Jan 30, 2014

Notes to self

Dear self,

Buying those big coloring books for the kids for Christmas was a stroke of brilliance.

Kate is not always going to be this small and charming, so treasure your time with her.

Indulge in make-believe.

Learn to laugh with this boy, and somehow teach him to laugh at his own mistakes.

Buy milk in mass quantities, since a full gallon can turn into this in 30 minutes.

You will always lay claim to "your" young women and enjoy supporting them in their endeavors.

Get this girl into ballet lessons as soon as she's old enough.

When your room looks like this, and the non-matching walls, the un-made bed, the stacks of un-read books, and the three-days-old laundry are driving you c.r.a.z.y, you can either spend some time taking care of it or walk away and stop being bothered.  You've got to pick one or the other and just do it.

The best cure for a bad day is to make a yummy dinner and take it to someone else.  Get out of yourself already.

The second best cure is to go out for ice cream with friends and laugh until it hurts, even if you stay an hour past closing.



Just fine, thank you.

If you asked me how I'm doing today, I'd say, "I'm fine." What does THAT mean?  Well, at my house, today, this is what "fine" means.

It means I washed eight loads of laundry over two days and had a helper at folding time.

It means my very grumpy, embarrassed-to-be-seen-with-me 12-year-old had a great time on a scout camp-out.

It means I am trying to eat more healthfully and exercise more dutifully.

It means Garry is doing a much better job at this and has already lost twelve pounds this year (some of them found me).

It means that Gavin has made that happy break-through with reading that transforms it from chore to challenge to joy.

It means that Kate is adorable, but very much a two-year-old who constantly tries my patience.

It means that shopping with small children is as hard as it ever was, but I have made a resolution not to shop, so my life is greatly simplified.  (I'll miss you, Target.)

It means that I am mostly patient when children make themselves chocolate milk and put way too much Hershey's syrup in it.

It means that sometimes bath time is boring, and goggles spice it up.

It means that sometimes a child's homework becomes my homework, especially on the night before a project is due. {This is a mercury costume.}

It means that I'm reading the "Seven Habits" book and getting all inspired/overwhelmed at the prospects of revolutionizing my existence.

It means that we replaced our pre-marriage plastic containers with fancy-ish new ones that are

It means that nap time has been happening a lot lately for Lexi and me.

It means that we have one fun parent in the house.  His name starts with D and ends with addy.

It means that drives to the temple are very long when freeways are snowy, but always worth the time and effort.

It means that on hard days, the sun sets and there's the promise of a fresh start tomorrow.

So if you run into me somewhere and I tell you I'm "fine," you'll know what I mean.   

Jan 27, 2014

Gavin's talk

Gavin's reading interest and abilities have really taken off. He has the confidence to pick up a paper or look at a sign and try to read it, no matter how difficult it might be to decode. So this weekend, when I prepared a talk for him to give in Primary on Sunday, he was determined to read it all by himself. I helped him "read" the big words, which I'm sure he just memorized, but I'm still so proud of him for delivering an excellent talk. And he was certainly proud of himself. He shares a story about Lehi in the Book of Mormon. For more information about the story, go here.

Let's go fly a kite!

The fact that Colorado Springs weather is crazy makes living here very interesting!  Last week we had four inches of snow one day, and a glorious 55 degree afternoon just two days later.  You'd better believe that we took advantage of the warmth, especially because it fell on a Saturday.  

Garry and the Littles soaked up the sun and flew our big dragon kite in our cul-de-sac.  The exercise might have worked better in a park with more room to run, but as it was, the kite flew just fine and excited the kids to no end.  Even Kate had turns flying the dragon.  What fun!

Here's one of Lexi's more successful runs.

The whole experience brought back fond memories of flying the same kite with Zach at the "duck pond park" near our home in Beaverton, Oregon.  I remember it being a brilliant, sunny day and a magical afternoon with Zach, who was about five.  It really had nothing to do with the kite.  Much like Saturday, it was just a simple activity on an ordinary day that made the kids feel special and my mother heart full.


Last September, my neighbor, Jennifer, and I were talking in my driveway.  Somehow the fact that I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came up in conversation.  She said, "Technically, I'm a Mormon, too!" Immediately we had a common bond.  A few days later she accepted my invitation to attend the General Relief Society Meeting broadcast at the stake center, and the next day her husband and two daughters came to church with us for the first time.

