Lego Hogwarts Castle – a 3 month build

In 2018, LEGO released their Hogwarts Castle at the time it was the third largest set. I have always loved Legos but never owned a normal set of my own. I had “girl” LEGOS with purple and pink flowers, but never the real deal.

This year, Josh bought me my DREAM as an early Christmas present (and then he ended up getting me 2 other presents…). I received the set in October for Alex and Deandra’s visit. The goal was for us to have something fun to do together while we hung out at home.

Here are some pictures of the different stages.

  1. Alex & Deandra got things unboxed and sorted.

The beginning: sorting the four books of instructions and 40+ bags of parts.

2. Various stages of the build- much was started by Alex & Deandra

3. The final product: forgive my terrible lighting

We started this in October 2022 but I wasn’t able to finish it until January 17th, 2023 because of 1. needy baby girl and 2. a complication with a step in bag # 34 while assembling some stained glass windows.

I feel like we climbed Mt. Everest. My nerd heart is happy.

Disclaimer: the author of Harry Potter is a TERF. Building this does not mean I agree with her sentiments about trans folk. Trans-men are men. Trans-women are women.

Christmas Letter 2022

January– We celebrated our second anniversary, still no honeymoon.😭 BUT we’ve got a baby on the way! In January, we were both still eating 100% gluten-free ‌and had fun exploring recipes and restaurants that fit our needs. (Meriah is still gluten-free but Josh has reincorporated it into his diet).

February– Meriah was in hard core nesting mode and we did a bunch of projects on 926 Live Oak: under the stairs closet, painting, rearranging furniture, assembling the nursery, and more. The best Valentine’s day gift occurred by accident. We found an old tape of little Josh singing to his grandmother. 

March – We had two wonderful baby showers in one weekend. Meriah’s parents came to visit for the last time before the baby would arrive. We bought 15 new baby chicks (and learned culling is harder than we thought). Meriah and Josh attended The Midnight in concert in Indy. We had a pregnancy scare and ended up in the ER but everything turned out ok. Meriah was told to slow down but that things were ok with the baby. In the same week, we ended up in the ER again because Josh sliced his hand working on a knife build and got his first ever stitches. 

April – Josh turned 39! Cousin Lynleigh was born- our family had 4 babies due in 2022. Meriah passed her glucose tolerance test for pregnancy. Holy Week and Easter brought on new challenges for a very pregnant pastor. We went hiking when the weather was good… though Meriah had to take things slow. 

May -We had a blast planting flowers, fruit, and vegetables in our garden at 926 Live Oak. Meriah had a second pregnancy scare. This led to some tests in Indy with specialists, but once again things turned out ok. Needless to say, we were relieved and cried quite a bit that day. Grandma & Grandpa Tigner were planning to move to Indiana but struggling to find a home in the cut throat housing market. Then Josh and Meriah did something crazy: we put an offer in on a house and put our house up for sale. This house has an apartment attached- perfect for grandparents! We had to say goodbye to two of our pets prior to moving: Franny & Dexter crossed the rainbow bridge the same day. Dexter’s bladder cancer continued to provide complications and pain while Franny’s arthritis was making it difficult for her to move around and use the litter box. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t miss them.

It won’t surprise you that suddenly we had little time for hobbies because we were moving and preparing for a baby. 

June– On top of the craziness of having a baby and buying a house, Josh also changed jobs. Josh returned to Cisco just before our due date. Stevie Louise Tigner King was born on June 6th, even though her due date was June 20th! Yep, Meriah went into labor on Pentecost Sunday, BEFORE church! The c-section went smoothly and went home after a few days. The birth put all the fears from our pregnancy scares to an ease. Stevie was perfect. We closed on our new house, but the move-in date was not set until the end of July. 

July – Grandma & Grandpa Tigner moved to Indiana – we shared our home 926 Live Oak for about a month! Grandma Vicki worked remotely for her South Dakota job using the nursery as her office. Two city kids bought a “tractor,” country folk would call it a riding lawn mower, but that’s no fun. We had to say goodbye to another of our pets – Maggie got sick and did not recover. This was quite unexpected and heartbreaking. At the end of July, we moved into our acreage at 4100 Anna Lane with Grandma & Grandpa Tigner and dubbed it Starshire Farm. We were blessed with so many amazing friends & family to help us move. Our acreage is on the outskirts of Kokomo, still close to Josh’s family.

