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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Black and Ivory Ticking Curtains

Back at the beginning of March, before I knew we would be moving (funny how things change in so short a time!) I had determined to freshen up the living room a bit.  You'll recall I was painting my armoire white? (yeah, it's still not done . . .) And then I decided I was kind of sick of the valances.  I keep finding myself drawn to neutral spaces . . . blacks, whites, khakis . . . and all their variations. More "farmhouse/cottage" styled.  (I'm kind of schizophrenic when it comes to decorating). ;o)  Enter the ticking.
Here's a tiny peak, my favorite view as I walk past my piano--
And here's a bit more up close--
And here they are closed--
 It was my first attempt at an all-out drapery, I lined them and everything! And blind-stitched the hem by hand! Go me! ;o)  It was actually a fun little project and definitely the way to go if you want a nice long panel (something similar in Pottery Barn would have cost me over $100 a panel--I think I did both of these in less than $50, plus fabric left over for throw pillows or whatever)
And of course, they provide an excellence place for Owen to hide--
I've never had long drapes before.  Here's to hoping they work in whatever home we move to!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

~*~HaPpY dAnCe~*~

I have a little story.
For at least five years--maybe more--I have loved a certain table.  Originally it was made by Broyhill, their "Attic Heirlooms" collection.  Since the original "love at first sight", I have seen it "knocked off" by some other brands (usually for a cheaper price).
*Twice* I have seen a form of this table come up on Craigslist--both times with oak chairs instead of black (I wanted black).  Both times Josh considered my request but decided it wasn't a good time for a table purchase.
Today I wasn't even looking for a table.  And I have know idea why I even clicked on the listing because the price was $500 (I'm a $75 or less kind of a gal). ;o)
But click I did,and then I gasped, "It's *my* table!"
Josh decided to go for it.
And everything was working against us.  Somebody else was planning on looking at it.  Josh's parents' truck had a load on the back, Josh's brother's truck had a snowplow and wasn't starting . . . In fact when I left for church tonight with the kids they had just finally gotten the snowplow off of the truck (after nearly an hour of messing with it).  It wasn't looking too promising, but I was okay with that.
When I got home, the house was dark, and I was disappointed to realize Josh must not have been able to pull off the purchase.
But, sneaky Josh, he had made it look that way!
Surprise, my table!!!! 
Table and six chairs for $460 (lady said she spent around $1500 for it, which sounds about right).
At some point I hope to get two more chairs (Oak Express has matching ones) to bring the seating up to eight.  But for now I am over-the-moon delighted.  It's not in perfect condition, but it's perfect for my home where the table sees a lot of action. (of the eating, coloring, schooling variety OF COURSE) ;o)
Good things DO come to those who wait! ;o)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Makes me laugh . . .

Marissa's lesson in grammar the other day was to write a letter (in proper form).  She chose to correspond with her great-granny, and here is what she had to say:

Dear Great Granny,
    I hope everything is sunny in Massachusetts, because we have had three days of cloudy weather.  Lately me and Bella have been playing with our neighbor Faith.  We played Doctor.  I was getting kind of bored of Doctor so I looked around for something to climb.  Trees? Nope, trees are too small.  Then I spotted a light pole.  Well, well I can climb a light pole.  Hands wrapped around the light pole, feet firmly in position I climb the light pole but not too high, the light pole gets thinner.  Of course it would fall.  Just think, I'm at the top of the light pole it wobbles and teeters, bends and creaks, I understand it's going to fall but I am too late cccrrraaacckkk, the light pole breaks and with a shrill shriek I plunge back to earth.  If you are confused this is not real, I'm just imagining.  Well, I shouldn't have climbed the light pole because other kids were trying to climb the light pole too.  Oh well.
                                                                                                                       Yours truly,
                                                                                                                          Marissa


I'm thinking that should put some spunk in an old lady's day! ;o)  Crazy girl.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Tiny Vacation

