Wednesday, August 24, 2011


We had a super fun visit recently! My best friend since childhood, Andrea, brought her daughter, Cora and spent several days with us! It was so fun to spend extended time with her now that we're both moms. She is a dear friend to me and I LOVED having her here!

She's not trying to eat me there. How can I not have another picture of us together from this trip?!?!

One afternoon we took the kids to the splash park. It was fascinating to watch how the two little ones responded to the new situation!

They played together relatively well, I think, for it being the first time either of them had had to consistently share all their toys and stuff. We both had to do lots of interventions "Don't hit! Gentle!" and Andrea had the great idea to stop them before they hit each other and tell them to give high fives instead. It helped! :)
They are very close in age, but very different in personalities! Cora is way more physical-she can easily run and climb, etc. EZ's not so proficient with the gross motor skills, but has a longer attention span, at least with books! It was fun to watch them both playing!
They liked to hold hands when we went for walks!!! :)
I'm so glad Andrea and Cora came to visit!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bench Building!!!

I'm excited about this project! I just made a bench to go along with our table!!! Super fun, and not terribly hard!

I found a coffee table on craigslist for $20. It's a different style than what I was thinking, but I like it!
Getting ready to paint! I like that it has the pieces in the middle-makes it feel like it's stronger, since people will be sitting on it!
Oops. I didn't take a picture of it after I painted it before doing the next step. Here's the next photo I took:

This is after I added some extra planks of wood to make it just a smidge taller, and then foam.

For the foam, this is ESSENTIAL:
Newsflash: Foam is expensive!!! I sat on all the different thicknesses (from 1/2 in to 5 in) in the store, and decided that for what I was looking for, the 3 in was what I wanted-comfortable enough that you don't feel the hard surface underneath. The bad news-the 3in foam is 42.99/yard!!!!! I thought doing this stuff ourselves would be cheaper, but I realized it's not always as easy as it looks! So, I waited for a sale they had this past weekend where the foam was 50% off, or you could use their coupons. I get a 40% off coupon in my email almost every week. You just have to be patient to space these things out. :)

Cutting the foam was a challenge! I got a 24x40in piece and needed it to be 20x48. Yes, I had to do that math in my head at the store. And almost got too short a piece but figured it out right at the last minute! To cut it, I used an electric knife borrowed from a friend. Good thing she had one-I wanted to get the project done that day!! :)

I also bought batting (way cheaper-something like $7.99/yard) to go over the foam. It smooths all the edges and makes it feel more finished. A more experienced friend gave me the downlow on what I needed! Here's the bench with the batting covering it. All that's needed now is the fabric!

My staple gun was one of my best birthday presents ever. After my engagement ring, of course! :)
So there it is! It did end up costing more than I'd hoped, but it's so satisfying that I put it all together and it looks exactly like I wanted! :)

Random Photos

Elijah learned "where" from my dad last month. It's so cute. Every time you ask him where something is, he does his hands like he's asking "Where is it?" while he looks! I can see his comprehension blossoming, as I give him oral directions and see him respond! So fun!

Elijah's been horribly mean to the dog lately. He hits her, and then when we tell him gentle, he hugs her. Sneaky, sneaky.
He's been so tickled by putting things on his head. Books, toys, washcloth, anything! This photo isn't great (he runs across the room while he plays this game), but it gets the point across!
Linked to the above game, he's also really tickled to put things on Jewel. He just cracks up!!! :) Jewel just looks at him curiously and then either ignores him or gets up and walks away. Such a patient, sweet puppy!

Here we are! I love this little treasure so much!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mirror Project

Ack! It's been a long time since I posted on the blog! Not that I don't have anything to say, but have been too busy to say it!

Here's a project I did a couple weeks ago:

We wanted something on the wall over our bed. We had a framed puzzle up there but it kept falling (cheap frame wouldn't stay together) and we were afraid it'd fall on us one night while we slept! :) So James learned of a place I can't believe we didn't know about before-the Restore, Habitat for Humanity's resale shop! We originally thought we'd make some kind of headboard out of doors, but found this mirror/window combo and went with this instead.

This is the mirror we bought (half off!):

I bought a $1 paint sample at Lowe's that was out on the paint clearance counter. I actually didn't love the color, but for one dollar, I thought I'd try it out! It covered the bright blue very well, actually, but I still did two coats!

Let me just say, getting the mirror out of the frame wasn't too hard, it just took some elbow grease and a screwdriver to pry the old staples out, but then getting the mirror attached back to the frame ended up being slightly more complicated than expected. I have a staple gun, but am still basically a novice. Turns out there are different lengths of staples (!!!) and the ones I'd used for recovering chairs weren't long enough to hold the backboard of the mirror onto the frame. I bought longer ones at Lowe's, and got enough of the staples into the frame to hold it on there! I also got eaten by ants in the short time it took me to attach the back to the frame, and suffered for it for several days!! :)
Here's the mirror on the wall above our bed. Still not 100% sure it was the color I'd envisioned, but it looks great against the walls and above our bedding.
But wait, there's more! We had also purchased (at the Restore!) a window frame. It was already a green distressed color, which fits great in our room, so we left it exactly how it was and hung it with the mirror:
Perfect fit!
This project was a pretty cheap one, and would be way better if you already had the mirror. The window frame was $3, the paint was $1, and the stapes were $2 (though in the interest of full disclosure, I did buy two different kinds of staples because I was tired of projects getting put on hold because I needed to make ANOTHER run to the hardware store). We did pay $22 for the mirror, which was by far the most expensive part of the project, but for a huge mirror like that we thought it was pretty good. And it was half off from $45! :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Great Big World

I LOVE seeing how much Elijah's taking in recently.

