Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Dresser!

Well, I have officially decoupaged for the first time EVER.  Some of you saw the previous note about the dresser I found on Craig's List for a whopping $10 so here it is:

Before:  Four-drawer dresser, white & ugly!

During:  It got a chocolate brown base coat.

And, VOILA, the finished product:

Here is a breakdown of the cost:
Dresser: $10 / CraigsList
New Knobs: $17.52 (8 @ 2.19 each) / Target
Paint: found quart I already had / garage
Paper: $5.40 (18 sheets @ $0.30/sheet) / on Sale at Hobby Lobby
Mod Podge matte finish: $5.99 / Hobby Lobby
Shelf Liner: $5.99 / Target

Total Cost: $44.90

Potential Savings: could have found cheaper or bulk knobs.  Hobby Lobby paper savings was spectacular but I could have waited until the Mod Podge went on sale.  And I could have opted for a different shelf liner, purchased it from Wal-Mart and maybe saved $1-2.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ode to Craig's List

Our digital camera is not working (and hasn't for about a month) so I've hesitated to write lately.  The two ideas for blogging have required photos to make the best impact but the blog is getting seriously outdated so I'm going to write now, adding stock photos I found online to give you an idea of what I'm describing.

After Denver, I decided to start browsing Craig's List to find some local treasures.  Also known as JUNK.  I have been blown away by the finds:

1.  Three Dresser Drawer for Colby's Room.  $10.  I promise, the one I bought is not nearly as pretty and needs a new coat of paint and some decoupage-ing.  

2.  8 cans of baby formula from a local mom.  At $5 per can (normally $11-12 at Wal-Mart), we fed Colby for half-price last month.  I'll admit, this was the sketchiest purchase but the mom was totally normal and had a 13-month old who had transitioned to milk.

3.  Double Jogger.  I've been wanting to get out and walk (maybe run, ha) with the kids so I've been dreaming about a double jogger, where the kids sit side-by-side.  Found it.  Burleson for $40.  This is a STEAL, for anyone who tracts these.  Now, please keep in mind that ours is USED, slightly faded and the brake doesn't work.  

4.  We sold our dining room table & chairs for $225 to a guy who lives in north Dallas.  He picked up and hauled away the first piece of furniture the Thompsons bought four years ago.  

5.  Two-drawer filing cabinets for $5 each!  They are rusted but work great so with a can of metal primer & aqua blue spray paint, I'll have a very shabby-chic home filing system!

6.  This week, I came across a 12-bin toy organizer shelf thingy.  The bins on ours are light blue, dark blue, green, and red so it's perfect for Colby's room or maybe the playroom.  We'll see!

Craig's List allows you to avoid the following:
1.  eBay shipping, auctioning, etc.
2.  Sales Tax!
3.  The whole consumer-driven economy of mass-produced everything!  

At the worth-while cost of:
1.  Driving sometimes long distances. 
2.  The risk of seeing it in person but not liking it (hasn't happened yet).
3.  Finding something online that's already been sold.

I'm a JUNKIE and I'm LOVING it!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

For Wives Only

Though I'm quite sure there will be husbands and single men and women reading this blog, I do have some encouragement for us wives.  Isn't it sweet how God speaks to us in the most routine activities?

With both kids asleep and the house in decent order, I decided to take a bath this afternoon at 3:30.  I can't remember the last time I had such quiet surrounding me.  Especially in the middle of a weekday.  Anyway, I realized my legs were in dire need of shaving so I began the arduous task and immediately heard the Lord ask me: "How often do you shave for your husband?"  Um, yeah, so the length of the hair is probably some indication but I instantly realized it was certainly more about my heart than my legs.  Thus began the gentle list of questions:

