after side

My neighbor had a friend getting rid of a dresser, and I was lucky enough to snag it up.  Looking at it, it was just fine on its own. But I can’t but help re-do things.  Even perfectly “fine” things.

I started by staining the top a deep cherry, and painted the sides a plain white.  The drawers are where things got crazy.

I took all the drawers out, and removed the knobs.  I picked out “Divine Pond” during a target run for the darkest color.  The bottom drawer was painted.  When I was sure I liked the color, I added some white to lighten it up a bit.  Then I painted the next drawer.  I continued that process until the top drawer, making sure the color changed ever so slightly to give the ombre effect.  Once that was dry, I screwed the knobs back in.  I love how it turned out, especially considering it was free!  I had all the supplies except for the paint from target, so the project was completed for less than $10.

Here is a little side by side comparison:

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What fun projects have you all been working on?

The wonderful thing about love is that there is always more to give.  It’s not something that has a maximum capacity.  It keeps growing.  You can give love out wherever it is needed.

I have thought of how to put this post into words for months now.  Nothing seems to be right, which is why I have been so vacant.

The thing is, my family has started a new and wonderful adventure.  We are currently in the process of becoming a licensed foster family.

I have been asked by so many people how we will manage, and why I would want to bring a random child into our house.  Do married families get asked this?  Or is it just single people?

It’s not a decision I made lightly.  The seed has been planted since I was a little girl.  I always wanted to be a foster parent.  The plan of how it was to work out may have looked different, but so many of my plans have changed from the way they were imagined.

After talking with people and researching for the past year, I finally took the leap in March and filled out the initial forms.  I talked with HJ about it.  I talked with family and friends.

This summer, I began taking the PS-MAPP classes.  This is a once a week, for 3 hours, evening class.  I have had a home visit, and still have 2 more to complete.  I have paperwork, lots of paperwork.  HJ and I have talked a lot about it.

And I am ready.

I truly feel that we were all put on this earth to help in some way.  No matter how large or small your impact may be, it makes a difference.

I asked a friend if it was hard when the baby went back to his birth family.  She said it was awful.  But she would (and has) do it all again.

These children need to know unconditional love.  The deserve to be loved, held and taught if only for a short time.  They have been placed in these situations due to no fault of their own.

In a way, I guess you could say our family is expecting!  And not only are we not finding out the gender…we also don’t know the age or the race.  Personally, I have always loved a good surprise.  HJ and I are both excited to start this journey, and have been preparing our house for a little one.

Please, ask questions and let me know experiences you may have!

 

Adoption Quotes shared every Wednesday on Tamara's Instagram. Follow Tamara @ http://instagram.com/adoptionmamablog:

Picture Source: adoptionmamablog.com

 

At Home Logo

 

With being a sorority advisor I still get to do some of the fun “back to campus” tasks.  In years past, I have had to purchase lots of items online.  There haven’t been too many places in town to shop for cute and affordable home items.  But this year, we had an At Home store open up.

They have amazing, affordable items for the home.  Perfect for the college home away from home!  The first area I decided to focus on was the outdoor patio and deck.  We needed new cushions, as ours have seen better days.  The At Home store carried the largest selection in town by far, and I was able to find trendy and inexpensive items.  Here is a little before and after of one area (amazing what a few cute cushions can do!):

PicMonkey Collage

The At Home store has their Back to Campus collections in store now, and they even have a checklist to help out the college bound people in your life.  My favorite new collection is the “Chic Free Spirit“, what’s yours?

*This post contains sponsored links, all thoughts and opinions are my own

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A few months back, my grandma moved out of her house.  Her and my grandpa moved into the house in the 1950’s, so to say the house was full of fun little treasures is an understatement.  Can you imagine all the stuff that accumulates after living somewhere over 60 years?

In the downstairs laundry room, I uncovered a table that I some missed over my last 34 years.  The second I laid eyes on it I claimed it.  I assumed everyone would be jealous, but instead they all looked at me like I was bonkers.  But I knew, it could be super cute with a little TLC.

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Okay, a lot of TLC.  I mean, it was basically rust.  I started by hosing and scrubbing it down really good.  Then, I took a wire brush and sandpaper to some of the really bad rust spots.  I covered up the stainless steel top with a garbage bag and tape, and I started with a quick coat of Rust-Reformer.  Pretty sure it’s for cars, but this was metal too.  I then added a coat of metal primer, this would make it easier to have the color stick.

I decided to go with a pretty mint color.  It took about two coats to color, and while the rust cover isn’t perfect, it looks amazingly better.

I then finished up by adding new hardware to the drawer.  I didn’t want something that would stand out, so I opted for little crystal knobs.

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It is now sitting pretty on my deck with a flower pot.  I am hoping the Iowa weather isn’t to hard on it this summer, because eventually it would be super cute inside a house somewhere!

It’s hard to believe my baby boy is 6 and a half.  He says things now like “dude” and “sup”.  He no longer wants to be called handsome or cute, but you can tell him he looks cool.

