Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kitchen Wall

I've been wanting to paint a wall in the kitchen for a few months now. I like the color scheme but it was lacking a certain something. The cabinets are white and the walls are beige, so I wanted to throw another color in there that flowed with the rest of the house. We had a gallon of paint downstairs that we got for free. It's a shade similar to hot chocolate - not something I'd typically pick out but since it was free we figured we'd make use of it. Last spring we tried it out as an accent wall above the mantle. It took a little getting used to, but now I love it. Here's the mantle decorated for winter - thank you to my talented + thoughtful sister Andrea for making me the "Maranatha" banner (which means "Come, Lord!" in Aramaic) for my birthday.

So when I had a hankering to give the kitchen a bit of a facelift, it made sense to use this color again.

Very blah. Clearly needed something.

Ok so the change is subtle. But the contrast of colors (the beige in the kitchen is the same as the color on the window walls by the mantle) makes it feel a little more thought out. I also added some things to the wall.

1. I repainted this picture frame (that was sitting in a box in the basement) 
a shade of gray and filled it with a picture of London.

2. Another basement box picture frame that I took the backing out of and used as a dry erase meal planning board. I have some fabric I might use as a background instead, but for now this works.

3. A letter holder of my parents' that they no longer wanted. 
I also repainted this a shade of mint green.

All together, this project cost me $0 to do! I'm telling you - it's all about using what you have lying around the house and re-purposing/repainting it. Speaking of painting - thank you Tim for doing the hard work and painting the wall for me! And with only a brush as your tool!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

West Side Market

Last week we visited the West Side Market with some friends. I tend to find Cleveland lacking in (free) interesting places to visit and things to do, but the West Side Market is one place that I never tire of visiting - even if it's mostly a bunch of meat stalls.

In the past we've gotten delicious cheeses, amazing bacon and super cheap fruit from the vendors. This time we bought some apple fritters, shared a dark chocolate and strawberry crepe and finally tried one of Steve's Gyros - which was voted best gyro in the country by Maxim Magazine and was featured on the Travel Channel's Man vs. Food. I don't think I've ever had a gyro before, but this one was enormous even split between Tim and I. And yes, it was good. I mean, I wouldn't rave about it - but it was worth the $7.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Moses' Birthday

I remember having big plans for Jack's birthday: lots of decorations + good food + guests.  But then I was faced with the cost of feeding a large group of people and suddenly it seemed a bit unrealistic. The paper products alone cost about $50, and when all was said and done the total expenses for the party were over $100. And Jack doesn't even remember the event so... lesson learned.

So as much I was would have LOVED to have everyone that is special to us attend our celebration of Moses' first year of life, I knew it wasn't practical considering we are so tight on money these days. Instead we chose to keep it very simple with only family and our church small group in attendance. We kept it inexpensive by keeping decorations limited to one, lone "Happy Birthday" sign and using leftover plates and napkins from Jack's birthday. My mom wanted to provide something small for the little guests, so she filled these paper bags with some goodies and I decorated them.

My mom also let us host the party at her house and offered to buy the birthday cake and some refreshments. Tim's mom provided almost all the food - which was amazing - aside from some egg salad we made and some delish coleslaw I asked my sister bring. Basically, all we spent on the party was the cost of a carton of eggs.

Frivolities aside, between delicious food, the cake and the gift opening I think Moses enjoyed himself. So much so that promptly after opening his gifts he went down for a nap.

Sounds like a perfect birthday to me!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January Thaw

The other day I noticed a tulip bulb poking its little green neck out of soil, blissfully unaware that it's still the middle of winter. Little does it know these uncustomary warmer temperatures will only lead to its premature death once the ice returns. I admit, I felt a palpable sense of sadness for it.

Anyways, we took advantage of the January thaw by taking the boys on a long walk in the park. Jack has been stocking up on cabin fever so I couldn't get out there fast enough to let him burn off a little energy and breathe in some good old fresh air.  Is it just me, or does Jack have a ghostly white face? No matter how much I increase the color levels on this photo, his face remains translucent. Evidence that he hasn't been outside in a long time....

It was also a nice way to close our time as a family while Tim was on Christmas break from school. Having him home for a whole month was an incredible gift and I know it's going to be tough to get back into the swing of flying solo, especially on those days where it's too cold to go outside and the boys' rogue energy must be loosed within the constrains of these four walls. Like that eager tulip bulb I will be stretching my neck out of the house at the first sign of spring.

Here's to more beautiful winter days like this one.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Moses is One (almost)

It's not Moses's birthday until Saturday,
but I wanted to write this now before time + opportunity got away from me.

Dear Moses,

It seems as if you've always been a part of us, so it's strange to think that it's been a mere 12 months since we welcomed you into this world.

