Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dining Room Table

So, I wish I could include the chairs in this post, but things are getting a little busy as we are starting the moving process...so, no chairs right now!  BUT, I did want to post the re-do on our new dining room table.  I LOVE, with a capital 'L', the way this table turned out!!  Take a look at before:

The top was weathered and cracked poly, light finish, bottom a beautiful white/cream color.
 Aaaaand AFTER, TADA!!  Espresso stain with eggshell polyurethane, distressed frame.
I cannot tell you how over the moon in love I am with this project, it's by FAR my favorite one yet.  I knew I wanted to do a darker stain on the top, to showcase the gorgeous butcher block, so I hemmed and hawed over the right color stain, and this one is perfect (keep in mind I took this picture at 6:30am on my way out the door to work...so the sun was minimal).  My plan was to repaint the frame a similar white, so I busted out the sander to just break up the flaking paint a bit, and as I was sanding...I was liking the table more and more; there was a part of me that felt so *wrong* for liking a table as I was beating it up!  There was a layer of dark, aqua blue underneath, and it looked amazing.  I touched up the raw wood areas with stain.  Isn't she gorgeous?!  I love having a touch of real wood for a formal dining area, it just makes sense to me.  And the distress just puts this table up to number one for me!

So here's my plan for the chairs...stain the seats the same color as the table top, and paint the rest a gorgeous, soft mint green, and I'll accent the room (someday) with some peach/orange.  I'm not sure when I'll get to the chairs, but soon!  And then I can take a picture of everything all together.  I really need to start packing...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Leaping Lizards, We're.......


We just heard the news from the bank last night, and I have been dying to tell people for sooooo long, and now I can!
 This picture (of the back) we took last Saturday when we went up to check the house out after the owners moved.  It was nice to see the house without anything in it, and take measurements, and see how lovely the landscaping is in the springtime!

So the house is in Layton (more on this below) and is on about 1/4 acre, 2400 sq. feet.  4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths.  It's on a corner lot, kind of on a hill, so we have a great view of the mountains.  It's a short sale, so we've been waiting about 8 weeks for an answer (which is actually very quick for a short sale!), and not only that, we are getting a *great* deal.  The homeowners have kept the house in pretty good condition, but it does need some updating, new floors, finishing half of the unfinished basement, new paint, eventually new windows, some front yard landscaping.  We have some great potential for this house, and things really seem to have just....fallen into place.

I don't have pictures of all the rooms, and all but the top are the pictures from the listing.  So, I will keep an updated log of our progress once we get into the house.  With short sales, the closing process can sometimes be crazy fast, so things might be get NUTS very very soon!

Kristoffer and I actually hadn't planned on buying a house when we started off the year.  We hadn't talked about it, or planned for it...or saved for it!  So in January, we were on a date and talking about where things were going and whether or not we should look for a new place to rent (all we've ever known!), and both us agreed it just didn't feel right.  I looked at Kristoffer and said, "You, know, I've kind of been thinking that maybe we should start looking to buy a house...".  This thought of mine had been fleeting, but persistent, and experience has taught me (the very VERY hard way) to listen to those promptings!  And Kristoffer looked at me and said, "You know, I've kind of been feeling the same thing.".

And so it began.  We are CRAZY lucky to have Kris's best friend B.J. as a real estate agent...and it's been so fun!  He is such a great friend, we love him!  He has taken us to see sooooo many places and talks with us about likes, dislikes, what we could change, gives his opinion, and it's not at all awkward.  We actually came close to buying a couple of different houses, but I think the Lord knew where we needed to be.  Kris saw the house when I was in NY in March, and I saw the pictures just on the listing.  He put the offer in while I was away and the owners accepted within days, but we had to wait the looong wait for the bank to give their approval.  It's been a long 8 weeks, but everything has just fallen into place.  The location of the house, the lot, the size of the house, the incredible price, instant equity, everything.  And all we had to do was wait.  I've learned my lesson before, that if you listen to the promptings of the spirit, good things will happen, even if it means waiting.

