the attic::colors all around

about 4 gallons later, we have color!

we used glidden's retro green on one wall to serve as the accent wall and chatham green (it's really a beige color with a very subtle green undertone) on the remaining walls. i was left with most of the corners and edges, but it went by fairly quickly with this handy-dandy tool.

we haven't done much with the trim yet, but i think we'll just re-paint it white.



i have been meaning to try out the new exercise craze, zumba, since they began offering it at my Y in september. i finally went tonight with aaron's aunt lori and we had a b.l.a.s.t.!

just to give you an idea...check out this video.

our class was just as high energy, though some of the moves weren't as intense (though i can say that the first dance sequence in the video was pretty similar to one of our sequences). i believe the instructors are provided with choreography and then they can compile them together according to the class's needs and skill level. of course, since this was like a dance class, you can personalize the moves by adding your own flair, thus making the "work-out" that much more fun. i was never out of breath, but i did work up a sweat.

as a dancer, it's exciting to watch the fusion of dance and fitness together, resulting in greater accessibility and exposure of dance for the general public.

if you're in my neck of the woods, check out amy's class at this Y thursday nights at 7 p.m.

pregnancy update: 2...my belly has turned into a huge bowling ball

i was at my 6 month (or is it officially 7 month??) visit yesterday and discovered i had gained 11.6 lbs. in 2 months. i was so shocked i almost fell off the scale (that would not have been good). 131 lbs. and i'm only 2/3 of the way to the finish line. i don't recall making such a huge leap in that short of time with emma's pregnancy...

end of 25th week with emma.

26 weeks with baby 2.

of course, i popped out earlier this time around, and i'm going to credit my ginormous bowling ball of a belly (at least that how it feels like) for the rapid weight gain :).

anyway, the check-up was great. emma was very fascinated with the whole examination process, and thought it was very cool to hear the baby's heartbeat. she has come with me to almost every appointment so she is very familiar with the routine...even reminding me to use the cup and where to put it afterwards when i had to give my urine sample.

i did not see my regular midwife since she is now starting her own practice through a different hospital (15-20 minutes away from our house). i'm still trying to decide whether or not i want to transfer over. even if i transfer, i'll still be able to deliver at the hospital closer to our house (which is only a 5 minute drive if that). i had wanted to try a waterbirth this time around, and my usual midwife is really the only person in the area who has any experience (actually, the midwife i saw for emma's pregnancy was also experienced in waterbirth, but she no longer does deliveries). anyway, there are some other issues to consider so i'm glad that i've got some time to figure it out.


wordless wednesday::the market

the sights, sounds and smells of the market make it one of my favorite places to go.

we have our regular vendors we frequent, and sometimes stop by the crepe stand for a little treat.

for more wordless wednesday go here and here.


the attic::a wash of white

kilz2 paint does an amazing job of making old walls look brand new again.

even with just a primer coat the room already looks refreshed and renewed (we even managed to put the kids to work on this project).

we took down the ceiling fan and will be replacing it with a new light fixture. it was a pain trying to figure out how the stupid thing was hooked up, but aaron managed to get the fan off without pulling down the whole ceiling :). originally, we were going to try and "update" the look of the fan and reinstall it over the stairs. there was no way to install it without going through the crawl space (yuck!), and the amount of time that would have been spent "updating," re-installing and putting the fan back together again was not worth just spending $40-50 on a new fixture. so long fan!

i'm thankful that we are not pressed for time in finishing up the attic all at once. as long as we get the basics done, i'm certain everything else will come together eventually. since it wasn't really a space we regularly used in the first place, it's nice to be able to spread out some of the tasks.

coming up: color.

another year younger?

we celebrated aaron's birthday yesterday with a tasty steak dinner and brownie "cake" for dessert shared with family. thanks everyone for coming over!

he did not get his customary new tattoo this year :( but i think he liked the presents we got him. happy birthday my sweet husband!


and more bacon news...

check out this recipe at not martha for bacon stuffed waffles. so easy and so delicious for all you bacon lovers. if i had a waffle maker i would try this out too.

and on other bacon news...i can't remember if i shared this fantastic bit of bacon goodness: the bacon explosion. [thanks to stacey for sharing this one with us. i think we would have missed this if it wasn't for her.]


