Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Bedroom Fit for a "Tween"

Yay! It's finally done!

Joy's bedroom fits her personality so well! I'm so glad we accomplished that....and I'm glad it's finally complete!

She picked the bedding out herself and it was one of her bigger Christmas gifts, so she's had it for awhile waiting for us to get to the bedroom redo. The bedding was the inspiration for the all colors. She is not-so-much a pink girl (anymore). She wanted to bring out the aqua. The color on the wall is called Pool House.

The full size bed used to be mine growing up. I received it as a birthday gift on my 12th birthday. Jason painted it white for Joy. It does have a matching dresser, but she preferred to use her old dresser. I think she liked the shape of it better. However, Colt said he would like to use the dresser in his room (minus the mirror) because it's bigger than his old one, and Luke will get his old one (the one that was used for Colt & Joy as babies/toddlers).

Joy's old dresser was already painted white, but we wanted to give it a new look. Here scroll down a ways and you can see it behind the desk/chair as it was before. Here it is now:

Joy painted the drawer pulls pink. I painted the decorative indentions with the accent colors from her room.

Remember the old armoire from here?

What a difference the white paint made on it! It looks so fresh and crisp now! Joy is using it for all her dance clothes and gear. She loves this piece of furniture. (Maybe there's hope for one of my kids loving antiques yet)...

On top is a "Grandma's Flower Garden" quilt (quilted by Jason's grandma), and Joy's trophies. The stitchery was stiched by my friend, Betty. It's in a Goodwill makoever frame.

Jason made this desk and bulletin board for Joy awhile back. If you've read my blog for very long, you probably remember when he made this.

We added the gerber daisies and the little sign (that Joy loves by the way)..."Anything boys can do, girls can do better". (Gerber daisies and sign were both 50% off at Hobby Lobby).

However, it got a new coat of paint too. The white we used on all the trim and furniture in the room is called Mocha Cream. She's already loaded up the bulletin board with pictures.

One feature we knew we wanted for her room was a ballet barre and mirror. She's wanted this for awhile. She dances constantly! We bought a large dowel rod (4 ft.long) and painted it white and Jason mounted it. We had a mirror cut to fit and added the vinyl quote above, by Joy's request.

It would be very hard to pick a favorite thing in her room because I find myself going into her room and just standing there taking it all in, but the chandelier would definitely be among my favorites. I can't take the credit for the idea of this. Joy wanted to use her old chandelier, but it was very "girly" as in pink and minty green with rosettes on it. (I have a picture of it somewhere but I have looked and looked and can't locate it right now). I was thinking of brown ribbon tied around new white shades, or even different color ribbons tied around them. However, Colt's girlfriend, Amber (who is very creative), suggested painting each one of the shades on the chandelier one of the accent colors in her room. Joy loved the idea, so we went for it. I painted each shade with craft paint....one aqua, one pink, and one lime green.....then trimmed the top and bottom of each one with brown ribbon. And wow....I loved it....we all loved it!

We positioned Joy's bed on an angle, sort of in a corner. This allowed for better furniture placement in the room. It was fun decorating that corner behind the bed too.

Speaking of Amber, she's very talented with painting designs and she said she would paint Joy's letters for us. If you can't remember what they looked like before, you can see them here. And now they are perfect for her room! I just gave Amber a picture that came from the front of her bedding for inspiration and told her to do whatever she wanted to them that would coordinate. I knew whatever she did would be perfect, and it was! Thank you, Amber!!

The vinyl tree, flower, heart, and peace decorative stickers came with the bedding set (along with a canopy that we didn't use). Joy arranged those the way she wanted them. The tree reminds us of the tree down the road from our house that Colt named when he was little....Max PJ. I did a post on that once if you'd like to read it.....here.

Then that brought the inspiration for the next touch. After the letters and the tree vinyl stickers were up, the corner behind the back lacked something. It was really bugging me and that's one of the reasons I hadn't posted the pictures yet. I did a little brainstorming, thinking of adding some type of decorative stemmed twigs or something. I couldn't really find anything we liked, and definitely not at a price I liked. So in the end, Joy and I went out to the wooded area of my mom and dad's house next door and picked up twigs. We asked Jason to spray them with a coat of the same paint that was used on her furniture. That's just what it needed for that corner! I think a light shining on it from behind the bed would be great too....we're working on that.

