Thursday, January 10, 2019

New year, new hair

Well actually this happened last month, but I chopped my hair.
This is the only recent picture I could even find of me with it not in a ponytail.
This time I donated to Wigs for Kids, and so they had to take 9 inches off. It seems like they always take more than that though!
So it's a little shorter than I wanted (and definitely than Doug wanted!) But it feels so good to have all those ends off! Fresh start.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 Goals

A new year on the horizon.
I'm feeling a little lackluster with this year's goals. We have a new baby coming in the first half and probably most of the second half of the year will be adjusting to two kiddos, nursing, and trying to sleep! But I can share the ones I've been thinking of:
Lose the baby weight. - I can't tell yet how this one is going to go, so far I've gained 10lbs from my starting weight, but if you count the pounds I lost when I was nauseated and then gained back, I've gained 18lbs so far and 14(+?) weeks more to go. So who knows. Still trying to exercise several times a week and eat moderately. What else can ya do?
Get another rental property. - Doug got our pre-approval letter today and we plan to start looking in February.
Save money. - We had a goal of saving $1200 a month last year, looks like we only saved about 60% of that, but that doesn't include our 401ks, Roths, or HSA accounts. But we still would like to save more.
Read these books:
House Projects. - Since we are likely staying in our house another year or so there are a few more things we'd like to do specifically for us:
This one is more a goal for Doug, to replace the hall carpet with hardwoods. I don't really want to. It won't match the wood in the living room so that is a big deterrent to me, and also I like carpet for little ones crawling and learning to walk. So we'll see what happens.
I do want to replace the rug in the living room. I liked this thick rug originally, but it turns out it is a pain to vacuum and I don't like it anymore. I'd love to have a quality wool rug, but they are so expensive, so I'll settle for another cheapie to tide us over a couple more years.
The big one will be replacing the front deck with composite decking. We did the back deck this last year, and held off on the front, but as you can see it is chipping really badly and it's got to go. I like the composite decking we chose from Menards, but it too harbors some leaf stains and it's not 100% perfect-- but it's got to be better than chipping and peeling paint.
We plan to have the baby in our room for awhile and then have the two kids share the bigger back bedroom, so at some point that room will have to undergo a transformation from it's current treadmill/guest bed/storage/Doug's dresser and bookcase/closet situation. I'm kind of worried about it, but we'll just have to see how it goes. Oh wouldn't it be lovely to have a basement!
And my favorite goal, vacation. - We have a little babymoon planned for February, no where crazy, but a new place for us- Gulf Shores, Alabama. I'm looking forward to warm, sun and sand, and baby-free time! We'd also like to take a fall family trip somewhere. Either our friend is having a destination cruise wedding to Cozumel, or he might not do that anymore and that would free us up to go on our own trip. We'd LOVE to go back to Hawaii, but the flights are always so expensive and kinda worried about the time change with kids. We are also looking into Iceland. We shall see!
I'm done reading through the Bible in One Year, so my spiritual goals for the year are to finish up BSF this spring/summer, start the new class in the fall, and I have a variety of mini devotions to work through on my Bible app: Keep Your Love On: Connection, No More Unglued Mama Mornings, Wait and See, Discover the Jewish Jesus, and 5 Days to Freedom from Angry Parenting- these are all plans I have saved so far. It's nice because each one is 1-2 weeks so I can do several of them over the year. We are in a good place church-wise and also joined a small group this fall so hope to develop those relationships deeper.
God is good, trusting Him to lead us into the future and depend on Him.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Reflection on 2018 Goals

