Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Guess It's a Little Different

Yesterday I was pulling some things out of a closet and I noticed a fancy, black dress hanging in the back that I wore to a wedding years ago.

"Hmmmm.  I wonder if it fits again now that I've lost some weight?"

Now fully distracted from my original purpose I pulled it out and tried it on.  I was completely delighted to find that it fit.  It was a bit (Ok - very) wrinkled from being shoved in the back of the closet so long, but it made me feel pretty.

So, I started dancing around in my fancy black dress.

Charlie, who was hanging out with me in my room, said "Mom.  Stop it."

"Stop what honey?"  

"Stop dancing.  You're not at church."

Say what?  I chuckled.  But, it made me realize the vastly different experiences my children have at church in relation to my own experiences as a kid.

I grew up in a conservative Brethren in Christ church which has it's roots in the Anabaptist tradition ( Mennonites, Amish, Church of the Brethren, etc. have the same historical roots).  Our services were very traditional.  Hymns were our mainstay.  And, people simply didn't clap or raise their hands in worship.  And, they certainly didn't dance.

Fast forward to today.  John and I take our family to non-demoninational church that I suppose could be considered 'charismatic'.  I am still hugely self-concious about raising my hands or dancing...and I generally don't.  That conservative upbringing is still pretty deeply ingrained.

But, many people in our church do these things.  And, I guess now Charlie associates dancing with church.

So, I'm curious.  What kind of church experiences are your children having?  Is it different from your own as a child?  Would you consider your church traditional or contemporary?  I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On The Benefit of Waiting

I've felt a little fake in some of my last few posts.  It's not that I'm telling you anything that's untrue.  But, I almost feel like I've painted a picture that doesn't fully convey reality.

What in the world am I talking about?

Well, lately I've been talking about some changes we're making in our kitchen right now.  New flooring, a new island, changing the layout, dining room chair re-do's, etc.  And, while all this is happening right now I need you to know something.

I waited a long time for this.  

Like 10 years long.

I've talked on here before about how our house is an older home with lots of needs for renovations.  (There's still old linoleum on my stairsteps and the walls going up my stairs folks).

John bought this house about a year before we were married.  (We've been married 10 years).  At the time he focused on the practical stuff.  Stuff like putting in electricity.  (Our home was built and owned by an Old Order Mennonite family that didn't use electricity).  Insulating the home (there was none) and updating the plumbing (I'm pretty sure old garden hose in places doesn't count as legitimate plumbing, but it was here!) were a couple other items that were at the top of the list.  

He also drywalled the upstairs rooms and once we were married we made a few other cosmetic changes here and there.

We did turn one of the 4 original upstairs bedrooms into a bathroom right around the time I was expecting Boy #2.  Trekking up and down the stairs in the middle of the night to use our one and only bathroom downstairs while pregnant was not fun.  But, I guess I should be happy that at least the downstairs bathroom was there.  The original family added that when the Mom and Dad were getting up in years and using the outhouse wasn't just inconvenient but not as feasible for them.

Oh yeah, the outhouse still sits in our back yard.  We did however move it to another location.  (And we don't use it.  FYI)

We also bought a new furnace a few years ago.  It's a wood/coal burning furnace.  Our heating is via hot water radiators.  So we don't just turn up a thermostat when we're cold or turn it back when we get too warm.  We go to our basement and adjust the vents or how much coal or wood we're throwing into the furnace.

Anyway, it's been a long, slow process of making changes to our home.  We've been committed to remaining debt free with the exception of our mortgage. Plus my husband pretty much does all the work himself.  (The floors were the one exception to the rule.  We ripped out the old, but we did pay a flooring guy to put in the new ones.)  That all makes the process even slower.

And so cosmetic details often get buried under the practical. 

For the most part I'm OK with this.  But, I'm human and I get caught up in the contentment trap just like everyone else.  

We are bombarded with all the stuff we should have RIGHT NOW.   Our homes should be perfect RIGHT NOW.  We should wear all the right things RIGHT NOW.  We should have what we want RIGHT NOW.


When did this become the rule?  

Honest to Pete.  Hear me when I say that waiting is hard.  I KNOW waiting is hard.  But, I fear that we as a society have missed the benefit of waiting, of saving, of sacrificing.  And we are in the midst of a financial crisis largely because of this.  

Young couples think they have to have perfection when they buy their first home.  People are constantly making themselves 'house poor' by trying to keep up with some random definition of  'acceptable'.

