Tuesday, November 30, 2010

19’ foot tree and other happenings

We selfishly enjoyed Thanksgiving at home this year since it was the first time we had a real kitchen in 3 years. Boy, was it tasty!

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Some lego creating happened. They sort and organize all of the different sizes and colors – isn’t that cute? :)

And, then, we set out to find the Christmas tree. Fun stuff – WAY better than going to Lowe’s! So, as we were heading out, John asked me where I wanted to go (he meant “which way”), so I said, “Lowe’s” and we had a good laugh. I was only half kidding – hahaha (see previous post for that to make any sense). Fairly quickly after setting out, we discovered a cedar tree that would work, but I suggested that we head down towards the deer stand to see if there were any other options. Turns out that instead of just a tree hunting expedition, we were now in for an adventure. We hiked and discovered whole new areas of our property that I have never seen, in fact. Although I was not altogether thrilled to be side-tracked from our original mission (and also that I really no longer believed that we would actually be *getting* a tree from this far away), I have to admit that it was fun.

You see, I’m all about the expectation – I was expecting to go find and get a tree. John, on the other hand, is all about the adventure of getting a tree. So, after traversing the entire property, we ended up going back to the original tree, cutting it down and bringing it in. And, I really like it!

It’s IN the stairwell – it’s 19’’ tall. I think that is pretty cool, indeed. However, the only thing harder than photographing a 19’ tree in your stairwell … is decorating it! Hee! There are whole areas that were just kind of hard to get to, so they aren’t as ornamented as the areas easier to reach. The kids helped me decorate it yesterday and we had a blast going through all of the ornaments – some that we haven’t even seen in 3 years!

(ps – our tree topper star is way too heavy for this cedar, so we are thinking of a plan b)

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View from the top landing – where the rug is is the main level.

Oh, and John, I’ll be happy to adventure with you anytime. Your extra effort always pays off and this tree is more than I could have imagined. You da best!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas tree

***Update*** - My honey does it right! We now have a 19' Christmas tree in our stairwell - whoo hoo!!! ***

Now back to the previously posted message ...

Later today, we are hoping to go find a Christmas tree. For the past 3 years, we have been just sort of "winging it" with Christmas trees. The first 2 years, we were in the camper, and just had a teeny one. Last year, we were SO incredibly busy with the house, we didn't have a tree at all (except for a last minute effort at having some little ones).

I really enjoy Christmas decorations and especially a nice, full tree. I think it has something to do with opening up the box(es) of ornaments and remembering something about each one. Just the nostalgia and tradition of decorating the tree both enjoying time with my current family and remembering times with my family growing up. Good times.

Anyway - I have been looking forward to having a "real" tree for a while now. So we were out hiking recently and were talking about Christmas trees. I threw out the idea of wanting a nice, full one since the house is finished, but in order to get a really full tree, we would have to buy one. John responded with "we have over 100,000 pine trees and you want to *buy* a Christmas tree?" We had a good laugh. Obviously, he is right, but the trees that we have on our property make Charlie Brown's tree shine :) So, now we have a challenge to be realistic (ie - not buy one) *and* make it look nice.

I have some ideas ... I'll let you know how it goes :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Before and After

Here is my latest little project.

I don’t like clutter – stuff just out in the open and visible. Drives me batty. (At times, you would never be able to tell because our clutter does get out of hand!) So, ever since we moved into the upstairs, the stereo “system” bugged me. We had looked and looked for a right piece to go there, but never really found what we were looking for.

Fast forward to two weeks ago … this old cabinet of John’s (shown only in part below), was kind of an odd, yellowish stain color. Not only did it not match, but it wasn’t being fully utilized. I wanted to paint it black and finally found the time to do it. When John saw that I was improving it, he suggested we use it for the stereo cabinet (its original purpose). Great idea!


