Friday, August 29, 2008

Our Ever-Evolving Living Room

We bought this house nearly 4 years ago. When we bought it the living room had this wall of windows with these wooden shutters. I like all the windows because they give some extra light and I even liked the shutters, but I thought they made the room look stiff and hard, not warm and inviting. I knew they needed something but curtains are so expensive and I can't sew! We lived with them like this for over a year.

Then I painted my entry way to look like this...

I LOVE the way it looks! It is one of my favorite spots in the house. Once I did this I knew I would eventually paint the living room and I would probably use one of these tan colors to do it. Shortly after that I found these panels at Target for $15 each that I thought would look good whenever I finally painted the room. I bought 4 and hung them up. I didn't love it but it was an improvement and I didn't know what else to do so they stayed. (BTW- I forgot to take a picture before I already had taken down 2 panels so this is the best I could do).

Since that time I have met the Nester (OK, I haven't really met her but I stalk her). She has inspired me to do more. I finally painted the room that tan color. Then I went to the 50% off sale at Hancock and I found brown fabric for $6.00 a yard. This is what I did with it.

Now if you are wondering how I did this without sewing you need to spend some more time over at the Nester's blog. I followed her mistreatment tips and hot glued it on. Then I went back with some fun trim and covered up the mess. These are BY NO MEANS perfect! I eyeballed the lines across and some of them are just not straight, but I am OK with that and I think it is a HUGE improvement. I hung the curtains high like the Nester suggests and I let them puddle on the floor.

It has been a nearly 4 year process (in my defense I have had my 2nd and 3rd babies during that time), but I think the ever evolving process has been worth it. I have a few more ideas for this room, but they are much smaller projects. I am finding myself very excited about the fact that this room is finally beginning to look like I want it to.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Watch Out, It's A ...

Did you know that it is possible for a fire hydrant to be completely knocked to the ground and for no water to come out? Look, I even have proof.

How would I know that you ask? Well, it is embarrassing but true...I am the one who knocked it over. It was actually on my to my grandmothers funeral. It was 7:45 at night on Wednesday. I was in Forney on my way to Dallas and my gas light came on. I exited and went to Walmart to fill up. I really have no excuse but it was raining and I just did not see it. Traci was with me and she gasped or maybe she yelled my name right before I hit it. I also had all three of the kids who were all OK, but a little frightened for the moment. We had to tow the van and call my mom to come get us. Because of the ridiculous # of people traveling with me my aunt and uncle had to come also. Luckily they had a strip of restaurants in the parking lot so we walked down to chick-fil-A to wait. It was the perfect start to the already stressful few days. Here is a picture of the car.

The next day my brother blew a tire on the interstate and had to go buy new tires and when we were all getting ready to go to visitation my sister-in-law discovered she forgot her clothes. We left for visitation and they headed to buy something for her to wear. Things just couldn't be simple could they? Oh well, we all survived and have lived to tell about it. The service was just a graveside service, but it was nice and at the visitation time they had a photo slide show of my grandmother that they played several times. It was a really nice and special touch. Thanks for your kind thoughts and prayers.

BTW - yesterday was the first time I have had to get gas since the wreck and Rebecca kept telling me to be really careful and not to hit a fire hydrant again. So now I get safety tips form my 3 year old.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The First Day of Kindergarten

Today was the big day! Aidan started Kindergarten today and surprisingly I have been OK. I have teared up several times, but I think I have held it together quite well. That may be partially because I have stayed very busy all day long, but I truly believe that this is a testament to the Lord and his provision of strength. I have struggled with feeling like I haven't done all I could do to get Aidan ready for school. I have had to pray through this and work through these feelings and self doubt. That being said, it was truly a gift from the Lord to see my Aidan boldly walk into his new school undaunted. It may seem like a small thing to many of you but Aidan tends to be shy when strangers speak to him and this morning we crossed the street with the crosswalk who said a generic hello and asked how everyone was doing. It was one of those times that it was spoken to so many people that it would be acceptable to not even respond, but in this case my sweet Aidan was the only one of the group (adults included) to look at that lady and say he was doing good. It was such an encouragement to me to see that confidence coming out of my baby. I was able to leave him in his class truly believing that he was going to be just fine and as I sit and type now I trust that the Lord has been with him all day long. He is so faithful! Here are some pictures of my little man this morning:

And this is when he was telling me he had had enough and he wanted to just go inside already.

