Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's Official, We Live in Michigan

It's been one week since we drove our 28 ft U-Haul and Blue Mini-van out of Pampa, out of Texas and toward Michigan.

So much has happened. It doesn't feel like it has been only a week. But let me back up a bit more... Sunday, July 14th.

Brad preached his last sermon at Harvest, from the same text as his first. It was an emotional service - but one that glorified Jesus above any man. We were able to pray for the new pastor, Brian, and his family and then the church commissioned us and sent us out - what a joy corporate worship is when believers join together in unity of purpose and worship.

Brad's parents flew to Pampa to help us move - it was absolutely wonderful to have their help! Monday through Tuesday was a scuffle of activity as we all worked hard and finished up the packing - we were actually able to leave a whole day earlier than we anticipated because we got so much done thanks to the help of some strong helpers who came and assisted with loading up the truck. Wednesday morning we finished vacuuming and mopping the floors on our way out and then Brad and I, with the kids walked from room to room saying "good-bye" to our house. It was emotional - so many memories - but we feel such peace about where we are. We left our home clean and ready for a new family to come and make their own memories in it - please pray a buyer comes soon?

Our trip took 2 days, Wayne and Lori drove the U-Haul and Brad and I were in the van with the kids and animals. Our caravan was made up of: 4 Kidder adults, 3 Kidder kids (one in womb), 2 Kidder dogs and 1 Kidder cat! Let's just say it was an adventure. The dogs did SO well in the car, the kids did great and us adults, we arrived! Very tired but safe! :)

Saturday, some great friends helped us unload the truck and move all the boxes and furniture into our new rental house. Everything fits! Surprisingly at some points but it all fits. :) Brad did an amazing job packing our truck and all our furniture arrived without any scratches or nicks! We lost a few coffee mugs but other than that - nothing broke! Hurray!

Sunday morning, we attended services at Riverview (Riv) and sang this song:

I love this version, especially the bridge - "Oh the joy of full salvation, Sin and Death defeated, Glory to His name!" I found myself crying in service during multiple points - a combination of both emotional ("I can't believe we are HERE!") and spiritual reasons (It seemed like every song was an echo of my heart's prayers). It was a very encouraging service - so fun to sit next to my husband and have his arm around me while listening to a sermon. Lu and Michael did great in their classes - Lucy was confused because they weren't together in the same room, but they both came out with smiles on their faces. 

Since Sunday we've been settling into our new home, slowly but surely. It's hard when my physical abilities don't match up to my mental goals and desires for my surroundings, but I'm learning (at times by failing) that I can not focus on making a home over loving the people within it. Upstairs, the bathroom, master and kid's bedrooms are all unpacked and clean! Downstairs, our kitchen is unpacked and although it still needs a little organization in a few drawers and cupboards - it is very functional. The living room and dining room still have some boxes floating around - but they'll get taken care of soon. The sewing/mud room is still craziness but I'm very excited to get settled in there! I need a creative sewing project in my life! 

A kid update: Lucy and Michael are adjusting well - we decided (after looking at the space that was available in their room) to have them sleep together in a queen sized bed instead of setting up the crib for Michael again. The first night took two hours for them to fall asleep - totally expected since it was the first night Michael was sleeping in a bed, not a crib, and the fact they were sharing both a room and a bed. We've staggered their bed-times a few times since then and that seems to work the best (we put Michael down first and then put Lucy to bed 30-45 minutes later). Eventually we'd love for them to go to bed at the same time, but we're taking one day at a time right now. Lucy has been napping in Brad and I's room and Michael in the kid's room. One other transition for the kids is that all their toys are up in their room and not in the living room (as they were in Pampa). They are slowly learning that they can play independently upstairs and don't need to be within eye-sight of mom and dad at all times (a baby monitor has been helpful for audibly observing play-time from a distance). :)

A pet update: Baxter - our Great Pyrenees/Lab Mix has stayed with us, he's become a quick inside-the-house member of our family and I (someone who isn't used to inside dogs) have been SO thrilled with how well he's done - he's wonderful with the kids, Michael LOVES him and he is proving to be a very laid-back dog. Belle - our Lab has found a new home with Brad's parents and is very much enjoying the love and attention they are giving to her. Lucy and Michael are excited that they will still be able to go visit Belle and we are all thrilled she is with a family who will love her well. Chloe - our cat is adjusting to a dog living inside, she's been pretty timid - but we see progress everyday. Baxter and Chloe will be buddies soon enough. :) 

Brad's official start-date is August 5th so until then we are settling in, enjoying time as a family and exploring Lansing! We had friends from the Grand Rapids area over last night - so refreshing to spend time with friends and not focus on unpacking a box. :) 

That's an update on our past week - phew!

