Category Archives: Life in General

Our New/Old Dining Room Furniture (+ I Need Your Help!)

It has been a crazy few weeks here at our house this summer!  There’s lots to blog about…but soon enough.

Today I’m just going to post pictures of our brand new/old dining room furniture…because I know how much you ALL want to see it (that was sarcastic :)). But really because I am quite jazzed about it — also, I can’t sleep, so what better thing to do than post pictures of our dining room?! 🙂

How can dining room furniture be new AND old, you ask? Let me explain.

M’s sweet grandmother passed away almost two years ago, and we were so privileged to receive her dining room table and chairs. We love sitting around the same table that served her family for so many years.

We always knew we’d probably make a few adjustments to it, though. The chairs were lovely, but starting to break a little, and the seat cushions were white. We have toddlers. Need I say more? 🙂

Long story short, we decided to stain the table a darker color and get new chairs to go along with it.

M’s parents were gracious enough to take on the project of sanding and staining the table. They put a LOT of work into it, and it turned out great!

Then, this past weekend we stumbled upon some chairs we LOVE (and just happened to hit the store’s 4th of July sale). We ordered them and they arrived today.

Hence…our new/old dining room!

Before Picture:

After Pictures:

So there you have it. It feels SOOOOO good to have that long-awaited project done (even though we have others to thank for all the work :)).

What kinds of summer projects are you working on around your house?

*I do have one question for you all, though. Our new chairs do have cloth seat cushions — not white, mind you, but cloth nonetheless. I am looking for some kind of product that we could use to put under W’s booster seat to protect the cushion (some kind of cushion cover? mat? oil-cloth somethin’-somethin’?). Does anyone have any ideas for a product that could serve such a purpose? Let me know!

That Kind of Tired.

It has been a rather chaotic week, to say the least. Mentally, I felt like I had about 25 plates to spin all week. Aside from the aforementioned electrical fire fun of Monday, it seems that everything else I’d agreed to do lately converged this week in order to create “the perfect storm” of busy-ness and mental exhaustion…with no end in sight (as far as I could see). 

By yesterday morning I was tired. Not just “tired” but TIRED.

The kind of tired where you could just fall down on any surface (bed, chair, floor, grass, sidewalk, anywhere, really…) and you really believe you could have a satisfying nap.

That kind of tired.

And when I’m tired, aside from simply wanting to collapse, a couple of things happen.

First of all, my ability to function socially all but disappears. I am not naturally a “social bug”. I enjoy being with people, and WISH desperately that I was more adept at socializing, but it is not a gift that comes naturally to me. It takes work, which requires energy. When I am tired, that energy is not there. Therefore, when I am that kind of tired…I really don’t know how to hold a conversation or what to do around other people. In other words, I stand around looking like a zombie while I furiously rack my brain for something meaningful to say or ask, typically to no avail. This explains where I was at when I got together with Cari & Michelle yesterday. Sorry for my zombieness, ladies!

Secondly, if my patience came in a tank, I’m typically left running on fumes. There just isn’t much there. This is obviously a sin issue that can’t be blamed simply on tiredness – but when I am tired, I am much more susceptable to snapping or just plain bursting into tears. Much fun for the boys in my house, as you can imagine. This explains…well, pretty much my behavior around everyone & anyone this week. Again – sorry!

Last night I set aside all of my duties (other than being wife & mommy), and Mark took our little family over to Centennial lakes for a Quizno’s & a walk around the lake (an old tradition of ours). A simple pleasure that helped melt away much of the stress of the week. So, for now, I am feeling pretty relaxed.

However, I come away from this week with a couple of lessons. First of all: I’ve got to get my act together!  I’m no longer single – I’ve got a baby & husband to care for. The procrastination and lack of discipline that served me so well before (er, that I could get by with before, at least :)) will no longer work, and will simply result in weeks like this, which are really no good for anyone. If I would have just been a bit more prepared for the week – even by simply preparing a rough schedule for how I would accomplish my tasks for the week -and if I would have said “no” to a couple of small things (which I said “yes” to simply because I didn’t want to say “no”), so much of the stress would have been eliminated. 

Secondly: in chaotic weeks like this, one thing that should NOT go is my time in the Word and in prayer. Why it’s so easy to let these slide when life gets crazy, I don’t know. But without them, life seems even more unmanageable.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go enjoy some peace & quiet. Sigh. 🙂

 

 

Pictures!

So a few weeks ago my lovely sister Katie came over and did a 6-month photo shoot with Will, and a photo shoot with me, too, so I could have some good pictures to use to promote music stuff, etc. Didn’t she do a great job?!

