Ready for the Rain?

As the summer draws near to an end and we get ready for the rainy months ahead, I thought it would be fun to take some end of the summer pictures.  Jack wasn’t really up for a photo shoot and Joe was at school, so Sophia and I ventured out to our yard for some fun. My mom recently sent me some of my favorite dresses and dolls from childhood.  Sophia has been in love with the twirly, long dresses.  So, we decided it would be fun to put one on while we took some pictures.

dress3

dress2

dress5 dress6dress4chair feet glance peekaboo umbrellaIt’s always fun to go crazy taking pictures of your own kids, so hopefully I didn’t bore you too much with our playdate outside. This summer has been so enjoyable, and although I have heard lots of people say they are ready for the rain, I am certainly not.  Hope you are enjoying your last days of summer as much as we have been.

Early Mornings

Sophiayawn

Psalm 5:3

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

Have you ever wanted to be a morning person, but it just seems too hard? Does the thought of getting up at 5 make your head hurt?  Yeah, me too.

As a child I was such a morning person, probably to the point of being annoying.  But after having three kids it became so hard to get an early start.  A couple of years ago a good friend suggested reading an e-book called Maximize Your Mornings.  The whole book is about getting ahead of your day and starting from a place of intention instead of just reacting to the events that collide into your day.

Justwoke1

Before I had Sophia I was regularly following the suggestions in the book.  My mood had changed from absolute dread at the first sound of a waking child, to actually being excited that they were up.  My days started to become more enjoyable, I had time carved out just for me, and some how I was getting so much more done.  Then came baby number three.

Although, the transition from two to three kids was actually emotionally smoother for us than one to two kids, my time was eaten up like never before.  My sleep was never long enough, my days were too long when they were going bad, and way to fast when I needed to get things accomplished.  Although I felt so blessed with my relationship with God and my family, I felt like I was completely overwhelmed by not seeing enough things getting done with the time I had.  I am confident that God was working in my kids and me through this season, but there was a very mundane groove we had fallen into. I missed living my days with intention, being proactive instead of reactive.

Don’t get me wrong. There are seasons of being a mom that you just need to sleep when you can sleep and clean the house if you have time. But to live in that zone without a start or stop date, to always live responding to urgent needs is just an exhausting way to live. It leads straight to burnout.

Last summer my friend Audrey and I started the process back up. It was so immensely important to have someone to hold me accountable in the morning.  We would shoot each other a text to say we were up.  But I have to admit a couple of times I shot her a text and then went back to sleep.  I ended up confessing later.  Thankfully, there is plenty of grace between friends.

At the beginning of this summer I decided to get up early three days a week, spend time in the Word, and get some exercise with a friend.  So far this summer we’ve done pretty good, and every week it gets a little easier to get up.  Although, I have forgotten to set my alarm a couple of time and woke up to my friend calling me to remind me about our run.  Oops…thankfully the trail is almost right behind our house.  But to know that someone is waiting on me helps me have motivation to get up and get going.  It feels good to be up before the family, spending time in the Word, exercising and planning my day.  It really has taken me from a place of getting by to a place of thriving.

If you would like to follow along with a plan for being up and going in the mornings check out Maximize Your Mornings and my running partner has a blog Standing on Peace where you can follow along in the Psalms.  If I can do it, you can most definitely do it.  You’ve got nothing to lose!

Vintage Frame Upcylce

This summer has been a whirlwind. I cannot believe that we only have three weeks until school starts back up.  My blogging has definitely taken a backseat since we found out in February that we were moving.  We didn’t actually move until the end of April, but all those previous months were consumed with getting our house ready to sell and house showings. Then when we finally sold it, there was packing, looking for a rental, commuting to our new church each weekend and saying goodbye to a church family that we were apart of for almost 9 years.

Moving Day

Our new church family has been amazing. We are so glad to be apart of this community and feel so incredibly welcomed by everyone. Before we moved into our new home, people from our new church painted the whole interior of our rental, there was food in the pantry and a crew of people to help us unload. Did I say these people are amazing? Our summer has been full of “getting to know you” dinners, play dates and coffee dates.  All of these things have helped us feel so much more “at home.”

