Wednesday, March 30, 2016

a recent rash of repairs and refreshes

We have been at it at the farm. Every other day it seems has been another clean up/organization/update. Spring cleaning amplified. 

We’re not totally done, waiting for a few shipments to arrive and some pros to come in to do some installs but what we’ve done so far and what is still to come:

1. Installed a new light fixture over the dining room!! Bye bye ugly nickel thing. We have not settled on the right Edison style bulb yet. We are not into the warm light that those style bulbs (pictured are fluorescents that are only temporary) are emitting but we still want a that style of bulb so the hunt continues.
2. We removed the legs on the living room tv unit and mounted the tv on the wall. We wanted to eliminate the amount of things that kept rolling under the tv and this is a temporary solution before we replace the whole thing. Since I wanted the setup to be devoid of visible wires we had to run them through the walls and the cords were not long enough so we’re waiting on longer ones to arrive.
3. All the things in the tv unit ended up in a new sideboard by the entry way and inside that tv unit went Alice’s toys. (Because we needed more places for the princess to put her toys because toys in her room, the office, and our room is not enough). The new sideboard solves a lot of problems we had with the entry area which I’ll expand later but one thing was moving the bench from the entry and back to the dining table.
4. Went through just about every cabinet and closet in the house purging and maximizing storage. The one that felt like it made the biggest difference was installing hooks in the coat closet door because they open and close so much easier now. 
5. Ordered new hardware for the kitchen cabinets! I’ve thought off and on about painting the ones we currently have but even then the style won’t be right so we got some new ones and once they get here, screw gun comes out! 

6. Bought but have not installed/have not arrived: a ceiling fan for the office, sconces for the master bathroom, and new flush lights for the laundry room and hallway. 

7. New towel bar and toilet paper holder for the guest bath. Still looking for a basket over the toilet tank. 

8. Embraced our inner farmhouse with accessories which turned out wasn’t that difficult because I owned some things that already skewed that way. Busted out mason jars, used a big farmhouse pitcher, pulled out galvanized things from cabinets, used lavender from the front yard . Easy.
9. Bought a new duvet cover for the master bedroom. It’s striped. 

10. Hopefully we’ll add blinds to the windows in the living room and update the curtain situation. 

No wonder I’ve been going to bed pretty early lately! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

alice at almost two

At a certain point you stop counting the months and count the years. When I get asked her age I say 1 1/2 so this is what she's like at this charming age where she's a real for reals toddler. 
She wakes up around 8:30 and still naps once a day for 1.5-2 hours and that's very much needed for all involved. I hope she naps for a good year more at least but feels so far away and that she'll stop any day. She refused one once this week and we both got a little worried but kept trying to keep her on schedule and she went back to normal. When we're out and about the girl needs it and will fall asleep if given the opportunity like a stroller or car seat.
She's gotten a lot more curious and willing to try new things than before and is way more interactive with both adults and kids. She is prone to stick to the things she knows but curiosity is getting the better of her and warms up to people she knows a lot faster and it's so nice seeing her play with my dad and her cousins. 
She is crazy about animals, yes! Loves the goats at the petting zoo and is obsessed with our dogs. She had the best time playing with a dog at my office when she came to visit and the dog looked so sad his playmate was leaving because while our dogs tolerate her they don't play with her too much. She's not scared of any creature yet, she even wanted to feed my sister's tortoises.
She is really picky with food. We think it's a lot about her touching certain things like Matt realized she doesn't like to touch the cheesy part of a pizza and suggested rolling it like a taco and presenting it to her and sure enough she went for it. I worry about what she's eating because she doesn't eat any vegetable but broccoli now and again but does love most fruit. Way too much processed food for my likes but hopefully we'll find a magic combo somewhere.
She likes to wear shoes and doesn't mind getting dressed but really hates having her diaper changed. And don't give me the "oh make it fun" advice because we've tried that and it's just annoying. Changing her surroundings has helped with that because putting her on the changing table is not her favorite but being on the floor she doesn't mind as much.  Seeing her in certain clothes makes her seem so much older. Matt put her in this St. Patrick's day outfit and somehow it made her look so much like a mini person that I was shocked. Maybe it's the longer calves?
She has some days where she is a pain in the butt and fights every step of the way. I'm realizing it's the days where we disrupt her routine like church Sundays. And then there's days where we're picking lavender in the front yard and I teach her to lay down and she pats the ground and wants me to lay down next to her and the sun is setting in the background and I realize how fast time flies and what a great little kid we got and easy. SO easy! I'm saying it, we got an easy one.
I hear that the twos are terrible. I can see little bits of them that are true that they are willful and temperamental and inconsolable and whiny and impatient but this age is so magical to me. There is so much learning happening with this girl and watching her mimic us and giggle and be silly and have an opinion and just be herself is such a joy. We love her so so very much.