Since that time, the Beverage family has come to church regularly. They have been taking lessons from the missionaries, and a few weeks ago, the girls decided that they wanted to be baptized!  Watching Steven, Jennifer, Emily, and Edynn grow in the gospel has been a joyous experience for me.  Last night, I had the opportunity to speak during the baptismal service.  Those few moments were sweet for me, as well.  Garry was involved, too; he baptized Edynn.

Here are some pictures from the baptism last night.

The Beverage family with Elder Kesterson (yellow tie) and Elder Evans (blue tie).  

Garry, the missionaries, Emily (13), and Edynn (8).

Edynn and Emily.

Edynn with some of her classmates from church.

Emily with some of the Young Women.

The Beverage family and me.

There's a scripture in Section 18 of Doctrine and Covenants that has been on my mind the last few weeks.  It reads: "Remember the worth of souls in great in the sight of God....And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!  And now if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" 

I also can't help but think of our friends, Danny and Annie, who were baptized a few years ago. Sharing the gospel truly brings joy.

Jan 26, 2014

Trash to Treasure

My trash-to-treasure transformation is finally complete.  I have new living room chairs!

Back in November I happened to drive by a yard sale and bought two great/ugly chairs for five bucks.  I made the purchase on a day when I thought I could do anything, so the thought of reupholstering them didn't phase me.  Plus, I have wanted chairs for the living room for ages, and this seemed like a financially realistic way to achieve that dream.  I immediately set about finding an online tutorial (here) and began stripping the old fabric from the chairs.

{Insert a sigh of realism.}

The stripping process took  Seriously.  Hour after tedious hour of prying up hundreds (not kidding) of thick staples pounded into several layers of fabric made me realize why it costs so much to have things professionally reupholstered.  Garry helped with the backs of the chairs, which were especially difficult.  We both had cramped and bruised hands after working so hard.  The whole process was quite demoralizing, and I was quite sure I'd never finish.  It took about six weeks to finish stripping both chairs, mostly because I tabled the project during the Christmas season and just let the ugly mess sit in my living room.

During this time, one of my children (I'm not certain of the culprit but suspect Kate), tore lots of the stuffing off the barest chair (on the left).  It was a lumpy wreck.  At first I just put a blanket over it and ignored it.  Eventually I used a spray adhesive to smooth out the lumps, and then covered each chair's padded spots with a layer of batting.

Buying fabric was the fun part.  I hunted around town but ended up ordering samples and ultimately buying from this store.  After a little research on fabric durability, I learned the term "double rubs" and bought a fabric with a very durable double rub count (30,000).  This stuff had better last! I certainly paid more than I would have at a 50% off sale at JoAnn's.  I also bought some tack strips and cording.  After Christmas I mustered up the gumption to cut out the pieces (patterned from what I pulled off the old chairs) and make about 10 yards of new piping.

Then I cleaned and re-stained the wood frame.  I didn't sand all the wood or repair the broken parts.  I cheated and used vinegar and canola oil to clean it, and then a stain pen to cover all of the scratches and dents.  I think it looks great...well, good enough.

A week later, in my latest Letters post, I complained about this ridiculous, never-ending, overwhelming project, and my friend Sandy came to the rescue.  She offered to lend her experience and helping hands, so I finally got started with the re-covering process, which no longer seemed impossible. Armed with an air-compressed staple gun (power tools are fun), I made a lot of progress on the first day.  I made mistakes on the first chair that I did not make on the second chair, and there are things I'd do differently altogether, but I decided to embrace the imperfection.

On Friday Sandy came and helped me iron out some details that were vexing me and taught me how to assemble the back pieces.  That night Garry and I worked to finish the first chair, and on Saturday we finished the second one.  I love working with Garry on things like this.

After the chairs were done, it took hours for me to clean up the room, which had been Project Central for weeks, but now that everything is clean and in place, I an VERY happy!

So ends the Saga of the Purple Chairs.  Once again I have learned that I should not attempt such large projects, but that finishing them is incredibly satisfying.  I am so pleased to have extra seating in the living room, so if any of you want to come chat, I have a great place for you to sit!

pass it on!

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