Monday, January 7, 2013

Madelyn turns ONE!

My baby girl turned one year old last week.  One year ago, our lives forever changed when that precious little one entered the world.  I didn't know I could love someone so deeply.  I didn't realize that someone so small could motivate me to be a better woman.  Seek God more.  Use my time more wisely.  Love my husband deeper.  Desire a healthier lifestyle.  Or live on so little sleep.  Being a mom has changed me.  Our little Madelyn makes me smile every single day.  Sometimes at night I don't want to put her down to sleep in her own crib because I don't want to be away from her.  I'm one of those moms.  And not ashamed.

So of course, we held a little birthday party to honor her first year of life.  It turned out wonderfully.  She was loved on by family and a handful of friends.  I was just going to do something "little" and then I couldn't stop with the details.  For about a month I put things together during nap time or while she played on the floor next to me.  I hoped it'd all come together on the big day - sometimes it's questionable that what's in my head is in reality what it'll be like.  I can't promise she'll have such a homemade birthday party again either.

Maddie's personal smash cake
(I made it with a loaf pan, cut in half and stacked)

a party is not a party without food
plus, we got to enjoy our new kitchen!

delicious chicken salad found here

We put together a little ball pit for the kiddos, using bags of balls (found at Target) and an old kid pool Matt's parents had hidden in their attic.  It was such a hit!

I vowed to not raise a girly girl.  And now she's wearing a tutu.
But she seriously looks too cute.  I even made a cute hair bow, but she refuses to wear them anymore.  :(

Blessed with so many great gifts.  Maddie just sat there in my lap the whole time and closely watched each gift be presented to her (not too interested in opening them herself).  Such a little lady.

Maddie's first sugar.  I thought about going all healthy on her cake, but decided she only turns 1 once.
It took her a few minutes to realize she could eat it, but then she went to town!
What a sweet day for our little girl.  I put together a little video of many of the pictures and videos we have taken through the year and showed it to our party goers.  It's amazing how much change can happen in just a short year.   I thank God every single day for such a wonderful gift He's blessed us with.  Happy birthday, Madelyn Grace!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Kitchen

A vast majority of houses we looked at needed a kitchen makeover.  It became a common theme after touring a house and saying "we'll just paint the kitchen and it'll look great".  Oh how those words have such a deeper meaning now.  And I don't think I'll ever say them so nonchalantly ever again. 

Because when we bought our house, the kitchen looked like this:
It was dark.  And ringed of the 90's era when the house was built.  Plus the counter tops were cracked in several spots. The stove top only have 2 working burners.  And oh my goodness that floor was pretty disgusting.  We contemplated ripping that out as well. 

It even had one of those lovely florescent light fixtures that is popular in so many houses built during the 90's.  It did not help with the darkness of the room.  And coming from Alaska, I needed light.  And lots of it.  
So we got to work.  In two-ish weeks before the moving truck arrived, we (with much help from Matt's dad) painted the base cabinets, installed new counter tops, and replaced the back splash, got a new stove top, painted the walls and installed all new lighting.  And that was just in the kitchen.

One thing we didn't get to were the cabinet doors.  We worked our tails off to get the kitchen to a place where we could unpack and survive.  Doors and hardware were not part of that equation.  And then we got burned out...well, actually we had other projects to work we lived with no doors months??
And just a couple weeks before Christmas, we finally have doors up and hardware on!  I didn't think I'd ever see this day.

Remember before?
I love before and afters.  And now have such a better appreciation for "after".

My husband never ceases to amaze me in how he can just decide to tackle something and learn how to do it.  Like he did with electrical.  He learned when we remodeled our bathroom in Anchorage.  And now he's a pro.  What a blessing to be married to man with such handyman skills.

Thus, he installed some can lights and these beautiful pendants over the island.
Our beautiful new stove top - that has all working burners!  And that back splash.  I cannot take any credit on the installation of that, but am thankful for the men that can.  Because I love it.
My new paint color that took three coats.  THREE.  That was dreadful, but I love the end product.  It's bright but the rest of the kitchen and house are so neutral, that I love the pop of color.
You can kind of see the floors in the picture above.  After several hours of scrubbing the floor with Clorox and a toothbrush, they actually look clean and relatively new.  I'm glad we didn't have to replace them after all!

And another angle for your viewing pleasure...because the amount of work that went into this kitchen deserves a bazillion pictures.
We have these two glorious, huge windows by the sink.  They will one day get curtains, but for now, I'm enjoying all the sunlight.
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so it's an important room to me.  I love the brightness of it all.  And it was fun to pick out all the finishes.  However, I already told Matt, if we ever have to paint kitchen cabinets again, we will save and pay someone.  Or buy a house that's already completed.  If that last scenario is actually possible.

