Thursday, April 23, 2015

for the beauty of the earth

Apparently, yesterday was Earth Day and while I'm not usually up on that kind of thing, I did know about it from all the posts on Instagram. After we got home from the gym and I put Louisa down for her morning nap, we decided to take advantage of another beautiful spring day here in the PNW and enjoy Mother Nature. I told the boys to explore the backyard while I did some yard work. I gave them a couple of little kid shovels and they set about looking for "buried treasure" for a little while. They found an old metal toy car, a feather and several dandelion flowers that they insisted I wear in my hair. Meanwhile, I was working up a pretty good sweat while wrestling with some ornery blackberry bush roots (those things are killer!). It felt really great, though, to get my hands dirty and work hard at something. We stayed out there until Louisa woke up from her nap and I must say, there's something really fantastic about fresh air and this beautiful planet we are blessed with. I feel God's love so tangibly when I'm surrounded by the beautiful creations of nature.
Whenever I hear the song of a bird
Or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
Or the wind as it rushes by,
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
Or walk by our lilac tree,
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heav'nly Father created for me.

He gave me my eyes that I might see
The color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
The magical sound of things.
He gave me my life, my mind, my heart:
I thank him rev'rently
For all his creations, of which I'm a part.
Yes, I know Heav'nly Father loves me.

living room progress

I figured I'd do a post on the progress we've made so far on the house. I am a home renovation addict so maybe it's just me who adores this kind of stuff, but I've had some family and friends ask for more pictures so here they are! When we bought the house this is how the main living area looked. There's popcorn ceiling, 70's wallpaper in the entry (you can see a close up here), the original single-pane windows and really groovy window treatments. The carpet is old but liveable until we replace it with wood. All of the trim and doors are black, which drives me crazy but it'll make for a really fun "after" when we replace it with crisp, clean white mill work.
David spent hours scraping off the popcorn ceiling and then he and my brother, Stephen, spent another several hours skim coating the walls so they would be smooth. It wasn't necessary but it was something that I really wanted done and David is sweet and did it for me. This is how it looked a few days before we moved in. Eeee! It was such a mess. We were scrambling to get it cleaned up enough to move in the basics. I realize it probably doesn't look that different from the picture above (except more messy) but if you could see the detail, you would understand that it does look better. I'm a firm believer that no amount of pretty decorations can cover up outdated or crummy details.
There was also a random wall separating the kitchen from the living room and dining room. It wasn't load bearing so David tore that down before we moved in.
I'll post more about the kitchen later, but after David removed the wall, here's how it looked before we moved in and he was still using the kitchen as his work space. It's amazing how just taking down this wall really opened up the whole room and made it more bright in here.
David has been working really hard on patching up the entry where he ripped off the old wallpaper and smoothing the walls to get it ready to paint. I've been spending nap times this week, cutting the corners and we're hoping it will finally be fresh and painted in the main living space by this weekend. Fingers crossed! This is the original fixture in the entry and I hated it with the old wallpaper but I think with some fresh paint and the other decor in, that I can live with it. It needs to be cleaned but once that's done, I bet it'll be shiny and pretty again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