So – here are the before pictures. Stereo cabinet with components, wires, remotes and “stuff” visible. Yuck!  Here is the cabinet waiting to be primed – I lightly sanded it all over before applying primer. This is just the base, it also has front and back doors and a lid. After priming, I rolled on 2 coats of black paint. (btw: the black was the darkest I could find, but it does appear slightly gray/black instead of a true black)


Voila – here’s the after. Same stuff, but now behind a door. Yippee!


MUCH better – I still need to figure out something better to sit on the sub woofer (where the candle is sitting), but at least the wires and remotes are concealed.

Next … I have an old armoire that I want to transform. The office is in desperate need of some attention, and since the armoire is currently concealing my computer and printer, it should help to have it refinished.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


We are still enjoying an extended fall with beautiful weather (although yesterday and today were rainy), which makes getting work done challenging. We would rather just play outside and enjoy the weather!


Our cover school (for homeschooling) recently had a missions fair project. We chose to study Tanzania (where our Compassion children live). Here is our display board. Please ignore the background mess :) The children were able to do a presentation in front of the group, also, but ours declined for this year. If we do it again next year, they will be “required” by their teacher to present :)


Last Thursday, we went to downtown Birmingham for the Veteran’s Day parade with some friends. After the parade, we were walking the streets (in desperate search of coffee for the Moms :), when a man carrying 2 big bunches of balloons approached us and gave them to the children. We had fun untangling the ribbons and also trying to transport them – on the elevator and in the vehicles. Good memories!


This morning, there was a faint rainbow across our valley – beautiful!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy hikers and a rant …

We are thoroughly enjoying the beautiful fall weather here – so much so that it is hard to get any work done :) Last Sunday after church, we went for a favorite hike through our property and onto Chimney Rock. Such fun!


Happy John on the lion head rock. Kids having fun searching for treasures.


Neli is getting SO big! Mercy’s first time to flattop rock – she was exceptionally happy. (Lilly was along, too, but she was busy on an adventure).

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The sun was at just the right spot and made the rocks and shadows so vibrant. And, me on the lion head rock.

We love this time of year – with the weather cooler, at least the threat of snakes seems less. Looking forward to many more hikes this fall.


And, for my rant … I think my frustration peaked with the political ad phone calls, both receiving them myself and hearing how many other people were also receiving. At one point, both of our cell phones were ringing simultaneously with a political ad. Ugh!

But even before those phone calls, I have noticed an increased “demanding” of people wanting to get my money from me in one shape or another. Here are some examples and see if you have also experienced them:

- Walking through a mall (any mall) and someone constantly jumping in my face with a perfume sample, hand lotion sample, whatever. Politely saying ‘no thank you’ to the first one doesn’t give the second, third or fourth a clue that I may not be interested. Drives me crazy!

- On every Saturday at Wal Mart, some group is stationed outside every.single.door soliciting for money. One week, it’s the cheerleader tots group raising money for uniforms, the next it is the fire department. This last week, it was another group selling tootsie rolls for kids. Honestly, I am going to stop going to Wal Mart on Saturday because it’s just TOO much! (I don’t normally carry cash, so I usually have an out)

- The other day, in the grocery store, I ran in to buy dishwasher soap – a $5 item. I had intended this to be a very quick, in and out, trip. The clerk asked if I wanted to donate $5 to feed the homeless this Christmas. (How convenient – now you can just add it on to my order. They have caught on to my “no cash” gig)

- The phone calls from police and fire wanting donations. I like to support the police and fire, but these calls are often for something obscure and strange like “college fund for their children” (ok, I’m exaggerating, but it is never just directly for the police or fire company).

Please don’t misunderstand, I desire to be a giving person and not a scrooge or a grinch, but I like the opportunity to give where I want to give. I like to know that I am truly giving to an organization that has credibility (I’m not saying that none of the above do, it’s just that I would like the opportunity to investigate). I like to be able to freely walk and/or shop at a business and not be BOMBARDED at every step. It’s frustrating!

Where is the “Do Not Bother Me” list and how can I sign up? :)

However the key, for me, is to be gracious and kind even though I am frustrated:

Psalm 19:14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.