Thursday, August 11, 2016

Liam Everett

Words cannot even begin to describe our joy in becoming parents to our precious boy! I'm struggling to even start this post because nothing that I type is enough! God has blessed us beyond words! So, I'll start with this...

Jesse and I went to visit our family and friends in Oregon in the beginning of June. I stayed a little longer than Jesse and I returned at 10 pm on June 28th. The very next day Jesse and I were both taking a nap around 3:30 in the afternoon. I was tired from traveling and Jesse had gotten off work early (which keep in mind, this never happens... It was a God thing that Jesse was even home!). We woke up to THE CALL! Our case worker called to tell us that our baby boy was on his way and that we needed to get on the road to the hospital. We jumped off the couch and ran around the house like two chickens with their heads cut off. Liam wasn't due for another 3 and 1/2 weeks! We didn't have anything ready. We were in the middle of a house project, didn't have a bag ready, and the nursery was FILLED with tools and random crap! I was planning on returning from vacation and finishing my to-do list.  BUT, Mr. Liam was ready to be born. As we scrambled to get our bags packed, I was on the phone with my sister. Thank God for her because she literally had to tell me what to do step-by-step! She said, "Lauren, put pajamas in your bag. Put your tooth brush in your bag"... We were out the door within 10 minutes and even remembered to grab our camera!

We started out on the drive which was about 2 and 1/2 hours away. Surprisingly, the drive went pretty quickly and we didn't even get pulled over for speeding! Our case worker called when we were about an hour away to tell us that Liam was born! We couldn't believe how fast he came! When we finally got to our exit we accidentally turned the wrong way. I was already about to throw up and that nearly took me over the edge. I was so excited, nervous, anxious, and shocked I could hardly see straight. Luckily Jesse was able to think quicker than I could and he found a fast, slightly... ok, totally illegal place to turn around. As we walked into the hospital we tried to take some deep breaths and not pee our pants!

If you've ever visited a maternity ward you know that you have to be buzzed in the door. We hit the call button and the nurse's voice came through the speaker asking who we were there to see. I froze... "Uh, we're um,,, we're here to see....well, I think our agency called to tell you we're coming", I mumbled. The nurse kindly said, "Oh yes, come on in!" I was already sweating and feeling like an emotional basket case at this point. Our case worker texted us to tell us that Liam's birthmom, who I'll refer to as "A", was ready for us to come into the room.

Jesse and I walked into the hospital room to meet our son. A was holding him and she smiled as soon as she saw us. She is amazing! (I'll tell the amazing story of meeting her in another post.) She handed him to me right away. I still can't describe how I felt when he was in my arms. I couldn't believe it was happening. A's mother was with her, which was great. We were thankful that she had support. Jesse and I took turns holding him as we talked with A about the delivery. We were blessed that she chose to share all the details of Liam's birth with us. Here are our very first pictures together.


Liam was born at 5:51pm and we were holding him by 7:30pm. We stayed in the room with Liam, A and her mother for about an hour. We wanted to be sensitive to A and give her some time with Liam, too. We got some things out of our car and stopped at the nurses' station. They were so amazing and very gracious to our situation. It was a small hospital and they had never had an adoption take place there before. They ended up having an empty room on the floor and they allowed us to stay there for the entire time! We were planning on having to stay at a hotel near by and visit during the day which would have been so sad because we would have missed out on so much time with Liam.

Liam was back in our arms in our own room by around 10pm. It was so fun to hold him with just us in the room. It was such a special time. From that point on, he was with us the entire time we were in the hospital.

Our first photo as a family of 3

Since Liam was born early, we stayed in the hospital for 5 days. We still didn't have a carseat or clothes for him. It was too hard for me emotionally to buy things prior to Liam being born. Thankfully there was a target very close to the hospital so we were able to go and buy the carseat, baby clothes, some food to keep in the room, and some more clothes since we didn't pack very efficiently. The hospital even had a washer and dryer for families to use so we did a load every day, it was great! Most days we ate oatmeal for breakfast and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. Then we would treat ourselves to dinner from either the hospital cafeteria or a local restaurant that delivered to the hospital. The nurses knew all the best places to order from. Here's a picture of one of our dinners at our "dinner table". 

