Thursday, January 21, 2010


Well, I still have to finish up my family vay-cay post (which isn't much) and then there's Christmas and New Year's. Then Jason's and my birthdays. I got Payson's, but I'll still be posting about her birthday party. (Which, thank heavens, isn't until next week, because I'm so behind on everything!) But until I get to it, I'm posting this instead. And beware! It's long!!

Of course I thought about resolutions at the beginning of the month. But I didn't make any. Out of sheer laziness. Then I read a post about the idea of coming up with a one word sort of "theme" for the year instead of resolutions. I thought about that idea for a while and decided that that is exactly what I needed to do this year. And DOABLE! Not like failing miserably every year at resolutions!!

So I though about all the different words I could work on this year. There were plenty to consider that I needed to work on! Healthy. Simple. Consistent. Organized. But none of the words really fit what I wanted this year. Then, finally, I thought of the perfect word for me:


This word encompasses all of the things I want to work on during 2010. I grew up in an incredible HOME. We didn't always have a house. I lived in a few apartments, then a small rental home, my parent's first home, and then the home they live in now, which still feels a bit like home to me. But regardless of where we lived, it always felt like HOME.

Many would say that the mother makes the home. I don't believe that. I think my mother probably did most of the work to make it feel that way, but there were certain things my dad did too.

He blessed and dedicated each place we lived using priesthood power. These blessings always reminded me that our home was protected and watched over by my Heavenly Father and that His spirit would always dwell there as long as we were living righteously. This brought me comfort when I was home alone, or especially when Dad was working (his work took him out of town frequently). His presence brought comfort and a feeling of safety. But when he couldn't be there, I knew my Heavenly Father was.

What a blessing that my husband is worthy to hold the same priesthood and has blessed and dedicated each of our homes throughout our marriage! And now that my husband is away so much, it brings me the same comfort as when I was growing up. I need to remember more often to strive to live worthy of that blessing on our home.

My parents, together, made sure we consistently had family scriptures and prayers and family home evenings. Sometimes we were better than others. But throughout my life we were pretty good about that. With Jason being gone so often, I am the one who really needs to make the effort to make these things happen. And to be honest, I'm pretty good about it! But I can be better.

Having the spirit in my home is something else I need to work on. I know my parents always tried to teach us to treat each other with kindness, love, and respect. Of course, this wasn't always how we behaved, but we were taught. I think that keeping myself spiritually in tune is the best way that I can teach these things to my children. I need to be better about having personal scripture study EVERY day. And personal prayers should be said EVERY morning and EVERY night. Again, I'm pretty good about doing these things most of the time. But most of the time really isn't good enough. I know I don't need to be perfect, but I can be better.

Adding to the spirit in my home, I need to turn off the television and computer a little more often. And maybe turn on some music. I know especially on Sunday's this creates a HUGE difference in our days! Especially the mornings!

And speaking of Sundays, I can try a little harder to be prepared Saturday night and be not just right on time, but EARLY (gasp) for our church meetings!

Last, I need to make a better effort to attend the temple monthly. Again, something I do pretty well now. Do I sound like I'm tooting my own horn? I don't mean to. I'm just saying, I do attend the temple almost monthly now. Sometimes I wish I could go more, but being 2 1/2 hours away from the temple, and having young kids, doesn't make that easy, especially with Wyoming's winter roads. Ugh. But aside from simply going to the temple, I can be better about planning ahead and preparing myself, going with a purpose, and paying more attention to the spirit while there.

So there already my theme of HOME has set some spiritual goals in place for me! Yay for no resolutions!!