I know that this may sound strange, but I felt such a good vibe in the house, and I think the Lord was telling me something.  I'm grateful that I listened this time.  I'm grateful for a chance to own a home, our first!  To follow the Spirit and see where our family is headed next, it's scary not knowing sometimes, but all I have to do is have faith.

So, wish us luck as we enter the closing process!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Last Day

I can hardly believe that Marin had her last day of Preschool today!  What a big girl!!  She has done a great job this year, and is doing an amazing job with being on her way to reading, I am just so proud of her.  Her social skills have positively bloomed since she has been in school, and that means so much to me as a mom.  I have LOVED her school, Discovery Preschool.  They combine the perfect blend of learning and fun and creativity, so it's not just all academia...which personally, I think is silly for such tiny kids.  I hear mom's brag about their kids reading at such a young age, and I don't know...something in me says "Hey, doesn't this kid have another 20+ years of school ahead of them?", I just think little kids need to be able to be kids while they learn, that's just me.

Last night, Marin and I made some cute Thank-You gifts for her teachers, and they turned out great.  Some Sharpie's that I wrapped in ribbon and stashed into a cool summer cup and labeled with "Thanks for coloring our lives and making us Sharpies.".

 Here she is on her last day giving daddy a big wave!

I am just so proud of my big girl.  I know now why my dad used to tell me when I was little that he was going to put a brick on my head.  I tell Marin the same thing!  She will be in Kindergarten this fall, wow!  So grateful for my sweet girl, she is a handful and is always getting into binds/scrapes, but through it all, she is teaching me to be patient and loving (still working on that), and I wouldn't trade her for anything.


I picked up some watermelon at the store the other day, and once daddy sat outdoors on the side stoop to eat his piece, he soon had two little followers.

 These two are hilarious.  I love Marin's eyes in the picture, haha! 
 They plowed right through it, so cute.

And, before I forget, I have to share Owen's little funny moment the other week.  It was morning time, and the kids are full of energy and starving and ready to eat, and I'm still half asleep and shuffling around the kitchen, and Owen is jabbering away at me, and it went something like this:

Owen: "Want cheerios, mama.....mama, want cheerios....want cheerios mama....mama....MAMA....wake up, mama!!!"

I couldn't help from laughing, he was so serious and funny and ALL about making sure his needs were heard and MET!  And hearing it come out of his little 2 year old mouth was hilarious.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A New Arrival

We have welcomed a new..or should I say, a few new arrivals here at the Lyman house!  Cute, fluffy, *adorable* baby chicks!!

I wanted chickens for a few years now, but the last year, I've totally hankered to be a chicken-keeper or chicken whisperer...or chicken shepherd, or whatever you call it.  So, considering we may have a few other changes coming our way, why the heck not?!  Throw it on the pile, right?

Here's a looky-loo at our sweet baby girls!

 I thought maybe I would start with four, but I wouldn't be happy if I lost a few (which happens) and I only had two or three left.  So...I bought six, which is actually what they recommend for a happy little flock.
 We gleaned a HUGE dryer box from our friend, and cut it to size.  The chicken ladies will be in there for about 8 weeks.  We bought the heat lamp and bulb, the feeder, the water-dispenser, the pecking block (so they don't get bored), the pine shavings and the food itself...oh, and the chicks of course.
 So what kinds do I have?  Two Barred Plymouth Rock's, two Golden Sex Link's, one Auracana, and one Brahma Bantam.  I'll have mostly brown eggs, but the Bantam will give me pretty green/blue ones, and they should start laying around four months of age.  All of them average around laying 4x a week, except the Bantam, which lays around 3x a week.
 Below, on the left is a Barred Rock, middle is the Auracana, and right is the Sex Link.
 Marin likes the Sex Link 'blondies'.  She is so gentle with them and talks to them while she's holding them, so cute!