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We started his half birthday celebration with a Mother’s Day brunch.  Then, the rest of the day was all his.

We started by going to the humane society so HJ could read a story to a dog.  The sweet little pup he read to just wanted to play, but HJ did a good job of reading her a story.

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That night, we had family over for pizza (HJ’s choice).  And of course had half a cake with 6 and a half candles.

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A new child in our neighborhood was recently at our house.  Out of the blue, he asked me, “does HJ get a whoopin’ when he’s in trouble?”

HJ responded with, “What’s a whooping?”

I told him it is when someone hurts you for doing something wrong.

HJ said, “Oh, you do that all the time when I am in trouble.”

Oh my goodness, what in the world.

“HJ, what happens when you get in trouble?”

He told the neighbor boy and me, “I have to go to my room until I am ready to apologize, then I talk to mom and we hug.”

“Right, so how is that a whooping?”

His response was, “because it hurts my feelings.”

Hopefully I cleared up the difference between being physically hurt and having hurt feelings.

hjstand

Before HJ was born, my mom painted a nightstand for him.  It was green, and cute.  And it had been mine.  And my sisters.  And my mom’s.  And her mom’s.  And at least one more generation beyond that.  So…it’s had some use.  One day, while shutting a drawer, the wood just sort of fell apart.  We continued to use it while I searched and searched for one.

Finally, I came across one on craigslist.  $8, real wood, need gone.

I sent a text to the number.  The responder text back super fast with numerous pictures.  Confirmed it was real wood.  It said I could get it that day!  I asked where we could meet. She said she didn’t have a car but I could go get it.

I said, sorry I am not comfortable with that.  Then deleted it and asked where she was.

She mentioned a trailer park in town.  One that is not known for its friendly, neighborly ways.

So I did what any sane person in need of a deal does.  I put my scary looking dog in the back seat, let my neighbor know I would call in 5 minutes (and if I didn’t to call the police) and made my way into the trailer park.

I should point out my scary looking dog is terrified of car rides and was shaking like a leaf in the backseat.

As I got closer to the meeting point, I started getting nervous and actually had 911 ready to go on my phone.  But lucky me…the police were already there.  Woohoo!  I figured she wouldn’t do anything crazy to me for a $8 night stand in front of the cops, so I was a bit more comfortable.  She came outside, got scared of the cops and ran very fast back inside as I gave her the money.

As I was driving home, I realized I forgot to ask a vital question.  “Does anyone smoke in the house?”.  It smelled awful.

This meant I left the nightstand in the garage for about 3 weeks, covered in baking soda (thanks, pinterest!).

Then, I had to sand it down really well.  It had gouges, some weird ring marks, sticker marks, you name it.  I also took of the ugly drawer pull and threw it away.

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I had navy chalk paint left over from HJ’s bed, and after a few coats, it started looking MUCH better.  I let HJ pick out his own drawer pulls, which led to these cute little fox heads.

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I also wanted to add a bit more of it, so I taped off the top edge and made it white.  I also saw the cute basket at Target with a chalkboard, and added that underneath.  I love that it matches his bed, it looks like such a cute little set!

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Anyone else have a craigslist adventure story?  Usually I will only go to neighborhoods I am familiar with, so this one was very different for me!

 

It has been 7 years since a judge granted me sole custody of little HJ.  You hear about people going through custody battles all the time.  Mine was a bit different than most.  It wasn’t a battle at all.

After talking with a lawyer, it was decided that my best course of action would be for HJ’s father to sign off on all custody.  That way, if there ever came a time where he decided he wanted to be in HJ’s life, I could have control of how that worked.

Without this agreement, he could have came forward at any time and be given 50% custody.

When I asked him to sign away all custody, he agreed without a fight.  He was relieved that is what I wanted.  It hurt that he was willing to give HJ up so easily.  I didn’t understand since he was (is) my everything.

The lawyer was amazed that he asked how quickly it could be done.

I always thought there would come a time that he would ask to meet his son.  Or even ask for a picture.  For the first few years of HJ’s life, I would let him know that I was willing to let him be involved.

The last time we talked was over 3 years ago, close to 4.  I don’t even remember what it was about.  I just know he wants nothing to do with my son.  I wonder if he ever thinks about him, wonders about him.  Part of me thinks that HJ never even crosses his mind.  I wonder if he realized he made a huge mistake, or if he still doesn’t care.

 

I walked into the living room, and grabbed my water glass off the coffee table.  As I take a big drink, HJ starts laughing.  Like, hysterically laughing.

I cautiously look at him while setting my glass down and say, “What in the world are you laughing at?”

“I am laughing because YOU are sharing a water with the DOG!”

“What are you talking about?!?!”

Apparently, when I walked away from my water glass, the dog walked up to the coffee table, and helped himself to my water.  I have no idea if this has happened before, or how many times I could have possibly drank from the same glass as my dog.  All I know is I have seen how much he slobbers in his own water bowl.  Ew.