Welcome to the Spiering Family website. This is our new blog. For older posts, please go here: http://www.freewebs.com/jaeljud/

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Elizabeth Perpetua


We are proud to announce the birth of our daughter 
Elizabeth Perpetua

Born July 13, 2016 at 2:30 am
8 lb. 12 oz.
21.25 in long

Thank you all for your prayers as we awaited her arrival.  Prayers are always answered and she was worth the wait!  After waiting so long to make her entrance, she decide she wasn't messing around anymore--only four hours of labor and she was here!  

Thanks, also, to our amazing midwife who came out in the middle of the night (something we thought would NEVER happen with a Spiering baby) after being at a birth the night before.  Two days.  Two babies.  No sleep.  How blessed we are to have such an amazing midwife to be on this wild ride with us!  

     St. Elizabeth of Portugal's feast day was July 8th in the old calendar.  She is the niece of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and was known as the Peacemaker.  Our little one will probably get a nickname like Eliza or Betty, but time will tell what suits her most (we're hoping for Eliza sticks).  We chose Perpetua as a middle name for two reasons: We've tried to name each of our girls after one of the martyrs from the Canon of the Mass.  So, St. Perpetua is one of her patronesses.  We also have a devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  Her feast day was June 27th, the day before our due date, so it seemed fitting to dedicate this little girl to Our Lady in this way.   

We are so very grateful for this beautiful little life joining our family.  Deo Gratias!    

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A few pictures of the kids


Not many words today.  Just pictures.  The kids have found lots of wildlife here on our new property.  We only managed to get pictures of the turtle and the newt.  There have been lizards, foxes, bears, butterflies, wild rabbits, raccoons, deer, hummingbirds and opossums.

Can you believe that these two big boys mow the lawn?  We are so proud!  

 Want an unripened grape?  Me neither!  But Charlie sure likes to pick them!

Monday, July 4, 2016

New House--Some Before and After Pictures


The new house was perfectly livable when we bought it.  It passed inspection with flying colors.  Multiple inspectors and work men commented on what a clean, well maintained little house and property it was.  I remember one saying, "It's a little slice of Heaven."  We did really like the house as it was, but there were a few things we wanted to do to make it out own. 

Our Friend, Chris, agreed to be our contractor.  He is very skilled and an artist t'boot, so we all worked really well together.  He had great ideas as we went along; we are so grateful for his skill, hard work, and prayers along the way.   

The kitchen.  Let's start there.  We loved the stained glass light fixtures, so those just stayed.  There was an opening between the kitchen and the dining room with a big pantry (the large section of wall before the opening).  It was, nice.  But I knew that not having access to the eating area directly from the kitchen and the central location of the pantry would drive me nuts.  So, we changed a few things.  I lost the storage space of the pantry, but it was well worth it!  We moved the dishwasher and cabinets that were next to the pantry against the wall with the windows and took the pantry completely out.  

We added an island made of custom cabinets we found in the Valley Trader.  We went through many combinations of these beautiful, but not-custom-for-us cabinets as the base for our island until we finally settled upon this.  It's perfect!  


I wanted green in the kitchen, and not on the walls.  We decided to paint just the island cabinets and leave the rest white.  I didn't have time or energy for a good refinishing job (I was pregnant, after all).  So, we decided to chalk paint them.  It was so satisfying to transform these dated but sturdy, well made cabinets into something that completely suited our taste.  More on chalk paint later, but I used Lowes paint (so I could get just the color I wanted) and a chalk paint mix from B.B. Frosch.  I highly recommend it!  

We added a butcher block counter top and covered the beam in old barn wood--thanks to our friend Mike for installing and Strong Oaks Workshop for supplying the gorgeous barn wood!  We found a couple of white wall cabinets and a wrought iron pot rack to fill in the rest of the space.     

The room below was the living room and behind it was the master bedroom.  We are upstairs-bedroom kind of people, and the two bedrooms upstairs were HUGE, so we decided to open up the back wall of the living room to create more living space.  If you can look past our clutter, you will see what I just love about this space--opening that wall made the living area so open and sunny.  Again, the light fixtures were already there.  The ceiling fans are invaluable for getting cool air to circulate; we don't like using AC anymore than we have to.  That fact that this one has stained glass accents is just a delightful little touch that we love about this house.  

Next, let me introduce what Chris dubbed the "Super Hall" or the "German Cabinet Hall".  This hall was a normal width that led from the kitchen to the master bedroom.  The bathroom door and air intake vent were in this hall and it was carpeted along with the master bedroom.  Once we opened up the master bedroom wall to turn it into a living room, Craig had the idea to actually widen this hall.  We are going to put a woodstove in one of the living rooms, so his thought was it would greatly increase the flow of heat to the kitchen area.  The downstairs bathroom was huge, so we would be making it a little smaller and cutting into the master bedroom closet space.  Chris was all for it and even suggested that we could move the bathroom door and air intake around the corner so we could have one solid wall.  Well, he also moved the door to the remaining closet space into the hall to increase the wall space in the living area.  It was all brilliant.  We intended to make it a sort of butler's pantry and put in some shallow cabinets along one wall to increase our kitchen storage after taking out the pantry.  Then, I saw this gorgeous wall unit someone was selling.  They bought it when the husband was stationed in East Germany.  They brought it back here to the USA and moved it seven times!  They were downsizing and just didn't have room at their new place so they sold it to us.  It fits in the hall perfectly AND it's beauty delights us throughout the day as one of the focal pieces of our home.  As Chris was remodeling, he suggested track lighting to highlight it even more.  There too, I had just seen for sale a lovely set of stained glass track lights for $10.  I liked them, but thought to myself, "They would match perfectly, but where in that house would I put them?"  Chris said the right thing and the right time, and now they tie that hall into the the rest of the downstairs.   