We've skipped town. ;o)

We spent the day at the Omaha zoo.  (We splurged on a membership this year . . . which really, when all said and done, is an awesome deal).  Did you know you get free Imax tickets as part of the membership?  We actually paid for the membership in one visit!  Josh thought the Imax experience "awesome" while I found the movement aspect kind of nauseating. It's one of those lingering effects of surgery.  I closed my eyes a lot. ;o)

And part of the surprise of today?  Earlier this week, Josh pricelined a hotel on the sly! So, Owen and I are hanging out in the hotel room, the kids swimming with Daddy and I've got a couple of books and a magazine to lounge with.  And (obviously) some free wi-fi. ;o)  Life is good. (As long as I pretend the laundry and dishes I left hurriedly WON'T be waiting when we get back . . .) ;o) 

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Next Chapter

Last week my sister was teaching a lesson on Hannah for our Girls of Grace class.  As she spoke on Hannah I thought to myself how I could never do what Hannah did, give my three year old over to someone else to raise.  The whole concept just seemed wrong.  But Hannah did just that and we all know that Samuel grew to be a man used mightily by God.  God--of course--had a plan.

As I listened I was skewered with this thought--
Sometimes God asks us to give up good things in order that His plan can be accomplished.

The next day, Josh was leaving for two job interviews, both in the vicinity of 2.5-3 hours from here.  That morning I was getting out my my gear for some personal time in the Word and I remembered I would be teaching the Girls of Grace lesson for the next week.  I peeked at the lesson book to see what it would be on, only to discover I would be teaching on Rebekah--specifically when Abraham's servant shows up and says "Come be Isaac's wife!" and she pretty much without hesitation says, "Sure!" because it was apparent God was at work. (I'm paraphrasing a bit there). ;o)  And the recommended Bible memory verse to go with that lesson?? Well, of course it would be Proverbs 3:5-6!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.


*Gulp*  It wasn't necessarily the verse I wanted to read when sending my husband out for a job interview that would mean a move for us.  I had a feeling he would return with a job offer. And I thought to myself I should have convinced him to not apply at those schools (me and my micromanagement again).  That evening Josh returned home with not one, but two job offers.  A guy who three years ago interviewed and interviewed and INTERVIEWED and couldn't get anything (which kind of started him thinking about going back to school) now had two offers in one day. 

Josh and I had discussed what we would do if a situation like this presented itself.  Last year he had a classmate get offered a job an hour and a half from Lincoln--she turned it down in hopes of getting something in Lincoln.  She ended up with no job for the next year.  We didn't think we were up for any high-stakes gambling. ;o)  We always thought we would trust God--the first place that offers Josh a job we go with it.

But I was back-pedaling now!  Surely God couldn't want us out there!  Move away from family and friends and our church--everything familiar??  We waited for word on a third interview . . . and they went with somebody else.  Friday he turned down an offer from the Brady school district and we made a trip to check out the town of Arapahoe.  I cried . . . a lot.  To make it harder, a job opened up closer to Lincoln, causing me to agonize over what to do.  Go with the sure thing or hope he get not only an interview, but an offer from this other school?  Was God opening another door or was I grasping at escape routes?

My mom suggested I call a friend of hers--Laura Gilbert--as she has followed a husband to different areas of the country for teaching jobs.  How thankful I am for the godly older women God has placed in my life!  I recalled a similar conversation I placed to Laura (again at the urging of my mom) encouraging me to bravery as I headed out for brain surgery five years ago. She is a cancer survivor you see. And here she was again, her words giving me the wings to do what I needed to do.  I love her dearly for that.

Here's the deal--we all like to keep our lives as easy and struggle free as possible.  We're literally born seeking comfort and security.  But when we determine to venture out, God grows us.  God did not call me to a life of health, wealth, and security.  He called me to follow Him.  And oh-so-often that has taken me down roads I did not wish to go.  And EVERY SINGLE TIME I am always the better for it.  But many times I have trudged the path He picked rather grumpily.