But there has been one thing holding us back.  For me, decorating a temporary home is a little draining. Normally, I love decorating and designing my home, but the limitations that come with rentals as well as the unknown time frame have deflated my energy when it comes to finishing the homey touches in our place.

frame

After finding this interesting gem at the local Restore I was inspired to warm things up (ie. actually hang something on the wall) with a little upcycling project.  This frame with the lovely faux painting was a whopping $5 and it is HUGE.

Now what to do with it….I had been wanting to display some new photos I had taken of the kids and found this to be the perfect way to hang them.  I went to Nations Photo Lab, a company that makes exceptionally beautiful prints with very reasonable pricing.  It was my first time purchasing from them, and I have to say I was very impressed.  Not only did the prints arrive in 3 days, but the way they were packaged ensured that the prints would not be bent or mishandled. I have purchased from other large print companies only to find bent edges and graininess when I received my large prints.  I had the photos printed in 11″x14″ on metallic paper.  Along with shipping I believe they totaled at just under $13.  The color was very true and they came out very crisp.  If you have never done this before, make sure you pre-crop your photos.  Otherwise, part of your special photo may be cut off.

I began my project by painting the frame with a glossy white paint left over from our last home.  After letting it dry for a couple of days I took the actual faux painting out of the frame.  My first thought was to paint the faux painting with chalkboard paint, but there were pretend brush strokes on it and I wasn’t confident that would look right.  Instead I found some left over fabric and cut it just a little larger than the opening of the frame.  Following the directions on the spray glue, I adhered a trellis patterned fabric to the actual painting.  Up until this point there were no issues. It was a very simple project.

Although overall this was a pretty easy project,  I did discovered that not all spray adhesives are created the same.  I purchased foam board from Dollar Tree, cutting it to just under the size of my prints.  Using spray adhesive, I glued the prints onto the foam.  Now, here is where I would change it up.

In the past I have used 3M’s spray adhesive and it works great. This time I used a different brand and the results were less than perfect.  Although I was careful to put an even coat of adhesive onto the foam it did not  adhere evenly.  It seems like I may have to re-glue the prints in the future.  So, just get the good stuff the first time if you end up doing a project like this.

After the glue had dried I hot glued the foam mounted prints onto the fabric.  I wasn’t sure how well they would hold, but it worked great!  Just be careful not to let the hot glue drip on your beautiful shiny, new prints (like I did), because that would just be sad, right?

Overall, I really loved the way it turned out.  To top it off it cost under $20 total! And I will be able to change out the pictures once a year or so to update them.  This project really warmed up the entry to our home. It makes such a difference to have family pictures hanging on the walls.
kids

Rooted

The wind was howling over the gables of our home as I stood utterly amazed at how quickly the weather had changed from a warm late spring day to a tumultuously windy evening.  The kids were in bed and my husband was at the office working on sermon prep.  Standing on the back deck, I let myself feel overwhelmed by it all, watching the trees bend and feeling the cool powerful gusts against my face.  That’s when I felt my son come out behind me and tug on my shirt.  It was obvious he was scared.

As I took him back to his room he was almost shaking.  My assumption was that he was frightened by the howling noise the wind made as it cruised over our home.  But he began to explain to me, what frightened him was how drastically the trees were moving outside his window.  We live just out-of-town, with large trees all around us.  The one he was fearful about was so tall, he was worried that it would crash into his room.

As I told him about how root systems keep trees grounded, he began to bombard me with a flurry of questions.  “How do roots grow? How are roots so strong?  How do roots get water?”  As I was trying to come up with all these answers to his questions the song Tree Song came to mind.   The one that was popular with most Sunday school classes back in the 80’s.  So I began to sing it to him, hoping that it would answer the easier questions and relax him enough to get back in bedtime mode.

As I sang to him such a simple song I was impacted by the imagery of trees, roots, and rivers the Bible often portrays.

