Thursday, March 20, 2014

1/2 Bath- Full Report

I talked about the transformation our half bath went through back HERE. But I would like to break it down because it deserves to be recognized.  When we first walked through the house, it started out like this:

It has affectionately been called our Harry Potter bathroom because it's under the stairs.  The door in the picture is a closet that goes the rest of the way under the stairs and now houses all of my school files, decorations, everything thanks to a massive garage clean out a couple of weekends ago.  Who knew 6 years of a life and career could fit in such a small space! (Man, going through those boxes made me nostalgic!)

Anyway...back to our Harry Potter bathroom... the previous owners switched out the vanity.  We saw the previous oak and gold vanity out back waiting to be hauled off so we were grateful for the updated vanity and light fixture.  The first change came when we took down the wall length mirror.

That was a dramatic change.  Unfortunately, because of the glue spots/tears and the fact that the wall was not textured behind the mirror like the rest of the bathroom, we couldn't just paint it and be done.  We patched up the tears and sprayed texture on. (When I say we, I mean Michael and his Dad.  A lot from his dad! What a lifesaver!) Another problem we encountered was that now that we took down the mirror and were putting up a framed mirror that we already owned, the backsplash didn't match up and it wasn't our first choice for color so Michael took that down and added a tile backsplash of his own. He had some extra from another project he was working on so it wasn't any extra cost.

On one of their short visits, Michael's parents painted the bathroom with the same BM Revere Pewter that we painted the rest of the main floor in a blink.  We didn't even know what was happening until the paint was drying.  That sure saved us because Michael and I start to develop severe painting aversion.  It takes us awhile to tackle painting walls again.  It's just not our favorite thing in the world.
When the paint was dry, we added the framed mirror that we owned already.  We got it for a few dollars at the model home sale in our last area.  It was hanging by our mud room in our last house so I was glad it had a good place to go in this house.

We also hung some shelves from Ikea above the toilet for some added storage.

Across from the vanity, we hung decorative candle holders that we had gotten from that same model home sale as the mirror.

After all that, we had quite a big transformation for such a small space!



What do you think? Does it work? Any suggestions on how to avoid painting aversion? We have a few more rooms that would love a paint job.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Beacon Of Righteousness

I could not skip a chance to share one of the most exciting opportunities that we have been able to participate in the past couple of months.  The Gilbert Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints was recently completed and from mid January- mid February there was an open house for anyone and everyone to enjoy.  The Gilbert Temple is Arizona's 4th temple. It's a big deal! And we are really excited that there will soon be 6 in Arizona when the Phoenix and Tucson temples are finished! If you have more questions about temples, you can click HERE.  My little family and I had the chance to go through the Open House three times.  Each time was an incredible and unique experience.

The first time we went was with some of Michael's family.  His dad, mom, sister and her boyfriend, brother, and nephew drove down from Utah (through most of the night) to get here for the weekend. More on that soon. (Hopefully.) We went to the temple Monday morning where Michael's older brother and his wife met us.  There was a sweet, little movie that we watched in the chapel next to the temple that briefly described what temples are for and what we are about to see.  My favorite part was when Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles emphasized that as he imagines how glorious and perfect Heaven is, he cannot see it as Heaven without his wife and family there with him. That's exactly how I feel.  If our Father in Heaven is omnipotent, loving and perfect, then of course he is going to provide a way for families to be eternal!  That's why I love temples.

The second time we visited the temple, we went with Michael's coworker and his family.  They are an amazing and beautiful family.  They are Catholic and live in Gilbert so we were glad they could have the chance to tour this amazing building in their backyard.  It was so nice to get to know them and their incredibly sweet and sharp daughters.  They were great at recognizing symbols and teachings from the bible.  It was impressive.  To me, the Church is very logical.  We believe in the Bible and the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.  We believe this is the church of Jesus Christ.  So, of course, it is ran and organized through the proper authority the way the Savior organized it through the proper authority when he was on the Earth.

The third time we toured the Open House was with my dad, sister, and my Aunt Jana.  They drove from Utah- including a two hour delay because of a huge blow out. Luckily they were safe and were able to get the spare tire on and get back on the road.  We got there about an hour after our reservation time which turned out to be a powerful tender mercy.  We ended up being behind a great group of friends from Northern Phoenix who were all Catholic and told that they should come to the "Mormon Temple" to see the inside while they could.  They had a lot of great questions and comments as we walked through the beautiful temple that we did our best to answer and explain.   But overall, we all just enjoyed the incredible feeling of peace and comfort that is felt inside those walls and on the temple grounds.