And this is the way he looked when I left him this morning. It sure made it easier to leave.

Then when I picked Aidan up the very first words he said to me in the car were mom, this school is FUN! Here came the tears, although I tried to hide them from the kids with my glasses. They were not tears of sadness but happiness and relief. He had a fabulous day! He loved it. I have prayed about this transition for months and although I know we will still all have to get used to it, today has been good and Lord deserves all the glory for that. When we got home Rebecca and I had a surprise waiting for Aidan. Here it is:

We sat at the table together, ate cake and listened to Aidan talk about school. When I asked him what was the best part he simply said ALL OF IT. I couldn't ask for a better response.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Night Before Kindergarten

It is the night before I send my Aidan off to school. I cannot believe that He will be in Kindergarten! Is he really old enough for that? I can't believe it. It seems like only yesterday I was bringing him home from the hospital, terrified that I was going to do something wrong. He was so sweet and so dependent on me to care for him and I could just hold him and look at him for hours. It almost felt overwhelming to realize how much he needed me to care for him and now I am sending him to school and I will be away from him for most of the day.

We have done all the right things to get ready for school. His clothes are picked out (I teared up a bit just picking out his clothes) and ready to be put on. Breakfast selections have been made. The lunch is packed and his supplies are waiting by the door. I have worked on earlier bedtimes and early mornings. We read a special book called the night before Kindergarten. We have talked about school and all those things, but I don't really feel ready.

I think the biggest thing is that we are entering a new stage in our life, in our parenting. I have been told over and over that once they hit school age time just flies by. I am grasping to slow it down, but that doesn't seem to be working. I don't know exactly what lies ahead for Trace and I as parents, for Aidan as he grows and changes, or for our family I just keep reminding my self that the Lord is with me always...I don't have to be afraid. I can walk into the unknown and trust that I will be OK because I know the one who has NO UNKNOWNS! I know the one who formed Aidan and knew the number of hairs he had on his head before I even dreamed about what he would be like. I know the one who loves Aidan even more than I could ever love him. I know the one who is trustworthy. I will hold onto that as I drop Aidan off at school. I will probably shed many tears, but I will cling to these truths while every tear falls.

I picked up some Bath and Body Works apple scented lotion and soap to give to Aidan's teacher and I wrote her a little note. This is what it says:

Dear Mrs. Rayon,
I have spent the last several months attempting to prepare to send my first baby to Kindergarten. For some reason the fact that you will spend more waking hours with my son during the week has been a hard pill for me to swallow, I have to admit that I am a tiny bit jealous and somewhat sad. So tonight I sit in a quiet house realizing that tomorrow is a huge day for me to learn a little bit about loosening my grip and trusting that everything will be OK.

In the morning I will walk Aidan into your classroom and you will be their to give a friendly greeting and make him feel comfortable as he tells mommy goodbye for much of the day. I have grieved this change and very likely will continue to, but somewhere along the way I had this realization that this is not only a big deal for me, but a mighty job, a high calling for you. I cannot thank you enough for being there to greet my baby, to teach my baby, and to invest in my baby as well as so many other kids. You are not just partnering with me to teach him academically, but socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. I pray that this truly does prove to be a partnership. I commit to praying for you throughout the year. I will gladly come alongside you as we work together this year. So I will thank you in advance for being strong when I feel weak and afraid. I thank you for all the time and energy you have already put in to this year and will continue to invest during the year. Thank you especially for being willing to invest, care for, comfort, and teach my Aidan.


