Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"For from the Father's throne You came,
His banished children to reclaim;
And earth and sea and sky revere
The love of Him who sent You here.
And we are jubilant today,
For You have washed our guilt away.
O hear the glad new song we sing
On this, the birth of Christ our King!"

- 6th century hymn adapted by Kristyn Getty

Thursday, November 3, 2011

embrace the camera - november 2

still pluggin' away at the living room. i've just been working on part of the room each day. too much to roll all the walls at once. we're wrapping up morning lessons and baby's about to take a nap - so we'll get started cutting in part of the last wall then. it's a little chaotic with books everywhere, since we have to move bookcases all around. i will be very glad to have this room back to normal at the end of the weekend.

i actually talk in italics. it's impossible to convey my actual speaking voice without using them. but i try not to overdo it when typed out. italic overkill.

emily's embracing the camera again this week! (edit: umm... no she's not. girl has a lot on her plate. looks like this week ETC was the plate to fall. that's good! i'd much rather see someone forget a blog linky thing than ignore her real life priorities. so i'll link up to the week before.) i had this freeze frame of a flip video from mid-October. very much a normal part of everyday lately. not the best quality, but still much better than never capturing that moment at all.

baby's getting bigger, slowly but surely. she's 10 weeks old now and almost out of her preemie clothes! she weighed in at 10 lbs. buck necked this morning. four more ounces and she'll have doubled her birthweight! :) since she's healthy, gaining, and strong, I can say it's been really fun having a baby be so little for so long. some of our babies gained weight so quickly that the teeny newborn stage seemed to pass overnight.

i'm soakin' her up. she's such a love.

a video

do you like to watch videos on blogs as much as i do? there's just something about posts with videos, especially if i've been reading the blog for a while... seeing photos, reading about lives. then, there's a video, and the blogger seems more like a real person than they did before. but, maybe i'm just weird like that.

i'm posting a video tonight. not because i think i'm this terribly interesting person or that you've been dying to see more of me, me, me. just because i think they're fun. and they do show a different side of things that photos alone cannot. and can i just say that i'm thankful for vimeo? i wouldn't feel comfortable uploading to youtube, but vimeo seems to have tighter controls in place and it's easy to use. after trying to upload in a slew of diferent ways, vimeo turned out to be the best option. so, props to vimeo.

we got started on our little list for the week. i figured since the painting was by far the biggest deal on there, that was a good place to start. plus, the day was pretty mild so i could have the windows open.

boosting morale from homeforthebetter on Vimeo.

i wanted the children to help. problem is i "don't do very well" when i have too many helpers in a small space all at once. but, i wanted them to be a part of the painting today. i want them to feel some sense of ownership when it comes to these never-ending house projects. and kind of boost morale in a way. we can all get tired of the paint cans and exposed walls.

so, the younger two (besides baby) helped with the first coat and the older two helped with the second. even with those shifts, i still broke it down more and worked with one child at a time. it went surprisingly well. i kept a wet paper towel nearby to wipe the excess paint off the baseboards and take care of any drips that dripped away. i was fairly relaxed. i think they had fun.

half of the room is done now.


more of the list tomorrow!

(what do you think? do you like the video post? should i do more of this kind of thing?)

Friday, October 28, 2011

8 little lists

i had a million thoughts running through my head the other night. things i want to get to before spring. projects that i think would really make a difference in the ongoing process of making this house our home. some tedious stuff. some creative stuff. i jotted down a quick list that night, hoping it would relieve my poor brain and help me get to sleep.

it worked.

this morning was unusually quiet. the younger guys were playing with a car track that had been put away for a few months, so it was like a brand new toy to them. the older two were going strong on their morning lessons. i had a hot cup of decaf, a sleeping baby, and a quiet kitchen. very nice. i decided to take a look at that list.

and i rewrote it. made it a little more cheerful. i put each room and its bulleted list on a separate little piece of paper.