I have pictures of our new house from before-move in, but currently can't find my external hard drive to put them on my computer. So pictures will be coming soon but follow me on Instagram (link in the left side-bar) to see pictures in real-time! :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Kidder Kid Conversations

We are in the midst of moving boxes around here - the walls are bare of art-work and the windows of curtains. I've worked non-stop for the past 8 hours and am now sitting for a breather before getting dinner started. I'm so thankful for my in-law's help! It's amazing what the hands of 4 adults can accomplish in a day compared to 2! Lucy had us laughing at breakfast this morning and as I added her conversation to the list I keep on my phone, I realized I had a long list going and that I should post them on here before Michael deletes my note! (Yes, that did happen two weeks ago, I may or may not have cried. Thankfully I was able to recall the majority of the conversations below because I had just read through them a few days earlier.) :) 

Lucy was playing at the park and really wanted to interact with some boys who were 8-10 years old. They kept telling her she wasn't tough enough or strong enough to play with them and then running away from her,
Lucy: "Hey guys, I'm just Lucy Jo. You don't need to be scared. I AM tough!"
After chasing and chasing and not being able to catch them, Lucy comes over to me,
Lucy (out if breath): "Mommy, I can't catch them."
Sarah: "I know sweetie, they are bigger than you and can run faster - but that's ok. You'll be big like them someday too!"
Lucy: "Okay, I'll just give them these rocks and tell them I forgive them."

Lucy: "Daddy when I grow up can I be a bird so I can fly?"

(Back story, Lucy calls passing gas, "tweeting")
Lucy: "I tweeted all over Facebook!"

While listening to music in the car as a family, daddy started to sing along,
Lucy: "Daddy! Stop singing, let the song sing all by itself."

Brad: "Ask mommy if it's time to go scoop ice cream yet!"
Lucy: "Mommy.... Ice cream?" (She had a bit of a brain cramp because she was so excited and left out a bunch of words."
Sarah: "Tell Daddy that strong men have to scoop ice cream."
Brad: "Oh! Baloney!"
Lucy: "No daddy! Not Baloney! Ice Cream!!!"

Lucy: "I wish I knew how to play ping-pong-pong."

When Lucy asks to stay up late she phrases it this way, "Can I please stay way up early?"

After an interaction with Brad in which he tells Lu that she needs to eat faster because it's past her bedtime and she needs to go to sleep, but he will have grace with her and still allow her to have her dessert. Lu exclaimed, very worried: "No daddy! Not grace! Sour patch kids!!"

This one is learned/taught but so fun all the same. Brad has taught Lucy to use this exclamation when something is too "spicy" (a term we'd rather her not use mostly because we've heard it spoken by many kids as a complaint). After a deep breath and a drink of water, Lu is to exclaim, "Oo! That was zesty!" And she does! It's amazingly adorable.

Lucy, waiting for daddy to pay for our ice cream treat, "It's so hard [to wait] I can't breathe!"

On the way home from Amarillo after picking up Grandma and Grandpa, Grandpa decided to snooze in the car, 

Lucy:"Cock-a-doodle-doo! Grandpa wake up!"

Brad and his Dad having a conversation at breakfast about stoping for breaks on the roadtrip to Michigan, 

Brad: "Stops turn into hours added onto the trip!"
Lucy: "And hours are tiring!" 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

5 Blog Posts That Have Got Me Thinking

Hi friends,

A bit of a different post today, I thought I'd share 5 different blog posts from the past few weeks/months that have sparked some thinking in my mind. The topics addressed in these posts vary greatly but have all stuck with me.

