Sunday, January 22, 2012

More regular stuff...

My bathroom likes like this:

After re-tiling the floor and priming the walls last summer, we stalled for a few months, trying to decide just how far to take this rennovation. The cabinets are pretty ugly (golden oak! no molding! weird proportions!), but well built and expensive to replace. This weekend, I decided to paint them and see if that helped. If it did, great! If it didn't, we wouldn't have wasted much time or money and then at least we could move on. I chose a really dark black-brown (Called bittersweet chocolate...reminds me of brownies). So far, it looks great! I'm surprised just how much better it all looks.Here's a sneak peak at our grand plan.  I should be done in a day or two, and then I can post pictures, and the plan for the rest of the room.

Yesterday, we were invited to go sledding with another family in the ward. However, Indiana is completely flat and we had a hard time finding a hill! We finally settled on a hill by the YMCA--barely bigger than our backyard hill in our Michigan place, but it did the job.

Braving the mighty  hill:
Rachel, the snow bear:
 Christian, right before attacking me...
( He would like me to point out that he is covered in snow because I threw it at him. In other words, I instigated the attack.)

Daddy, giving Aaron a "lift."
 The sled-train...
A pretty fun day:)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Regular stuff.

A few things I've been thinking about lately:

~I've been bitten by the organization bug (don't worry--I'll feel better soon.) I just really want to clean something! I made a list of the areas of the house that bug me most, or the places I'm most likely to leave junk, and I've been tackling them one by one. That means that as of Friday, the floor under my kids' beds is cleaner than yours. Until tomorrow, probably.

~I've also been bitten by the "I want to make something pretty" bug, but I'm trying to suppress that one since it contradicts the "I'm sick of spending money" feeling I've had since Christmas. I might paint something this week, though. We'll see.

~I'll be teaching a beginning sign language class starting this Tuesday. I'm a bit nervous--but only because I've had a lot of people express interest in coming, and I usually have a bit of a learning curve when it comes to public speaking in a new setting. I'm happy to finally move forward on the class, though.

~Also, for lack of more interpreters, I've had to step up my skills lately. I am the Sacrament meeting interpreter every week, the whole hour. In my last ward, we never did a full meeting, and we would switch off weeks enough that nobody felt over burdened. It leaves me pretty wiped out (as I head to Primary, which is pretty demanding, too) but I'm excited to see my sign skills improving. Now to work on the technical skills...

~We have a bit of a bed-wetting problem that up until now, we dealt with by using pull-ups every night. Lately, the kids have decided they're done with pull-ups. I'm doing a lot of laundry. And waking up a lot at night. On the flip side, the kids are doing much better and feeling better about themselves. (Hannah would like to point out that she is not the one with the problem.)

~The kids had a snow day on Friday. It was the first real day of snow we've had all winter. I can't quite figure out why school was cancelled, since it really wasn't that bad outside, but the kids didn't mind.

~Christian is dieting again. Its been two weeks, and he's down 10 lbs. He's strict about calories and recording everything! We're getting creative about fun, satisfying, low cal foods. And he eats a ton of celery.

~Mario Kart is becoming a bit of an addiction around here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Vacation antics

I'm seriously tempted to avoid a vacation blog post by linking to DeAnn's very thorough post here. But that's probably cheating.

After the Christmas high, we were in serious need of some down time, so we rested and kept things simple at home for a day or two. I also used the time to hit the gym as often as possible in a vain attempt to counteract the damage of two weeks of Green family gluttony.
On Wednesday night, Jonathan and DeAnn and kids arrived. Thankfully, by then the house was at least mostly put back together:) We watched a lot of football and basketball (Go BYU! And anyone who once played for BYU!). We played a lot of games, including a new one called "Ticket to Ride: Europe." Isaac discovered our Nerf gun and shot Christian in the forhead while standing on our upstairs balcony.
The kids took full advantage of the basement and the beanbags. It was so nice to be able to shut a door on all their noise!
On Saturday, we got a babysitter and went out to lunch with DeAnn's old neighbor (from when she lived her 5 years ago) Stephanie Snowberger and her husband, Devin. Fun times had by all. Plus, we saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie and came home to a fairly calm house (by "calm" I mean the babysitter wasn't tearing her hair out).
For Christmas Eve, we let the kids stay up (although Aaron twice asked to go to bed early) and watch old Muppet movies (mahna mahna). We had a nice spread of rice pudding, guacamole, spinach dip, chips, onion dip, lil smokies, latkes (the kids wouldn't try them), cookies, fun soda pop and this orange egg nog drink that's kind of a tradition, candy, and more. We realized that without intending to, spending New Years' together is an accidental tradition for Jonathan's family and mine. Despite several moves, we've spent the last 7 New Years' together.

The next day we were up early for church. I decided that the only people up that early on New Year's morning were Mormons heading to church and partiers who hadn't yet gone to bed. DeAnn and I got a nice nap that afternoon.
The big girls had a basement sleepover that night.
The cousins left Monday morning, and we spent the remainder of the day putting the house back together.
That night, when I put Aaron to bed, he said, "I love both of you." "Both of me?" I asked. "You and Natalie."
Tuesday was spent letting the kids get all their "to-much party" crabiness out before heading back to school on Wednesday. Thank goodness for routine again!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

10 years and counting

Our anniversary came and went without the final installment of our story (more here, here, here, and here). I was too busy having a date-day with Christian!

