Thursday, March 29, 2012

At this moment-The start!

So the downstairs is mostly done. By mostly I mean every room that you see. The bathroom is clean too, but whatever.

The old office is not clean. I have been putting that on hold until after the basement boutique. Why? Well it used to be the office. When we moved the computer to a visible part of the house, Jeff said I could have the office for a craft room/sewing room. Yippee! But I haven't had time to organize or redecorate it. It's on my list of things to do. Also, the hall closet is in a state of disarray. And I hate that hall closet and the lack of room for the coats and shoes of 8 people. So some rethinking of the space is in order. But all in good time.

What I have learned while cleaning today and yesterday, is that I was waay too ambitious thinking I could get the house back to my old standards of clean in just two days.

But then I thought, hey! What's a few more days? I can work on it to get it to maintenance order, and by the 1st of April I can start my 30 days. So that's what I'm doing. Cuz I can. Plus then I can get the kids to help with the upstairs after school. It's definitely messy from a collective effort by the younger children in this house. So they can help un-messify it.

My ultimate goal is to have my house in order to the point where Kate or Julia can have any friend over, and that friend could snoop all they wanted in drawers, closets, etc and not find a messy spot in the house.

My pulse is racing just thinking about it. My stomach is doing flip flops just contemplating it. And poor Henry and Nora, who are home with me all day and leave a trail of stuff in their wake, are about to experience a change "the likes they've never seen before!".

Ah. Motherhood.

I can't do anything about the dirty, needs to be stretched rug. I have no money. And the couches, same thing. Although I could attempt a slipcover in a lovely, snot on it, drop peanut butter on it gray color that can be pulled off and put in the washing machine. hmmmm.

I love the *ting* of light off of that picture. It's like the Heavens approve.

Even my entry way is tidy. It's a red letter day around here folks.

Ultimately I realized it will take the same effort every day that it took when we were selling our house in Utah. Even with the house already clean, it took me an hour plus every morning to get it showing ready. Dishes, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning up after small fry. It's hard work. I haven't done it consistently in a while so I'm sort of miffed that everything takes so long.

But I'm challenged! I mean, I'm challenging myself! (I am challenged, but that's a topic for a different day:)

How's it going out there? Anyone rocking their way to a new and improved, ready to show house?

Do tell.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

30 day challenge

I like a good challenge. I do. Of course finishing challenges is always more rewarding than just starting one.

After a few experiences this last week, I decided that I need a "keep your house clean for a month" challenge.

Why would I do this to myself? Well, it's not for myself. It's for one of my children. One of my children who is mortified at our messy van. One of my children who, when hearing that I wanted to offer our worn couch for her play said, "I will just tell them it's not the one we use."

One of my children who told me what a good mother Anne from Anne of Green Gables is. To which I replied, "That's because she has Susan, her full time live-in housekeeper who cooks, cleans and helps put the kids to bed. So of course Anne doesn't feel like a crazy head with six children when she has another full time adult helping her." Or something like that.

And lest you think my child has complained, she has not. It's just her body language and a few comments here and there. Not meant to hurt me. In fact she told me that our slightly messy house showed that I was relaxed and not a mean mother. And I took that as a compliment. But I also thought about what she probably REALLY wants. And that is to have me STILL not be a mean mother, but to also have a clean house all the time.

So I am embarking on the 30 day challenge to keep my house clean. It doesn't matter that it's not the first of the month. We're close enough. So I might as well just go til April 30th. You with me? I mean those of you whose houses aren't always clean anyway? I'm working my tail off today getting it to a good place and then I will post pictures tomorrow of my progress.

This is part of my 365 days of reality. My reality is that I have had very valid excuses for not keeping things as clean as they once were. And no, my six kids are not that excuse. But health problems have been. But no more. Cuz you know what? It's harder to do it, but not impossible. That's why it was an excuse!

So you saw my starting point up top. And that is not the worst of it. But I do have some pride, so that's all you get. But I will proudly show the cleanliness that SHOULD exist by tomorrow and that will last til April 30.

