Monday, July 30, 2012

Our New Kitchen Table

... alternately titled, "Apparently, I Don't Know How To Use A Camera."

We have a tiny kitchen.  It's pretty much the main reason I get depressed about where we live.  I don't mind sharing walls, I don't mind having few windows, I can be okay with having a living room/office/craft space/music room, and I certainly don't miss yard work.  But our kitchen really bites the big one.

I have one small wall of cabinets and about 2 feet of counter space.  No dishwasher and a one basin sink.

That being said, when I found our new table at the local thrift store, I was really hoping it would help maximize our tiny space.  Before, we had a pub table with stool which fit the room well, but really didn't fit us well.  We didn't even have space to have 1 extra person at dinner.

Then, ta da!, I found this longer, yet not as wide, table with two (yay) benches!  I was really hoping benches would be our tiny space solution.  After all, when you're at a restaurant in a booth, if it's tight, it just feels cozy, right? (Just agree)

So the fabric on the benches was pretty atrocious, but hey, for a $40, I didn't mind spending some time and money on a mini makeover.  This is the fabric I picked to recover the benches.

Hahaha, just kidding.  That's the before picture.  See?  It's pretty terrible in all it's 1970s glory.

I'm sure you can only imagine my excitement when just a week later, I popped in to JoAnn's and discovered the exact vinyl I was looking for was 50% off!  And so many colors to choose from!!!  Which one do you think I picked?

Here's a clue - remember, I am loving the aqua/red combo, as seen here.

And the winner was....


I think I have enough teal/aqua/blue in my house already.

Several hundred staples, a few nap times, and 6 wood screws later, my benches were ready for business.

I was thinking as I did this mini makeover, how much DIY really costs some times.  My "cheap project" really started racking up.  $11 for the vinyl, $5 for batting, $12 for new foam/padding, $3 for screws, plus all the time I spend working on this "simple project."

But I'd have to say, if the table was priced $68 and didn't need sprucing up, I would have still bought it.  $68 is totally worth me enjoying my kitchen a little bit more.

And it inspired Herb to hang a new light fixture (that we already had) and rig up a switch to brighten up our little cave kitchen.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, a month later, I am still LOVING the bench scenario.  I think my favorite thing is the way Levi climbs right up and colors, or gets his drink or whatev.  We still have his booster seat at the end of the table, but I see that going away in a few weeks/months.

See? Benches were meant to be shared by little cousins!!

Summer Photo Challenge

I'm definitely slacking in the picture taking arena lately.  When I found this photo challenge on Facebook by Shutterfly, I was kind of excited for the challenge.  And quite frankly, I would really love to win the contest, which is a trip to the Bahamas.  Hahaha.  I'm sure that will happen.

Although, did I ever tell you I won a Game Boy from Captain Crunch cereal in 1992?

Yeah, that original Game Boy was the size of a lap top.

Anyway, if you want to play along, here are the contest categories.  You can upload pictures at the Shutterfly  Facebook page.

Week 1: Americana
(What's more American than baseball?!)

Week 2: The Great Outdoors

Week 3: Water Fun

Week 4: Sports & Activities

Week 5: Parties & Celebrations
{This spot reserved for pictures of my upcoming, gasp, 2 year old's birthday party.}

Anyone have any other inspiring ideas of things to capture on camera this summer?  Or spending way too much time over thinking filters on Instagram?  BTW - you can follow me there: myhopefulfilled

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When Habits Become Desires

Jocelyn and I have this terrible habit of forcing physical affection on our children.  At every turn, we are saying things like,

"Hold hands!" 

"Give Joelle/Levi a hug!"


Yeah, our kids our kissing cousins.  But they are one. Get over it. :)

This past weekend, we turned our backs for approximately 2 seconds, and in that time, Levi had grabbed Joelle's hand and they sauntered off together.  It was nothing short of adorable.  We were at the park, and of course, everyone stopped to look at these oh-so-independent one year olds, taking on the world together.

"We taught them well," Jocelyn said.  I couldn't agree more.

