Saturday, December 27, 2014

Haiti (Days 1-3)

Friday~ November 28th, 2014
Bags are packed, and Elijah and Caden are beyond excited to leave the country for their very first time. 

 Haiti....Here we come!!  Elijah checking to see if our plane is on time and what gate we are departing from.
 Jetway was freezing cold in Chicago.  Temps were in the teens.
 The check in lady told us to inform the pilots that it was the boys first time flying....and so we did.  The pilots let them in the cockpit and even sit in their seats.  Pretty cool for them.
 The boys had an eye full as we drove four hours from Port Au Prince to Les Cayes Haiti.  I had previously told them about the poverty of this country, but I am certain my explanation of it didn't do justice as they sat in silence as they peered out the window.
  On Saturday, we went to Simone Orphanage to visit the kids and show our boys where it was that Nick and I's first trip to Haiti was and where we came all week doing different jobs.  We played a bit with the kids and then passed out some candy to the orphans.  So precious.  One of my favorite things was the fact that I got to see one of the girls that was a baby when we first went and she was still there and so grown up.  When she arrived several years ago she was malnurished and in a sad state.  Thankfully to this day she is thriving and growing and looks so happy.  Poor picture below but she is the second girl on the right side of the picture.

 After the orphanage we went with Jan, Val, Derek, Joel, Tess, Dan, Sophia, Adam, Alisha and Brent to these amazing falls.  It was so beautiful to see this in the midst of poverty.

 We hiked right up to the falls and walked right behind them.  So neat!!!
 On Sunday we crammed into this van.  There were 19 of us in this one vehicle!!  We headed to a church in Les Cayes where literally 100's of poor children come to worship and receive mana packs from a missionary family that lives in Haiti to support this mission and arrange this service for these children.

 Here we are shaking 200+ childrens hands as they enter the "church" (which is pictured below).  Many of these children were half dressed and poor.  I was extremely overwhelmed as tears streamed down my face to see the number of kids come to not only get mana packs(rice packs to take home to help feed them) but also to learn about Jesus our Savior.  Listening to these kids and watching some of them praise his name put me to shame.  No, I couldn't understand what they were saying, but the look on their faces as they closed their eyes and held up their hands in praise was a tear jerker for me. To watch them play a game, win and then receive a new outfit as their prize was pricesless.  Some kids came out with their new clothes on as proud as ever and then there were a few that were so bashful and hid their faces as they walked past all the other kids.  Here at this church, if they misbehave they are sent out and do not get to go home with a mana pack thus keeping this 200+ crowd of children under control.
 This little boy really took a liking to Elijah.  He pretty much sat here the whole church service.
 After church on Sunday we all went to Rainbow beach.  Ahhhh such beauty.  Great waves and we all got to ride them in.  So fun!!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Basement Blues

First off, let me make it clear I love having a basement.....BUT with basements comes some negative aspects as well.
It started about two weeks ago when my son comes up explaining to me the basement carpet was wet.  So I head down to see why and what was wrong.  It was one long line of wetness and that was all I could see.  So I grabbed a towel and began soaking it up saying "ellie must have spilled her sippy cup of water".  Well, about 3 days later my son comes up once again and says "mom, the same spot is wet again".  This time I rush down and do a bit more searching.
I open up the basement closet that goes under the stairs and wow.....stench galore!!  Smelled like stale water.  Once I walked into the closet my socks get soaked!!  Then I notice this.....
 so I pull up the carpet just a bit and see that the entire nail boards that hold the carpet down are drenched.

So I call nick and ask if its ok I start pulling up carpet so this can dry?  He doesn't think its necessary actually and so I get out the fans and start drying it out as best as I can.  In the meantime I figure out where the leak is (from the heater) and put a dish under it to catch the water and will let nick figure that out when he gets home.
Ok, so I really really knew this needed dried out properly as the baseboard was soft from the water sitting there and the closet smelled so bad.  I was afraid of mold to be honest so I went ahead and removed the door.  (solid wood mind you!!)
 Well, I didn't stop there.....I pulled up the carpet anyways.
 and propped toys under the carpet to allow air flow underneath.
 And I am happy to report two weeks later the door is back on, the carpet is laid back down without any damage done and our kids are happily playing in the basement again.
Oh the joys of owning a home with a basement!!!