The lime rag style rug came from Hobby Lobby - 50% off.

The lamp came from Gordman's - 20% off. That picture frame was a birthday gift to Joy from her friend, Molly Grace, at her last birthday party. That's her very first ballet picture in the frame. And the feathers and beads in the vase behind the picture frame were also purchased from Hobby Lobby at 50% off.

The table it's all on has been a little of everywhere in my house. You may remember seeing it most recently in my living room with the pump lamp on it. Jason gave it a coat of white paint too.

Over here between the dresser and the desk, there's a blank wall. Joy says it's the perfect spot for a flat screen TV. And I said, "Well you better get to saving your money." :) In the meanwhile, we're thinking of possibly putting up a framed poster, either dance related or maybe a guitar chord poster (that way she can sit on her bed and learn her guitar chords)!

The curtains are sheer panels purchased off of ebay. It seemed to need a pop of color over there, so I purchased ribbon by the roll from Hobby Lobby (also 50% off) and added streams of pink and lime ribbon to the curtains.

Joy and I came to an agreement....She can use her closet door for one poster at a time. My thinking was that she had her bulletin board, but I remember what is was like to want posters in my room growing up too.

We added a few flowers to the aqua bottle vase hanging on the doorknob of her closet.

We had lots of doors to paint in there! Besides the closet door, there were two more doors. One leads out of her room and the other is the attic/furnace room door.

I love Joy's new bedroom! I would have loved to have a bedroom like this at 11 years old! But now what I love even more is that we really repurposed lots of things in this room and didn't spend alot of money.

I've always enjoyed watching budget minded decorating shows the best, where they were given a budget and redid a room within that budget. So I decided to figure up what we did spend on her room. Here's the breakdown:

Bedding - $99 (this was a Christmas gift to Joy though, but I included it).
Paint & Primer - $96 (Walls,Furniture and Trim)
Mirror - $54
Ballet Barre & Hardware to Hang it - Can't remember but I think around $15
Vinyl Quote - $14
Curtains - $14
Rug - $12.50
Ribbon - $10
Lamp - $11
Craft Paint - $6
Flowers/Feathers/Beads/Mini Sign - $13.00

That's a total of $344.50 (and actually $99 of that was a Christmas gift). I think it's more gratifying (and challenging) to decorate a room with a conservative budget....and see what I can do with it. Actually I wouldn't know what it was like to spend whatever I wanted because I've never done that! I can't imagine some of these budgets I see on HGTV for rooms! Wow!

Two more last pics for you....just because I took so many! :)

Now it is on to Luke's room.....We've already picked out the color. I've removed the border and cleaned walls, and Jason took out the trim. Jason also repaired and sanded the walls (wow....lots of nail holes it there), applied the primer, and we just finished putting a coat of paint on it. We're hoping it might only take one coat! We have some busy weekends ahead and I'm feeling like we need to hurry and get this room ready, after all we received our LOA this weekend and God is really moving and opening doors to bring us to Luke quickly. I want to leave the few weeks before travel open to thinking clearly about packing and everything we will need to take with us. With that time frame, it is definitely motivation to finish his room!

Thanks for hanging with me and being interested in seeing the finished bedroom project and for waiting so long....hope you en"joy" the pictures of the new bedroom fit for our "tween"! :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Our LOA Has Arrived!!!!!!!

What a start to our weekend!!!!

Our agency coordinator contacted us late yesterday afternoon with the news I've been waiting to hear.......our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) was signed on 3/24 and our agency received it today, 3/26 (in only two days)!!! We will receive it on Monday to proceed with the next step of paperwork! It was a total shock at that time because I would never ever expected it to come on a Friday based on how all the others have arrived, especially late on a Friday evening like that.

What IS the next step? Well.... we send in for our I-800 approval (with Immigration).....yes more Immigration paperwork. Then after we get that approval, it will be cabled onto the US Embassy and then we will be issued our Article 5. All of this is "Greek" to me. I learn about each step just a little before I get there. It's so much information to digest. All I know is that I pray through each step of the way! :)

Then we get our TA (travel approval)......and THEN WE GO GET LUKE!!!!!