As we went to our respective cars that night, the kids embraced (again) without much prompting from the mommas.

Last night, er, this morning, Levi started crying.  The sun was still sleeping, and mostly so was I.  I picked him up from the crib, and as I plopped into the rocking chair, willing my eyes to stay open and my arms to stay strong, I heard him mumble something.  I took out his pacifier and said, "What did you say, baby?"


My heart stopped and soared at the same moment.  All the nights of rocking and singing have paid off.  My one year old finds comfort in my voice, finds music soothing, and knows how to ask for just that.


Watching Levi learn to make choices, especially good ones, is bringing me more joy then I knew was possible.  I love seeing him turn into a little person with thoughts and desires.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mark Schultz: Making You Cry, Making You Laugh

You've heard of Mark Schultz, right?  He's been on the Christian music scene for many years now.  He's the one who, even if you can't name three songs, every time you hear one of them you start crying like a kindergartner who just got dropped off on their first day of school.

You know, songs like "Letters From War," and "Walking Her Home."  (Click song titles to see the videos.) Oh, and if you click, grab the tissues, too.

So anyway, last night, Mark came to the Christian Radio station where Herb works, WJTL, to give a mini concert which aired live on the radio.  Herb was running sound for Mr. Schultz.  Dude, can I just say how cool it is that my hubby has mixed for Mark Schultz and Paul Baloche thanks to these mini concerts at the station?   {Put THAT on your resume, Herb!}  Anyway, because of my affinity for crying in public, I asked Herb if he could get me in to the show.

I have to commend Mark Schultz for his interactions with the crowd.  He would play a song that had everyone's eyes welling up, and then tell a hilarious story.  The ratio of crying to laughing was pretty good.

Unfortunately, he didn't get to play my favorite song - the one that made me realize I was a Schultz fan.  The way the story goes, Mark, who was adopted when he was 2 weeks old (by a couple from Bethany Christian Services!), was once asked if he ever thought about finding his birth mother.  He responded with, "No, why would I?  She gave me up."  And oh, how wrong he was.  I'm so grateful for our open adoption and that Levi will not feel that same sense of abandonment, but realize what a gift and act of love his adoption placement was.

Anyway, Mark went on to track down his birth mother, and the song, "Everything to Me," came out of it.  In fact, Mark partnered with Bethany Christian Services and did a story behind the song/ interview.  It's a pretty amazing song.

After the show, we got to chat a little bit, and I told Mark I was asking Herb how in the world he would get a good sound mix if he couldn't see the board through the tears he would inevitably be crying during the show.

And then, the funniest thing happened.

Mark Schultz, the writer of the sappiest music in Contempoary Christian Music today, told my husband to, and I quote, "Man up."

Oh poor Herb.

Herb really didn't love that I took it one step further by tweeting the conversation @mschultzmusic and @WJTL last night.

Anyway, it was a pretty fabulous evening.  I am excited to hear some of his new songs.  He has a 5 month old baby and shared a little bit of the song he wrote for his son.  I know I'm going to love it.  And I know Kleenex is going to love him for writing it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Self Potty Training Fail

Yesterday I took Levi into the bathroom at church with me as Herb was cleaning up from worship team rehearsal.

In the middle stall, I had locked the door and was doing my, ahem, business.  Fascinated with the other two stall doors and the steps stool that led up to the sink in the empty bathroom, Levi was was keeping himself occupied.

I noticed he kept walking into the stall to my right.  He loves walking back wards these days, so I saw his little sandaled feet back up to the toilet, I heard a tiny voice say "psssss," (at least he knows what sounds SHOULD be happening on the toilet), and then he would giggle and run away.  He repeated this about three times.

Then I heard the sound that every momma dreads.


"Levi, get your hands out of the toilet!!"

No response.

And then whimpers.

Panicked, I peeked under the stall wall, and no longer see an little feet backed up to the toilet bowl.

"Herb!!!!!!  Herb!!!"  I yell at the top of my lungs.  "Get in here now!!"

"Yeah right!"  says Herb from the lobby where he waited for us.

