Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dining room redo...finally!

I have almost completed the job of furnishing my dining room (nook).  I have casually been scoping out dining room furniture since we moved into our last house...nearly 3 years ago!  Yea, I'm picky, but I just can't stomach the sets i've seen at the local furniture stores, they are all too matchy-match for me.  I of course love some sets I've seen at Pottery Barn and in other catalogs, but we are just wanting to have a place to sit and eat that's easy on the eyes...not refinance our house!  Meanwhile, we have been using a dining set that I bought new in college (8 years ago).  It only has four chairs, so my first goal was to get a set that seats 6.

I have LOVED the idea of a vintage farm table for some time now, but those would require me to sell my car in addition to refinancing the house:).  What can I say, I have expensive taste...I can't help that.

My dream set would be a vintage farm table surrounded by Pottery Barn's antique white napoleon chairs.  The chairs alone would set me back nearly $1200.  Add on another k-gillion dollars for the rustic farm table and we'd be set, right?!  No thanks, that's just not who I am.  My name is Sarah, and I'm thrifty, very thrifty.  I might buy a set like that, but then sink instantly into regret afterward.  I know myself...I live for the hunt and ultimately for the deal!  It's fun.

The Chairs...
A few weeks ago I found the aforementioned Napoleon chairs on Craigslist!!!  They were selling for $75 each and in great shape.  A dream come true, you ask?  Well, here's the deal...these chairs have rush seats.  After taking a closer look, I just pictured myself with a butter knife fishing out crumbs, food particles and who knows what else.  I saw spilled drinks and jelly stains.  This is not on my list of favorite things to do, and frankly I have enough going on.  I decided I would hunt for something similar, but with a wooden seat.  I got online and, voila....I found them!

The table...
I decided I would be content with finding the chairs for now and keep my table.  I would keep scouring flea markets, craigslist, Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel for the table of my dreams (at the price of my dreams).  I went to Lowes and bought a black stain (thought I'd give my current table a face lift), started sanding and found the table of my dreams!  I seriously loved my table sanded down.  Underneath the ugly stain was something much more my style.  I roughed it up and called it good.  I will slap a layer of polyurethane on top to protect the wood, and that's it!  Eventually I will want something larger, as my kiddos grow, but for now I could not have asked for a better situation...something I love in the meantime...for free!  I even returned the black stain and got my $11 back.

Here's the finished product...


So, the table was free.  I found the chairs for way cheap!  I ordered them through csn and they delivered them to Walmart (site to store) for free!  I was not sure at first, a little worried about what the quality would be like, but the reviews on csn's website were great.  Many people compared them to Pottery Barn's chairs and said that the quality far surpassed the price.  I figured I'd try them out and see.  For pete's sake, it was worth a shot!!!

I still have a few things to add to the room.  I would like to find a Jute rug for under the table, just to add another layer and dimension. Also,  I will hang my plate collection on the wall at the head of the table once it's complete.  I'm hoping this will bring in a funky and colorful feel. I will do something different on the window treatments too, just don't know what.

I also replaced the very elaborate brushed nickel light fixture that came in the dining room. I found this Pottery Barn fixture on craigslist and snagged it for $70.  I sold the one we took down for $50, so my total cost for the light update was 20 bucks!

I may add some modern white linen lamp shades over each bulb, but I'm undecided at this point.  I like the look of it as is, but it may prove migraine-inducing for me staring at bright bulbs...only time will tell!

Dallas bought me these metal stools for V'day.  So, I actually picked them out and ordered them, but he will be paying the bill.  Romantic, I know.  I wanted stools to match the chairs, but even that felt a little too matchy for me.  These guys will work.  They are sturdy, and Jude can climb up them without them tipping over.  They are just the look I was going for.  Not everyone's style, but not everyone lives here:).

We have a built-in desk with a cabinet above leading into our dining area, and I started collecting vintage mason jars to store in there.  I love them.  I love looking for them in antique shops, and I love that they can hold all of the ugly clutter (pens, paperclips, post-it notes) and make it look somewhat cutely organized!  I've started quite the little collection that I am now extending the into my bathrooms to hold cotton balls and q-tips.

Birds (totally unrelated to my dining room project)...

I love birds.  Not live furry ones full of germs and lice, but these cute guys I find at antique shops...

