Tuesday, April 23, 2013

This Thing Called Spring

It really has been that unexpected sort of spring weather you hear about around here. One minute there's a sudden downpour that reminds you of Alice in Wonderland's big, blobby tears that create a flood, and then a few minutes later you're being teased with signs of summer. This makes quite the eventful day when you are a driver education teacher!

 It's funny because here in the Pacific Northwest we take pride in our sun. If it's out, so are the bikes, skateboards, sidewalk chalk, shovels, slurpees. Everyone looks more friendly and seems to be more friendly. We get a little vitamin D and go crazy like a kitten on catnip. Now that the weather is nicer, Baelor is finally old enough to be venturing outside. He would stay out ALL DAY if I let him. He gets a thrill at all the outdoor sounds like airplanes, and likes the different textures of dirt, rocks and plants. 

 A cute picture of the kids with Mummi. We'll just assume Mummi's eyes are closed because she's laughing. She takes such amazing care of our children. It is because of her that I can be at ease when I am working knowing that they are getting the best.

I was picking up the kids after work one day and found him with this hat on! Apparently his much older cousin wore it as a baby. It's so corn-doggy it's cute. The little girl in the background is Hadley. That's Baelor's buddy. She is a smart and independent little girl.

I sure wish my complexion looked as dewy as his. Seriously, isn't he cute?

I found some fun alphabet letters and numbers at Goodwill for $6 and knew Reina would have fun putting them together.

Baelor had fun pulling them apart...

 These kind of days deserve time at the park! Often the kids get hours of fun at the park across the street. You can see Mummi's yellow house in the background. Reina loves when assistant Elayne winds her up in the swing.

Sometimes I get to join in on the fun as well!

 Apparently Reina's thing that day was to make funny faces for the camera.

Reina was showing everyone how she looks like a horse (can you see her mouthing "nay"?) She's so fun.

So is he.

 I am a proud owner of my first Red Flyer tricycle. This one is a classic and room for two! Gotta love a good second-hand find!

Baelor is becoming so confident. He is out of the "baby" stage and realizes he can ride cars like the big boys and throw balls quite well and catch them. He mimicks throwing paper airplanes and playing hide-and-go-seek just like the others. 
He was a little too confident one day and got his first major owie. We're not quite sure how it happened exactly but he fell on the brick fireplace (flat part) and it hit just right to cause major breakage and blood. I had to rush him to the urgent care clinic as it appeared severe enough for stitches. Luckily, expensive super glue did the job. The crazy thing about this is the fact that he is not clumsy. Both of our children are very careful. They don't just make sudden movements without thinking it through. We believe it had something to do with a plastic ball that either got caught under his foot  or while retrieving the ball, it suddenly moved. Our only evidence was a plastic ball in the spot where he fell. Since then we have blocked off the fireplace completely at Mummi's house. 
Here's our little guy with his battle wounds.

 Here are two "Get Well" cards that were written by Elizabeth and Emily. You have to read how sweet they are.

Whenever Paul makes a green smoothie, Baelor thinks he has to drink it just like Daddy, cup and all. It doesn't matter how full he is, he gulps that stuff down! One day he drank half of Paul's drink!


Reina is sending a letter to her first missionary, Ben. He and his brother Porter did a little babysitting for Reina when she was a baby. She adores them and they adore her. He has been waiting for a letter from her. 

Paul was yelling how amazingly vibrant this rainbow was. It happened so fast I barely snapped a picture of the tail end of it. We've enjoyed some amazing spring views in our home!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Perfect Easter Weekend

We had one of the best weather days for Easter this year! The day before Easter, Reina enjoyed two parties. The first was a birthday party for a friend from daycare. Her favorite part was the jumpy house set up in their driveway and the cake. My favorite was the Mediterranean-inspired dishes (father is from Jordan). Baelor was napping at home while Paul was mowing the lawn for the first time. Although the weather was perfect, the grass was long and wet so it took him hours to do. I think of that song by Sheryl Crow "....the first cut is the deepest." After that party, Baelor tagged along with Reina and myself for an Easter egg hunt at her friend Abigail's house. Her parents are eastern European, so we had quite the multi-cultural day! At the close of her day, Reina said "That was the BEST day in the WHOLE world ever I had."

We got home just in time to dye some Easter eggs before bedtime.

Easter Sunday. I was so excited for matching outfits!

Matching baskets!

Dapper dude in a bow tie

Reina has been learning so much about Jesus in her Sunbeams class- her teachers are a fabulous newlywed couple. We are so excited to see her excited to go to church. Reina please always love going to church... 

