Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Numbers

ZERO cavities at Avery's 1st dentist visit.

ONE beautiful baby girl added to our family.

TWO glorious braids. FREEEEEEEDOM!!

THREE visits from Steve's Utah abiding parents. (3rd visit not pictured)

Our FOUR legged friend was kicked outside permanently for bad, bad, bad behavior.

FIVE chairs reupholstered


SIX fish caught identical to this one (or maybe just one, Steve would love it if 6 were the real number)

SEVEN adoring cousins at Avery's 2nd birthday party.

EIGHT teeth grown in, and they are sharp, trust me.

My NINE months of pregnancy (plus one week, don't forget the extra week!) came to a blissful end.

TEN million tantrums thrown by this little lady

ELEVEN inches of hair chopped off to save my ever loving mind

And just last night TWELVE amazing hours of solid sleep from Heidi Sue. This pretty much made my year, and just in the nick of time, the last day of 2013.

It really has been a blessed and wonderful year, filled with lots laughter, a few tears, and an incredible amount of love. Here's to reigning in another great year. Watch out 2014, here we come!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Felt Dolls

I like to make a homemade gift for Christmas (almost) every year, and this year I made felt "paper" dolls for Avery. I almost bought the pattern here....but not even including materials it would have cost $37 smackaroos. So I opted to make my own pattern based off of this one. It was time consuming and tedious, but surprisingly really fun. I think most women are suckers for tiny things and clothes, so when you combine the two, its a match made in Heaven. 
Avery is really into non-human (namely puppies) toys, so this is my attempt to pique her interest in dolls. Is that so bad? I figure if my little ploy doesn't work, I'll just play it!

And yes, I realize her eyes are not symmetrical, but, other than Barbie and possibly Kim Kardasian (post plastic surgery of course) whose eyes are? Just keepin' it real. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Best Way to Kill Christmas Cheer

Is singing loud for all to hear. Just kidding. That's the best way to spread Christmas cheer.. No, I discovered the best way to kill Christmas cheer is with one word: Obamacare.

Last night Steve and I went to Home Depot for the THIRD time in the last three nights to get a Christmas tree. (The first two tries they were out of trees...out of trees!) Last night we were in luck and they had just got a new shipment fresh from the tree farm. I was feeling the Christmas spirit real good. Picture me dancing in the Christmas tree aisle, with Avery in my arms, singing along to all the Christmas tunes playing. I was in rare form.

We picked out our perfect tree and  two Home Depot guys tied it to our SUV for us. We were joking around with them and such, when suddenly, not even sure how this happened, one of the employees mentioned Obamacare and how he is signed up for the cheapest plan which is $500 a month, it only covers two visits to the doctor a year, has a $5000 deductible, and no prescription coverage. Total buzzkill.

Steve and I both were pretty introverted on the drive home thinking about what that employee said. And its not like we haven't heard all of the Obamacare issues before last night, but it sounded more real coming from a Home Depot employee than from Bill O'Reilly. It hit home, and it hit hard.
When we got home, I couldn't muster the strength to decorate the tree last night. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry at the thought of our family's future. Our poor tree doesn't even have one strand of lights on it.

This morning I was still struggling to think about anything else but what lies ahead for our family in 2014 and suddenly I remembered a quote from President Monson:
"My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith."
In fact, the entire talk, from where that quote comes, is nothing short of amazing and incredibly uplifting. http://www.lds.org/ensign/2009/05/be-of-good-cheer. Read it. Its a good one. I needed to read that talk today.

It is so easy to get caught up in worldly problems, like money, and forget that the plan of salvation has zero to do with politics, grocery bills, insurance, etc. I need to be reminded often what this life is about. I need to have more faith and trust in the Lord that all the things we experience are for our good. If our family struggles financially next year, it will be for our good, and the Lord will not leave us. I know that.

