Kitchen Redo!! Before and after…

 You guys know I painted the living room last weekend.  I love the blue so much I decided to paint the kitchen too!  I love, love, love these rooms now!!  And since this is where I spend most of the day, it’s a major gift to me.  Here are some before and after pictures.
After living room was painted, when I was trying to decide whether or not to paint the kitchen.  🙂
 It’s not really a natural perspective, but you can see how the two rooms join together.  I guess it’s a great room of sorts. 
 What you saw if you walked into my kitchen on Thursday or before.
What we have now!  I love the lightness and airiness of the blue! I put up decorations (some) I’ve had around the house for 2 years and haven’t known what to do with.  I just went with white curtains/valance because I really can’t find a fabric I love, these were cheaper than it would have been to make anything, and they match what’s in the living room.
This one is darker, but I love the way it shows off the gray counter with the blue and white.  And notice the gray (spray painted) light fixture in the back half!  It was brown before and didn’t match anything back there or the other fixture, so I went with the $5.37 can of Rustoleum and have a “new” matching fixture!  Now if I can just find someone to trade my gargantuan microwave for their small one that will fit on my counter so I can get rid of the island (next to the frig in front of the window), I’ll be finished!

Wanna come sit in a sunny room with me?

I painted the living room last week!  We painted everything neutral when we moved in, but I’ve learned that khaki really feels dark to me to be in all the time.
It wasn’t a very dark khaki, but the lack of color felt dark to me… not just in a lighting way, but in a dark, depressing, lack of life way.  For this color, happy, sunshine loving girl, it wasn’t working!  So I asked Robert if we could do a light blue in hopes of a breezy, airy feel and am so pleased with the result!  Robert and I both love it.
We’ve had some decorations, but nothing personal and I was tiring of feeling like TJ Maxx lived here.  🙂  I have years of photos and was overwhelmed at the thought of choosing which ones to print. Then I didn’t really have matching frames; some are black, some are different shades of brown and there were a few white ones in there too.  I was trying to lighten the living room because it’s been sooooo dark in this north-facing, almost no direct sunlight room, so dark frames weren’t really going to help my cause!
I was on a blog the other night and saw the (probably obvious to anyone but me) idea of spray painting what I had. Why didn’t I think of that? So the next day I got my spray paint and got busy! 
This is what I had to start with. (I have quite a bit more, but didn’t want to paint all that I had until I was sure I had a place for it and I was pleased with how it all turned out.)
An hour later, I had a bunch of matching stuff!
I looked through about 7 years of digital photos and chose my favorites. I also pulled out some favorite professional ones from past years (that never got hung) and used them too.  Here’s my gallery wall!  (If you click on it you can see it larger and see the individual photos if you’d like to.)  I need to use some putty for a few of the cheap frames that won’t stay level, but I love it otherwise!  I’m going to add one more section on the right side, but I have to get those frames so it will be a bit.
I love the little splashes of green and am looking for a fabric with white, blue and green in it for my kitchen valances.  I didn’t realize until it was all hung that every photo except one had green in it. 
We have a family portrait on canvas on order (a Groupon I had) that I’m so excited to put over the mantel when it gets here!  And here’s my other favorite spot with those beautiful faces to look at.
I LOVE having these pictures up!  I had to pay for the prints, but the other stuff for all of this cost me less than $20 – one frame half off, the mirror on clearance and the Family thing for $2.50.  I have more frames I’m going to paint and put in my hallways… after I paint the kitchen tomorrow.  🙂  I love the blue and white so I’m continuing that in there to tie it all together.  And the one last project I’m requesting for my birthday… overhead recessed lighting in the living room.  The perfect gift to celebrate 35 years of life, don’t you think?

Our Beautiful Dancing Girl

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.  I know that full well.” 
Psalm 139:13-14

“Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” 
Jeremiah 31:13

“Let them praise His name in the dance: let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp.”  
Psalm 149:3

“They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.”  
Job 21:11

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: … a time to dance and a time to laugh.” 
Ecclesiastes 3:1, parts of 3:4

Every Day Life – Spring Pictures #2

Mattie and her cousin, Caleb.  She loves playing with Caleb!
Girl talk after a long day at Dollywood.
Mattie’s favorite ride at Dollywood this year!  Check out the little half-pint on the left with his hands up just like his mama.  🙂  That’s Logan, my 2 1/2 year old nephew.  
(We got some season passes for Christmas this year from my parents and have already gotten to go 5 times this season!  It’s the gift that keeps on giving for sure!)
 More Dollywood fun with friends!
Jacob carrying the rubber chicken all the way to the end at field day!
Jacob and his wonderful piano teacher, Miss Andrea.  She is sent straight from heaven, I believe!  She has done a great job with Jacob this year helping him develop his musical abilities.  She is in tune enough to buy him a Star Wars book to keep him motivated.  🙂  That’s a sign of a great teacher!  She loves him for his quirks, and for this I’m so thankful!
Mattie got her first manicure at a birthday party.  🙂
 Too sleepy to take out the pigtails…
Spring school!!!