August – Meriah returned to work after maternity leave and started the journey of learning work/mommy life balance. (Stevie has some strong opinions about that!) Meriah was approached about writing for Judson Press’ periodical curriculum again (look for that in the Summer 2023 edition). She was also asked to lead two workshops at a conference in Puerto Rico in June 2023 for her denomination.

September– Grandma Vicki, Stevie, and Meriah walked a 5k with our friend Kelsey for Gilead House, a women’s drug rehab facility in Kokomo. Yes, crazy Meriah did a 5k 3 months postpartum. Cousin Abraham was born! Uncle Josh, Uncle Micah, & Aunt Lizy came to visit Stevie over Grandma Vicki’s birthday. Great Uncle Jimmy & Great Aunt Cheri came too!

October– Meriah turned 35! Stevie’s first road trip– We went to an American Baptist convention in Terre Haute, In. Our friends Alex & Deandra came to visit. Stevie’s first Halloween– we were a family of skeletons. We had a ton of fun decorating the house with inflatables and pumpkins. 

November – For Stevie’s first Thanksgiving, we traveled to Wisconsin to an AirBnB to meet Uncle Josh, Uncle Micah, & Aunt Lizy. We had a blast! Stevie was a champ about the seven hours in the car…ignoring the blowout diaper as we were driving through Chicago during rush hour. Cousin Tobias was born!

December – Stevie got her library card and rented her first library books. Meriah celebrated 5 years at Liberty Baptist and 5 years of ordination. Grandpa Lee helped cook a meal at church for Jubilee Christmas! Stevie’s first Christmas

You may not have asked for a month by month detail of our year. 🤣 However, as we reflected on each month, we realized how lucky we truly are. Another beautiful year for the Tigner Kings! The joy just keeps on growing!

Merry Christmas and Happy New year from the Tigner King family. 

We’re having a baby… and buying a house!

If you saw in our baby post that we’re buying a house and you wanted the full story… well, you’re in for a treat.

At the beginning of our pregnancy, really even before we got pregnant, Josh and I were dreaming of an acreage. There was one house that we were both curious about, but we didn’t investigate. We had talked with a realtor, but nothing fit our needs and our budget. So we put the house hunt on the back burner telling ourselves, “it would be crazy to move while pregnant.”

Flash forward to the week of May 8th- I had received an email that one house we were looking at months prior was still on the market. Blown away, since the housing market is currently crazy, I sent the information to Josh. Once again we said to each other, “it would be crazy to move while pregnant.”

Sunday, May 15th we were driving home from church and out of nowhere Josh says “what was the address for that house again? We could drive by it and just check it out.” I pulled up the email and got directions and had to shout “SLOW DOWN! WE HAVE TO TURN IN .1 MILES!”

We were exactly in the house’s neighborhood when Josh had the inspiration to look for that house.

We pull into the neighborhood and then turn on to the house’s lane. As we approached the house, we notice on the for sale sign it says “Open House Today 12” but it was only 11:30. So we crept by the property, looking at the beautiful yard, when the owner walks out with his dog.

He flagged us down and invited us to walk through the home– the realtor had not arrived yet since the open house hadn’t started yet.

This couple was so sweet! We quickly learned that the wife had gotten COVID right after they listed their house months ago and couldn’t show for obvious reasons. They were very close to taking it off the market and waiting for another day. We toured the property and drooled over the land and the unique layout of the home.

about the home

We quickly learned that the 5 beds and 4 baths was split between two separate living quarters: the main house and the “in-law” apartment. The in-law apartment is all on one floor. It has a kitchen, 2 baths, 2 beds, a gas fireplace, a sunroom, balcony, and laundry.

The connection point of the two living spaces is a mudroom that gives both access to the two stall garage. The main house is a ranch with a walk out backyard from the basement. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 balcony, and a patio. Below the apartment is a cellar perfect for canning and storing produce. (I don’t have photos of inside the main house empty and feel inappropriate posting pictures that include their belongings.)

The street level has 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, and a large living space.

The basement/walk out has the kitchen, dining, 1 bath, laundry, and a large living space. I LOVE this layout! The kitchen and dining AND back patio are perfect for entertaining guests in a private space. The living space also has a wood-burning stove!

what happened next?