tomorrow is punkin's second birthday party. we usually only do one, but not all the family could come on one weekend this time. so, two parties. sam went camping with little dude the weekend before last. that means 3 weeks without a saturday to work on bedroom 4. i'm in limbo until sam gets to the closet shelving. then, it'll be my job to prime and paint all that. woot woot. until then, though, i'm just doing normal days... nothing extra on the house.

that's been nice so far. but baby is settled into a routine now. the house is reasonably clean. the kiddos are doing well. i'm ready. ready for a project :)

i'm thinking this is worth a shot. i may not get past a week or two, but it seems like a good idea at this point. pick a paper on friday. work on that list throughout the following week. just until the week is out, even if the list isn't done. if it is done - great! if not, the paper just goes back into the bowl. no stress. on crazy weeks, we just do one or two things. some weeks we should be able to do a lot more. but, my goal is to always do at least one thing on the list for that week.

there are eight pieces of paper. 8 weeks worth of projects. then we'll stop. even if everything isn't done. we should finish up the 8 weeks right before Christmas. i like the idea of getting a lot of little things taken care of before the end of 2011. and i like starting on the first week of a new month. and on a monday.

i'm sequential. can you tell?

choosing the room on a friday lets me have the weekend to gear up and collect anything i might need for that week. sweetp (and baby) helped me out this morning. the first room we'll chip away at?

very fun :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

crazyjoy: us

technically, this is only a little over half of us. but if we say i'm just referring to me and our three youngest, then it's a whole "us".

The photo is pretty grainy, but even so - it's one of my favorites so far this year.

us :)

recipe for crazy

Monday, October 24, 2011

the dining room chairs

the dining room chairs were driving me crazy. once my "nesting" instinct really set in with Baby, they just had to be done. done! now.

i finished painting them really fast in just a few days. (they are far from perfect). i wasn't really being picky when i painted them. i just wanted them to be finished. i was tired of the folding chairs and i had this feeling that it was kind of now or never. i was only 34 weeks, but i felt like painting them was a necessity. it was a feverish project, completed on the double (and on the picnic table so I wouldn't have to bend down) while the children played outside around me. nesting city. funny - i had Baby less than a week later.

so, they were finally white. which was good. but they didn't have any seats! which was bad. i had planned on recovering the seats long ago, but hadn't chosen a fabric, yet. i wanted a charcoal and white ticking, but i couldn't fine one. do you do that? get something so specific in your mind's eye that then you can't find it anywhere? because no one makes it? silliness. anyway, Baby came sooner rather than later and... well... you get the picture. we still had those dumb folding chairs and no fabric. they looked sad and they made me grumpy :( i decided to put the white chairs at the table anyway. two of them had reasonably useable seats. two of them were completely seatless. a little risque, really. seatless. and what's sadder? folding chairs or chairs with no seats? i guess i thought any progress was better than nothing.

they stayed like that for over two months. the older girls do their morning school at this table, so they would choose one of the chairs with seats and just plop down, right on the bare batting. it might not have looked the best, but at least it didn't seem to affect their math scores much.

early last week, i was in joann's and noticed the indoor/outdoor fabrics were 50% off. the time was ripe. i took absolutely forever trying to decide, but eventually settled on "morgan tile". i didn't want the chairs to stand out too much, but i didn't want them to be boring, either. i think the total came to around $17 with the discount. score! i happily took the new fabric home to my poor seatless chairs.

but, when i got it home... i tried to convince myself it worked. really, i did. the pattern, though. the scale of the pattern was all wrong with the pattern on the rug. they competed. big times.

instead of jumping into things right away, i laid the fabric on one of the seats and left it. i wanted to see how it felt to live with it there. to help me really decide. i kept checking it out for a day or two. nope. no dice. still competing. the chairs made your eyes fix on them now. i didn't want that.


