Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Yesterday


The girls have had a lot of free reign during these first few weeks of summer. I keep finding small creations scattered around the house. This was yesterday's find. Ada's sculpture of a "bear sleeping in a cave". Those are genuine fruit snack wrappers - repurposed as boulders and cave components and secured with plenty of scotch tape. 


We also received this beautiful cabbage from a neighbor yesterday. We love our next door neighbors - on all sides. A few days ago our Vietnamese neighbors brought us 3 huge containers of the best homemade egg rolls you have ever tasted. One of their 4 sons brought this gift to the front door and they were so fresh the steam was wafting out of the Styrofoam containers they were packed into. This cabbage was a gift from a newish acquaintance that Stephen saw talking to another older neighbor while they were peeking at our nextdoor neighbors backyard - trying to see what sort of construction has been going on back there. Nothing gets past these ladies. Not even my cute husband. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Easter


M, F, and A on Easter Sunday this year. 





Easter Sunday was extra special this year. Margot was baptized on Easter Sunday this year. 

A few weeks earlier, Margot was talking to me about something having to do with the Bible and she just blurted out "I'm not afraid to get baptized anymore!". 

Our church holds baptisms occasionally on Sunday mornings. The girls have been watching these take place with more interest recently. The people who have made this decision in their lives are baptized in a large pool thing in the center of the room surrounded by those present, singing worship songs and pausing to hear the name and story of the person being baptized. It can be intimidating for an adult and, I imagine, scary for a child. The girls have maintained that they are "too shy" to get baptized. Of course we haven't pushed the issue because we want it to be their choice. When Margot made that statement to me, I wasn't sure how to take it. It's not like her to even bring something like this up. Most "God questions" normally come from Ada. When I asked her why she wanted to get baptized I fully expected her to say it was because she wanted to get in the water. After all, that's why I wanted to get baptized at her age. Instead I got an answer with a maturity I wasn't expecting: "People get baptized because they believe in Jesus and I believe in Jesus so I want to get baptized. It's like when we take communion because we believe He died for our sins and He told us to do that to remember He died for our sins and getting baptized is something you do to remember too." 

Over the next few weeks Stephen and I both asked her multiple times about why she wanted to get baptized, expecting her answer to vary. It didn't. She was steadfast and excited about the prospect of making her faith "official". She started telling everyone at school that she was going to get baptized on Easter. She told her teacher, her principal,  and anyone else who would listen. The day before Easter, her precious teacher came by the house to bring her a special present - a cross necklace - to celebrate her baptism. She wore it the next day, trembling with excitement during the service, asking every 5 minutes if it was time to get baptized yet. Then it was time. My parents came to watch and David and Grace were there with Ada and Frankie while Stephen climbed into the baptismal with Margot and one of our pastors. I was honestly shocked by how much emotion overtook me, watching our daughter get baptized. She was beaming with peaceful excitement. I was remembering her life until this moment. We believe that baptism is a symbol, it's not a magic moment that makes a person holy. Still the recognition that my five year old was ready to make this choice, to make this symbolic gesture so that others would know she was a follower of Christ - was overwhelming. We are just so humbled by this kid. 

Their's and Our's

This is officially our second summer in our home and though little has changed in our house since these "after" pictures where taken about a month after we unpacked, I thought it would be fun to see the Before and After set side by side.  It's more like Their's and Our's because their house had a definite theme and ours has one of it's own. 
If we are BFFs on FB then you have already seen the after shots but this time you get to see more of the actual transformation that took place, lo those many months ago. I snagged these before shots off the real estate listing for this place and we were too frazzled and crazed during the two week renovation to take any pictures of what it looked like empty. 



 Their Kitchen


Our Kitchen. Still my favorite room in the house... when it's clean. I firmly believe that the two nerve centers in a home are the kitchen and the master bedroom. When the kitchen is clean and tidy our life seems to be more organized and we get places on time. When our bedroom is clean and organized we rest well and I feel ready to take on whatever life has on offer that day. Isn't it amazing what a coat of paint, new countertops, and a couple of new track lights can do? 


Their Living Room


Our Living Room. Those shelves took up so much space and they were not even attached to the wall! So down they came. The light, my heavens, the light! The girls play on that rug for hours at a time. 


Their Entryway 


Our Entryway. One of top priorities on our house wish list are new front doors. Those are right next to painting the exterior of the house whose avocado green color theme has not been updated since it's inception in '65. One tiny, itty bitty step at a time. 


Their Master Bedroom


Our Master Bedroom


Their Girls Room


Our Girls Room. This room is deceptively neat in this photo. It is an old picture for one, and the girls had not yet been through Kindergarten. Kindergarten with all it's treasures, projects, and treasure box items that find their way home. I feel I am fighting a constant battle of clutter in this room but as it is actually THEIR battle to fight and not mine I try to limit my re-organization of their lives to once or twice a month - tops. We are talking about having the girls swap rooms in a year or two. Frankie's room has more wall space and a larger closet so I feel like it would be a better situation for our growing twin ladies who may not want to be in bunk beds for life. 


Their Guest Room (?)


Our Frankie's Room


Their Hall


Our Hall


Their Basement Room


Our Late Night Hideaway with Wood Burning Fireplace, Record Player and other Toys

This is the room that sold the house. Not their version, but our vision of what it could become. Our version. This room took the longest to complete because we didn't have enough time to get the painting done during that two week frenzy before we moved in. It also needed quite a bit of work. We got rid of the fireplace insert and discovered that the fire brick were all cracked and patched. So Dad did the demo work himself and then called in his fantastic mason and we had the entire firebox rebuilt. Then that had to cure for awhile before we could try it out. Then we did try it out.. and it smoked. Badly. So my Dad and I became experts on all the issues in a house that can cause a chimney to smoke. My dad was such an encouragement during this. He said every chimney is a little different and you just have to figure out how yours works. So as it turned out even though the flu to firebox opening ratio was mathematically correct, the opening was still slightly large. So after experimenting a bit we found a size that worked and Dad bought and installed a hood that lowered the height about an inch. This caused the chimney to draw better and eliminated the smoke issue altogether. 

The folks who lived here before us had never used the fireplace once in the eight years they lived here. That thought makes me sad sometimes when we are curled up next to a roaring fire. I wonder who else in the history of this house didn't get to enjoy this room. This room is where we come after the kids go to bed. Stephen has his drawing table down here and it is cozy and quiet. The girls love to have movie night down here, and it's our guest room when we have overnight visitors. The vintage couch is a sleeper sofa and there is a full bathroom down here. It's a great room. 

There is one more room in this house that really sold us and that is the "Black and White" room. It's kind of a utility room in the lower level/basement with a big farm sink, black and white linoleum flooring, and lots of room to make a mess. I will have to take a picture of that one soon and post it - it's the last place in the house that has been organized and it's taken me over a year to get there... still in process. 

Many of the changes we made were so minor. Taking down curtain rods, changing out closet and drawer pulls and changing out light fixtures to name a few. Their pulls were dark and we traded those for crystal in the girls rooms and turquoise in our room and the bathrooms. We took down some of their light fixtures and replaced them with the original ones we found in one of the closets. So thankful they had saved these instead of tossing them! We still have lots to do to make this house into the home I see in my mind's eye. But that's the fun part, right? 

Friday, June 20, 2014