Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Room for Kate

Today, we will meet our little girl. I have butterflies just typing those words! For 5 years, we've been working to make room for her in our hearts, our lives, and our home. And this afternoon... she will walk into those spaces and fill them up with so much love and JOY! We can hardly wait!!!

For years, I have dreamed of creating a special place, just for Kate. I have pinned beautiful artwork, tucked away special decor, and dreamed of what her room would look like someday. We've called a specific room of the house "Kate's room" for more than 3 years... but waited until we were matched in April before beginning to truly make it hers. I needed to know exactly who she was, before I could make a space especially for her! And now today, I'm thrilled to share photos of Kate's beautiful room for you all to see!

A Special Bed for a Special Girl

Kate's bed is definitely the most meaningful piece of furniture in her room. I begged my Dad to make a bed for Kate. I really loved the idea of her having something special, handmade by her grandfather. And I had this beautiful daybed in my mind (that I couldn't find anywhere in any store!) So with the help of my mom, and me here and there (but mostly by himself), my Dad took my sketches and made Kate this beautiful oak daybed. Eventually, he will add a trundle drawer too... for when she's a little older and has sleepovers!

Mom and Dad delivered it to our house and set it up... and then I got to work sanding, staining, and sealing it. I stained it with one coat of "weathered oak" from Minwax. Then, when it was dry, I went back with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in "Coco", and worked that color into the grain. After that, I sealed it with 3 layers of ASCP clear wax. Pictures really don't do the finish justice! I wanted something that looked a little bit like driftwood - and that's what I got. The finished color is warm, light, and has just the right amount of gray in the grain.

Before we put the final pieces together, my parents came back to see the finished project. Then we each took turns writing notes to Kate in the corner beneath the mattress. Someday she'll be able to read the special things written to her by her Yaai (grandmother), Dtah (grandfather), Mama and Daddy.

The bedding we chose is an ivory quilt from Steinmart (the rug is also from there), and the pink pillows were handmade in India and bought for Kate on our last trip there. The gorgeous aqua, pink, and coral quilt at the foot of her bed was made for her by her "Auntie Shell". I know there was a lot of love, some tears, and many prayers put into each stitch. I'm sure both the quilt and the bed will be family heirlooms for years to come!

Have Courage and Be Kind

I had pinned this vinyl lettering several years ago on Etsy, along with many other pieces of art that I had to choose between for Kate's room. I just kept coming back to this quote though! Rusty and I have talked a lot about the things we hope to teach our daughter. I think two of the most important things we will ever impart to her is to be kind and to be courageous! I love that she'll see this reminder every day - first thing when she wakes up, and again before she falls asleep.

The shelf holding the pretty cubes for her toys was also made by my Dad, and painted by Rusty and me. The books were collected over the years by us (it was the one thing we knew we could buy her that she wouldn't outgrow!) and given as gifts by so many friends. I am most looking forward to reading "On The Night You Were Born" and "The Crown On Your Head" to her as soon as she's home. They were the very first things that I bought for her once we started our adoption, and I cried thinking of her when I read them in the store that night!

Her glider is from Buy Buy Baby. It's the Roni Swivel Glider - special ordered in the fabric "Snow". I absolutely love it! It's beautiful, so comfortable, and the printed linen fabric was the perfect choice for her room. I'm looking forward to a lot of rocking, snuggling, and reading in this chair.

The bunny was a gift from my friend Mindy - off her registry from Target.  Bunnies have always been special to me, and this one is so soft and snuggly! We sent Kate a mini-version of the same bunny in a care package in June. I hope that when she sees this one in the chair, it helps her recognize this room as her special place!

Prayers for Kate

The banner over Kate's bed has a story behind it too! At one of Kate's baby showers, my friends decided to make this craft for her. Each person in attendance was invited to write out a prayer for our little girl. At the end of the day, my friend Katie put them all together into this beautiful banner... that just happened to fit perfectly in her window! Rusty and I could not hold back the tears when we read all the beautiful words our friends had lifted up to God on our daughter's behalf. I love that these prayers will hang over her each night when she sleeps.

Kate's Corner

This corner is the focal point in Kate's room. The vintage pink dresser was handpainted by me - in a custom color mixed by me, and all the gold details were added by hand. The little wooden shelf there was passed down from my grandmother, and is full of special things!

