newborn arrives!
Aaron made sure I did plenty of relaxing, knowing we were a good 2 hours from a hospital and not wanting things to get too adventurous.
We decided to hike and explore back where the trees had not been scorched and we soon had several refreshingly wet shoes (or tragically wet, if you happen to be Hazel). Who can resist a bridge made of logs? 

And how can a kid not slip and get at least one foot in the water? Luckily, Dad found a mama bird in a tree feeding her babies to distract Hazel's mind from her soggy sock. She LOVES babies. That tactic worked far better than my reasonable cajoling.
I love how long kids can enjoy some water, sticks, and stones.
Max was pretty impressed with the evidence of a bear nearby. There was even black bear fur stuck to those claw marks.
No body wanted to stop exploring, even Oliver who desperately needed a nap by then. He caught a little snooze in the car while the energetic took a short hike.
On our way down from the mountains, we stopped by Eureka Reservoir to cook one more meal in the great outdoors before heading home. Naturally everyone was soggy and muddy right away. 

Good times and great memories. We just love the outdoors!

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Next Chapter Begins: Choteau, Montana

I must say, we are all loving life up here in Choteau, Montana. It's a great little town in an absolutely beautiful part of the country. The weather is gorgeous! Most days it doesn't get hotter than the mid-70's; some days it doesn't get past the high 60's. It actually feels quite a bit like an Alaskan summer, but with less mosquitoes! Two years ago, moving from Alaska to southeast Kansas while rather pregnant made for what felt like the hottest summer of my life. Moving from that hot Kansas humidity up to this dry, fresh, cool air while rather pregnant has been bliss! Aaron loves it no less than I do. For, him, just breathing the air up here feels like home. He is one happy, thoroughly contented man!

During the first week here, we were blessed to have my parents around to help us unpack and settle in. Grandpa made sure to include a little exploring to keep things interesting. He took Xander fishing at the nearby river, but all Xander caught were 4 crawdads, 3 of which were smart enough to escape. The remaining poor little fellow had the privilege of amazing a crowd with the fact that he turned from muddy brown to bright red when boiled. Xander and Grandpa thought the tiny morsels were delicious.

While Grandma and Grandpa were here, we discovered a few other things, as well. For one, that we were blessed to move into a wonderfully welcoming ward. With open arms, meals, treats, and people dropping by to introduce themselves, they welcomed us days before we even got to go to Church to meet everyone. It's so nice to feel wanted and needed! While it's not quite literally true that our family doubled the primary, it's pretty close, at least on weeks like today when some regulars are on vacation and no visitors are there. Today we had 9 kids in all of primary, junior and senior meeting together, and 4 of them were Dahles (plus, out of the 2 Nursery kids there today, one was a little Dahle). Aaron was substituting for the regular senior primary teacher (yes, all of senior primary meets together in one Valiant class) today and the only kids in class were Xander and Elodie! I happen to know these specifics because I was called a couple weeks ago to the same calling I had in our last ward: Second Counselor in the Primary Presidency! Primary is such a fun place to be. And as an added bonus, since junior and senior meet together during the second block, primary leaders get to go to Relief Society!


We also discovered how nice and generous our neighbors are when they offered us their lawn furniture and folding table and chairs while we waited for our furniture to arrive. And we discovered our cozy little library that kept the kids in books while they awaited their personal collection.

On the day the moving truck arrived and the crew unloaded our truck, it was so nice to have Grandma and Grandpa off entertaining the kids as they explored the Dinosaur Museum, library, park, and ice cream parlor! I tried to figure out where everything from our 4-level house with lots of storage would go in this little house with limited storage. By using up every bit of room in our allotted half of the detached garage and utilizing the second kitchen in the basement as our food storage room, we were able to fit everything in fairly well. In fact, I'd say we fit pretty cozily in here. The tightest fit is our dining room table in the little kitchen eating area, but as long as the person sitting in front of the fridge is flexible about moving if you forgot the salad dressing and the skinny little kids are in the back by the wall, we discovered that we can fit our family and two guests around the table. "A house filled with love has elastic walls," as a wise woman once said.

I'm so grateful that we found this affordable house that is big enough for our family and stuff (over 21,000 pounds of stuff!! Unbelievable!). We can stay here as long as we need to while we save up and look for just the right house for our family to settle in to for the long haul. My favorite part about the house is that it's right in town, close enough to walk or ride bikes to the library, school, pool, grocery store, church, scout hall, tire shop, and most everywhere. The town has such a great, safe, family-friendly feel that after only being here a week, I felt just fine about having Xander bike himself to and from basketball camp at the school 3 blocks away. He bikes himself to scouts on Tuesdays, he and Elodie bike together to swim team daily, and they biked together to Church one week. It simplifies my life so nicely to have them transporting themselves to activities, and they've taken the responsibility on beautifully! Speaking of beautiful, check out how clear this water is!

Aaron, Grandpa, and most of the kids went out fishing and exploring the beautiful reservoirs around us while my mom and I unpacked and turned the heap of boxes and furniture into a cozy home. We are all feeling settled and happy here in rural Montana!


