Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Things that make you think...

I just read this while blog-stalking a new blog:

"Why would we (or anyone else) suddenly be tempted to sell a house into which we had invested years of effort and sacrifice? I think the answer may have more to do with mortality than with fickleness. There's something deeply chilling about thinking that you may have put your life into something like its final order. Finishing the dining room was like turning the last page of a good book: oh, no, what will we do now? As long as there is bare Sheetrock somewhere, you don't have to confront the thought that everything eventually comes to an end. I rebuilt the inside of my closet a dozen years ago, but I still haven't painted it, and very possibly never will. The closer you get your house to what you think you want it to be, the less power it has to pull you forward through life. That's why you leave the kitchen tiles ungrouted." -Excerpted from Sheetrock & Shellac: A Thinking Person's Guide to the Art and Science of Home Improvement, by David Owen.

So maybe I'll never get around to "stage 2" after all!

Super Redo: Part 1

I've mentioned before that I am something of a blogging addict--not that I blog so often (we all know I don't), but I spend way too much time surfing/stalking my favorite blogs and am forever adding to my dream/to-do list. Have you ever seen a cute/easy idea, and thought--I could totally do that myself! Just to find out, it wasn't nearly as "easy" as advertised? Yeah, it happens. A lot. Needless to say, when I mentioned to Christian that I thought we ought to do a little update on our master bath, and that I thought it would make a big impact with a little bit of $, he was a bit hesitant. I don't have the greatest track record for completing projects and staying on budget...

Here is the blog link that started it all...courtesy of Impatiently Praying for Patience. The amazing thing is that it wasn't really that hard (although there are a few things I'd do differently if I ever do this again) and it really cost very little. We're talking $15. For what I think is a pretty big change.
So here's the first--and cheapest stage. We may never get to stage 2, but just in case, I'll call this stage 1.
Ready for pictures? (I'll do the reveal first, and then, if you're still with me, I'll give you the how-I-did-it)
The before (as messy as it gets)
The after (keeping it real--all I did was paint and clean-up--sort of)I just wanted to show what a big change the simple update did--probably a far bigger change the the more expensive stage 2...
Stage 2, if it ever happens, involves changing out the hollywood lights for newer, pretty lights, possibly changing faucets (not likely--those suckers are expensive!), painting, and finding a cute large basket to go in the cabinet opening and a smaller cute basket to house our lotions, etc on the countertop.
First off, we took a little trip to what my boys call, The Man Store (aka Home Depot). I found their cheapest 4 inch molding (less than a $ per sq foot) and cut it down to approximate size (it comes in 15 ft lengths).
*Here's my first problem--we have a saw at home, but it doesn't have a long table. We might have had more accurate measurements had we cut it correctly at the store.
*Also, the trim was painted white, but we all know (and I didn't realize at the time) that white paint is not the same as primer. My paint didn't cover the glossy white as well as I'd hoped. Next time, I'd use a tinted primer. In the end, though, it all worked out.
A note on color--I had intended to use black, but Christian pointed out that nothing in our house is black, so he suggested the pre-mixed (and therefore cheaper) kona brown. It worked so well! It's dark enough to have contrast and elegance like black does, but is much warmer. Also, we used liquid nails for mirrors to attach it to the mirror, but we had some problems with it pulling away at the corners, so there are some gaps. Next time, I'll either assemble the molding before gluing it down, or find a way to clamp it to the mirror. We used painter's tape to hold it in place, but it dries quickly. When caulking over the gaps, I used post-it notes to keep the paint and caulk off the mirror--it worked beautifully!
After the mirror, we moved on to the cabinets. I lightly sanded and primed the bases--including all of the face frame. If I was going to do all the work, I wanted to do it well. Or as well as this imperfectionista does any project. :)
Here's what it looked like after the first coat:Scary, huh? It was about this time that Christian came to me, very concerned, wondering if we'd done something wrong. I assured him that it would look fine with another few coats, but this is also why I'd use a tinted primer next time. Scary purple cabinets--not really my thing.
I'd love some advice on finishing this off!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Very Harry Summer

So, I mentioned before that Hannah likes to use my Ipod to listen to downloaded books. I used to worry about her not reading challenging books, or trying any new books, so we tried this as a way to introduce her to new books. This summer, she "read" the first 3 HP books. She paused for a while, thinking that she'd be too scared by the 4th book, but eventually decided to start, and we convinced her to read along with the Ipod. She read for hours this week--and watched far less tv! Near the end of the book, she misplaced the Ipod and finished reading on her own. So--she finally graduated from assisted Ipod reading and has started reading the 5th book, all on her own! Let me remind ya'll, she's 7...

Just for Kicks...

This Fall, we have Nathan, Rachel, and Hannah doing soccer. Hannah was a little reluctant to try it until I told her I'd buy her new shoes (cleats)...and then she was all on board. Rachel and Hannah are on the same team--the purple Wild Angels. Nathan plays on a little 5-yr-old beginners team. Both teams had their first game on Saturday, and it rained the entire time! Fortunately, the kids were excited and there were no complaints. The girls' team creamed the other team 5-1, but Nathan's team suffered a devastating loss. Or something like that. I love to see Hannah feeling more comfortable and confident with her new sport.