  • How often do I make my husband's favorite meal?  (Do I know what it is?)
  • Is my house more in order for guests than my own husband & family?
  • Do I wear more make-up and hair product for play dates (church, work, etc) than for my husband?
  • Is my weight loss motivated by my husband's delight or my selfish vanity?
  • Are my words the most kind to first my husband, and then my kids, and then others?  Or is it the other way around?
  • How often do I smile at my husband?
I heard this story where a family built the most extravagant mansion with all the finest materials.  They filled the first floor with expensive decorations, furniture, and upscale design.  They could entertain and impress the richest of folk.  However, if you made your way upstairs, you would discover empty rooms, bare walls, and incomplete construction.  The house was simply a facade of wealth, the rooms downstairs created to impress strangers & outsiders, while the upstairs was in disrepair.

As a wife, I want my most treasured efforts to be first for my husband and then for my kids.  I want the wealth of God's kingdom, the depths of grace and kindness, and the beauty and appreciation of life to be wasted on my husband.  To spend all of myself on his honor, his standing, and to live for his success.  To exhaust myself on my children's understanding of God and their love for people and bringing justice to broken places.

Brad and I are building a house together.  On a foundation of truth and righteousness, pillars of integrity and character surround us.  A lot of this responsibility is mine, a gift from God to create a home where my family flourishes.  In fact, that was part of the commit I made to Brad on our wedding day.  I hope the woman Brad married more than four years ago is more pleasing, attractive, and generous today than in July of 2004.  

Let's give our best to our husbands.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A New Way of Living

Yesterday was the single best day of my life.  It surpassed my wedding day, and even the births of both my kids.  In fact, if you combined the bliss of each of those events into one bubbly day, it would be half of yesterday's experience.  Let me explain:

1.  Received free piece of furniture.  For those ladies who can relate to building a home on a limited budget, anything *free* is the best.  Especially, a practical piece that can be updated for the cost of new knobs & a quart of paint.

2.  Family loads into car and drives to Log Cabin Village on University.  "Day in the District" opened the doors of all Fort Worth museums to the public for *free* all day Saturday.  Thinking Picasso & Monet would be boring to my toddlers, we ventured to the outdoor log cabins, listened to ol' timey music, stared thankfully at 250 square foot homes that housed 8-10 people, and smelled fresh rosemary.  We then ate apple cobbler & IBC rootbeer.  The bliss of olden days.  

3.  Picked beans & peas at Gnismer Farms in Arlington.  This organic farm produces fruits and vegetables while opening its gate to the public for picking of things such as strawberries & blackberries (out of season), tomatoes, red bell peppers, swiss chard, and more.  Zoe ran up and down the rows of greens, picking random vegetables out of the dirt and ate them raw.  We walked away with the next evening's side dishes in bags, proud of accomplishing more than a trip to Wal-Mart.

4.  Lunch at Cracker Barrel.  In keeping with the day's theme, we set out for another old fashioned experience and found ourselves sitting in Cracker Barrel, eating robust meals & laughing a lot as a family.  Colby munched on baby carrots, Zoe devoured biscuits, and Brad and I just enjoyed our family.

Our phones didn't ring much, we may not have accomplished many tasks, and there might have been dirt in the veggies Zoe ate but we lived yesterday.  My daughter saw a part of creation that usually goes unnoticed and hopefully feels more thankful for her modern toys & spacious bedroom.  I reconnected with my husband through quiet and simplicity, rather than entertainment and escape.  

What a great day.     

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Email Forward!

So, here is one of those random surveys, done by blog, rather than email!  Enjoy a little insight into my life!

1.  What is your occupation right now?  Part-time patient rep at CareNow, full-time mom & "household manager."

2.  What color are your socks right now?  I'm sporting a french pedicure.

3.  What are you listening to right now?  Bailey chewing a bone, Zoe mumbling to herself, and the fan wizzing.

4.  What was the last thing you ate?  A snickers bar with Zoe & Colby.

5.  Can you drive a stick shift?  Oh YES!  Learned on my first car, a Geo Prism.  I was hot stuff.

6.  Last person you spoke to on the phone?  My husband.  My own & only.  My beloved.  B-Rad shiznit.

7.  Do you like the person who sent this to you?  Well, certainly, all three of them!  (Carmen, Jordan, and Joni)

8.  How old are you today?  28 years, and 25 days!  Whoohooo late twenties!

9.  What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?  Um, prolly America's Next Top Model.  Those girls must work up a sweat under those hot cameras.

