Thursday, June 27, 2013

Making a Rental a Home: Part 3

When we first moved to this house, the bathroom was definitely the bane of my existence.  It had horrible brown retro tile, natural-wood vanity and cabinet doors that clashed with said tile, a hideous brown and mauve floral border that periodically had to be sprayed to kill the mold that would collect on it, and an old, tired white paint job on the walls.  There was nothing redeeming about it.  However, when it looked like we were going to stay in this house after all, I got a little excited about the creative challenge of taking the aesthetic nightmare and transforming it something that wouldn't nauseate me every time I passed its open door. After all, I didn't get a degree in art for nothing.

After researching several blogs that focus on retro decorating, I started seeing the tile less as a curse and more as a potential retro gem.  I decided to create some paintings that would function on several levels: they would be captivating for the kids, help with teaching bathroom etiquette, and exhibit retro elements that would make the brown tile look like it was all part of my original scheme.  Here are the paintings I ended up doing:

After completing the paintings, I was ready to pick a wall color.  I went with a  light blue-green.  I then painted the wonderful frames my dad built for the monster paintings in a much darker blue-green.  Lastly, we painted all of the natural wood a bright white.  This last step made such a dramatic change in the bathroom that my friend, Megan, immediately asked if we had gotten brighter light bulbs. 

Much to my own shock, this is now my favorite room in the house as far as decor goes.  Shepherd also very much approves.  He loves talking about the monsters and what they are doing.  I think that this room has become my personal favorite, though, because it represents so well what I am trying to learn to do right now: take what is given and learn to be content.  Overall, I feel like we took some lemons (a 1950s brown-tiled bathroom) and made some pretty delicious lemonade!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Making a Rental a Home: Part 2

Our camera batteries died, so this little series had to take a hiatus until I actually remembered to buy some.  But to continue our quest to make what was once a very unsavory rental a home, here is what we've done to the living room.

For this room, we obviously took out the very stained and a little musty-smelling carpets.  We painted the very white walls a neutral wicker color.  Also, we put up new curtains in a soft green-blue hue that complements the olive couches.  I've also switched up wall hangings throughout the living and dining areas just because I needed a change.

Our living room includes our dining area.  I have plans to paint the table, but that probably won't get done for a couple of months yet.  Until then, the main change is the art area I created to display Shepherd's (and one day Lydia's) artwork.  

Last Wednesday, I decided it was time to do something with this wall, so I painted the Picasso quote, hung up some clothes line, and (ta-da) we have our very own art gallery.  Shepherd gets very excited to see his most recent creations go up on the wall.  If you come to our house, It is likely that he will show it off.

That's the new living room!  Up next, the bathroom!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Another Conversation with Shepherd

(Shepherd squeezes my nose)
Shepherd: Mommy, I've got your nose!  It's got boogers in it!
Me: My nose doesn't have boogers.  Does your nose have boogers in it?
(I pretend to closely examine the inside of his nose.)
Shepherd: I don't have boogers in my nose!  I ate 'em all up!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Illuminating Conversation with Shepherd This Morning

Me: Gus is a dog, so in Spanish, Gus is a perro.
Shepherd: No, Gus isn't a perro.  He is a dog because he eats his own poop.

I think Shepherd may have just written a very accurate definition of what a dog is.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Making a Rental a Home

Nearly two years ago, we signed a lease for our rental house here in Ardmore without ever actually seeing the house.  It is one of those crazy things people have to do when they keep moving all over the country.  As excited as I was to come to Ardmore, I was heartbroken about leaving our house in Kentucky for multiple reasons: we owned that house, it truly felt like a home, and it was the place to which I had brought Shepherd home when he was born.

