Friday, September 21, 2018

Our "new" coffee table

This coffee table joined our household several years ago while we were still living in New Jersey. A friend of mine was getting rid of it and, knowing how much I liked it, she offered it to us. It was actually never designed as a coffee table, but was a shoe display table at a department store. I always liked its large size - perfect for kids to color, play board games, and set a variety of snacks on for football games and movie nights. It's always needed a little TLC, but I never had time to give it until a few weeks ago.

Sanding it down was very gratifying. It had a lot of scratches that I was able to smooth out.

A close-up of some of the scratches.

I removed the top and sanded down the legs a little bit. I didn't need to go as deep with the legs since I intended only to paint them and not to stain them like I was doing for the table top.

Bella helped with the painting on a Saturday morning.

This after picture isn't the greatest. I was impatient to take it. The day was cloudy and I had a lamp on. Plus there is a glare from the door and window. But you get the idea. It looks so much better now!  We have few other pieces that I'd like to give attention to, but my fall classes have now started, so those projects may have to wait.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

August Life

I've been continuing my cleaning and purging. One day, I was going through the busy bags that I had made the kids for when we'd go to church or found ourselves waiting in doctor offices. They hadn't used these bags for a while, so it was time to tend to them. While looking through the journal in Curtis's bag, I found some of these drawings. Based on his writing and spelling, I think he was six when he made these. Andy and I have often commented on how Curtis is a deep theological thinker. These drawings give physical evidence of that.

With some spelling changes on my part, this one says, "God died on the cross to make our sins go away and whoever believes, God will give you eternal life in heaven with God."

"This is heaven. This is God's dreamland."

"Praying yes. God I love you."

"The best day"

It was State Fair time again! There was a circus there this year, so that was the first item on the agenda.

While we were waiting in line to get inside the tent, Curtis saw a poster and recognized the man as Bello Nock, one of their favorite performers from America's Got Talent. Turns out he was performing at this circus! That was such a fun surprise for the boys.

They recognize this performance from the show.

There was also a really good juggler, which was neat because all of our kids have been trying to learn to juggle.

Our friends had plans to attend the fair that same day, so we met up with them at the circus.

They tried out the stilts at the pioneer village.





Half the fun of a fair is the food! I wish I could reach right in and take a bite of that funnel cake. It was sooooo yummy! And don't worry, I shared with everyone!

That pumpkin was over a thousand pounds.

I bought some face masks because I thought they would be fun to do with Bella. I was disappointed that both of the masks were more of a scrub. Not what I was expecting. But we made the best of it!

Another fun thing about this month is that I turned 38! We went out to dinner to celebrate.




Wrapped inside of those gifts are chocolate, wireless headphones, oven mitt and towels, and the Magnolia Table cookbook. I'm having so much fun reading through this book and marking the recipes that I want to try. I've already made a couple and so far the people I feed have been pleased!

A by-product of all my cleaning/organizing. I now fold my shirts vertically so that I can see all of them. Game changer! No more forgotten articles of clothing at the bottom of the pile.

All dressed up for a wedding this past Saturday. This is a new dress that I got from Lori for my birthday.

Bella made her volleyball debut this week! She was so nervous in the days leading up to it, but she played so well.


She's been the most nervous about her serving. The power behind her serve is still a work in progress for her, but she got it over the net - which is something that I still cannot do overhand.



A few days after school started, Graydon started complaining about blurry vision. We got him in for an eye appointment this week. The verdict? 20/20 vision. The eye doctor thinks the blurriness might be from dry eyes and/or allergies. That would make sense because Graydon's eyes get really impacted by his allergies.

Curtis must have gotten a hold of a phone.