And here's the thing.  The reward is so much sweeter when you've waited and worked for it.  Truly it is.

I love the changes that are happening in my kitchen.  I love my new floors!  I love that everything is being paid for outright...because we've been saving for years.  (Although it's hard to watch that money go...).

But in the end all of this is just a vapor, a mist.  It's here today and gone tomorrow.  The granite countertops or hardwood floors everyone HAS to have will be outdated in 5 years and in 100 years they'll be dust.  

I do believe God gave us a spirit of creativity and beauty.  After all He is the Creator of all.  He gave us beauty to enjoy.  I don't think it's wrong to take pleasure in making our homes a place we enjoy and find beautiful.

But we need to take care not to distort that into something it was never meant to be.

And we need to recall the benefit of waiting....

Monday, September 26, 2011


I feel a little bit like I'm in over my head with DIY projects right now.  I love the results, but I've got so many ideas in regard to my kitchen that it's getting a little out of control.  (Getting new floors really got the ideas going!)

First I'll share a finished project.  Our kitchen chairs were in sad shape.  I bought them for $10 a piece over a year ago at our local Reuzit store.

This is what they looked like when I bought them.

I was never super jazzed about having fabric seats.  I knew that in our family they wouldn't stay nice very long.  And, I was right.  We used these chairs hard & they looked it!  I don't have a picture of what they looked like right before I redid them but, trust me, it wasn't pretty.

So, with my new floors I couldn't return nasty chairs to our dining table....could I?  I decided to redo them.  I started out painting them a pale gray.  But, that didn't go the way I wanted. So, I settled on some oil based black satin paint I had leftover from another project.  Then, I went to Walmart and bought some new fabric I've had my eye on for awhile.  And, I scotchguarded the seats.  Hopefully, it protects them a bit.

Here's the after of my chairs....

A huge improvement!  The only problem is I'm afraid to let my family sit on them when we eat!

Another project I'm working on is re-doing my parent's old dining room table.  It's the table I grew up using.  To be honest I'd forgotten what it looked like because it was always covered with a tablecloth. 

My grandmother recently moved into a retirement home and she passed her table on to my parents.  My parents were just going to get rid of their table.  But, when I saw it I knew I had to do something with it.  The tabletop was in need of a good sanding and re-staining.  That's what I'm working on now.  (I even bought myself an electric sander!)

At this point I don't plan to do anything with the rest of the table.  I do want to give it a 2 tone stain effect.  The legs of the table are already a cherry type stain.  I think I'll do the tabletop a lighter, more natural stain.  

Hopefully I'll have some pictures soon of that project.

Also, in our kitchen I really want to paint my cabinets.  This is a project though that will require time, patience, my husband's help, and a child-free day.  So, that project is on hold for now.

In the meantime I've rearranged the layout of our kitchen a bit.  Don't worry.  I'll share pictures of what I'm doing in time.  But, because of the new layout I needed/wanted an island.

Did you know that islands are really pricey??  I've been doing some on-line research and even my cheapest options weren't large enough and were still out of my price range.

Enter Craigslist (again).  I found a contractor supplier in our area who was getting out of the kitchen end of the business.  Consequently they were selling off all the display models of their kitchen cabinets and islands.  

They had one island left.  It was originally priced at $3900.  Then it was marked down to $1700.  The final clearance price was $250.  Sold!

I bought it.  It wasn't exactly the style I wanted.  But, it was the size I needed.

Here are the pictures I took of the island in the showroom....

You can't really tell here.  But, the hardware is super cute!

It also has space for stools on the other side.

I wasn't completely jazzed about the color of the counter top.  But, I may also have a solution to that.  Have you heard of a faux granite spray for countertops?

I've seen some things in DIY magazines.  And, I think this could be a solution.

I like the idea of getting a black granite look.  We shall see....

Check back for some project updates!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Weight Update

I haven't checked in for a while with a weight update, so I thought I'd give a short one now.

I'm still trying to eat healthy (lower carb, little or no processed foods, lots of fruits/veggies).  I'm still keeping track of what I eat in a daily food journal.  

I did allow myself some slack while my husband and I were away for our anniversary.  We did a lot of eating out....which we don't get to do nearly as much as I like.  So, I decided to enjoy myself & not worry too much.  I still tried to make some healthy choices.  But, overall, it was a 'food freedom' weekend.

The first day we got back I stepped on the scale & wasn't too surprised to see that I was weighing about 3-4 pounds heavier than I did when we left.  But, I got back on track this week & now I'm back down to where I was.