Every Day Life – Spring Pictures

 So, you can tell it’s been busy here since I go into blogging hibernation.  🙂  Honestly, after Luke 14 is over, I end up in this overwhelmed funk and it takes my brain a few weeks to recover and feel like I have anything creative to give.  This year was better than before, except that I committed to teach at a Disability Ministry Conference a month later.  I know a month is a long time in between, but add a few things out of my control in there and it’s just been crazy for too long!  So anyway, here are two posts with some pictures of this spring.
 My boy turned 9!!  It’s so hard to believe.  Some days he just still seems like he still needs so much direction, and then on other days I send him to ride his bike or walk the dog around the block alone and he seems so big! 

He is teaching me so much… about myself, about my relationship with the Lord, about life.  He is so much like I was as a kid, like I am now.  He helps me understand myself, really.  But that helps me understand him too.  For that I’m thankful!

My parents came down for Luke 14 and Jacob’s birthday.  I am trying really hard to take pictures of every day things so I don’t find out I’ve missed my chance.  I don’t have enough pictures of my kids with their grandparents.
Mattie and our neighbor getting a few quiet minutes without the older boys in the mix.
Mattie moving her stumps (home of several imaginary friends) to a safer place in the yard) with Daddy’s help.  (I could watch my man work on big boy toys all day long!) 
These precious feet I struggle to keep clean in the warmer months.  My barefoot girl who loves to wear dresses and dig for worms…
Enjoying a good read like Mommy… 
 Chatting on her phone like Mommy…
Dancing… totally not like Mommy! 

Today’s Randomness

We’re still recovering here from our Luke 14 weekend (set up Wednesday evening through clean up Saturday at 11 pm), a day at Dollywood with my parents b/c they were in town and bought us our passes, then Jacob’s birthday the following day, then 2 days of “normal” every week stuff.  But today we’re home!!  Jacob hasn’t done anything formal for school since last Wednesday, but has spent hours building and rebuilding all of his birthday LEGO and Hero Factory sets.  Today for school we’re going to do piano practice, a Math lesson and read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory together today for as long as the kids want to.  I never read that book as a kid, and because I’m stubborn about seeing movies before reading books, have not seen either of the movies yet.  So I decided to read it with them today instead of giving it to Jacob to read alone.
I will try and get some Luke 14 stories and photos up, though in the administration I “missed” a lot of the actual event this year.  Three years of that is enough!  Next year someone else is going to have to take that job so I can just be and drink in this huge thing into which I pour so much of myself.  
On another special needs note, I’m so proud of one of my “students” at church, Gabe.  He’s my age, but is mentally retarded and has cerebral palsy.  He used to be hard to get to church because he didn’t want to leave his mamaw (his primary caregiver) though his parents are Christians.  Lately he’s been coming to church consistently with his dad, because his Mamaw passed away a few weeks ago.  Because Gabe was quite spoiled by Mamaw, we’re working hard on him sitting quietly during our lessons, listening to others while they speak and I’m throwing in there challenges to think about what others are saying even if it’s a boring Sunday School lesson.  🙂
When I ask Gabe a question he usually says he doesn’t know or gives me a blank stare because his medicine makes him sleepy, but I’ve been working really hard to help him memorize some of the important spine truths of Scripture.  This month of course, Easter is a natural spine issue!  (We do one lesson for an entire month over and over, so between Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings they’ve heard it 8 times before we switch.)  So tonight when I asked Gabe all of our lesson questions (in a catechism sort of way) he answered EveRy oNe of them correctly!!!  I was so proud of him!  He knows Who died, why He did, and that Jesus is ALIVE today!  Most importantly, Gabe knows that he can spend forever with Jesus just because God loves him that much, and that Easter is the day we get to celebrate it all.  That is why I love what I get to do so much!
And I know I’ve sent you to this blog before, 
but this post is one you have to read!  
It’s very touching in a totally non-Hallmark way.  
Inspirational, disturbing, convicting, etc.  This girl is my hero. 

life with Pepper and random pictures – third try!

If it doesn’t work this time you guys are just going to have to imagine what these photos look like.  I don’t know if this is a Picasa problem, a Firefox problem, a Blogger problem or a virus or malware problem.  Argh!

Bath time!  I had no idea the excitement that would ensue following a bath.  The kids were hysterical!

Mattie loves Pepper. Pepper tolerates Mattie.  But Pepper can’t ever complain that she doesn’t get enough attention.
Jacob loves Pepper.  I think Pepper almost loves Jacob.  😉

Mattie and her wares.

She had $30 of her own money to spend from her birthday.  We went to a consignment shop and she got all of this plus 2 more things that were in the laundry basket b/c they were on her body within minutes of being home!  She picked it all out herself, and I only vetoed when it was a modesty or fitting issue.  She was a very happy camper.  It was delight in the true sense of the word.  🙂 
I get a kick out of all of her skirts.  I’d be happy if I never had to wear a skirt again in my life, and have pretty much felt that way for all 34 years of my existence, I believe.  Mattie prefers a skirt or dress every day.
I’m so thankful for “climbing trees!”  My kids (and the neighbors) spend hours each week climbing this tree.

I think it’s just hot when you have this much hair!  Why she chooses the hot bricks instead of the cool grass is beyond me. 

 If it’s hot out, what better to do than play in the dog’s water?  What else would it be there for, you know?

And can someone tell me when a fifteen year old moved in to my house? 
Mattie LOVES to pick out her own outfits.  Some are really cute… some are horrendous! But all of them are totally Mattie.