Monday, May 30, 2011

Love & Blessings

Today we celebrate two wonderful years of marriage...
I know... we're still rookies.  ;)

We spent this past week in Joplin, Mo working with relief efforts there {more on that later} and I must say that in light of such loss and devastation, I find myself particularly thankful for the blessings in my life.  
My loving, hardworking, God-fearing husband would certainly rank at the top of that list of blessings.

He loves me at my best and my worst, puts up with my silly antics {even plays along sometimes} and constantly strives to lead our family toward Christ.
Our first two years have seen great joys along with great sadness, but in it all the Lord has been faithful and we count ourselves blessed.
You're my favorite... ;)
Happy Anniversary, Baby.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Painting Phase 1: Conquering the Main Level

From the day we bought this house I have been so anxious to paint it!
...and when I say "it" I mean EVERY surface.

This is because the previous owners loooved green...
everything is green.
The exterior is mint green, the interior main level is a greenish grey, the stairwell is a taupey green and the landing and upstairs bedrooms are some light minty/celeryish shade of green...
I've never been a green hater.
...but needless to say, I've found myself avoiding green paint swatches at all costs.

Anyways... along the way we've had a few set backs, but are happily blessed to finally have the availability and resources to slap some new colors on these walls!

So here we go...

I couldn't find any before pictures other than those from when we bought the house a few years ago... so here is a rather vacant look at the old color:

It's not terrible... but it's just dull... and not me.

Many have told me they thought I was crazy for this until they saw for themselves... but when you live in this kitchen, you discover that this greenish grayish color on the walls 1) makes the kitchen feel very dark and 2) makes it glow orange like crazy.

The paint color is really just a contributor to the glow issue.  

The real problem there is that the builder of our home was a builder, not a decorator, and unaware that when putting in wood cabinets and wood floors you're not supposed to match the wood stains or the color becomes overwhelming... especially with this bright honey tone.
Well my "natural wood look" fanatic of a husband swore I wouldn't be allowed to paint these cabinets over his cold, dead body.

{Which is a shame because they would be lovely painted in a nice eggshell with some glazed distressing}

Plan B.  
I then said, "Okay, but that means you let me paint whatever I want in here to tone down the orange glow."  To my surprise, he happily complied.  =)

I chose a pale yellow called "Spice Delight" {Olympic} for the entry, living room, dining room, stairwell and upstairs landing.

Mark's grandma young helped me decide that a robin's egg blue from the color palette I was leaning toward would be great in the kitchen to help tone down the cabinets... but finding the right shade was tricky.  
So with many "nope, not the right shade" samples splattered on the walls, we set forth with a deadline to conquer the yellow walls and put the blue on hold.  =)

The process begins!  

Here we're patching the last few cracks and holes and beginning the first coat!

We had a great {and unexpected} team of volunteer 
painters to help with the first coat of spice delight!  =)

Looking brighter already!

...and every great team needs a great supervisor!  ;)

The hubs and myself worked hard that weekend.  
We even stayed up until midnight on a school/work night to finish the final coat of spice delight and for those who know me, you know that's quite a sacrifice!  

I had originally thought that with our busy schedules it would take a few weeks to tackle three coats on all of the "spice delight" walls... but we were surprised and thrilled to finish in one weekend.  

This, of course, meant that it was time to get serious about a decision on the blue.  The next day I brought home three more samples {for a total of 7 samples of different shades of robin's egg blue} and finally found one I love.

So what do we do when we finish a painting project ahead of schedule... relax?  
Yeah right, push ourselves to finish the next job by the same deadline!
{The deadline was that I was hosting my sister's baby shower in less than two weeks from the time we started the first yellow coat.  I had originally said that getting the yellow done was enough... then I added the blue... then I added the doors too!  Ha!  But it all got done with time to spare!}

Time for the reveal...

In one short week the entire main level was done... and I am in love!
As you see, none of our decor was rehung at the time of the pictures, but that's in progress now.
Note that the purple chairs are the ones to be recovered with the material featured in posts here and here and the rug is hopefully soon to be replaced with a similarly sized/shaped brown low shag... I can't wait to get that puppy in here.  Then the room will really start coming together!

I love the bright, sunny feel!

We have a lot of windows on this level and I finally feel like my walls aren't swallowing the light!  Ahhh... so airy and fresh.  =)

Finding the right shade of robin's egg blue I wanted was hard... really, really hard.  But I'm glad I persisted... I love the contrast of the "spice delight" and "seascape" and I LOVE the "seascape" against the cabinets!
{The photo above shows the more accurate shade of what the color looks like in the kitchen, the others seem to wash it out a bit, making it appear lighter with more blue tone and less green than it actually is.}

The orange glow is much diffused, yay!
{PS, my hubby did also agree to change out those nasty laminate countertops which will also make a huge impact!  It's amazing the lengths that man will go to in order to save his wood cabinets!  tee hee hee}

Love it.