the attic::potential

this is the future space for our master bedroom. we have decided to convert our old bedroom into the baby's room so that we can still offer a spare bedroom for visitors.

before we bought this house, the attic was marketed as having living space potential.

being the operative word here: old water damage, cracks and chipping along the walls. dingy paint. old, water damaged windows (possibly original to the home or close to it). cold and drafty in the winter time. a hot box in the summer time. hardwood floors in need of tlc. those factors probably don't make the attic space move-in ready, so to speak. and i admit, when i first saw the attic, seeing it as a liveable space did not seem appealing at all.

so for 3 years, the attic served as storage and a pseudo arts and crafts area (well actually...i end up bringing the craft supplies downstairs to do it instead of staying in the attic).

the realtor was right. there was so much potential for the room. so much space that we weren't using that we could potentially use. there was plenty of talk during the years about converting the space into a master bedroom with a master bath and all sorts of goodies. but it was just talk. and that kind of massive undertaking was certainly out of our budget and something we would not attempt on our own.

so the attic sat empty. pretty much unused.

it only took another baby for us to reconsider.

it's still out of our budget to do a complete re-model. thankfully, the attic can still be liveable with just some cosmetic alterations. and we have about 6 more months from now before we'll be moving up here since we'll keep the baby in the same room with us for at least the first 3 months. plenty of time.

and so we begin. scrape off the chipped paint. mend the cracks. patch up the holes.

stay tuned for the next update.


just a little fun...

a sweet surprise to the first person to correctly guess the personal significance of the background music playing on this blog. if you cannot automatically hear the audio, go here (note: the "cirlce of friends" movie has no personal significance...just the song. i didn't even know this song was *on* the "circle of friends" soundtrack.).

happy guessing!


discovering room service

after a stop at my new favorite coffee shop in cleveland, we crossed the street to check out this fabulous shop.

may i just add that it is our kind of store. i love the design, and the merchandise in there is certainly not items you can find at big box stores. i also noticed a few locally-based merchandise being sold there which i remember coming across at the bazaar bizarre.

we found something that would go perfect in the baby's room (currently our room), but it will have to wait until we move out of there. instead, we picked up this super cute animal stamp set by cavallini papers & co.). emma had a blast stamping all the animals on paper, and i know that they'll be put to good use in our home...decorating plain greeting cards, envelopes, the possibilities are endless!

if you're ever in the gordon square district, grab a cup of coffee or a delicious pastry and then head down the street for a little bit of room service.

wordless wednesday::marshmallow gun

a one-of-a-kind birthday gift for a friend.

once he has given all his friends one, they can have a marshmallow gun party.

emma and i will not be attending...maybe we'll go get our nails done or something.

more wordless wednesday here and here.


time off

with aaron off on vacation this week, and no school for ty due to president's day holiday, we decided to take a trip to the cleveland natural history museum. the last time we were all there together as a family was before we moved to ohio (pre-emma)...so it's been a while.

we spent most of our time in the dinosaur section, but there was certainly plent to see.

after a couple of hours spent in the museum, our stomachs got the better of us and we stopped by the mongolian bbq for lunch. and oh, it was sooo good. i usually have some leftover to take home, but this time around there was nothing left in the bowl (i even out-ate aaron). i should probably thank the baby for that.


stewardship::beyond money

every 2nd thursday of the month, i (along w/ one or two other folks) prepare a full meal for about 20-30 teen parents (pregnant, teen parents, or those who were teens when their child was born) and their families as part of a community drop-in program offered through the city. then i take the food and my whole family to the drop-in location and we share the wonderful food with some very wonderful people.

when i was first approached about this opportunity, i was intrigued but at the same time a little intimidated. the idea of preparing a full meal for 15 people every month seemed daunting. it seemed like a huge committment, that i didn't think i could faithfully follow through on. what if i don't have time? what if i don't want to give my time? what if we need the money used to make all that food? it's amazing how many negative thoughts and excuses i started thinking up in my head...to find a rational reason for turning down the opportunity.

but i am so thankful that i didn't.