10 years ago, in the weeks leading up to our wedding, I remember expecting to be hit by pre-wedding nerves. One night I was out with Christian, and I asked him if he felt nervous about getting married. He probably thought I had some worries of my own to confess. What I really wanted to talk about was how right it felt to be planning our wedding, and how ready I was to move on the the next step. It all just felt very natural.

We spent the night before our wedding hanging out with Christian's brothers, Adam and Jonathan, and Adam's wife, Jennie (DeAnn stayed home, very pregnant with Megan, her 2nd). We caught a late night showing of Lord of the Rings (the first), which ended around 2 am on my wedding day. Because it was way past our self-imposed curfew, Christian's brothers drove me home. About 5 hours later, I was up getting dressed, styled and made up by my roommates, waiting for Christian and his Dad to come pick me up and head to Mt Timpanogos temple. Because of a mix-up meeting up with my Dad, I honestly thought I'd have to get married in something other than my wedding dress, but thankfully it all worked out.

With Dad and Marianne:
Shotgun wedding:
Just kidding. That's my nephew, Spencer:)

With my Mom and siblings:

With Christian's parents:

With just my little sister, Dana:
Funny how Christian is as much taller than me as I was taller than my 8 yr old sister...

The group shot:

We don't have very many pictures from the day, not as many as I'd like, but it was a very happy day. Seriously, we have only 2 pictures of just Christian and me (the one at the top of the page, in which my Mom wanted a picture of the arches, and we just happened to be standing under them, and this lovely one below. Yes, folks, that's it. Just these two. The rest we had to share with someone else's lovely face.)
We celebrated with a late afternoon luncheon at Christian's parent's home, in place of a full-blown reception, and I hear we had really awesome food.

We also had a very laid back open house at my home in Washington.

Flash forward 10 years...we've both graduated from BYU, helped run a start-up family business and a "not for profit design service", lived in 5 states, owned 3 homes, had a roommate for 3 years (Christian's brother, James, lived with us in Provo), had 4 wonderful kids, watched those kids morph from helpless babies to real live people who can actually clean a bathroom and read a book...and we certainly have a lot of fun. While we certainly have had some difficult experiences, there's always a lot of laughter in our house!

Christian stayed home from work all day. We had a nice time working and reminiscing together. We celebrated by cashing in a gift card to Eddi Merlot's (a restaurant so fancy-shmancy, I seriously stressed about what to wear), and feasted on a shared meal of beef tenderloin. We also shared a bottle of fake bubbly to celebrate the occassion!

Friday, January 6, 2012

You better like this or else.

For a DIYer like me, there's a certain amount of payoff I get with the finished product...and people's reaction to it. This year, we decided to finally wrap up the basement project, literally--not only were we done with the drama of the moldy ceiling, we decided to make the basement functional as the main family Christmas present. Thankfully, the kids thought it was an awesome Christmas gift! So, while there are one or two details to finish up, I guess you could call this the official "After" post of what is now probably the most dramatic DIY project I've ever done. And you better think its as awesome as I do.

The Before:
(See what they taught me in design school?)
I don't have a proper before shot, but picture a windowless basement, two rooms separated by French doors. White walls in the main space, weird lime green in the other. About 1/3 as many lights as you'd expect in the space. And no staircase railing, since the previous owners broke it on their way out. Zero functional space (but a decent size).

The Middle:
Last June our ceiling in the smaller green room came down thanks to some water damage. Lovely drywall ground into the carpet, exposed pipes and electrical, and mold.
We kept the electrical work all in the family. Grandpa Green was in town to help, and Daddy's taught the girls, and my sister, Dana, who was visiting at the time, a bit about wiring.

And Now:

The main room is for toys, the kids' computer, and gaming.
We used this post from Infarrantly Creative as inspiration to make these framed game boards, which just might be the coolest addition. We stayed up until 3 am on Christmas Eve Eve (or Christmas Adam, as some say, since Adam came before Eve). We plan on collected older versions of the games, and using higher quality wood next time.

Instead of doing major electrical work, we're supplementing the light in the main room with these friendly tree-lamps.
Still to do--replace the bannister! And notice the white spot on the walls? We still have some touch-ups to do. The last owners had a wet bar here. Took the bar, left the water pipe sticking out of the wall. Thanks.

Thanks, Martha Stewart via Home Depot, for useful toy storage.
The furniture is all a collection of stuff we already had and stuff we've been given through the years. The little game table is a hand me down from my friend, Jessica, and the maps were purchased and laminated a few years ago to track Chrisian's business trip through Asia.

We're calling this room the bean bag room. Grandpa Green helped us fix up the lighting during his visit in September. We later installed a dimmer switch. We removed the french doors to open up the space. Plus, the doors swung the wrong way, making the light switch useless. We plan on purchasing a new tv and a few more extra-large bean bags as time goes on. They're super comfortable!

This picture clip hanger is something I picked up from Ikea last summer--wish I had bought a few more. Its awesome! I have another one we used in our last kitchen, but I haven't found it since the move. It will go in the big room, above the kids' toys.

The color is Autumn Haze, ripped off from The House of Smiths' house color pallete. I love it. I think having the right color on the wall made almost as much difference as the improved lighting!

I think I'm so impressed with this renovation because it took a completely useless, stupid space and made it completely function and inviting. Its really a fun place to be. Plus, we did it for relatively little money. Only a few repairs (some DIY, so hired out), paint, and a few pieces of decor!