Saturday, March 19

Field Days

I am so blessed to live where I do and have amazing family members.  This week the school had field day.  Adah's grade had it wed. and Jonah's grade had it thurs.  Since we live so close to the school (literally next door to it) and since my sweet mother-in-law loves her new baby grandson..and me of course.. I was able to leave the baby for a couple hours and walk over to help out with field day.

It was very strange and pulled at my heart to send Joshua off to someone else bright and early at 8:15 am, but I knew he was in good hands and I knew how much it meant to his brother and sister, so I pushed through.  Besides, I absolutely love being at the kids' school.  The atmosphere is energetic and fun and it makes my kids grin proudly when they see me on campus.

My favorite part of field day 1 was the story Adah's teacher told me.  I dropped her at her classroom and went to get my game assignment from the PE coach, and apparently during that time Adah put her whole class into stitches :)  She burst through the classroom door and promptly flexed her muscles and growled!  Then she hit the floor and started doing push-ups.  The girl was ready to destroy at those field day games.  She is so hilarious..  Her personality is totally not to get all competitive and sporty, it was all a show for the sake of being theatrical.  I love her soooo much.

My favorite part of field day 2 was watching my big boy do push-ups.  My station was the push-up station and I helped every class do them.  When it was Jonah's turn he sure made mama proud.  Though he is the smallest kid in his class by both height and weight he dominated the push-up competition!  Jonah did upwards of 50 push-ups in good form. How amazing is that? 

I took my phone the second day and got some snaps of Jonah and his classmates.

Tuesday, March 15

the best birthday gift ever.

Let me tell you about a good birthday present.  It is one that is personal and meaningful and desired by the receiver.  That's a tall order for the gift giver, so if you can't think of something that significant get a gift card...seriously gift cards may seem lazy but they are the next best thing, especially when paired with a personal, meaningful, card.  Guess what, I not only got my best gift ever but I also got 2 gift cards this year..LUCKY GIRL!

My best birthday gift ever (this year) came from my mommy.  She always tries to get me something I really want, and usually succeeds, because she is my mother after all.  So on my birthday 2 weeks ago she gave me a 12 class pass to work out at Goodfriends Group Fitness How perfect.  Just had a baby 2 months ago, feeling out of shape, love to work out, money is tight, voila!  She gave me a jumpstart that perfectly met my need and desire to get strong again (not to mention cute...of course).

I've taken 3 classes so far, and my favorite was last night's monday evening spin at 6:30 with Becca.  It was an endurance ride...ugggh...BUT it totally paid off in endorphins.  I left there feeling like a million bucks and having burned probably a million calories.  YAY!  Thank you mommy!!

And it gave me the energy I needed to get up at the crack of dawn today
with this little guy..

Monday, March 14

enter: joshua AND i am woman

January 2, 2011 changed everything. 

In the last week we had been feverishly trying to wrap up renovations, had closed on the house officially, and had celebrated Christmas and New Years with family.  When I say "we" I do not mean simply Hays and I.  I mean: Mom, Dad, Laura (mother-in-law), and Mike (father-in-law).  That doesn't even count the others who have helped us along the way...   Also when I say "we" I don't really mean me.  I did "nothing" other than walk around pregnant and take care of the kids mostly.

During the hectic week of New Years I had experienced night after night of sleeplessness and annoying contractions.  This of course made the week all the more intense with the threat of going into labor at any moment constant.  By Sunday, January 2nd going into labor was no longer a threat... it was happening!  Only 3 days after signing our mortgage and before we had finished and moved in, Joshua was arriving...

Hays was of course spending his day at the new house working, so Mom and I stuck close together and went to Target for provisions.  By about 4 pm I called Hays to come home and be with me, and it was only about an hour after his return home (6 pm) that I knew it was time to go see the midwife.  Contractions had been constant since 12 pm and were intensifying.

We opened the front door to the birth cottage by 6:30 pm and were promptly settled in and assessed by my midwife, Alice.  Upon initial assessment Alice wasn't so sure Joshua was really on his way, but in my heart I knew this was it.  She let me stay (though I could see in her eyes she didn't think it necessary) and rest for an hour before a reassessment.  Mom and Hays stayed by my side comforting me and reassuring me (for the record neither of them doubted me), and after that hour Alice could see for sure I wouldn't be leaving that cottage without my baby in my arms.  In fact I remember poignantly declaring that exact sentiment to my friend Rene' via text after Alice's initial skepticism.  This momma was serious!

After 4 more hours, the most intense agony I have ever experienced, and repeated cries out to the Lord to spare my life (who knew natural childbirth would feel like dying?)... I again wanted Alice to assess me, I knew I felt different and that it was time to deliver.  Despite her repeated skepticism, Alice checked and found that I was absolutely ready to bring another precious human into the world... (thank you momma's instincts: I love being right).

Delivery was intensely uncomfortable, overwhelmingly emotional, and downright quirky.  God brought my little boy into this world (with LOTS of help from me, hello!) halfway between one day and another.  His head was delievered (and crying!) at 11:59 pm on January 2nd.  Then, with a serious scream of encouragement from me (we'll just not reveal WHAT words of encouragement I used) the rest of Joshua was delievered at the stroke of midnight on January 3rd.  What a rush.  It was my first completely natural childbirth and I had not only survived (despite my own doubts that I would), but at the moment a new day began I personally reached for my child and pulled him into the world and up onto my chest.  I had done it.  This is one of my most proud moments.  I am so grateful to my husband and mother for supporting me every minute of the experience, without them I would have probably never made it through (seriously, I would have run out of that old house screaming for drugs).  Thank you Michael Hays and Mom!

Joshua Hays Layerd
6 lbs 5 oz
January 3, 2011

photos by:  Ashley Poole at

Before the Storm

After months of exhausting house-hunting, we finally settled on a fixer.  You see, Hays and I have a wonderful abundance of vision between the two of us.  Its a gift really... Sure, you could argue that our lives would be simpler if we did not constantly envision newer, better, and bigger.  Or that maybe we would be spared a few headaches if our preferences weren't quite so specific. But, so what if all of the houses in midtown that fit our family are unaffordable for us?  Does that mean we can't live in our favorite spot?  Well, where a lot of couples would swallow the pill and move out of the city a ways so they can have the 3 bedrooms, updated kitchen, large yard for the kids...  We simply dig in our heels and keep trying to find a way that our vision can become reality.  Are we annoying or what?  Try being our realtor!

And here is our reality:  A home in the right place with the right yard and the right number of bedrooms (4!) that just may need a little help.

It was built in 1957 and renovated a bit in the 1970's.  Now that spells CHARM.  Since putting an offer on this place WAY back in September, we have spent countless hours working out how in the world to update it within our budget and other constraints.

And renovation HAD to be done. 

For instance, The Kitchen:
Leaking sink
40 year old yellow lenolium
Original cabinetry, some rotten
yellow countertop
broken wall oven
disfunctional diswasher
stove with one working eye
ceiling damage
horrible lighiting
wood rot in subfloor

Case in point number 2: the front bathroom before we unleashed our fury on it!

More pics to come of our progress.  We moved in January 15th, 2 weeks after our new love Joshua was born.  Another wise idea from the Layerds..  So after a broken water heater and disfunctional washing machine on our first 2 nights (with a newborn, yes), we started to settle in and try to make house.