Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Bathroom Makeover Re-do

Over this past summer, due to some plumbing issues, we needed to replace the toilet in the kids' bathroom.  As usual,  one thing led to another and before Tim knew it, he was planking the walls for me.  And since he had to take everything out to plank the walls, we decided to go ahead and switch out the vanity, as well as the light fixture too.

So the kids' bathroom got a fun freshening up.





Here's a look back at what the bathroom looked like when we moved in.  So much tan and brown, I couldn't take it!



So not too long after we moved in, I tore down the wallpaper and the shower doors and gave it a fresh coat of paint.  We also updated the vanity, the medicine cabinet, and the light fixture, but we left the toilet, the floors, the tub and surrounding tiles alone because we weren't ready to jump into a major renovation.

After that update, it looked like this





It was definitely much better (and very colorful too!).  

But after living with it this way for a few years, we realized some of our choices weren't working in there as well as we thought they would. Live and learn! For one thing, the vanity was really too big for such a tiny bathroom.  It made the already small space feel even more cramped.  And it wasn't holding up very well either.  Tim had already had to fix a drawer that had come loose and the paint had also started chipping and bubbling up in places.  

I had the hardest time settling on what to replace it with though.  I really wanted a wall-mounted sink, but finally decided one wouldn't be very practical for us right now.  I also looked at smaller vanities, but just didn't find one that I loved.  Plus I wanted the bathroom to feel very open and airy and I didn't think I could get that feeling with a vanity.  So I ended up going with a pedestal sink, which originally was not even on my radar.  But it has opened up the bathroom so much.  I made sure to get one with space on both sides of the sink so the kids could sit their toiletries on it.  And I chose one that feels a little bit vintage, rather than sleek and modern.  We already had the medicine cabinet to hold things like toothpaste, a brush, hair gel, etc...   I just gave it a fresh coat of white paint to match the walls.  And there are some open shelves on the other side of the bathroom to hold baskets of things as well as the kids' towels.



The other thing we'd come to realize was that the light fixture we originally put in the bathroom wasn't nearly bright enough.  This bathroom doesn't have any windows, so it's important that our lighting be very bright.  The light we had in there only used two low wattage light bulbs and since the top of the light fixture was covered it also blocked much of the light from spreading out around the room.  So this time around, we bought a three-bulb light fixture with open glass so that the light could really brighten the entire bathroom.  It's so much brighter now.  We can finally see!



I painted the sign and Tim made the frame for it.  For when self-esteem and body insecurities become a battle, I just wanted a big reminder that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. 



I found this little bin at Magnolia Market to store washcloths and other little bathroom things.  





So that's the kids' bathroom now, looking open, airy, a little vintage farmhouse, nicely refreshed. and of course, white!



It will be nice when we eventually get the bathtub, surrounding tiles, and floors re-done, (they're all the original almond color) but for now, we're really enjoying this update. 








Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Story of Tuck

As many of you know, our first dog, Pudge passed away last summer.  


Then sometime last November, I found myself perusing dogs on Craigslist hoping to find another dog to add to our family. At the time though, nothing worked out and after several closed doors, I eventually let the idea go.  Who wants to be trying to housebreak a puppy when it's snowing outside anyway? Not me!  Plus having just one small dog was nice and easy and I was enjoying that.  

Then at the beginning of this summer, we went down to Florida and stayed with my in-laws who had gotten a new puppy since the last time we'd seen them.  And their new pup, Charlie and Max had the best time playing together.  I came home from that trip pretty much convinced that we needed another dog.  Tim, however, was not so convinced. 

Every morning, I would check Craigslist for new dogs.  But each time I showed Tim a dog I found, he was just not that interested.  Until one day in early July, I saw this ad


Her name was Bailey.  She was part French Bulldog, part Pug and Beagle.  Her family loved her, but the kids were allergic to her, so they had decided that they needed to find a new home for her.   She grabbed our hearts from the beginning because she looked so much like a mini-Pudge.  She was the first pup that Tim was interested in at all, so I contacted the owners and we set up a time to go meet her the next morning.  The only problem was that the owners were asking a pretty hefty re-homing fee that was more than we wanted to pay.  But we were hoping that they'd be willing to negotiate the price once they met us and saw that we would give their puppy a loving home. 