Before I even checked out at the store, I noticed one of the Barred Rocks was pecking all the other chicks in the eye, and I thought that maybe I should just exchange it, and I asked the cashier who just told me it was up to me.  I took it home anyway, thinking she was just stressed out, and just needed some food, water and space and she would calm down...although I still knew that if I kept her, she would for SURE be the top chick in the pecking order.  I watched her for about two hours as she ate and drank and napped, and she was *still* going after the other chicks, and I worried I would wake up to eye-ball-less baby chicks in the morning!  So I ended up taking her back and exchanging her (it might has even been a him!), which they don't normally do, but since I was just there a few hours before, they were nice to me.  The new Barred Rock is just as pleasant and happy as the other chicks, so a happy ending.

Hopefully my chicky-poos will make it through the night!  I'm super excited to be a chicken owner, and to get me some niiiice fresh eggs.  But in the meantime, we'll have fun them.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Home Improvement Bug

I may have mentioned...I've caught a bug.  The Home Improvement Bug, that is!  Honestly, it's been super fun.  I *love* having projects to work on, and I feel like it's kind of a new phase in my life I think.  After learning that life is just getting harder and harder and putting in a little effort won't cut it anymore for SO many things (you know, like how it did in high-school?); having a project allows me to put in some effort, a little elbow grease and have a beautiful result that will last longer than anything else lately.  

So here are a few of my projects lately.  I already posted my dresser pictures, so these newest ones are what I have done since then!

Here is a picture of my mantle after I played around with it today.  I LOVE it!!!  I love the shabby-chic look that's in right now, and I'm experimenting with incorporating that style into my home. 

The overview:

So, this big Tiffany blue letter "L" is a project from a Relief Society craft night.  I love it!  It's a cardboard letter wrapped with string (time consuming, but worth it!) and decorated with a few simple flowers.  It makes a perfect statement piece with one of my favorite colors.

The vase was completely clear before, but I experimented with Krylon's 'Looking Glass' spray and I thought it turned out great.  Just note, the spray only works when used on the *inside* of the object you are looking to make shiny.  And the white frame I bought at DI (a local thrift store) and I sprayed it white-just need a picture.

The polar bears I desperately wanted to incorporate into the mantle, and they worked perfectly in front of the blue "L".  Everything else covered up the bottom of the "L", so it looked funny.  The bears are clear, so it works.  And they represent a tradition in Kristoffer's Norwegian family, so we love them.

I bought these candlesticks, unfinished at DI as well.  They were 75 cents each, and I painted them white, perfect!  Again, the looking glass spray, bright flowers, and a picture of us... I may need to brighten up the frame....
 This was the coffee table mid project.  You can see the color of it.  It was fine, but not what I wanted, and with such a traditional, Craftsman style build, the traditional, Craftsman style stain was overwhelming, so I painted it.  I was going to try a crackle...but I'm not quite that brave yet!
 And AFTER!  I painted the whole thing a *very* subtle blue, and stenciled the top with my white stencil I used on the dresser.  Honestly, I wasn't convinced the stenciling was the right choice until I was *completely* done.  Even about 3/4 of the way through, I kept second guessing myself!  BUT, I've told myself before...never judge a project until it's COMPLETELY done and in place.  And it turned out great.

I found this bunny also at DI (that place is a veritable *treasure trove*), and it was ceramic and old and UGLY, blech.  But, white woodland creatures are totally in (so I'm learning), so I took a 25 cent chance, bought the funny fella and layered him with many coats of white paint to soften the texture a bit, and here he sits!

I wanted to keep some natural wood tones, so I bought this 2 dollar tray, and hemmed and hawed over what I wanted to do with it.  Once I decided to paint the table, I decided to leave the tray as is.  I like that it collects a few magazines, some pretty flowers, and a tray for the remotes, oh and my bunny friend.