Now...time to tackle that not-so-spirited-Christmas tree.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Our DIY Table

When I was 18 I bought by first kitchen table set, complete with four chairs and a leaf. I bought if from my sister Kim long before I even had a place to put said table and chairs. I was 18 and very much into shabby chic and country decor. That was 7 years ago and my style has changed, to say the least. Steve is always commenting how I have done a 180 on him. I used to hate anything modern, and now it is just the complete opposite. What can I say?
Anyway, up until recently we had that table I bought from Kim. This one here:
Solid stuff. Great condition. Absolutely no reason to change it out....except my usual reason: I was bored with it. So I did my thing and sold it for $200 on craigslist to a british gal who is hopefully not regretting paying $50 above my asking price (who does that, I mean seriously?!).
So my hunt for the perfect dining table commenced. The perfect table, perfectly within my $100 price range. It wasn't a successful hunt. Surprising, right? (note heavy sarcasm). 
I knew what I wanted, I knew I couldn't afford to buy it, so my brain got to ticking. And I thought, we can build it! Out of maple plywood! Yay! I was pretty enthusiastic, how hard could it be. Steve was the naysayer, but he was a trooper as always and we he got to buildin'.

So we started with a 8'X4' piece of maple plywood from home depot. Cut it down to about 66"X40", then we used the scrap pieces to build a frame underneath to make it look twice the width, because plywood is pretty darn thin for a table. 

At that point we had a table that appeared to be 1.5" thick but you could clearly see that it was made from plywood because of all the layers. So that was lame. But totally expected. Somehow in my brain though, I thought I could sand away the plywood look. Oh naive me.

To solve this tacky looking problem we bought solid maple trim pieces that were almost the exact width to cover our ugly plywood layers on the sides. 

The we bought two $10 trestle legs from Ikea and installed our own bolts since IKEA brilliantly does not provide anyway to attach these legs to a table. 

Then it was all up to me to put the finishing coat on this baby. I learned one thing: Polycrylic is a bad word. It dries beautifully clear and won't yellow a light wood like maple (polyurethane would yellow over time) but holy cow is it hard to apply. When you brush it on, it is nearly impossible to not see all the brush strokes. 
So I sprayed it on and that was even worse because it dries too fast and all the over spray instantly dries and it just makes the table have a rough texture. So I had to sand it all the way down to the bare wood and just tell myself I could live with a few brush marks. 
That's the thing with DIYing, you will forever know where every imperfection lies and it is sort of maddening. But I surrendered, and I am alive.

It probably took us 3 times longer to build this thing than it would have taken most people, but we really did have a lot of fun working on this together. And the best part: Steve likes it! He actually likes it! (seriously a big deal)

Here is the final product

Total cost breakdown for this project:
Plywood: $42
Legs: $20
Trim: $32
Polycrylic: $20
Total Cost: $114

I love the price tag and I am so happy with how it turned out. Its really fun to get exactly what you are wanting and not go broke in the meantime. 
Now that my back patio is free of a table in progress, I can finally start upholstering that couch we picked up a month ago. I can't wait to get my hands on that thing!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Chesterfield Crush

I have been dying to upholster something recently because I actually like doing it (in doses, if I did it all the time I think I would go nuts). I was scouring craigslist, because Goodwill has not been kind to me recently with their jacked up prices and their lack of things awesome, and just happened to come across a vintage chesterfield styled couch. They were asking $100 for it. I bookmarked it with hopes to convince Steve to let me get my hands on that bad-boy. About a week passed before I had the courage to bring it up to him, and to my happy surprise when I opened up my bookmark for that listing, they had lowered the price to $50! 

The next problem was, it is a couch. We don't have a truck, or a trailer, which is mostly the reason I have been doing chairs since my first couch. 

So I convinced Steve that we are awesome and can totally strap a huge 7ft couch to the top of our Ford Escape. Totally.
Thankfully on the morning we went to get it, it was a cool morning so our girls would not die of heatstroke in our A/C less car, and there was no wind, so that was nice. Also, huge plus, the couch was located about 7 miles or so from our house so the idea of transporting it only 7-10 miles seemed like something we could both swallow.