Widening this hall not only increased the airflow, it connected the living area to the kitchen.  I love that I can be working in the kitchen and still hear what Craig is reading to the kids in the living room.  

There was hardwood in two of the rooms (dining and living room), tile in some places, and carpet in the bedrooms and on the stairs and upstairs hall.  We despise carpet.  After pulling the carpet up ourselves at our first house-seeing what was under it!--we both agreed we would never live on carpet again.  Well, we did live on carpet in our rental house, and we survived, but at our OWN house, we wanted hardwood.  The stairs were the trickiest part, because they are meant to be carpeted.  Mike, once again, did a beautiful job on, not only laying the floors, but the steps, too.  

Carpet before

Wood after
The spindles of the railing had to be completely redone because our five-year-old could easily fit between them.  Craig worked long and hard, but the spindles are now a safe 4 inches apart.  Our children are safe and they look fabulous.  The bedrooms are hard to capture in a photo and I don't have any good shots of the kids two new rooms, yet.  But, as I've said before, both bedrooms upstairs were huge, so there was enough space to turn the kids room into a boys and girls room and also, to add a master bathroom and 2nd walk-in closet to the master bedroom.  

Looking into Master bedroom from stairs: Before
Looking into Master bedroom from stairs: After

Master bedroom before

Master bedroom after
Some master bathes are luxuriously large.  We did not have that option, but the one luxury and thought almost necessary for me was a deep tub.  If I can submerge in warm water once in a while, I've found I am a more loving and patient wife and mother.  So, I got my deep tub.  Chris is an excellent tile layer.  I love the tile in this bathroom.  I can hardly believe it is MY OWN bathroom and I'm not just at some fancy hotel.  I feel so spoiled!  
The new master bathroom

I could write a novel about each tiny little change we made and all the things I love about this house, but I will spare you.  :)  Just give me a call if you want me to talk you ear off about what we've done here.  Oh, and we haven't even begun to tackle the outdoors!  

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Dream Comes True


So, here we are, the beginning of summer 2016.  I haven't posted anything in almost a year.  So sorry about that!  Let me see.  What has happened since then?  Well, we rented our house in town out to some lovely tenants.  Thank you, St. Therese, for working that out for us!  

In October, a friend in the area calls me and says she has a house in which we may be interested.  Sure enough, it's a Cape Cod on five acres.  I had seen it come up for auction, but when we looked into bidding on real estate at auctions, we realized we really need to be investors or have a lot of capital to tie up in the process in order to actually get into the house.  I remember thinking, "If only we knew someone who could buy the house for us. Then, we can buy it from them for a little bit more.  We'd get a great deal, and the other party would make some money.  Oh well, there will be other houses. . ."  

When this friend told me about the house, she said they had purchased it--sight unseen--intending to use it as a rental property.  When their family actually walked in and saw it for the first time, they all thought, "this house would be great for a family!"  So they began looking around the community for a family who was interested in a house on five acres . . . Well, that's us!  

Our new home

We went to see it.  We liked it.  We liked it more that we could admit to ourselves because we now know better than to get too excited about a house or property until it's a done deal.  It was a long process, but the sellers were wonderful people to work with and we had a LOT of help from friends.  It's amazing how God sends the grace (for us, usually through the charity of others) to surmount any obstetrical if we just let Him do it.  We closed in Jan.  We had plans to do "a little bit of work" on the place, and then move in by February.  

Our cat, Cutie, with her kittens that were supposed to be born at our new property.
This is on the deck of our rental house.  

The "just a little bit of work" turned into knocking down walls and adding a bathroom.  Jan. became February.  The Christmas season passed.  

Lent began.  It makes sense to move during Lent, right?  It is absolutely penitential to pack, clean, do projects at the new house, and keep living a somewhat ordered life with a family of eight. 

Then Holy Week came and we knew we would not be spending Easter Sunday at our new house. 

 The kids on Easter Sunday 2016 in the backyard of our rental house

We finally moved at the end of April.  The bedrooms weren't all finished, so all the kids slept in one room and Craig, Lucinda and I slept in the other.  All the extra furniture and boxes were stacked, floor to ceiling, in the two living areas downstairs.  The kitchen was a dream, though.  It was finished and made living like that completely bearable.  It was a long couple of weeks of trying to settle into the finished spaces at the new house while work was still being done and trying to clean and completely move out of the rental house.  Craig and I were tired.  The kids were fried.  But, once we were done with the rental, things got a bit easier.  Then the master bedroom was finished, and things got a little more comfortable.  Little by little, the guys finished major projects (God bless them for working so hard!!!) and Craig finished other projects (shelving, caulking, outlet covers, faucets, towel racks, etc.) and we now have a finished house!  Okay, well, it's never REALLY finished, right?  But we have come so far in such a short time. 

Cecily with one of our loads on "moving day"

Now, we are waiting for baby to come any day.  The house and the family are ready to welcome this new little life.  Ironically (or maybe not? You decide!) This baby and this house seemed to grow and develop together.  We discovered the good news of this baby in Oct., about the same time we first heard about the house.  Our intention was to be in the house LONG before baby came.  But as time passed and the renovations dragged on, we joked that we were "having a house, Spiering style." Which means that it seems like it's never going to happen.  Our babies usually come 2-3 weeks after their due dates.  The house just "came" 3-4 months after it's "due date".  In the whole scheme of things, it has been just like having a baby for us.  We couldn't be more in love with this place.  It was worth the work and the wait. 

Some of the kids standing in front of the new house.

God answered all of our prayers but on absolutely other terms than we had conceived.  Nothing about the way this house come to be ours was easy or how we planned.  But we have it.  We are grateful.  We love it.