I'm working on getting some better basket storage underneath, but this is the best I can do for now!

I found a fabulous and super simple tutorial for making decorative pillow slipcovers.  I am not a fancy schmancy sewer, but this was easy-peasy.  This was my experiment, and now that I know how it looks, I will make MORE!  The original pillow is on the right.

And, a few items I haven't figured out what to do with just yet.  On the left are frames that were originally gold and SHINY, so I painted them.  And those darned frames on the bottom, I think I just don't have much wall space, so they've been collecting dust.  Frames are my decorating nemesis, I think.  I love them, but they stump me!

And here is my NEXT project!  A new dining room table!  This table was very kindly given to me by Kristoffer's little sister Melodie...via his mom, Trine!  It's been outside under the covered porch, and I have a plan for it:  The top is a gorgeous, real staggered wood design, so my plan is to sand the top down (which I was doing today), stain it a tad darker to make it look like butcher block, and keep the bottom a soft, warm white.  So, like it is now, but new and improved.  I love the whole butcher block/wood feel, especially for a dining room, it brings a lot of warmth and elegance I feel a dining room totally needs, but keeps it inviting with the white paint.  The chairs I will do the same stain on the seats, but paint the rest of the chair a soft.minty green/blue color.  I can't wait, it's going to look amazing!!
Can you say BUSY??  And let me tell you what I have waiting in my garage...a small, round kitchen table, chairs (to go with the small kitchen table) in need of refinishing and upholstering the seats, a smaller dresser for Owen, a headboard and footboard for Marin's bed, and a black, two drawer filing cabinet.  But seriously?  These projects are keeping me sane, with all of the difficult stuff with my dad, I have needed something to hold onto for dear life and have control over.  Hopefully it will all turn out!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

For My Mother

This Mother's Day, I have to express the profound love and gratitude for my mother.  She has absolutely been such an incredible example and inspiration to me, especially during these last few months.  My mother throughout her life has selflessly given all that she had to her children and has taught us the things that we needed to know to be capable, independent and Christlike adults.  A perspective that I can only see now as I have been immersed in motherhood myself.

My mother has raised five, very loving and caring children, and while I know it was NEVER easy, she has loved us through the thickest and most irritating moments!

I know I've posted a few of these pictures before, but I see the mom I grew up with, and it makes me happy to remember that.  She still is there for all of us, and takes such great pride in all 6 (almost 7!) grandchildren.

 And during these last few months, and the months that are coming, as my father prepares for his final time on earth, I have watched my mother push her way through some of the strongest emotions any wife can feel as she watches her husband fade away, and try so diligently to make good decisions.  She has been a faithful and loving wife, and has tenderly guided her husband through these incredibly difficult and horrifically painful times.  She has set an example to me of charity, compassion and dedication that completely blows me away.  I have never known such strength in a woman.
I am so grateful to have a wonderful mother, and I am grateful for a father who, for all of these years, has taken care of my mother and loved her, and set the bar high.  Not all kids are lucky enough to have great parents, but somehow....I'm the lucky one.

One of the things I was able to take away from sacrament meeting today, is this:

The title of 'Mother' was bestowed upon Eve before she had born any children, for being a mother is more about giving life than it is about giving birth.

I love this.  I love that this phrase so succinctly describes the role of mother...a giver of life in SO many ways and SO many attitudes.  A reassurance that no matter who we are, or how many children we have, women have the incredible opportunity to give life to everyone, in all walks of life.  To mother those around us, and thereby give life where there may be none, or nurture life in need of sustenance.  To all of those amazing women out there...those who have given birth or not...you ARE a mother.  You are women with a divine ability to mother and give life to the world and people around you.  Thank you to the mothers out there who are doing the great deed of changing the world for a better place, we need you!  We need ALL women to be mothers...in the TRUE sense of the word, and this is how the world will change.