That is all I've accomplished around here lately...decor wise.  I'm honestly hoping to be done soon.  I'm tired of looking for stuff, which is not like me.  We will redo our bedroom due to the storm damage, maybe create a new office space upstairs, but that's it for a while (This is not a legally binding contract, Dallas.).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More fun, better parties....that's the power of Home Depot!!!

Jude had his 4th Birthday Party at The Home Depot this weekend.  It was tool-themed and so fun and adorable!  We invited 15 of his little friends and 15 were able to come!

The party was held in a training room at Home depot.  Each child got an orange Home Depot apron, a kit to build, a hammer, nails and glue to put it all together.  The boys built a tiered shelf and the girls built a heart-shaped shelf.  They had so much fun putting it all together and the parents did a lot of building too:).

After the building workshop we opened presents and had some yummy cupcakes...Home depot orange!  We heart Sam's club cake and cupcakes at our house.  I sometimes contemplate ordering a sheet cake to have around the house, but I know that will end badly...with me eating the entire thing.  So, I take full advantage come B'day time.  You can't beat 30 cupcakes for $12.97!

Everyone seemed to really enjoy the party and it was perfectly timed.  The party started at 10a.m. and was over by 11:15.  I was thoroughly impressed with the kindness and generosity of the Home Depot employees. They assigned a Party Host to us, Dan, who got us everything we needed and helped me set up.  The best part, the kicker...Home Depot foot the bill for the entire party!!!  They provided all of the kits, aprons, tools and the room for free!  I just brought in my own decorations and cake.  They even had a helium tank and inflated our balloons for free.  Talk about a bargain of a party, especially for 15 kids.  We will definitely be revisiting this party idea for Rhett in a few years:).

I can't believe this precious boy is 4 already.  Time really does fly when you have kids!

Jude, I want you to know how special you are.  You are loving, sweet, compassionate, mature beyond your years, smart and a great helper!  Dr. Henley told me at your 4-year appointment that you are so bright, he thought you could skip pre-k and start Kindergarten.  Your loving heart continues to amaze me. You overheard me telling Grandma a story on the phone one day about a little boy named Jace who had been abused.  Your little ears should not have heard, but when I turned around and looked at you there were crocodile tears streaming down your cheeks.  You were silently crying in your seat.  I asked you what was wrong and you said, "I'm just sad for Jace." We prayed for him until the day he died, and I was shocked at your compassion for that little boy, a boy you didn't even know.  You are always asking to pray for your friends, family and people we've come across through the food pantry at church.  Just tonight I listened to you pray for great-grandma, "Lord, touch great-grandma cause she lost her hip." I pray that God will keep that compassion for others burning in your heart.  That you will love others and care about people the way Jesus does.  You have changed my world completely and I love you so much.  My love for you goes up to the stars and down to the the moon and back, as far as the east is from the west! Oh, and great-grandma didn't lose her hip, but did have surgery:).

Here are a few shots of you, Chipper Jones, making a cake on your actual b'day a few weeks ago...

Snowed in during the blizzard....cleats and all!  

Dallas Martin....Pitcher of the year and President's cup recipient...

I came across these articles online today and remembered how much I LOVED watching Dal play ball.  I was not a sports fan (that's changed over the years), but there was just something about watching him pitch, he was amazing!

Golden Eagles' Martin in middle of transition | Tulsa World

I loved sitting in the bleachers, soaking up the sun and waiting to see him come in and rock the game in the last 2 innings.  He really did have a power about him.  He did his job, and did it well!  Love him!

I hope that our boys have the opportunity to play college ball.  Not for the scholarship, but for the experience.  Dallas built great friendships through sports and had amazing opportunities to travel.  He went all over the States for baseball, even Hawaii!

Monday, February 14, 2011

trials and tribulation...

We've recently experienced a fair share of trial around the Martin home.  These types of events would have put the Sarah of a few years ago over the edge, across the line, into a mental institution or into some sort of hysterics (if you are close to me you know this is only slightly exaggerated).