After about 30 minutes of heaving, and pushing, and tightening this beast on our car, we were ready to roll. I was really nervous about it, because Steve and I are not the most, how you say, handy people in the world. So the whole drive home I pretty much had my head out the window just staring at the couch to make sure it didn't budge. And it didn't. Turns out we are amazing. We looked like ghetto fools driving through the streets looking like this though...

Isn't that couch amazing??? It is in such great condition, so I won't feel all icky when I am tearing off fabric like its my job. I am not totally sure which direction I want this couch to take on, but I ordered about 10 fabric samples today from warehousefabricsinc.com, so hopefully I can narrow it down soon and get to busy. 

One of my biggest worries about the couch is that I am going to fall in love with it and not be able to sell it. Its been a small dream of mine to have a chesterfield sofa. Shhh, don't tell Steve.

Sidenote: Truth. For about three days after the couch nabbing adventure, my entire body was sore from heaving that thing over my head multiple times. I am pathetically, pathetic.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I Should Be...

I should be cleaning something right now, whether that be a bathroom or myself, but I decided to blog instead. Hooray for procrastination! I haven't done an update post in a while, so what the hey.

Steve is in the middle of his internship for school administration (you know, principle stuff), and is so super busy. He got super lucky and actually landed the Athletic Director position at his school this year and it just also happens to count as his internship. And although the amount of money this position pays as a stipend is seriously laughable, at least he gets paid something to do an internship, right? 

So he is busy teaching Spanish to adoring junior high students and supervising a million basketball games a week. I never see him. Its quite sad. But its just a phase and a phase that will bring positive change to our lives and hopefully open some doors for us. All good stuff. 

While Steve is off shooing kids out from under bleachers, I am at home with the two the lovely girls, trying my darndest to keep bellies full, diapers dry, underwear clean, and a floor free of fly-trap qualities.
I am also still our ward primary chorister. I have done 3 programs now. I think I am in this calling for life, and that is okay by me.

Lately I have also been passing the time by decorating... a lot. This week I decorated for Halloween for the 1st time ever. See?

That spider might be a little too "halloweeny" for me, but whatever.

When Avery isn't hiding from me so she can play with her poop in secret, one can often find her playing here:

She loves her tent, and has to have pillows in there to snuggle with. Pinterest win.
 She loves hats, and just generally wearing things on her head.
 She also loves books and just recently began allowing Steve and I to actually read to her again. So that's nice. She used to just quickly flip through all the pages before we could even read two words.
And of course, what 2 year old can't be found doing a lot of the above? If you know of one, don't tell me, I prefer to believe that Avery throws the exact same amount of tantrums as every 2 year old ever. Gets me through the day, ya know? 
I know I talk about her tantrums a lot, but she really is a sweet girl. She can often be found wiping up a spill she made, hugging her sister (yay!!), playing nicely with her dollhouse, being a great napper and "go to bedder",  brushing her teeth, helping unload the dishwasher, obeying me, giving me butterfly kisses, practices her letters and numbers, and just being generally adorable in every way. 

Heidi Sue will be 8 months old in a couple of days and brightens my day. However, she does darken my nights....the little stink still ofttimes wakes up at 2am. Ugh. I'm over it. I keep blaming it on her teeth, and that just might be a valid argument because just today I discovered her 5th tooth popping through. 
She also can often be found rolling all over the place (not crawling quite yet) and chewing on any shoe she can get her mouth around. What is it about the shoes?! So gross. She loves Avery and laughs at her silliness all day. She also really loves to eat, and her thighs are evidence of that, little chunker. 
I could just gobbler he up! Her cheeks are so squishy and seriously made for me to kiss on all day. 

And that is the Bell's in a nutshell....now I think I am going to go shower, or eat a cookie.