Friday, April 30, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We're all moved in! With help like this, you know it went well!
I think we may have had the smoothest moving day ever. By dinner time, we were completely unpacked, other than decorative items and the kitchen. The kitchen isn't yet finished so we have to wait on that. And my family is perfectly happy to live off of sandwiches and cereal! For a while anyway!

I feel utterly spoiled.
Spoiled to live in this house. Spoiled to have it fixed up just how I wanted it. Spoiled to have so much help moving. Spoiled to have Seth's family stay all day to unpack with us and cheerfully put everything in just the right places. Spoiled to have gone to get a massive brownie sundae when we called it a day.

Spoiled. That's how I feel.
I am posting before and after pictures of the remodel so you can see the changes we made. I feel a little hesitate in posting so much about our house because I feel like I am bragging a bit. If anything though, I am bragging on God for blessing and providing for us so well, and on my husband and in laws for all their hard work. I do hope that I am not causing anyone to feel at all discontented with their own home or situation. I don't deserve such a nice home. I am really the most "at home" in a trailer with 70ish wall paper! =) It puts me in the mood to sing "The Brady Bunch" theme song. Although we did some more involved remodeling, the most dramatic changes were paint... which is about $40 for a room... and the most inexpensive floor covering we could find. We searched for months to find vinyl flooring for cheap prices in designs we liked. Now, when the girls realize that I have pulled into a home improvement store of any kind, they start complaining. They are so sick of looking at samples with me! =) Maddie literally says, as soon as we load up in the van, "I don't want to go to Lowe's, Mom!"

We slept really well in our new home last night. We had thought the girls may have a tough time but we were all so exhausted that I think we could have slept in a subway station in NY city.

On a funny note, I was looking through some verses about "home" and came across this one. I shall leave you with this delightful thought:

"Then thou shalt bring her home into thine house, and she shall shave her head..."

There's one idea for a house warming party!

Before and After Remodel Pictures

Whew! Its just about over! We've had a few delays in the kitchen, which is fine. Does a pregnant woman complain about an extra reason not to cook? So other than the kitchen, here is the run down of before and after pictures. I realize now that I did not take very good before pictures, but you'll get the idea. And in the after pictures, I obviously have more decorating in mind. We've only been moved for a day.

Our bedroom before:

Our bedroom after... we did paint in here but the colors were very similar. Looks fresher now though:

Dining room before:

Dining room after... when the kitchen is done I'll get better pictures of the wall color and floor. For now, the floor is wood looking vinyl and the walls are a pale sage green. :

Living room before:

Living room after... still determining where that machine should go:

Living room window, bad lighting:

Living room/hallway after, detail of carpet and paint colors:

Baby room before, bad lighting but it was neon purple:

Baby room before, better lighting:

Baby room after... obviously that curtain doesn't fit. Was just trying to see if I could reuse that shade. Anyone want a 24" pink roman shade? This room is painted the same beige that is in our bedroom... we wanted a gender neutral color since this is the baby room (whoever the baby at the time is... for now, Eden) :

Hall before:

Hall after... the blue paint looks way too vibrant in this pic... it isn't actually so shocking. We carpeting this along with the livingroom because the hard woods in the hall were pretty rough. We left the hard woods in the bedroom, and plan to cover ugly spots with scatter rugs:

Girls' Room before:

Girls room after:

Girls' Room, cluttered with one million toys and one cute nephew:

Bathroom before:

Bathroom before, details:

Yum. Don't ya want to soak in here?

Bathroom after, view #1:

Bathroom after, view #2:

Bathroom floor, wall and shower curtain (sorry it is sideways!):

Bathroom light plate:

Bathroom ceiling and wall color:

The bathroom was the most extensive part of this project. We... and I say "we" loosely... closed off a second entrance into the kitchen, knocked out a coat closet and closed off that area to add a few feet to the bathroom. Since we seem to producers of girls rather than boys, we thought our growing family would benefit from a nice sized bathroom, with a big vanity for all the beauty paraphernalia teenage girls possess!

Hope you enjoyed seeing the progress and the final result. When the kitchen is complete, I'll post those pics too. Thanks for all your kind words of encouragement during this project.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Now its time to say good bye....

to all our company. M.I.C.....K.E.Y. ..... M.O.U.S.E.

I may have had a teeny weeney bit too much caffeine today.

Well... it's our last night in this house. As excited as I am about our new home and all the great things about it, I am going to miss this house a wee bit. We've lived here for 5 yrs. Its where we brought home our sweet little girls. There are lots of memories here for sure. I know that we will make many memories in our new home too. I know that because I am not moving again for at least 25 years. I mean it.