The next morning, after meeting Bailey, Tim and I decided to make a decent offer and hope for the best.  The husband called his wife (who wasn't there with us) and she didn't want to accept our offer.  She said there were a few other people who were interested in Bailey, so she wanted to wait.  And since we didn't have a peace about offering any more money, we just asked them to let us know if things didn't work out with anyone else. I felt at peace about it; knowing that God was in control and if it was supposed to work out for us to have Bailey, then it would. 

For the next week, every time my email dinged, I hoped and prayed it was Bailey's owners contacting us. But after a few weeks of not hearing anything, I assumed she was sold and I started looking for another dog. But even as I looked, nothing grabbed my heart like Bailey did. 

Then one Monday morning in the beginning of August,  I was doing my usual morning check on Craigslist for dogs when a new ad for Bailey popped up.  My heart leaped and I immediately texted Tim (who was out of town) and asked him if we should contact them again.  He was completely on board, so I emailed the owners and just said we really loved Bailey and would like to try to reach an agreement with them on the price.  

This time, the wife emailed me back and said they would be willing to meet us in the middle on the price.  At this point, it felt like God had opened the door back up and was giving us the go-ahead, so we agreed on the price. Then I asked the wife if we could get Bailey the next day.  She emailed back late that night and said that they were going out of town the next morning and wouldn't be back until Thursday night, so we could get her on Friday morning.  

This sounded a bit odd to me, (were they taking the dog?  why would you list a dog on Craigslist right before you were going out of town?  were they going to pay to board her while they were gone?) but what could I say?  So I just agreed we would wait and get her Friday morning.  Tim was going to be coming back in town late Thursday night, so it would be nice that he could go with us to get her.  Plus Friday was the day before my birthday, so I felt like God was giving me a birthday puppy. 

All week long, the kids and I talked about Bailey.  We went to Target and got a collar for her and a dog bowl.  I ordered a name tag with our phone number on it to put on her collar.  And we counted down the days to Bailey. 

On Thursday night, when I was tucking the kids in to bed, they were so excited.  They kept saying, "This is like Christmas!  Tomorrow we're getting Bailey!".  

I went to bed feeling a tad wary because I hadn't heard anything from Bailey's owners, but figured no news from them was good news.  I had my phone on my nightstand that night because Tim hadn't made it home from his trip yet.  At midnight, my email dinged.  Thinking it was possibly Bailey's owners, I checked it.  It was the wife and basically she said they had changed their minds.  She said their kids were so upset when they broke the news to them and it seemed that their allergies hadn't been as bad lately.  They felt like Bailey was a part of their family and they just couldn't bear to part with her.

Ugh.  This was not the news we wanted to hear.

I forwarded the email to Tim, who was almost home at that point and then I laid in bed feeling like I had gotten punched in the gut. I felt awful, so sad, mad and disappointed, and I hated thinking of how we were going to break the news to the kids the next morning.  

When we told the kids, there were some tears and a lot of disappointment.  What was supposed to be a very exciting and fun day turned out to be a sad and hard day for all of us.  We reminded the kids though that if Bailey wasn't the puppy for us, then God had something better and we could trust Him. 

Up until we found Bailey, I was just looking for a dog and I didn't really know what I wanted. But after Bailey, I realized how much I liked French Bulldogs (she was part French Bulldog). But Frenchies are literally thousands of dollars, which is way out of our dog budget.  Plus Tim didn't really like French Bulldogs, but during this process, he realized how much he liked English Bulldogs.  At least we could agree on the bulldog part.

As the weeks went by, my desire for a bulldog puppy got stronger and stronger and I couldn't even have told you why.  It didn't make a lot of sense even to me but I was feeling so impatient.  I was constantly searching for bulldog puppies all over the internet and everywhere I looked was a closed door.  Finally, one Saturday, Tim found a breeder of Shorty Bulls on Facebook.  We had never heard of Shorty Bulls, but after looking into them, we felt like one might be a good fit for us.  The breeder was just a few hours from us and he had one puppy left.  Tim contacted him and it worked out that he was available to meet with us the next day. 

Well, we fell in love with that puppy from the moment we met him and we brought him home that night.   




His grandmother is a French Bulldog (what I wanted) and his dad is an English Bulldog (what Tim wanted).  So I feel like we got the perfect mix for us.  He also reminds us so much of Pudge in both his looks and personality.  It took us a while, but we finally settled on the name Tuck.