Let me just address a few deaf issues for a minute here. Have you ever considered how important the ability to hear is to performance on a team sport? I interpret it all for Rachel of course, but she's usually just a little behind the crowd because of the interpreting delay. And, of course, I had not idea how many soccer terms I just didn't know how to sign. I showed up for the first practice and realized I didn't know how to sign goal, goalie, defense, offense, score....all useful soccer terms. I figured know how to sign "kick" and "ball" would be sufficient...Wrong! Rachel is improving each week--she's catching on to how the game is played. She's fast, but not very coordinated and has horrible balance (balance is associated with the inner ear). At first, whenever she tried to kick the ball she'd fall over. Funny? Yeah, I thought so, too. Now, she's getting better and doesn't fall as often. I've been very pleased by how her team and included her, and are patient with her learning process. She played defense for half of Saturday's game, and enjoyed it--Hopefully with practice, she can learn a new skill!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back to School!

We were all very ready this year for the start of school. This is how I felt after the long summer break:
Ready, but apparently clueless about how busy the school year can be. This first week back was jam-packed with activity!

We tried for 1st day of school pictures, but struggled...
There, that's better!
Hannah is in 3rd grade, Rachel is in 1st, and Nathan started afternoon Kindergarten.
On the girls' first day, I got to take Aaron and Nathan in to visit Nathan's classroom and meet his teacher. Both boys loved it, and I had a hard time convincing Aaron that he couldn't go with Nathan on the bus the next day!
We also did our yearly-ish Marking of the Growth Chart. Doesn't she look like an opinionated kid?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Summer Wrap-up!

I made it! It's the last day of summer!
We finished out our summer with a few more trips to the beach (anyone surprised?) including some nasty sunburns because SOMEBODY forgot sunscreen (again). Fortunately, I was burned worse than the kids.
Our good friend Kasey hosted a Back to School party, which ended in rides on their 4-wheeler... (Hannah wants one for her birthday).

And, of course, Saturday morning games of Ultimate Frisbee, while the kids entertain themselves at the park. With good weather, there's usually a good pack of kids to keep each other busy.

And finally, we spent the morning of Labor Day on a family bike ride down the Portage occasional rain!

We also have a few home improvement projects in the works...I think Christian might have to ground me from craft blogs, because I have this tendency to see something I like and start way more projects than I can finish...(I'm currently painted molding, mod-podging letters, finishing necklaces, lusting after Fall, Halloween, and Christmas crafts I'd like to do and realizing that eventually I need to clean my house. We've lost 4 library books and a movie while I spend my free time crafting...)

Coming up...the much anticipated start of school!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Kids can Cook!

Lately, my kids have been extra interested in learning how to cook. They want to be like their Daddy.

Christian and Hannah like to make tuna fish sandwiches--he has taught her to use pickles, mayo, ranch, mustard, and anything else in the fridge that might work. Its sort of like a science experiment.

Next on the list was breakfast. Hannah doesn't exactly like cereal, so she learned how to make omlettes. All by herself. Impressed? I am--I always make Christian make mine!

Taking pictures of Hannah and her omlette lead to a round of photos with the kids and their breakfast. Lovely.
Next on the list was dessert. For Family Home Evening last week, we had a lesson on teamwork, practiced soccer (the older 3 are all playing this Fall), and had the kids make monster banana splits to share.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

'Tis the season...

We have a little Green family tradition for the month of September. It isn't a yearly thing--but it has happened 4 times in our married life, and only in September.
Change is coming.

We love it here in Michigan. I mean seriously, look at this! Can you believe this is only an hour away?!We love our friends, our ward, our home, and its beaches. We love ultimate frisbee games on Saturday morning. And lakes. And trees. And affordable homes. But our grand plan has always included grad school for Christian. Our original plan was to head back to school full-time after one year here in Michigan, but we were having too much fun and put it off a year. Last Fall, Christian started applying. Last Spring, he was accepted to University of Michigan--a top 10 school for MBAs. Did you know grad school is really, really expensive? Especially nice schools? His boss asked that before he quit work, he apply to a few jobs-promotions-that might give him some good leadership opportunities and keep him in the company. To be nice, he did...He applied to several positions, both in Michigan and out. When he applied, I called school districts to find out if we could actually live in these places. He was offered a few jobs (and turned them down because I didn't like the areas) and found a few jobs he'd really liked and wasn't offered. In the end, the cost of grad school won out over the fun and excitement of being a student and starting something new. He has accepted a job with the same company in Auburn, Indiana (about 1.5 hours away from here).

September is the month for new jobs. When we lived in Provo, we spent our last summer income-less while he interviewed all over the country. The job offer came in September and we moved in October to Baltimore (we loved living there, but didn't really love Rachel's first surgery/hospital horror). That following September, Christian took a job with his current company and exactly one year after moving to Maryland, we headed to NC and bought our first home. And I got pregnant. 11 months after moving to Shelby, Christian was approached about a promotion--and he flew to MI to interview while I was in the hospital after Aaron was born. While we got the job in September, we stayed in NC until early January--waiting until Rachel's surgery #3 and 4 were completed.

And that takes us to now. September. We've lived here almost as long as we lived in Provo after getting married, and we feel really tied to the area. We don't know exactly when we'll move. It might be a while, since the house isn't ready to sell and I'm kind of in denial.

Here's the funny if we don't have enough going on, Christian was called today as the new Elder's Quorum President. For whatever time we have left here. We had a good laugh about the timing of everything.