Monday, May 16, 2011


This is my epic chair project. Yes, epic.
Before. Umm, yeah. I'm not in love with that weird stain color.
Remember, these came in a set of 5 for $1 each. So awesome! Here are all of them together. Although, don't you think #6 is out there somewhere all alone and ugly? I wish I had it, being a lover of even numbers, but five will do.These, as most of my projects are, were a learning experience. I should have done things differently the first time, or the second, instead of having to redo them over and over. I can't even count how many different times I "went out to work on the chairs". But now I know for the next time I try to sand, prime, spray paint, stain, and polyurethane five chairs. Let's just say each step could have been done better. But now I know.

Oh, and the numbers? I originally cut out a stencil with an exact-o knife and painted them on, but they kind of bled. So I painted over them and cut out some vinyl numbers on my friend's Cricut (some day I'll have one). People keep asking why I wanted to put numbers on my chairs. Why not? I think it gives them just the right amount of quirkiness while still looking nice (as in, Jared still approves). Besides, if one of them gets lost or stolen, I'll know which one it is.

Okay, so remember our table before? This picture is trying to make it look nice to sell on Craigslist, but I never loved it. And it was getting a little small. I ended up giving it to one of my friends and then buying the new one for $100.
Here's another shot of the before.Here's the new table. Since there are only 5 chairs, I'm still trying to figure out how to configure everything. This is Option One. Put the 5 on the sides and have different chairs at the head and foot (not necessarily these--cloth isn't exactly kid friendly at our table).

Option Two. Put the five around the table and fill in the space with the high chair, which we use anyway--it's just not quite as stylish, ya know? Also, we got a new light fixture and, drum roll, Jared moved it so that it is actually over our table. Mucho mejor.
Option Three. Put three chairs on one side and build (or refinish) a bench on the other side that matches the white and stain. This was kind of my original idea, but looking at it now looks weird. Of course there's no bench there yet either.
And this is Option Four. Stagger the new chairs with the kitchen chairs and paint them white to match... or possibly another color. When I told Jared my new plan he just said that he already knew I was crazy. I think I like this option the best, or I hope I will once I repaint those chairs. But remember, I already learned all my lessons so they shouldn't take that long.Also shown in this picture is the back of one of the purple upholstered chairs missing. Why? Oh, a certain 2 year old colored all over it with BLACK crayon. It came out in the wash, but it also shrunk. I have another piece so it'll be good as new. Good grief, though. Marissa has been drawing on everything! It's driving me crazy. She colored with purple marker on the white/black pillows I made, she has drawn on the wall many, many times, and the tables, and doors, and floor, and the other day I found tic-tac-toe pen marks on every single one of my couch cushions. When I asked her why she did it she replied, "Because I'm a rascal." As if to say that she has no control over the matter, she's a rascal. I guess that's just what rascals do.

What's so frustrating is that Erin and Alex absolutely love to draw and color--I don't think they could go a day without doing it--so trying to remove all writing instruments from our home would be impossible. I keep thinking the phase will be over soon, but still I find Marissa's art all over the place. Oh well, I still love her.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

That's Life.

Lately... I've been good. I've been antsy. I've felt the spirit directing my life. I've felt regret. I've felt incredibly blessed. I've felt peace and I've felt unrest. Today I have felt all of those.

Wow, that intro kind of makes it sound like I'm pregnant or something, which (as far as I know) I am not. What an emotional mess! I'll start with some of the good. I have actually been pretty happy lately. I've been intentionally making an effort to do things that bring me happiness. Playing the piano every day has been so wonderful, and I think I am improving. I've been working on different projects involving power tools, paint and polyurethane. Painting is therapeutic. Also, may I add, that I love home improvement stores? I love the smell of wood, and gosh, I love too many sections to name in those stores--I think I always have. I've filled my life with good people and have been blessed to have spent time with them lately, in person and on the phone. I have spent more time reading to my kids, playing with the baby, talking to my older kids, and really enjoying them. I think it is important to find time to make yourself happy. Like laying on the couch. I've done that too.

I have been so blessed by the temple this year. We made the goal to go every month and so far we have done it. As I expected, it has not been easy to make arrangements and make the trek up to Orlando, but it has been well worth it. Last month we took another camping trip which not only allowed us to go to the temple, but gave us a chance to enjoy our family in nature without distractions. A truly great weekend. I hope that wherever I live I will always make the effort to go to the temple. It is usually there that I feel the closest to the spirit and seek for whatever Heavenly Father wants for my life. Each time I feel I have been given what I need to know or do.

One prompting I received was in December, I think, and it was to pay off our second mortgage as quickly as possible. I honestly didn't know how we would accomplish this, but I set out to follow this prompting, not knowing the reason for it. We began by rearranging our finances, cutting things out and investing less in certain things. Then we felt pretty good about being able to pay it off in one year, although it still seemed like a stretch. Throughout this process, though, I feel like the Lord has just poured out his blessings on us because of the effort that we gave and determination to make it happen. I got a paycheck for my bus shelter out of the blue, we got a bigger than expected tax return, we got money back from our escrow account, our mortgage payment went down, we watched a child for a week and got money for that, we got random checks throughout this time (like refunds from the dentist), Jared got a completely unexpected bonus and an unexpected raise, and Jared and I both simultaneously thought about another account that we had that we could take money from to help pay this off. Because of all of that, we have been able to pay that loan completely off in just over four months. And not only that, but we were also able to get all of our food storage and emergency preparedness stuff during this same period of time. Oh, and get a new dishwasher and two new trees. I truly feel blessed, and free now that we don't have any debt (except our first mortgage--we'll work on that later). You could say that it was all just a coincidence, but I know that it was a direct blessing from my Father in Heaven.

The antsy feeling comes from needing change, I suppose, and not knowing exactly what or when the change will come. That's all I can say about that right now.

The regret comes from me doing stupid things. I did something today that I felt really bad about. Why do I do these things? Stupid, mortal, imperfect me. I had absolutely no intention of hurting anyone, but I did. I apologized and I really hope things will be okay. I don't want to carry this around with me. I think I've learned that lesson at least, that I need to take care of these things right away instead of living my life with big regrets. Now if I could just get to the point that I didn't do those dumb things in the first place, then we'd be getting somewhere. Many years ago, as a freshman in college, I did something to someone that I regretted for years. I carried it around with me for so long, on my mission, when I went to the temple, after I got married. I wanted to call this person so many times and apologize but I never could. Finally, I received a prompting (in the temple no less) that I needed to contact her and say sorry. Thanks to the invention of Facebook, I did send her a message asking for forgiveness and thankfully she accepted. The burden that was lifted was so great. I do not have to live with that regret anymore.

Another experience was brought to my mind this week from my past. One of love, regret and pain. As I have been working through the flood of emotions I have realized how blessed I am now, and also that I am glad for that experience, albeit a difficult one. I regret doing certain things and not doing certain things, but I don't regret the experience. Does that make any sense? I definitely learned and grew from it and hopefully became less stupid as time went on (I mean about this, not about doing stupid things like the one today--obviously).

Overall, I feel like the Lord is directing my path, though I can't always see it. I trust that we will make the right decisions. I will try not to do stupid things, but feel comfort in knowing that when I do, there is a way out through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I feel incredibly blessed to have such amazing children who bring so much joy to my life, and a wonderful, loving, understanding, supportive husband who is my best therapist and who has always accepted me the way I am.

That's life.