1) "Tight Fist or Open Hand?"
A great post that has brought me so much more freedom in the way that I think about a bunch of things from cleaning to parenting. I rarely comment on posts that I don't personally know the author, but this post got my mind running a million miles a minute and before I knew I, I was typing away in the comment section! :) (Here's what I wrote, it'll make more sense to you if you read the above post first)

"With the purpose of streamlining and organizing my routine, I’ve been talking to friends about cleaning “methods.” Taking a survey of what people do and realizing exactly what you said above. Different methods work better for different people. I can try to implement some things from “E’s method” into mine – but I have to do so, realizing that E’s household/life/family requirements are a different than mine. I find this realization freeing. Even applied to my own family upbringing! If I don’t use my mom’s method for housekeeping…. it’s OKAY!
A talk with my husband a few weeks ago, in which he told me he was overly satisfied with the state of the household and wished that I would sit and enjoy the little moments with our kids, was eye-opening. Along with John 3:17, “Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world (me), but to save it (me) from sin.” (My paraphrase)
I appreciated you bringing to light the relationship between principles and methods – I’ve never looked at it so simply before. The first thing that came to my mind was, “You might need to change your methods in different life stages but separating principles from methods means you can still live by the same standards/values as you assess and change your methods to meet your current situational needs.” Does that make sense?
As I said, I find the whole topic freeing! If your current methods aren’t working – change them! They aren’t the foundation. Don’t idolize the methods when the purpose of both principles and methods is to help you worship Jesus better in your everyday life."

Have you ever shared a struggle with sin with a friend only to have them respond poorly? Did this damage the relationship or place a hamper between you and your friend? This post made me think a lot about how I respond when someone shares a struggle with me. I tend to have the second response she mentions toward friends - offering unconditional support instead of joining my friend in mourning over sin and receiving the comfort that Holy Spirit brings as we realize how much we need the gospel to redeem us (Matt 5:4). The thought process has influenced the way I listen and interact with Brad and my close friends. I want to be a friend who always encourages with the hope of the gospel and never interferes with the Holy Spirit's work of conviction in another believer. 

Warning, this post has some language - so read with caution. (And, I hope you know me well enough to know that I fight for life-long marriage and not marriage that lasts only 15 years) From what I can tell, the author is not writing from a gospel-informed perspective but and although I believe her list is NOT exhaustive (ie. there are no, "stay focused on Jesus," points) I think a lot of her points are right on. Some of them made made me laugh out loud, but I resonated with #1, #8, #15 the most. :) 

4) One Thing Your Daughter Doesn't Need You To Say
Oh my goodness. This post is fabulous. It helped put to words and action-steps what I deeply desire for my kids. I crave honesty with my kids, I crave authenticity. Because I believe that Jesus is enough for me, I believe he is enough for their little hearts and enough for their peers (who may, at first glance - not  be who I want my kids to imitate, but on second thought - they need Jesus as much as I do). 

5) The Next Beth Moore
I loved this post, I think it is spot on for anyone who is involved in ministry to women. But more than the post - I want to point you to Jen Wilkin's bible studies! She has written numerous studies (I've done the one on 1st Peter and am just starting the one on the Sermon on the Mount - HIGHLY recommend both of them!) that leave the student better equipped to read and learn from the Bible on their own. That's what I appreciate about her studies the most, they provide the learner with tools and strategies for studying ANY book of the bible and gleaning truth - from new-believer to veteran Bible-student.  So check out the links on the right hand side of her blog, under the heading "links to bible study workbooks and audio." The workbooks are available for download and are FREE, as are the weekly audio lessons. Gather a group of friends and work though one together! 

Please, I'd love to dialogue with you about any of the above 5 posts and their accompanying thoughts! What do you think? Have you read any posts lately that have sparked your mind into action? Let's chat! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Our Home, A Tour: The Kitchen

This is the room where the magic happens! 
The Kitchen

As many of you know, Brad is an amazing cook and even though I know my way around the kitchen - he does the majority of the dinner-cooking in our household.

We haven't made many changes to this kitchen since moving in, other than purchasing a refrigerator, a new dishwasher, replacing the greasy ceiling fan with a simple light fixture and painting the soffets (the same color as the upper pt of the dining room). We thought about painting the cabinets but decided it was something the next owners could tackle if they wanted to. :) 

The kids (mainly Lucy, but Michael has colored a few flash cards too) and I have been working on our ABCs - focusing on recognition and learning the letter's sounds. We've officially done A-D so far, but Lucy seems to be recognizing more letters every day (Thanks to some ABC apps she has on her phone). :)