10.  What is your favorite drink?  "Hot Mama" from Eskimo Hut, the drive-through daquiri joint off Vickery.  

11.  Have you ever dyed your hair?  Only temporary Clairol Natural Instincts.  Last time was 1.5 years ago.

12.  Favorite food?  I'm modifying this question:  Mexican?  Sour cream enchiladas.  Chinese?  Cashew Chicken from Empress.  Italian: Pasta Milano from Macaroni Grill.  

13.  What is the last movie you watched?  In the theater: Dark Knight.  Rented: Sex & the City.

14.  Favorite day of the year?  This one is SO hard.....pass.

15.  How do you vent anger?  I close my eyes and imagine the wind blowing in my face.  J/K.  I don't get angry much these days but I do enjoy slamming a door every now and then.

16.  What was your favorite toy as a child?    The mini-trampoline in our basement.

17.  What is your favorite season?  Autumn/Fall/Harvest Season.  Mmmm, I can smelled the spiced cider now...

18.  Cherries or blueberries?  Marachino cherries.  Sunk on the bottom of a glass full of cold coca cola.

19.  Do you want your friends to email you back?  Not an option for a blog.

20.  Who is the most likely to respond?  Besides those already, probably Stefanie Rohman.

21.  Who is the least likely?  Either my mom or dad.

22.  Living arrangements?  I mean, my sofa is at a 90 degree angle from my loveseat.  Currently, I have five roommates, not counting cockroaches: Brad, Zoe, Colby, Sadie, and Bailey.  

23.  When was the last time you cried?  At steffie-poo's wedding this past weekend.

24.  What is on the floor of your closet?  Um, a hanger, old pillow, old maternity clothes, and other items.

25.  Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending to?  N/A.

26.  What did you do last night?  Worked until 10:30pm and then slept.

27.  What are you most afraid of?  Something happening to my kids.

28.  Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?  First, this is an odd question.  Cheese, for sho.

29.  Favorite dog breed?  Shed-less, barkless, potty-trained mutt.

30.  Favorite day of the week?  One where I get to sleep in past 7am, spend all day with my family, and then finish it with cheesecake.

31.  How many states have you lived in?  Four: Michigan, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas.

32.  Diamonds or pearls?  Diaaaamonds.

33.  What is your favorite flower?  Red roses.    

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

In this season of spiritual revival and renewal, I am rediscovering a few old things and making the acquaintance of some new things.  These are just a handful of my favorite things these days:

I have been drinking *mostly* diet drinks lately (almost 20 pounds lost!) but this one tops them all!  Frosty cold, it's like going on a shopping spree in a candy store.

Speaking of drinks, this is my favorite wine.  Wine is quite the overstatement as it's labeled "dessert wine" (aka how much sugar can dissolve in grape juice?) but for $5.99 a bottle, it's perfect!

Since we got married in 2004, we have gone through three vacuums, not including one borrowed and one mini sweeper.  We took the plunge a few weeks ago and bought a blue Oreck vacuum cleaner.  Not just any dirt-picker upper but an intense and highly effective one.  We got $200 off by promising to bring them our three old ones, which will get donated to a local women's shelter after a little bit of botox.  Helping the underprivileged and getting my carpets clean.  Woohoo.

And, finally,  

My dead-sexy husband.  Since we've had more time to focus on our family and marriage, I'm falling in love with him all over again.  Walking through the toughest decisions of our life has fused our commitment and adoration for one another.  He continues to be my hero in every way.  What a man of honor and I am truly blessed to have been chosen by him.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Trip to the Zoo!!