Friday, March 18, 2016

fave kitchen at the moment

I can't tell you how long I've been staring at this kitchen. Other than the lighting fixtures, it's pretty on the money with everything I'd like in a kitchen. Farmhouse sink, chrome faucet, glass front cabinets, white subway tile with light grout, stainless appliances, dark grey bottoms, white uppers, gold hardware (mmm we'll see), and marble countertops.
It's got a sort of timeless style that decades could pass by and you wouldn't get sick of it. You could just update the accessories or wall art and stay current which is the proof of a solid kitchen foundation.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

kitchen layout layout it's all about the layout

Our tiny kitchen will be a great thing to update once that happens and the most important thing I'd love to change for it is the layout of it which presents a challenge. As a refresher, here's what it looks like. This is the L shape with the stove and sink.
And here's the opposite side with the fridge and large cabinetry wall that hold a LOT of serve ware and the fridge and very narrow pantry.
One of the things I told Matt right away was that while we wait for a remodel, I need more workable surface in the kitchen and though he resisted me on it, we bought a mini island in the meantime and I was right too 'cause I use it all the time and it's three years in and still no remodel. But it did tell me that when it comes to a future layout of our kitchen a sizeable island is a must have. 

Much like the rest of America, we want to eventually create an "open concept" living area with the kitchen/living/dining all in one big space. In other words this middle part of the house that houses our dining nook and coat closet would be moved somewhere else and it would be a big open area. 
There's this graphic I found somewhere about island floor plans and that's what I'd love to do but I don't have the space for it since this assumes you have a wall long enough to have everything on one wall and we have a door to contend with and that wall of cabinetry.
Since we are all visual learners, here's what I'm thinking is somewhat close to what an island setup might look like for us with the caveat that this kitchen is larger than ours is of course so it would be a miniature version of this. 
The other idea... and this is tricky because it's the same kitchen I just flipped the image back to it's original layout... move the sink to the wall along where the current cabinetry is because that side is close to the yard and then I would be able to get ta-da A WINDOW in the kitchen which we do not have. Just imagine a doorway to the right of the stove and that's what we have to work with. Then the cabinetry and fridge would be on the opposite side wall. I really like this idea because it gives us a window but also because the sink would be within Alice keeping an eye on distance. Currently doing the dishes for poor Matt means he has his back to her so this would be nice to be able to watch her while he's washing her sippy cup. Also this allows for some open shelving for decorative purposes and a space for a coffee bar situation to the right of the sink. And... did I mention a WINDOW?
Of course, this is all just speculation until we meet with a contractor and really outweigh the good and the bad of each layout and structural challenges (load bearing walls, etc.). But it's fun pretending that this would be happening sooner rather than later. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