I think he is just SO cute when he explores outside. He's recently mastered the "walk over to something, squat down to pick it up, stand back up and keep walking" move, and today he kept chasing these little leaves around the playground at our neighborhood park. He'd spot one, walk over to it, carefully arrange his little legs just so, squat down to pick up the leaf, stand back up, bring the leaf to me to hold, and go on to the next one. This worked for the first few, but then the wind picked up. He'd bend over to grab one, and then it would blow away. He was mystified and enthralled! He'd watch where it landed, toddle over to it, try to get it again, and it'd blow away again. He was so tickled! Then he started recreating it on his own-when he picked one up, he'd just throw it and watch it flutter away.

We got a new animal sounds book from the library. It's a short little board book, with five pages with one animal each. One of them is an alligator, and the word is says is "snap." I was reading it to him this morning and clapped my hands closed when I read "snap!" I poke him in the belly with the "buzz" of the bee, too. Over the next hour, he carried the book around to have me read to him over and over. When I got to the alligator page, he clapped his hands once just like I had! Funny, though, it takes him longer, so I get to the page, ask him what the alligator says, and he opens his hands real wide for like 5 seconds before he claps them. Haha! And with the bee page, I ask him what it says, and he pokes himself in the chest. Too cute!! :) He's also clapping for the frog page...I guess we still have some work to do! :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Changing the World

I think everyone who reads my blog knows our big news already since we're real friends in other places-you know, the real world, or at least our newsletters and facebook! :) But just in case you missed it in those venues, we are pregnant! We are so thrilled that God would entrust another little life to our care. We really do believe that children are a blessing from God and that we can honor Him in the way we parent. I was reading Elijah a bedtime story from his AWESOME little Bible (the Jesus Storybook Bible is THE way to go!) and had tears in my eyes as I read again the sweet summary of God's plan. I physically ache for the day our precious son will begin to understand the hugeness of God's love, both for him personally and for the world at large. What an awesome responsibility we have as parents to teach the most important lessons kids will ever understand. I pray daily for the time Elijah will accept God's love for himself, and now to be entrusted with another little heart and spirit and mind to shepherd and mold?! We are beyond blessed!

Here's a precious excerpt from the Bible story: (Adam and Eve have just sinned and are leaving the garden)

"Well, in another story, it would all be over and that would have been...

But not in this Story. God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan--a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back......You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children --with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God's children would miss him always, and long for him --lost children yearning for their home.
Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: "It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I'm going to do battle against the snake. I'll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I'm coming back for you!"
And he would. One day, God himself would come."

I almost always cry when I read from this Bible. It's ridiculous. But EVERY story points to the redemptive story of Jesus. It's truly the greatest story ever told-how could I not love it?!

Seriously. Love it!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

North Carolina

Next in our travels, James and I left Elijah in Tennessee with my parents and headed to North Carolina for a little vacation and our organization's church planting conference. It was the first time we've left Elijah overnight, so that was a little hard as we drove away, but it was a refreshing and peaceful exciting days, plus we made an exciting discovery, but more on that later. :) Here are some photos from North Carolina. They have mountains there.

In case you weren't sure where the mountains are:
The place we stayed had some neat trails, though it was getting dark when we walked out there so this picture doesn't do them justice.
Here we are, contemplating the mysteries of the universe.
We toured the Biltmore-a HUGE house that belonged to the Vanderbilt family. It's set up like a museum, you can walk through different rooms and see what they looked like. It was neat!
Out front. These are the guard dogs. :)
The baby's swingset went out here. Seriously, there was a sign that said so. Not here exactly WHERE, since there's so much space! :)

They had lots of gardens. We took lots of pictures outside because we weren't allowed to take any inside!
And, of course, the church planting conference was awesome! It was awesome to be with a bunch of other people who are doing the same thing. We were encouraged and challenged and we met with God! :) I love being a part of this Antioch tribe! Here's our team-the most excellent team ever!
L-R: (back) Michael, Ray, Tyler, James, Laurie
(front) Katy, Lauri, Ashlee, Cat, Charity

Thursday, August 4, 2011

To Greatgrandmother's House We Went

We spent a couple days of our July vacation in Maryland, visiting my Lito and Lita and other extended family that lives there. It was such a short, whirlwind visit, but some is better than nothing and we were so glad to finally introduce Elijah to the rest of the family!

Here is Lito, being a clown to make Elijah smile while we tried to take a picture of four generations.

It worked!We went swimming. It was a real heat wave while we were there, and the water was actually some of the warmest pool water I've ever experienced! Elijah loved it! Lita got him this cool floating chair so he would be safe in the pool, and I just pulled him around while he splashed me. Perfect!
Elijah tried his hand at making music on a real piano. He did this in Tennessee, too. He liked experimenting with the notes on either end of the piano. We'll make a musician out of him yet!
Here he was being introduced by Tia Loly to the kitty. Kids love it and adults hate it. It meows incessantly. Thankfully, the dog under the table doesn't make a sound!
Elijah had his first taste of authentic Paraguayan chipa! He loved it!!!
Believe it or not, he loved having us throw the beach ball so it would bounce off his head. Seriously.
One evening, he walked back and forth across the living room from person to person, having them put this puppy dog toy back on his head. He'd then take off across the living room laughing hysterically til it fell off, then he'd take it to someone else and start all over. We have video footage of this that I have got to show. It's seriously hysterical!!
EZ met a lot of animals on this trip. Hippo...
Josh & Kristi...oh, wait, they're not animals! Despite Kristi's reenactment of a head-butting dinosaur.
Sisters. :)
Sitting around, EZ was the star of the show. Here he got to meet cousin Alex.
He played with the quiet book.
Family picture! Super cute!