We started going a little crazy after being inside our tiny room for so many days in a row so we took "field trips" to the other end of the hallway! Haha

We came home on the 4th of July-it was so fun! Liam did great on the way home! This is us leaving the hospital.

                             His first car ride

The drive home was filled with anticipation because we knew my family was at our house waiting for us and we couldn't wait to introduce Liam to his family!

Remember when I said we left our house with tools in the nursery and projects unfinished? Well, we have amazing family and friends who spent hours getting everything ready for our return! They did everything from drywall, decorating, cleaning to yard work! It was such a blessing to come home to everything perfect for our sweet boy!

Thank you to all of you who have read our story, prayed for us, encouraged us, helped with adoption costs, sent gifts, and loved on our baby Liam! xoxo

Saturday, April 16, 2016

We're a waiting family!

Oh my word. We're official!! Our home study is approved by our agency and that means we are officially a waiting family! We're thrilled. It makes things feel even more real.

Now... we wait. Haha. The process is rush, rush, check list, check list, meeting, training, interviews, writing, constant get-things-done mode! Now the hard work really begins. We wait for an expectant mother to choose us.

Right now we're just on cloud nine because we're approved, but we know the emotional roller coaster is just getting started. BUT Jesus is BIG!

I can't pretend to know what it's like to be on the other side, to be the woman trying to make an adoption plan for the child who she loves so much. We don't know who this woman is yet, but please join us in praying for her. And pray that we would draw close to the Lord during this time.

Thank you!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

"Adopt" a puzzle piece!

"Adopt" a puzzle piece fundraiser!

We are very close to reaching our first major goal of $9,000. This is the next large payment due to our agency. To help meet this need, we are starting a new fundraiser.

Below is a picture of the puzzle we had custom made for our nursery. 
Each piece is $10. 
There are 252 pieces to adopt. If 252 people adopt just 1 piece, that brings us $2,520 closer to our next goal!

How you can "adopt" a piece(s):

Send your support via check or paypal at (Make sure you have two n's in my email)

When you adopt a piece, your name will be written on the back of the puzzle. Once the puzzle is complete, we will frame the puzzle and hang in the nursery :)

Thank you to all who have been praying, donating, and encouraging us! 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Questions Answered...

I thought I'd try to answer some questions that people may have....

1) Domestic or international? At this point, we're moving forward with domestic adoption. We'd love to adopt internationally but for now, we're staying within the U.S.

2) Why is adoption so much money? I don't think I have a great answer for that... Legal fees, agency fees, etc.

3) When can we apply for grants? After we have an approved home study (end of April hopefully). There are many grants available that we can apply for, but they want to make sure the money isn't going to a family who isn't officially approved by the state... makes sense.

3) How long does the process take? Who knows?! We should be officially waiting by the end of April. Which means we could be matched with a baby any time after that... days, weeks, months... we just don't know (but God does!)

I can't think of any more questions right now, but let me know if you've got any! We're open!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Home Study Part 2

We are getting closer to becoming a "waiting family" one step at a time! We have officially completed all of our paperwork (step 1 of home study process). It took about 3-4 weeks to get all of the things collected/completed but we made it!! 

Background checks 
Credit reports
3 years of taxes
2 months of pay stubs
Fire inspection of our house
Pet immunization records
CPR & First aid
Drug screenings
Driving records
Writing our will
Many. Other. Things.

Now we start step 2.... interviews with our case worker. We're so grateful for our case worker already. She answers our questions so quickly and is very supportive. It's nice to feel like she's excited for us and our process! This step should take about 4 weeks. Then step 3 (final step) of the home study should also take about 4-5 weeks. Once that's all approval, we will be officially a waiting family! :)

Thank you for all our your encouragement and prayers!!!! Thank you for being excited along side of us!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Home Study Part 1

Our home study process has begun! We're on part 1 out of 3 of this process. We are gathering documents, writing a will, getting physicals and background checks, and many other things. We even had a fire inspection of our house-we passed ;)

The last thing we have to do is wait for all our references and background check to come back. We should be ready to start part 2 of the home study in a couple weeks!! :) :) :)

Part 2 is interviews with our case worker. She will come to our house a few times to have conversations about many, I'm sure, intrusive things. Haha. But we're ready for all those questions and so excited to get to that part! I think it'll make it feel even more real.

