Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Living Room


I was a little nervous that the color would be too dark, but I just love how it turned out.
*Don't pay attention to the blue tape on the baseboards.  My house is littered with blue tape.  Every time I see a spot I need to fix I slap a piece of blue tape on it and fix it later when I have time*

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Dining Room

My friend Kelsey came this summer to help me with the painting, and we got pretty much the whole main floor painted in the week she was here.  The kitchen and family rooms were by far the biggest transformation, but I have to actually clean those rooms in order to take the 'after' picture so you'll just have to wait.


 I think this color goes much better with my chairs.

Another project on my list is sanding and staining the two buffets in this room.

Monday, October 24, 2011

John and Gus's Room

Okay, I'm ready to reveal the room transformations.  There are still 490 things I want to do to the house, but for now I'm content...and out of money.

Everything that was able to be painted was painted.  Ceilings, baseboards, window sills and doors were all covered in new paint. A big thanks to my sister in-law and brother in-law for being incredibly awesome and having paint delivered to my door.  If you are ever looking for a good quality paint that covers in minimal coats, check out Valspar.

This pepto pink mess is the boys room.  I wrote here that I was going to paint this room first but sadly it wasn't the first, second or even third room painted.  But, I don't think the boys suffered any permanent damage by sleeping in a pink room for a month...or two.

I really can't take any credit for this transformation.  I just painted the base coat and my mom did the rest.  She is very meticulous.  Can you tell?

 The boys just love their room.  Which is good because it is staying this way for a long, long time.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I am so thankful that my boys get along so well.  Soon Anders will be joining in on the fun.  That is, as soon as he decides he wants to walk.  For now John and Gus are happy to be just about anywhere as long as they are together.

It was pretty bright outside, but Gus looks albino.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Books, Books and more Books!

We love books in our family.  I read all the time before I had kids, and then my choices of material were limited since I really can't read a John Grisham or Mary Higgins Clark novel to my kids.  It's only now that I work in a library that I am able to have enough time alone that I read what I want to again.  But this isn't about me or my book choices for adults.  Since I work in the children's department at the library and have kids at home that love books, I thought I would share some of the books I come across that we really enjoy.  It's great when you find a book that is tolerated by adults since it will be read approximately 5023 times.

My first series to rave about is the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems.  We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these books.  They are so simple yet say so much.  They are funny and light hearted, and the boys love to memorize the words so they can read them over and over again to each other.  I'm pretty sure these books have only spent 5 minutes on the shelf since entering our home.  Willems also has a Pigeon series that John finds hysterical.  But John finds everything hysterical.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Series of Pictures

I live with a bunch of crazy boys!

I love having a digital camera that takes shots continuously.   Usually out of the hundreds I take, I get a few good ones.  But when you are trying to take a sit down , nice picture, the series of shots can tell a funny story...or just show you what it is like in our house.

 John can't stop moving, Gus thinks something is funny, and Anders is watching it all...great.

 The three on the right side look great...what's up with the two on the left?  I'll remember not to put them together next time.

 Seriously, John and Gus?  The hardest person to get to sit still, look at the camera and smile should be the baby.  Should be.

 I have tons of pictures of Gus watching John and now I have Anders watching Gus.  I'm in so much trouble.

 John's kids will look at this one day and make fun of him for picking his nose.

 5 people and only 1 is looking at the camera.  Well, at least they are all smiling.

 Alright.  I think we have it.

And now John is completely over this whole experience and wants to watch TV.  I'm pretty sure my dad was done too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Day out with Thomas

Yep.  You read it right.  We went to Thomas...again.  But the boys just love Thomas and I'm really not ready for that phase to be over.  So, like it or not, Anders will have a Thomas fascination as well.

We weren't sure how long John would find all of this stuff fascinating, so my mom decided to get in one last trip to see Thomas for John's birthday.  She flew in to Chicago to celebrate his 5th birthday by going to Thomas and then helping me for the birthday party/open house.  So we drove an hour out to the Railway Museum in Union, IL early on a Friday morning and spent the day enjoying all the event had to offer.

There were clowns...

and magicians...

and bouncy dragons...

and the star of the show, Thomas!

 Gus spent about 5 seconds of the 20 minute ride like this...

 and the rest of it like this. 

If you have never been to A Day out with Thomas, I highly recommend it for train lovers of all ages.  Sure, people older than 13 don't care about the ride on Thomas, but these events are held in train yards and museums, so you get to explore trains other than Thomas.

I'm not sure that I will ever forget our 6th wedding anniversary.  I say that, but I'm not sure what we did for the other 5.  Sorry honey, you married an unromantic, completely practical girl.

John tells me I also can't forget to mention Sir Topham Hat...

miniature golf...

the huge sand pile...

and the cool tattoos.
 Doesn't this make Gus look like such a bruiser?