So the next time you hear from me will be when our Internet is reconnected. My hubby leaves town RIGHT after our move. ARGH!!!!!!!!!! And with no counter top in the kitchen, which means no sink and not even a microwave.... me and the girls shall be dining out. Ah shucks. Life sure is hard, huh?

Meanwhile I am heading off to bed where instead of sleeping I will probably think of a list of 76 things I need to do before we close the door to this house for the last time. And then I will conjure up ways to convince Seth to let me drive the U-Haul truck. Suddenly, that sounds like the funnest thing in the whole big wide world.

Nighty-night!! =)


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Work Habits

As I turned the corner driving to my in-laws house to prepare dinner for my husband, in laws and anyone else who was at our new house working, my cell phone rang from somewhere in the depths of my purse. I was running late and was worried about having enough food and having it taste good. The ringing of my cell phone only served to further frazzle my already frayed nervous system. As I reached across the seat to blindly dig and poke through my purse, I regretted not putting my phone in the convenient cell phone pocket built into my purse. Why didn't I use that more often? Even though Madison and Eden surely would not understand what I was talking about, I audibly said, "Once upon a time, I used to be an organized person.!"

It's a feeling I have a lot these days. Half of my belongings are at our new home, while half are still needed at our current home. The time is constantly getting away from me and I can physically feel the gray hairs forming under my scalp.

I used to be an organized person.

And then.... and then... I stopped.

Why? When?

While I worked on dinner, I gave these questions some consideration.

I thought of times in my life when I really did feel organized and hardly ever felt frazzled and stressful about getting "it" all done and on time and in a decent fashion. Sure, children and the responsibility of their care adds new challenges to our lives. But my lack of "have it together-ness" could not be blamed on the munchkins.

Thinking back to when I worked, I remembered some habits I used to have that I have let slide. I had a full time job for 4 1/2 yrs. in college at a telemarketing company. 2 of those years were spent manning the phones (let's all be nicer to the poor telemarketers who call our house! ☺ ) and then I was gratefully promoted to a supervising position. After marriage, I had a part time job that was much less stressful.

Here is the list of habits that came to mind. These are things I once did, but for various reasons stopped as I grew used to being a stay at home mom.

• I got dressed, from head to toe, every day.
• I selected my clothes and made sure they were ironed, if needed, the night before.
• I took the time, every day, to clean my purse and desk. I never carried trash in my purse. I had a place for each item in my purse and desk.
• I did certain house hold chores on certain days of the week.
• I made many lists. I wrote everything down right away. I never trusted my memory to be enough.
• I "cleaned out" my email every day.
• I made it my responsibility to save my boss money and make them look good.
• I always left for work early in case of unexpected delays. I NEVER clocked in late.
• I never left projects incomplete, unless instructed to do so by my boss.
• I appreciated the value of 5 minutes. In college, I did all my laundry during passing periods during the school day. I'd run back to the dorms, throw in it and dash back to classes. I refused to stay up until 2 am waiting for my clothes to dry.
• I kept extras of necessities so I never needed to run out for something last minute. (As the girls riding with us to church last Sunday can attest to, Miss Kayte had to stop at RiteAid for some non-wholly nylons for church! At our church, we want to be holy, not wholly!)

Now... why can't I still do these things? Why did these good habits fall to the wayside because I no longer have a clock to punch or deadlines to meet? My "job" now is so much more important than ANY telemarketing offer I ever gave! Don't tell my bosses at the telemarketing company though; I'm pretty sure they thought it was the more important thing in the entire universe! ;)

I have some friends who are working moms. When we talk about being a stay at home mom verses being a mom who works at an outside job, sometimes they will say that when they've had time off from work, they don't seem to get much done. With no deadline or schedule, housework doesn't demand to be done and it's easy to let things slide since, after all, we can always get to it tomorrow.

I agree that sometimes the more time pressed we are, the more productive we can be. And it is a tempting habit to just "do whatever" as a stay at home mom. The prospect of scheduling housework and activities with the kids can sound unrealistic since certain things, such as sickness, whining, etc can not exactly be written down on a dry erase board.

"Um, excuse me, Madison, but you were not schedule to have an asthma attack until 2:30! And Miss Eden Grace, that whining business shouldn't be happening until 3pm!"