Do you realize that our LOA came on Day 54?

I just want to say that this is most definitely an answer to prayer and I give God the glory! Thanks to everyone praying for us (thank you to Seth...one of the youngest prayer warriors out there praying Luke home)!!! We're over the moon happy (doing a few happy dances).....and it is so comforting and encouraging to know there are folks out there thinking of us, and praying for us! We would greatly appreciate your prayers that our paperwork from here on out runs smoothly too!

Thank you and Praise the Lord! :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Little Retail Therapy.....

I took a little advice recently, during this wait for LOA and did a little shopping....ummm.....I mean retail therapy. :) Honestly, it does help! It was fun shopping for little boy clothes again!

Most of my retail therapy, however, was actually in the form of ebay shopping and consignment store shopping. I'm always one for a bargain and why pay more, when you can get it for less is my way of thinking. Besides until I'm absolutely sure about sizes, I wanted (and needed) to find bargains. And so I did! I found lots of Gymboree and Gap items at great prices. Since we will travel to China in summer to bring Luke home, I've mostly purchased shorts and shirts for now.

I couldn't resist a little pair of Mini Boden swimming trunks, although Jason jokingly told me they were "a little violent" (sharks eating fish)! But I could just picture him swimming in those trunks and had to have them....

Most of these are polo shirts and tees and shorts, along with the "violent" swimming trunks, and a couple pairs of summer pjs.

I always loved putting caps and overalls on Colt as a toddler, so I was really drawn to these adorable Gymboree overalls (and the Gap cap):

And look at these adorable short/shirt sets with matching caps...one was a dinosaur set and the other a baseball....

I've been buying 3ts based on Luke's mesurements. I hope I'm getting in right. But in the case, I've not hit the size right, I'm going to try not to go too overboard with the clothes and take the advice of other adoptive moms and wait to shop a little more in China (if necessary). And shoes? I don't even know where to start! Hopefully, we'll get updated info and measurements after LOA (today is day 56 by the way) and I can guess a little closer!

I think now I'm going to focus more on acquiring a few toys I'd like to take along to China (and a few for home too).

Until time to go bring our little guy home....I will have to agree that a little (budget minded) retail therapy does a mama good! :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Music to My Ears!

We now have two guitar players in our house!

Friday, Jason and I took Joy to get her first guitar. She used birthday money for her big purchase. She had this planned for quite awhile. After looking and trying out several guitars and with help from the folks there at the music store, Joy found the guitar that felt most comfortable in her hands.

I have been impressed with what she's already taught herself in three days through tutorials off the internet! She quickly learned four chords and can go through this chord progression changing chords fairly quickly (much quicker than I could ever do)! She played and sang most of a Taylor Swift song for us yesterday!

Last night, Jason made us some (delicious) homemade milkshakes, so we were all gathered in the kitchen. Joy brought her guitar in the kitchen to show Colt what she had learned. Then Colt grabbed his guitar.....and I loved it! Of course, I had to grab my camera!

Colt giving Joy pointers...and Joy taking it all in.....it was a special moment for me! I think she was hanging on Colt's every word!

These informal moments of teaching really are the best! Colt learned so much this way...and by leaving him alone with his instrument!

Music is such an important part of our lives, in so many ways!

Joy's new guitar is an Ibanez. She liked this one because it was actually a full size guitar, yet not too thick for her hands.

Colt has several guitars, including an Ibanez too. I don't even remember exactly how many he does have. This one he grabbed was his Aria.

Oh, and see Colt's hair? That's what happens when your girlfriend goes to cosmetology school! Colt told us Amber was giving him a haircut and red highlights Saturday night. I was expecting red, as in "my kind of red hair". I wasn't prepared for the fire engine red.....but it's growing on me.....well sort of. However, I do LOVE his haircut! Amber does a great job!

Colt is such a natural with his guitar and music in general....and Joy seems to be following in his footsteps. I know she loves music just as much. Rare is the day around here that music doesn't happen in some form in our home! And that's just the way I like it!

