Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Playroom renovation!!!

Yes, we've been renovating!  The former owner of our house added on an extra room that he used for storage.  Since we're already blessed with many rooms and large closets, we didn't need to use it for storage.  So we decided to turn it into a playroom.  As usual, our initial simple idea turned into something more involved... but we are happy to say it is finished!  Here are some before and after pictures of our new playroom. :)
This is what the extra room looked like when the former owner was still living here... lots of good storage space. :)

When we moved in, it had a concrete floor and walls with insulation and framing.  A friend from church helped Brian install dry wall.  Then Brian textured, painted, installed trim and carpet... he's becoming quite the handyman!  It was definitely an interesting process because diy projects like this are not very common in Japan... but at least Brian got lots of Japanese conversation practice in his many hours at the hardware store this last month. Sadly, we don't have any pictures of Brian's many hours of working, but we did get one of Justin helping me repaint some bookshelves.

So... here is the finished playroom!!!  

We repainted a few bookshelves to use for game storage and art supplies.  And the boys are thrilled with their new tool bench area.

This is my favorite part - the reading corner. :)  The boys will still keep most of their books in their room, but we wanted to have space for reading in the playroom also... when Justin first saw this he said, "It's like a library!"

Recently we found some vintage school desks that we repainted for the boys to have their own art and possibly future homework space.

And they're very excited to continue to add pictures and artwork to our wall of frames. :)

Of course things will continue to be added to the walls and space, but I wanted to get some pictures in a rare clean moment.   The boys are so excited to have a new play space... so who wants to come over and play? :)

Sunday, January 06, 2013

A new year...

Well, this is a little late, but Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  The past month has been filled with special Christmas activities, continued unpacking, and renovation of the boys' new playroom (pics coming soon!).  I always love to think about the past year as we start a new year, and honestly, this past year has been very difficult for us.  We experienced deep heartache with the loss of friends and different crises in our church and school community.  Sometimes when you've experienced great loss or dealt with traumatic situations, it's easy to only dwell on the heartache.  But throughout Scripture, we see the phrase "Remember"  so many times... Remember who God is, Remember what the Lord has done.... and as I remember our amazing God, I am in awe of what He has done in our lives this last year.  We have seen him work so many miracles in difficult situations, in people's lives, in financial decisions, and in the midst of loss, He continues to provide peace and healing.  He has brought our family closer to each other and we have grown in new ways in our relationship with Him.  This next year will bring more changes and new adventures for us, but as we remember who God is and what He has done, we can't wait to see what this new year brings. :)

So, we started our new year with a wonderful family day in Nago, the northern part of Okinawa.  Justin got to do bingata painting with me for the first time, and he loved it.  While we were working on our bingata, Brian and Noah took a drive and saw some of the first sakura (cherry blossoms) starting to bloom.

Then we had Okinawa soba for lunch... well, the boys chose rice and tofu. :)  We spent the afternoon playing at a park and taking a short hike... we were blessed with such a beautiful day!


 And we ended the day looking at Christmas lights in a shopping area near our house.  Please continue to pray for our family and God's work in Japan this year... we are excited to see many family and friends on our home assignment in a few months!  So happy new year, and let us know how we can pray for you as we remember our Lord in 2013.