Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bedroom Renovations

Before Jonathan left I already had tons of ideas of projects around the house I wanted to work on while he was away to surprise him when he returned. I literally could not wait for him to leave so that I could after completing just a few of those projects I would like for him to come home now. I'm so anxious to show him! For now I'll find some satisfaction in showing you, my bloggy audience.

Jonathan always tells me that I build things up way too much. I frequently say things like "that was the BEST food I ever tasted!" or "that was the most fun night ever!", etc, etc. He is a very reserved person and not one to show much emotion. If I were to get a "oh wow, that's nice hon" out of him that means he is VERY, VERY thrilled. I'm shooting for a "wow. Oh wow. How very nice, hon" when he returns and sees the changes in our home.

I say that so that you won't feel too shocked when I tell you that our bedroom has been transformed! Absolutely and totally transformed (no exaggeration.) Of course it will not make it onto any home interior design blogs and perhaps once you see pictures it may trigger feelings of disappointment from those of you who are especially gifted in interior design. BUT...if there were a blog titled "horrendous, absolutely awful bedrooms turned decent" mine would for sure qualify for some attention! The problem is that I didn't take any before pictures. Perhaps that has something to do with a bit impatience on my part.

Since I didn't take before pictures I'll start with Karis' bedroom that I just painted a few days ago. Take a look at these walls before the paint job...

I decided to go with a boring color for her room since she has so much color in her bedding and the curtains. I felt like it would be too busy if I were to paint it yellow or pink. So even though the color was only a tad different from the previous color it is absolutely amazing how much better it feels to walk past her room and look inside. It is the BEST transformation ever :-) Check it out...

I have also discovered that it is a good thing to keep beds away from walls, when it comes to children. Yucky, yucky marks are left on the wall which bring much frustration into my life. She is taking her first nap on her bed that is not scooted up against the wall. So far so good...

Back to my room. The absolutely transformed and BEST bedroom ever. Scroll back up and take a look of the yucky walls in the before pictures of Karis' room. Now picture walls just as horrendous but throw in a computer desk covered in stuff, a file cabinet and piles and piles of folded winter clothes everywhere that hadn't found a home yet. Even then you probably still couldn't fathom how un-bedroom-like our bedroom was before this incredible transformation (no exaggeration) took place.

Ok, here goes...take a look at the horrendous bedroom turned decent....

I can't tell you how many "oooohs" and "aaahs" I would for sure be getting if I had taken some before pictures! Oh well, what's done is done. I'll have to show you all of the small things I did to spruce things up a bit...

Okay wait, before I show more pictures. Do you see that fancy black room divider thingy? Can you guess who made that? Yours truly. I found a big piece of plywood in the shed and hauled it down to a woodworker in town. I paid him $5 to cut it up into three pieces and then painted it black. I even went to the hardware store and bought henges, then scoured Jonathan's tool shed for screws the appropriate size. Do you sense a hint of pride as I tell you this? I am the most unhandy woman in the world, I think. Having such a handy man as a husband makes me very lazy in that area. So the fact that I accomplished as much is really quite amazing! And even though the divider isn't the prettiest thing in the world it sure beats the computer desk hiding behind it.

Next. Not only did I make a room divider without any (ok, not much) help but I hung up curtains. That may sound like a rediculous thing to brag about but when the walls are cement hanging up curtain rods involved drilling into that cement! Yes, I thought you'd be proud.

And one thing that I think really adds to the feel of the room is the lamps. Lamps are not cheap here but I managed to find some very atrocious looking ones at a misc store down the road. Bright orange lamp shades and gold bases! Thankfully if a lamp is atrocious looking they won't charge you an arm and a leg for it (they were around $9 each.) I brought them home, painted the bases black and put on shades that I had brought down from my new favorite store Ikea. Oh how I love Ikea.