I am off to bed to get some sleep before the BIG day. Don't worry first day pictures will come very soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An update

Wow! I have been a very bad blogger lately. This may just be the longest I have ever gone between a post. I have been very busy trying to paint our living room and now get our home back into some type of order. I still have to paint the wooden blinds and rehang them, plus I have some work to do on our curtains and then they will be rehung. Whenever I am finally done with all of that I will post pictures. I also have pictures from our family trip to the Villages water park that we made to celebrate the end of summer that will be coming soon...I know, I know the suspense is KILLING you (note: tons of sarcasm), but you will just have to wait until I have more time.

We found out yesterday that my grandmother passed away, We knew it was coming and she has had hospice coming in for several weeks. However, the finality is always hard and seems sudden. My mother is a school teacher so we are thankful that this all happened before the new school year started and she will probably be back to greet her kids on the first day. My older brother Jason (also a teacher/coach) has been so fantastic during all of this and he has been with my mom the entire time. He was with them when she passed away and has helped make all the arrangements. I am so thankful that he was able to do this with her. I can't imagine my mother having to do it all alone. I decided it was best to stay back since where I go 3 little ones also go and that is not always helpful. Jason (if you even read this), I cannot thank you enough! You have always had such a big heart and you are so dependable when we need you! I thank God that he gave me you as a big brother!

I was able to go to Dallas several weeks ago and see my grandmother, which was good. I took the kids with me for one last visit. It was a little hard to leave and say goodbye because it was the first time I have had an experience like that when I knew that would likely be the last time I saw her, but I thank the Lord for that last visit, that last kiss, and the last time to say I love you. It does help give me peace. Well, I just wanted to update quickly and let everyone know I am still here and I do plan to reenter the blogosphere soon. Here a few pictures from our last visit. Please keep my family in your prayers over the next few days...especially my mother and Pete, my 97 year old step grandfather.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our Chore Chart

We started a chore system last week. I can easily feel overwhelmed with the daily tasks so I decided now is a good time to really start training the kids in regards to helping around the house. Aidan has 5 chores and Rebecca has 3( I wasn't planning on giving Rebecca any yet, but she was so eager to show me how she too could make her bed that I decided to include her). They are pretty simple things, but it is a start and I have explained that they will change as they master the current tasks. And another big part of it is completing the task without complaining or whining about it which can be a big problem at our house. Here is a picture of our blank chore chart.

Everything is Velcro so that it can easily be changed. I have pictures that prompt the written chore so that they can easily see and know what they are supposed to do. Aidan's chores include making his bed, getting dressed, brushing teeth, cleaning his room at the end of the day, and unloading the silverware part of the dishwasher (minus any sharp knives). Rebecca has to make her bed, brush her teeth, and clean up at the end of the day. Aidan can do many of these things, he just tends to whine while doing them, so that is what we are trying to master. Also, with school starting soon, I am hoping this will help him to get dressed and ready with a good attitude.

And this what the chart looked like after the completion of week one. I left a row on the bottom that I can use to reward the kids for being helpful around the house by doing things they are not required to do. We have small velcro stickers that they can put on the chart when they are finished with the chore. I have had to get used to looking at beds that are not perfectly made, but they do look like an effort was made and I did not have to do it!

We decided to give the kids a nickel for every sticker they receive. I am praying that we will be able to begin teaching the kids about saving, tithing, and spending through this. We will see how this works, but for week one I have had beds made before they even leave there room and very little complaining about cleaning, dressing, and brushing teeth. We will see if it lasts.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Force

The other night I went out and Trace had the kids. Aidan talked daddy into watching Star Wars (which I'm sure was really difficult). So Aidan and Becca snuggled up in daddy's lap to enjoy the movie. Aidan asked a question about the movie and why one of the characters can do something (I kind of missed that part of the story...I'm sure it was some pivotal scene in the movie)? Trace simply replied by telling Aidan it was because he has that Force. To this, Becca proudly and loudly declared..."the Force of July?". Too Cute!