Please someone join me on this. Because while I'm excited, I am also bewilderingly, crazily,  frightened.


Monday, March 26, 2012

A decade

A decade ago I gave birth to our first boy. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island weighing 8 pounds 13 ounces. 10 days early too, thank you very much!

We entered the world of boys not knowing what to expect, considering we had two girls before him.

I quickly found that he didn't want to sit and color for an hour, that I was lucky to get a two second snuggle, because he had so many things he HAD to do. Like? Running, jumping, dancing, running away! down the street, climbing onto the counters, NOT staying in his room for naps, eating more food than I've seen a little baby eat, and in general being the little love of my life.

Now 10 years have gone by and he has grown into a wonderful young man. He doesn't run away anymore, but he still eats a ton and he will now snuggle me for pretty much as long as I want. Oh, and he's the biggest ten year old I've ever seen.

For Charlie's birthday this year he wanted a Lord of the Rings Themed party, so we invited some friends to join Charlie on his quest, and of course, we need Gandalf and a trusty elf to lead the Fellowship.

Julia the elf sang the history of the rings to the boys. They were then given their quest, to destroy the ring of power and evade the Ring wraiths.

Their quest involved clues that were cleverly crafted by Kate!

You’re off! Take heed! Your journey has dawned!
All show their worth in the hoop of the blonde!
 Your worth has been proven, proeed to the next.
In the forest of one among ye, seek the ‘X’.
 You found it! This clue’s been discovered.
Pray make the right entrance of Moria uncovered.
 You’ve now entered Moria, the mine full of bones.
At this time go play at the river of stones.
Your defenses grow weaker, your fortresses short.
So count all the buildings surrounding your fort.
Though simple thus far, it will soon become harsh.
Your next task be: scale the wall of the marsh.
You’ve passed the Dead Marshes; you’ll soon be at rest.
Now, to your Kingdom to finish your Quest!
I found edible images of characters from the movie and adorned the cupcakes with their faces. The 10 year old boys avoided the image of Arwen, but the 13 year old helpers (aka the Ringwraiths that chased the boys all over the neighborhood) gladly would accepted a cupcake with the picture of a girl on it. It was hilarious. And Julia offered to eat the cupcake with the picture of Legolas on it, if no one else wanted it of course. 
When they arrived back at our kingdom, we had a fire built to throw their rings of power (ring pops) into. 
Then Gandalf collapsed into a heap of exhaustion. He is 3000 years old after all. 

Oh and somewhere in there, Charlie got some presents. 


I love this boy, and he deserved a great party. He is so loving and good and the older he gets the more I am amazed at who he is becoming. I'm so grateful to have such a strong, smart, handsome and loving son. 

Happy Birthday Charlie!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

5 days

Take one of these:

Spend hours giving it a makeover.

Achieve this:

Then buy it here:

March Twenty-Fourth
10:00 am-3:00 pm
28623 239th PL SE, Maple Valley, WA 98038

Friday, March 16, 2012

Milestones in mothering

I take my job as a full time mom seriously.

I pride myself on home cooked meals (sometimes cereal for dinner), keeping the house mostly clean, and showering my children with love.

But I have never  been very good at certain aspects of it. I have to work really hard to play dollies or do puzzles or play board games. It doesn't come natural to me. I always feel like I have so much else to do.

And letting them do my hair or nails? Well, I've never really known what I would do because my other 3 girls have never asked if they could paint my nails or do my hair. But Nora? She is in a little class all by herself.

When she asked if she could paint my nails last night, I just looked at her for a second. "Wouldn't you rather paint Julia's nails?" I said. Yes, I was THAT mom for a moment. She wanted to paint MY nails, so I took a deep breath and said yes. I was soo proud of myself! That might seem like a silly thing to some. But to let my 3 year old paint all over my fingers with 3 different colors was really a milestone in my mothering.