I hope there's many more moments like this one ....hanging out in the kitchen..... sharing these moments.....it's truly music to this mom's ears!

** Pictures coming soon of Joy's new bedroom makeover....I've got one more last accessory touch to add. **

Have a great Tuesday and thanks for stopping by! :)

~ Tammy ~

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And the Winner is.......

First of all, a big thank you to everyone that stopped by and entered the spring giveaway...long-time blogging buddies and the new ones too! I appreciate you all and I really enjoy your comments!

Now on to what you came over here for today! After mixing up all the names really well, Joy reached in and pulled out the winning name.....

Drum roll please....

And the winner is.......

Lynn...Country Heart and Roses!

Congratulations, Lynn! If you'll email me with your address, I'll get your spring goodies mailed out to you! (I might have your address somewhere Lynn, but email it to me anyway....just in case)!

Have a great week, everyone! :)


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Time for a Giveaway!

I promised a giveaway when I either reached 300 posts or 300 followers. Well, I hit the 300 follower mark first, actually a couple of weeks ago or more, and I've been brainstorming on a giveaway! I still have a few more posts to go to reach 300 posts, so who knows maybe I'll do another one then! But for now, I promised a giveaway, so here it is: (remember, you can click on the picture to see it up closer)....

I wanted my giveaway to be spring related.....so included in this giveaway is an 8 x 10 (framed in distressed black) "Happy Spring" stitchery, a 5 x 7 sheep print (framed in black), a beehive beeswax candle (from our local bee farm), and two sunflower (floating) candles.

The rules are simple. To be entered once, just leave me a comment letting me know that you'd like to be included in the giveaway. For two entries, become a follower, or let me know that you already are. And for three entries, announce the giveaway on your blog as well. You may use the above picture for that purpose. The contest is open to folks in the U.S. and Canada. Oh, and be sure that I have a way to contact you, either on your blog or by email address!

Joy will draw out the winning name this Saturday evening, March 20th at 9:00 p.m., (which is the first day of spring). I'll announce the winner the next day, Sunday, March 21st and get it mailed out to the winner the next day!

I'll leave this post up here until Saturday. In the meantime, Jason is off tomorrow and Friday and we hope to get lots accomplished around here with the makeovers. Joy's room is coming along nicely. We still have two more pieces of furniture to paint. Those pieces of furniture and trim have taken several layers of primer/paint to cover the darker stain. But it's getting there! I can't walk by her room without stopping to admire it and I sometimes make an excuse to go in there.....it's already so "her"! I can't wait to show it to you.....but I want to get more of the little details and custom touches put to it first!

And I'd like to thank everyone who stops by and visits my blog! I appreciate you so much and really thank you for being a follower and especially for all the sweet and encouraging comments! You all are the best! Good luck on the giveaway!

Have a great day! :)

~ Tammy ~

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Waiting.......Day 43.....

Waiting. I'm really not liking it at all. As a matter of fact, I'm having a really hard time with it.

Today is day 43 of our wait to LOA, which is the next big step to Luke.

I can't seem to concentrate on any one thing long enough, and it's showing. I wake up at night thinking of things I need to do to prepare or to get for Luke to be ready. I wonder what he's doing....how they're preparing him.....what he will think of us.....how he will react. Can you tell I'm a person that likes to have a little more control of the situation?

Recently, one of our fellow BAAS families received their LOA on day 74. I was really hoping for more around the 60 mark. Every day I get up and think what day we're on. The good news is that this family's estimated date of travel is mid May. That gives me hope by calculating that even if our LOA comes at 72 or 74, our estimated travel date would or could still be mid June.

Before we were logged in, I had this date in my head that we would be logged in and it was January 28th. I missed it by one day. We were logged in on January 29th.

I've had this week in my head for quite awhile now that we will travel to China and it is the third week of June. I hope I'm wrong and it's earlier, more like the first of June (that would be perfect), but not wrong, and it be later. We'll see how it all unfolds. But please let it be at least June....

Okay, now if you've stayed with me this far and put up with my pity party today, bless you! So now I want to show you something that did put a smile on my face!