Not this time.  Oh, I'm fully conscious what a move means.  I've been a teary mess these last few days.  I'll be a teary mess over the next few months, I'm sure of it.  But I am at peace.  God is good.  He always, always, always has His best even when I don't understand. Because of that I can graciously tell my husband, "Yes!" I kept wishing God would flash me a handwritten sign with the answer, but deep down He was quietly writing the answer on my heart.  I just needed to accept it.  And truly I can't wait to look back five years from now and see how God was working.  Don't you just love hindsight?

Thank you to my dear family and friends who have prayed us through this decision.  You know who you are. ;o)  I am so very blessed to have you each in my life.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Madness

This is not a basketball commentary, but more a generalized title for life at the moment.  Oh March, you're killing me here!!!

It started off quietly enough.  A peek ahead at the calendar page confirmed the normal stuff, plus a few specials--a mommy/daughter tea at church, a birthday, a homeschool craft day . . . Busy and all, but doable.  And then came the yearly inspection last Wednesday.  Followed by Emmett's birthday party which we did this past Monday evening. Oh, and the interviews . . . Last week Josh was in Stromsburg.  Monday he drove out to Brady and Arapahoe, while I got ready for a party.  He returned with two job offers.  We're still waiting on Stromsburg.  But that is subject matter for another posting. ;o)  My sister and I are finalizing our preparations for craft day, last minute runs to stores, play-dough making, etc., etc.  And Josh has another interview in Gibbon on Friday afternoon--he wants us to make the trip with him and then we all go check out Arapahoe (3 hours from here).  My head is spinning.  I'm busy on the outside "doing"--and my thoughts are busy on the inside . . . praying, mulling over the possibility of a move . . . Next week is spring break for Josh.

 It is highly anticipated by me.  And by highly, I mean HIGHLY. Once March is over the very worst will be behind us.  I just have to wade through the madness a wee bit longer. I think I can, I think I can . . . ;o)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy 4th Emmett James!

I can't believe it's that time again--another year, another birthday for you!
When I think back over the last year I think you can be summed up quite neatly . . .
#1--You really LOVE animals, they bring you immense joy

#2--You have a sweet tenderness, you love to lean in for a hug and plant a smooch on our noses, cheeks or whatever is closest.
#3--You have a mischievous side too and love an opportunity to be silly
#4--You love your sweets . . . you are the resident snacker
#5--You love all things transportation and you like to see how things work
You also love tape measures, oatmeal for breakfast, and having your feet tickled.
You have managed to learn all your letters and letter sounds.
You kind of love spiders but you kind of hate them too.
You do like snakes.
You tell me things that make me laugh, like watching fish in fish tanks and turning to me with delight to inform me, "The fishie is talking to me!!"
Or waking up in the morning with a bright smile announcing, "I had a happy dream!"
You are such a sweet little guy, and our most favorite Emmett in the whole wide world.
Happy birthday little mister!
We love you so much!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sweetie Girls

I'm a bit behind with the happenings at home, like recording a certain rite of passage--
Pierced ears!!!
For the record, Isabella was the one pushing for it.  Marissa could have cared less.  But now it's done and over with and we should be able to change out for some cool earrings just in time for Easter.
~
Isabella lost her first top tooth, leaving a nice gap-toothed smile . . .
She has two more loose teeth up there.  Hopefully the others don't decide to jump ship anytime soon or I foresee some definite speech impediments in her future. ;o)
~
And my dose of humility for the day. 
Getting ready for all of our Wednesday night activities is always a busy time for me. I'm packing diaper bags, hunting down Cubbie vests (attaching patches last minute of course!), making sandwiches, packing violin stuff etc.  I've been known to bark out orders . . .
"Jackson, find your shoes!"
"Marissa, help Owen get his coat on!"
"Why are there three half-eaten apples on the kitchen floor?!"
*exasperated sigh*
"Isabella, get off the kitchen counter!"
And then I looked to see what she was doing.
Can you read that at the top? It's her Sparks book asking her to "Draw a picture of a person who is kind."
Do you see who she drew?
Yep, me.
Frazzled, barky Mommy, her kindness model.
And she even gave me super long skinny legs in stylish boots.
I could have cried right there.
Oh how I want that picture to be me--happy-smiley-kind Mommy with doting kids all around me (and the super long skinny legs in stylish boots couldn't hurt . . ). ;o)
How thankful I am to be drawn that way, when too often I fear I am not.
How thankful I am for my girls who give me reason to be a better role model--so they see this wife and mama job is something worth aspiring to.