I already have window treatments picked out, just have to scrounge up the money to go get them.  I've also begun hanging some things back on the walls this week and can't wait to collect some plates to paint and set up on top of the cabinets!  

I'm sure I'll share many more pictures as our home continues to come together.  It's been a long wait, but I feel it will be worth while!  =)

It's so fun to see decorating visions starting to take life!

Friday, May 13, 2011

101 in 1001 Update

*~*~* Day 117 of 1001 *~*~*
...and going strong...

The following list is compiled of things that I have 100% accomplished!

7. Practice piano regularly for one month
March 7, 2011 - April 21, 2011 
I hadn't even thought when I put this goal on my list that student teaching would be the perfect enabler to accomplish it!  I've been student teaching at the high school for about six weeks now {thus practicing every day} and can already see a vast improvement in my piano skills.  It's amazing what a little practice time will do!

11. Graduate with my BME
May 7, 2011
After six years {including the year off in Texas} and lots of hard work, I've finally done it!

53. Start a garden
May 8, 2011
Last weekend my hubby put the plants in the ground!  I've felt like I almost cheated on this goal though because form the planting to the watering {save one time} to the building of the garden area and putting them in the ground... it's all been my hubby!  But I get to enjoy the spoils... =)

57. Invite someone new over for dinner
March 2011
Some dear friends of ours, the Edlin's, joined us for dinner several weeks ago.  Unfortunately I can't remember the exact date and I forgot to take a picture! {Lame}  But it was a great time.  We ate, talked and played speed scrabble!

78. Step up to serve in a ministry role
March 13, 2011
The roles my husband and I have stepped into at our church were actually the last thing I expected when I wrote this goal.  I had thought more along the lines of leading a small group or jumping in to serve with a team somewhere.  Goes to show how God surprises us.  Our church has been without a worship pater for about a year and a half now and while several different people had stepped in temporarily, the weekend of March 13th Mark and I became the next "gap fillers" as you could call us.  We have been serving as "interim worship leaders" at our home church since then.  Certainly unexpected, but we are happy to assist in filling gaps where we are needed in order hopefully help serve and grow our church family and community.

86. Give a random gift
April 16, 2011
I didn't realize until going through my list just now that I'd actually "fulfilled" this goal.  I don't really wish to elaborate on this one, as that seems kind of awkward.  But I'd simply say that I responded to the prompting of the Spirit to take care of a need for a dear friend of mine in order to help lighten her load, even if only a little.  =)  PS, if you've never given an unplanned gift, you should.  It's a wonderful blessing to both the giver and the recipient.

The following list is compiled of things that I have began, but are not yet complete:

4. Grow my hair out again
This will obviously be in progress for a while... but look at how long it's getting!

13. Get Skylar fully potty trained
In the past 96 days we have progressed from Skylar having accidents about three times a week to approximately one accident every two-three weeks.  We decided to start leaving him out of his kennel when we left for short trips (1-2 hours) to see how he did.  He was great.  This week we tested leaving him out for the full day while we were at work/school on both Wednesday and Thursday and he was perfect!  Yay for progress... we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!
{For those of you who might not know or remember, we are breaking a five year habit of pottying whenever, wherever he wanted.  To see Skylar's story and how we inherited him, click here.}

42. Plan a surprise for Mark
The surprise is planned.  He knows it's coming and he knows it's a birthday gift, but other than that he is clueless... and that's how I like it.  =D  I'll reveal it to you under the "completed" list after it has been revealed to him!

51. Paint the interior of our home
Paint is on the walls, my friends!!!  The main level of our home is completely painted as well as the stairwell and upstairs landing.  All that remains are the two bedrooms and upstairs bathroom and the basement.  Can't wait to reveal the completed project!

60. Reupholster our garage sale furniture
On the Monday of spring break, my mom-in-law, two sister-in-laws and myself made a trip to some super affordable fabric stores down in Springfield where I found fabric to cover three of our four reupholstery projects.  The fabric I needed the largest amount of had to be back ordered and arrived a few weeks ago... Here I've draped and and tucked it into the chair to try to see what it would look like with our freshly painted walls!  It is lurvely.  =) 

And there you have it folks, progress.

Now let's look at how how I'm really standing here...

