Tuesday, March 22, 2011

office inspiration.

Other than the bathroom, our latest work-in-progress room has been our office. We painted it quite awhile ago but that was basically where the updates stopped, other than hanging one picture: our guest book photo frame from our wedding.

Something about the room always bothered me. I wasn't a huge fan of the color because it was darker than I hoped it would turn out. That and the room only had two pieces of furniture: a beautiful desk that Rob made in high school and a bookshelf. It felt empty and awkward the way that it was set up.

About a month ago, I rearranged the placement of the furniture, hung some curtains, and put a wall decal up (that Rob had given me before we even moved into the house!). Those few things made a huge difference in my feelings towards the room. About a year ago, Rob's grandma gave us a cedar chest that belonged to her mom (I think). It has been in storage because we didn't have any room for it at the apartment and I wasn't sure where to put it in the house. We finally had Rob's parents bring it to us from Muskegon and I was able to [mostly] complete the look of our office.

My inspiration came from The Nate Show, an interior decorating (and more!) show that I've taken to watching every morning. I think it's such a great show! Nate probably still wouldn't like my style, but that's ok, I like to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I think Rob gets a good laugh every night when he comes home and I say: "Guess what I learned on The Nate Show today!" I'm thankful my husband loves me no matter how strange he thinks I am! One thing Nate always says on his show is that picture collages tell the story of your life and should be made up of mismatched frames and a combination of black/white photos and color photographs - even if it seems strange to mix-and-match color and black/white. I love clean lines, matching pieces, and even spacing so I had a really hard time coming up with this layout and not putting the same size frames together! Nate also says that every house needs a tray with a stack of books. That seemed easy enough, especially since I had a bamboo tray with a crack in it that I don't use very often, we have plenty of old books laying around and I had a great coffee mug that had a crack in it to add to the mix! And I got all of the black frames from the Dollar Store!

Now I'm looking forward to someday adding a comfy chair for reading (I'm hoping this will inspire us to do our class reading next year when we're both back in school!) and to adding more frames and pictures to the collage wall once Jake and Sarah's wedding happens next month and after my mom, sister and I take a trip to Chicago next weekend!

I'm not sure what my next project will be. What inspires your design?

Monday, March 21, 2011


Pastor Bryan, our pastor at Rockford Reformed, created a March Madness bracket challenge on www.cbssports.com for anyone in church that wanted to participate. When we got the e-mail with instructions on how to sign up and fill out a bracket I thought: "Well! That sounds like fun!" Then I thought: "I know nothing about basketball."

[Little brother enters stage right.]

While I did pick a few teams myself, Brett basically told me how to fill in my bracket. I'm not so sure how the rest of the church members in the competition would feel if they knew that, especially seeing as I'm currently tied for 5th place out of 35! The other day Brett posted on his Facebook that his bracket was doing terrible. I told him I wasn't sure how seeing as mine was doing great!

So, let's go Pistons and Lakers! Er, wait. This is college basketball, isn't it? (I told you I didn't know much.)

Who is going to win it all? My vote: Ohio State! What do you think?

Monday, March 14, 2011

catch up / promised bathroom remodel pictures.

Last night Rob said to me: "Are you going to update the blog again sometime? I feel like a lot has happened since the last time you posted!" I figured that with such a request, I ought to do something about it. Not much exciting has happened since the last time I posted, but there are a couple of things that I figured I should catch up on!

First, what a beautiful morning in West Michigan! I looked out the window this morning and all I could think was: "The sun is shining and God is glorified in His sanctuary." I'm so thankful that the sun is shining again and that even though it meant losing an hour of sleep this weekend, we get to enjoy another hour of daylight in the evening. Maybe if we actually reach 50 degrees this week, we'll get rid of the rest of the snow that is hanging around!

One fun thing that happened this last week is that we decided to use a part of our tax return to buy a Wii! (Ok, so the rest of it will go to "boring" things like student loans, but we had to have a little fun too!) So, Thursday night we went to Best Buy and bought ourselves a Wii. At first I wasn't so sure about spending money on a video game, but I got past that when I reached the Pro level in Frisbee Golf!

We've had a lot of fun playing Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. Yesterday my brother even came over and played with us. And, even though it's still a technological fix to boring evenings, it has been a lot more fun to be able to play games together/against each other rather than sitting online on different computers. Now we're just looking forward to warmer weather so that we can get outside instead!

And, finally, here are the promised pictures of the bathroom remodel that we worked on a couple of weekends ago. I was hoping to finish up one last project before I posted pictures, but I don't know when that will actually happen. So, here you go! Before and after pictures - including the random pink paint we found behind the toilet!

In order to not repeat the previous painter's fine job, we removed the toilet so we could paint behind it.
And yes, the tile is still pink. Thankfully the shower curtain hides it nicely!
We bought an old mirror off of Craigslist and I refinished the frame.

We also added some decorative wood pieces to the corners to cover up some old wood.
It looks a lot better than the old medicine cabinet that used to be there!
A new light fixture - on sale at Home Depot!
New hardware - toilet paper holder and towel hooks.
Before                                                      After 

So there's the catch up for the beginning of the week. We love how the bathroom turned out and if you want to take me on in Wii Frisbee Golf - come on over! 

Monday, March 7, 2011


After helping to lead a MOSES Weekend Mission Trip to Chicago with eleven middle school students this weekend, I'm thankful that I can use this Monday to re-energize. I don't always feel like I do much other than cook on these weekends, but I always come home so tired. I felt terrible sending Rob off to work this morning when he really needs some rest (probably more so than I do) - and he has class tonight too. I have an incredible husband and I'm so humbled and thankful for everything he does for our little family.