let there be ligh... ceiling fan

Well it's tax refund time and thanks to the responsible human being that I married, we'll be doing lots of fun things with that money like... putting it into a retirement account. Woo. But we will be allocating some funds to do a few upgrades at the farm that are over are heads. As in lighting. As in that nickle monstrosity in the dining room is just so not our style. 
When we added the ceiling lights to the living room and office I said that I wanted a pretty light fixture in the office and declined the fan idea but after yet another hot summer I have realized the error of my ways and now I'm considering a ceiling light/fan combo for the office and I am a fan of the ceiling medallion + fan combo. 
I also really want to paint or wallpaper the ceiling in that office and add crown molding, wouldn't that look pretty? Maybe detract from the ceiling fan.
Matt and I have recently become addicted to Fixer*Upper thanks to oh, all of my family so there's a chance Chip & Joanna Gaines and their EMPIRE will be inspiring us to do some fixing upping of our own.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Sometimes a changing season comes and impacts you in a way so deep you can't quite grasp it. Let me tell you about the past week. 
I mentioned that somehow the idea got in my head to go to Mexicali. It was like Inception. Like the idea was whispered in my ear and I couldn't ignore it. So we went. Matt, Alice, and me. It was the first time we've gone just us without the "adults" like my mother or father and so we were left to our own schedule and devices. We stayed where we wanted and went where we wanted. We were free. 

I've mentioned before the relationship with my mother is bad at best and so I went to Mexicali without really talking to her about it and she only knew I was going because I asked for my aunt's phone number and she kinda pieced it together from what others told her from my facebook account. Because we were free to come and go as we pleased and not bound by my mother's antsy-ness we spent a great deal of time with an aunt and fellow Jesus follower and let me tell you, the time spent with this aunt was so precious to me and gave me great comfort, relief, and healing. This was why God wanted me to go because by now I knew it was He who had whispered the idea into my heart. A huge 20 year burden was lifted from my heart and my brain. Cheaper than therapy! 

The day we left we stopped to visit another aunt and she gifted me with something very precious. My beloved nana, hero of our family, had this wardrobe that had a key and she would sing me a song about it. My aunt asked me to come with her and in her room she passed to me my grandmother's key. I immediately sobbed. My aunt held me and told me she loved me and that I was very loved by my grandmother. I put the key in my pocket.

The next day I took Alice to the library and then again a voice whispered to me: Go to Disneyland. And I went and I was sad before but it's impossible to be sad at Disneyland. As I walked by The Little Mermaid ride I felt some people approach me: IT WAS MY BROTHER AND SISTER IN-LAW AND NIECE. I had my phone off so I didn't tell anyone I was there which just blew me away. We went to lunch and I told them the tale of Mexicali and my brother asked "You needed this?" "Definitely. I definitely needed this." "That's just God telling you He loves you." 

That night some awful things happened between my sister and my mother and I got in the middle as I vowed that I would and things were really bad. And as I sat there feeling worthless, I looked up from my bulletin board and I saw my grandmother's key. A simple item but a symbol of love and that I was entrusted with so precious an item because my aunt thought I was worthy of it. And at a time when I felt so worthless, that little key gave me hope. And had I not gone to Mexicali I wouldn't have had that reminder. 

The following morning I woke up with the desire to go to McCambridge park. No sooner did that idea come into my brain that Matt received a text from a friend asking if we wanted to meet at that very park with his children. We went and as I'm standing there we run into our old small group leader and she and I talk about life and the events of the past week and I am just FLOORED. God telling me He loves me. As we arrived home my father greeted us and we went to lunch with him and he did the simple things I long for my mother to do with Alice, just played with her. Just enjoyed her without any agenda, just loved on her as a grandfather. 

I don't know what you put your faith in but mine is in God. My worth is in Him. My trust is in Him. And the events of the past week have so deeply shaken me to the core that I can't ignore His calling out to me and reaching out to me. And I believe that a new awakening is coming this spring and I see it as clearly as the blooms on my peach tree that though the winter can chill you, soon comes spring and the promises of Easter. That out of death came resurrection. 

And believe me, the trials kept coming as I was going forward and they probably will continue to come, but God is on our side. God is on my side. God is on your side.