Alright, time to take a look back at 2018 and see if I hit any of my goals. I really should start writing these down, somewhere other than this blog where I forget about them until the next new year, if I really want to be intentional.
Well, let's see how I did...
- Finish my RN to BSN. - I did it! I earned my BSN this spring and have no further education plans on the horizon. That seems weird for me to say as I seem to be a perpetual student, but now with my second Bachelors, one associates, and 2 certificates under my belt- unless I decide to do something else career wise I think I'm in an ok spot for now.
- Do the Bible in one year devotion. - I have 3 days left and then I did it! At times I've thought that I'm putting all this time and effort in and not "feeling" much closer to God, which is a disappointing feeling. But I had a good talk about this with my friend Jill who reminded me that God's word does not return void, and I might be being tempted to listen to the devil's lies about not feeling closer to God and needing to be aware of falling into his trap of pulling me away from truth. I know I have learned more about God and myself from reading His Word this past year, even while my sinful selfishness gets in the way. This year in my Bible Study Fellowship group Bible Study Fellowship we are reading through parts of the Old Testament as we study The People of the Promised Land, so that has been a good study too.
- Make a decision to move or buy another rental property. - It was a busy market! We looked at so many rental properties, others accepted offers before we could even look at them, got out bid on several, and had one accepted offer just to walk away after the inspection due to too many expensive repairs needed. So that was disappointing, but the plan for another rental is in place for 2019! We are pretty sure that we are going to stay in our home for at least another year.
- I'd love to make it through this stack of books - Fail! I did finish "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" (very good), and "Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts" (also good), but didn't even crack the others, and in fact bought more books to add to that stack...
Other:
I shared a feeling of being open to what 2018 had, including hopes for an addition to our family. Thankfully God has heard and answered that prayer and I am 26 weeks along with baby girl and we are very excited for that.
I talked about not seeing any international trips in store for 2018- but in fact we did a cruise to the Bahamas (no passport stamp from a cruise though), and we did a family fall colors trip to Nova Scotia (passport stamp!). We also had a road trip to DC for a friend's wedding and a family reunion to Colorado and enjoyed a couple weekends up North as well.
And also the continued goal of wanting to be more intentional with my relationships. God, Doug, August, family, friends. This one is hard to quantify, but I think I did ok. I have a lot of good memories with Doug and August from over the year, and of course this still needs to be a top priority as somewhere along the line I have moved more towards being a person who puts tasks ahead of people, and I hate that. Quality time is a love language for me, and I used to be so good about giving it as well, so I hope to see that table turn back around.
Overall, 2018 was a good year, and the Lord has been very good to me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A new table

