Friday, April 24, 2015

8 Years Ago...

2007 - He must have had a thing for cheerleaders (thank goodness)
At 27 I was enjoying life as a single girl, working in the corporate world and traveling whenever the mood struck.  The night I met my future husband I had plans that didn't involve meeting the man I was going to marry, shoot, I had a date planned with another guy just a few days away.  Yet there we were face to face, smiling ear to ear, and talking well into the night.  Life was about to get better than I ever thought possible.  
2010 - "I Do"
I've heard people say that the first year of marriage is the roughest.  I'm going to agree, but not for the reason you may think.  Our wedding day was the best day of our entire lives, followed by the hardest blow of losing our honeymoon baby that fall.  That loss showed me that I had married a man that would hold me as I sobbed on the living room floor for months.  I was shown a man that was not afraid to show his emotions to his new wife, showing me that he felt what I felt.  I was shown that I had married a man who could be strong and gentle when I needed it most.  That first year of marriage was our hardest, but helped create a foundation of steel.

2011 - Growing our family
We knew having children would not make our marriage "better," but would add to it.  The babies came and those infant years were rough.  In the beginning we were both working full-time, the babies weren't sleeping through the night, and the laundry, cooking, and housekeeping wouldn't let up.  It was hard.  We adjusted our work arrangements.  Babies began sleeping through the night.  We learned that it's easier to work together than figure out who should take care of which household chore.  I saw my husband step into the role of fatherhood, changing diapers, wiping away tears, and rubbing my shoulders as I nursed our babies.  Another layer of our foundation was put into place as we evolved together into our new roles.

2015 - Us
As I look back on the past 8 years, there's been 3 different house and a farm, 5 different jobs, lots of vacations, and a little boy and a little girl.  We've grown together, appreciate and encourage one another, respect one another, and continuously support one another.  We are thoughtful in our words to one another, never (seriously, never) saying words that we will later regret or that can't be taken back.  We enjoy our time as a family but make sure to take time for the 2 of us.

As we raise our little people and enjoy the life we have made on the farm, we look to the future with excitement.  We make plans, we set goals, we tell each other when we've had a rough day.  We take care of one another and keep laughter bouncing off the walls in our home.  

I had no idea the night I looked into Scott's blue eyes for the first time that I would be looking into them for the rest of my life.....but I am so glad that I get too.

Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, falling in love with you was beyond my control - unknown


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint 101

I love to paint.  Walls, furniture, picture frames, if it has a surface I'm going to paint it.  I'd heard of Annie Sloan chalk paint and saw pictures of furniture painted with chalk paint, but I didn't know anything about it.  Rewind to last Christmas when my husband presented me with a Annie Sloan Chalk Paint 101 class at a local store called the Barefoot Cottage.  I was nervous and excited as I walked into class.
The Barefoot Cottage - Google Image
There were roughly 15 women of all ages that aproned up and listened as our instructor began to speak.  The class was 4 hours and we literally jumped right in to painting.  We were each handed a wooden tile that was roughly 2 x 2 inches, a paint brush and told to pick one of Annie's 32 colors.  This process of receiving a new tile, a clean brush, and picking a color happened 6 times as we learned the various methods of painting with AS chalk paint.  The methods are as follows;

-Two Color Distress (Annie's Signature)  I used pure white as my base and covered with old violet

-Smooth Finish - This picture isn't much to look at as it is just pure white, but the finish is as smooth as butter. 

-Rustic Finish - I used aubusson blue and dark wax.  As much as I think it looks nice...I think dark wax gives certain pieces a "dirty" look.  I like it, just not my favorite style at the moment.  

-Sponge Method - I used cocoa as my base and covered with henrietta.  Henrietta has such a sweet look and would great in a little girls room.

-Staining Method - I used Emperor's Silk.  So simple and clean looking.  

-Washing 1 color over another - I used Arles as my base and washed Provence over it.  Both are beautiful colors!  

Prior to class I had no idea why this paint was called chalk paint.  It's not because you can use it to create a chalkboard.  The texture of the paint, once it dries, has a chalky feel, hence the name "chalk paint."  However the best part of this paint is the lack of prep work needed prior to painting.  

I enjoyed the class because working with a color is much different then seeing the color pre-painted on a swatch.  The class allowed us to work with the many different AS colors and practice the various methods of painting.  It was a relaxing setting yet a lot if information was delivered in the 4 hours.  