My morning cup of coffee with peppermint cream was excellent and helped wake me up [but only a little bit].

I used one of our new mugs today. It's a mug from Origin Coffee & Tea - a coffee shop in California.
Origin Coffee & Tea was started by two men and is run solely by volunteers.
All of the money made (above their overhead costs) is donated to organizations to help stop human sex trafficking.
Their slogan/motto is: "Tell them we're coming!" ... coming to rescue the thousands trapped in sexual slavery.

As I think about re-energizing today and about the congregation we worshiped with in Chicago at Roseland Christian Ministries yesterday, I am reflecting on a Psalm and a poem that one woman shared with us during the service. The service was wrapped around waiting for the Promised Land of heaven, but also recognizing the Promised Land that is around us now. Roseland is a pained, broken, crime-filled suburb of Chicago and even though the Christians at RCM do see hope in their "land" - they shared yesterday that all they want for the summer is that no youth will be murdered. But they [we] know that if our hope is in the Lord - our great and mighty God - that it IS possible to stop the murders and to "re-energize" their neighborhood.

Makes my re-energizing seems a little bit less important.

The woman read part of Psalm 37. Put this picture in your mind as you read it: she had just shared that her son had been murdered, their congregation is made of women/children who live in a shelter at RCM, homeless men and women, and men and women who have found their way to a better place but continue to serve the people in Roseland - they are true, genuine worshipers who know what real hope in Christ is because they have been in the deepest, darkest places and some of them are still there.

Psalm 37
Don't worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
Trust in the LORD and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires.
Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.
Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
Stop being angry! Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper - it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.

Maybe you need a simple re-energizing like I did today and a slow day at home started out with a hot cup of coffee will do the trick. Maybe you're in a place of deep pain and true despair and you need a re-energizing like the people of Roseland do. Maybe you're somewhere in between. There is hope.

Regardless of where we are and what we stand in need of, the good news is this: "Trust GOD, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn and the justice of our cause will shine like the noonday sun...For the wicked will be destroyed, [and] those who trust in the LORD will possess the [promised] land." 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

going batty.

Monday nights are one of my favorite nights during the week. On Monday nights my sister, Alyssa, and one of my very best friends, Hannah, come over to watch The Bachelor and eat brownies and ice cream.

This past Monday night was a little bit different though.

We were all sitting in the living room and had just finished up a bowl of cookies-n-cream ice cream and were enjoying the second half of the show when all of the sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I see a BAT fly around the corner and into the living room! I immediately screamed (and I'm not/have never been a girly screamer!) and somehow got out: "A BAT!!" And let me tell you, that thing was quick!

What happened next is funny now that I'm looking back at it. Nothing about it was funny at the time! Alyssa immediately dove under the blanket she was using. I curled up in a ball on the couch with a pillow over my head and Hannah fell out of her chair and onto the ground, covered up in a blanket! As we proceeded into hysterics, Rob stood up and walked into the hallway to find out where it went. He found out quickly as it flew right at him and hit his arm!

The next thing I know, the bat is flying around in circles - either around the loop that makes up our house layout, around the living room (dive bombing where we were sitting - or so it seemed!) or in the office - and Rob is walking around with a snow shovel, opening all possible doors, with his phone to his ear saying: "Uh, Dad, are you busy? I have a strange question for you." (All I could think was: "Quit wasting time asking if he's busy. Tell him there is a BAT in here!") The screaming continued until we finally heard the back door slam and the dead bolt lock (I guess we thought the bat knew how to use a door handle). The bat had flown into the kitchen, halfway down the stairs and out the door into the breezeway. Thankfully Rob was standing right there watching it and could slam the door closed!

The next problem was that the breezeway (1 door to the house, 1 door to the garage, 2 doors to the outside) was entirely closed. Rob went outside to prop one of the outside doors so that it would fly out. It didn't.

Instead of taking the opportunity to leave, it flew around in frantic circles (see blur in right picture) and hung out in the corner. Rob went around the back of the house and propped the other door open. I wish I had given him the camera because I'm pretty sure Alyssa, Hannah and I made a funny picture with our faces plastered to the window in the back door as we watched (and continued to scream if it flew next to our window).

When it wouldn't leave, Rob started throwing snowballs at it. He finally hit it and it fell to the ground. The bat couldn't move...so, here's what happened next.

I was busy trying to take pictures of the bat and then realized that Rob looked funnier than the bat did! He finally swept it out the back door and it took off into the night. I've never been so happy to see something leave my house!

After Hannah and Alyssa left, Rob and I were so freaked out that another one would get into the house so we began to try and figure out how it would have gotten in. We figured out that it probably came in a hole in one of the attic vents. The door to our attic is in our office and the door has a big gap under the door. We figure it probably flew under the door and straight into the living room. Well, we weren't going to have THAT happening again!

So we made sure that another bat was not getting into our house that night - towel stuffed under the door and three social work books on top! We also put a towel under our door that night too! 

On Tuesday night my parents came over to help check out the attic and Rob found out that the rafters on the ends of the attic were open. He took a picture down one of the ends of the house without a flash and could see outside light at the end of the rafter! No wonder bats could get it. He took care of that real quick.

Now it's Wednesday and we've been bat free since Monday night - thank goodness. I never need that to happen again! I'm so thankful that Rob didn't have class this past Monday night and was here when it happened. I don't know what we would have done!

Here's to hoping that the only event of this coming Monday night is us laughing at Michelle and the rest of the crazy girls on "The Women Tell All" episode of The Bachelor!