Month: April 2014

Makeovers

We’ve been in the house for about three weeks now and I’m slowly but surely beginning to cross stuff off of my to-do list.  On that list for some time had been to paint our piano and a few other pieces of furniture.

I began doing some research online and discovered chalk paint (not to be confused with chalkBOARD paint…).  It is a type of paint often used to paint furniture because it is low maintenance (no prep work) and it is easy to distress.  It’s also a little pricy, but I was able to find this great tutorial and ended up making my own.  It worked great!

Before:

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After:DSC_0008 DSC_0009

For our piano makeover, I chose Fresh Mint by Benjamin Moore

One of the best things about buying a “used” house is the treasures that are left behind or negotiated into the buying process.  This hutch is one of those pieces and was originally a reddish/brown color.

Before:

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I used Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy for this one and found the wallpaper (used to cover the back) from a retro site on Etsy.  The knobs are Anthropologie.

After:

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(here you can see the texture of the paint)DSC_0014

(also wanting to add some hooks across the open front to hang the glass tea cups from)

I still have one more piece I am looking to re-do…just need to decide on a color!

Hoping to share more updates soon!

-smk

When I look

When I look at this photo, I see

 

-my baby turned girl. Walking with ease upstairs to bed

-her sleeping attire.  The nightgown she picked out to wear because she wanted to “sleep in a dress like Sleeping Beauty”

-the six sponge rollers that will curl all of her waify, wispy hair as she sleeps. “I want to have curly hair like Bea”.

-the hair that is still streaked with the golden strands of babyhood.  I haven’t been able to bring myself to cut it yet.

-a coy yet confident smile.  This one no longer elicited by cues or bribery.

-skinny, little legs that are hardened and bruised from the recent afternoons outdoors.  The pudgy limbs I endlessly kissed have disappeared forever.

-a little girl who is enchanted by the newly discovered ideals of beauty (curly hair, dresses, lipstick).  She has just begun her trajectory into the mystery of femininity.  May she walk away with innocence maintained and heart unscathed.

-a little baby, still clutching the hand of her beloved doll Stella.  I will fall to the ground and weep on the day she declares her independence from this childhood vestige.

Sweet, sweet MG.  May she have babies upon babies to care for one day.  May she cook pea snacks and pizza lunches in her large pink kitchen just like she does in her miniature one.  May all of her babies be soothed with the rocking and shushing she has perfected in her young life.  May she never run out of the pacis and lullabies and teether toys that her babies always seem to need.   May she be given at least one that loves babies the way she does so she may relive this joy all over again.

And may my heart always remember the way my house looked with little makeshift baby beds in every corner; little, balled up baby diapers in every bag; and empty, plastic baby bottles behind every piece of furniture.

And may Stella remain for many more days,

-smk

 

Happy Easter 2014!

 

This was  probably my most favorite Easter (and maybe even holiday?) in a long time!  MG was so cute to watch as her excitement level gradually grew as the day neared.

 

We spent a lot of time this year talking about Easter, watching toddler-geared Easter videos, and opening Resurrection eggs.  There is still so much she doesn’t understand but it is amazing what the Gospel story lends itself to just a tiny three year old.  For example, we had our first real bona fide sinful moment pop up this week.  Something that had happened previously, that we’d thoroughly discussed and asked her not to do again.  She definitely understood the error the first time and felt bad about it and promised not to do it again.   And she did it again….deliberately, intentionally, in a somewhat shameful way.  Great interlude into an explanation of sin.

Secondly, she has been somewhat riveted by the cross, death, and the tomb.  We have never explained death to her and didn’t gloss over the cross but tried to explain it in age-appropriate terms.  Two separate times she said to us, “But I don’t want to die on a cross”.  Terribly heart-wrenching to hear as a parent but thankfully we had the “perfect” answer.  Jesus did so you don’t have to.

 

I can’t tell you how my heart has longed for this Easter.  I always appreciate it more when it is a bit later in the year, allowing the earth to warm a bit.  I ordered the girls’ dresses a few months prior, daydreaming of the warm weather when my family would all be together to celebrate the meaning  of this day.

I knew this would be our first holiday in our school house and wondered what that would feel like.  Together, N and I observed Lent and followed an excellent devotional that fostered a lot of good conversation in the six weeks prior.  This Lenten season started shortly after my birthday….What feels like a lifetime ago. It has been a long time coming.