Now, I know these types of mishaps occur in home ownership and in life, but I know this was no coincidence. All of these things just so happened to fall in the wind of Dallas and I finishing a 21 day fast. A period of time where we grew close to God, prayed for family and friends, for break-through, for changed lives, bondage to be broken and spiritual growth!  This was a time like none other in my life.  This was a time where I devoted much of my day to prayer and seeking the things that God wants us to seek.  I saw people differently, prayed for people who don't love me,  I started loving the people I prayed for and had a sense of renewed compassion.  I can't really even put into words the growth I experienced from this fast.  I never want to change, I want to hold on to this closeness I feel and stay in God's presence.

I have always had a weakness when it comes to my flesh.  I have been known to easily slip into freak-out mode when disaster strikes.  I hate this about me because I know that God is my provider and will take care of me always, but have I really known that?  When trials come I believe what we really think and feel comes out.  The true us.  I think that me "freaking out" and stressing big time when trials come up shows my lack of faith and trust in the one who really controls my life.  What must God think when I walk around and claim to be faithful to Him, but in reality those are just words and in the trials the real me is revealed.  Well, that's just not okay with me!

Dallas woke me up at 3:30 am the second night of the blizzard.  we had water dripping into our bedroom ceiling through the drywall.  I remember looking at him and saying or thinking, "all we can do is pray, there's nothing we can do to stop it, and if we are going to trust God for other things in our life we have to trust Him here too."  I got some pots and pans and went back to sleep.  WHAT?!?  This is so uncharacteristic of Sarah Martin.  Hysterics come to mind on much simpler and less humongous issues in the past.  How could I have actually slept!?  I woke up the next day to more dripping and what looked like water balloons hanging from the ceiling (Latex paint).  I pulled out my bible study for the day and God poured truth and light onto the situation.  I read Jeremiah 17-5-8, 13, that talks about a blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord and his hope.  I went on the read day after day many scriptures that were just falling in my lap.  I wasn't looking for scriptures to help me, they just appeared in emails, in my daily reading and on facebook:).  I was particularly struck by this quote from author Ann Spangler,

"Anchor.  What better way to picture the One who is utterly reliable, completely steady, invulnerable, to all the forces of evil that threaten us?  If our hope is grounded in God, we will not be destroyed when gale force winds begin to blow in our direction, when fear, pain, grief, and disappointment threaten to overwhelm us.  No matter how terrible the storm, we can survive because God is with us."

I was beginning to see at this point that it's not the trial I was facing, but who I could become in the midst of that trial.  I've always heard it preached that as a Christian you'd better watch out if you are not facing trials in your life.  If you are not facing trials that means the devil does not see that you are close to God and you are not a threat to him.  The closer you draw to God, the more the devil will try to deter you.  Dallas and I sat around and talked in the middle of this and pondered why anyone would want to be close to God if it meant going through trials and test all of the time.  After talking to my mom the next day on the very same subject I realized that the trials are refining.  You get through the trials and are closer to God.  Your faith is strengthened, your trust is in Him and you give up self.  I was thumbing through an old notebook looking for blank paper that day and found a note I had jotted down watching Jentzen Franklin a year ago.  All it said was, "in order to get to it, you've got to get through it."  That made total sense to me now.  You get to where God wants you to be after you make it through the trials. Again, they are refining.

A day or so after this revelation, a girl from my amazing bible study emailed me a scripture.  It just brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.
 James 1:2-4
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

To me that was just more and more confirmation that no matter what this leaking situation was about, I was going to use it as a chance to grow in faith, to develop perseverance and to grow closer to my maker.

Dallas was on the roof for 12 hours after night 2 of the leak before he was able to remove the ice dam that was causing water to get under the shingles.  We were rejoicing when the leaking stopped and sat down to take a load off and watch a movie.  NOTSOMUCH!  We started smelling gas and it just wouldn't go away.  We had turned the valve on the fireplace when contemplating making a fire, but had turned it right back off.  Dallas grabbed a lighter and lit it in front of the valve and nearly blew his face off:).  Seriously it was like a blow torch to his face.  We are literally thankful that he still has eyebrows and that my curtains didn't catch fire!  We called the fire department who determined they needed ONG. ONG came out and by midnight we were evacuating our house in blizzard conditions 2 sleepy boys in arm.  ONG had to shut off the gas because the levels were so high and they couldn't remedy the problem.  We prayed all night for our pipes.  The temps were below zero that night and the concern of frozen and breaking pipes was present.  We came back to the house the next day and it was still 60 degrees inside!!!  A plumber was at the house before noon and had the gas line leading to the fireplace capped off in an hour.  The other alternative was to knock the fireplace and wall out to get to the line to replace the valve.  No thanks, we'll just have a wood-burner in that fireplace from now on! Dallas and I laughed through this entire ordeal.  We would just look at each other and laugh.  It was like, seriously, if the holes in the ceiling didn't get us down neither would a gas silly gas leak!