I Need a VaCAYtion…

…is what my dear husband always says when he’s feeling just a little stressed…and it’s one of those weeks in our household. A “vacation” of sorts would be great — as “What About Bob” would clarify: “A vacation from my problems.

On Sunday night as I was surfing on my beloved iBook, the screen cryptically blinked 3 times, and then -POOF-…went black, never to return again. (Believe me, I’ve tried reviving it. That thing had become almost like a 3rd appendage or something!)

Then, yesterday morning, we brought our beloved Explorer into the shop. On Saturday when the weather was oh so briefly warmish, we drove to Lake Harriet to take a walk, and while the windows were down, we heard a horrible screeching sound and wondered who would drive a car that made such a racket….OOPS, that’s OUR car… . We ever so naively assumed that it was simply an external problem…that something needed to be “lubed up” or something. Um, no. New rear brakes are in order, the mechanic told me, new tires will be needed very soon, and the ball sockets in the front of the car are starting to get just a bit loose (and, oh, by the way, if they break, you will be in an accident). GULP. The twist in this story is that we have had another potential car to purchase waiting in the wings…so instead of fixing the truck, we’re opting to put repairs on hold, as we figure out whether this next car will be available sooner than later. So…right now we’re pretty much a 1 car family.

This put us in a particular pickle, as I work 10 hours a week, and typically have had 2 options to fulfill those hours: I could work from home on my laptop (which had the appropriate software), or I could pack Will up and head into the office to work from there. However, now my laptop is broken, so I can’t work from home. And our car is broken, so I can’t use it to get to the office. Hmmm. So we’ve agreed that Mark will (very cautiously) drive the truck to work a couple of days this week so I can use the other car to go into the office. He’s got a very simple and fixed route to school, and 2 more trips there & back shouldn’t be a problem. Still, life has become a bit of a juggling act this week…

Seriously, we know that none of it’s a big deal. That there are MUCH bigger problems in the world, and that in the grand scheme of things we are so blessed. My laptop wasn’t our only computer (obviously, as I’m blogging right now), we happened to get some great news that something else we’d been saving for will cost us FAR less than what we’d planned (enough so that we feel confident moving forward with it), and as far as both the car and laptop go…we’d been planning for those replacements as well (shout-outs to my hubby who does a great job of looking ahead to that kind of stuff in our budget!), so all will be OK. And even if it wasn’t…we’d be fine. Seriously. Laptops and cars aren’t exactly necessities. Maybe that’s why God lets them break on the same day…on the first day Mark’s spring break was OVER…and on a week when I have co-op preschool to plan…

…so we can trust Him just a little bit more. 🙂

Vigilance

1 John 2

4Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments(E) is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5but whoever(F) keeps his word, in him truly(G) the love of God is perfected.(H) By this we may know that we are in him: 6whoever says he(I) abides in him(J) ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Today as I was working around the house, I flipped on a Piper sermon based on this scripture passage. I’ve got my iPod hooked up to a little speaker we’ve got, so I’ve lately become a regular listener of “Desiring God Sermons”, “Ask Pastor John”, “The Resurgence”, and a few other podcasts. Now, Piper is one of my favorite teaching pastors, but I admit it usually takes me a good 2 – 3 listens to one of his sermons to truly get much out it (the fussing of my baby or the rushing of water in the dish sink often ends up drowning out large sections of the message). One thing I did hear him talk about today, though, was the concept of being vigilant over your own words, actions and attitudes. Keeping your heart in check. Watching for any trace of sin creeping into your life. And it got me thinking…

I’m not very vigilant. Yikes.

I don’t do any of the “biggie” sins. You know, the cheating, thieving (literally) murderous variety.

However…

…I’m not always careful with my words. I gossip without even realizing I’m doing it, and sometimes even when I DO realize I’m doing it (and probably have even inadvertently slid into slander). I lose my patience. I judge that which is not mine to judge. I am selfish. I allow bitter thoughts to take root in my heart when I’m annoyed. I could go on and on…

Easy, everyday, garden variety sins.

I won’t even begin to go into the things I DON’T do that I’m supposed to.

1 PETER 5:8
8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Vigilance isn’t a suggestion. It’s a necessity. It’s a commandment.

If I love Jesus, I will obey His commandments. I will strive to walk as He did.

I’m convicted of my need to be more vigilant…I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit is available to help me…and I’m all the more grateful for the few verses before the aforementioned 1 John 2 passage:

1 John 2

1My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin,(A) we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2(B) He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but(C) also for the sins of the whole world.