I have not be keeping to a house cleaning routine because let's say Monday is sheet washing day, you can bet my girls wake up with wet beds on Sunday. So Sunday has now become sheet changing day! And Wednesday may be window washing day, but Friday, the little darlings pressed their jelly laden hands on the windows! Do you see what I mean? All this time I have been telling myself that when they are older, I will get back to housecleaning schedule.

But I am reconsidering. Perhaps some things are going to be more damage control than a scheduled routine for now, and many things just have to happen every day (vacuuming, laundry) but as I was packing our house, I was disgusted by the dust lingering on my curtains. How long had it been since I washed those? Yikes. I don't want to answer that publicly!

And my purse... oh my purse. We have a love/hate relationship. When I was working secularly, I did not at all feel that tidying my purse, or desk, was a time consuming waste. On the contrary. I knew if my work area was clean and organized, I was going to be more productive and less frazzled. And since it was constantly being cleaned, it did not take very long to keep up on a daily basis.

As I look at my list of habits, I see many that can be used in my life as a wife and mommy, and some that can be modified to be helpful in this wonderful life of mine. My "bosses" are the Lord and my husband. My aim is to please them, and I know Seth is pleased when I save him money! He doesn't need any help looking good though! ;) If they decide a project isn't the best idea, they have veto power to nix it. I can think ahead, and be prepared so that my household has no fear of winter, just like the Prov. 31 woman. "Proper prior planning prevents poor performance, right?" ☺ I can utilize those small patches of time I have throughout the day. It's really amazing how much can be accomplished in small increments of time.

I suppose what it all boils down to is whether or not I view my role as a wife to a hard working youth pastor, and mommy to our children as ... important... vital... worthy of the same good work ethic I would automatically put into a secular job. And truly, a wife and mother is the highest calling a woman can have. There is nothing more paramount.

As I am about to go retrieve another load of wash from the dryer to fold and put away, then go take care of lunch dishes and then begin packing again, I have no coworkers to take notice. I have no prospect of a raise. I have no hope of promotion to a higher position. I do not expect any guests today, so no one but me and my family will know if I lift a finger today. Although Seth often does express gratitude to me, he will not be home until very late and will be so tired, I'm sure he will head right to bed without noticing any of the housework that got done. And yet, I have no lack of motivation because:

"Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,"
I have landed the job I have always wanted. Well, other than being the first female U.S. president but I have just about let that dream go. My parents, however, may still be holding out hope. ☺ God has blessed me with a fantastic family and its my honor to take care of them. And truly, with a washer, dryer, dishwasher and other modern conveniences to aid me, I really have it made. Maybe I need to just start using a smaller purse....


Saturday, April 24, 2010


Happy 60th Birthday!!!!
No, not mine. Had ya going there for a minute there, huh?
My mother in law turned 60 yrs. old last year and my father in law turned 60 a few weeks ago, so our family threw together a little surprise birthday party. Okay, "threw together" isn't exactly correct (as my sisters in law who did almost ALL the work could attest to) and with most of the church and some family present, it wasn't exactly little.
And no worries... it's okay to say my mother in law's age. When she lies about her age, she says she is 70 so people think she looks great for her age.
Truthfully, she doesn't really care. She's 60. But acts and looks younger. Sometimes I forget that she isn't in her 30s because the woman has more energy than I do.

So here was the clan tonight: 4 of the five McCoy children and their families, which include 11 of their 14 grandchildren (I included our little peanut in that grand total).

We had a nice time and ate an unreasonable amount of food. If my sister in law, Tara ever opens a catering business, you should all be her customers. She makes some mighty good eats!!! She also made a beautiful scrap book for my in laws, which I did not take pictures of, but it was very special.
Happy Birthdays, Mom & Dad McCoy! (Not that they ever read my blog! =P) When I grow up, I want to be just like you. ;)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is it too early... start practicing hair styles for Madison's wedding?
While cleaning out my closet to pack for our impending move (one week away!!!!), I came across these jelly curlers that I bought YEARS ago for the express purpose of using them on my (then newborn) little girl's hair. Maddie thought they were wonderful toys to play with and make letter shapes with, so after letting her do her own thing with them for a while, I talked her into letting me plug them in and put them in her hair, since it is now long enough. YEAH!
She was very good and cooperative for the entire rolling process, and even the "be somewhat still while they cool in your hair" process. She was even perfectly cheerful for the bobby pinning of the curls into place. BUT....
...she was not thrilled with standing in front of the mirror and posing for pictures.

I got about 20 pictures of her scowling and then she finally warmed up.

Notice the dimple that only appears with certain expressions of hers.

A silly face but much better than a scowl so I'll take it!

Now she getting into this modeling routine.

