Sweet Surprise

We found out last week that the workers at our house needed the color codes for the paint on our walls. They are tearing out the ceiling and needed to fix the places where the walls meet the ceiling.

I have been planning to do some more repainting, so I thought "this is my chance. I won't have to do any of the ceiling trim!" I decided to pick the new colors, in hopes that the crew wouldn't notice the fact that it wasn't exactly our current colors. *wink, wink*

Today, Brad told them of our plans. They said they normally paint THE WHOLE WALL anyway, so it didn't matter. What was that? I may get the rooms painted. for me. with insurance money. I still don't know for sure how much they're going to do, but hey, it's more help than I was planning to get 4 weeks ago.

If all goes according to the *current* plan, we are looking at at least another week in the hotel. So, I will just have to endure the maid service, pool, full breakfast and eating out for another week before I get to go home to my freshly painted walls. I know, feel bad for me.

Here are the colors I chose:

for our bedroom

for our living room and kitchen

What do you think?


Still Here

We're still in the hotel.

We're still trying to find the source of the water damage.

On the upside,

We are starting to enjoy hotel life. We had a great weekend of swimming, eating out and family time.

I am excited for things happening at our church. God is up to some great things at New Life.

I am considering a new hobby/business venture. More on that later.

I have a book on hold at the library that I'm excited for.

I get to go to lunch with 2 of my besties tomorrow.

God is faithful and so good!


Making a Hotel Room a Home

This time around, we are fortunate enough to have a large room. We have done the small room thing, and it almost made me lose my mind. We have settled in to a Residence Inn, which has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, a living area and full kitchen. We had planned to stay at a different hotel, so I didn't plan on having a kitchen. By the time we checked in here, we decided to go with the plan to eat out for meals. Insurance is paying, we might as well have fun with it, right?

Sanity Keeper #1:
When we are settling in a hotel room for any longer then 2 nights, I unpack everything. The suitcases are empty in the tops of the closets. I unpack all our clothes, toiletries and kitchen items.
Brad and I are sleeping in one of the bedrooms. We are sharing the dresser. My nightstand has clothes, Brad's holds all of our winter scarves, gloves and hats. It is low enough for the kids to be able to get their stuff in the morning and put it back in the evening. Our bathroom is the "hub" in the morning. We have a drawer for all hair supplies, including the kids'. Again, low enough for them to reach to do their own hair in the morning. All toothbrushes are in one place (in a coffee mug from the kitchen) and we are all sharing toothpaste to save precious counter space.
Micah has taken the other bedroom. As much as it pains me, we are not even using that other bed. His sleeping patterns are different from all the other kids, so we let him have his space. He is in a playpen with his noisemaker, diapers, wipes, creams, etc on the desk next to the playpen. There is a 3-drawer dresser in there, so Paige, Brooke and Micah each have a drawer. The closet is holding a few of the kids' hanging items, their church shoes and, in the back, an ever-growing pile of dirty clothes. That bathroom is holding dirty towels (between maid services. woohoo!) and wet swim stuff in the bathtub/shower area. This bedroom also holds the rollaways, blankets and extra pillows during the day.
The living area is where the 4 big kids are sleeping every night. Paige and Brooke are on the pull-out couch (with a pillow between them so no one kicks).

Caleb and Emma each have a rollaway.

Sanity Keeper #2:
I give all the kids an area to "own".
Emma has her corner.

This includes her toys and "valuables".

Caleb has his corner.

I have a laundry basket for the little kids' toys. Anything that ends up in here is fair game.

Sanity Keeper #3:
Have a place for everything.
We have a spot for backpacks.

We have a spot for coats.

We have a spot for shoes.

Sanity Keeper #4:
Clean up everyday (even though we have maid service). Every morning, I put the rollaways away. I pile all the pillows in the other room. I make sure everyone's clothes are put away. This way, when the after-school-craziness begins, we are starting with a clean slate.