When we arrived in Ardmore, we were relatively happy with our rental.  It wasn't great.  The carpets were horrible, but we figured it would do for the one year agreed to in our contract and then we would look around.  As soon as the first year ended, we started looking for a new rental.  We looked and looked and looked, and all we found was that the rentals in our price range in Ardmore, OK, are dismal.  All the looking just made us more discontent.  I started missing our little cottage in Kentucky even more, and we never felt settled.  Buying wasn't (and won't be for a while) an option because we, like so many people in America, were severally stung by the housing crash of 2008, as in we lost A LOT of money on our house in KY.  Finally, it hit us that maybe we needed to learn to be content here.  Maybe it was time to make a home out of the house God had put us in.

Since then, we've been slowly changing all the things that made this house feel so cold and utterly un-homey.  We started by painting the walls, and then (with the generous help of BJ's parents) we were able to take out the carpets and have the gorgeous hardwood floors underneath redone.  To celebrate this whole process, I thought I would start a brief series on my blog looking at each room and showing what we've done and what we've yet to do.    First off, Lydia's room.

I have loved setting up Lydia's room over the past few months.  I'm a girly-girl, so making a girly space has been great.  In Lydia's room, we've painted the walls a soft, creamy yellow, and of course, we've taken out the orange-brown carpet. 

Here is a really good shot of the floors:

Also, I sewed the curtains using some beautiful, bright fabric I found at Hobby Lobby.  The tie-backs for the curtains are just ribbon glued around belt loops. 

As far as our to-do list for this room, we have a bookshelf that we are planning to put in after we paint it peach.  The bookshelf will be for toys, books, blankets, and some clothing items. In all of our rooms, we still have to repaint the base boards, but that is waiting until grandparents come to watch the kids while I get down to work. For the most part, though, Lydia's room is done, and I'm so pleased with her little space!

Speaking of Lydia, here is my new favorite picture of Lydia.  Shepherd was sitting at the dining table painting, so she crawled under the table and poked Shepherd in the belly button.  She was pretty proud of herself.  Seriously, can you look at that face without smiling?  I didn't think so.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

On BJ and His Lydia

A year ago, I made this prediction on my blog:

"BJ is often thought of as a harsher personality.  This is in fact not true at all when it comes to being a husband and father.  I predict that when he holds this little girl, he will basically turn into a giant bowl of mush."

So, I was mostly right.  BJ has a hard time with the newborn stage.  All the crying and neediness is terrifying for him.  But as the newborn phase quickly passed and Lydia's little personality started to shine through, I have thoroughly enjoyed sitting back and watching BJ fall in love with his daughter.

When Lydia was about 2 months old, I caught BJ walking around with Lydia in his arms and an uncertain smile on his face.  I asked him what he was grinning about, and he responded, "I just realized she's kind of cute."  They've been making googly eyes ever since.

Here is BJ and Lydia's relationship summarized down to a few points, all of which offer ample evidence for the mush that Lydia has planted inside of BJ:

-During meal times, they have staring contests.  Intermittently throughout the games, she offers BJ bits of her food which she quickly retracts when he leans in to get a bite.

-When Lydia hears BJ come in the front from work, she immediately starts crawling in that direction while making an odd, whining, needy sound.  BJ eats it up.

-BJ spends 7:00 to 8:00 every night in the bathroom giving Lydia and Shepherd their baths.  During Lydia's bath time, Lydia sings while BJ rapidly flicks his finger over her mouth making vibrating noises.  Every time we are around people, BJ tries to get Lydia to do their little trick, but she is too shy to do it for anyone but BJ in the privacy of our bathroom.

-BJ likes to hold Lydia while he greets people after his sermon.  I'm not sure if it is so that he can show her off or if it is because it is so entertaining watching her stare people down.  (I believe I've mentioned her impressive social skills before.)

-They do baby acrobats all of the time:

-BJ loves to make her mad by picking on her.  Last night, he dipped her feet for a milla-second into Shepherd's frigid kiddy pool, and she just about had a conniption.  BJ often shows his affection through mischief.

-But perhaps the greatest proof of BJ having been turned into mush by the very existence of Lydia is this: He now uses the word "cute" on a regular basis.  And seriously, who can blame him.