We're so grateful for all of the encouragement, hugs, prayers and financial support!!! We can't say thank you enough!

We'll make sure to get everyone updated as things progress.

Here's my file folder that I use to keep all of our paperwork in order... There's a lot of it!!

Sunday, January 10, 2016


In less than 24 hours of creating our gofundme account we have received $1,520! We are so thankful for the donations, support, prayer, and the sharing of our story by all of you! It's exciting to see the progress! Thank you, Jesus! And THANK YOU to all of you!

Here's a link to our account. 100% of donations will go towards the adoption of our *future* baby! :)

Love, Jesse and Lauren

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Bethany Christian Services (Post 8)

If this is the first post you're reading, scroll down to the post titled "Owen Dean (Post 1)"...

This week we went to our first meeting with Bethany Christian Services, the agency we chose to work with for our *hopeful* adoption. The meeting was an information meeting and the first step in adoption. It was very helpful and encouraging. While Jesse and I were there we were able to get all of our questions answers and left feeling hopeful.

Bethany's mission is to "demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by protecting and enhancing the lives of children and families through quality social services". As we listened to the two women explain the history of the company and their perspective of adoption, we got the sense that they really are talking about the love of Jesus.

They care about the adoptive families AND the birth moms! Both sides receive a great deal of support throughout the entire process and even after the adoption is complete. The case workers have a heart for the people involved and are their advocates. That is a GREAT feeling!

The next step is to complete the Ohio adoption application, which we hope to do soon. We shared all the details of the meeting with some family and friends and asked for prayer. We want to be obedient to God's will and His timing. This is what we need prayer for right now. We're thankful that God has given us such great support!

Exciting conversations (Post 7)

I knew that I was fully on board with adoption and excited about it. It's a lot to think about and it's a big decision! I wasn't exactly sure how Jesse felt about the idea though. We had talked about it several times before now but it felt very hypothetical.

Last night we had a serious conversation about moving forward with adoption. It was so great! I went to bed feeling almost too excited to sleep. We both shared our thoughts and feeling about adopting and we were 100% on the same page. That felt like a provision from the Lord because Jesse and I both came to the same conclusion- WE WANT TO ADOPT!

It's still scary and overwhelming, but honestly it's more exciting than anything! It's the plan to take the first step in January or February, which is an informational meeting. Then we'll officially apply to be adoptive parents :)

Asking for God's leading (Post 6)

I've always been open to adoption. As a child I decided on my own to sponsor a child. I got my first job when I was 15. With some of the money I earned, I helped a boy in Guatemala. I loved seeing his pictures and reading about how his life was helped through sponsorship. Every year at Christmas I loved to fill a shoe box with treats and supplies and sent it to children who needed them. (Read more about the program here... )

I always imagined myself having biological and adopted children. So for me, the idea of adoption is exciting. It's also scary. The challenging part about it is allowing myself to be vulnerable.

Jesse and I both agreed that we want to see if God wants to grow our family through adoption. We want to live where our trust is without borders! We are taking a step of faith and starting the journey of adoption.

Will you pray with us? Pray that God would make His plan for us clear! Pray for us to be bold and rely on Him! There are a lot of logistics to work out but we know that God is a big God! I've seen Him provide for Jesse and I in many ways! If this is His will for our life, it WILL happen! Pray that we can be confident in this and TRUST Him!

Songs and trust (Post 5)

I love the song Oceans by Hillsong. After losing Owen we listened to it constantly. Hear it for yourself here...

For months after hearing this song I thought about what the song meant to me. I prayed to God to give me the ability to go to Him. I'm so thankful that when we're weak, Jesus is there for us.... But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9. I must admit, part of my weakness is disbelief. Do I really believe that God has my back? Will He really provide good things for Jesse and I?

Throughout this past year and a half, I haven't doubted God's existence or His ability to make good of things. But I have felt WEAK! I've felt like a wet paper bag trudging my way through life. What helps is being confident that Jesus is holding our sweet babies right now. He loves them perfectly and we will one day hold them in our arms. Because Jesus died on the cross for my sins, I am offered forgiveness and eternity in Heaven with Him. We all are offered that. I can remember making the decision as a child to ask Jesus for His death to count for me. Salvation is simple. Jesus offers us a free gift and all we have to do it accept it.