I hosted Easter this year, as we've had many occasions at my sister Sanni's house. I think she deserved a break. We enjoyed the company of grandparents, siblings and cousins to reflect upon this special day. Really this day was light and simple so we could reflect upon our Savior and the great gift He has given to us.

It was so beautiful that the kids ate dessert outside and then we all ventured on the path behind our home.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Refreshing Changes

Before I show any pictures of the house, I have to tell you the struggle I had with even deciding to post.

Reason #1- We are just renting. We can not make changes to the house, nor would it be smart to.  For example, if it were our house and planned on living in it for a while, I would update to all white doors with the more modern inlay. Then of course new trim with matching thicker baseboards. I would get new hardware for knobs as well. This would be an expense, and would be worth it if we owned the home. I would make a few structural changes, like new bathroom cabinets, sinks and faucets. I feel like those who view these pictures will look at them and think I have bad taste. Most of the things I can not change so you have to see it from my perspective. Remember, it is a rental.

Reason #2- Frugal. I would feel sick if I went out and bought a brand-new bedroom set for $1500 (and that's probably on the low end). I. Just. Can't. Do. That. I wouldn't say that I am cheap, maybe others would :).....but it's kind of where I place my value. I don't like to see my cash sitting and collecting dust on a furniture set that will go outdated (you'll see in this post some evidence of that). I would rather see it in use, i.e. groceries, preparedness, even vacations (which are few and far between).

Reason #3- Inventive. I like most things to have a purpose, meaningful or useful. I even like our pictures to be meaningful in some way or another....not just to fit the "color scheme" of a room. I don't want to take a store window and put it in my house. To me there is no life or character. Just pretty decor that will be outdated in a few years. Of course not every piece of wood, plastic or canvas has some special memento, but most everything has a story behind it. I want to be surrounded with life, not just a pretty color scheme. I guess this will make it harder to part with each item when it's fulfilled it's time with us.

Reason #4- Trash to Treasure. I guess I like to see what I can make out of nothing. There is a little bit of pride when I say I got ALL OF THIS for $100. Or if someone comments on something they like and I'm thinking "Yeah, I got that second-hand and it used to look like sh@*!" There is some nice stuff out there that is reasonably priced and doesn't require any work. Maybe in our next house I will do this, but for not knowing our future, I have tried to create something from nothing. I guess I could say that our home could be entitled, "What Can you Git, For a Little Bit: Guide to Stretching that Dollar".

Reason #5- Tight Budget. We are still in the transitional stage of our lives. Still. This is not our final home. We don't know where we will be five years down the road. We hope to be settled where our children will look back and remember fond memories of home, neighborhood, school and friends. We hope to be there while Reina is young and can easily make these major transitions that can be tragic the older they get. I am pleased with the schools that our children will go to. Trust me, I know the schools around here; which ones are good to substitute at and which ones to avoid like the plague. We are good in that department. One of my top priorities.

When viewing our house. Please consider that I can not add/change structural things. We did change a few things that were approved by our landlord, but for the most part only decor and layout is our territory. The pictures were taken way back in February, now we have some pretty greenery going on outside, even some flowers. I'll get to the outdoors soon!

Outside Entrance:
It was freezing cold outside (picture taken in February, so no living stuff)

Inside Entryway Before:
(brand new flooring downstairs. Although dark wood floors are beautiful, light floors went better in this house. Good choice!) Used to be blue carpet that you'll see upstairs

After: Black cabinet (60's veneer/craigslist) painted and added handles. Mirror (repurposed from chiropractic office in Tacoma/ $40). Rug (love the design and texture/ $15 clearance at TJMaxx). Lamp (painted base/ used to be orange, $10 clearance at TJMaxx). Knicknacks (mostly gifts). As I type this I have some cute spring decor out, but not gonna re-post new pics, sorry.

Guest Bathroom Before:

New light (landlord permission/ still have to touch up paint around it)
Wall color (with permission/ can't remember name of paint color but a warm rock color)

Pictures and sticks in pot from Tacoma practice

Silver Mirrors (Ross/ $9)
 Removed old wood towel bar and instead added towel ring

Entryway to living room:
Sectional (Craigslist nearly brand-new/ neutral grayish-brown with hidden blanket keeper in ottoman, matching wing-back chair not in view, $700)
Cool arc lamp (Costco/ marked down to $80 since it was the last one). I waited months before I had an excuse to buy it.

Round, 2-tier glass table with wheels (for drinks and books, Goodwill $20)

Living room before floors done: (Paint color is beautiful in real life. Looks beige in the picture, but actually a soft green)

 Living room before: (ignore the cabinet, started moving stuff in)

Matching wood cabinets (craigslist, Ethan Allen brand $125 for both). Perfect fit and hides electronics.