i was back at joanns a few days later, getting more decorations for punkin's birthday. i had all of the children with me, but baby was sleeping and my kids are (generally) good shoppers, so i decided to go ahead and look for a better option. it took me a looooong time. i think i stood in line at the cutting counter three different times with three different fabrics. good thing there was a line to give me more time to deliberate! i don't think i would've been happy with the first couple of choices.

i wound up choosing a thin black and white stripe that looked very similar to ticking. it wasn't indoor/outdoor, though, and i had been trying to go that route for stain reasons. but, it was marked down to $9 a yard. good enough, right? get this - when i took it to the cutting counter, the joann's lady told me it was 50% off of the marked down price! i got all the fabric i needed for four chairs for around 7 beans!

woot! :)

i took it home. held my breath. oh, hooray. it looked great with the rug, and - although pretty safe and traditional - not too boring on the white chairs. i covered the cushions over the course of the nest 2-3 days and evenings. it doesn't really take that long usually, but i was working with snippets of time here and there, so it took me longer. like this post. i wrote some of it this morning. saved it to finish later. now, it's 2:57 pm, the older kids are watching a quick video, Baby is kicking and cooing beside me, pandora is playing a xylophone rendition of tom petty for babies (seriously? who knew?) and i'm typing w/ one hand because i'm pumping and stopping to talk to baby and play with her. yep, pumping. baby hasn't quite figured out this whole nursing business quite yet. she's doing better every week, but i'm still bonding with my medela on a regular basis. so, while i pump, why not blog? ha ha. i'll probably save this post again, load the photos later tonight or tomorrow, and finally post it after 4-5 short blogging sessions. snippets of time.

so, now the dining room chairs are done. makes me very happy to have that crossed off the list. my pregnant-lady-in-a-hurry paint job will probably need touch ups here and there, but so far no one's come in the house and immediately started inspecting my chairs for thin paint spots, so i think we're good for a bit.

hope y'all are having a great day. enjoying the crisp fall weather. love it.

by the way... after tom petty?


for babies.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

bedroom 4 underway

So, Bedroom 4. This is where we are.

I'm not really sure when we started this room. it was before Baby was born... she's 8 weeks today (can't believe it)... so maybe, 12 weeks ago? Needless to say, it took a back seat when she arrived. Sam has been able to work on it some in the last 2 months, but our hopes for busting this room out quickly are pretty much gone. we'll just do what we can and hopefully it'll get done before Christmas. anything is better than it was!

The first thing we started with in this room was the closet. Flashback to the closet "before"...

So pretty.

I can tell this photo was taken just a few months after moving in. for one thing, we still had the toad cage. our pet american toad didn't fare too well in a December move, though. cold-blooded and all that. both toady and the cage are long gone now. I can also tell because the kids are sitting there watching a video. the t.v. was in this room for a while because the family room was all torn up - waiting to get its pee carpet replaced. ah, good times. good times.

the original closet configuration was bizarre. like many things in the house. you just wonder who on earth did the layout design. someone with an aversion to symmetry, i can tell you that much. (excuse the lack of capitals, by the way. i'm often doing something else with one hand. makes the shift key a little tricksy). anyway, the closet is a great size - the whole length of the room - but it had over 2 feet of basically unusable space on either end. the doors only went over so far, and to access the end spaces, you had to lean in reeeeaaalllly far and push a bunch of stuff out of the way first. bad design. sam and i spent no less than 3 straight hours one afternoon brainstorming our plans for this room. should we move the closet entirely? make two separate ones? where would beds go if we did move it? what was the absolute best use of space for our family? for all these GIRLS?!

i tried to grab a quick shot the other day, but i had the 50mm lens on the camera. if i remember correctly, i was snapping this in between one of Baby's naps and a feeding... no time to run downstairs and grab a better lens!!! ha ha.

this is what we came up with in the end. two closets side by side.

it looks like no more than 2 girls will share this room at any given time. so, two separate closets with all the space available (hello, 2 ft. on each end!) seemed like a decent route to take.

sam riped out the front, non-loadbearing wall and got to work framing out the closets. i don't know. he did this maybe in July?