The other side of my fridge is "Mamma's side" :) displaying pictures of loved ones, my weekly chore list (which get's fully accomplished about every-other week - haha), a list of breakfast/lunch/snack options for the kids and I (it's so much easier for me to have things written down!) and some bible verses I'd like to remember throughout the day. :) 

Our sink with the into-the-living-room window - very helpful for catching snippets of the baseball game or supervising the children's play while you're in the kitchen! :) 

One of my favorite pictures of my kids - taken Easter 2012 at my sister Becca's wedding. The heart is from Bradley for Valentine's day 2011 - he knows I appreciate little "things" more than chocolate! :) 

The pretty bowl is from my sister Becca, she sent it to me from Afghanistan and I love it. I find it helpful to have a little catch-all-container close to the sink to collect all the odds and ends that find their way into the kitchen. Mine currently has chap-stick, a ghost stamp, a necklace, some change, a hair clip or two and a USB stick in it. Haha :)

That's our kitchen! :) 

Yes, there are 4 different coffee-making devices out on the counter... what can I say? When you marry a (gadget loving) barista who imparts to you a love for coffee it's bound to happen. 
  1. French Press: for the weekly, cold-pressed coffee treat 
  2. Regular Coffee Pot: used when we have groups of people over 
  3. Aero Press: we use this one every. day. SO WONDERFUL my friend. So wonderful.
  4. Espresso Machine: used when we have espresso on hand - which has been rare lately as it falls in the "special treat" category of the grocery budget 
My friends, that concludes our tour! If you'd like to see our garage you can visit this post (because it doesn't look that pretty now as we are preparing to move!). :) I hope you enjoyed the tour, I really enjoyed putting it together and documenting our home here in Pampa. One of my cousins even said she might do one in a few months! I'd love that! I love seeing other people's spaces and picturing them "doing life" in their homes! 

We've started packing! All the pictures are off the walls - making me feel like "this is really happening."  Feeling excited about this new adventure but very sad about leaving our friends here. Why is moving so bitter sweet? 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Our Home, A Tour: The Dining Room

It's no secret that we love to eat together in this family. We love to cook together and eat together, just us adults and with the kids too! So we have spent a lot of time in this next room, eating (of course) but also crafting, coloring and playing with play dough! 
The Dining Room 


We hung art, painted the bottom and top portions of the walls and added our furniture.

We knew right when we painted the walls that the trim color would need to change, but the idea of painting trim was daunting for a long time! I don't know exactly why, probably because it required using a paint brush and no roller? But after painting, and repainting Lucy's dresser I learned a lot about using a paint brush and the trim needed to be painted. After tackling the trim in the living room, I felt comfortable freshening up the trim in the dining room - and now wish I would have done it eons ago. 

Another progress shot - notice how the trim is kinda a pinky/almond color? It was not white and made the top wall color look a little dirty. 
Hurray for rugs, white trim and lamps!! :) 

This room has been the most difficult room in our house to photograph. I've been frustrated both in taking these pictures and in taking pictures of the kids playing (ie. with play-dough and decorating easter eggs). The pictures turn out very orange and need a good amount of editing to make them look "real" and even then, I think the pictures look "cold" (if that makes sense). I think it's because of the orangey wood flooring and table and the fluorescent light. 

We've dreamed about replacing that fluorescent light with something like this

 Wouldn't that be loverly? ...Now I have that My Fair Lady song stuck in my head...

I got the lamps at a store called Kirkland's - they were $20 for both of them (NEW!), I couldn't have done better with thrift store lamps (the shades are the expensive part). When I repainted the trim, I took down the art from the wall and filled the hole - I'm liking the more casual, off centered look these days. 

Lucy's been sitting on this stool lately while she eats/crafts - it allows her to sit correctly (on her bottom) and rest her feet on the step. We've loved it, it's from Ikea for anyone wondering. :) 

Proof this room is difficult to photograph.... sigh. This picture does not show the true color of the lower portion of the wall, but it does show off my nice white trim. :) 

Is there anything in your house that you haven't tackled because of a tiny bit of fear?

Next up, the Kitchen! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

4th of July 2013

In keeping with our yearly tradition (check out: 2010, 2011, 2012) we took a family photo yesterday - or our good friend Michelle took it for us. :) 
I love to see the yearly change that happens in our family - I go from not pregnant to pregnant, the kids get bigger (and cuter) and my husband surprises me with shirts from Wal-Mart he thinks are funny ("I bought it with MY own petty cash!" hahaha).