“You are like a tree planted by flowing cool streams of water that never run dry. Your fruit ripens in its time; your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun. No matter what you do, you prosper.”
Psalm 1:3
The Voice Translation

How often do we refer to the imagery of the deep-rooted trees and the good ol’river?  The river that brings living water. The one that refreshes and restores the soul. The one that washes clean and brings life to places that were once a wasteland.  The Lord is so good to let me dip in His streams of living water, washing away places in my life that were in desperate need of being made new, quenching my thirst after walking through seasons of spiritual drought, or even cooling my hot temper.

We are that tree and He is the cool stream that never runs dry.  If that stream never runs dry, why do we face lack of motivation, weariness, or spiritual drought?  Because we are human and life happens.  Maybe we don’t sink our roots deep into the stream. Spending time daily in the word and journaling about what God is speaking to my heart has become an essential part of how I sink my roots deep.  Even if I don’t get any profound take away out of my time in the Word, the Lord always blesses and renews during that time.  It is my way of intentionally seeking Him.

The winds, violent and gusty in life come.  The winds that threaten to topple us come strong, but we can stand firm in him.  The droughts of loss, pain, or sickness come.  But with strong roots, nourished by the living water we can withstand them and even flourish in the midst of a drought going on around us.

The simplicity of this is so monumental to me.  It reminds me of how the answer to so many health problems is proper diet and exercise.  For those of us who follow Jesus Christ the answer to so many spiritual issues is to draw from the stream of cool water that never runs dry.  We plant our roots in Him.  We allow his Holy Spirit to fill us whether it is raining buckets or a drought around us. Then despite our circumstances we can abundantly bear fruit that has come from the nourishing we get from him.  We don’t bear that fruit out of sheer will or hard work.  On our own there is no way to maintain the walk Christ has laid out for us.  We can only accomplish it in Him.

Such a simple message, but so incredibly vital to our ability to be strong, grounded and be able to be a blessing to those around us with the fruit that comes from drawing from the deepest, purest source of nourishment…God’s love for us.

If you would like to follow the Summer Psalms reading plan with me go over to Standing On Peace.

The Summer of Psalms

20130611-144116.jpg

This summer I was challenged by my friend Jillian to run through the Psalms with her…literally. We are committing to get up early, run, pray for each other and read through the Psalms. I decided that I would blog my way through the summer Psalms as a way to get a little more consistent on here and share what God is highlighting to me. If you are interested in joining along with the challenge check out her blog post Finding a Summer Routine. It’s easy! Find a running partner, commit to reading through the Psalms and see what God does. Well, maybe not that easy since it includes getting up way earlier than I would like to. But how awesome would it be if we had a tribe of women doing this from all over creation? I think it would be pretty great!

DIY Home Scent

I have always wanted my home to smell like the Anthopologie store.  So I went on a Pinterest/Blog search last year to see how all their stores smell so consistently good.  What I didn’t realize, until I started researching, is that just like beautiful marketing, companies make scent profiles for their businesses as well.  Anthropologie sells a Volcano candle that they burn in all their stores.  So if you too have been wondering, which it seems that many people are enchanted with this smell, you will be happy to know it is available for purchase at their store.  But save your pennies, it isn’t cheap.

home scent 1

While I was wandering around the blogosphere, reading about scent profiles I found quite a few that were appealing and inexpensive.  So, why not try them out?

On Pinterest I saw a recipe for Williams Sonoma store scent pinned over and over.  From the number of pins I figured this would be a great one to try out first.  I ended up using a recipe from One More Moore.  It contains vanilla, rosemary, and lemons.  I absolutely loved it!  But alas…my husband couldn’t stand it. He doesn’t like vanilla fragrances. So unfortunately this one is not going to make a come back in our home.

After realizing how easy it is to make scent profiles, I started playing around with different fragrances.  Obviously, I had to leave the vanilla on the shelf since it made my husband feel sick.
home scent

Try these combinations out:

Lime and cilantro (very fresh)

Orange, honey, and lots of cinnamon (Christmas)

Orange, cardamon,  cloves (Thanksgiving)

Thyme and lemon (clean)

Just add all your ingredients to a small sauce pan on low or small Crockpot, fill with water and wait for the scent to consume your home.  I prefer brewing in a Crockpot because it just seems safer. If you try out the stove version, just be careful to not leave it unattended.

