May 11, 2011


Because I don't get to share my new house journey with any of my "girlfriends" in America, (as in they come over, help me clean it, or help me paint, or go with me furniture shopping, or watch my kids while I go furniture shopping) I figured this is about as close as it gets over here. Though my friend Angie WILL be here very soon and will be very close-by for probably more ventures in home decoration than she ever thought possible. Until then though...

April my friend, here is us sharing an experience together.  I don't tend to be too much of a hand-holding type, but I like to think that our blogs are doing the equivalent of that through this post.

In a couple weeks we will move into our new rental home in our new city and I will decorate it (as much as budget allows... and if you knew how Candice Olsen and I are secretly bff's in my mind and how I clap for her surface, finishes, lighting, and fabric choices, you'd know that budget isn't allowing for much. But we'll do what we can and call it home anyway!)
Here are a LOAD of pictures of our house "Before..."

House from street (behind me is the neighborhood park!)
Yard to the left, just inside the gate

Outside standing in the carport, door-grill open leading to "atrium" (as I've come to call it)

Standing at door-grill, with front door to my left looking into atrium. (you can't see front door, but it's there) It's outside but it's covered somewhat. This area is going to require hazmat suits to get clean! But we really like it as it's just off the living room and will give the boys space to play "outside" while not being in the sun!
Standing in atrium looking through glass into living room. You can't see it, but front door is off to the left from the window on the left.

Standing in corner of living room. Basically opposite view of photo above. This room will look much different! Except for the little boys you see there. We think they were designed very well and don't need any sort of color change or rearranging... those pink walls however are already gone!

Blurry picture, but this is the guest room (aka- Kaylee's Room, we'll tell you about her later). Door to the right past the atrium.

Guest Bathroom. Yes, that is a squatty potty. The blurry doorway in the pic above is the doorway I'm standing in for this pic. The white door on the left leads to the kitchen.

Standing in doorway looking at kitchen from Kaylee's squatty potty bathroom :) Orange walls are already somewhat gone and we are trying our darndest to figure out how to get rid of those random orange cabinet doors.

Opposite view of photo above. Looking from window back across kitchen toward laundry area. That's the squatty potty bathroom door again.

Standing in kitchen entry looking up the stairs.

Standing in Master bedroom doorway looking across "loft" area towards staircase and kids rooms.

Inside master bedroom looking at what will be the closet area. They really got their money's worth out of that can of orange paint!
Standing in corner of Master bedroom. Windows to the left look out to the park. You can't see it, but there is also a window off to the right that looks out/down into the atrium. LOTS of windows and natural light in this house! A big selling point for me (now to figure out how to pay for all those curtains!)
Master bathroom. Not huge, but there is already a hot water heater in here and I don't have to share this with my kids. Good with me!
Baby's room. First room off to the right at the top of the stairs. Window in this room looks out/down into atrium as well. Also ignore the pink. That was there. Though it may end up being a fun coincidence that this room is pink and the boys' room is blue. We shall see. They'll both be painted regardless (you can't see the masking tape still lining the lovely shapes on the walls, but believe me. It's there and it's sticky)

Kids' rooms share a bathroom. Walk in the nursery and to the left is the door to the bathroom. Western toilet for the kiddos!
Standing in bathroom doorway looking into boys' bedroom. That is actually Isaac's bed and mattress pre-assembled. We had to order a matching one for Isaiah...his first big boy bed! Also. As much as I love stars and squares and triangles. This paint will also be re-done.

And this will be your sneak peek into the "After" photos.  This was taken in the house we're in now, but these pillows are my mother's day prizes and they will be happily displayed in our new living room!
I know that was a lot of photos and most of you don't care. But there is an interior decorator part of me that only gets let out occasionally (whether actually capable or not, it doesn't matter, I enjoy it immensely!) So of the 7 or so of you who follow the blog, thanks to the maybe 2 of you who cared enough to look at all the photos! Can't wait until there are "after" photos to show!

May 09, 2011

Me? The mother of three?

Yesterday was sweet. Mother's Day. I didn't cook not one time. And Anthony let me buy a couple of large throw pillows for our new couch/living room/house.

But this morning, the morning after such a sweet day, even AFTER spending time in the word and praying specifically for patience and kindness, I lost it.  I think the washing machine was the straw. I pulled out a pair of boxer shorts and up came a knotted mess of clothes and like a sleeping dragon waking, I got angry. I yelled.  I didn't merely "unknot" the clothes so I could hang them up to dry. No. Really, it's a miracle they were all still intact once I got them out. They definitely didn't have any sort of self-esteem left when I got through with them.
After my episode, part of which was unnecessarily taken out on my amazing husband, I went in my room to pout to pray and figure things out. Why had I gotten so angry? The Holy Spirit in that gentle, but firm way He does things convicted me of my selfishness and well, my selfishness. He comforted me too and while the greatest comfort came in the fact that my Lord is willing to listen to me even when I'm being a big baby, I also found a little relief in the fact that clothes balls won't be coming out of my washer in a couple weeks (see post below) and that I won't have to wash the dishes in the kitchen sink just so I can brush my teeth (only sink in the house now, changing in less than 3 weeks!).

So childish and selfish, isn't it? Part of it is culture stress of course, but part of it, most of it really, though of all the things I'm conscious to do in my spiritual walk, was because of my selfishness and unthankfulness. Discontentment. Why should a stupid washing machine with an agitator bring me comfort? Holy cow, I have CLEAN water that comes straight out of the ONE sink in our little house right now and I can wash my dishes and brush my teeth in that one sink without fearing that I'm giving my self, my unborn child, or my family some sort of water-borne illness. So ungrateful I am!