Last night there was a fly buzzing around Bella's bedroom while she was trying to sleep. I tried unsuccessfully to swat at it, but after a few attempts, Bella got it herself. Normally, she never wants to kill anything, but that fly was bugging her something fierce.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Gone fishin'

The kids had been in a fishing mood. And we have all these poles, so why not? Andy first took them to a cabin area that belongs to some church members. It sits along a pond and is a good spot for fishing. But when they went, the fish weren't biting. We have some friends who live on the lake in town and they said we could go fishing there at any time, so we tried again in that spot at another time.

But first. . . we accidentally locked our keys in the van - with all of our fishing gear in it. After trying to unsuccessfully break into the van, we got a ride back to our house for our spare set of keys. I'm just glad that we were only a mile away from home. That's the first time that we've locked our keys in the car.

The key incident set us back for time a little bit and it was a school night so we couldn't stay out too late. But it proved to be a perfect night for fishing.




Bella was the first to catch a fish!


Graydon caught the next one!

Curtis was getting a lot of bites - but they kept getting away.

But finally, at the very end of the night, he caught one too!


It was all catch and release for us. I love that each of the kids were able to catch a fish.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The first week of school!

Whether we felt ready or not. . . the first day of school arrived on August 8th. We actually got an extra week of summer this year, which was a huge blessing as it gave us the opportunity to squeeze in that trip up to Wisconsin.

Curtis's first day of third grade! Teacher: Mrs. Swegman

Graydon's first day of fourth grade.  Teacher: Mrs. Boilanger.

Bella's first day of seventh grade. Teacher: Several!

Three of my favorite people. I am SO thankful for them and for the amazing summer that we shared.


Bella's school literally rolled out the red carpet for the students.



My hair was still wet and I wasn't planning on getting my picture taken. But the school counselor offered and I won't turn down an opportunity for a photo with my girl, or more appropriately, my young lady.

Usually, I do first-day-of-school interviews after they get home on the first day, but I completely forgot. So, I did them on the second day. Better late than never.

Curtis had an assignment where he had to fill a lunch sack with objects that would help his class get to know him better. An object he chose was one of his many lego creations because he really enjoys to create and build. His one concern was it would fall apart in the bag and he wouldn't know how to put it back together. So, he had me take a photo of his creation from four different angles (I'm only including one of them here) so he could re-create it if needed. That communicated to me just how important these creations are to him and there is something to sweet about that.

I'm not working at the school this year (though I plan to volunteer and hope to do an internship there in the coming semesters). Since I had the time, I finally got my hair cut! These days, I never really intend for my hair to grow so long, I just never get around to getting it cut. I like this shorter style on me right now.

Curtis got invited for an evening swim on that first Friday evening after school started. It looks and sounded like they had a blast.

I've been in a big home cleaning/organization kick since school started back up. One simple way to clean was to clear off the refrigerator. Graydon has shown a real interest in art these past few months and has made so many fun drawings that have been decorating the refrigerator for a while. It made me a little sad to part with them, but you can't save everything, right? Well, I did save a couple. But the rest I took pictures of. He's becoming such a good artist!





Cleaning and organizing the garage was one of the first items on the agenda. It took about two full days to get this place cleaned out. We didn't take any before photos, but here is how it looks now. We've always been able to park both vehicles in the garage, so I guess it was never that bad. But the toys and tools were completely disorganized. The back right near the cupboard and door had sleds and tarps strewn about. There was evidence of mouse activity, which Salty usually takes care of for us, but I'm afraid our cat couldn't see and/or get to any mouse that was in that area. It was pretty gross. That beam on the right is our fireplace mantle. Eventually, we'll get that put up.

We got this tool bench two years ago and it is finally functioning as more than a catch-all. We didn't have the peg board up, nothing was organized, and the work surface was covered in random grilling accessories, markers, bug spray, empty egg cartons, etc. It was a mess and stressed me out every time I looked at it. I would always feel so frustrated when I'd go to the garage in search of a hammer or some other tool and not be able to find it. Andy organized all of this and got rid of duplicates/tools that he wasn't going to use and it looks SO much better!

I have now turned my attention to the inside of the house. I love the feeling of getting rid of things and lightening our load.