For a few months I was brewing this daily.  I would usually decide what scent I was going to do, depending on what I fed my kids that day.  I would peel their oranges and stick the peels in our mini crockpot with spices.  It smelled so good by the time my husband got home.  My kids usually thought I was making something yummy and would keep checking the oven.

So be creative and try some new scent profiles in your home.

Encouraging Word Art for Kids

Time and time again my husband and I are surprised by the complexities of parenting.  It is one of the deepest relationships we will ever know on this earth, to love a child.  Elizabeth Stone said: “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  And I might add it is to realize you have a lot less control than you think you do over this little being carrying around your heart.  Sometimes its easy to want to control and micro-manage our kids. We might worry about how their choices will affect their future and how their choices reflect on us.

When we, as parents, start to become motivated by fear, one of the most common tenancies is to want to control your kids.  Often this is done at the expense of the relationship.  How often do you (and I am asking this of myself as well) tell your child who they are not, before you tell them who they are.  Does that make sense?

What my husband and I try to do is speak into who they are on a daily basis.  Calling them up into who God made them to be, instead of focusing on the negatives of who they are not.  We like to say that we are calling them up, instead of calling them out.  Once I heard someone say: “The grass isn’t greener on the other side.  It is greener where you water it.”  We want to spend the majority of our time “watering” who they are, instead of reiterating who they are not.

One day I sat down and started writing descriptive words down for both of our boys.  Words that I thought would be encouraging to hear, that I associated with their strengths.  I found that there were many unique to each of them and some that overlapped.  I decided to make art for their room, so that when those hard moments come or when we are just snuggling at the end of a long day I can remind them of who they are. If you would like to make word art for your kids, here is a tutorial you can follow.

name boards1

I had two cork boards, just waiting to be made over.  Target carried the cheapest vinyl letters for the price, so I snagged two packages which allowed me to spell out enough words. Then comes the word layout. Spacing some letters out more and switching the direction of the letters makes it more interesting to look at. Just have fun with it and don’t stress about it being perfect or you will never finish this projects. Trust me! :)

Also keep in mind that the letters do not stick to the cork perfectly.  Try not to lean them upright against anything like I did in this first picture. To my surprise, the letters started sliding down and shifting, as you can see if you look closely.   So save yourself the trouble and leave it flat, so that you don’t have to do all the adjusting I had to do after I took these photos.  Go ahead and tape off the frame so that you can have a contrasting color when you are finished.

IMG_3895

Using spray paint, I began dusting thin coats onto the surface of the cork.  Being that cork is porous, it took a lot more spray paint than I had imagined.  So do thin coats and let it dry before going at it again. Otherwise, it will only continue to suck all that paint into the cork.  Once you are getting the coverage that you are looking for, do a quick clear coat.  Here comes the fun part!!!

name board2

Once everything is dry, start peeling away.  This is so addictive!  You may need to get a stylus or a pair of tweezers to help lift some of the letters.  Take the tape off and you are good to go.

Jack's name board

I had some bright green basic craft paint on hand. So, I painted the frames, let it dry, and then slightly roughed them up. I put a clear coat on to see it and put them up on their walls. Do you see the blank squares left on the boards? Pictures are eventually going to go in those little spots. I have just not found exactly the right ones to pin up yet.

Our Family Photo Shoot

So, we decided to do a DIY family photo shoot for our family Christmas cards this year.  It took a lot of planning and gumption, but we got it done.  Here is our final product that we came up with.