Call Cover Girl! We've got a pro here!

Well.... maybe not.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting the right results

I have been considering posting some of my Sunday School lessons lately and have finally decided to do so. My class is teenage girls, ages junior high through tenth grade, but most lessons are applicable to any Christian in some way or another. A major reason I am going ahead and sharing these is that sometimes we Sunday School teachers have a hard time thinking up a fresh lesson every week, and maybe there is a SS teacher who reads my blog who may need an idea or two to help get them started. I, for one, have used other people's lessons as a jumping off point and was so thankful they had so generoulsy shared their lessons.

Getting The Right Results

As Christians, and particularly as teenagers, we often sit under preaching and teaching that inspires us to make decisions for the Lord. Decisions to change our behavior or thinking, or maybe decisions about our future and what we intend to accomplish for the Lord’s work. When our hearts are tender and receptive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, the result is wanting to please God and make our lives honoring to Him. So often we return home from special conferences and camps, or revival meetings here at our own church, with one or two, or maybe more decisions that we made about our walk with the Lord.

But then what happens with those decisions? Do we always keep them? Unfortunately not. How often do we make a decision for the Lord, and then later on need to make that same decision over again. I don’t want to discourage you from making decisions for the Lord but I want to challenge you to stop thinking of them of mere decisions and start referring to them as commitments, and maybe even vows. I would also caution you not to make commitments or vows to the Lord without a sober and serious consideration for what it means. Never make a commitment to God simply because of peer pressure, or even pressure from authorities. It’s better to not make a vow then to make one and not keep it.

Commitment, n.

Vow, n
To give, consecrate or dedicate to God by a solemn promise. When Jacob went to Mesopotamia, he vowed to God a tenth of this substance, and his own future devotion to his service. Gen. 28

Scriptures to read:

Psa. 37:5 "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."

Prov. 16:3 "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."

Num. 30:2 "If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth."

Ecc. 5:4 "When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed."

When we read the Bible, or sit under preaching, or maybe read good Christian books, we learn a great deal about what God expects from His people and what is wise for us to do. However: It’s not enough to know what is right, we must DO right.

Object lesson: Potato Stamp

Have you ever made a potato stamp before? It’s an easy cheap craft. All we do is cut the potato in half and then we can cut a shape out and use it as a stamp. I would like to make mine a heart shape. So I will take my sharpie marker and draw a heart shape on this cut potato. My goal, or my desire… my “decision” you could say… is to make a heart shape on this piece of paper. So now I’m going to take my knife and cut out the shape to create my stamp.

(As I cut out a shape, I ignore the heart outline I had drawn and instead I cut out a square. Then I dip my stamp into paint and show the class the result: a square is visible on the paper.)

Hmmm… A square? That’s not what I wanted. I wanted a heart. A heart was my goal. That’s what I drew. But you know what? When I took the knife and carved, I actually didn’t follow the heart shape I drew to be my guide. And I ended up with something I didn’t want: a square.

The sad truth is that sometimes this happens with people’s lives. They really wanted a better result. They had every intention of doing right. They went to church and youth conference and revival meetings. They made the same decisions that you made. But their actions didn’t match these decisions.

No one ever says as a young child, “When I grow up I want to be a prostitute.” Or “I want to be a drug addict.” Or “I want to be criminal.” Sometimes when people find themselves in terrible situations in life, they say that they just don’t know how they ended up where they are. They certainly never intended for things to turn out that way.

It’s great to make decisions or commitments to the Lord about being pure on your wedding day, or finishing high school, or getting your college degree, or only listen to music that pleases God or… well, you tell me… what are some commitments that you have made?

(Make a list on the dry erase board as the girls share commitments they have made.)

Those are all wonderful, worthy goals. And it is a big step to simply make that commitment to God and write them down. And telling others about your newly made commitments is a great idea, too. But do you know that many, many girls (and boys) at one time made a promise to God to be pure on their wedding day but somehow, they ended up breaking that promise. They never thought they would. It was like they drew a heart on their potato stamp but then their actions created a very different result.

The same could be said about any commitment we make to God. It’s not enough to know what is right. It’s not enough to want to do right. We have to actually DO that which is right to do.