The class stressed how user friendly chalk paint is.  Chalk paint does not require primer, it's ready to go!  My first project was a hutch that belonged to Scott's grandmother.  It had a shiny finish so I lightly sanded it, although I did not have to.   After a light sanding I wiped down with a damp cloth and began painting.  I used the smooth finish method.
I used Aubusson Blue and Chateau Grey on the hutch.  I did 2 coats of each color and watered down the 2nd coat.  I covered in clear wax when finished.  I did not do any distressing on this piece.  I have well over 1/2 a can of the Chateau Grey and a little less then 1/2 of the Aubusson Blue.  The  paint covers very nice and smooth and is very forgiving when a mistake is made.  The brush strokes are visible which I like as it adds to the texture.  
I purchased an Annie Sloan paint brush in a size medium, the 2 quarts of paint, and Annie wax.  Overall I was very happy with the products.  The paint does not have a smell and dries quickly.  I also like that it can go on just about any surface.  
A fresh coat of AS paint on my knife block

The price of Annie Sloan products can be a little rough on the wallet.  The brush was $40, each quart was $38, and the wax was $30.  The brush is a natural brush so it did lose some bristles, which was a bit frustrating while I was painting.  I'm not sure I see enough difference in AS brushes verses a cheaper natural bristle brush to replace my AS brush once the time comes.  

If I had another big painting project I wouldn't hesitate to use AS chalk paint again.  I have experimented with making my own chalk paint, that was also a good experience, but that's for another blog!  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dear Babies -

Lovely Lila -

The "Mommmmy Mommmmmy" started around 3am.  I knew it was those last 4 teeth trying to push through that woke you.  I can't even imagine how painful those new knife sharp teeth are as they attempt to cut through your gums.  Without hesitation (well maybe just a minute because my bed was so warm) I walked across the dark hallway towards you.  In your dimly lit room I could see your silhouette standing up in bed, patiently waiting for my arms to scoop you up.  Your room smelled like a mixture of baby powder and Johnson & Johnson body wash.  That scent is locked into my brain and my heart and brings a smile to my face.  Your weight is easy to lift and you easily nestle yourself against my chest laying your head on my shoulder.

We made our way to the living room and cuddled on the couch.  You quickly fell asleep on my chest and I tried not to move despite your fuzzy hair tickling my nose.  I listened to you breathe and thanked God that you were given to me.

I lightly dozed waking every time you made a peep or moved a tiny arm or leg.  As the sun kissed the blinds, I knew it was going to be a 2 cup of coffee day.

You were easily frustrated throughout the morning and didn't feel like participating in music class.  Despite the warning I could feel in the pit of my stomach I went ahead and took you to Fresh Market so I could get groceries.  Your loud screams forced the kind worker in the bakery to bring you a cookie while I shopped in produce.  The cookie kept you silent until you dropped it.  Then I quickly headed towards the check-out and got you out of there.

As your bedtime crept closer I won't deny I was ready for you to get some sleep.  As I kissed you good-night I whispered "sleep all night little angel."  Of course you screamed "NO."  You're lucky I love you so much little sassy britches.

Love, Mommy

Precocious Paisley -

You stumbled out of your room in your race car jammies and 1/2 smile.  You immediately questioned why Lila was on the couch sleeping and then turned grumpy when you learned Daddy had to leave for work early and you didn't get to watch him drive down the lane.  You said you were hungry so I warmed up some ham and cheese quiche.  I didn't realize today was going to be the day you didn't like quiche, so you cried that you wanted oatmeal.  You ate your quiche then asked for a peach.  When I said we didn't have any peaches you cried and asked why I "never buy you peaches anymore."

Your mood improved when you got to spend a couple hours with Nana and especially when we picked up a couple peaches at the grocery store.  At home you asked for and received a peach, and then promptly started whining because it "has fuzz on it."  When I explained that peaches are always fuzzy, you decided you don't like peaches anymore and wanted an apple...which I was all out of.

As Lila finished napping I was happy to sit in front of the tv and relax while Little House on the Prairie filled the screen.  It wasn't very relaxing as you were quite interested in the show and asked "Why is Harriett so mean.  What's her daughter's name?  Is Olsen their last name?  Is Laura the teacher? What happened to the old teacher.... and there were so many questions rolling off your tongue that my brain literally stopped working and I fell asleep.  I wasn't out for more then 10-20 minutes, but it was exactly what this momma needed.

I made your favorite meal for dinner, spaghetti with homemade meatballs.  Then for the 4th time of the day, you sat in your chair and cried because it "wasn't what you wanted."  I handed you some Easter candy and told daddy I was getting in the shower.

That night as I tucked you in bed I kissed your sweet face and told you how much I loved you.  You smiled as if you had the best day ever.  I wish I rebounded from bad moments as quickly as you do.  You may test my limits, but it's only because you are so smart, so strong, and have a little bit of hard-headedness in you.  See you in the morning.

Love, Mommy