About 6 seconds after getting the tattoo John started scratching it off.  Then he changed his mind and wanted to keep it on.  So this little tidbit of Thomas stuck around for about a week.  I don't even want to know what his teacher thought of us on the first day of school.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Mother's Job

My husband started an online debate.  This is nothing new.  He posts something that he knows will stir people and he waits for the comments to come flowing in.  He doesn't start the day thinking what can I do to get people riled up, but he writes and speaks about controversial topics fully intent on defending his position with Scripture.  Then there are times when he writes totally obnoxious things about various sports teams or political shenanigans.  But that is a whole other story.

On more than one occasion his online debates have steered across the topic of a woman's vocation, or more specifically a mother's vocation.  I tend to read over the comments, silently agree or disagree, then vent to my husband (for what must feel like hours) after the kids have gone to bed.  I'm sure he is thinking, I thought she had a blog...isn't that what a blog is for?

So honey, this is for you.  However it doesn't mean we still won't talk about it later.

I am a strong woman.  I am professional, authoritative but also nurturing and sensitive.  Before I married Hans, I was supporting myself, in the process of buying my own home, and going to school.  I was very happy with my life.  I was successful.  Then I married Hans.

Boy, I should probably rephrase sounds like a bad thing.

Then the most wonderful thing happened when I married Hans.

There, that sounds better.

We moved to Indiana and I got a new job.  I still remember hyper-ventilating when we moved into our first apartment because I knew that, since he was in school, I would have to be the one to support us.  That is intimidating.  Three months into our first year of marriage and my new job, I found out I was pregnant.  I have to say, I wasn't as excited as my husband.  I didn't know if I was ready to quit my job and be home full-time.  I'd always wanted kids, but when I thought about it, the possibility just seemed so far away.  I continued to work full-time until a month or so before our son was born.  Then, for the first time since I turned 16, I was unemployed.  It was scary.  I liked it for about two days and, after I finished watching everything I wanted to watch on TV, I felt like I needed to get out.  It didn't help that I had the baby blues something fierce.  I spent virtually the whole year in utter depression, dreading my vocation.

Two weeks before John's first birthday, I went back to work full-time.  Hans was now back in school for his final year of seminary and we needed food on the table and health insurance.  So I was able to get my old job back.  The pay was good, the insurance was great and all in all I liked my job.  I was coming out of the baby blues funk and finally shedding the last 70 pounds.

Yes, you read that right, I lost the LAST 70 pounds...meaning there were initial pounds lost.

But as good as I felt about myself, I knew this wasn't where I was supposed to be.  Hans and I were lucky in that Hans' school schedule allowed him to be the primary caregiver for our son.  For the few hours a week that we needed childcare, our friend, Emily, watched him.  For months, John would cry and cry when I left the house. I felt as though I was abandoning him.  Then one day he stopped crying for me.  To this day I still can't tell you which scenario is worse.  I felt torn.  I loved my job.  I loved feeling needed in a way that could be expressed beyond grunting and crying.  I loved running staff meetings and doing inventory.  I was important. And yet, there was still something wrong.

After a year Hans graduated and got his first call to Denver.  I had to quit.  My husband was now going to be the financial provider for the family.  I was to resume my roll as mother and housewife.  John cried and cried for Hans everyday after he left for work.  He missed his daddy, the man who was his primary caregiver for as long as he could remember.  I was the one he saw in the evening from 6-8, briefly in the mornings, and then all day one or two days a week.  I wasn't supposed to be the one to be with him all day in his mind.  And yet, the sad thing was is that I was supposed to be the one with him.  There were many milestones that were achieved the year between his first and second birthday, and I missed almost all of them.

There are many women out there like me who were successful and self-sufficient before getting married and having babies.  Some women have an easier time giving up the job, extra money and gratification of it all, while others hold on to that part of their life, unwilling to give it up for the benefit of their children.  I know that sounds harsh.  I've heard countless arguments for women choosing to remain full-time employees and leaving their children in the care of others.  Off of the top of my head I'll give you some excuses I've heard and my reply...of which I end up thinking in my head and not voicing.

"I get depressed when I'm at home."
Then get out of the house.  Find things you and your kids can do.  Make a schedule.  Plan trips.  See your doctor, you may be suffering from baby blues.  I too found myself in deep depression the first year.  I know how you feel.  However, I don't think getting a job and leaving your children behind is the answer.

"I want to make a difference in the world."
Start by making that difference with your children.  Your children are growing up in a very secular, accepting (in a bad kind of way...not the good kind of way), jerky, cruel world.  They need YOU, not their nanny, or their babysitter, or their teacher, to teach them, nurture them, and discipline them.

"I just can't sit around all day."
I'm not sure how you actually get any sitting done.  I would love to sit.  The word "sit" doesn't enter my vocabulary until the kids are in bed.  If you don't like being in the house, then find things you and your kids can do.  Go for a walk.  Visit a park.

"I'm using the gifts God himself has given me."
God has given each and every one of us gifts.  And we should use them to His glory.  That doesn't mean we should leave our children for others to raise while we are off using said gifts.  God also gave us girlie parts.  We carry our children in our bellies for 9 months.  We endure hours of labor to bring these children into the world.  We can provide all the nourishment that is needed for the first year of life.  Are the gifts you speak of more important than raising the child(ren) God has given to you?