While I'm at it let me just brag a bit more on how cheap it was to make this transformation. Besides the cost of paint I think I spent around $25 total for everything as I already had most of it. The bedding set I brought down from the States in December and that was a goodwill special ($12). The trunk sitting in front of the bed was almost tossed because it is rather old and yucky but after a fresh coat of black paint it was transformed. Transformed, I tell you! The curtains were another goodwill special ($5.50) that were brought down in December. Hmmm...what else? Oh, I did buy that vase, rocks and fake orchid above the bed (is it a P.O.O.P.I.E? Please feel free to be honest, I'm trying to decide myself.) The two pictures are decopauged canvasses that I thought were orchids when I bought the fake orchid. Oops...they are the same color. I would like to do a bigger canvas with the same flowers on the right side wall but need to find more napkins. Yes, every room in my house, I'm afraid, will have napkins glued to something.

I need your help now. Here is a picture of the other side of the room. I need some ideas!

I think I'll find a place to put the file cabinet. But what about the desk? I could get rid of it but it is handy and we don't really have another place to put it. Then that would leave the dresser all by itself (which looks much better in this picture than it does in real life!) What can I do with this side of the room? More room dividers? :-) I really do want some suggestions from you decorating pros! Suggestions that require little to no money to implement, that is.

Moving onto other things...

Look how big my birdy friends are getting!

They're growing up so fast (sniff sniff). I don't know how but they do manage to stay in the nest! And now when I peak out the window or walk in front to see them they see me and try to hide by hunching down in the nest (sorry birdies, there's no hiding in that puny nest!)

We'll finish things off with some girly-girl pictures...

Besides a house I also acquired another huge blessing when we moved here! Her name is Karis Joy. Yeah, now I have two Karis Joy's in my life! She's the mommy of those other two little girls. Now that Karis Joy #2 is a part of my life I don't know how I lived without her! She is such a blessing. Even though our personalities are quite different in some ways we see eye-to-eye on almost everything. And since her husband is on this trip with Jonathan we've been spending TONS of time together since our men left. Karis (my Karis) gets along pretty well with her little girls too. Well, they do act like sisters I guess...fighting off and on everytime they get together. ha!

I'm heading off to eat some popcorn before I begin another project. Please send in any decorating suggestions you may have!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Of Chicken Feet and Grandmas...

Only 15 days, 22 hours, 45 minutes and 36 seconds (more or less) 'til Jonathan returns. But really, who's counting?

We're doing ok without our man/dad but sure do look forward to reuniting in 15 days, 22 hours, 43 minutes and 15 seconds. Karis especially has shown more than ever how much she misses having him around! She asked to watch a YouTube video this morning that Jonathan showed her a few weeks ago. After it was over she burst into tears and came running to me. I thought she was hurt or something but when I picked her up she said "I want my daddy to come home!" It really broke my heart. But he will be thrilled to hear that he was missed so much.

Speaking of this particular YouTube video. Have any of you heard of Nick Vujicic? He is a European (not exactly sure where he's from) who was born without any arms or legs. The video Karis loves to watch of him on YouTube is a short 2 1/2 minute segment of Nick speaking to younger-than-me people. He really is an amazing guy who has been used by the Lord in incredible ways! I think you could watch the video by clicking here. If not then go to and search his name...there are some other cool videos of him on there!

So I'm mentioning this because in this video he shows what he calls his "chicken drum stick" (a deformed foot that he was born with) Karis calls it his "chicken foot" and has honestly become quite obsessed with Nick and his chicken foot. Usually at least once a day she'll ask something like "remember that guy who has no arms and no legs?" "yep" is usually my reply and by the time I am finishing that short response she is ready with "but he has a chicken foot!" All of her doodles that she does on her doodle pad are no longer drawings of hippos, roaches and beetles but they are of the man who has no arms and no legs but has a chicken foot. It's amazing how similar all of the drawings are (please don't tell Nick that if you ever meet him.)