I think all parents sacrifice their own wants and needs for their children, but we all have that one certain thing we don't want to do. Letting Nora paint my nails was mine. But OH! how wrong I was. It was so fun, super cute, and I just felt all warm and happy inside. Maybe I should let her put make up on me next time? Nah!

What have you let your kids do that was really hard for you? And was it worth it?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's not really wasting my time.....

I'm in decorating mode right now. I spent a few hours yesterday redoing a piece of furniture that I'm not even selling. It was really time that should have been spent on my show coming up, but I couldn't help it. I was in the mood and so I just did it.

I've had this buffet (the hutch part is in the garage for now) for about 5 years now. It was my grandma's. It's not an antique, it's just special because it was hers. But I was finally over the wood finish. I know that to paint or not to paint is a big question for people. I say it depends on the furniture and the style of your house.

So here it is mid-sanding. I just wanted to rough it up enough so that the paint would stick.

I tried to find even one picture of this before hand, decorated how it was. But to no avail. Suffice it to say, that it was time for a change.

I used a Behr paint that has the primer already built in. It works pretty good. I'm not in love with it, but it worked for the job at hand.

So I gave it two coats, and then sanded it again to give it a smoother finish. The paint/primer combo dries faster and there were too many brush strokes for me liking.

I then gave the hardware a light sanding. I had painted them black a while back, so sanding them brought through some of the original bronzy finish.

I distressed the edges just slightly. I didn't want it to look beat up, just slightly loved.

I also took one of the doors that belongs to the hutch that goes on top, and gave it a lovely coat of green and then just propped it up against the wall. It gives it a layer of texture and variety that I really love.

I then shopped my house, grabbing my sea anemone clock for good measure, and all in all I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

And of course, if I grow tired of it, I can always change it. Cuz that's what I do!

Monday, March 12, 2012

What keeps me busy-this beautimus buffet makeover!

I have not been most excellent about blogging for a few weeks.


Thanks for asking.

Because I have been busy giving makeovers to gads of furniture. It is time consuming and I love it.

But it means I don't do much else when I am in the middle of a makeover. I don't cook much, clean much, or blog much.

But OH the results.

The before is a kind of retched old piece of furniture that is still in possession of good bones. But having been left out in a garage for years, it was a sad sight.

The top was pretty bad, but the whole thing just screamed, "I'm beautiful underneath! Fix me! Fix me!"

The top especially got a good sanding in preparation for new stain. The rest got a rough-over with the sandpaper.

I decided to go with a soft Ivory Palace White for the main body of the thing. Then I used Sliced Cucumber mixed with Minted Lemon for the drawers. New knobs in place, and I heard this whispery little voice say, "Keep me."

However, lucky person who purchases this at the boutique on March 24th will in fact get to own and love this beautiful piece of furniture. If I do say so myself.

I have a funny relationship with the furniture I makeover. I liken it to being a surrogate mother. I create and care for these beautiful things, only to watch them go live with someone else. It's hard to let go. But I can't keep everything I make, or we would soon not have room to walk around here.

I just hope this baby goes to a good home.

Check it out if you're in town.


March Twenty-Fourth
10:00 am-3:00 pm
28623 239th PL SE, Maple Valley, WA 98038

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Developing fashion

Nora had instructions to get dressed.

"Nora, go get clean underwear and a dress. Mommy will help you get them on."

She came down holding an odd assortment of clothes, no underpants, and boots on. And completely buck.

She was instructed to go back upstairs and get undies. Which she did.

When all was said and done, she was dressed exactly as she wanted to be. I don't know if it's better than running around naked, but she was pretty pleased with herself. Who wouldn't be with such stunning fashion sense?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Uncomfortable? Not a bit.

Yesterday my 8th grader had the opportunity to go to an assembly at her school.

The speaker was Brad Henning. He speaks to junior high and high schoolers about the reasons they should wait to have sex until they are married.

Then in the evening, he speaks to the parents so that they can 1. know what their children heard. and 2. reinforce it by having heard it themselves.