I didn't think through picture-taking time very well with the kids - this was mid-morning when they were still FULL of energy and not wanting to hold still. But I got some fun wrestling shots! :) 

Plaid and Polka-dots!  

 They really do love each other.... a little too much sometimes (aka. they won't keep their hands off each other).

 This is right before Lucy tackled Michael to the ground. He knew what was coming and could. not. wait. 

Little feet, little hands, little grins. JOY. 

It was Pink, White and Blue for this girlie this year - I looked in her closet and couldn't find one speck of red, she wasn't upset about it though - so we were okay. Lucy also got a haircut about a week ago - it's a cute bob, just above her shoulders - it fits her current stage of life well (it doesn't tangle as easily as longer hair, so less tears!) but it took us a few days to get used to it! She looked SO different, and that always makes us think she's like 13 or something. :) 

 And this boy is due for a haircut soon - haha it looks so full of volume when he's laying down! :) 

After lunch, before naps we brought the kids out to experience some poppers - they loved them! Here's a video of our fun after they perfected the "throw"

We had some friends over for a low-key cook out in the evening and then enjoyed some fireworks (most were legal inside city limits) in our backyard before heading to the city's show. 
 Everything about this picture reads red-neck independence day (especially the four faces on his shirt). He loves firecrackers :) 

 Lucy trying out her first sparkler, "Hold it away from your face sweetie!" Soon after I snapped this picture she swung it down to that pile of fireworks at Brad's feet - glad he was there to quickly redirect her aim! 

 I thought Michael might be a little freaked out by the sound - but he wasn't phased (unless a firework did something none of the adults were anticipating and everyone freaked out - happened two or three times hahaha).

 Remember how blemish free Michael's face was earlier in the day? He took a spill outside with the guys while they were grilling and has a big goose egg on his forehead now. Oh well... the marks of a boy!

 You can see the length of Lucy's haircut well in this picture. :) 

Lucy's expressions while watching the Killer Bees, The Golden Fountain and the Friendship Fountain (who comes up with those names?).

After our low-budget fireworks at home, we all caravanned over to the Rodeo Grounds to watch Pampa's fireworks "show" it was a memorable experience - mostly because of who we shared it with (the fireworks show was LONG, very spaced out and thin - but the company was fabulous).

Waiting on top of the car for the show to start. :) 

I hope you enjoyed your 4th of July as much as we did! Happy Birthday USofA! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Our Home, A Tour: The Living Room

This next room is the largest in our home, and is the reason we purchased the house! 
The Living Room

Because this room is so large, I thought I'd share the changes as they've happened section by section, or wall by wall. 

North-West Corner
Before move in

Soon after move-in, after we installed the home-theater. 

After we purchased a new couch, hung curtains, removed wallpaper, and painted the walls and trim. 

With the screen up, a bit less centered on the TV. :) 

North-East Corner
Before move in

Soon after move-in

After the purchase of new a new couch. The room stayed this way for a long time - we focused our efforts on other rooms and spaces for a few years, but finally this year, soon after the New Year, I spent a week ripping down wallpaper, painting trim and painting these two walls to match the south wall (which had been painted for a while). We couldn't believe how much we were pleased with the change! It was one of those projects that took a good amount of time (the kids had a TV marathon week while I worked) but didn't cost a lot and made a HUGE change. 

After hanging curtains, wall-paper removal, paint on walls and trim. The trim was an almond color in the living room and dining room I repainted it a crisp white. I'm a HUGE fan of white trim. 

South Wall (You may remember many of these photos from this post and this one)
Soon after move-in, ripping down the wall to install a french door. 

Exposed studs!

Door removed and hole cut for french door! 

French door installed

Dry wall put up

Seams taped and mudded.

Wall painted 

Wall, windows and door trimmed out, curtains hung! ALL DONE!

The curtains are drop cloths from Home Depot that I hemmed to the correct length and added clip rings to the top. They work great, were extremely economical, are a fantastic weight and are a nice, neutral, soft touch in the room. With all that brick, I was thrilled to bring in some texture that was not hard to the touch! :) 

We LOVE our living room, and spend the majority of our time in this room. Wether we are playing with the kids, on our computers, reading, visiting with friends or watching TV - it all happens in this room, we live in here. :)