(Written on July 17 in an attempt to catch up!)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Attic Finishing

When we were house hunting in Independence, Kansas, the potential of this attic space

was a big selling point for us. So we bought this beautiful, old, brick house

and got to work on making the attic a dream-come-true 4th bedroom-clubhouse for the older kids. Well, Aaron did. I was like this

so I just dreamed and surfed the internet for pictures of beautiful finished attics like this

The morning of the day this little guy arrived on the scene,

Aaron was doing some exploration in the attic, and as he tore out a kneewall, he also cut off power to 75% of the lights in the house. Awesome. I'm in labor so let's go to the hospital and we'll deal with that later. With the updating of 1930's knob-and-tube wiring suddenly bumped to first on the old house priority list,

 finishing the attic was not something he could make time for right away. The attic had to wait with all of his other time demands: being an excellent dad,

monthly weekend Guard Duty,

monthly temple trips,

monthly visits to his family in Texas to see his sweet mom who was suffering from pancreatic cancer,

campouts with the YM,

and working one Saturday a month at the clinic. All that left the attic still looking like this

We hired local Lee's Cooling to install an air conditioner up there. But even after they were done, it was still SO HOT up there! They blamed it on the lack of insulation. Based on a YouTube idea, Aaron decided to frame in additional 2x4s to increase the depth potential of insulation, and thus its R-value. So framing began. Progress was SLOW. Wires had to be run and lights and outlets planned and prepared for. Finally, over a year later, it was ready for insulation. Aaron was ready to hire that job out, too, but we couldn't even find a local guy willing to take on the job. A great deal on some stiff foam insulation fell into our laps

so Aaron manned up, as usual, with his trusty sidekick Xander, who did not relish the hot, sweaty, itchy job but definitely learned a LOT!

Again, progress was SLOW.

Then we felt like it was the right time for us to fulfill Aaron's dream of moving to Montana to settle down and raise our family. In the slow real estate market of our little town, we didn't think that a work-in-progress (AKA hideous construction zone) of an attic would sell the house, so we threw balance to the wind and Aaron devoted all of his spare time to actually finishing that attic! As the moving date neared and he had only hung a few sheets of drywall, reality hit so we hired the wonderful Jeff and Vance to finish drywalling for us. They finished the Saturday before the moving truck was scheduled to arrive (on  a Tuesday). Then we had to paint, clean up the construction zone floors, put a railing on the stairs, and install all of the recessed lights and outlets. The goal was to finish all of that up on Wednesday, Aaron's birthday, and then drive out Thursday morning.

Thanks to the Xander & Elodie, the missionaries, and some selfless friends, we nearly got the drywall mud scraped and scrubbed off of the floor. It was far from perfect, and there was no time to actually stain and finish the cool old wood floor, but we did all we could and we'd have to be OK with what we could do. For the first time, I can honestly say "we" because on Aaron's birthday, I actually chipped in with some personal elbow grease up there instead of just consultation (since the moving truck had come the day before, I was totally done with all of the packing) and experienced for myself just how miserable the working conditions were in that hot, humid, filthy attic. Heat rash, puffy allergy eyes, and utter exhaustion (apparently, I'm a bit of a wimp, though in my defense, I am in my 3rd trimester)

really made me appreciate how dutifully Aaron just mans up without complaint to get it done! Let me just say, I did not marry a WIMP! I love this guy--I am so very very thankful for him!

Sadly, Aaron did not get the one birthday present he wished for: that all of his work on the electrical piece on his birthday would just please come together so that when he flipped the magical switch, there would be light. At 11:30pm, he was finally ready for the moment of truth. He flipped a switch, and no light. He flipped another switch and there was a flicker as brief as lightning, then nothing. The final switch: nothing. Calmly troubleshooting with his tired brain and exhausted body got us no where. But we were supposed to move out the next morning!!! Oh no!! In frustration, I texted my mom. She texted back some wise counsel that we gratefully followed: get some sleep and leave a day later. That extra day proved to be just what we needed. Aaron discovered that the drywallers had indeed drywalled right over an outlet, preventing the circuit from completing. After a little exploration (AKA cutting) into the brand new drywall, he found that hiding outlet and was able to get some lights on. Another circuit was overloaded--in his characteristic "go-big-or-go-home" style, he had simply installed too many lights for the space, you know, to make sure that it didn't feel like a dark cave up there any more. So after removing half of the lights (yes, leaving recessed holes in the ceiling), those lights worked, too. We ran out of time to trouble shoot the lights in the last dormer area, but were in the right frame of mind to accept that we'd done all we could and were just out of time. We didn't get it perfectly finished or staged for selling our house like I'd hoped, but what we accomplished felt pretty awesome, and we enjoyed tucking our kids into bed in the attic on our really, truly final night in Kansas. It felt beautiful up there to us after all we'd put into it, and we enjoyed a lovely last night in our nearly empty house.

Imagine that the built-in twin bed has an actual mattress on it and that there are books and a cute little lamp on the shelf.

I'm sure that this window seat reading nook would have quickly become Elodie's favorite spot in the house!


Imagine Xander's bed there where the old attic fan is in the before picture, and a sweet Lego Land in that big, open area to the left.

Aren't those lit up lights a beautiful sight? Just ignore those extra round holes in the ceiling. And the white drywall mud residue on the floor; we're pretending it gives it a rustic white-washed look.

We all loved how it turned out and were sad to leave it behind, but so happy to have a cool space up there to help sell the house! When our realtor came to take pictures of the attic on Aaron's birthday (and I was kind of an emotional wreck at the moment because it was not done at all and things just weren't coming together despite all of our blood, sweat, and tears), she was able to look past the construction-zone residue and tools and empty paint cans everywhere. She was impressed enough that she said she didn't think we needed to lower the price of the house to generate interest, after all. Woohoo! She likes it! Cindy likes it! That helped my emotional state considerably.

(Note: In fact, just two days after arriving in Choteau, Montana, our realtor called to tell us we'd received a full price offer! We had only had one showing in the previous 7 weeks, then we finished the attic and actually got an offer! It was such a miracle and we felt so incredibly blessed!)

(Written on July 10 in an effort to catch up!)