Ellie's Bedroom DIY

Back in August I tried my hand at my first ever furniture DIY projects.  I accomplished bookshelves and also a kitchen table for our basement.  Then when school started I decided to attempt an entire bedroom set for little miss Ellie Mae.  This was my furniture when I was living at home.  My parents so kindly gave it to us for Ellie and because I wasn't very careful as a kid with water glasses I ruined a lot of the woodwork.  Here are some pictures of the process and the finished project.

filled in with wood putty where the old hardware was and then primed it with 3 coats!!!

Nick has a sprayer so that made the process so much easier.  No paintbrushes involved for the paint.

cant really tell here but have two different turquoise knobs

Ellie's first night in her new bed.  She loved it and we had NO problems in the transfer!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

School's In Session

 School year 2014-15 is now in session.  Can it be that I really have a 7th grader, a 4th grader and a Kindergartner???  It just me and Ellie at home and wow, the house can be quiet and wow.....I can get a lot done in one day:).  Our usual large morning breakfast that Nick stays home a little longer to make for the kids.  Then takes pictures and away he goes to work while the kids head off to their first day of school.

 Liam was beyond excited to go.  Entering the school building as a Kindergartner for the first time!!!
 Love you boys like crazy and pray that you can be a light to those around you and a good example.  Here is to a wonderful year at Cornerstone!!!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer Projects!!

So I am usually NOT a DIY girl.  I like seeing others do it, and Im always impressed with the results of others.  I just never think mine will turn out and I won't be happy with the end results.  Well, this spring Nick asked me if I wanted some cheap bookshelves that would need "help".  A bookstore was going out of business and his coworker bought them for cheap and wanted to know if we wanted one??  I figured since we had been looking for a while for some bookshelves for our office that I might as well give it a shot.  If it goes poorly then I'll know to leave the DIY to others!!!

 This is the bookshelf we got.  It was a one piece(back and front shelving unit).  Nick cut it into two bookshelves for us and I set to work on reading up on how to stain and finish.

 I have to admit it wasn't to hard, but we obviously were learning along the way.  The stain we got wasn't dark enough so I think I ended up putting on 4 coats!!  Darker stain perhaps equals less coats??
We also didn't do a good job of sanding and taking off the existing varnish if there even was one???  Hard to know since it came from a bookstore.  The shelves were very smooth and we couldn't get that smooth feel to leave so the shelves took even more patience with the new varnish we used.
 However finally after a good week of me working on it we finally got it into our office space.  We love the shelves for now and they totally were worth the money spent.  (not fond of the office walls though and eventually that will change too)  We have never done anything to this room since we moved into our house 4 yrs ago!!!!
finished project
WELL......since that project didn't go to shabby I decided to read up on how to paint furniture(old furniture for that matter:))  My grandparents sold their lake cottage and thus giving us a FREE kitchen table!!  It was actually made by my grandpa so I was for sure not going to let this slip away:).  It had quite the wear and tear on it, but the table top was definitely intact and looked nice.  We stuck it in our basement and it will be our basement table (once we ever put in the kitchen down there:))

chair before- a worn out brown chair

primed the chairs (will use a foam brush next time on the primer)

primed the table legs
 And once again set to work learning how to paint furniture black and what paint is the best and what top coat to use. Oil based paint?  Latex Paint? Polyurathane? Polycrylic?  So many options and choices.

In the end I LOVE the paint I used.  Yes it is expensive but it is amazing.  I loved the fact that it is a paint that doesn't bubble and leave bubbles once dried, it can be used on laminate for future projects if needed and it doesn't need a top coat if you don't want one.
Am I happy with it??  Yes and No.  I love the color, I love the paint, I loved my primer, but I didn't like the paint brush lines it left in my dried product.  That was because I used a paint brush for the primer and so you can see paint brush lines in it.  Had I known it would show through Id have sanded it all off and started over with the primer, but it was to late.  I had already painted a black coat on it.  So would I do it again??  Absolutely yes....with a foam brush for the primer!!  I did use a foam brush for the paint because that is what I read was best:).

up close chair
For now my garage remains a van is parked back in the garage:).  Till school starts that is:)
Then I will begin my next DIY project:).  Ellie's bedroom furniture!!!  Stay tuned.