How thankful I am for grace. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thanks Mom!

Dear Mom,
Thank you so much for the new sticker books.  The boys loved them.  Actually, they were busy ALL morning and didn't bother us once during math or violin practice.   What a lovely way to begin our week!

Do let me know if you find anymore books tucked up on your shelves--I believe there are a few blank railings left on the top bunk.   And you know what a stickler I am for thoroughness.
*wink*

                                                                                                        Much Love,
                                                                                                           Janna

Friday, March 4, 2011

Home Notes~

There isn't a whole lot of excitement to report from our home, just a lot of simple stuff . . .
--Six or seven (I can't remember) applications for jobs sent out
--More mapquesting ;o)
--Emmett surprising me with his dexterity in domino building (yep, that is his naked self strategically hidden behind the coffee table)
--An order for 6 yards of black/ivory ticking placed (at fabric.com) to make some curtain panels for the living room
--*Almost* deciding THIS is the summer I will sew some fitted slipcovers for my wingbacks and couch--out of painter's drop cloth (I still want to learn reupholstery but I may wait until my children stop ruining things . . .).  Anyone want to join my sweatshop crew?? ;o)
--Thinking my baby is starting to look not-quite-so-baby-ish
--My 5th load of laundry is in the washer (so far).  I think there are still another solid two loads awaiting me . . .
--Tidiness peaking out here and there (go me!!) ;o)
--Weekend plans of grocery shopping and carpet cleaning and maybe some armoire painting (it's been a slow project)
--Wondering what the "inspector dude's" thoughts will be on the massive fort that has Consumed (yes, with a capital C) the basement . . . and wondering if it could possibly be tidied before next Wednesday?
--Buttermilk Pound Cake cooling on the counter . . . Custard Sauce in the fridge--supper dessert is complete. Well, and Janna's afternoon snack. Yum. ;o)  But it could use some fresh blueberries or strawberries to top it off . . .

And so on.  Happy Friday! ;o)


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Recommendation

I just finished a quick but great read and wanted to recommend it to other mamas of girls--


Seeing as my girls keep getting older (who told them they could do that??) I've been trying to get a handle on the next phase.  I love what this book has to say about continuing to encourage imaginative play, limiting screen-time and media influence, asking the kinds of questions that encourage critical thinking, modesty/proper body image. . . It definitely affirmed the parenting approach we have taken at our house--trying to let our girls be girls as long as possible and not caught up in all the drama out there. I'm perfectly okay with them having no idea who Justin Bieber is (I know, *gasp*). ;o) I loved the ideas presented for dealing with some of the more awkward topics as puberty approaches. (Like a "girlz thingsz" gift basket filled with appropriate items for when they become official women--all the things you need, plus some fun things too because it's a celebration!)  The author's point--opening up the lines of communication now builds a great foundation for more conversation down the road.  There's also a website (head here) that offers different resources--I've yet to poke around at that site, but it looks like more good stuff and should be helpful as I navigate new territory with my girlies.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy March!!

I caught the sun rising this morning, casting a gorgeous golden glow throughout the dining room
making the flowers I haphazardly shoved in this container look kind of pretty.
In like a lamb, I think?!?

Yessssss! ;o)