One of the activities that is occupying my time is Portuguese class twice a week. You'd probably assume that after living in a country 5 years one would be fluent in that language. There are lots and lots of reasons and excuses I could give as to why I am not, however it would make for a boring post. So I won't. I still have quite a ways to go but these classes are definitely helping! I come home feeling challenged and realizing how much I have to learn in this language. And thankfully it isn't a difficult language. Fairly easy one, to be completely honest. One thing that does hold me back is my perfectionist attitude as well as my overwhelming fear to make one of the mistakes that other missionaries have made. Like, going to the gas station to buy a bottle of propane but instead of asking for a gas bottle ask the attendant for a big kiss. Or going to the post office and asking for breasts instead of stamps. I haven't had any incredibly embarrassing moments like these but you will know the day that I do! I think blogging about it will be therapeutic.

So the reason I'm mentioning all of this is because on Wednesday mornings (during my class) Karis gets to go spend the morning with her adopted Grandma Tammy. Without either of her grandmas living on the same continent it makes me feel good that she has this relationship with Tammy. Karis surely doesn't mind either as she gets JUST as spoiled with Tammy as she does with her other 2 grandmas! This week she came home with a bag of potato chips AND a green coconut (which mommy got to enjoy with her!)

She looks like she has spent the morning suffering, doesn't she?

The only bad thing about this whole situation is Karis would now, I'm sure, prefer to go live with Tammy. For several days after a Wednesday she asks as I put her into bed at night "can we go to Aunt Tammy's in the morning?" (instead of calling everybody Mr. and Mrs. here it is "Uncle" and "Aunt".) Which is a huge blessing to me to know that she has a godly adult investing in her life and that she is enjoying it. And Tammy makes me feel like she enjoys it a mom I have to tell you that this brings me much joy!

We have some new friends resting right outside our window these days. It's very interesting because this same pair of birds already had one attempt at having babies. I don't know if she had more than one egg but only one hatched. Unfortunately the nest was poorly made and when the first storm came I think the baby got chilled from the rain and died the same day (I really wanted to save the birdy but my dear husband who didn't want to see his wife commit her life to a bird for several weeks accused me of being baby bird protective services.) I let nature take it's course and had one of the toughest days of my life. Ok, forgetting the past here is a picture of the newest clutch from the same parents (who started building a new nest the following day).

I enjoy getting to watch these little guys grow (there are two of them) but they are quickly filling up the new poorly made nest and come close to falling out when the parents come to feed them. Rest assured, I will follow through with my baby bird protective services instincts should one or both of them fall out of the nest. But I am praying...PRAYING that doesn't happen as I do not want to spend the next 2 weeks of my life feeding them every thirty minutes. Been there, done that. Unfortunately it happened to be the 2 days before my mom arrived in Brazil for Karis' birth. Not a good time to be saving baby birds.

Blues Clues is almost over so I'm guessing I should bring this post to an end. It took me longer than expected to write it but the good news is that now I only have 15 days, 21 hours, 52 minutes and 11 seconds to go...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

...and then there were two.

5 days down and only 25 more to go. Yep, 25 more days of temporary widowhood. We are actually quite accustomed to spending 2-3 three weeks apart from each other as our lives have consisted of many trips since we moved to Brazil. However this time just knowing that it would be 4 made me a little less excited about the whole idea. I mean, usually the first week is just fine. I enjoy being lazy in the kitchen and living a bit more selfishly in general. However by week two the whole thing of not being in a consistent schedule (directly related to not cooking, I'm sure) and crawling into bed alone gets old. Although I'm not a basket case by then I really do start to look forward to having him home again. By week three I could definitely be labeled as an almost-basket-case. Come. Home. Now. Babe. And the fourth week? Well, let's not go there for right now. I still have 2 1/2 weeks 'til I know for sure what kind of a ticking time bomb I will be after living without my man for 30 days.