"We really need the money." 
For this, my answer can vary depending on the situation.  There are times when it becomes a necessity for two parents to work.  The women using this excuse in situations where it is legitimately true wouldn't argue with the fact that they are needed at home.  These woman usually find ways to quit and stay at home when they are able.  For the others...You don't need a fancy house, or car, or to send your kids to a fancy, high priced preschool.  Your kids do not need 50 outfit changes and 8 billion toys.  While it is nice to go out with the girls, or have a date night every week, or get your nails done on a regular basis, these things are not necessities.  These are luxuries.  You are choosing to spend precious time away from your children, leaving them in the care of others 40 + hours a week for luxuries...not necessities.

"I went to school to get my degree.  Am I just supposed to forget about ever putting that degree to use?"
Whenever we've talked about college, my husband has brought up some words that a professor spoke to him and a bunch of other students during freshman orientation weekend at Indiana University.  "You don't go to college to get job training," the man said.  "You go to college to become a thinking person."  I'm not an expert on the history of education, but I think that is how most people have viewed higher education throughout the years.  You don't go to college so that someone can train you how to perfectly perform the functions of  a certain job.  You go to college so to grow in knowledge and to better yourself as a human being through that knowledge.  And if you've done that, the knowledge you've gained by attending school will surely help your children.  I too went to school and am the proud owner of some pretty hefty student loans.  I also obtained my degree in International Finance, which is a subject with which my 5, 2 and 1 year olds won't be needing help for quite some time...if ever.  And sure, my choice to go to and finish school was made with a job/career in mind.  But learning what I did has enabled me to understand how to financially run a household, when to save and when to spend, and how to teach my children the ways that money is important and the ways that it isn't.

So even though I'm not "using" my degree by working a job in the field of international finance, even if I could go back in time, I wouldn't change anything.  Well, maybe I'd pick a less expensive college.  Maybe one day I'll "use" my degree out in the field.  Maybe not.  But I don't feel I've wasted my time or my money.  Neither should any other mother.

I can't tell you I don't miss working outside the home.  Sometimes it is nice to reminisce on times when I could afford to buy fancy new shoes or wear dry-clean only garments.  For about half of my three years as a stay-at-home mom, I've maintained a small part-time job.  Working a few hours a week gives me some time away, adult conversation, and a little money I can squirrel away for vacation, date night, or the occasional surprise car repair.  I know that my vocation as a mother will give me far greater joy and better sense of accomplishment than any job could offer.  Ultimately I know that being at home with my children is what is best for them.  And, I hate to burst your bubble, but it isn't all about you anymore.  Your time comes again when your children are grown.

**Unfortunately I've seen conversations about women staying at home turn pretty ugly and/or quickly steer off track.   I know there are women with children that are not married for whatever reason and simply cannot stay at home.  I am not talking about those women.  I am only talking about married women with children.**

Saturday, October 15, 2011


He's getting so big.  In a little less than a week, my baby will be 1.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Church Picnic

I've written a little about our new church family here, a little here, and a little more here along with posts about Debbie and Pam doing things with the boys.  But that just isn't enough.  We have the most amazing church family.  Hans was installed last December and since then we have been getting to know some of the sweetest people on earth.  They are patient, kind, loving and happy.  They warmly greet you when they see you and offer a helping hand when needed.  I am thankful everyday for being a part of warm, loving and forgiving congregation.

What it all boils down to is I genuinely look forward to hanging out with my church family.  Even when the church picnic fell on the same weekend as our crazy busy birthday party/open house, I was still very excited to socialize.  This says a lot since I've more or less become a home-body since having kids.  The church has a picnic every year and then rents out the village pool for our members and friends.  It was four hours of fun and no one wanted to leave.  Seriously, my boys didn't want to leave...I think they cried most of the way home.

 We spent some time just talking and working up an appetite.  See Paul is grilling over there and I'm getting hungry so I decided to distract myself by taking pictures.

 Anders decided he didn't want to wait for everyone else.  He sat contently in Debbie's lab eating.  Because that is what he does best.

 After a little snack we went to the playground.
 Some of the kids played a bean bag game.  I'm sure this game has a name but for the moment it escapes me.  Oh- and Hans' cousin Stephen (pictured) and my mom were both in town.

I'm pretty sure Gus is missing the point of the whole game.

 While the kids ate and played, the adults ate and talked.

It was a very relaxing and enjoyable time.

This was my contribution to the potluck.

 After we ate we swam!  Well, I didn't swim.

It was nice to see families doing things together.

 Anders was testing out the water.

 I think he likes it.

 We had all sorts of kids splashing.

 Gus even went down the slide.  Cautiously.

 John wasn't as cautious.  

These folks didn't stay on the sideline for too long before joining in on the fun.

 The bathing beauties. 

 Anders was not a fan of this.  He wants the water to splash on his own terms.

 Anders enjoyed his talk with Mr. Larson.

Before we knew it the time had come to get out, dry off and go home.  It was so much fun and I can't wait for next year.