Mother's Day Marvelousness

I am such a blessed mother, truly!  I have a great family.  My hubby loves me and my kids love me, UH man, I just think of how lucky I am.  I woke up to Marin and daddy bringing me a light breakfast in bed (since we were going to brunch later), so at 8am, I raised my heavy eyelids and propped myself up with pillows to sleepily eat my yogurt, fruit and jelly donut.  My sweet girl was so excited to give me her card from school, and my dark chocolate bar, she is such a precious girl!  And Owen, in an effort to say "Happy Mother's Day!", was instead shouting with jubilation "Happy Birthday, Mama!!!".  I love my babies.

We got all dressed up and went to brunch with Kristoffer's mom Trine, Barry, Melodie, and Justin.

Marin and Barry.

 This boy plowed through his scrambled eggs.  He *loves* scrambled eggs.
 A long shot of the family at The Pig and Jelly Jar.

Uncle Justin gave Marin a 'Charlotte Mustache'.  Charlotte is the super cute "family" dog....at least, everyone in the family loves her!

Our family!  Thanks to my friend, Claire, I'm sporting a new maxi skirt!  Such a great birthday present, I love it!

Here we all are!  Justin, Melodie, Marin, Trine, Barry, Samantha, Kristoffer, Owen.

We had such a great Sunday Brunch, and I am so grateful to have such a great mama-in-law.  She is so supportive and loving and willing to help.  Such a great motivator and the best babysitter!  We love Trine!!  Thank you for raising such a wonderful son and letting me be a part of the family, I wouldn't have my amazing hubby without her amazing mothering.

And, of course, I can't forget my hubby's gift to me for Mother's Day...a paint sprayer!!  I'm so excited!!  He also bought me a BUNCH of furniture projects from Deseret Industries, and a paint sprayer will be a HUGE help with those.  I've been bitten by the DIY home improvement bug, so I have *multiple* projects I am working on...just what I wanted...really!  Grateful for my hubby for treating me so well on Mother's Day!

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Last Twenty-Something

I had a birthday!  Did you know that?!  My happy little birthday on April 30th, and it was my last Twenty-Something birthday.  My next birthday will be the big 3-0, on the 30th (hey, what do you know!).  So how was it turning 29?  You know, there is almost a part of me mourning now instead of when the big 30 hits, almost like closing out a chapter in my life.  There were a lot of crazy things that happened these last 10 years!  Launching my nursing career, having awful dates as a single gal, being adventurous, signing up on E-Harmony and meeting my Kristoffer, marrying my Kristoffer, moving 5 times, having two babies, numerous church callings, up's and down's, here and there, EVERYWHERE!  It's been a crazy ride!  I have loved the last 9 years, so the final year of being Twenty Something, I'll make it good, and I'll make it happy and wonderful.  I want to move into thirty with a smile on my face and love in my heart.

But yeah, my birthday....it was wonderful.  Full of so many little things that made me smile.  My hubby sent me for a haircut...which I always LOVE.  He also let me sleep in (double love).  Then, we went for breakfast at the Original Pancake House.  Oh how I love that place.  I had some southwestern eggs benedict (YUM), and Owen was being Mr. Silly at the restaurant.  I love that little guy.

 He loves snuggles with mama, and I can't say no.
 And then Marin and I made some cupcakes, here she is licking out the bowl...

 Marin had gone out with daddy the night before and picked out the cake and frosting herself...funfetti mix and pink lemonade frosting, such a girly girl, I love it!
 I invited some friends over last minute to help me celebrate my birthday dinner, considering Kris was at work.  I was making some chicken fettuccine alfredo, and I didn't want to celebrate alone!

And Owen got me a new turkey baster...he has had my old one since, oh my goodness, last year.  He likes to carry it around and pretend to hunt dinosaurs.  And Marin got me a new pepper grinder, a tiny little 4 inch one, and it's so cute!  I love that my family makes the day super special for me in little ways.