September 27, 2012

Boys Room Makeover: Further Progress

Here are some more pics of the boys room. Some taken with my phone and some taken with my new camera. I've had my camera less than 48 hours and we already lay in bed and braid each other's hair and promise we'll be maids of honor in each other's wedding one day.

Keep in mind that I still don't have anything up on their walls because a) the thought of devirginizing our beautifully painted walls with a nail makes me need to hold a counter and steady myself, and b) I can't commit. I'm not loving the bookshelf idea as much now because I want the books to be accessible to them and easy for them to reach. I have found some world map decals that I love but $150 seems a little outrageous. Might just be me.

I also want to get a super furry fuzzy soft rug for the center of their room. But again, it's $100. We live in Montana, not Beverly Hills.

Ok, remember we started with this.

Here's where we're at today.

 They're my babies at least. Even if they are the size of small kindergarteners.

 A little blowing in the fan action. (That wasn't intentional.)


With the help of my counselor and friends, The Walls are next.

September 23, 2012

Boys Room: Before and After

I promise I'm going to show you before and after pictures. But first there are some things you need to understand.

Paint and I have a long conflicted history. Kind of like Lady Mary and Cousin Crawley. Except ours doesn't end with a long kiss on a moonlit winter night.

I agonize more over paint colors than I ever did on making the decision to have children. (And I wish I were being facetious.) I research and I research and I research. I compare, I contrast, I narrow down, I categorize, and I eventually end up with a couple that I love. So I go to the paint store, Paint Guy and I converse, he brings out paint samples, we hold them up against a large white background, I decide, I waver, I hem, I haw, and then I finally throw in the towel and pick one.

And then I leave the store and immediately hate it.

This happens every single time. We've had more paint drama in our house than Edith and Mary.

However, in the end I love the color I chose. Love, love, love. So without further ado.

The Chosen One:


In process:

Our saving grace:

Getting there:

Even closer:

Annnnnnnd after! 
(But keep in mind that I don't have window treatments or wall decorations yet.)

Another angle:

Closet (cleaned out and organized!):

From this:

To this:

I'll be working today on window treatments and wall decorations and we'll be closer than ever!

September 17, 2012

A Reformed Night Owl

This moment both boys are sleeping and for that I'm deeply grateful. For nearly a week now at 7:33 every night I have great expectations.

The boys have been put to bed for the night, the house is picked up, and there's nothing very important that I must get done. I get my computer and settle in and catch up on different things I keep up with. I remind myself (very firmly) that tonight, tonight, I am going to bed early. I'm tired and I'm tired of dragging through part of the day because I stayed up too late the night before.

The evening passes on. Matt and I converse, catch up, connect, and I look at the clock again. 8:58. Perfect. It's not late yet which means I still have some time, but, I remind myself, I'm not going to bed late. I'm getting ready for bed by 9:30 and I will be asleep by 10.

I put on an episode of Downton Abbey. It's just past 9 and it's less than an hour long so I'll still have time to wash my face and brush my teeth and be asleep before 10.

Before long 10 has come but I'm not that tired so I watch one more episode. I have to know what happens to Misterrr Bay-tes (English accent). (Incidentally, every night I've watched Downton Abbey I've fallen asleep praying with an English accent and for the life of me I can't drop it.)

Repeat this times 5 or 6 and today at this moment as both boys are sleeping you can understand why I am deeply grateful. It's not them, it's me. I don't have any spare brain cells to answer any superfluous questions, even if they have to do with undies and potty. It may be a basic human exercise but today it's superfluous.

You have to understand, I am not a night owl. I am a morning person far and away over being a night owl. Most of the time by 10 o' clock, I've had it for the day and my bed is the only worthy destination on the radar. But for some reason the last week I've hit a second wind around 9:30 and it doesn't leave my sails until about midnight.

Thankfully I finished the second season of Downton Abbey last night so I'm home free. Or at least until I figure out if I can watch Season 3 online even though it's just started.

The extra tiredness has produced extra deep breaths and under-the-breath prayers for extra grace, please Lord, and more patience, and extra grace and even more patience, thank you, Lord. 

Even still I'm so thankful the Lord has created my eyes with a high-zoom lens fixed on the beauty that exists in my sons, inside and out. Sometimes as Micah stands, face uplifted, talking to me, or Asher sits in my lap, profile turned towards me, I can hardly believe how beautiful they are.

So today I'm thankful for my sons, the God Who made them, and naptime.

And they're not mutually exclusive.

Linked up with The Parent Hood.