Hanson Family

Becky Higgins has a contest every year for Christmas card design.  After they announce the winner the final templates are put up on her website for free use.  Here are a variety of styles that we used this year.

christmascard5 Christmascard4 card2 family2

kids

We came up with these couple of photos after about 100 blooper pictures that didn’t work.  Thought it would be fun to share those with you as well.  If you don’t see the animation in the pictures below, click on them and they should play a little video for you.

res.020232.0.76bff6fa3bcaddcc7cac335edc14054c.1583774241res.023320.0.fe825ae438065d5d0a067aef277db796.937908982res.023843.0.2c820f5e8b50203b7d0037cf4612fc08.2067131431The kids were having a blast, but it was hard to catch them in all being still enough to take a picture all at the same time.   I made these little photo “flipbooks” on a website called make-animation.com.

Sunny Yellow Front Door

I have already posted pictures of our front yard makeover, but here is the step by step of what we actually did to make it look so much better.  Again, I wrote this back in September.  But I am posting it anyway, because who doesn’t love a bright yellow door?

June yellow has been beckoning me to paint her on my front door. I have been wanting to for a couple of years. But between kids and the rainy season in Oregon, it just hasn’t been my top priority. My husband and I have been so busy this summer and haven’t touched much around the house.  So, we decided to spend the weekend pumping a little life into our neglected house front before the weather turns south and the kids are back in school.

1st on the Agenda:  Freshen up our curb appeal by painting our front door a beautiful sunny yellow.

2nd on the Agenda:  Paint our walkway leading up to our future yellow door.  Although I enjoy the Wizard of Oz, we don’t want to paint that yellow.  No yellow brick road for us, just a nice contrasting taupe or brown/ gray color.

3rd on the Agenda:   Take out the railing that spans across our front walkway.  Someday we want to make our walkway into a front patio, extending it a few feet forward.

Here is the before:

IMG_2835 IMG_2839The yard actually does look quite nice in these photos, due to fresh yard mulch and the fact that it is in the summer.

Here is the after:

Our homeIMG_8343 Fontdoor

We got two of the projects done on our list and I think it looks much better.  However, the daffodils have come out in full bloom since I took these photos, which adds a whole other dimension of pretty yellow layers into our landscape.

Changes…

So, I kind of feel like a blogger drop out.  Similar to the beauty school drop out from Grease, but hopefully a little less pathetic.  After building steam and becoming a more consistent blogger it all came to a screeching halt. I came home after some much needed time by myself to my oldest son asking me, “Mommy, do you love me more than your computer?”  Smile on my face I said, “Of course I do, Sweetie.”  He started crying and admitted that while I was out he and his brother broke my computer.  Big bummer!

So, long story short, here we are almost 7 months later I am finally starting up my blog again. A lot of things have happened in the time between that have really needed my attention.  So, ultimately maybe the loss of my computer wasn’t the worst thing that has ever happened.  It may even been a good thing for a season.

We were so excited about a month ago to be offered a position at Newberg Foursquare Church, only an hour away from where we currently live.  It does mean that we will be moving.  Which also means that finishing our home has consumed our time.  We worked two weeks straight on all of our small and big projects that remained. And now it just looks beautiful and I pray that someone else can enjoy our home as much as well have.

Since the beginning of the new year, I have been reading Sarah Youngs’ Jesus Calling devotional book in conjunction with my Bible journaling.  A couple days ago I read an entry that talked about Waiting, Trusting, and Hoping.  Simple concepts, yet so incredibly hard to do at times. Although I absolutely love our life here, it is hard for me to live in the limbo of waiting to sell our house, waiting to find a new home, trusting that God has perfect timing for all of it and remembering that  I really don’t have to worry.  I don’t have to worry.  It is all in his hands.

So, we are eagerly anticipating the new things that God is going to do in and through us.  As well as looking forward to the new relationships and church family that we get be apart of.  So, it is truly a new season, not without challenges, but new and exciting nonetheless.

So, here it goes…I am going to finally finish posting pictures of our progress on our home. It only took moving to get me going on it. :)  I am so thankful for all the wonderful memories we have gotten to make in this home. Since these are the pictures I took for the house listing it is a bit depersonalized, but still the general idea of what our home looks like finished.

Our home

Dining2Livingroom1kitchen2

 UpperBathroom1Upperbathroom2MasterbedroomLowerBathroom