 

We began our festivities yesterday with a family dinner, hosted at our new place.  We finally used the fine china passed down from Nate’s Great Grandma that we never had room to store in our last house.  I hope it makes many appearances here.  Served on it was probably one of the best meals our combined efforts have made…ever.  So much so I am going to share the recipes with you.  So easy and soooo good.

2014 Easter Menu

Emeril’s Chimichurri Skirt Steak

Pioneer Woman’s Au Gratin Potatoes

Ugly Beans

-Deviled eggs/salad by the Gma’s

-GF Coconut Bunny Cake (follow this recipe and sub in GF flour if desired……best GF cake I have EVER had!!!)  Follow these instructions to make the bunny shape

(all of these recipes can also be found on my Pinterest page)

Here are a few more pics from our day:

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Thank you, Jesus, for dying for our sins so my babies and I don’t have to! 

-smk

11 months

Our busy little Bea turns 11 months old today!

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It is hard to believe this is the last month of her first year and her first birthday is just around the corner.  On the other hand, it feels as though her birth occurred a few lifetimes ago as there has been so, so much this year has brought us.  When I think about what our life looked like this time last year, so much has changed: job, house, city, pets, not to mention number of children.  Thankfully God saw fit to give us two delightful children, and one of those being a particularly dreamy angel baby that has rolled right along with all of the changes.

 

To say Bea is busy is an understatement.  I’ll be honest: we never had to do much child proofing with MG and a simple, “No” would deter her from getting into most dangers.  Bea, like a true youngest child, laughs in my face when I tell her no and returns to the problem over and over and over.  I am so thankful for MG in this season especially because if I need to turn my back on the girls for a second, MG alerts me to any of Bea’s shenanigans.

 

One of the first sweet platitudes someone told me when they found out I was having a girl (with MG) was, “you will have a little mommy to help you raise the next one.”.  For some reason, I clung to this sentiment and have never forgotten it.  Propehtic for us as MG has never been anything but nurturing to her younger sis.

 

I think all parents can agree: some of the best milestones come at the tail end of the first year.  Sweeter perhaps, because you have to wait so long to experience them.  Bea is now responding to cues like, “SO big!”, “Yay!”, and repeating a few words and hand motions.  She also spends 90% of her awake hours on her feet and unofficially took her first step this last week…although it has yet to be repeated.

 

Bea prefers to feed herself and has mastered the sippy cup with ease….head tilted back, arms raised, gulps loud enough for all to hear.  She’s still a bit picky when it comes to food but not when it comes to findings on the floor.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fished wood chips, carpet fuzz, and paper out of her mouth.

 

After four months of night waking relapse, I am finally becoming reacquainted with my bed again.  She has also refused my requests to rock her to sleep but that means I’ve been given back some time in my evenings.  She is surely growing up.  I do so miss my baby though…

 

One month left, sweet Bea!  Let’s see it out with a bang!

-smk

Updates

I guess I don’t really have very much interesting to say…which is why I took an unintentional blog break last week.  Just a bunch of random updates…

 

Well the house is coming along, but the further we go into it, the more there seems left to be done.  It is equal parts exciting and overwhelming.  There is not a single room in the house that is done.  All of our stuff is here, and mostly put away…but we are far from finished.  I’m trying to be better about letting people in to see a little of the chaos and trying not to preface everything with: “well we still want to add/change/do….”  I guess I still haven’t learned all of my moving lessons yet, but one of the biggest things I’ve become aware of is how the unfinished nature makes me feel out of control, which in turn makes me ratchet down on things I do have control over, which never turns out well, and ultimately spirals from there.  Our kitchen is the most completed room and likewise the area we spend the most time in, so that is a blessing.

Our respite has continued to be the outdoors.  Yesterday afternoon, we took a walk, fed the neighbor’s mules, and then played and ate dinner outside.  It was storybook lovely and I hope we never take it for granted.

We tried a new church yesterday at the prompting of our neighbors…and liked it for all of the opposite reasons we liked our first church.  I guess we have some more decisions yet to make.

 

Lately I have been struck  by how grown up MG is becoming.  Her vocabulary is quite extensive now and her memory is spot on.  I am often amazed at the things she remembers and what triggers these memories.  We’ve been talking a lot about the story of Easter these past two weeks since being home and though death and arisen and sin are far from her conceptual grasp, she really does understand the heart of the story.  It is amazing how clear the Gospel is, that even a three year old can understand.