Hope it makes you smile! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yet another plug for Perspectives

If you have followed my blog for any amount of time you will remember the video that I put on here earlier this year about Perspectives and if you haven't followed it you can see it here.

My husband is supposed to be helping with promotions this year for the local Perspectives class. He sent out an email and I decided I would try to help spread the word a little further by promoting the class here. And since I am taking the class and would LOVE to have you join me so I feel completely justified in promoting it. Here is another video for you to watch...

Perspectives Promo

And this is what Trace had to say about Perspectives:
I enrolled in this class because I knew I could get graduate credit. I had no interest in global missions, (and consequently no true desire for what God desires). When I was asked why I was taking the class my sarcastic reply was “For credit, although I am not opposed to missions”. This class will call you to obedience, repentance, and also a joy for His name that you may have never known or have forgotten. I found that the desire to have His name known and worshiped among all people (because He is worth nothing less) was so lacking in my life, that apart from God using this intensive class to speak to me I would have survived on a few sermon series and a few books and never had any idea that I was so far from being connected to His heart. He spoke to every area of my life and obedience to Him over this 15 week class. This course is for all believers. It gives purpose and direction to all areas of the Christian life: Prayer, Evangelism, Faith, and the power of the Gospel.

I hope I have peaked your interest a bit! I have yet to take the class, but everyone that I know who has had it has described it as life changing! I know 15 weeks is a lot of time to give up but don't you think it is worth it if it has the potential to transform you and your relationship with the Lord? Any takers?

Even if you can't commit this year you are welcome to join us for the first two sessions...they are free and they may just make you find a way to rearrange your plans for the next 13 weeks or even to take the class next year. Visit and for more info or to register. The class starts on August 25th and is being held at Bethel Bible Church this year.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lazy Summer Day

Yesterday was a fantastic lazy summer day! It seems like we haven't had enough of those. We spent the morning at home and it was such a treat to watch all 3 of my kiddos play together. It was one of those days that I wish I had more of...very little sibling rivalry/arguing and lots of laughter.

Aidan and Rebecca worked together to attempt to make PB&J for Aidan for lunch. We have not done a whole lot of independent meal preparation and I thought their eagerness to help was cute so I gave in and I had to grab the camera.

Then we went to the pool for the late afternoon and enjoyed the sun and water. Finally we finished the night out by grilling burgers. I usually make hot dogs for the kids when we cook out, but this time I decided they needed to eat what we were having. I was presently surprised to hear "This is good!" Look closely and you might even see a smile.

And this is the first time I gave Andrew ketchup to go with his fries. He loved it and loved making quite a mess as you can see. How can I not take a picture of that?

More Projects...

Well, I did it! I finally finished Becca's bookshelf and dresser. They both have a new coat of paint and everything is back in it's place. I thought I would show you the finished product.

Here is the bookshelf with a coat of black paint (I forgot the before picture, so you can just imagine a wooden unfinshed shelf).

I didn't like the fact that this shelf did not have a back on it, but hey I bought it at Canton for under $20. You can't beat that! I knew I could figure something out and now that I found scrapbooking paper the choice was simple. I bought some foam board, covered it in cute paper and nailed it to the back.

Unfortunately it has to hold toys and books so it covers much of the paper, but I still like it. Here it is in the room:

Lastly I repainted her dresser. It was given to me by a friend and is not in the best shape, but I love the detail work(which you can't see in the picture)and decided to make it work. It was chocolate brown and I painted it black. I like the added punch the black adds, and it goes great with the shelf. Here is a picture of that side of the room.

I found those cute buckets at Hobby Lobby for six dollars each and the small ones on the shelf were $3.50. Just incase you missed my last post about her room and want to see what the rest looks like you can see here.