Sick Week, Pre-Pick-a-Pile, & Will’s Grand Adventure

Well it has been one crazy, yucky week in the Wallace household, on account of my acquisition of the loveliest of bugs: the stomach bug. I’ll spare you the details, but I’ll just say that it left me with a new appreciation for a husband who loves me so much that he will sleep on the office floor so that I can have the bed to myself (and have Nick at Nite on all night), parents who are willing to stop what they are doing at the drop of a hat to help care for my baby (& me!) and a baby who somehow seemed to even know to “go easy on mom” in the middle of the night!

I also learned that it will be a long time before I have another Chipotle soft shell chicken taco.

Anyway, my plan for this post was to play “pick a pile”. This is a game that my lovely mother began on her blog, in which you pick a “pile” (i.e. mess) in your house, post a picture of it,  clean said pile, and then post the after picture. It’s really quite gratifying, even to look at someone else’s pick-a-pile’s. So yesterday I decided to play pick-a-pile with the bedroom, since it had served as a virtual cave for my sick little self for the last few days and was quite…gross. So I dutifully took my “before” picture, and began cleaning. However, as it turns out, my body still hadn’t quite recovered from my illness, and after about 15 minutes of cleaning, decided I’d had enough and needed a nap. So I never got around to taking the “after” picture – and let me tell you, there’s nothing more depressing than a “pre-pick-a-pile” picture that doesn’t have a “post-pick-a-pile” picture! So…we’ll play pick-a-pile later.

ANYWAY, in other news, today was a big day, as it was the first day warm enough for Will & I to do a little “exploring” outside (OK, “exploring” is a generous word…really, we just walked around the driveway for a few minutes). Still, it was a treat to see him get his first up-close look at simple things like branches and rocks! Here is a picture from our adventure:

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Misfit

Today I’ve felt a bit like a puzzle piece that just doesn’t quite know where to fit. You know, the kind of piece that you just try to push and contort as best you can to make it fit into that empty space, but it just doesn’t quite work. The more I’ve thought about it, for most of my life that’s how I’ve felt. Just a bit off. Just a bit different. I’ve almost never been one to just “fit the mold”. I haven’t been in many inside circles, or if I have made my way into one it’s been as “the exception to the rule” in one way or another. When I was little I never went to the same school as most of the other kids. As a pre-teen, while all my friends were listening to Paula Abdul (she used to sing, for all you young ‘uns out there) or New Kids on the Block, I was listening to…my dad’s Huey Lewis & the News tape (which rocked, by the way) or Radio AAHS or Steven Curtis Chapman…or Steve & Annie Chapman (that was my mom’s tape). When I took ice skating lessons in elementary school, I was the only 4th grader in a class of Kindergartners (it was all so I could be in a skating show…there’s another blog there for another day). When it came to my involvement with organized sports…let’s just say I definitely didn’t fit in. I didn’t end up graduating with the friends I thought I would. I didn’t go to the same kinds of colleges that most of my friends did. I didn’t really fall into any particular group of friends in college, though some invited me, and some probably would have been really good friends to go a little deeper with instead of staying as surfacy as I did. There are probably about 100 other ways that I didn’t fit the mold – some of them were by my choice, some of them were not…and for all of the ways that were by my choice, some I regret, some I don’t at all.

I feel like the times in my life when I’ve fit the status quo have been rare.

In retrospect, however, I am grateful for so much of it, because…I’m used to it. Really, it’s a pattern that has not changed. I still find myself feeling different. When it comes to church, we’re the ones trying to think like “revolutionaries” and are asking a lot of questions…(not about the faith, but about the methods, traditions, etc.). And while the reception to the questions has been much more welcoming than in previous church experiences, we’re definitely not the norm. When it comes to friendships, that’s changing shape, especially as we’re adjusting to parenthood (but even before). We’re homebodies to begin with, and now we’re definitely the ones who aren’t able to come to as much stuff or stay out as late. And when it comes to TV…we still watch Survivor! (who does that?!)

And sometimes I’m able to contort myself into that empty puzzle space, but what almost always happens is that after a few moments of “fitting in”, something happens to pop me right out, and my different-ness is exposed.

When it comes to a lot of things, I just feel…DIFFERENT!

And I know in my head that even though sometimes being different can be the result of selfishness (“I’d rather stay home and watch TV tonight than help you through your problem”), different is often also good. That Jesus probably felt way more different than I ever do. That we’re not supposed to fit the mold (of the world’s way of thinking, at least).

Some days it’s just sort of hard, though, and I feel like it would be nice to just blissfully meld into the status quo.

Some days I’m not sure why I have to be so different or what I’m supposed to do with it.

Some days I feel like it would just be sort of nice to be the same.

This lyric has been running through my head today (and it’s source itself proves I am different – who quotes this cheesy song anymore?!):

“Hear me asking/where do I belong…”

-Place in this World, Michael W. Smith, ca. 1991!

Anyone else ever feel different?