So, we braved the hot hot weather and went to the Fort Worth Zoo today and had a fantastic time!  It's half-price day and kids under 3 are free so we're enjoying it before ZoĆ«'s birthday in a few weeks.

I like to call this one "Three Little Monkeys"

We've got to work at looking at the camera.  

Big elephant.

Little Elephant.

My Happy Boy!

And then, it was time to leave.

Friday, August 8, 2008

An Update!!

I've realized that a lot of people don't know what's going on in our lives these days so it's time for a brief glimpse into our world.  Here goes:

I started working for CareNow on July 11th.  I went through 100+ hours of training and had my sign-off last Friday.  I work at the clinic off McCart, just two miles from our house, and take patients through the process of checking-in and then check them out when they're done with the doctor.  I love my job but am adjusting to working with drama-ridden gossip girls who are single & range in age from 19-22.  

Brad just got a job at TCU!  He is going to be the Assistant Student Activities Director until December - basically, planning all the Howdy Week, Spirit Week, and other events on campus.  He is going to be GREAT at this job and he's really excited about the position.  

Zoe is beautiful and more grown-up than ever!  She is even dressing herself - both pants and tops!  This is what she looks like this morning: top inside out and backwards.
The potty training is going much better and she turns 3 on August 30th.  I can hardly believe she's been in our lives for nearly three years (almost four if you count pregnancy)!  

Colby has FOUR teeth coming in on top.  He's already got the bottom two in front and yesterday I discovered four more crowning his gums.  He is cheerful and barely fussy so you'd never know unless you take a look in his mouth.  He is eating cheerios, spaghetti-o's, and homemade baby foods like peas, carrots, and mixed veggies with turkey.   

Our lives are settling down a little and though it's extremely different than we had expected, we're finding joy again.  We're learning the difference between being hopeful and being full of faith.  Brad and I have learned something about being on the same team and walking in unity that may have taken years to grasp unless we had walked through this trial.  And I now that I work outside the home, I appreciate being with my kids more than ever.  

Sometimes things have to be taken away from us to truly realize their value.  And sometimes the things God gives us may look and feel like hatred but are a deep expression of His undying love for us. 

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Potty Talk: An Honest Look at Motherhood

Being a mother is one of the best things in life.  And one of the hardest.  From the moment that little bug decides it's time to come out of your uterus, there's pain, pressure, stretching, and lots of embracing the inevitable.  There are moments so intense with love and joy, I think heaven has surely come to earth.  Then there are moments (or days or weeks) of these reactions, attitudes, and behaviors that have come from the hotter side of after-life.

I love my kids.  I mean, there is this surge of fullness in my soul when I think about their faces.  Here are a few of the highlights of late:

1.  Colby, who has been crawling and might even be close to walking, has discovered toilet paper.  No, not the dry kind, off the roll.  The used kind, hand-picked out of the toilet, left over from big sister's lack of flushing.  Don't worry too much, it's just #1.  I hesitated telling my germaphobic husband who made the predicted "EW.  AH.  UGH." face but then told me the same story the next day.  We're training Zoe to close the bathroom door whenever she walks out.

2.  We have been potty training since late March, which now makes for more than four months of bathroom runs, wet panties, and pull-ups.  We have days where she goes through six pairs - in an hour.  I recently couldn't find a single dry, clean pair so we did a lot of laundry and I decided to count just how many pairs she owns.  27.  Yep, twenty seven pairs of pink/purple/striped/polka-dotted/you-name-it, we-got-it panties.  Victoria's Secret would make millions if they introduced a toddler line.