i think the photo above is a few weeks after Baby came along. Sam may have gotten the new wiring done then, too. he moved an outlet when the wall came down and he wired things up so that both closets have an overhead light now.

within the last 4-5 weeks or so, he's started putting up and mudding the new drywall.

so, this is the progress so far.

the next step is to finish up the mudding... which is very messy... the sanding part. BUT Baby is faaar away from all that when daddy's sanding. everything's well ventilated. pinky promise. then, I think he's planning on getting the shelving cut. that way i can start priming and painting the shelves (which takes a while) while he works on getting the doors in. once those two things are done, the final steps will go pretty quickly.

there you go! slowly but surely we'll keep plugging away at it. next thing you know, we'll have another room down.

have a great one!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Hey, guys. Just puttin' a few pictures up. Sam and Little Dude went camping over the weekend, just the two of them. Sam added a new app to his iphone before they left... hipstamatic. I thought these were especially cute. He's such a great little guy.

Hope y'all are having a great day :)

Monday, October 17, 2011


Good morning! Thanks for all the kind words about the children's bath reveal. I loved reading your sweet comments. Made me smile :)

It was absolutely gorgeous here last week. The weather was truly perfect. There was not a cloud in the sky on several days, and the temps hovered around 75 to 80 degrees. We got outside as soon as we finished lessons each day. Boosting our Vitamin D and beginning to take care of some of the fall garden maintenance.

It was so pretty out, though, and so mild that I didn't want to remove too many of the annuals just yet. I did take out a few to make room for some flowering shrubs I got for super low fall prices.

The zinnias, though? No. Not the zinnias. I left them alone to grace us with their cheerful, semi-tackiness a little while longer.

They're a little loud, but I love them.

This front bed will most likely be shrubs next year, but with the cost of the soil and blocks to raise the bed a bit, we had to go the economy route for this year. Zinnias give you so much bang for your buck. A pack of seeds for a dollar and some change.

The first frost is usually expected around mid-October in our part of Ohio. Right on cue, tomorrow night is forecasted to drop down to 31 degrees. So, instead of losing all these pretties to the frost, I think I'll cut them this afternoon and bring them inside. A bouquet on the kitchen table will give us a few days more to enjoy the last drops of warm, sunny goodness.

And today is so beautiful. It's a good excuse to be out, anyway.

These beds don't really look like much at this point. It all peaked in late August, right when we brought Baby home. There were "Teddy Bear" sunflowers and some gorgeous (but massive) cosmos giving plenty of height and color then. Now, everything's getting ready for a long winter's rest. I think today may be the last day I water the whole bed. I love watering. So relaxing. I'll miss it.

There had been a spot here for the kids to dig in all summer long, but now that the parsley and basil are out of the way, there's a little more room. Our neighbor accidentally mowed over one of these guys the other day.

And then there's the woods. We're actually beginning to see some return for all the labor down there. Sam camped with the kids down by the creek at the end of the summer. They even made their dinner in the firepit. One or two more good burn days and I think next summer it will start to really shape up.

This week's a busy one. Punkin turns 7 on the 26th, and she's having two parties this year because none of the weekends worked for all the family. Sam's parents and his sister and her family are coming this weekend for party #1. Lots of prep stuff to do... and cleaning. I'll share a few of the birthday related projects later this week. Oh, and the progress on Bedroom 4. I'll get you up to speed asap.

Have a great day, everybody!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

children's bathroom: after

As promised, here's the kids' bath reveal! (finally).

But, first, I think we all need to take a moment to remember the bath that was.


gives you the willies, doesn't it?

well, it's long gone, sistas! here's the first layer, all finished up :)

Ta da! I know. Crazy it's the same room.

a few details...

So, there you go! It's been so nice to have it done. Bright, clean, new :) Well, it's clean now, anyway. Thanks, Anonymous, for getting my duff in gear to clean it really well for today's post. Ha.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!