"No really - Levi needs help.  Please come."

Levi's cries continue.  I am still stuck in my respective stall.

Herb storms in the bathroom, opens one and then two stalls till he finds our son.  Butt water deep, arms and legs flailing in the air, Levi has fallen rear first into the toilet.  Herb said he looks like a turtle stuck on his shell.

I hear Herb laughing uncontrollably, and soon meet them at the bathroom vanity where we strip Levi of his toilet water soaked clothing.  From shoulder blades to knees, dripping wet.

So I guess potty training has taken a turn for the worse.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Beach Baby

Chest deep in ocean water, feet grazing the sand, waves softly hitting my shoulders, no one close enough to hear my voice or my thoughts except the one who created me.  There have been several pinnacle moments of my life where a heart to heart with God has happened at the beach.  And for this reason and all the other reasons normal people love the ocean, this is my special place.

The summer before I fell in love with Herb, it was there that I cried out my desperation, loneliness, and surrendered to God's plan for the man of my dreams.

A few years later, with a ring on my finger, as I walked along the shoreline alone, I begged God for guidance as the first hope fulfilled and I discussed the idea of starting a family.  I said, "Lord, I want nothing to do with this unless you are all over it."

Two more years passed after months of trying to conceive and walking down the path called adoption.  My heart was broken, my arms were longing for a child.  I sat at the oceans edge and literally shouted to the deep, "I'm ready.  Please."

That was July 30, 2010.  Do you know what happened on August 2, 2010?

God is so good to me.

On Wednesday, the second hope fulfilled held his momma's hand as she introduced him to the greatness of the coast.  He held my shoulders and neck with a death grip, but squealed with delight as each wave cracked his back.  He yelled "Tooshie," over an over until I realized the waves had caused him to look like the Coppertone baby - tan line and all.

He picked up shells and called them rocks.  He chased birds and danced on the boardwalk.

He played in the sand with his cousin (who is her mommy's hope fulfilled, too).  

They held hands, drank juice, ate ice cream.

The day was short, but the memories are engraved on my heart forever.

In the days before Herb and Levi came into my life, I remember seeing other couples at the beach and wishing I had someone "holding me" in the water.  I thought it was a significant other  I was wishing for.  But then Herb came alone and hated the beach.  And really, who isn't disgusted by people "all over each other" in the ocean.  Just not appropriate.

But on Wednesday, I realized what I was longing for all that time was Levi.  Before I was even aware of it, God had planted the desire to be a mother.

This week was a full circle moment for me.  Being a momma at the beach is a hope fulfilled.

Oh, it's super duper messy, too.  Let's be real, here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I Love the Number 12 : July

July 12! I have to blog today!

Yeah, I am officially the worst blogger ever.

* * * * * * * * * * 

July 12, 2008 - My friend Sammy married the love of her life, Ricky.  

They have a beautiful home and two adorable fur babies.  Sammy and I met in college and have grown much closer in the last few years.  She is one of the very best listeners I know, and definitely the best pianist.  Happy anniversary, you two!

* * * * * * * * * * 

I told one of my co-workers I was running out of things to write about for my 12 series.  As as joke, I said, "I should just write about donuts."

And now I'm about to lose any blogging dignity I had left and do just that.

Because really, there is a huge feud in my family right now over donuts.  Obviously, we can all agree on the best kind of donut - anything cream filled.  Whether it's glazed cream filled or chocolate iced cream filled.  But that's where the agreements end.

Herb and I prefer Maple Donuts.  My brother is fighting for the goodness of Sadie's donuts - or really anything that's not maple.

We have a blind taste test planned.  Each participant must bring a chocolate covered cream filled donut of their preferred brand, and then one other donut that best exemplifies the said company (I'll be bringing a cream filled donut with maple frosting). 

If I was a good blogger, we would have performed this experiment and I'd have awesome pictures and results to share, but I'm not, so I don't.  

Nope, instead, I'm just telling you about donuts and asking you to share - 

What's your favorite donut?  Are you brand specific?

Please weigh in on this family feud.