September 14, 2012

A Makeover and a Recap

I mentioned on Tuesday that the boys and I were going to get those cereal boxes sent to Haiti. If you've known me for exactly less than one half of a day you might soon figure out that Details and Organization and Such Related Matters cause my retinas to sear and my mind to grow dim. Very dim. So when I saw the process required to get the measurements, shipping estimates, an actual mathematical equation, and paperwork (plural), I expected my vision to soon start forming a tunnel.

However. Miracles abound. I loved it. I explained to Micah that we were sending cereal boxes to our friends in Haiti because they don't have a lot and this helps them make things so they can make a living for themselves. He stared deeply into my soul and then called for a prayer meeting. It was beautiful. 

(Actually he listened to me for 17 seconds and then asked for more crayons.)

After I got everything put together and double and triple-checked that I did it right, I sat both boys on my lap and we prayed for our friends in Haiti, that God would bless the work of their hands and multiply the gift. It was wonderful, I loved involving the boys. I look so forward to doing more of this sort of thing with them. 

Don't judge the Reese's Puffs, haters.

Look at my organization, Shirley McLabelson.

Ready to go!
(Look at my sneaky CIA address-covering happening.
I'm so Sidney Bristow I can hardly handle it.)
(Who knows what I'm referencing? Brownie points.)

That night we rode our bikes to the river that runs by our house. Micah loves (loves) to throw rocks so this is one of our common after-dinner family outings. I love getting out as a family this way, riding bikes, walking the river, breathing in the crisp, fresh air, watching my boy in his element, so happy to be there at that moment.

Love that little boy to the furthest galaxy and back.

This boy has a heart of pure gold.

Happiness in a roly-poly bundle of wrinkly joy.

Someone was pooping out.

Matt's work scheduled changed some so that he's now working slightly longer days but then has a mid-week day off. This week was the first week of it so he had all day Wednesday off. He is so good about always telling me to take time to myself if I need it. Go shopping, go to the bookstore, go get a mocha, something! But I don't often go because I like to make the most of our family time. But Tuesday night he was adamant that I take Wednesday for myself.

I thought I would go for just a few hours but I ended up being out for most of the day! My mom and I met up and spent the day together and we had so much fun. Matt and I are moving the boys' room back into what's now the office so I was armed with ideas from blogs and Pinterest, so my mom and I scoured stores for inexpensive materials and furniture. We didn't really find anything but we had fun looking.

Oh my happiness. Pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin bread with cream cheese topping. 

Here are some ideas I have for the boys' room.

A large part of one wall devoted to these kind of bookshelves.

I want reading to always be a part of their lives, so I want to create an area that's inviting and cozy in their living space so that they're continually surrounded by it. I want to add some little-person bean bags and maybe a basket with more books. Something that draws them to that space.

I'm super tired of the warm, earthy tones that have swallowed our house whole so I'm really stepping out of the box for this one. I like these two colors of grey for the paint on their walls. Their furniture is in espresso so we can't go too dark grey or everything will start to blend.

I'd like their bedding and window treatments to be something along the lines of black, white, greys, yellows (I think). I haven't seen anything really that grabs my attention. It has to be absurdly chic (Pottery Barn Awesome) and yet super inexpensive (Dollar Store Awesome). So far: no luck. 

I love these for their wall. I love the mix of animals (which Micah loves), but also keeping the alphabet in front of them.

So that's all I've got so far. Any creative persons out there with some good ideas?

(I deeply hope so.)

(And if so, could you please leave it in the comments section of this post, rather than facebook?)

(Oh my gosh, I sound so snobby, don't hate me.)

(It's just easier for me to look back here and find them for later reference.)

(Thank you from the innermost recesses of mine loving heart.)

Linked up at with Faith-Filled Fridays.

September 11, 2012

A 9/11 Commemoration

11 years ago I was a college freshman. Two weeks into the whole being-an-adult thing. I was sitting in my 8 o'clock English class when our teacher let us know that something very serious had happened and we were dismissed for the day.

I headed straight to the central hangout area on campus. The TV was on showing coverage of the planes crashing into the towers and the subsequent chaos happening at that moment in the affected parts of the country. Coverage of those running for their lives. And the ones running for the lives of others, back into the devastation, sacrificing their own.

We sat, all of us, new adults and seasoned, transfixed. The occasional outbursts of disbelief and sadness.

Eventually I walked back to my dorm room and met up with my roommate, Hannah. Every day that I knew Hannah she was hard and cynical. Distrustful of The Establishment. Always railing against patriotism and loyalty. And today, on the day that our nation was dealt a devastating blow, was no different.