In the kitchen, we have a snack bin. Once again, low enough for the kids to reach.

I have our medicine area and lunch box area.

And I have a stash of out-of-reach snacks to replenish the snack bin when we run out.

So there it is...a glimpse into our hotel life. Do you have any great travel tips you've learned? I'd love to hear about them!


Thrown Off

That's what this event has done to me.

I know I said I was going to show you how I have made a hotel room a home. I have made it a home. What I haven't done is take any pictures of it. Our nights have been a little crazy and I just haven't had a chance to take any pics with the kids around. I'll try to get to it today and I'll have some fun pics to share tomorrow.

I have never had to do this before...stay at a hotel (hotel = vacation, to us) and still function in normal life. The kids still have homework and school. Brad is still going to work everyday. To be honest, he's adjusting to his new role and comes home pretty tired. I am still trying to keep our family on a normal schedule.

The problem with all of this is that we're in a hotel. We are eating out for every meal which means dinner now takes 1-2 hrs instead of 30 min at home. The kids want to swim. I want to let them. This means I am trying to squeeze too much into our nights. The kids are waking up grouchy because they're not going to bed on time. Bad mom. I told them they're all going to bed on time tonight, whether they get to swim or not. We'll see if I follow up on that one...

It's a good problem to have...too much fun to have every night! How do we squeeze it in?? I'm not writing to complain...just wanted to explain a bit because I just know you're all anxiously awaiting my pictures of beds and clothes...

On another note, I saw on the news this morning they are still rescuing people from the rubble in Haiti!! What an absolute miracle that is. God is good!



we are packing up to spend a week at a hotel so we can have the mold removed from our attic. We have all been sick this week. It might be normal-winter-time-yuckiness or it might be due to the mold. Either way, I will be so glad when it's gone!

After I had my meltdown last week, we received a call from the insurance company. They are paying to remove all the mold, tear out the ceiling and drywall, repair and paint. Woohoo! That was an answer to prayer. They are also paying for us to stay at a hotel, any extra gas expenses and a portion of eating out expenses. Can you believe it? We're getting a vacation out of this deal! Of course, B will still be working and the kids will still go to school. BUT, we get to swim and eat out all week. AND I don't have to cook or clean for a week! I think I'm getting the best deal out of the whole thing! Who knew that a moldy attic could end up being a fun thing?

The only unknown is the roof...insurance isn't touching it. Our prayer is that there is no mold on it and that it doesn't warp as it dries out...

In the meantime, I'll be giving you a glimpse as to what goes into staying in a hotel for a week with 5 kids...stay tuned if you're interested in that type of thing...or if you just love me...or think my life is crazy...which it is...


Change of Plans

I planned to spend the month of January catching up on projects I kept putting off due to the holidays...

I was going to paint our living room and/or kitchen

I was going to clean out and organize our storage room

I was going to make a sabbatical garland out of the pine cones I collected during our sabbatical

I was going to host a going away party for my dear BIL and SIL

I was going to create a sense of calm and order after the craziness of the holidays

All of this changed this week when this happened.

I am now awaiting a phone call lining out the plan of action for repairing our attic/ceiling/roof mold problem. At the very least, the house will be torn up for a while. We are probably going to have to move out while they tear up our ceiling and remove all the mold-infested insulation.

I'll be honest and say that I lost it yesterday. I boo-hoo-ed for a while, overwhelmed at going through a process I don't want to go through. The idea of paying for things we can't afford was too much for me. My patient husband hugged me and took his turn being the optimist (a duty we have shared over the last several years as we have experienced some unexpected and sometimes ridiculous-almost-humorous events). I know God is faithful. I know He sees us and will meet and exceed our needs. But, I am human and doubt creeps in sometimes.

After my meltdown, I opened my computer to the news of Haiti. Boy, did it all come into perspective. When I think about the challenges I have as a mother compared to what the mothers in Haiti are going through, I feel foolish at my despair. It is suddenly very easy to count my blessings.