Day 117 of 1001 means we are just about 12% of the way progressed toward my deadline.
With a total of 12 completed goals and 10 goals that are an average of 50% complete, I'm about 17% of the way through my goals... which puts me right on track and even a bit ahead of schedule!

It's been so fun to track my goals and progress this way...  
You should try it!   =D

If you would like to check out the original "101 in 1001" post you can click here.  I'll be updating it with completion dates and links to update posts {such as this one} as I go.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Measured Words

Once, when I was a naive young girl, roaming the halls of high school, I was talking to my friends about a girl we knew behind her back.  She walked up behind me and I was caught.  I can't even describe how horrible that felt inside.  It was an unpleasant experience for myself, the girl and my friends.  

Lesson learned.

Six years of life experience later, and I've experienced plenty of similar situations to that above, only I now tend to stand in the other girl's shoes.  And guess what, being an adult doesn't make those situations any more pleasant than they were in high school.

But why, as adults, do we still play these games?  
Often, as adults, we say the same vicious things about others behind their backs... the same things we call "ruthless" when we hear about it happening in schools.  
Does anyone realize this?  
So when will we learn to grow up? rise above? speak love?

...or, heaven forbid, to address a concern directly with the person 
instead of spreading it publicly or inappropriately.

Sometimes people say mean things and they fail to consider the repercussions of who they're speaking with, where they voice or display these words and how it might feel to the subject of these mean words should they every find their way back to him or her.

A wise rabbit {Thumper's Mother} once said,
"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

A simple concept that proves incredibly difficult to live by.

"What would it be like, if we learned to love each other?  What would it be like if we lived like we believe that everybody matters.  Because we're all here together and we all need each other to make it through this life.  What would it be like?"

Monday, May 9, 2011

arm flapping and choral conducting

Tomorrow is my last "unofficial" day at the high school I've been student teaching at.

Allow me to explain.

My last "official" day was on the 29th because I had to turn in all my paper work for my class... and graduate this past Saturday which was joyous.

But my last "unofficial" day is tomorrow because I've been hanging around until the final concert which brings me to my point...

Tomorrow evening will be the official choral conducting debut of my career as a music educator.

I'm pumped... and nervous.

I will probably be shaking...
my hands...
my knees...
it may be difficult to follow my cues...
but we'll get through.

And when it's all said and done I'll be able to say that I had a greatly talented mentoring teacher and an incredible group of students to use as guinea pigs for my first conducting experience in the art of musical arm flapping.

It will be great... and then I will have my last official "visit" the next day... 
on donut day... 
to celebrate.  

Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I am now an official alumnus of the UMKC Conservatory.

I {we} have been waiting for this moment for a long time.

Thanks to all those who were there to support me along the way...

...friends who stressed and conquered with me...

...professors who stretched and challenged me... who encouraged and believed in me...

...and a wonderful husband who listened to hours of worrisome whining, wiped countless tears of frustration and spoke endless words of love and encouragement...

The day of celebration for all of that hard work has arrived...

...and I will make no attempt to contain my excitement!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Today my sister, Angie, underwent her second brain surgery in a fight to kick cancer's butt.

A few years ago she was first diagnosed with an aggressive type of brain tumor (which I can neither pronounce nor spell) and stage 3 cancer.  For those unfamiliar with cancer, it is usually discussed in stages of severity ranging from 1-4.

A new growth was recently discovered and so at approximately 7:30 this morning, she was put under anesthesia as her surgeon prepared to remove this second mass from her brain.

Needless to say, it was a bit of a long day.

Surgery went well.  Very well.
Probably as wonderful as could possibly be wished or imagined.
The Dr. said he was able to remove everything he was hoping to and the whole procedure was finished in just a few hours, which was much faster than we had been anticipating.

Even once she was awake in the ICU room, Ang was much more interactive and responsive than she had been after her previous surgery.  We joked and laughed a bit... it was good to see her so strong.

One minor concern was that she had been unable to move her right foot after waking and though the Dr. wasn't concerned, the surgery had taken place right next to the motor skills portion of her brain which can leave room for some anxiety on the matter.  However, praise the Lord, I was just told a few moments ago that she is moving her legs and doing great.  Her brain was just in a bit of a tizzy -- needed some time to be remember what it was supposed to do with those extremities.  ;)

Things are going great and looking up.

I'm sure there's still quite a long road to travel as she continues to battle any remaining cells that are tumorous/cancerous, but praise be to our Heavenly Father that He has brought her this far safely.  
To Him be the glory.

Please say a prayer for Angie, her recovery and continuing battle, 
if you think of her as you go about this next week.