Friday, August 31, 2012

pizza hut....and other happenings

We have been meaning to make it out to downtown Holland all summer.  We love to just stroll the down town as it is but the kids especially enjoy the street performers.  At last, we made it out there to the final night.  We had Pizza Hut for dinner which was quite possibly the highlight of my night!  It's my absolute favorite food and ever-biggest craving even when I'm not pregnant!  It's right up there with chocolate and french toast!  And spinach dip.  ... and anything with pesto or feta cheese.  mmmmmm. 

Where was I?  I also love a creamy tomato soup with breadsticks.  Bosco breadsticks are the best.  I used to eat those every single Thursday in high school for four years straight.  And then every Friday... I would eat pizza.  Pizza Hut makes the very best pizza!  We just ate there the other night.  Oh right, I already mentioned that!

So after Pizza Hut, we went downtown.  And almost immediately, we hit up the Peanut Store.  The kids could have stayed there all day drooling over everything. We let the kids each pick out one thing from the cheap bottom row.  Natalie picked out lemonheads, Ruby picked out one small Reeses' Pb Cup, Charlie wanted it all so we got a carton of cigarettes for him, Jordan got Sixlets, and I got Sour Patch Kids.  Then we walked.  We saw the famous juggler, a lady on stilts dressed up like a hippie butterfly who seemed to be down there just for a reason to walk on stilts but not to interact with the curious children, a hula-hooper with very short shorts, a mime who was making monkey noises, and an old man who (according to Natalie) 'sounds very good like Grandpa Jones.'  I ran into a store with Ruby who is my most favorite person to shop with... in short segments.  She oohed and ahhed over all the pretty things and told me what I should buy: a vintage coin purse, an oola (aka owl) pillow, a fancy dish towel, and a head band with an enormous piece of cake on it for her birthday.  I think I'll actually have to buy that last one for her.

We just enjoyed strolling along with each other and letting the kids run wild... until our wild monkey Charlie climbed up to the tree house in Tip Toes and I had to climb in there to get him out. And thus ended our family date night.

Charlie's first candy cigarette!

(lady on stilts)

the bump

Natalie performed, too.

jordan's firsts

August was a big month for Jordan.  Lots of firsts!  And I will list them :)

First on the list of firsts.... Jordan started a new job last week.  He had been at his former job for 9.5 years and has enjoyed it.  Just time for a change.  He is now doing finish carpentry for Zahn Builders.  The timing was so perfect and everything just fell into place.  When he began his job at Showcase (his former company), he bought a new hammer for the first day on the job.  And before he finished up on his final day, the hammer broke!  Weird, huh?!

Another first for Jordan was the Mud Run Race!  The kids and me watched him 'compete'.  It was so busy so it took him and his team a while to complete the 5k course.  But he had a good time getting down and dirty.

The final first, and the biggest deal of them all....  Jordan took his first school bus ride with me and Natalie!  Oh yeah, it was Natalie's first bus ride, too.  We had Natalie's kindergarten orientation last week.  She loved everything about it!  I was a little uneasy at first.  Natalie was sitting on her knees and peeking her head out of the window on the bus and I began to worry about her falling out and wondering how often that has happened.  Then I was worried about if she would have anyone to sit with.  And would she know where to go?  Would she get on the right bus in the afternoon?  We arrived at the school and brought her to her classroom.  The teachers yanked the kids out of the parents' arms and we were all herded into the auditorium.  It was a nice little meeting intended to put all of the parents' nerves at ease...and it worked!  Natalie is so excited to start.  I've been a little concerned about kindergarten being all day everyday now but I really think she'll do great.  I'm just really going to miss her :(   Oops, this post was supposed to be about Jordan, not Natalie!

So onto some pics of Jordan....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

the cottage

The cottage was my second home in the summer when I was growing up.  I couldn't have been much older than 10 when it came into my family's possession and we had many great times up there.  This weekend, we indulged in a weekend getaway with the kids.  We had a great time and the kids loved it.  I had gone up a couple weeks ago as well just with Natalie, Ruby, and Charlie for the day and they were so anxious to go back.  They swam, fished, caught turtles... all of the things I loved to do when I was a kid.  And I loved doing it all over again with them.  Natalie especially loves to fish, Ruby likes to lounge in the water, and Charlie was just busy trying it all out.