3.  On the road of bathroom mishaps, let me share with you about our dogs.  Wednesday morning: I walk into our playroom to a huge pile of dog poo.  "Honey, I have to leave for work.  Sadie had an accident in the playroom.  Love you" were my words walking out the door.  Thursday: Again, I'm about to walk out the door when Brad discovers Bailey in her kennel, covered with dog poo.  He puts her outside to clean up the mess while Zoe helps by picking up the soiled dog.  I leave  my sweet husband to pick up the pieces.  Bailey peed on our bed later that day, too.  Lucky for her, I wasn't home to take her to the pound.

This world is full of mess, chaos, and poo.  Our lives are often as pungent as puppy accidents and repulsive as drinking toilet water.  I'm so thankful for a God who gets close to our messes and cleans them up for us.  I'm grateful, too, that He is patient with me.  He perseveres for my love and affection even when I prefer the grosser things in life.

Being a mom is the best thing.    

Friday, July 18, 2008

Are We Crazy?

First, let me say that updating a blog is slightly more difficult than I had predicted.  Yes, it's just a matter of writing updates, interesting thoughts, or randomness (the last I am particularly a pro) but when I think of it I either 1.  have nothing to say or 2. have too much to say and no where to start.  Ah, the dilemmas of internet communication.

So back to the rhetorical question: Are we crazy?  (No, I'd rather you didn't answer that question.)  We got a dog.  I mean another dog.  Yes, I have a nearly three-year-old and a nearly seven-month-old and a four year old dog.  And yes, I have just started a new job and Brad is starting a new job and our lives are a little turned upside down at the moment.  But we got a dog.

Let me rephrase that:  we got a puppy.

Most people would look at us, roll their "internal" eyes, and silently think we have been sniffing glue.  And there is a corner of my wisdom & education that would completely agree, though I don't even know what kind of glue to sniff.  Rubber cement, maybe?

Bayleigh/Bailee/Bailey (we haven't decided on the spelling) may have been a seemingly odd decision to make in the midst of our life circumstance but sometimes when life makes all the decisions for you, it's empowering to make a small decision for yourself.  A life-giving, joy-bringing, lower-my-blood-pressure decision that for a few moments each day distracts Brad and me from the disappoints we're facing.  She's giving my husband a "job" when he's feeling low about being between careers.

The name Bailey means "a person who manages the affairs for another entity" and in some odd way I think God is teaching us to allow Him to become our Bailey.  And though I'm struggling with His "goodness" in our lives, I'm simply making the choice lately to allow him to manage my affairs.  

So welcome to our lives, sweet Bailey.  Love us faithfully and we'll feed you fully.  Just please don't pee on my bed.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Pilot Episode

I've been thinking about starting a blog for months but have faced a serious roadblock: what creative name can I publish under?  I mean, to be really good it's got to have a great title.  Something profoundly obvious but obviously profound.  "The Life and Times of the Thompsons."  Nah, too boring.  "The Thompson Four."  Ugh, what if we grow? 

I was rocking Colby to sleep this morning and singing to lull his sweetness into dreamworld.  (Anyone in our house will tell you that I am oddly gifted at coming up with the most random songs at any given moment of the day.  To Do: write a Broadway Musical about our life and make millions.)  Again, in this moment, wondering about a blog, a title, and my mind began to wander:

The chapters in our lives are like the songs of God.  Some of them are deep minors with low notes and words filled with sorrow.  Others are upbeat tempos with the melody of joy and brightness because things are "just right."  We have refrains that are developed from the character we gain from walking through seasons with certain people or circumstances.

The chapters in my life, my novel, are all because sweet Jesus is writing His story in the grains of my heart & soul.  The songs that flow from these places are expressions of thankfulness, sometimes to God and other times to my husband, my kids, my friends.

And so begins an ordinary diary that tells about the extraordinary life that swirls around me.  Diapers.  Homemade baby food.  Marriage bliss.  An addiction to Target and an affection for puppies.  The memories that slip into my history and the dreams that are at the tips of my fingers.  Efficiency.  Simplicity.  Beauty.

I'm writing another song...