Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gettin' Crafty

One of the things I really wanted to make happen on my four day weekend was to create a vertical sign that said "FALL" to balance out the other harvest decor surrounding our tv.  I had looked online for items that would fit the bill - and even to some antique/distressed crafts kind of stores, but nothing fit the bill or was available for under $50.  I told John, "You know, I could do this myself".  He looked skeptical, but was wise enough not to argue with me.  So, I did.

Earlier, I had found some long planks of pine at a discount lumber store (even with Whitley in tow - I'm so proud) - so after John's message at church, we parted ways.  John and Brayden went shopping for his upcoming Homecoming attire, and Mikayla and I hit up Michaels for crafting supplies.  

One of my big faults is that when I get it in my mind to finally tackle something, I don't always take the time to get fully prepared - mostly in regards to safeguarding against mess or ruining my clothes.  So, at least this time I made a minimal effort - and donned attire from 2004 when we originally painted the interior of our house.  

I had researched via Pinterest some of the best techniques to doing wood signs and found this one to be among the more helpful (even though mine would be looking more "weathered" than hers). 

These were the products we purchased at Michaels.  
The first thing I did was spray down the board to make it white.  Fortunately, in "distressed signs" if it's not perfectly applied, it's no problem, as you'll be making sanding grooves and "mistakes" in it anyway further in the process.  This is a good thing as I had to reapply more paint about three times due to the garbage bags beneath blowing up on to the wet sign.   Grrr....

While it dried, I found the font I wanted on the computer and then enlarged it so one letter fit on each page - about 750!  I know there is a way to print only the outline, but that wasn't something I had the patience to research - so we just wasted some ink.  (Sidenote - I recently ordered some ink for our printer through Amazon - generic/refill.  Originally, we were spending $60 to refill our cartridges, and now it is $12 for the whole set!  SCORE!!!  It makes me feel a lot less guilty when wasting extra print on coupons or activities such as this).  

On the website I linked to, she used carbon paper underneath her words to apply it to the wood.  In my case, I figured it would be just as easy to cut out the letters and pencil trace around them. 
But first, time to apply my high school calculus elementary math skills to ensure perfect spacing of the letters.  Note the actual "borrowing of the ten's digit" in the second equation.  Wow...

Now was the time to have some real fun and get a little artsy.  Painting in the letters.  Again, it was okay to put it on thick - and keep some of the brush strokes visible as this was supposed to look aged and vintage and not at all perfect....(excellent!). 

John came home when I had completed it up until that point.  He loved it and was impressed, but suggested we used the electric hand sander to distress it some more.  I was feeling a little pride that I had done this "ALL BY MYSELF" - but figured it was even more fun to consider it a couples project, so I relinquished the "distressing" to John and this is how it turned out. 

It's pretty much exactly what we'd wanted.  The original plan was to make a JOY sign in red along with this one, but I'm glad we took them one step at a time.  I think we'll cut the next piece of wood down by a third as the length is the only thing that I'm a little unsure about.  But, at least this next time around, I'll have a pretty good idea what I'm doing...

Similar item found on ETSY:  $50-$75 based on product and shipping
Our version:  $12 in supplies

Pinterest for the win! =)

A Very Special Honor

I was so very thankful for the headache to subside by Saturday night as Sunday morning was a special morning for John.  He'd been asked by a friend of his to be the guest speaker at the church in which the friend is pastor.  He and his wife were on a mission trip to Uganda (where they'd previously adopted their son) and he requested John speak on one of the Sundays in which he was absent.

John prepared immensely for it - put together multi-media to supplement the talk, and integrating his testimony into the three facets he preached upon. 

I am used to hearing John's "Testimony Talk" (though every time I hear it, I get a glimpse into some new naughty thing he did before he became a Christian!) - but, this was one of the first times he'd pulled together a whole sermon that I'd gotten to listen to.  Between me and you - my readers - I'm a pretty critical listener, particularly when it comes to someone keeping my attention or challenging me at church.  That being said, I was prepared to build my man up no matter how the message went or how it was received.  But, let me tell you - there was absolutely no "fluffing this man up" or empty compliments that I passed on to him - he was OUTSTANDING!  I was riveted, challenged, and moved to teary eyes throughout his 40 minute message.  And, based on the immediate reaction from the congregation and later follow-up with folks who go there, they were very touched too. 

So proud of you, John - I love the man who God has made you to be and how completely you've laid your life in His hands and the path He's outlined for you.  So thankful to be your wife!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Off to the Zoo with Kaela, Christi, Elsie, and Whitley

By the second week of my kids being in school, I was already getting bored with the hot temps and all of the local parks we'd visited in just the mornings because of that heat.  I was ready for a "field trip" and upon mentioning it to Christi - she was more than game.  So, we made plans for the Thursday of the last week of September and texted Kaela to see if she would be able to join us as the zoo is in Portland.  She could - and she was super eager to see us too. 