Now, as a member of the Mormon faith, we have taught our older children, and will continue to teach our other children, that sex is a beautiful wonderful thing, but that it should be saved until marriage. (does that mean everyone who is Mormon was a virgin when they got married? Of course not!) So I was amazed, curious, and happy that our school district has someone talk to the kids about this.

He talked for two hours, and I could have listened to him for 2 more. But I will try to sum up the things that stuck out to me the most.

The first thing he talked about is what love is. It's not a feeling or an emotion. It is a choice. Love is when you choose the highest good for the other person.

And then he gives many reasons, compelling reasons to wait. Here are his top 9

1. So you can know the whole person. When he challenged kids who were sexually active to stop having sex and see what happens to their relationships, many were surprised to find that they had nothing in common with their boyfriend/girlfriend other than sex.

2.So you can build and test your trust.

3. So there is no guilt or fear later.

4. So best sex is not destroyed.(Best sex is between you and your spouse)

5. So you're not faced with abortions or pregnancies.

6. So you'll never have an STD. (every 2 seconds someone in the United States contracts an STD.)

7. So you'll never be compared to past partners.

8. So you won't have to fight a bad reputation.

9. So you won't be stealing from someone else's marriage. This one particularly struck me and the kids at Brad's assemblies. He explained it like this; how do you feel about other men/women having sex with your future spouse? He said that even those that were currently sexually active DID NOT want anyone having sex with their future spouse, now or ever.

He told one particularly poignant story. The most beautiful girl in school doesn't know she's beautiful. All the good guys are too intimidated to ask her out. So she starts coming to school dressed more and more revealing hoping they will notice her. Do the good guys still look and think she's beautiful? Yes. But now they won't ask her out for more reasons than just the fact that she's intimidating. But the "player" in school now notices her. And he thinks to himself, if she is willing to show that much skin in public, what will she show me in private? So he asks her out. She knows his reputation, but she is so tired of not being asked out that she says yes anyway. And after 3 dates, he gets what he was after and breaks up with her. Why does he break up with her? Because he's always known she was too good for him. And so rather than wait for her to figure that out and break up with him, he breaks up with her first so that no one will say that he got dumped by the most beautiful girl in school. So now she has a reputation and now the good guys for sure won't ask her out. Who wins? No one. Not the beautiful girl, not the good guys.

He also talked to parents about how we let our girls dress. He said most girls are oblivious to what it says about them. But he said that if all guys are looking at is her chest? Then she is dressing wrong. And that goes for us moms too. Obviously you can't always help if someone looks at your bosoms. But if it's constant because you wear too tight or revealing clothes, then the message you are sending is that your worth is based on what others think of you.

Then he showed us a picture of Halle Berry. Arguably one of the most beautiful women of all time. But how is her love life? Horrible. She is deaf in one ear from where a previous boyfriend beat her. One marriage ended because her husband had a sexual addiction to OTHER WOMEN. Was their behavior her fault? No. But she continues to attract people who are not good enough for her. Why? Because she uses her beauty and sex appeal to attract, rather than making those men be good enough for her BEFORE she shares herself with them. Why does she do this? Because her own worth has been tied up in her beauty and how others perceive that beauty.

He also said that teaching abstinence only is stupid unless you first teach 1. what love really is and 2. the differences between men and women. If you don't understand those first two things, then the third won't make sense.

And he said it was never too late for anyone to change their behavior. He read a letter from an 18 year old boy who listened to one of his assemblies and decided to change. He went home and wrote a letter to his future wife that night, apologizing for his past behavior, but promising her he was saving himself for her from that moment. And he did. For 10 years. And so even though he was no longer a virgin, she knew that he had still been saving himself for her since he was 18. And she cherished that letter and what it meant. I loved that part. Because none of us is perfect. But it's never too late.

I just wish you could have all been there. It was phenomenal.
And I could go on and on. But I won't. Check out his website or buy his book Don't Take Love Lying Down. It was really quite incredible and delivered in a way that is logical and really quite smart. He didn't bring any politics or religion into that setting. It was quite applicable to everyone, regardless of social or religious beliefs.