It's sad, yes, but I can't stand this sudden show of patriotism! All the flags and people wearing red, white, and blue. It's ridiculous!

I listened, confused. I didn't know about this stuff, what she was saying. Was this how adults thought? Was it childishness and immature to rally together as a country? Was it ignorance? That brief conversation stained my thoughts about 9/11 for a long time.

But I'm older than I was then. And I'm a parent now. And today when I see this kind of image it slays me over and over.

The devastation that happened on 9/11 was outside of country and allegiance. It wasn't a conceptual or metaphorical attack. It was an attack on people. Real, live breathing people who kissed their husband goodbye that morning. Who packed their son's lunch. Who tucked their daughter into bed the night before. Who sat cozied up with their Bible and coffee before they put their work clothes on to head to the 9 to 5, never knowing it would be the last time.

So now I say to Hannah, with great compassion, that was crap. I'm not a new adult anymore. On the contrary, I see now that the real childishness (and I would daresay evil) lies with the person who would put an ideology before a people.

I'm not good at commemorating, but today my sons and I will ride to our post office and we'll finally send those cereal boxes to Haiti. Because today should remind us not only of our own loss in our country, but the loss that people experience every day here and elsewhere. Loss because of poverty. Loss because of evil. Loss because of injustice.

And to those who would say that it's not our responsibility. Nor our concern. Perchance we have enough troubles of our own? I say, that's crap. People are people are people. And Jesus says we're intrinsically valuable and deeply loved.

Do good today, in Jesus' name.

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September 05, 2012

Friendships Can Be Awkward

I took a big risk today. A big risk for me anyways. Actually probably a big risk for most people.

I've mentioned before that I'm a very social person. I love meeting people, I love being around people, I love getting to know people. I love people in general. I'm also always watching people, always, and I'm learning more from you than you'll probably ever know.

But as much as I like people, I'm not really good at the icky love stuff (remember that scene under the bridge on the boat with Julia Roberts in My Best Friend's Wedding?).

I want all the close relationship, share-y, close-knit BFFs kind of stuff, but I'm not good on the journey to getting there. Which is why I oftentimes use humor to deflect an otherwise tender moment.

(It's a wonder I'm married, no?)

But today I took a big risk and laid it all out there.

(Ok, now I'm exaggerating when I say I laid it all out there, because really I just made a passing comment.)

(I'm pretty sure this person does not read my blog.)

(If they do, this is awkward.)

This past year we've gone through quite a series of advenures, if you will. Otherwise known as really crappity-crap crapstick. As a result of our church dealing with some issues of their own and us taking a gigantic step away, we lost our main supply line for relationships.

We still kept in touch with a few people but mostly we felt isolated. And it begin to dawn on me for the first time that I actually really need people, as much as I have this I'm-pretty-good-on-my-own-but-thanks kind of thing down. And not just in a social-club-laughy-daffy-satisfy-my-sanguine-personality kind of way but in a confidante-I-need-help-I'm-not-all-together-like-I-seem-and-I'm-drowning-alone kind of way.

But we had to be so careful because the situation and resulting situations were so delicate that I couldn't just fully be to the first person who would hear me. So mostly we kept quiet, endured the rumors and isolation, and let God be our defender. But God, in his great kindness and affection, saw my desperate need for a friend in a relatable place of life who had the potential to get me on all sorts of levels.

I fear this is sounding very me-centered. I hope not. Because really what this looked like on the outside was this: We went about our daily lives, normal and functioning, still trying to stay connected even if it was mostly shallow, but on the inside I really, really wanted a friend I could confide in.

(I think I may have the gift of melodrama.)

So I met this girl in a very unlikely place in a very unusual set of circumstances that I think only the Lord could orchestrate and from the moment we first hung out I totally clicked with her. On like a thousand levels. So ever since I've been secretly hoping that she felt the same way and we could totally be BFFs for life.

(Again, if she reads this blog...)


(Just kidding. Again it's really not this melodramatic. My gifting: see above.)

Anyways, it's just been so fun to hang out and have it be so easy to just be myself with someone. And today we were talking about which Bible study we're going to choose tomorrow since a new session is starting and this is where I totally put myself out there. I put myself in the icky love place. I said, Really, I don't care which one I'm in, I'll get something out of any of them. Honestly, I'd like to be in the one you're in. (type-type: smiley face).

I deleted it, retyped it, stared at it for a long time, stared at it some more, kept it, and then pressed Send.

And guess what? It actually was not that big of a deal. Not like the time my husband told me he loved me for the first time and I said, Thanks.

How about you? What's hardest for you to overcome in friendships?

Consider "Joining this Site"?