Aside from spiritual goals, I want to work on managing my home better. This is the first year that we haven't felt dirt poor. Now, we've always been pretty blessed. We've always had shelter and food and clothing, etc. But we've lived paycheck to paycheck most of our marriage. We've had some pretty rough patches here and there. Now that we're blessed to have a little extra...(and trust me, we're trying to live worthy of that little extra by paying tithing and a generous fast offering; although I should probably add being more generous with our financial blessings to that spiritual goal list!)...anyway, now that we have a little extra, I'm trying to be a better budgeter (it's a word). I need to learn better to make each dollar stretch a little further. I need to constantly remind myself that just because it's in the bank account doesn't mean I should spend it! I need to be better about watching how much is going towards debt, towards, savings, towards groceries (maybe I should start couponing for real this year!), etc.

Another part of my home that I need to work on is organization. I do better mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even financially when I am organized. And the kids behave so much better when we stick to our routines!! And it affects Jason when he's home as well. We
have more time to enjoy each other as a family and as a couple when I help us to stay organized.

Part of staying organized for me is getting back onto a personal routine. That means going to bed around the same time each night, getting up each morning at a certain time, working out again, getting ready for the day before I do anything else (otherwise I end up in my jammies all day long), doing laundry on a certain day, planning meals (which keeps me eating healthy AND I enjoy it anyway!), etc. All of these little things make me happy!! Which brings the spirit into my home. Which helps everyone else to be happy! So why have I gotten off track from doing most of them?! Ugh! Anyway, this year I'm getting back to it!

And last, keeping in tune with being organized, I really want to work on my physical HOME this year! We have had either old hand-me-downs (nothing wrong with that!) or super cheap Walmart buys (a lot wrong with that) our entire marriage. The things that are old needs to either be replaced or fixed up. And the Walmart buys, well, ugh. I should probably stay on track and not bore you with my loathing for Walmart. But this is my blog and I can say what I want! Initially I loved Walmart. It was all we could afford when we were first married! After time (and a very short amount of time at that) every single item we every bought there fell apart. Almost instantly. So we ended up either living with dysfunctional pieces or buying new ones with money we couldn't afford. I finally realized why it matters to buy QUALITY things!! Not expensive, but it's better to go without for a little while and save up for things that will last than to throw your money into the great pit that is Walmart.

Anyway, now that I'm done with my Walmart rant. So I have a few goals with my physical home this year. First, I want to replace every piece of crap furniture I own. If it's not quality, I don't want it. I figure if I am thrifty and careful with each penny, that I can save up throughout the year and purchase beautiful, quality furnishings for every room in our home. I may find bargains on otherwise expensive pieces, I may have to put a lot of love and work into older pieces, or I may have to scrimp and save for certain pieces that I really want, but whatever it takes, I'm going to do it!

And not just on the furniture. I waste all kinds of time ogling over the beautiful creations of crafters on blogs. There is no reason I can't do that too! So I'm not creative when it comes to coming up with new and exciting decorating ideas! So what?! I can just copy theirs!! :) So, throughout 2010 you will be lucky enough to see several before and afters of my little town home!

By the end of the year I plan to have gone through, one by one, and completely organized, furnished, and decorated each room and closet and space in this little rental we call home. I may not love my town home, but if I love everything and everyone in it, then I'll grow to love it too! Right? Well, that's an idea, anyway.

And I've already got a great head start!! :) Jason got a great little bonus in January. After buying a laptop for himself (which he needs because he is going to be taking online classes to finish up his degree), and a new iPod (he justified this purchase by planning to give me his old one, since I don't have one), he left the rest of the money to me! So I paid tithing and bills, paid down some debt, put some in savings, and then WENT SHOPPING!! :)

I hate my family room. And it's the room in the house where we spend the most time. I have a sofa. A nice sofa. Problem is, I bought a cream-ish microfiber sofa, which ALWAYS looks filthy because of my children's grubby little hands and mouths! The color on it, wipe their hands on it, spill food on it (even when I try to get them to keep it in the kitchen!), wipe their snotty little noses on it, etc. Ugh. I thought the furniture salesman said that microfiber was easy to keep clean and super child friendly?! LIAR!! So I've resolved that leather will be my only saving grace.