So, now that the kids are taking a nap (the Lord is merciful, amen?) I sat down to get on the internet and came across this post from a blog I follow.  This little lecture in the form of a Mother's Thoughts was EXACTLY what I needed for my selfish, high-maintenance, un-Christlike attitude today (and way too many other days as well). And while not all my selfishness stems from me fighting to save "Sharon" in the midst of her disappearing into the "Rivers kids" a HUGE part of my life is my children, and with the addition of #3 it's just going to become more-so... and so often my attitude and my heart towards them isn't what it should be. 

As the mother with 2 little ones and another on the way I really wonder how there will be enough grace to cover me, the Dragon-Mama, some days... this perspective below (I should probably print this out and post it on the fridge or above the kitchen sink...whether I have to brush my teeth in it or not) is what I want to learn from the Lord.  Then maybe our clothes, my husband, and our children won't suffer from my selfish fire-breathing ways...

The following made me cry.

A "I'm so sorry Lord" kind of cry.
A "teach me Lord because I want this type of wisdom" kind of cry.

These were written by a mother-in-law on the request of her daughter-in-law who wanted to learn from her...
I grow increasingly convinced that God values children much, much more than we do.

We value a clean floor more than children. We value free time more than children. We value the good dishes more than children. We value going out to eat or watching grown-up television shows more than we value children.

All the world, including the church, tells us that children are a bother, perhaps even a mistake. If you don’t believe that, introduce a family with many babies into your church and see how long it takes for someone to say, “They know what causes that, don’t they?”

We have let the world convince us that a large family is a curse, when the Bible clearly teaches that many children are a blessing, a sign of God’s great favor.

If I had the choice right now, there would be more children in my family. And I think I might be brave enough to let God decide how many.

I remember that it seemed a little frantic around my house when the children were little. I never got “it all” done, whatever “it all” is. There was not much privacy or money or free time. There was lots of laundry and garbage and stinky stuff. The boys were going to be 2 and 4 forever. It was never going to end.

Don’t get me wrong - I enjoyed my boys. But it was all colored by that worldly, selfish, hurry-up-and-grow-up attitude. And then it was over. I woke up one morning and they were almost as tall as me. The next day, or so it seemed, they didn’t even live with us. Now there is not much garbage or laundry or stinky stuff. And there is much more privacy and money and free time.

I’d trade it all in a heartbeat.

I would do laundry around the clock if it meant I could have one more day with my little boys in my home. I want the piles of blue jeans back. If my family had been larger, perhaps I would have grown in wisdom and learned to treasure the tiny victories and agonies of everyday. Perhaps not, but at least it would have lasted longer.

You think they’ll be little forever. You can’t imagine being able to handle – afford – care for another little life. But you can. And it will be over before you know it, with plenty of years left to use the good dishes. 

May 05, 2011

Do I need a Mother's Day gift?

...especially when we bought these this week?
Lemme 'splain. This is in our new house. The gem on the right is an Electrolux 11kg washing machine (holds 11kilograms of clothes). There are bigger ones out there, but this one has an AGITATOR in the middle.

Do you know what that means to this American?

Usually I'm anti-agitator and have to get on to my boys multiple times a day for agitating each other and have to quote "a sharp word stirs up anger but a gentle answer turns away wrath" to myself when they agitate me.

But this is different.

Most washing machines in Asia, for some unknown reason, don't have agitators in them. They're either front-loading washers or washers that rotate and spin the clothes from an upright position but with no stick made for washing the clothes sticking up the middle, just an open tub.

This leaves Every. Single. Article. Twisted. Together.

I don't need to do puzzles in Asia or watch that episode of Animal planet where snakes breed, because each load of laundry gives me a chance to figure out which pants leg or shirt to pull on first to get the ball of knotted clothing to pull apart. It's like I'm being tested to enter the gifted program each and every time.  "Now Sharon, please look at this mass of fabric in this tub for 10 seconds and tell me which article I should take out first in order to make emptying of the washer the easiest and fastest."

But not so with Mr. Electrolux with an agitator. That agitator is perfectly fine with me. I did about 3 loads of laundry while we were at our new house this past weekend (we haven't moved yet, just trying to get some preliminary things set up in the house like, for instance, appliances) and when I opened the lid at the end of the cycles you know what I found? Shirts, pants, underwear, sheets, blankets, socks, and towels sitting in a circle around the agitator like boyscouts around a campfire. All super-dee-duper clean and without one moment of feeling not-gifted because I pulled the wrong pair of shorts and made the knot worse.

No knots. Glorious.

Then Mr. Agitator's friend on the left there. That's a dryer. They are not so run-of-the-mill in these parts. They are never very big, cost a lot to buy and to run, and they are never part of washer-dryer deals at Sears. It's an Electrolux too and I'm kind of amazed I found both in the same color! (white was the only colors they came in!) And while it only holds 6kgs compared to the 11 of the washer, it is as much welcomed with it's collars-of-my-husband's-undershirts and fluffing of my boys' clothes abilities. No more scratchy towels. Revolutionary I tell ya.  Sure we'll still hang most things up in the free sunshine, but on those rainy days, and when nothing will save the day during potty training like being able to get the sheets washed and dried and back on the bed before nap-time, I welcome Mr. Dryer to our home with great happiness!

And yes, I have picked out a paint color for the wall. That is primer over bright orange (turned it pukey yellow) All of that will probably come in another month or so when we've actually moved to our new house. So nice to know Mr. Agitator and Mr. Dryer will be there waiting!

Also, in case he asks, I don't really consider the washer and dryer as substitutes for a mother's day gift. Just to clear that up.