But for now, I'm loving the new kitchen.  And thankful for the opportunity to have such an amazing space.

Monday, December 17, 2012

First Christmas

A baby's first Christmas is a memorable occasion.  Maybe not for them, but for the parents.  We did a little celebrating early with just our little family of three.  

Maddie was way more interested in the tree than in her present.  

We tried to hide her little stuffed animal in the bag, but she just dug out the old, already owned stuffed animal and didn't think twice about the new, shiny gift inside with it.  But she was happy none the less.
 So we tried again that Saturday morning.  Where Matt and I exchanged gifts too.  It was like our "Christmas morning".

She is always full of smiles and giggles - which still (and probably always will) melt my heart.
 Thankfully, we had more luck this time with the gift...
 I think she liked it...after we hid her stuffed animal.  Ha.
We bought her a little fake cell phone since she always steals ours.  I certainly didn't go crazy with gifts for her...since clearly the tree and the tissue paper are just as exciting to her.  Though it was hard to restrain myself, I'm not going to lie.   
Then we went to a Christmas festival at our church.  Maddie didn't quite get how the bounce house worked.  As she just sat in the corner and watched...with perfect posture, of course.
(yes, I left her in her pj shirt, because it's seriously too cute.  However, next time I'm going to glue a bow to her head as everyone thought she was a boy.  I guess the big glittery heart on her shirt wasn't enough.)

But get her around the Bethlehem animals and we couldn't be more excited.  
 Even the fake ones are thrilling to her.
It's quite endearing how easily amused, joyful she gets.  And the celebrations have just begun!

Monday, December 3, 2012


I'm currently living in a season of life that involves lots of change.  And effort.  As much as I long to just sit and be still - and spend my afternoons taking hour long walks in this 80 degree December weather (really? I wanted to escape the dreadful freezing Alaska winter, but this is kinda ridiculous) - my life right now is full of projects and contractors and unpacking and making a home.  But that last part I love.

Thus, blogging has taken a back seat lately.  So much has happened though! My baby girl not only turned 10 months...
 but 11 months!
I'm currently planning her first birthday party.  You know the one that's really just for the parents, since she'll never actually remember it, but I'd be a bad mom if I didn't have one?  Yeah, that one.  But I'm excited.  I think I'm going to go with a pink and yellow theme.  I cannot believe she's going to be one.  ONE.  Which means I'll have been a mom for whole year.  How did that happen?!?

Anyways...we celebrated Halloween with our cousin.  We were actually painting kitchen cabinets on October 31st, so it's a good thing I busted the outfit out early for this photo shoot.  Are they not so cute together?
 We enjoyed a corn maze too.  I'm pretty sure she's the cutest little ladybug ever.
Have I mentioned we are remodeling yet another house?  Yep.  We've done it again.  Bought a house that needs lots of TLC.  We are getting sooo close to being *finished* (oh how that term is to be used loosely), but we have transformed our living room from this: this...
I love walking into this room.  I'm still in need of making curtains for in here...but every room in this house will always be a constant work in progress.  I guess you could call that my hobby.

We've also transformed the half bath from this lovely early 90's bathroom... a much more modern, bright and inviting toilet room.
Maddie has been such a big help throughout the whole process.  This little girl has grown up too fast!  
In the meantime, Thanksgiving happened too.
Maddie is all about supporting football entertainment.  Especially Johnny Football.  The Cotton Bowl this year is going to be a divided household this year.  

We participated in our tradition of running the Turkey Trot in Fort Worth.  And by "tradition", I mean it was our first year.  But we have high hopes of it happening every other year when we all meet up for the "Heine" Thanksgiving.  
And now we are in the season of Christmas.  Goodness it came fast this year.  But it is and always will be my favorite time of year.  I'm excited to start new traditions in our growing little family.  I'm excited to teach Maddie what Christmas is really all about.  I feel like having a child helps me refocus on what this holiday actually represents - the birth of our Savior.  I know she won't remember a lot this year, but I strongly believe it's important to emphasize from early on what's important and what's really not.  Though I do still have a fondness for trees and lights and stockings and Christmas music (which has been playing all day long in our house since the day after Thanksgiving).  

But as life has been so crazy lately, I didn't even want to put up our tree this year.  Yes, it's felt that overwhelming as of late.  But again, bad mom moment.  How could I do that for my child's first Christmas? So Matt surprised me with a day off of work last week and we put it up.  I'm pretty sure Maddie is ecstatic that we did.  Those lights and ornaments are just mesmerizing.
I am so blessed with this child.  I thank God every single day for such a beautiful, joyful gift.   Every day gets more exciting with her...