I spent lots of energy trying to come with with ideas that would suit my taste AND compliment a leather couch. I'm not an interior designer, so it probably took me longer than it should to come up with what I wanted. But once I did I had an exact idea in my mind! And over the years I have learned that it is better to wait for what you really want than to just grab whatever you can afford and hope that one day you'll get what you want. You've got to make it happen!!

So that's what I'm doing! Making it happen. And it will probably take a while, but eventually I'll have just what I want and it will be great quality and beautiful and last me forever! And if it doesn't, well I'll just have to deal with it because let's face it, I spent a good chunk of change and I can't afford to try something else. :) But really, I highly doubt that I won't love it for always! Because it's what I've always wanted!!

Obviously, I started with the family room. Like I said, we spend the most time there. It is where the kids play. Where I relax. Where I fold laundry. Where we play the Wii together (Payson beats Jason at bowling EVERY time!!). Where I work on primary stuff. Where I read blogs and waste time on the internet. Where we curl up to watch family movies on that stupid microfiber couch. We LIVE in that room! It has to be the first to change!

Our tv sits in a black armoire. I actually still love this armoire. I bought it from Target a few years ago. (Although you sometimes need to be selective, Target is generally not like Walmart!!) It is still in great condition and beautiful. It is a sturdy piece and will give us several more years of enjoyment. And it was a great price for a solid piece. So I definitely don't want to get rid of it. However, very soon there will not be enough drawer space for all of our dvds. We have already moved our games to another drawer to make room for the dvds. And, well, it just doesn't match what I have in mind surrounding my future leather sectional.

So I plan to take the armoire upstairs. It matches our bedroom perfectly. We can use the extra drawer space and it will be nice to be able to shut the tv behind doors. So this month I purchased a gorgeous tv stand and hutch from my absolute favorite store in the world!! I have been addicted to this store for ages! But couldn't ever really afford it. Or so I thought! Come to find out, it's not as expensive as I would have guessed! And with Jason's bonus, it fit into my budget just right! I was so excited when I found out how much it was at the store that I bought it without talking to Jason at all! (Normally he and I discuss any purchases more than $100 or so dollars, but he was at work and I couldn't get a hold of him, and, well,...I knew he'd understand this one.) :)

Anyway, not only did I end up purchasing an entertainment unit, but I purchased 2 desks, 2 chairs, and a bookcase for the opposite side of the room. This will not only contribute to my goal of redecorating the room, but also organizing it, as well as giving me a great place to get myself and my routine organized. PLUS, I'll have a little workstation where I can plan meals, make grocery lists, work on primary stuff, read my scriptures, plan FHE, etc. to help me with all those other goals I've got going on. See? I'm getting use out of every penny spent! Accomplishing all kids of goals!

Seriously though, I got a LOT of pieces that are super amazing quality and EXACTLY what I want. AND they serve multiple very needed purposes in my HOME!! YAY!! I really can't tell you how excited I am about this darn furniture! Only downer is that they take a little time to order and ship and finish and everything.

Anyway, another part of this goal/resolution/theme thing is a PIANO!! I play. Did you know that? Not well, but I play. I started when I was 11 ish. I wish I had started sooner, but my family was pretty poor until then. Anyway, I want my children to play. And if later they choose another instrument that's fine. Anyone who knows anything about music knows that the piano is the perfect introduction to playing any instrument. Payson will be old enough to start lessons in the next year or two. (I've heard some say to start at 5 and others say later; I'm still forming an opinion; any suggestions or opinions welcome!) And aside from Payson starting lessons eventually, I'd love to start working on my sight reading some more. Because I really stink at sight reading. Ugh.

So a while ago I started looking on KSL for pianos. I found one that was what I wanted and the keys all worked. Only problem was that it was ugly. But who cares! I actually want to refinish it to match my new furniture anyway! (And I saw this piano here and fell in love!! Looks like a TON of work, but such an awesome result!!) Anyway, this piano was only $200!! So I emailed the guy and he said it was mine.