N shared a beautiful picture with me related to all of this.  As you know, MG has always been very drawn to babies and even still equates Jesus to being a baby.  How neat is it that God  created in her this unique attraction and used something that resonates deeply within her to begin wooing her to Him.

 

Speaking of babies, I babysat two boys for some friends of ours while they were away on vacation.  The boys were just about the same age as the girls which was a lot of fun, but also crazy…like having two sets of twins.  MG was my constant left-hand man, always willingly.  In fact, she has now begun assessing situations and inserting herself into them as need be.  I am so blessed to have such a smart helper as my first born.

 

And Bea has taken to the role of the baby.  Cute and sweet, always on the verge of a giggle.  True to nature, she will not let the attention stray to far from her, but only grabs for it sweetly, with a big smile, or a flirtatious giggle, or a lock of the eyes.

 

God has blessed.

-smk

New life

There is always something tangibly exciting about starting over. I’ve moved 7 times in my life (if you include the move to college and our two rental houses) and each time it has felt the same. The chance to set up house (or room). To leave behind the innate flaws of your last house and to embrace the chanced joys of the new. Perhaps there is a part of me that greatly enjoys finding the advantages and then exploiting them mightily for my own benefit.

There are little discoveries in the early days; the ‘oh I didn’t realize they would leave that behind for us!’ The ‘our bed fits perfectly here’, the upgrades you weren’t looking for on the initial tour. These findings are mingled with the new daily realities; How long of a drive it is to the grocery store, library, Starbucks {10 minutes, tops!}. When the mailman arrives every day. How kind your UPS man is (so very). How sound carries across the house. The give and creak of the floors. All of these thoughts generate into a collective story of, “so this is how my new life is going to look.” And there is something very beautiful about that discovery.

This move was a profound change for us. Having both been raised in the suburbs, we know little about tending soil and burning trash. But quickly we are learning and I love how this move has and will stretch us….directing our future in some ways.

There are *some* things that I miss about life in the suburbs…the obvious like convenience to shopping and dining and theaters and markets. I miss sidewalks and city pride, A++++ schools and tap water (we have well water {or as I call it “smell water”}house wide water filtration system is on our short list). The variety and general anonymity that comes with life in a medium sized city.

What we lost in those we gained in grass and wildflowers, windows that don’t need blinds and yards that don’t need fences. And early morning views like this:

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Side-eye us, pity us, or nod in knowing smile with us, we couldn’t be happier with how this story has begun

– smk>

School House Dreams

Well the four of us have been HOME now for 2.5 days.  Between the unpacking, reshuffling, project list growing, and the where is my toothpaste/laundry detergent/bag of carrots/underwear game we’ve been playing, it’s been a bit of a blur.

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Though few, there have been some fleeting thoughts of what have we gotten ourselves into?? and when will this house feel like ours?  Thankfully, those feelings have been somewhat bayed by the joy of finally having a place of our own and even better–finally living life together.

I sent N a text today…”I love our house”.  And I think I really do.  The large, open living room with the fire place we’ve been too busy to turn on…the well-lit, south-facing kitchen where the girls and I can watch the sun ascend over breakfast….the window upstairs that affords us a view of the road and allows us to catch a glimpse of the only sign of life around here….the close-knit feeling of the upstairs…the open stair case…and the challenge of filling all of the nooks and crannies.

And her flaws certainly have been easy to overlook next to the total demise of our rental house….

But perhaps my favorite part of the house, as imagined, is the great outdoors.

The past two and a half days we’ve spent setting up house, minds engaged, heads spinning at all of the big and little things that need to be done.  On both of these days, we’ve taken a brief moment to step outside and explore.

 

It has been a refreshing draw of water for our country-starved souls.

Watching MG spend 25 minutes splashing in the mud.

 

Kicking a ball around in the grass.

Pulling a cat tail out of the marsh.

Being invited into the neighbor’s  barn to pet  (and someday ride!!) the mules

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Doing dishes and watching my crew play out on the lawn

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These are the moments that fill us with joy, surround us with peace, and remind us of that gentle voice whispering, “This is what I had waiting for you.”

It has been a long winter.  A long walk to our current Canaan.  But at last, we are here.

And I command you today: Love God, your God.  Walk in his ways.  Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exhuberantly, blessed by God, your God, in the land you are about to eneter and possess.  Deuteronomy 30:16 MSG