Haven't decided what to put in apothecary jar yet. Most knicknacks have some meaning (can you tell we are Mormon, like elephants and the medieval?) Picture of Jesus with baby was postcard-size but liked the sketch so had it blown up.

Dining Room Before:

Dining Room After:
Yep, it's our office and "library". The flow of the house was better to have computer and books backing the living room.
Wingback chair (part of sectional piece)
Bookshelf (painted white, used to be Great Grandma Guinn's) I may add some molding around the edges to look more complete.
Rug (Fred Meyer's 50% off = $60) p.s. any semi-quality rug ain't cheap.
New light (Paul was banging head on previous hanging light)
Computer Desk (first married FHE project / tucked away in corner on purpose). It's gone through a lot with us, including being taken apart four times. It's not giving up on us :) (RC Willy $100)

Picture (love the colors and serenity / from Tacoma practice)
Pillow(s) (Ikea, $10.99 each)

Family Room Before:
Okay, the before is WAY cuter due to the little baby who couldn't walk then.

Family Room After:
This is our dining room. We didn't need two rooms with couches.
Replaced fan with chandelier.
 Wood table- bought when newly married in Utah at RC Willy in discount section. (can't remember price but must have been inexpensive). I like that it is round, but sides come down to make a square table. I like that you don't have to store a leaf either. Fits 8-10 people.

Tree picture (reminds us of the Tree of Life in the scriptures/ from chiropractic office in Tacoma)

 White cabinet (Craigslist from a little old lady moving into a nursing home/ $100). There is a story behind this piece as well. The short version is that the lady's nurse went to elementary school with me.

Piano (craigslist, $225). This one fell in our laps! The woman who sold this to us reminded me of the lady from the 80's "Wheat Thins" commercial . In great condition and will serve us fine until I have a grande piano. (maybe someday?)
Eventually, this wall will be our "Family" wall. Not finished hanging everything yet.

Dining room before with blue carpet:

Different angle of dining room...couldn't resist this little guy posing.

Leads to back deck.

Chairs- nice wood and sturdy, but needed tons of TLC. Date back to 1930's. I like the detailed "keyhole" backs. Had a table that came with but liked ours better. (Old chairs and table [not shown], craigslist $135)

Kept worn look on edges during sanding and staining/ reupholstered.
Fabric ($21 for all chairs) 

Kitchen before:

Only changes are the red walls with the soft gray paint I already did bathroom with, a new light and the blue mini-blinds are replaced with cafe curtains to allow sunlight.
I'm considering painting the cabinets (staining would be very time consuming and may not turn out well). Not sure if I want to put the time and effort, but not a fan of the classic 90's oak.

If you are thinking we have a billion stools, that is just a large mirror. We had two and found this spot needed some depth.

This is actually the laundry room. The washer and dryer are around the corner next to garage door. I don't have a BEFORE picture but the size was quite large so we made it into the kids' playroom. If they make a mess and we're running short on time, I can just shut the door!
Car track rug (Ikea, $12.99)
I saw someone on Pinterest paint a linoleum floor in a large striped pattern with patio paint. I would do this if it were our house. Worst case scenario we'd have to put new linoleum.

Shelf (for workbooks, paper, colored pencils, etc.) Nice and low for kids to get to (used to be in massage room in Tacoma practice)

Little table (was going to the trash at the office Paul works at now; he knew I'd do something with it / painted and added plexiglass to avoid the annoying crayon and marker stains and for smoother writing).
I know it's popular right now to have a super vibrant kiddy table (lime green, turquoise, etc), but I thought I might get annoyed looking at that shade everyday so I went with a Maine blue. (Picture makes it look more baby blue than actual color)

Under the stairs (that weird storage area where you bonk your head....perfect for little ones)
Since this leads into the playroom, we took the door off and added lots of tubs and bins. I know how kids can't see what's at the bottom of a large toy box and they like only one type of toy for a week or two. They can take a tub or bin and go wherever they want, and clean-up seems less of a chore. I categorized tubs by balls, cars, dollhouse stuff, playfood, etc.
Kid-sized shelving unit (craigslist/ $15)
Metal shelf for bins (Ikea, $15)
Collapsing bins (Fred Meyer, bought only when 2 for 1 deal and on sale so about $2.50/bin)
If this were our house I would replace carpet (just scrap-size piece so nearly free), and paint the sloped ceiling and walls in a cool kiddo design. You can't see all the dimensions from this picture.

Back deck:
Awesome space (haven't touched until weather gets warmer)

Best view in the neighborhood! We can venture out behind on walks or bikes. We see people walking their dogs daily. We've also spotted blackberry bushes for summer picking! Yum!