The Eucharisteo art piece was a gift from a friend, to remind us to choose joy, grace, and thankfulness - even during the difficulty we faced during Kate's adoption. The "LOVED" glitter letters were a gift from another friend, who also adopted a beautiful little girl from Thailand. The little teak box on the top shelf was handmade in Thailand and bought on our last trip. The little bunny on the top shelf was the very first thing we ever bought "for our child someday" from Thailand - before we even knew we were going to adopt! The beautiful wooden "K" was a gift from her Auntie Beth, and the silk flower crown hanging from it was made for me by the little girls in our Thailand Girls Home. I wore it in our House Mom's wedding last year.

There are two round baskets of stuffed animals on either side of the pink dresser. They have so many special toys inside - including a Winnie-The-Pooh from my Aunt Tammy (a right of passage for every child in our family), a bunny puppet from Cambodia from my friend Connie, a handmade elephant from the children in The Refuge, a canvas elephant from Thailand, a beautiful handmade Karen doll from Burma (you can see it peeking out in the picture!) and a set of handmade elephants (a mommy, daddy, and baby) from Kate's "Auntie Shell" that match her beautiful quilt.

Kate's Gallery Wall

Kate's gallery wall was my favorite thing to create. I have pinned ideas and collected artwork for years, just anticipating what this would look like someday! The "Bunny Parade" in the top left corner, and the Little Elephant in the middle right were two of the first things I pinned from one of my favorite artists on Etsy. Bunnies are my favorite animal (and Rusty's nickname for me!) and elephants are sacred in Thailand, and a huge part of Thai culture. So bunnies and elephants have found their way into her room in many places!

The bottom left is a vintage map of Thailand. The small frames on the middle left hold photos of us from our "Adoption Photo Shoot" (in the aqua frames) and a Mommy and Baby Elephant (in the white frame) - which is an original piece of art we bought in 2014 from a Thai artist.

The center piece is a Lindsay Letters "Hello Sweet Beautiful Girl!" - that I've loved for years! The tassels beneath it were handmade by the same sweet friend who made the glitter "LOVED" letters in the corner. And the art in the very bottom in the middle was handmade by me! The song "Mine To Love" has been our song to Kate, since I heard it for the first time performed live by Dave Barnes several years ago. I painted the lyrics out in gold and silver... just for our little one. I hope she reads them often and remembers just how loved she is!

The beautiful peach rose in the bottom right is another piece of original art from Thailand, purchased on our trip in 2015. The small frame beneath the "K" holds a piece of vintage music, which is actually a Tune Dex card from 1941. It's the chorus from the Rosemary Clooney song, "Oh You Beautiful Doll" - the special song my grandmother sang to me when I was a little girl.

The final piece to complete her gallery wall had to be a photo of the Thai King and Queen. Thai citizens always have a photo of the King in their home, and traditionally it is the highest picture in the house. I adore this photograph - a vintage shot from the 50's - of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit in their royal attire.

While the Thai King has recently passed away, and our daughter's beautiful country in still in mourning, having his photo up still seems very appropriate. At this time, the new King has not yet ascended the throne, as he too observes a time of mourning for his father.

The photo below is the final corner of Kate's room... and the view from my beautiful rocking chair! The chest-of-drawers here was the very first piece of furniture I ever painted (back when I was learning to use ASCP), and it's still one of my favorite pieces. The beautiful vintage mirror above it was passed down to us by Rusty's grandmother. The photos tucked in the corner of the mirror are two more favorite vintage shots of the Thai King and Queen. The cross between her closet doors was a gift from my friend Stefanie - who has a matching one in her home. She uses it as a reminder to pray for our little girl each time she sees it. How special!

This has quickly become my favorite room in our house. It's the one with the most light, and the one with the most love. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent in here praying for our little girl. I have prayed, and cried, and sung worship songs on so many days and nights in this space. And somehow... it feels different when you walk into this room. There is a peace that meets you in this place.

I hope that when she steps into her room for the first time, she can feel all the love and prayers and peace that it holds. And I pray that somehow she will know, just from being in this place, how unbelievably loved she truly is. 

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