Josh and I left the house to get some lunch. I was in love but was uncertain what he thought. We quickly realized we both wanted this house. Monday, we contacted our mortgage company to renew our pre-approval amount that had just expired. Tuesday, we contacted our lawyer about legal stuff connected to selling our home. And by Wednesday we made an offer on the home. After some negotiating we agreed on a purchase agreement.

Next step was for them to find a place to live. It took about a week and they found a home and negotiated their own purchase agreement.

THEN it was time for us to sell our house. We packed up a bunch of stuff to declutter our space. Patched some holes and had a paint debacle (long silly story). Our cleaner got sick and could not come the DAY BEFORE WE WERE SUPPOSED TO LIST! Our friend Katrina came over and helped us clean our house. She was there for 6+ hours; she is the QUEEN of all time! We listed our home Wednesday & accepted an offer on our home Saturday. (5 pets were boarded and two senior pets had to be put down in the same week.)

While this was happening, my parents sold their home for well above asking price but couldn’t find a home here. All the options were either snatched up too fast or didn’t fit their specifications. After discussion and planning, Josh and I invited them to live in the “in-law” apartment as our renters.

moving plans

We close on both homes (selling ours and buying the new one) on June 30th. We still have to make sure all our legal stuff with our lawyer lines up so that this can move forward. Barring any tragedy, this should work!

My parents’ close on their home July 1st and move to Kokomo July 2nd. They’ll live in our camper for the time being. We haven’t talked about if they want to park it in our yard or park it at a campground. Mom will need internet and that’s the key.

Our closing agreement says 25 days to take possession of our new home and 30 days to move out of our current home. When you add that up, it means we move into our new home end of July.

  • YES, we’ll have a 1.5-month-old by that time.
  • Yes, we’re hiring movers.
  • Yes, i’m still anxious about it all but OVERWHELMINGLY excited!

future plans

When we move into the home, there are few projects on the top of the priority list after we get ourselves initially situated. Then there are a few projects & plans that we will delay until a later date.

Top Priority:

  • Painting rooms: master, office, tv room, wallpaper in nursery?, “maker space”? (downstairs living room), bathroom?
  • Shed for Dad, perhaps a carport by their side of the house for additional protective parking.
  • Assess the garden situation and get our transferrable garden plants situated, including rain barrel system connected.

Later Date:

  • Garden expansion, taping trees, learning to can
  • Animals: Alpacas? Goats? Bees?
  • Extension: We dream of eventually adding on 3-4 bedrooms to the side of the house (two upstairs, two downstairs) to increase our ability to accommodate our growing family and guests.

Maternity photo shoot

Thank you Tatym Green for getting some sweet photos of us before Baby comes!

Feel free to enjoy the humor told through these photos.

If you can’t tell, I’m deeply in love with my husband and overwhelmingly excited about our baby!

There is a post about the progress of our pregnancy that I update regularly.

Crockpot Blueberry Butter

I found a recipe on fb that I had to try!

the link from Facebook:
https://m.facebook.com/BestRecipeIdeas/photos/a.560198331353925/982259152481172/?type=3

this is the photo from the link with the ingredients

I do everything on hard mode…. so I made a 2.5 batch rather than following the recipe as is for the first time.

My quantities were:

  • 13 c blueberries
  • 2.5 c sugar
  • 2.5 lemons (juice & zest)
  • 4.5 tsp cinnamon

I followed the recipe instructions but because I made a bigger batch it did not reduce in the time allotted in the recipe. The cook time went like this: 1 hr low sealed, 6 hrs low vented, 1 hr low sealed, (time for bed so we’ll just put it on overnight) 8hrs high vented, (husband checked it before work and thought it still needed time) 2 hrs low vented. What a timing mess!

If I were to make this big batch again, I’d do 1 hr sealed low, 6-10 hrs vented high. checking for consistency every couple of hours.

my results: total quantity 2-24oz jars of delicious thick blueberry butter.

It tastes AMAZING! I’m a sucker for apple butter and was so happy that this blueberry butter turned out to be equally as yummy!

I definitely will make this again, maybe even as gifts for the holidays.