I can't help but see the way God worked through everything to bring us to Tuck.  He put desires in our hearts and lead us step by step. He opened doors to move us along the path and then closed doors to keep us from making wrong decisions.  I see it so clearly in this.  Also Tuck has a tiny brown spot on the back of his ear and because of this spot, someone that was going to buy him decided not to buy him because she wanted an ALL white dog.  So we got him instead.


Don't let his sweet face fool you though, he's quite the handful and I constantly feel like I have a toddler again.  I can't let him out of my sight for even a minute or he gets into things he shouldn't.  He's stubborn, cuddly, sweet and clumsy.  He snorts like a pig and charges like a bull. 

  

And that wrinkly face is so irresistible!  We're head over heels in love with him and we know he's the pup for us.  





And the funny thing is that Bailey's owner called a week after we got Tuck and said they were ready to sell Bailey to us (apparently the wife had just been having a hard time letting go).  Of course we told them we already had a puppy and weren't interested in Bailey anymore.





Monday, August 8, 2016

Tyson's Room

I just wanted to pop in quickly and share some pictures of Tyson's room.  


A few weeks ago, he said he really wanted his own room.  I told him if he wanted to move downstairs, then he could have the cottage.  The cottage is a small room located right at the bottom of the stairs in our basement.  There are no windows, so it's not technically a bedroom.  A few years ago, I turned it into a playroom for the kids.  I set it up like a small house (which is how it got it's name "the cottage").  It had a kitchen, a dining room, and a bedroom for Peyton's dolls.  The kids still played in it some, but for the most part, they had grown out of it.  Anyway, Tyson liked the idea of moving into the cottage, so we moved all of the toys out and moved Tyson's furniture in. 

He needed a few things like a nightstand, some storage, and a desk.

I was about to buy him a World Market nightstand online, but then found last year's model on Craigslist for much cheaper.  I was so excited.  We had to make a trip a little ways out of town, but I didn't mind. 

When we went to pick it up, we just happened to be right near the Outlets, so we made a quick stop in the Restoration Hardware outlet and found a giant furry beanbag on sale.  We scooped it up and brought it home to make a cozy place for him to read and hang out.  This has become the new favorite spot in the house.



I blew up some pictures of him and his friends for his walls.  This was super cheap at Staples. 



And then we found a desk at World Market that fit perfectly in this nook. It was on sale, plus I had a coupon!!  I really tried to make choices with the future in mind.  I'm hoping this desk will still work well for him and fit him when he's in high school. 



Ikea had a set of lockers that worked great for storing some of his baskets of toys.  Originally, the lockers were bright blue, but we decided they would look better if I spray painted them Gun Metal gray. And we brought the pipe shelves down from his room upstairs. 



So now everyone has their own room, which has been so nice.  It gives them much needed space to spread out when they start to get on each other's nerves.  I think it's also good for Tyson to finally be able to call something "his own".  He's shared a room since he was three, so I'm happy for him to finally have his own space. 



And Hudson is happy because now he has his own room too! 

After moving Tyson downstairs, we ended up deciding to switch Hudson and Peyton's rooms, so it's been a busy few weeks of trying to get everyone moved into their new rooms.  I've patched a lot of holes and re-painted quite a few walls. I'm thankful to finally feel like everyone is mostly settled now.

Here's a peek of Hudson enjoying his new room. 



(Sorry - the quality of these pictures is not great.  Since Tyson's room has no windows, I had to turn the overhead lights on and the lighting in his room is pretty awful.  Plus, I just snapped quick pictures with my cellphone.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

One Voice

Over the years, Caught in Grace has become a place where I have opened up my home and invited you in to share with you all the fun things we're doing around our house.  I love blogging about home decor and design, painting furniture, and our latest house projects. But I have felt the Lord stirring me to begin opening up my heart here too and sharing my spiritual journey.  It feels risky and vulnerable and scary, but He is asking and I desire to follow Him.  So (Lord-willing) this little blog will probably become more of a mixture of sharing both my heart and my home with you.  I don't know exactly what it will look like, but I hope you'll stick around with me through these changes.  And I hope you'll be encouraged.