Upstairs main bathroom before:

New light
A few simple additions (small space)

Upstairs Hallway before:

Full-length mirror (from Tacoma practice)
Rustic window frame of grandparents and cousins (Goodwill/ new, $14) Currently selling at Target for $35.
Energy-efficient wall lamp (for kids at night to go potty/ Ikea $16, still have to hide cord)

 Guest bedroom before:
(previous tenant left cute sheers)

I call this my "old lady room". It's very warm and calming though, perfect for visitors to relax.
Bed (including Sealy Posturpedic queen mattress, frame. Part of complete bedroom set / Craigslist $100).
Pictures (from chiropractic practice)
Storage boxes (Reina's old toy boxes, now holds photo albums)
Bed-in-a-Bag (Ross, $40)

Chair (retro retain/ Goodwill $20)
 New cushions (left old cushions at Goodwill when bought it, gross). This chair ended up being spendier than expected. If you didn't know, foam is expensive (even at 50% off!). Sewed myself with indoor/outdoor fabric. Initially did over a year ago and didn't decide if it would go indoors or outdoors. Still have that option in the future. Just put it where it kind of "went" and had space.

The whole queen bedroom furniture had this ugly '70's veneer on top of wood. You need to prime first with a sealer that can go over veneer and I used one that kills any mold otherwise it will come through the paint! I can't remember name of primer but it has a signature "gold" label on it.

Baelor's Bedroom before:

Same decor as previously except more room :)
Set of four animal pictures ($16 for all / Ross)
Black and white and red bedding, valence/ homemade)

Wall art (fabric from ikea, homemade/ probably about $18 for both including wood frames)
Initial letters- painted myself (Baelor Leevi Guinn)

Reina's room before:

Had all decor from previous room except white tulle beddress (Ikea, bought years ago and lost in storage, I think $12.99) and pink rug (Ross/ $14.99)

White dresser- was part of 60's veneer set (other piece was the black entry cabinet). Painted and added handles.

 Whimsical painting (Goodwill $15)

I love how the mirror fits into her princess-like bedroom (this was part of the $100 bedroom set...the rest in master bedroom)

This was my Grandma Luella's over-the-toilet bathroom cabinet. It was your basic brown cabinet. Painted, added scrapbook paper for wallpaper backing and changed to glass knobs. (a few dollars for knobs and paint)

My favorite part of her room, the quilted bedspread that I just happened to find the matching pillow of my favorite animal a few weeks later at a different store! What are the chances!

Master bedroom before:

Okay, I promise that it looks better in real life. At least I hope. The only thing new here are the throw pillows and light fixture. I tried to tie in the gray comforter with the blue picture and carpet and the purple/pink accents. Seriously, how do you blend all those colors and make them look purposeful?!? I am really wanting a nice headboard so it looks a little more put together; one of those elegant upholstered ones, but the kind I like are 4 digits, yikes! So I'll have to come up with something under 3 digits.

Picture of the water from a dock (from Tacoma practice)
Down comforter (wedding gift, and duvet cover already had $10)

Cool retro round chair with wheels ($5), but I called around and to reupholster the '70's orange chair would be at least $300. Finding a somewhat fitted slipcover, that'll do.
Pillows (Ross/ $12.99 each)
Blanket (already had)
This is why I bought the pillow, to tie in all the blue, gray, and pink that somehow ended up in the bedroom.

Wardrobe before:
Actually this was an entertainment center when BIG tube tv's were still around (actually, we still have that big kind in our room)
I needed more storage for clothes than one closet, sheesh. Paul tore out the inside units and added a bar. Perfect!
Wardrobe (craigslist $50, was a little too country for me so painted)

Matches quite well!

Continued master bedroom/bathroom before:
 (that was the mirror that came with the dresser, now in Reina's room)

Mirror (Ross/ $40, already had)
Ugly tv (still works)
VCR (for Reina's princess movies, $5)
Table to hold that monstrosity (Goodwill/ $30) This was a challenge because I had to find something that was the same height as dresser, nice and "airy", yet sturdy for a TV. We tried placing it on top of dresser, but then it blocked half the mirror.

Dresser (part of $100 bedroom set)
Already took most of the handles off (you can see they were that infamous brass)
Very heavy-duty (even the handles could take you out!)
Sorry, the picture was my cell phone.

Used iron-color spray paint for the sturdy handles

I love all the detail!

 Master bath...changed nothing but the plant and added a nice medicine cabinet you can't see.
Also touched up paint on walls (drip lines running down)

Our home is still a work in progress. For a temporary home, we are comfortable and happy. We have space, a culd-e-sac, great landlords :), good neighbors (in our ward), and a great view.