Franny the Queen Bee

not how I thought today would start…

Franny (St Frances, aka Queen Fran aka Franny Bannany) is not ok. A trip to the vet has concluded that her quality of life isn’t great and it’s time for good byes.

we’re loving on her today and grieving while we make plans.

this sweet girl came into my life April of 2013. there was a HUGE ice storm in Sioux Falls that led to a city wide shut down. I found her beautiful blue eyes at the humane society and fell in love. she was quirky. she was vocal. she was sweet.

when she got home to my apartment, she had to walk through every room and closet meowing (it reminded me of echo location). if a door or closet was shut, she’d sit and meow until you opened it for her examination.

she used to sneeze in anxious situations. I haven’t seen her do that in years. l

we joke that she isn’t like her name sake (St Francis of Assisi, lover of animals) because she only loves humans. animals bug her. 🤣😂

Franny is very motherly. She would pick up stuffed animals and bring them to you with a chirping sound. she wouldn’t stop chirping until you acknowledged her gift.

this girl made me a cat mom. she was my first baby. I know it’s time. I see it in her eyes and in her movement, but it doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to my sweet girl.

who would’ve thought our Dexter, the cancer fighter, would outlive your stubborn grumpy butt! yes, he’s still kicking, albeit slowly and snarkily.

Tomorrow Franny will cross the rainbow bridge. We had a nice last day sitting out in the country where she could munch on grass and enjoy the outside.

Baby Tigner King Journey – to be updated as we go along

We’re PREGNANT!!

Josh happened to be working in the office, instead of at home, that day. So I had the whole day to prepare a way to tell him. I went to the doctor and got a blood test to confirm the pregnancy. Picked up groceries and made a special meal. 2 years ago I had purchased the dad shirt, onesie, fox, and bear as ways to tell Josh. He knew there was a box in the closet he couldn’t open but didn’t know why. This was the day he found out what was in the box.

Telling Josh part 1
Telling Josh part 2

I felt so silly taking the first belly pictures but i knew that if i didn’t we we’d miss the full progression to 40 weeks. So the beginning of weekly belly photos began.

We wanted to tell our parents in person and at the same time. So we had to convince my parents to come from South Dakota, for no reason, and not raise suspicions. I made up a story about wanting to learn how to make gluten free pie crust for the Fall Harvest at church and that I NEEDED mom to come help me. …I mean she’s the queen of pie crusts in our family.

Halloween weekend 2021-Telling the grandparents at 8 weeks- they had no idea at this point.

They had to keep it a secret until our first ultrasound. We wanted to see Baby and know things were ok before we officially announced to everyone else.

First Ultrasound at 10 weeks

more belly photos

We told the church at 11 weeks. Everyone was extremely excited! Christy Kelley gave us this sweet gift to celebrate.

The ever-growing belly & some of our Christmas photos that featured the bump. We announced on Facebook before this point but sent an announcement in our Christmas/New Years card.

We went to South Dakota for Christmas. This was the last family Christmas in my childhood home because my parents are moving to Indiana to be close to Baby Nugget. Liberty’s Christmas program was such a blast thinking about Baby Nugget being there for the next one.

The pregnancy had gone extremely smooth so far. Aside from some minor nausea. Baby Nugget kept growing, and we were full of joy. Not all of the pets were excited about Baby. I started feeling light flutters about this time.

Then we hit the halfway point! 20 weeks down, 20 more to go! The anatomy scan was exciting. We got to see a little face and wiggles from Baby Nugget. We did not find out the sex of Baby Nugget. Can’t wait to unwrap this surprise in June! This was the point we learned my placenta was low-lying and could cause a c-section. Because I have a skin condition that leads to too much scarring and potential for more surgery, this was not a desirable route.

So we earned ourselves a third ultrasound.

more belly growth

In Josh’s family, 4 of us were pregnant in 2022 (Jordan, Me, Abby, & Rachel). At the time, we only 3 we knew about. Jordan was due first and we had a blast at her shower.

more belly photos

We had 2 baby showers in one weekend: Church & Family. My parents came from South Dakota for this trip. This was the last trip they could take up here before Baby Nugget comes in June. i have a TON of photos from the showers but i’ll just post a few.

Church shower

More of the belly

March 15th we got to see one of our favorite bands in concert: The Midnight. Josh originally was worried that my pregnant butt couldn’t handle the show. But I whined enough that we went and sat in vip and enjoyed the whole thing! i was definitely exhausted the next day.

As gifts kept pouring in we slowly made our baby room into a true nursery.