Even though I'll enjoy feeling sorry for myself over the next several weeks (which will be reflected in my posts, I'm sure) I am really, really excited for this opportunity that Jonathan has. He just got to spend 5 days of traveling by plane and boat to arrive in the village (they arrived yesterday). He gets to spend the next 3-3 1/2 weeks working in the heat of the day and building houses for two new missionary families moving into a village. Oh sure they'll have swarms of bugs to deal with and who-knows-what to eat during the day. But when it's all said and done he gets to crawl into a jungle hammock at night and sleep. Yes, these are the kind of things that make my man tick. He will come home physically exhausted but totally rejuvenated in spirit! And I will be so very jealous of the 25 lbs he lost after eating grubs and rice for a month.

And before he left I knew I had one of two choices. I could either 1, do lots of baking and partying while he's gone to help fill the void of his absence and gain a lb or two (or 15). Or 2 I could torture myself even more by trying to eat healthy, exercise more and lose a bit of weight to surprise him (and not feel too discouraged when he comes home with a sleeker bod). I thought I was totally committed to option #2 but up until today I've been teetering between the two. Time to get serious. Tomorrow will be the day. Promise.

Weeks before Jonathan left (and up to the day he left) it was a construction zone around here. We really wanted to get our wall built before he traveled which also entailed getting a car gate put into our right side wall and a walk-through gate installed into our left side wall. Our main concern was safety since without the one wall out front and the short wall to the left anybody from the highway in front of us could look straight into our dining room/kitchen at night and see whatever it is I'm doing. I realize that probably sounds strange to those of you who live in the States but down here one can feel quite vulnerable without a wall.

Here is a picture of our right side wall before construction (if you're standing on our porch it is the wall to the right.)

And here is how it progressed 5 days into it. Well, it was supposed to have been 5 days but the guys Jonathan hired still hadn't shown up. He grabbed the nearest helper and started working himself:-)

That big tree you saw in the first picture had to be taken down. That in itself is a looooong story. Just know that Jonathan did grab a different helper for that specific project regardless of how this next picture looks.

Here is the after picture.

This is the new wall out front (and we don't own two trucks! Jonathan is taking care of two extra vehicles for friends who are temporarily in the States!)

Our wall to the left before.

And now after.

Besides security, another reason we needed to get these walls up is because we got a puppy.

Now, if you have followed our lives for the past 5 years then no doubt your reaction is "WHAT?!!! Another dog??!!!" Yes, another dog. I guess I need to go ahead and admit that we go through dogs like we do hot cakes (is a hot cake a pancake? perhaps I shouldn't use expressions I don't understand.) Hum, anyway. Yeah, another dog. Let's just say our previous not-so-mentally-stable dog did us a huge favor by running away. Bless her little heart. We had to get up a wall quick so that we could keep this new dog in (we both felt we needed an outside dog for security, especially while Jonathan is traveling) and also to keep the previous not-so-mentally-stable dog out, should she decide to return. I still can't stop thinking that perhaps she'll show up in a few weeks, jump the new high wall (she jumped the old) and have 12 puppies on my front porch. If this happens then you can be assured you will see the owner of that mentally unstable dog become unstable herself. Ok, let's stop right now and officially introduce Chief.

We have had him for about three weeks now (he has quadrupled in size) and from all that I can tell he's going to be a good dog (but I'm sure Jonathan would discredit anything I say about this subject since I'm the one who drug the mentally unstable dog all the way over here last summer.) The worst part of having a puppy right now is the constant screams coming from a three year old who doesn't want her ankles used as chew toys. I think I'm pretty sympathetic when that happens because, oh my goodness, those teeth are sharp. I sure wish Cesar Millan could come live with us for the next 6 months. That would make my life a lot easier.

I finished my decoupage! I don't really know how I feel about it. When I finished it I was pretty pleased but was hoping that after having it framed then the little things about it that bothered me wouldn't be too noticeable. Well, they still are. Oh well, gluing napkins on a canvas is more of an art than one might think.

I have tons of projects I'm working on while the man of the house is away. Right now I'm really focusing on our bedroom. It is already feeling so much more inviting! It has always been the most neglected room in the house. I'll probably have some pictures to post in the next few days. I'm just hoping that Jonathan doesn't decide to get onto a computer and catch up on my blog on his return trip home! I really want to surprise him...