May we always remember that our blessings far outweigh our struggles. May we always remember that, even in the midst of our challenges, we always have something to give. What can you give today?



We had a leak in our kitchen a few weeks ago. There was a long strip in the ceiling that was bubbling and dripping water. Not good!

After several tries to find out what's causing it, we (the work crew, not me or Brad!) decided to just get started cleaning out all the wet insulation in the "attic". I suffered through 5 hours of very loud banging yesterday.
At one point, Brad was sitting at the piano in our living room, working on choir arrangements for our upcoming choir album (woohoo!! more on that later). There was a very loud bang with a crack in the ceiling right over his head!! I commented on how horrible it would have been if that guy would have fallen on his head. Brad went out to remind the work crew to be more careful. We didn't need any more damage done to the house!
A little while later Aimee, my SIL, came to drop off Paige from school. The kids were playing, so I was taking her in to show her my freshly painted bathroom. While we were in there we heard a very loud cracking, banging, crashing sound. She grabbed my arm as we were trying to figure out what was going on. We walked into the next room to find a huge hole in my kitchen ceiling and a guy sitting on my floor, covered in insulation and drywall. Craziness!!

I looked at Aimee and said "a guy just fell through my ceiling". A guy just fell through my ceiling!! I just kept saying it. It was so strange!

Thankfully, the guy was ok. He was pretty pale and thought he broke his toe. I was so thankful it was only his toe! It could have been so much worse.

He sat for a few minutes and after he settled down, he realized his toe was ok. Wow.
I just couldn't believe what had happened!
So, I currently have a guy repairing the ceiling. I have the roofer outside checking things out (hopefully, he'll do the honorable thing and fix the problem!!). Soon, there will be lots of banging for me to endure. And hopefully no one will fall through my ceiling today!



So, several years ago when we first moved into this house, I tried some interesting painting techniques.

I am now working to correct them!
Here is what 2 days of painting got me.

I feel like I can breathe and actually enjoy getting ready in here now! It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for your peace of mind.


Turn Your Eyes

upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face..."

This morning at church, our pastor called people to the front to pray for healing. Brad went to play piano, and I was left standing on the front row (of our section) by myself, but surrounded by people needing prayer. As I stood there, praying, I felt like He wanted me to pray for someone who was standing close to me. I stood there for what felt like forever, trying to figure out if it was God prompting me or if I was making it up. Finally I decided it didn't matter. Either way, they were wanting prayer and I could pray with them.

After we finished praying, I started looking for Brad so I could share it with him. I wanted to make sure he knew about their situation. I found him right before it was time to start the second service.

I told him my news. He agreed that it was shocking and that we needed to continue praying for them.

Then, he said he had some news. "My news is very different" he said.

Then, he told me of a miracle that God has worked out for us. I won't share the specifics, but it is a need that we have. We haven't communicated the need to anyone, but it is something that has been weighing on me for some time. For a few years now.

This morning, He answered my quiet prayer. (actually, He's been working it out for a little while, but this morning we found out about it)

Then, Brad said, another little surprise. This wasn't a real need, but is definitely a blessing and special and fun.

I was overcome with emotion. I am so thankful for a God that takes care of me. It's like He was saying "I see your needs. I'll meet your needs and then I'll give you even more." And, it happened when I wasn't looking for it. Both of those things happened while I was "busy" praying for someone. He did it behind my back!

What an amazing God He is!

"And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace."


No More Poo

Colored walls...

In our main bathroom...

Spackle on the walls from our renters. Yes, I know. They did actually move out a year and a half ago.

My assistant, Paige.

The finished product, only 4 hours later!

I need to get some new towels and something to hang on the wall. But, it feels sooo much better already!

I have so many other projects I'm just itching to do! Can't wait!

For the first time, I am linking this post to Transformation Thursday over at The Shabby Chic Cottage! Check it out!