August has this bad habit of if he doesn't like something he declares "no like it" as he dumps/pushes/throws/flings/etc said item onto the table. He won't allow it on the edge of his plate, or on his highchair tray, oh no, it has to be all the way out of his area on the table. This has resulted in a nearly constantly dirty tablecloth. And since our table has been a "temporary" (which has turned into 4 years) folding plastic table we used at our wedding, it always has to be covered with a tablecloth or it is revealed to be an ugly utility table.
It doesn't look so bad with a tablecloth.
But I was sick of the stains and weekly washings.
So that spurred a looking online during black Friday. Looked at World Market, Overstock, Ikea, and CraigsList. We still have a pretty narrow spot so it could be the same length but only a bit wider. And there wasn't much out there. Or if there was, it was like $400 for something I didn't 'love' and was cheap construction. So I drew up a plan and asked Dad if he had any free time. And luckily he made some time for the older of his 2 craft loving daughters :)
Picking up the supplies. Already turned table legs for the win!
I think I made 3 (2-4 hour) trips up to Dad's shop and we glued the 3 main boards together for the top, figured out where the legs would go, sanded and routed the top edge, made the table skirt support thing (which also meant a trip to Home Depot to get a better top board and wider boards for the support since I wasn't following a plan and just had bought a 3" where a 4" would've been better). The things you learn when your dad is a woodworker and you are not.
We joined the legs to the support sides with wood glue and dowels, and Dad did a couple things himself like drill the holes for counterscrewing the top to the support skirt and the final attaching of the two.
Then he delivered it to me for staining.
No matter my test samples, whenever I stain it seems to always end up a totally different color! My pick was in the bottom top corner.
It was way to cold to stain in the garage, and we have no basement, so our house smelled like a chemical factory for a couple days as I had to stain in the entryway.
The legs got super dark because they have all that rough edge from the lathe.
Fan on and windows cracked in wintertime.
I used wood conditioner first because the wood is pine and to prevent splotching.
And wouldn't you know, it splotched anyway and did this weird ugly thing on the edges. So I sanded them down again, wood conditionered again, and stained those areas again. And had a bit of a panic because as I was wiping the stain off the edges it looked so obvious that it was a patch job, so I had to re-stain the entire top part again quickly so it would all be wet at the same time and luckily, that worked! It did make the table darker than I had planned, but I was much happier with the splotching issue.
Splotches were a lot better.
Next came 2 coats of polyurethane to the bottom, and 3 thin coats to the top. Another stressful job making sure there weren't drips or brush marks.
And finally I could set it back up, it helped that I was hosting bookclub the next day, so I was motivated to get done!
I love the coloring!
But a new problem was revealed, our (from mom & dad's church) chairs looked ridiculously short next to the new table!
So the morning of book club, Doug my hero looked on CraigsList for new chairs for me. Then on his lunch break drove over to pick them up, crammed 6 chairs in his Jeep, brought them in, and then helped prep dinner for my girlfriends while I scrubbed away like a mad woman cleaning them. They had come from a Sign of the Beefcarver restaurant that was closing and are really solid wood chairs (Amish made according to the ad) for only $15 each, but have some dings, a few had a couple gouges, and had crusted food and BBQ sauce and who knows what on them.
Yay! It looks so nice. And after trying and returning a whole slew of table runner and other centerpiece options I think I finally settled on this simple one:
So the cost breakdown: wood, stain, wood conditioner, poly, and brushes for table: $175; 6 new wood chairs: $90; jute placemat, white plate, and candlesticks: $25; hours of Dad's time: priceless. Total was less than $300 for the whole things and I love it. It's just 3 inches wider, but it seemed to make a difference and felt a little more spacious around the table.
It's still pine, which is a softer wood, so it probably won't be scratch free forever. On August's side he has a new plastic place mat to help prevent marks when he bangs his fork, cup, etc, but I am hopeful it will last at least another 4 years :)

Monday, December 3, 2018

A quilt for baby girl

I'd been wanting to make something special for my new baby. I saw this quilt on a girl's instagram and fell in love with these large faded floral patterns.
However, I was reminded that one is limited by the selection of their fabric store. Jo Ann Fabrics did not have a single thing that looked old and faded, and didn't have much by way of large floral prints either. But I did really like this pink and yellow floral pattern, and then picked some other fabrics in corresponding colors.
Step one, washing the fabrics and the dreaded ironing.
Then cutting the squares and sewing them together. This goes pretty quickly when just doing squares.
I don't know why I laid this out and thought it was ok. I ended up having to rip out a bunch of my seams so I could switch the order around to a pattern I liked better.
Sewed on the soft pink velvety fabric for the border.
I used an old soft creamy yellow sheet for my back fabric and sandwiched in the quilting material. Then held down the edges so I could pin and do my machine quilting to sew all 3 layers together. Professional quilters have this awesome table for this purpose, but people like me use the floor!
Trimmed.
Sewing all the lines.
The last step was folding over the velvet part over the back and hand sewing to avoid a visible stitch. This part was a pain and literally painful to the fingers to poke through all the layers. It took several episodes of watching something and stitching all 4 sides. I'm actually not super happy with how it ended up looking kind of pulled there on the sides, but I'm not sure how I could've done it any better.
Here it is all finished.
The back.
Part of me still likes the other girl's more, but I like that mine is handmade by me and I'm sure it will be fine. It is soft and pretty. I really do love that floral print so much I had my mom buy a yard and she is going to make me a new carseat cover out of the same material. So that's nice of her, she had made one for August and I didn't think she'd mind being asked to make a second. 4 more months!