So much has changed since I had been up there last.  For one thing, Natalie was just a baby the last time we were up there.  It was a weird feeling to be 'the mom' when we had watched so many other young families interact with their kids at the cottage.  It was solely a place of my childhood and adolescence and now I'm the grown-up.  I took the girls on the paddle boat which was my most favorite place to be back in the day.  And I so enjoyed sharing the nostalgia with them!

My mind was constantly reflecting on the past five years while we were there.  Just so many changes.  Happy and sad.  But this weekend, I especially focused on the happy changes in my life in the five years that flew by: my incredible husband and my four little blessings.  It's weird but I felt like I was in some sort of time-warp.... Like I had just been here last week as a teenager and now this week, I am bringing my three kids (plus 1 fetus).  And at the same time, the cottage made it seem that nothing has really changed at all.

I drifted around the cottage with my camera and found myself taking pictures of some of the things that haven't changed at all:

I never really appreciated how beautiful the yard is. There's hardly any grass just mixtures of low-lying ground covers. It's like out of fairy-tale.

My great uncle Jim was the original owner of the cottage.

The gate where my great aunt Angie would stand to welcome us
(and the first sound I would hear were her wind-chimes)

ye olde row boat
and this bucket have never left their home.

And naturally, most of my pictures were of the kids who are the biggest change in my life since I have been here:

Charlie fell in the lake!  I snatched him up, dried him off, and put his suit on.  He was upset with the water.

We had a great time as a family. We got some much needed r&r and we were both able to enjoy the kids and each other without the distractions of 'everyday life'.

And to close about all of this 'change' talk, it was a good reminder to me that my perception of God changes like the cottage does. My relationship with Jesus and the mystery of God changes to me all the time and yet, He has always been the same. He holds the past and the future. And life is beautiful no matter what happens in between.

Monday, August 13, 2012

half . bath

I'm starting this home makeover segment with the smallest and most completed room project in the house.  The half-bathroom. 

Nothing about our half bathroom was done to our liking.  But we knew it would be a job to make it over so we were patiently waiting for the right time to attack it.  Six years later, the time was right!  Jordan tore out the three levels of flooring (the ugly vinyl tile, the white and gray tile underneath the vinyl, and the original wood flooring beneath the tile) until he finally reached the sub-floor.  Next came the beadboard... the worst part of the demo.  Our walls are plaster and there is chicken-wire in the walls as well (to hold the plaster together).  Removing walls around here is never fun or easy!  After cleaning up the mess, we finally had a blank canvas to work with.  Now we had to decide what we wanted to do with it.  Our style around our house is something of a modern farmhouse with industrial decor.  What that means to us is clean lines with old, natural materials.  We have very similar likes and dislikes and with Jordan's talents as a carpenter, it was easy for us to come up with a solution for the space.  This is what we came up with:

We painted the horizontal boards and put them in place.  I absolutely love the look of plank walls!  We got a new toilet, sink, faucet, and light fixture.  Jordan built the sink base with some reclaimed lumber.  We laid the wood flooring, sanded, and painted it white.  Jordan turned the awkward, wasted space (unseen in the picture but to the left of the sink) into a closet.  I painted the room in a white cream and the ceiling in my most favorite shade of gray.  We're going to attack the mirror with some acid to distress it some and we still have to decide what to place above the toilet.  Actually, we're pretty sure that some of Jordan's antique gears are going to be placed in that spot, we just haven't gotten to it yet.

This sink is one of my most favorite items in the house!  I just love it's shape and size and I think it works so perfectly in this space.

I searched high and low for a before picture of the bathroom but cannot find one. That is so unlike me. I think I snap a shot of a room everytime I paint and especially before we demolish a room. But not this room, I guess. So this is the best before picture I could find and it was during the big kitchen remodel so you can see the construction happening all around it.

 See that small doorway. That's the bathroom. The toilet and vanity were already pulled out of there at this point. The walls had some cheap and ugly beadboard that had been up since we purchased the house and it was very cheaply done. There was a small, useless cubby where I stored the broom, mop, and vacuum behind a curtain.  The vanity wasn't anything special, either.

We love our new bath room!  And I must brag about my husband here!  He's just amazing and can make anything happen.  We really enjoy working with each other and getting our kids in on the 'fun' too.  I love it that Jordan can turn our conjured ideas into something that can be seen and...painted!