It got to be even more of a big deal to see Kaela after getting the phone call the weekend prior that this happened:

YES!!!!! HER AND DREW GOT ENGAGED!  I was actually a little surprised when I saw the phone call coming from her that Saturday morning - knowing she was down with the Robinsons in San Francisco and why would she CALL me (and not text me) while on vacation?....WAIT A MINUTE...I know the only reason she would call me!!!!  And I immediately called her back as it took a moment in my back-to-morning-nap state to register all of this and the phone had already gone to Voicemail.  I'm so happy for them and can't wait to witness them become husband and wife early in 2015!

Needless to say, Christi and I didn't expect conversation to flounder between the three of us as we pulled all of the juicy details about the proposal and plans for the wedding from Kaela.  And, then, of course, were the constant distractions of the girls and animals....(the other major reason for the visit!)

I thought this place might be a good visit for Whitley, but in reality, it was an AWESOME place for her.  She probably spent 80% of the time walking on her own, and was eager to visit and gaze upon every animal there.  During the times she was tired, she was rather content in the stroller - and, at times, even hurried us along.  (Obviously, we were chatty!).

There's a California Condor in that picture.  We landed upon this exhibit just as they threw an animal carcass in for the birds to feast upon.  Christi was seriously grossed out.  

I've gotta say, the "Petting Area" was sorely lacking in comparison to all of the farms we've visited, but it was fun, nonetheless.

I was SO disappointed that the river otters were in their "sleep mode" when we came by.  I'd been hoping to keep Whitley entertained indefinitely by their antics (and they are my favorites because of Brayden).  On the way back through, we noticed they were stirring a bit.  Even in their sleep den, they reminded me of Brayden - one of them rolling over the rest and nipping and playing.....while the rest just wanted peace and quiet!


 Both girls found the turtles interesting.

We were lucky to see the Sea Lion actually moving as this is their shedding season so they usually just sleep on the rock.  But, it roared a bit and Whitley loved that.  However, once it stopped and tried to go back to sleep, Whitley kept yelling, "Wake up! Wake up!"  She actually interacted with a lot of the animals, slapping her hands on her thighs and saying, "C'mere".... SO CUTE!

The sea otter - being semi-inappropriate in its public grooming habits.  (No Christi, its not clutching and licking a little baby....)

See this cute pose where I wrangled Whitley by putting her on my shoulder?  That one move that lasted all of three minutes resulted in 48 hours of pain and headache the next day and all the way through the Saturday of the weekend.  It was devastating to me as I'd planned all sorts of fun for the next day (Friday) - a massage and shopping trip with Mikayla followed by a weekend at Michele's and everything got canceled upon throwing up all over the car that afternoon.  BOO (and DISGUSTING!)!!!!  We did end up driving to Michele's and returning Sunday morning - so at least Mikayla had fun.  I ended up just kind of "existing" through all of it. =(

So, when I look at this picture, somehow, I don't think it's as cute as it really is....

 This one IS cute though!!!

Kaela has a little love affair going with Elsie - she's pretty enamored....

This is where the polar bears were kept - they were also lazy, but at least up close and visible.  Whitley was arguing with that little girl next to her that they were "My polar bears...." Um, honey, I don't think you want to claim that big guy as your very own.....

Checking out the "Swamp" area....

And, saying "Hi" to the orangutang....

These lions were active and fun.  I didn't get pictures of it, but the mom actually rolled away with her "teens" in the was very sweet.

 Checking out the giraffes...

 And the leopard - I love how the glass viewing lets you feel so close.

Whitley and this little boy kept racing back and forth following the big cats to the two different viewing windows. 

This was the only point where we were close to a tantrum as, now that she had a friend and a game to play, she did NOT want to leave.  We had to use the enticement of a return to the sea lion/otter to get her to leave peacefully.


It takes a lot for Whitley to fall asleep in the car seat - but by the time we were 20 minutes away from the zoo, she was sacked out. 

This one, not so much, though - as she'd slept the whole way up.  So, we ended up parking where we'd met up with Kaela and I stayed in the vehicle with Whitley while Kaela, Christi, and Elsie walked around the outdoor mall and retrieved some DELICIOUS burgers for lunch for all of us.  The smell of the food must have woke up Whitley - as that was it of her nap.... 

A final pic with the NOW ENGAGED KAELA before Christi and I hit the road down south.  I don't think we could have asked for more out of the day or adventure.