I realize that their are already so many voices out there talking about Jesus.  With this age of social media, there is just no shortage of thoughts and opinions, experts on every subject.  It seems that everyone is blogging, writing a book, sharing their thoughts on IG, or making podcasts.  Sometimes it feels like their are so many voices talking about Jesus and how to follow Him, that it can actually take away from me hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit leading me.  And the last thing I want is to add to the noise.

So here's the thing… There is only one voice whose words brings life, transformation, and hope to your life.  Just one voice calms your stormy sea.  One voice brings comfort to your soul.  One voice turns your darkness into light.  One voice tells you the way.  Only one voice can bring you lasting freedom and healing to your heart.


I am learning that when I listen to others speak or read what others write about their journey with Jesus, I have to listen for His voice within their words. Otherwise I end up following them, their steps, and their path, which is not the same as following Him.  Too many times, I picked up a christian book, did a bible study, or listened to a sermon and thought that because God told them something or did something in their life a certain way, that that was how He was going to do it in mine. I tried to do what they said to do, attempting to get the same results with God or in my spiritual life or with my kids that they got.  And over and over and over I found myself frustrated with God and myself and confused about why it wasn't working.  And then I felt lost and discouraged in my own walk with the Lord.

Early one morning, in the midst of some of my frustration, God showed me a picture of me in the front seat of a rocket ship that wasn't moving or going anywhere. In the next instant, I was in the back seat of the same rocket ship and the Holy Spirit was in the front seat.  And immediately, the rocket ship blasted off.  God was showing me that I had to learn to let the Holy Spirit take control of my spiritual life.  He is the driver and guide, not me.  He leads, I follow.  I just go where He takes me and allow Him to do what He wants to do in me, in His way, in His time.  It isn't my job to figure out where I'm going or how I need to get there.  It's His job to lead me.  That brings such a deeper peace to my heart.  

God has given each of us His Holy Spirit to guide us into truth and freedom.  He walks with us on our journey, leading us and guiding us along the paths we need to take, opening our eyes to certain things when we're ready, and speaking encouragement, truth, and freedom into our hearts and minds along the way. He's very personal and specific with each of us.  He doesn't lead us all or work within us all in the same way.  Realizing that has been very freeing to me.




So, I don't want to be just one more voice out there on the internet saying "I know the way.  This is how it's done!".   Because I don't know your way.  And how the Lord leads me will not necessarily be how He leads you.  And not one word written on this blog has the power to do anything in your life unless Jesus chooses to empower these words with His very life and breath.  So before I start sharing any more of my journey in this little space, I want to remind you to listen for His One voice among all the words I may write.  It's only His voice, His words that can transform your life.  I am so convinced of this.  Listen for Him.  Look for Him.  Whether you're reading my blog or scrolling through IG or reading the next best selling christian book, let the Holy Spirit's voice be the one you hear through all the noise, advice, and opinions.  The world is loud, so listen carefully…you'll hear Him.

And just as a reminder, the Holy Spirit's voice brings peace and confirmation to your heart.  His voice is gentle and kind, not harsh or demanding.  I have found that He is also very patient and He will persistently keep telling me things when I am unsure if I'm hearing Him correctly or if I need extra encouragement.  He loves deeply and draws us to Him with loving kindness. If you read something on here (or anywhere) that doesn't set right in your spirit, feel free to let it go.  If it confuses or frustrates you more than it helps you, let it go.  If it brings heaviness or discouragement, let it go.  Trust the Spirit in you to lead you.  He is a faithful guide.

Here are some words I have felt the Holy Spirit speak to me over the last few months and I'm hoping they encourage you too

I am doing something different in you, so let me lead you.  Listen for my voice above all the other voices.  Don't compare your path to the path of others and don't try to be like them.  Let me lead you.  I am here with you as your personal guide.  I know the way through for you.  Eyes on me.  Listen for me.   Just because I had so-and-so do such-and-such does not mean that's what I'm leading you, teaching you, or asking you to do.  I am forming you for my plans and purposes and I'm very intentional in what I'm doing.  I have kept your eyes blinded and the way unknown so you must look to me to guide you.  I am the way.  Don't look for the path.  Look at me and follow me.  I will guide you in peace of heart and mind.  My ways are not your ways.  You must trust me to show you the way, one step at a time.  Just hold my hand today.