AND THEN we had our first baby scare and a couple of hospital visits. The week of March 20th was not our friend. First, i had some unexpected pain and bleeding at church. This lead to a visit to the ER. They examined me and Baby. Everything was fine. We still don’t know why that happened. The whole thing exhausted us and we napped with Martin boy.

Four days later josh was working in the garage on a knife and had an accident. This resulted in another ER visit and some stitches.

more belly photos

I had my gestational diabetes test …. a little later than usual… but that was a miscommunication. In the end, everything was wonderful there.

Then it was time for Holy Week! … my mother and I have a joke that sometimes we call Holy Week “Hell Week” because of the extra stress and energy it takes from pastors. The irony is that this week ended up being the best Holy Week I’ve had. I really felt God show up in beautiful, spiritual ways.

The following day- Easter Monday- we had an ultrasound that became scare number 3. Originally, this appointment was intended to simply check the position of the placenta and see if we would need to do a c-section. the placenta was still low, but we also learned that baby’s head was not the size it should be compared to the rest of the body. The doctor was uplifting and cautious but wanted to send us to Indy for further testing to ensure Baby Nugget was ok. …. so we earned ourselves a 3rd and 4th ultrasound.

In the midst of our uncertainty, we had a hint of joy. We FINALLY got to meet our new cousin Lynleigh, who had been born 3.5 weeks earlier, to Jordan & Eli.

Baby Lynleigh resting on Baby Nugget. Nugget kicked so much while Lynleigh was in my arms.

We had some wonderful prayer warriors praying for Baby Nugget and sending us all kinds of encouragement.

After almost 3 full weeks of waiting (33wks on May 3rd), we had our specialist ultrasound. Baby’s head was smaller than the rest of their body and that could mean a few different things. So at 33 weeks (May 3) we had an ultrasound with a specialist in Indy. AND They gave us some videos!

Baby Nugget’s Tongue
Baby Nugget sucking on hand

Naturally, after we cried in relief at the good news for Baby Nugget, we celebrated in Clay terrace at Kona Grill and Sur La Table.

Now we prepare for Mother’s Day. My first one actually pregnant, feeling like an actual mother. I know my fur babies have always made me a mom, but this year feels different.

It’s amazing how fast my energy is zapped now.

May 6- video games in bed with Martin as our supervisor.

May 8th -Mother’s Day breakfast at Liberty 2022 (apparently I didn’t take any photos of that breakfast!) Josh wasn’t feeling well, so he stayed home from church, but we went and saw Doctor Strange that evening.

We went crazy on May 15th. Here’s a crash course on the next 14 days: 1. put an offer in on a house, 2. my parents sold their house, 3. we invited them to live with us (they sold their home), 4. we prepped our house for sale, 5. pets to vets for vaccine updates, 6. boarding for vaccinated vets, 7. rainbow bridge for senior pets, 8. dr visit C-SECTION?!, 9. sold our house.

A little more detail: On our way home from church, we spur of the moment swung by a house we had considered buying a few months ago. I had received an email that it was still on the market and we had to drive by and find out why. This story deserves its own blog post, but suffice today we put an offer in on a home on Monday the 16th. The house plan led us to packing and prepping our own home for the market…. and preparing our pets for boarding and a move.

May 26th at our 36 week appointment, the doctor determined my placenta has not moved enough for a safe vaginal delivery. We will schedule a c-section when we meet the doctor performing the surgery at our 37 week appointment.

While they checked my placenta, they also gave us the gift of a 3D ultrasound. Look at Nugget’s chubby cheeks!!! They measured Baby at 5lbs 15oz at that appointment and still with tons of hair.

You may have noticed that two of our animals did not get their shots. We realized quickly that Dexter and Franny would not do well with this new move (stairs, electric fence, not to mention boarding, vaccinations, etc. needed for this to happen). Dexter has been battling cancer (and has allergies and regularly gets kidney stones) and Franny has extensive arthritis, which means grooming, potty, and other basic daily things are difficult. So Franny and Dexter crossed the rainbow bridge on May 27th to give them the best peaceful end. Their last day didn’t have to be a bad day. We miss our first babies.

ummm the last week of May…. beginning of June!!

May 31st i got to use up the rest of my spa gift card with a maternity massage. IT WAS HEAVENLY!

Baby is due June 20th but we will likely have a c-section the week of June 12th.