I remember your birth day was so unlike your brother's in that, because the experience of giving birth wasn't new, I was filled with peace instead of fear and confidence instead of concern. Of course, from your point of view the whole process was completely reason for fear, concern and outright anger. So upset were you by the way you were handled in the first few moments of life, you turned blue with rage and it took over an hour to calm you down. I promise had I not been laying paralyzed on an operating table, I would have done everything in my power to soothe your worried soul.

Since then you have become a pretty easy going, happy little guy. You are such a sweetheart, Bobes (who would have thought, thanks to Jack, that this nickname would stick.) We love your big smile and your sweet yet sensitive soul, your big blue eyes and your big adorable front teeth. You captured my heart in a way I never expected and I love that you're my baby. I often say to your dad that I would prefer if you just stayed the size you are now so I could cuddle you for always.

As we approach your first birthday, you are also approaching some other milestones. Not only are you catching up to your big brother in size (he better watch out!) you're also on the cusp of taking your first steps and perhaps even saying your first word. You just learned how to clap which is adorable. You love to play with toys, especially ones with lights and sounds. You love to eat a large variety of food and usually clean your plate; your favorite snacks are clementine oranges and crackers. You like to scoot around in your walker and tend to zero in on all the objects you aren't supposed to touch. When we tell you "no" you turn to look at us and then a little mischievous grin spreads across your face before you carry on with your naughtiness.  What a guy!

I can't wait to watch you grow into a little boy so I can hear what you have to say and watch you interact with our family - especially Jack. I also can't wait to read books together and play games and everything else that comes with having two little boys.

But for now, I am thankful for who you are, just as you are - my one year old little baby. I cherish all my cuddles with you and the way you press your head into my shoulder or cling to my arm, or smile when you see me. I love that you love me and I love that you are my baby and I am your mother.

God has so very much blessed us with your sweet little soul. I pray that He continues to protect you and bless you, that you come to love Him and that you one day receive His Son as your Lord and Savior. I pray that you learn to walk in His ways and that you grow to be a man after God's own heart.

I love you little man. 
You are such a miracle.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sledding Season

I love that some cultural traditions live on despite time and change. We celebrated New Year's Day with some good old fashioned sledding and though I begrudged the thought of getting Jack and myself all suited up to go outside in the snow, I knew it was the right thing to do in the spirit of living life with eyes wide open + playing with my kids more (as per this year's goals). And I'm so glad I chose to deny my lazy side and go because it was great. The fresh air, being out in the community with fellow sledders, the rush as you go whizzing down the hill. I watched a little girl go down the hill by herself and as she laid back on her bright red plastic sled, face to the sky, her expression was one of pure, unfettered joy.

If you haven't gone sledding in a while, you should. 
It's good for the soul.

Twenty Thirteen


2012, much like 2011, was  a roller coaster year full of ups and downs. At times it brought me great joy as well as great strife and sorrow. 2013 holds the same promise of both good days and not so good days, of heartache and laughter. Of a much anticipated trip to England but also continued stress with finances and health issues. And while I'm bracing myself for the bumpy road ahead, I still wanted to make room for some yearly goals.

My goals from this past year were simple and Lord-willing I was able to accomplish all of them satisfactorily. I still struggle in the area of being in the Word, and I didn't actually finish an unread book of the Bible, but I am closely studying the book of Genesis now (rather than just reading through it) as a result of joining Bible Study Fellowship International.

My resolutions for 2013 are still simple in nature but are a little more weighty in heart and are meant to have results that last a lifetime, not just a year.

1} Live out Mark 12:30. Jesus pins this as the Greatest Commandment of them all, and until recently I never really considered what it means to live that out intentionally. What does it look like to love God with all my mind, my heart, my soul and my strength? I'm going to spend this next year finding out and then do my very best to live it out fully.

2} Purse true health. I think I commit to this every year, but this time it's without the goal of losing weight. I want to feel healthier.  I don't know if being truly healthy means being vegan (as I've been practicing),  but I know I want to apply clean eating to my life as much as time and resources allow me. This also means drinking lots of water, getting enough rest and getting up early to exercise. While I can't control some of the health issues I'm facing, I hope that by doing these things, I will return to better health.

3} Spend less time online. I want to be present and not so connected to what everyone else is doing via Facebook. No, I'm not going to delete my account (I've tried that) But I am going to do my best to limit the number of times I log on and the number of people I follow on it.

4} Sing more. I've been singing in front of people (at church) for about 5 years now but since changing churches I never joined the worship team. Singing is something that brings me great purpose and fulfillment and joy and I hope to expand my opportunities to sing, whether it's at a coffee shop or by starting a worship night with some friends.

5} Play more. With my kids that is. Care less about a tidy house and more about creating memories. Even if that means getting messy with finger paint or acting like a complete weirdo. Life is too short to take it so seriously, and I know my boys would love it if every day were a dance party. Plus I'm pretty sure it would my heart some good.

The theme here, it seems, is to live life wholeheartedly. To be present in the moment without distraction.  Something I tend not to do.

So here's to 2013 - 
may it be a year of joy and peace
and loving God fully.

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