Jesus is good, even if this world isn't. He doesn't create pain and sorrow. Our world is broken and that's why we need Him! Jesus didn't chose for our babies to die. I don't have the answers to my questions... I don't know why we aren't able to have our two babies on Earth with us now. But I do know that we will have eternity to love, hold, kiss and adore them!

After our second miscarriage I got another tattoo. I've found that my two tattoos have brought me some level of healing. My tattoo is a lyric from the song I spoke of above... "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders". It reminds me that I can ask Jesus for his help!! I can trust Him in a BIG way!  

Ultrasounds and more heart break (Post 4)

The day had come for us to see our baby. At 9 weeks and 1 day we saw a perfect, beautiful heart beat. Everything was perfect. The doctor told us that our chance of miscarriage was very low since we saw a good heartbeat. I thought, "don't tell me that. We saw Owen's heartbeat 3 times before losing him". I knew nothing was guaranteed, although seeing the heartbeat did bring some sense of security.

A week later I was at work and feeling weird. I was terrified. I thought about trying to ignore it and tried to convince myself that everything was fine. I came home from work and still felt like something was wrong. Luckily, Jesse wasn't working that day. We went to see the doctor. The waiting was torture. The nurse checked us in and did an abdominal check to find the baby's heart beat. We felt instant relief when we heard, what we thought, was the heartbeat. The doctor came in and checked me and said that my cervix felt closed and normal-also good news since we don't know if I had an incompetent cervix with Owen and I was worried about pre-term labor again. We did an ultrasound just to be safe. We saw the baby on the monitor and I realized right away that there wasn't a hear beat. The doctor was silent for awhile, then said "didn't the nurse pick up the heart beat externally?" I said, "we thought she did". The baby was measuring a week behind and there was definitely no heart beat. What we heard before was apparently blood flow from the placenta.

I was instantly angry. I didn't cry right away. I. WAS. ANGRY. I didn't know how to respond. The doctor told us how sorry she was and hugged me. I remember telling her, "I just knew something was wrong". She responded by saying, "that's because you are the mommy". I knew that wasn't meant to be hurtful but on some level it was. While I know that we have two precious babies in Heaven, and that does make me a mommy, but it still hurt. I wanted to hold our baby and kiss his or her cheeks every day.

Devastation again.

Another try (Post 3)

We decided we were ready to try to conceive again. It was very emotional and scary to think about getting pregnant again. What if we miscarried again? The fear was almost debilitating. I had been going to counseling, which helped but fear is tough.

The months went on and negative test kept coming. When we conceived Owen it happened so quickly and I assumed it would be easy the second time. I was wrong. Taking and tracking my temperature, ovulation tests, calendars, as so on.... We tried 3 months of clomid and even saw a reproductive specialist. He told us to wait 2-3 more months to conceive naturally.

Well, the two lines finally came on September 4th. Instant excitement and definitely some fear. I went to Target and got another test just to make sure. I also bought a onesie to give Jesse as a gift to tell him that we were pregnant. After months and months of being disappointed, I was so eager to tell him the good news! I setup the iPad and recorded Jesse opening the gift. We cried together and hugged for a long time. As Jesse held me I could feel tension from my body. We were scared but we wanted to be happy and excited. And for a few weeks, we were. We chose to be happy and trust that Jesus would carry us through regardless of the outcome.

Going back to work (Post 2)

I took about 5 weeks off work after we lost Owen. Physically, I was feeling okay considering I was 4 weeks out from major abdominal surgery. My energy was limited but I could make it through the day. I could have taken more time off but I decided that being busy during the day would be helpful. I was blessed to have close friends at my school that helped me through the day when I needed a break from my students to fall apart in the bathroom and get myself back together again. It was good to see them and it was good to be busy, but wow was it TOUGH! I felt like a shell of myself and didn't know how I could possible meet the needs of all of my students when I could barely make it through the day myself. Again, God provided for my needs!