Those big goals we talked about are reached though setting smaller, everyday goals. Today, you probably do not face the choice to be immoral with a boyfriend. But you do face the choice about how to conduct yourself around the opposite gender. You do face the choice of how to dress. You do face the choice of what kind of words, whether crude or chaste, you will say. You do face the choice of whether you allow yourself to be alone with men and boys. I’ve focused on purity a lot today but the same can be said about what kind of TV you watch, or what kind of music you listen to. We probably aren’t going to be tempted to watch an X rated movie after church today. But we do face the choice of whether or not we will watch a sit com with swearing and immorality on it. We do face the choice of what we load onto our iPods. Do not minimize those “small” steps you take away from the commitments you made toward God.

“Sin always takes you farther than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and costs you more than you want to pay.”

Every big commitment you make to God will be kept or broken based on the small choices you make in your day to day life. When we think we can “get by” with the “little” things, slowly but surely we are carving an image into our potato (our lives) that is NOT what we intended. One day we will look at the stamp we have left on this world and it will be so sad and disappointing to see a square instead of a heart…. A life marred by sin and regret rather than a life that glorified God and made an impact on a lost and dying world.

With God’s help, we CAN keep our commitments to Him, and we CAN have a victorious Christian life!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Random Saturday Stuff

It's a rainy Saturday afternoon here. My wonderful husband delayed starting his day's work for an hour or two so that I could get some extra rest this morning. Other wives may want diamonds or stainless steel pots and pans... I just want to sleep in!!!

So here is some random stuff on my mind today:

• I am in full force un-decorating our home and packing our lives up into boxes. I did not keep my resolution of one box a day. I found that doing several boxes at once was more effective for me, and not doing some for a few days while I clean and organize for another round of packing boxes. I have been doing oodles of cleaning and laundering all curtains and rugs. The amount of dust I have unearthed is disgusting. I am ashamed of my house keeping! All this time I thought I had a fairly clean home! Nothing like a move to reveal how much junk and how much dirt is hiding from plain sight!

As I un-decorate, I am musing over how my decorating tastes have changed over the years. Our first little home, we mistakenly bought an ultra- modern couch and chair set. I had been advised not to spend money on furnishing during the first year of marriage since most couples do not yet know their tastes. But I did not listen. We owned the set for about two weeks before we knew without a doubt that we hated it. *sigh* So when we moved into our current home, I bought a slip cover for it and went the opposite end of the spectrum: very traditional. In the end, our home was so traditional, it felt stuffy and formal to me. I have finally, after 6 years, realized that I like a blend of modern and traditional. I want a home that is comfortable, not just pretty. So with a "new" house, I try again! =)

• I enjoyed a few hours of my mom's babysitting of the girls (thanks, Mom!!) so that I could go get my hair cut. Feels so good!!! I am forsaking hi lights for a while to give my hair and my budget a break. I usually feel like my skin looks really pale when I go back to my natural color but this time I like it. I guess it was time. ;)

• Morning sickness has subsided a great deal. I do have my moments through out the day but it is not an all day problem and usually can be helped by a snack and a few minutes of relaxing. I've also been taking extra vitamin B, in addition to my prenatal vitamin. This has made a big difference I believe.

• I am planning on experimenting with essential oils. This post from my friend, Amy at Daily Pleasures was so informative and I can not wait to order a set of oils for our home and family. I'll let you know how I like them in a few months!

• I would really like a warm chocolate cookie right now.


Friday, April 16, 2010


... will celebrate her second birthday next month. Can you believe it?

... receives "oooohhs" and "aaahhhs" over her bright red hair from strangers at every single outing we take.

... likes to sing and be sung to. "Gin, Mama!" translates to "Sing it again, Mama!"

... laughs easily. Sometimes for no reason at all! ☺ She catches jokes and silly things in her books and lets out big hearty laughs.

... gives wonderfully tight hugs and loves to rest her cheek next to mine. She is an expert cuddler.

.... is not one to sit and listen to a story being read. She would rather talk about the pictures, then move onto the next book.

... is talking all the time now. Full sentences, most of which can be understood.

... will eat a wide variety of foods. Cranberry sauce, olives, lettuce, prunes, broccoli... all sorts of foods most kids detest. She gobbles 'em up gleefully! But she wants nothing to do with Cheetos! (A good thing!)

... loves to brush her teeth... but does not like Mama's help. But she gets it anyway. ☻

... carries a purse, sometimes two, with her everywhere she goes. She sleeps with her baby doll and is afraid of the dark already.

... will not tolerate a soggy diaper under any circumstances, and shows a lot of interest in potty training. In fact, she usually does her "other" business on the toilet anyway. But I am putting off actual potty training because I don't think she can refrain from wetting her diaper quite yet.

... actually likes to have a bow or barrette in her hair. She'll bring them to me and request I put it back it if it falls out.

... is getting big so so fast.