Sunday, August 31, 2014

Braced, A Year In Review

September 3rd marks the one year anniversary of having my braces.

I have had several people ask "why" I have braces and comment that they never noticed a "problem" before.

Let's start with the "why."

I never had any kind of orthodontic care as a kid.  I have always had a small pallet/gummy smile and honestly didn't think too much of it until the last few years as the kids of started their ortho care.  Some unfiltered people have asked me why so much of my gums show when I smile.  Brennan told me that there were people at camp "like you mom" meaning that they had a whole lot of gum show when they smiled.  I've never been someone to draw attention to my mouth with lipstick or want my picture taken.   To be completely honest, I went in for a free consult out of curiosity and insecurity about my mouth/smile.  What started out as a hope for cosmetic improvement became a blessing just in the nick of time.

The "problems" were numerous.

One of the reasons my pallet appeared so small was because my teeth rolled in and laid almost completely on their sides causing decay and wear at the base of my teeth near the gum line.  I was on track to lose my molars in the near future due to the inappropriate wear and tear.  I also found out that I had a cross bite that was causing deterioration in my right jaw joint.  I have been plagued with a loud heartbeat in my right ear for years and couldn't find the cause.  The cross bite was causing such extreme inflammation in the joint, my body was sending blood to the inflammation to help heal it.  The beating can be so loud it affects my hearing.

I wish I could say the heartbeat and jaw pain were gone but the damage was bad enough it won't ever go away completely.  It is better and we know that it won't continue to degenerate and that's a blessing.

I had several consults and several opinions of what to do to fix the different issues each doctor felt was necessary.  One doc wanted to break and reshape my nose due to a deviated septum and shave down the mandible (the bone your top teeth are attached to) and break it expanding my pallet, which would leave me eating soft foods for 3-5 months.  After all of that, he wanted to do braces.  I was very overwhelmed and worried I wouldn't even look like me after all of that.  I understood it would help my breathing and sinus issues but it really felt like too much.  After a few more consults and couple other crazy ideas, we prayed and felt like addressing the dental issue was sufficient.  The sinus and pallet issues were not affecting my day to day and while they could be fix, they didn't need to be fixed.

Here is a picture of me before side by side with a current picture.  I am so thankful every day for my braces at 37 years old.  My teeth are healthy and this care has insured I will have them for decades to come.  I am looking at another 6 months to a year of changes and tweaks.  I can't wait to see the finished product.

What a difference a year makes!!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Our New/Favorite Office Space!

Now that we've talked about how we found ourselves in this beautiful neighborhood/home HERE and showed you Anneliese's room's transformation HERE we can move onto the our favorite part!

This office space (where I currently write) is an incredible blessing.  While on our epic road trip this summer we had hours upon hours to chat and discuss this and that.  I brought up the idea of switching rooms sooner rather than later.  We have this pipe dream that someday we will remove all the carpet (remember the pet damage??) on the main floor and replace it with hardwood or a nice laminate.  We figured by the time we would be able to financially take on such a project one or more of the boys would have moved out and we could move Anneliese downstairs to one of the existing bedrooms and turn the upstairs bedroom into an office with matching hardwood floors.  I had the idea of making the odd space downstairs a bedroom and creating the office now so we could benefit from it sooner.

Jared was intrigued by the idea and after much discussion about removing those sliding glass doors, removing the drafty ill fitting exterior door in the downstairs space (not wanting the girl to escape), we realized it was actually a pretty great idea.

In true Shannon fashion, as soon as we arrived home from vacation, I hit the ground running.

Here is the best pic I could find of her room upstairs before the office transformation.  It was slightly different right before we moved her just because she has a different bed, but you get the idea. 
She loved the apple green
bye bye apple green hello chocolate!
All painted and a bit nervous, SO DARK
Found THE curtains at Target

Found a great desk on craigslist
A couple visitors chairs and a desk chair cheap!
Jared insisted on something other than the pink and green chandelier :)

A little spray paint for G'pa Ted's oak lamp
brought up the old bookshelves and some odds and ends

Ordered a way cool map from Amazon $27!

Such a difficult room to photograph due to the wall color.  All we have left is to frame in the map.  If I could use one word to describe it it would be "soothing."  We all love it.  We do school in there every weekday.  Jared has already spent countless hours working in a comfortable space with his shoes off and in the comfort of his own home.  A door shuts easily for privacy and the guest bath right outside the door makes this just a perfect space for both personal and professional use.  I am so glad we didn't wait another minute.  We absolutely love it. 