We've worked really hard to have open dialogue with our kids. So far Kate and Julia can ask me anything and I answer them honestly. And boy, have they! I have never shunned the topic of sex. I want them to feel comfortable coming to me. So if you imagine me spouting long lectures on the sins of sex, that's not how we do things. I have told my girls that sex is wonderful and amazing. I have told them that it's what God intended for us and that the feelings that they have and will have towards a boy is normal and natural. They just need to wait until it is right=married. It is a gift that they are saving for the most special person in their lives, their future husband.

I just felt compelled to share this today. And to honestly give props to the Tahoma School District. It makes me glad to live here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The summertime and mothering

Our summer is already filling up. How does that happen when it's only March?

With girls' camp, cub scout day camp, Especially For Youth, and my trip to Alaska, we have 4 weeks already where our family won't all be together.

It makes me frantic a bit, and I longingly wish for the "old days" when my children were all little and we spent every day together. No school, no obligations. Just us.


I love being a mother. I have not traveled the world. I have not accomplished much of my list of To Do's from high school. But I wouldn't trade my experiences as a mother for any of that. And it is going by too fast. Nora will be 4 this year. Kate will be 15. I have the laugh and worry lines to show for 15 years of mothering. And I wouldn't trade that either.


One of the events this summer is Cub Scout Day Camp. Charlie gets to spend a week doing scouting type things, and Jeff gets to volunteer for 2 days of it. He was filling out the registration for it this weekend. It has pretty standard stuff on it. Name, age, address. Then it asks questions about who your child can ride home with, emergency contact, and then the all important one; they want to know if there is anyone we DON'T want Charlie going home with.

This was tough. We knew there were a few people, but we felt bad listing them. Jeff named them and asked me if we should really put them down. I said , "Yes! Absolutely. They need to know."

So he wrote in the names, and I have no regrets.

After all, Charlie is the chosen one, we can't be too careful:)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sneak peek

So Amy(that's me!) and Amber are at it again. We are having a second basement boutique on March 24th!

I'm pretty excited. I have some new things going into it this time. And I wanted to give a little peeky at what I've been working on.

Everything that we do is home decor. And as much as I love refinishing and making over furniture, I wanted to depart a little from that and add something fun. I love vintage fabrics, I love things that remind me of my grandmother and great-grandmother.

So with the help and inspiration from my sister and friend, my brother's wife Amy, I can up with these lovelies!

I know, right? Super cute I think.  I have two of my first attempts hanging in my kitchen. And I love and adore their whimsical deliciousness!

The towels are flour sack towels. Not from actual flour sacks, but inspired by. And the fabrics for these particular towels are vintage inspired Moda fabric. Which I love.

I am working on other colors, because my wise sister Maile told me that not everyone likes those colors. And she is right. So I have other fabrics ready to adorn the kitchens of those who may not like bright reds and blues!

Plus, this gives those who don't want to spend 100 bucks on a piece of furniture, something fun and delightful to purchase. You can support me AND you can outfit your kitchen with towels that are ready to dry your hands after doing dishes, OR, to be seen only and not touched if you so choose. Personally, I threatened my family that I would destroy anyone who wiped their chocolatey hands on little red riding hood's face!

And here are some of the other fabrics I'm working with. Yes, I know they still have a certain whimsy about them. But if you like things a little more plain, I can direct you to your nearest Target. (Nothing against Target. I love Target second to only my family. But when coming to a boutique, you MUST expect things out of the ordinary!)

I love the Cheerio in the corner. I just wanted you to have something to compare the size of the flowers too. Yeah, right.  I really need to sweep. Before I cut any fabric. *Ahem.*

And just another friendly reminder. Be there. Please?

March Twenty-Fourth
10:00 am-3:00 pm
28623 239th PL SE, Maple Valley, WA 98038
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