Last Sunday we got to be a part of the temple dedication instead of our normal Sunday worship.  It was extremely humbling and powerful.  I hope that I can read the talks that were given later because they were incredible.  My favorite was when President Monson called the temple, "A Beacon of Righteousness, a refresher for the soul, a House of God."  I find those words incredibly concise and comforting in a world that is muddled and harsh.  I'm glad I have had these experiences the past couple of months and for the invigorated effort to go back often.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fat Tuesday on a Wednesday

Well, I guess it's appropriate that I document our trip to New Orleans on Ash Wednesday since yesterday was Fat Tuesday which is the end (and the main event) of the big Mardi Gras Celebrations. Which means Mardi Gras is literally an eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we will repent kind of celebration.  Therefore, it's the type of party we try to avoid, especially when we bring our almost two year old along for our trip.  So we thought we would be safe going to New Orleans on February 19-24.  Little did we know that Mardi Gras celebrations and parades start much earlier than just Fat Tuesday so we actually got to see some of the parades and I'm sure the much more family friendly version of Mardi Gras.  I'm not going to lie, it was a lot of fun!

Michael had meetings near Baton Rouge most of the week and Adelaide and I joined him on Wednesday.  The weather was remarkable (except for a brief tornado watch for some of the area.)  We toured a beautiful plantation called Houmas House.  The gardens and the house and the neighboring Mississippi River and the history and an amazing tour guide made this tour absolutely worth it.  The house is still lived in today so we were able to walk through and touch many things that would normally be roped off in other houses.  Including a Steinway Piano built in 1905 that is only one in fifty left in the whole world.  Our tour guide was telling us about the amazing beauty and features of the piano and asked if anyone played the piano.  My hand shot up in the air.  (If I'm given an opportunity to play on an extremely rare, historic piano, you bet I'm not missing my chance!)  There was some sheet music on the piano so I started playing that and then our tour guide joined right in singing along the rest of the piece.  It was epic.  During the intro, I made sure Michael was documenting it.  Our little girl was a bit restless so she didn't allow him to record it, but it was so so so fun!

We stayed a couple night just outside of New Orleans where a supplier had invited Michael to their New Orleans parade  and party set up.  It was incredible.  They had a trolley take us to the parade route where they had a private stand next to the street.  They had beads, food, hot chocolate, cake, and drinks. We enjoyed playing and catching some beads at the parades.  Laila loved waving hi to everyone.

Finally, we stayed one night in downtown New Orleans with a view of the parade route from our hotel room!  We walked around French Quarters, Bourbon Street (before 4 PM we were told is the safest g-rated time), along the river and enjoyed a really big New Orleans parade.  It was raining on and off throughout the day and the poor people in the parade were soaked.  Half way through the parade it started pouring again and by then everyone was soaking, but they just kept marching on!  We had so many beads and stuffed animals by the end of the parade. Laila loved all the stuffed animals she got and her "pitty neck-aces" (Pretty necklaces)

(I think Laila's dress-up jewelry is set for life!)
Before our flight we took a walking tour around the Garden District which was so picturesque.  We walked through a New Orleans style cemetery and learned some fascinating facts about them.  Then we saw many incredible homes in the area including Sandra Bullock's, John Goodman's, the Manning's, and Nicholas Cage's (former) homes.  It was so interesting! Laila loved being in charge of the map and taking the trolley!

^Cutest tourist ever! 

 ^ Sandra Bullock's home

 ^John Goodman's
 ^Manning's (Michael's Favorite)

^Nicholas Cage's before he foreclosed

Monday night we had quite the trip home due to our United flight out of New Orleans making us (and at least 13 others) miss our connecting flight for no apparent reason.  Don't worry, our luggage definitely made it onto the flight but we all got to wait three hours for the next flight. Meaning we didn't land in Phoenix until midnight.  That was not so fun but thankfully, it didn't offset the rest of the fun we had while in Louisiana.  We loved the history, the charm, and learning more about the culture.  It was a great trip and I'm glad we got to go.