So where am I you may ask?  Well, let me remind you of some numbers.  

At the beginning of this year I weighed in at around 192.  I tried to start eating better then and lost maybe 5 pounds over the course of several month.s

Then, at the end of July I decided to get serious about how I was eating.  I was having major mood swings and I knew that very poor eating habits contributed at least partially to the swings. 

My first food journal entry was July 26.  And I weighed 187 pounds at that point.

Now, here we are almost 2 months later.  And, my weight entry today on September 22 is 172.2 pounds.  That's almost 15 pounds in 2 months!  And almost 20 pounds from the beginning of the year!  

Can I tell you how much better I feel?  I am more energetic.  My clothes fit so much better (actually my size 16's are getting a bit loose and I can fit into some 14's).  I have seen a dramatic change in my mood swings too.  They haven't disappeared entirely.  But, since changing my eating habits I haven't been the weepy, angry, depressed mess that I was earlier this year.

My goal over the next couple weeks as we move into October is to get into the 160's.  I'm so close.  But, I've been stuck in the 170's for a while.  (The first 10 pounds came off relatively quickly.  I've really had to work for the last 5.)

I also would like to add in some more exercise.  Taking the boys to the park with the bike/walking paths should be a no-brainer and I need to get back into the habit of doing it.  It was so rainy here for so long that I had lots of excuses not to go.  Not so much anymore.

So that's where I am.  And, I'm pretty proud of myself.

In another post (and another topic) I want to tell you a little more about our getaway & what inspired us while we were there....  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Suspense is Over

Not that I necessarily think you all were waiting with bated breath....but for those of you who were I have 2 reveals for you!


First let me show you what it looked like once we removed BOTH layers of old linoleum....

Isn't that lovely?  We knew we had wood floors under all that nasty old linoleum.  But, the floors were pretty much ruined by the tar-like substance used to hold down the bottom layer of linoleum .  Not to mention there were a gazillion staples we had to hammer down so they weren't poking up.

In retrospect, after we took the first layer of linoeleum off we probably should have left the bottom layer & just had our new floors laid on top of that.  But, I was determined that I wanted ALL the old stuff out first.  Trust me it was a lot of work.

And, now for the new floors.....

 I am SO happy to have new floors!  They are a HUGE improvement over what we had.  We still need to put the kitchen back together.   Part of a wall needs rebuilt.  Base trim needs put in.  And, I REALLY want to paint my cupboards.  Once we have a true before and after, I will share more pictures.

2.  Did you figure out where John and I went for our anniversary getaway?  I mentioned that we've been there before and that I talked about the location before in my blog.

Well, we went to the Fingerlakes Region in New York state.  (We had been there last year for my 40th birthday celebration).

It is amazingly beautiful there.

We checked out a few vineyards....

We also went to the annual Seaplane Homecoming 'Splashdown' event in Hammondsport, a little town at the southern tip of Keuka Lake.  Hammondsport is a little piece of aviation history and was the home of Glenn Hammond, one of the fathers of aviation.  

John is an aviation buff, so this event was definitely at the top of his list....

Whenever I'm in doubt about where my husband is all I have to do is look for the oldest thing around (in this case the oldest airplane) & I can be pretty sure he'll be there striking up conversation with the folks who work with the old stuff.

Best of all, John and I got to enjoy 4 days together....just him and I.  After 10 years, it's wonderful that we can still have a great time together.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Coming!

Coming of our new kitchen floor!  I promise.  Putting the kitchen back together is going to be a bit of a process.  I have IDEAS now!  I've even started working on a couple.   

Oooh.  The suspense.

Also coming of our anniversary getaway!  Say what?  Yes, I know.  I never mentioned an anniversary getaway.  Call it paranoid.  Call it careful.  I just don't like to announce on the world wide web when we're going to be away for a period of time.  

Anyway,  it was for our 10 year anniversary.  And, I'll give you two hints about where we went.

1.  We've gone there before (and I talked about it on my blog)


Any guesses?  (And Denise you can't give it away because I know you already know since we're facebook buddies.)

I'll fill you in on all of this is a post very soon!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's Going On At Our House Today...

We're preparing for putting in new kitchen/dining room floors this weekend.  

John's home today pulling out cabinets, breaking down walls, ripping up old linoleum, freaking me out.

It's all going to pay off in the end, right?

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves....

Oh lookie!  More linoleum!

I'll keep you updated!

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