At this point, Jesse had started in a new position at work as a full-time package car driver. That was a provision from the Lord because it provided for our financial needs, especially since I didn't have much sick time to use while I was out from work. Speaking of financial provision, one week during my recovery we were a little short on money for a couple bills. The total amount was about $135. To my amazement, I checked the mail and had received a check from short-term disability. And guess what... the check amount was EXACTLY, down to the dollar, what we needed for our bills that we didn't know how we were going to pay. Talk about Jesus providing for our needs!

After lost of tests, we still didn't have answers. That was frustrating and really hard do handle. We hoped to have an explanation for both closure and to help make a plan for future pregnancies.

We kept verses posted around the house... a couple favorites were (and are)...

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

A few months after losing Owen we decided that we wanted to honor him through tattoos. We love them. I love being able to see his name each day.

Our tattoos have helped to bring some healing 
Jeremiah 29:11 

Here is Owen's ultrasound pictures at 6, 10 and 14 weeks.
The picture of us is the day Jesse got his tattoo. 

Owen Dean (Post 1)

Wow more than two years since my last post. Very successful blog... oops. How do people keep it up?

I'm writing this post without even making it public right now. People say that writing or keeping a journal helps during grief, so here I go.

May 31st, 2014. positive pregnancy test! We were thrilled. It was our first month of trying, so I was shocked to get a positive test right away. I woke up Jesse at 5am and gave him the good news. We hugged and kissed and day dreamed about the future with our baby. That morning I went to yoga with my sister and was so excited to share the news with her too. We then went garage sale shopping with my mom, who of course start looking for fun baby items for me. I was on cloud nine!

Anxious for my first OB appointment, I called my doctor right away. At 6 weeks and 5 days along, we saw our sweet baby for the first time during our first ultrasound. We saw the heart beating away. We then saw a large cyst on my ovary. This brought instant fear because the doctor was concerned about the possibility of the cyst bursting which could have caused problems with the pregnancy. We just had to wait and see what happened-not easy! This led to two more ultrasounds. We saw a healthy baby, and the cyst (which ended up being 6 inches)!

At 14 weeks, we saw our baby moving around via ultrasound and again saw the precious heart beating. By this point I had an MRI which confirmed the need for surgery to remove the cyst because the doctors weren't sure if it was benign or malignant. Surgery was set for a few weeks away since the 2nd trimester is the safest time for surgery. When we found out the seriousness of the cyst, we were terrified. The worst thoughts flew through my mind, like dying of cancer and leaving Jesse alone with our baby.

August 30th started like any other Saturday. We went about our day as normal. I just got back from the grocery store and started feeling weird. I felt pain for about 20 minutes. I was laying in bed because the pain got worse and worse. I stood up and realized I was delivering our baby. I saw our precious, tiny baby in my hand. Jesse and I cried the most sorrow-filled tears together on the bathroom floor. All our dreams of having a life time with our child came to a sudden and devastating end. I remember wanting my life to end as I screamed and cried out in agony.

Eventually, out of fear of hemorrhaging, we went to the emergency room. There we held our Sweet baby boy, Owen Dean, for hours. He was 5 inches long and fit in the palm of my hand. My family came with us and we soaked in every minute holding Owen together. It was so surreal. No one ever imagines that they will be leaving the hospital without their baby. We took pictures together but I still haven't been able to look at the photos over a year later. Every night I sleep with the blanket we held him in. One day I hope to wrap Owen's brother or sister in this blanket.

I still had to go on with the surgery to remove the cyst. That went as smoothly as it could have. The cyst was not cancerous and pathology confirmed that no further action was needed. It turned out that because of the type of cyst it was that I had probably had it since I was a child due to size and how slow growing the type of cyst was. It was very difficult to try to heal both physically and emotionally. The surgery ended up being open (rather than laparoscopic) and left with about a 4" incision held together with staples-it was pretty ;)

We grieved the best we could, and are still grieving. I can confidentially say that the only reason I'm able to wake up and function after loss like this is because of Jesus and the people he has put in our lives and of course, my sweet husband! I've learned some things about myself during this process. First, I suck at grieving. I'm not sure that anyone does it well but I've figured out that I'm not good at identifying how I'm feeling. For months when people asked, "how are you doing?" I honestly couldn't answer. I would either say,  "I don't know", "okay", "shitty", or something along those lines. I'm very thankful for the friends I have. My Ohio friends have been so patient with me during this last year and a half. And my Oregon friends were so kind when I didn't answer or return phone calls and didn't have the energy to talk. Several friends and family members supported us through cards, stopping by, cleaning, and  prepared meals which made the days so much easier! It was such a blessing!