I know that I have a lot of growing to do.  There is a lot that requires faith, and these trials we've faced are merely superficial.  Seriously, people have babies and kids battling cancer.  People hunger and thirst daily and are without adequate nourishment.  Tons of children are orphaned and unloved by anyone on this earth.  My leaky roof and gas line are so miniscule in comparison to what's going on around this world.  However, I am thankful for these trials.  They may be small, but to me they are HUGE victories in my relationship with Jesus.  I feel closer, more dependent and more trusting in Him than ever.  God can use the little things to make gigantic strides in my life.  Patience, perseverance, hope, trust, faith and total surrender.  This house is just that, a house, a dwelling place, where I lay my head at night.  I could lose it tomorrow and know that my God still loves me, will provide for me and has a plan for my life.  He is Jehovah Jireh...My Provider!

"Jehovah Jirah, my provider, his grace is sufficient for me!"

Thankfully the restoration company was able to come out this past Saturday and start the drying out process.  Next we will hire a general contractor who will take out much of the remaining drywall, redo it all, replace the insulation, paint, put new crown moulding up, clean the carpet, replace the blinds and call it good!  That doesn't seem so bad to me!  Oh, and I'll get to choose a new paint color!!!

Just at the end of this never-ending snow-cation I got word of some other amazing victories.  Things that I have been praying for, breakthrough that I have been believing for in the lives of people close to me.  Praise Jesus!  I believe they will continue to come!  Prayer moves the hand of God.

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1

Sunday, February 6, 2011

More talking!!!

Rhett has been talking up a storm this past week.  He's been trapped inside all day everyday with this blizzard, so he probably figured he might as well work on some milestones.

Here's what I can recall...
mine, no, doggy, bite (bye), eye (pointing to his eye), hair, mommy (he usually says momma and I've found this is a slippery slope to just plain 'mom', daddy (formerly dada), eat, more, Jude, G, nana, papa, Austin (Au-in), Cole (dole), thank you (says it and signs it at the same time along with eat and more) bath (baa), peek-a-boo (teet a too), buba, night night, bye-bye, yummy and ball.

I'm sure there are more, but this is what's coming to mind this late at night.  He and Jude have well-baby check-ups and shots tomorrow, so I want to be prepared to give a full report on how many words he is saying when I'm asked.  I usually get ambushed and am counting words on my hands and finding myself adding a few for good measure just to make sure he's in the right category and thinking to myself, "self, surely he could say that if he really tried!"  I watched an episode of modern family recently when Mitch and Cam took their daughter Lilly to a play center and Mitch was super competitive with Lilly's motor skills. He stole another kids blocks when the instructor came by to make it seem that Lilly had stacked the blocks on her own.  He would have succeeded scot-free if it weren't for the pesky video cameras that were revealed.  I cannot confirm or deny that I would do something like this, but we all want our kids to be the best and brightest and most advanced as they can be.  Fortunately my sweet boys are perfect just they way they are!  We are blessed!

So, Jude will be 4 tomorrow. What?!?  How is this possible that he is 4 years old already?  He is just so sweet and perfect in every way.  I love him so much that I can't even express what this love feels like.  It almost hurts.  I just want the very best for him, to give him everything he deserves, to teach him to be the best person he can be.  He has overly exceeded every expectation we had for our first baby boy!!!  He is so compassionate, so loving, so full of life and energy and he is!

Jude also loves Jesus.  He has been memorizing scripture versus the last few weeks and he is so quick to pick them up!  I make a flash card every week and add it to a single binder ring for him (I have one for bible study and he always wants to play with it so I knew he would want one to show the versus he's learned) I just love that he's starting his journey to know God's word so young.  Here's what he can recite from memory, reference and all....

A friend loves at all times.  Proverbs 17:17
The Lord has led me.  Genesis 24:27
Come follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men.  Mark 1:17
Love the Lord your God with all your heart.  Matthew 22:37