as a family, we find great enjoyment in opening our homes and sharing it with others. we love throwing parties (though we don't do that often enough still), we love having people over for dinner, we love when visitors come and stay with us, and we enjoy being social (most of the time :o) ). participating in the teen parents program would merely be an extension of something we already enjoy doing and a great opportunity for us to nurture and encourage parents who may have began their journey into parenthood in a not so ideal situation.

by God's grace, every month we follow through on our committment. there is no drudgery involved in preparing the meal or even going to the event, because i've found that doing this has brought us tremendous joy. joy in seeing others being helped. joy in knowing that we can provide our food, our time, and our encouragement to others that may need it.

despite our smaller income, we have all that we need. God not only entrusted us with his money, but he also entrusted us with certain gifts that we can share with others. stewardship goes beyond money. how can we be better stewards with our time, our home, and all our possessions that he has so graciously entrusted us with? where are our priorities? do we give not only our money, but also our time sacrificially? i admit, it's easier said than done. but when God blesses us with things, extra time, or money, it's not to be hoarded or stored up for yourself. keep what you need, then use the rest to bless others.

in this we discover just how much God loves us.

in this we discover just how hard it was to make the ultimate sacrifice.

and in this we discover peace.

every time i come home the 2nd thursday of the month, i am left feeling content. seeing my children play and interact with the other kids, watching my husband encourage and support the other young men there, exchanging laughs with some of the young moms who are sometimes struggling to figure out where they "fit"...

...i am content. i am thankful. i am joyful.


wordless wednesdays::steak anyone?

**disclaimer: we love a good piece of steak. so my advance apologies to any vegetarians out there.**

more wordless wednesdays here and here.


happy 4th!

we were invited to help celebrate our cousin aylah's 4th birthday.

we made our own pizzas, sang happy birthday, enjoyed some delicious cake and ice cream, and cheered aylah on as she opened her presents.

a game of put the sticker on the little pony also took place. all the little girls had a go...and even tyler participated (see the incriminating photos below!). i guess my little pony is hard to resist.


hello potty!

after 2 weeks of going #1 in the potty, i think it's safe to say that we are done with daytime diapers.

as a celebratory gift and her successful journey to diaper freedom, i let her pick out a set of panties at the store...

i {heart} hello kitty!


choosing happiness

might i direct you today over to mozi esme and her mama's post on choosing happiness.

it seems especially appropriate given the tough economic situation we are experiencing. what are we finding happiness and contentment in? when times are tough and we are unhappy about the situation, where do we find joy? how can we continue to feel content despite our situation?

let us keep things in perspective and be encouraged and joyful in what we have been provided already...

for this light and momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight in glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen is eternal. 2 corinthians 4:17-18 (esv).


wordless wednesday::my homeland

aaah...the warmth* and the flood of memories...
(jakarta/bali, indonesia)

*no more snow and cold! where for art thou my warm weather friend??

more wordless wednesday here and here.


my little sisters are all grow'd up!

so both my sisters put out books (though not simultaneously) that are for sale online.

astrid's book is found here. it chronicles her 2 year experience with the peace corps in togo, africa.

michelle's book is found here. it is a photo journal of her travels in london and the surrounding areas.

i am so proud of both of them. please take a look, for both are quite impressive (but i guess i am the biased big sister).

maybe i should put out a book now...

night boarding

after over a week of waiting for aaron to guest blog about the cross point's late night ski event, i am beginning to think that it's not going to happen (maybe next time, dear). and i'm afraid if i wait too long then by the time he does post about it, the snow will be gone and we'll be into summer.

since i wasn't there, i can only make a few comments about the experience.

there were about 30 people signed up to go to brandywine, with runs starting at 8 p.m. and ending at 3 a.m. the last time aaron snowboarded, was probably 4 years ago...with me. i'm not an expert boarder by any means, and the last time i went i spent the whole time falling on my bum, on my knees, or flat on my face (apparently, this didn't stop me from going with aaron down a black diamond run...what was i thinking??).

this time around, he took tyler up for his first snowboarding experience. the snow was rather icy but i don't think that stopped them at all. ohio has no mountains compared to the pacific nw ski resorts, so i think brandywine was the perfect place for a first time boarder to learn.

they didn't stay out there until 3, but manged to last well into the first hour of the next day. i think both of them enjoyed themselves.
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