Thursday, November 1, 2012


We bought a house!

It's true.  We are no longer homeless...even if we are not living in the house quite yet.  Nothing like being anticlimactic by closing on a house and not being able to move in for a couple more weeks.  However, when that moving truck arrives, the angels will be singing.  At least in my head.

I guess we could have moved in right away, but let's just say the house needs a little work.  Such as every single surface in the house is to be repainted or replaced.  The bones of the house are wonderful and the location can't be beat (hence why we bought the place), but it was just a tad bit lived in with the previous owners 3 dogs, 8 cats, 4 kids and potbellied pig we later learned about from the neighbor.  Yikes.

And it is all being renovated in 2 weeks.  TWO.  Even though it might will exhaust us in the process.  We could not be more thankful for Matt's dad contractor skills and unending energy.

Because I feel about like Maddie is here at the end of each day...
I'm exhausted.  But what does my lucky fortune cookie remind me of?
words of wisdom discovered during a very appropriate time
It will be worth it!  When it's done we can move in and relax (so I tell myself, though in reality I'll think of 500 other things I want to do to the house post-unpacking).  I have been counting down the days for two whole months now.

With just less than a week left we have already painted every single room.  In the entire house.  Every. single. room.  If I never see another paintbrush for the rest of my entire life when this is all done, I'll be ok with that.  The floors will soon be all brand new too.  And the best part?  I may have my dream kitchen.  

No fear, I'll have lots of before and afters for you, but in the mean time here is a sneak peak of the biggest project...
(certainly not terrible, but we needed to replace the countertops so we decided to just redo the whole thing while we were at it - and I somehow convinced my other half it was a good idea.  Some things just seem like they'll be easier in my head.)
PROGRESS's better already, right?...
Aren't the joys of home ownership worth it? :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Welcome back to Texas

We've almost been back in Texas a month.  It feels like we just got here but somehow it feels like we never left.  Life certainly has not been ideal since we've arrived (sharing one car for 6 weeks, living out of a spare bedroom, enduring the expected but still hot, humid weather, teaching a 9 month old that adjustments - and church nurseries - are ok), but it has been full.  There is rarely a day that I don't have anything going on...which is such a blessing because I might go crazy otherwise.  Remember, I am living out of a suitcase in someone else's house.  

I love all the opportunities to get involved and meet new people (and hang out with old friends).  I've learned to just jump in with both feet.  No point wasting time.  It's not like we have much else going on right now.  So at times, I may at times pull the "I just moved here from Alaska" without the "we lived here a few years ago" part, so people will have pity on me and invite me to things.  Eventually, they find out and still allow me to tag along. :)

Because seriously, there are so many stay at home moms!  Where have you been all my life?!?

Maddie and I get to spend a lot of quality time together.  She's such a little gem.  I can't imagine a better little person to spend my days with.

Here we are enjoying the hottest weather Maddie has ever experienced, while the rest of the Houstonians are dressed like it's cold.  I have a word to share: 65 degrees is not cold.  
We enjoy lunches and zoos and libraries and fall festivities with new friends.  Here is Maddie's best friend, Addie.  At what age is not appropriate to decide who their best friend is anymore?  I say I have at least half a decade of control over that still.  Right?
Football.  Matt + living with best friend = watching LOTS of football.  (Honestly, I don't mind though. I secretly really enjoy it.  And Maddie appears to too).
Thankfully, little one has been so good at sleeping lately!  I do not know what caused the turn, but I'm not complaining.  Not. one. bit.  I'm sure this is what most parents with small children experience earlier on.  Actual sleep lasting more than 3 consecutive hours at night.  Which is probably why many are okay with having more kids.  Which is why I'm just now starting to have a small hint of realization that more than one kid might be doable...
We've also found the only forest in Houston.  No more walking outside and being consumed by nature.  We now work with plastic trees that are 3 feet tall.  I'm glad my tax dollars are going to this type of school playground.  How disappointed those kids would be to run outside to the jungle gym just to discover small, fake trees!  What are they supposed to do with those anyways?
We've also gotten quite mobile.  If you look closely you will notice how not baby proof our temporary residence is.  And Maddie has a fascination with cords.  Awesome.  It works out well that we will be able to baby proof as we unpack our new house.  Because, goodness, it will be necessary.
It's good to be back to my Texas roots.  I'm not going to lie.  I've missed you.