Some days were okay and some days were terrible. Honestly, that still holds true over a year later but I know that Jesus will continue to carry us through our grief and reveal more of Himself to us.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Learning my ultimate need for Christ

Since becoming involved in our church, Xenos Christian Fellowship, here in Columbus my life has changed for the better. I'm so thankful for the people in our home church and have been really blessed. God has really been showing me how much I need Him. I'm the type of person that likes to-do-lists, feeling organized, and getting all of my ducks in a row. I still try to control things in my life in terms of goals, my chosen road map and each turn along the way. I've always known that God is in control but I've learned to TRUST that His plan is better than mine. It's easy to say, "I know God is in control and wants good things for me", but it's another to be able to REST in that and learn to truly rely on that truth in a practical, daily sort of way. I'm definitely still learning how to do this, and I'm sure I'll be learning this until the day I'm with the Lord but He's showing me more and more each day how to be confident in this.

I've found the most peace in this area when I focus on my ultimate need for Him. It seems counterintuitive but when I come to Him and am aware of how little control over things I really have, that's when He shows me that His plan and so much better than anything I could ever plan for myself and He gives me the most strength and peace. A recent example of this is the deposit for our new apartment. I really wanted to move out of our current apartment but I was hesitant to look for a new place because I was worried about coming up with money for another deposit. We stopped looking for a new apartment for a few weeks and just tried to be okay with where we are for now. During this time, I found out that I would be getting a bonus at work from the previous school year. Before this point, it was never clear when this bonus would be coming and I didn't have any idea how much it would be. Shortly after finding this out, we looked for an apartment. I found the posting on Sunday and by Tuesday we had seen the apartment, applied and got accepted. The best part was that the deposit ended up being the exact amount of my bonus. Some people might say that's a coincidence, but I chose to believe it was God showing me that He provides for us in practical ways! We're now moving in a couple weeks and I'm very thankful.

Moving away from Oregon was, and still is, a very difficult thing, but through that struggle God has drawn me closer to Him and shown me His love and dedication to me more than any other point of my life. I'm so thankful for our home church because it teaches the bible, love for each other, and God's grace. Once we admit our need for Jesus and ask him to be apart of our life, our name can never be erased from his book. We are His children forever and can never be seperated from Him.

Repurposed dresser!

I guess I've found a new addiction in DIY projects. I started small and built my way up to refurbishing an old dresser! I blame all my inspiration on Pinterest! I haven't thought of many original ideas, I just see something I like and decide to make my own. I found the idea for this weekend's project originally from this pin...
My sister's neighbor just happened to be getting rid of their own dresser so I snagged it off their sidewalk! Lucky me! This is what is started out as...
I borrowed some supplies from my lovely friend, Erin, and jumped right in! I'm learning as I go and hoping it all works out :) I started out with a little sanding.

The sanding process was MUCH easier than I was anticipating. I feel like everything I've heard and read about sanding is horrible. It helped that the dresser didn't have a glossy top coat and was pretty worn down to begin with.

Next, came filling in the huge gouge in the front of the drawer. This wood filler was like magic!

Now on to the primer...

Next, I had to figure out how to remove that back ledge. With the help of picture messaging with my dad, I got it off...

It had an old fashioned bolt and turning mechanism.
Now I was left with these huge holes. Which gave me another chance to practice my skills with the magic wood filler :)
You'd never know it was there :)
Primer is now done. On to the paint :)
I used a high gloss paint since the dresser will be used a lot and have things placed on top of it.
I taped the inside to insure I didn't get paint all over the inside and be left with drawers that would stick when you try to open them.
I really like the detail on the legs.

All painted! Now just needs new knobs :) If I'm lucky, I'll be able to get a granite or marble top. I'm happy with it for now though! I may just use a big butcher block style cutting board to use on the top.