A little before the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), which is a big celebration day in China, my blogging friend and fellow adoptive mom, Melissa, contacted me and asked if I would be interested in the two of us going in together and having cakes sent for the staff and children of the orphanage that our kids (our Luke and her Sofie) are from. We loved that idea, so our family agreed and we ordered cakes to have sent.

Well....I received these pictures from Angela of Ladybugs N Love, who also sends care packages (where we ordered the cakes) for adoptive families. The orphanage in Inner Mongolia sent her these pics of the staff and children enjoying the cakes. They were very happy and appreciative to receive them! I am impressed with how nice (and clean) the orphanage looks!

See the littlest girl in the front middle there (striped sweater)? That's Melissa's precious daughter, Sofie. Although her daughter has been with a foster family, Melissa suspected that Sofie would be back at the orphanage possibly for the Chinese New Year, since they were coming for her shortly after. She was. This confirms, I suppose, that they do remove the kids from their foster family (if they are in one) about a week before the adoptive parents' arrival. At first I thought this was really cruel, but the more I've thought about it (and talked with some folks), I've decided that this is probably good, and maybe they know that. My hope and prayer is that they take this time to get them out of the foster family's direct sight and routine and take them to the orphanage and do their best to prepare them for the family that's coming for them. Then we arrive ready to shower them with love!

In these pictures, little Sofie doesn't look so happy to be here.....But she's a happy little three year old girl now! She has done so well adjusting! And did I mention how cute she is??? Melissa and her husband left to go pick Sofie up on February 24th. They have their little girl and will either be headed home or possibly even home by the time this post goes on! They have been having lots of fun with their little princess! If you'd like to read about their journey, click here.

And last but not least, since Luke obviously wasn't at the orphanage at the time that they were enjoying the cakes, the orphanage director was nice enough to send Angela a couple of pictures of Luke enjoying his own birthday cake in his foster family's home and one of them was a different picture than I received before! Just look at that smile! The pictures keep me going.

And now the wait continues........come on LOA.......

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Decorating Detour

Along the decorating path for Luke's room, I've made a little detour.

I couldn't pass up this offer.

A friend of mine from our homeschooling group contacted me after reading my blog and finding out my intentions to do a transportation bedroom for Luke. She had transportation bedding that had belonged to her son that she was selling in excellent condition. We hadn't purchased Luke's yet, but I was a little hesitant at first because I knew I wanted red accents regardless in there and wasn't sure what colors would be in her set. But then she sent me a picture of it, and I loved it! I really really like the fact that it's a quilt! It think it has a sweet toddler boy factor to it....

I couldn't pass up this offer....especially for all that we got.....twin quilt and sham, as well as coordinating dust ruffle, coordinating window curtains, coordinating twin sheet set, a chenille truck pillow,

and an adorable denim lamp.

All of this came to us at a fraction of the price we were going to pay for the other bedding.

We've also decided against a car bed since we took the measurements and figured that it would take over his little bedroom! Luke's future bedroom is truly a little bedroom and that car bed is very bulky! Instead Jason will be making him a twin bed with storage underneath. That design is still in the works, but we're thinking something along this line....

I'm picturing this all coming together too. I've picked up some paint samples at Lowes and was trying to get the perfect blue match for the walls (I'm was thinking chambray/denim blue), but now that I think about it more, I'm thinking possibly even that little shade of green in the quilt. In the link above that shows the bed, there is a green behind the bed that is similiar and I like the colors together. What do you think? Blue or that shade of green? Picture lots of red accents splashed about too.

Joy never liked the idea that I was thinking of using a yellow in Luke's room (with the other bedding set) to begin with, and is now very very happy with the blue or green idea and with this entire bedding set. My transportation prints should all still go very nicely with this set as well (in red frames of course).

I loved the original bedding just as well, but for some reason, Joy never was that crazy about it for Luke. She definitely had an opinion on the matter, but I never liked the ones she liked! When she saw this one, she begged for me to please change my mind and purchase this one. I thought it was super cute too and such a great deal, so thus our little decorating detour.

Now I'm looking forward to getting started. But first things first....we still have to complete Joy's room before we start on Luke's......