lela visits

My dear friend, Lela, came to visit last week from San Diego and it was seriously JUST what I needed. I know I've mentioned Lela before and how much I love her, but Lela is one of those people who lights up everyone's lives. I don't know anyone who doesn't like her. She is a friend to everyone and is just an all around awesome person. I was trying to pinpoint why it is that everyone just loves her and I think it comes down to her just being incredibly non-judgmental and easy going. She is accepting of everyone and never criticizes other people's flaws. She recognizes that we're "all fighting a hard battle" and she is gentle with others and always give people the benefit of the doubt. I love her for that, since my flaws are countless! She is also beautiful, fun, creative, full of faith, strong (physically and emotionally) and a food lover (that commonality alone makes our friendship go round). I miss living by her so much so it was wonderful having her here for a few days.
Beecher's mac 'n cheese for the win!
Last year, Lela was running on the beach (cause that's how she do) and seriously jacked her knee. Someone had dug a huge hole in the sand (don't do that!) and she fell into it as she was running. She hyper-extended her knee and tore every single tendon and ligament in her knee. Bad. Like, "the worst knee injury ever" bad. Anyway, she has had a couple of surgeries now and is in terrible pain and has been dealing with tons of hard stuff but she's the kind of friend who finds out that I was having a hard time (that's another post for another day) so she jumps on a plane and comes to see me.
the spring bouquets at Pike Place are stunning!
cute boys + delicious carbs are a match made in heaven.
We didn't do very much by way of exciting site seeing or anything but we did eat a lot of good food and enjoyed some pretty stellar spring weather. We also talked and laughed and snuggled and ate a lot of ice cream. I am so grateful to David for coming home from work a little early every night and telling us to go out every night while he put all the kids to bed. He's the best! We hit up Pike Place, Din Tai Fung and found my new favorite restaurant here, DERU Market in Kirkland. Lela and I loved it! I can't wait to go back with David.
We also hit up Snoqualmie Falls one day when the weather was particularly fine. Seriously, spring in Seattle is KILLING it. I didn't take any good pictures but I stole some of these from Lela's blog. Thanks girl! And thank you a million for coming to visit! 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

spring break

It was spring break last week for cousins, Beck and Margot, so we spent a couple of days doing fun activities with them! The kids were so happy to not be cooped up in the house and to spend time with their favorite cousin-friends. First, we finally made good use of the Seattle aquarium passes that my in-laws got for us. It was so cute because Fritz and Margot held hands almost the entire time as we walked from room to room. They love each other! William also had a great time, even though he looks really sad in this picture. He said the light was hurting his eyes so he couldn't look at me for the picture. I promise he was happy though!
Then we went to the Reptile Zoo in Monroe a couple of days later with my sister-in-law and her sister, Caitlin. Our boys love her son, Jude, and they will grow up thinking he's just another cousin. :) The Reptile Zoo was a huge surprise. It was kind of a trek to get there and as we drove up, I was like, "What IS this place?" but Leone assured me that several people had recommended it. Well, it was really cool! I definitely would go back there. It was creepy and made me totally nervous but it was also really interesting and cool to be so up close. William was really scared of the huge anaconda but he ended up enjoying himself later on. They also had a "hold a snake" activity and the worker brought out a huge snake. William was adamantly not going to hold the snake, which didn't surprise me, but Fritz was pretty excited. He sat next to Jude and Beck and seemed pretty cool with it, until the moment came for him to touch it and then this happened. He totally froze. Once I rescued him from the "snake trap", he seemed to feel more at ease and ended up petting it for a few seconds.
On Saturday, I got to meet up with my friend, Ashley, who was in town from San Diego, for breakfast at Lola. It was so fun to see her and chat. She's pregnant with her fifth baby and looks amazing, per usual. She's one of those women who I aspire to be like. She's a fantastic wife and mother and is just good at everything.
And then there's this girl... she is my sunshine!

Monday, April 13, 2015

let there be light

I am the worst decision maker! It's so fun to pick paint colors and other little details that we've never been able to choose before in all the places we've rented, but I often can't even choose where I want to eat when we go out, so making these decisions is much harder! Ha! I think I've narrowed it down to these two paint colors (left is Horizon by and right is Paper White - both by Benjamin Moore) but they are both so pretty. I feel like either one will be beautiful but I am leaning towards Horizon, but probably lightened up a bit.
Down the road, we're going to get a new dining table. This one is pretty beat up and I think it would work great as a craft table in the basement. We're planning on eventually ripping out this carpet and putting down wood floors and replacing the mill work (it's currently a really outdated black) but I really want it to be bright and light in here. We have lots of windows and this space is on the upper level so it feels like we're "up in the trees" sometimes because of the view from the big windows. It's one of my favorite things about this house.

I'm deliberating between these three light fixtures to go over our dining table. I like them all, and they're all about the same price but I just can't seem to decide. What's your pick?