Moving The Girl Downstairs

This transition was a labor of love. This room of the house was the worst off when we bought it. The sliding glass doors allowed it to be completely shut off from the rest of the house. It had such a horrendous smell of dog urine that we had to open the windows and exterior door (which is now removed) and let it air out before we could even enter it. A whole lot of bleach and several mopping sessions made it inhabitable. Even still, we didn't really use it for anything but storage and a place for the dog's kennel. I don't have a single "before" pic of the room as we used it. I can only assume it's because we never really knew what to even call it. It was such an odd space and not one I never decorated it or used it daily. Due to the sliding glass doors, the home appraiser when we purchased the house wouldn't allow this 13'x15' room to count towards our square footage. Not only was it weird and hard to explain, but it didn't increase the value of our home. The odd space actually decreased the value.

After a lot of hard work and very little money, we have a wonderful space that she LOVES.  We are so thankful to Richard for helping so much.  Anneliese loves her "princess doors" and still thanks us regularly for her new room and is SUPER eager to give a tour to anyone who visits.  
First thing's first, remove sliding glass door
I had to retape/mud/sand/texture all the seams due to them popping free
removed exterior sconces and replaced with girlie interior sconces :)

Paint($10 mistint) is dry, time for carpet and padding

I installed this myself (HARD WORK!) with a remnant from NFM

Little girl approved

View outside her window BEFORE
After, cleaned up and planted some flowers outside her windows

The flowers are right outside

moving furniture in

Little girl must have, lacy curtains
This is as "made" as her bed gets :)

Above her bed
Beautiful French doors from bedroom side

Beautiful French doors from living room
After all that, I was actually sad her first night down there.  The empty room upstairs served as a reminder that she was no longer an infant or toddler needing to be near mom and dad.  Instead she is a big girl, in a big room, downstairs with all the big kids :)

Redeemed...Creating Value Where There Was None

Not very often does a home renovation illicit feelings of redemption and deep spiritual thoughts about how God takes our stories/lives and gives us purpose and meaning. 

We bought this house 3 years ago October.  If you were to come over and take a tour today you would see very little evidence of abandoned house we found in a neighborhood we didn't realize even existed.

This house was cursed, plagued with rumor and speculation.  We were in a desperate place needing housing since our house had sold and the home we intended to move into fell through.  4 days...we had 4 days to evacuate the house we poured our heart and souls into and move units...Mom and Dad's?  We didn't know what we were going to do, but God did.

I found this house on a new listing of homes available in our area and it had all kinds of problems including claims of foundation trouble and crazy cracks in the sheet rock to back it up, and serious pet damage.  Had we not been in such dire straights we never would have even looked.

After much prayer, wisdom from our Elders, and multiple foundation experts, we decided to go ahead and the seller allowed immediately occupancy.  Due to the possible foundation issues and a seller that was on the verge of foreclosure, we were able to purchase the house for 1/2 of it's value.  The house checked out, the rumors and speculation were wrong, the pet damage was repairable and we have been so incredibly blessed and thankful every day we've been fortunate enough to live here.

This house has it quirks like most.  We had a set of sliding glass doors downstairs that separated the living room from a space that was tiled and sheet rocked.  It was obvious the addition was added after the house was built in 2006, but not much after.  The siding and windows all matched the rest of the house.  This room became a storage space of sorts.  We called it the office but never really used it as such.

With homeschooling and Jared's ministry and my baking business, we decided to move Anneliese's bedroom down to this unused space and create a family office on the main floor (next to the front door) figuring it would get far more use.  I have always struggled with unused space.  If God has granted it, we should use it.  So we took this bizarre addition and created a little girls dream space, and created a beautiful office space for the family that has been in constant use since we completed it. 

Like most large families, we live on every penny we make.  So doing this switch was going to be a delicate dance.  Jared and I use the term "budget neutral."  Basically, we need to be able to sell things currently occupying the space in order to purchase things needed for the new space.  In the next two blogs you will see the office and Anneliese's room, the total cost of BOTH rooms was $67 due to frugal second hand shopping and selling things that were no longer needed.

In the end, we took a house that no one wanted and have created a beautiful home that we feel so privileged to own.  We have taken odd/awkward spaces in the house and created usable space that has increased the value.

It is just a house, I haven't lost sight of that.  I would put it on the market tomorrow if God called us away, but while we are here, I will do my best to be a good steward of the blessings He grants.