So I looked into hiring movers to get it here for me. Jason is always out of town, my brothers are always busy and my dad is, well, aging. :) (A post to come on that soon, actually!) How much does it cost to move a piano? About $110/hour. When you're only paying $200 for the piano in the first place you may be able to afford the extra money to move it. But when you live in Wyoming and would have to pay for labor time PLUS driving time there AND back, not so much.

I emailed the guy and apologized for wasting his time, explained about the cost, and wished him luck with his sale. I was pretty bummed. I really wanted that piano! Ugh. Then I got an email back from him the next day. He really needed the space in his home and if we could find a truck he was willing to call his brother in law and between him, his brother in law, and Jason (he was willing to wait for Jason's week off, obviously) they could get the thing loaded. Then we could just call some neighbors to help unload it when we got it home. AND...he would just give me the thing for free!!!! WHAT?! Yay!! I get my piano! Such a nice guy!!! (Of course I'm a tiny bit skeptical and will definitely play every note on the piano to make sure they all work before we waste time loading it, but this guys seems like a good guy!)

We're heading to Salt Lake next week to pick up my new (to me) piano!! I can't wait! Another piece in my family room. One step closer to finishing the room without even having to spend the money!! See, a piano was in my plans. And those plans included saving up a lot of money for a piano if needed. Now, I just have to pay for gas to transport it!!

What's left in my family room, you might ask? Well, I'm pretty picky about my leather sectional. I know what color and shape. And I'm hoping to find one with a sleeper sofa in it. And I'm just picky about weird details. I don't want to buy another couch until this one is torn to shreds, so I want to make sure that I get exactly what I want. I'm considering going the custom route, even though it's super spendy. But will it be worth it in the end? Or should I compromise? I haven't decided yet.

So a leather sectional. Two small end tables. MAYBE a small coffee table. I'm not sure if I want a table there to take up space or not. Still deciding. Jason wants a nice new flatscreen to go in the new entertainment unit. But that's last on my priority list right now, as I have a completely functional television. Then there are accessories, most of which will be repurposed items from around our place or things that I make or refinish from thrift stores. Other than that, I have a dresser upstairs that I plan to refinish and bring downstairs for some extra storage.

Maybe that sounds like a lot to you, but for the most part, the large pieces are taken care of! Yay!! I can't wait to get them all in and in place and take before and after pictures and show them to you all!! SO EXCITED!!

Well, now I've rambled on for long enough. I need to get some sleep. I have two full days of laundry and cleaning ahead of me. Plus I've got to get started sorting through some of this junk to make room for my pretty new furniture. So I'm off to dream of home furnishing and a nice, clean, organized 2010!! Good night!!


Erin and Family said...

i love that...HOME! i think that is a terrific way to set goals in this new year of 2010! love you mckenna! so fun seeing you! and can't wait to se pics of all your new fun stuff! and i feel the same way about microfiber...yuck. it doesn't mix well with kids. i want to know where you get your new leather couch from too! my dream also:)

Trish Griffee said...

I like it...and I'm stealing it:)

Jason & Kelli West said...

i loved reading this post. McKenna you are fantastic. I hope you get everything you want. I can'twait to see the befores and afters. I love seeing the transformations.

Denise said...

A. Pianos are fabulous and I'm happy you're getting one! I started my son at 5 on lessons, but I waited til 6 with the other kids, because piano requires fine motor skills that younger kids often don't have. They also are more able to understand the basic theory if they're a little older, and it helps if they can read (or at least identify letters) and understand counting. So my vote would be to wait until age six, but your mileage may vary. Go with your gut.

B. I have learned the same thing as you: when I settle for cheaper stuff, I don't like it, I'm not happy, it falls apart faster, and in the end I spend more money to replace it with what I really wanted and should have just bought in the first place. I'm with ya on this one, sistah.

r said...

I love this idea! Seriously. And that piano is awesome. Good luck with the feng shui :)