Friday, December 28, 2012

Called to Serve

So last night Jake's sister opened her mission call and it got me thinking of a lot of things. First of all, Madalyn will be serving in the Japan Kobe Mission for 18 months in the Japanese language. I'm so excited for her. But I don't think anyone is more excited than her dad, who served in the Japan Fukuoka mission. On top of Madalyn, my cousin Kirsten opened her call last week. She will be serving in Boston Massachusetts Mission. My old roommate Aubrey has been called to the Lima Peru North mission and I can assure you there are many, many more. All of these girls are under the age of 21, and they are all going to be INCREDIBLE missionaries. I can't even express my excitement for them, and my joy in their decisions to go.

Jake and I were on our honeymoon in Honduras during October conference this year. We watched it from our resort later to hear President Monson make the announcement that the age requirement for sister missionaries was being lowered from 21 to 19. Our immediate thought was "Madalyn can turn in mission papers." She had never made mention of going on a mission. Yet we talked about it for probably an hour there, and even more when we got home, convinced that this proclamation was going to change Maddy's life. But when we saw Maddy we didn't say a word to her, nor did she say anything to us. It wasn't until a few weeks later that she let us know she had made the decision that she was going to serve a mission. I know that the change in age requirements were inspired for people like Madalyn and Kirsten. These girls have the sweetest spirits. They have such love for everyone they meet and the ability to uplift every person they see. I know they will touch so many lives and I couldn't be more proud of them.

I have had many friends and family members around me serve missions, and many out serving still. I am always so blown away by the progress and commitment I see from each one of those people. It makes me realize how important service is in every one of our lives. I look at these Sisters and Elders who drop everything they have going on in their lives, and give their time and money to go and serve. It amazes me. I am so proud of each and every one of them, and so grateful for their willingness to give all of their time to help.

Since I "waited" for Jake on his mission, I got a really good glimpse into the life of a missionary. I heard from him all the time how hard it was. But he was NEVER willing to give up. He had a lot of LONG days and HARD trials, but he pushed through everything without even a thought. He loved it. Right before he came home I was having an internal battle. I was dying to go on a mission myself, but at the same time knew that I wanted to be here with Jake as well. In the end, Jake won (by a mile). I would have loved the to serve a mission, so I am so thrilled to see so many girls taking advantage of this opportunity. I pray for all the best for them, as well as all the Elders. I can't wait to see what is in store for Kirsten, Madalyn and Aubrey. All I know is it will be one of the best experiences of their lives.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Family Photos

So of coarse I've always loved my family. They're wonderful and I look up to them in every way. No explanations needed. But not only do I love my family, but I absolutely love Jake's family. So this year it was kind of fun when both of our families decided it was time for family photos again.

First, we celebrated my Mom's birthday in October with a family gathering. When we did this, my cousin Janae came too and took our pictures before dinner. Janae is absolutely wonderful. She is the one who also took all of our wedding day photos, which we love so much. She's just getting started in photography, but she's been so great to work with. Not only that, she's the sweetest woman and does everything she can to help out. She really blows me away sometimes. Well, here are some of the photos she took for us.
 

                           
                                                                      
                           
                           

Just a few weeks later we met with Elise, who is the twin sister of our sister-in-law Kara. Elise is also the one who took our engagement pictures, which we absolutely love as well. We love working with her every time and she is so much fun! This day was actually Madalyn's birthday. So again, we took some family pictures before the birthday dinner. We had so much fun just messing around, and looking beautiful of coarse.


Aren't our families just stunning? Man we love them.

If you'd like to see more of Janae's work you can look at facebook/pinkmossphotography  or .pinkmossphotography.com
More of Elise's photos can be found at eliseairmetphotography.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cassadee Pope

Here in the DeKlerk household we are a little bit obsessed with Cassadee Pope.. So we both loved her band "Hey Monday" and when we heard she wanted to go solo and was trying out for The Voice, we got a little bit excited. We've been following her on the show ever since. The funny thing is, neither one of us can stand to watch an entire episode. So instead, every week after a new episode airs we go watch Cassadee's performances on Youtube. So here's for a Cassadee win tomorrow night! We love this girl!
Singing Miranda Lambert's- Over You
Keith Urban's- Stupid Boy
Blind Audition- Torn
Hey Monday- I Don't Want to Dance

Christmas Cheer... from me?

I don't know what it is about me, but since about 14 years old, I've just never been that into Christmas. Sure, I'd always get excited like everyone else for presents and parties. Plus you get time off work and school. Wonderful. I've just never been huge into the decorating and shopping and going to all the Christmas events. I could even turn into some what of a Grinch sometimes. I'm sure some of my poor, old roommates can attest to that. (Sorry roomies!) For me, the Christmas spirit has always been about the food, and that was all I really cared about. We would have the same meals growing up; a seafood extravaganza on Christmas Eve, and creamed eggs and lil' smokies the morning of. But everything else was kind of just there. Exciting yes, but it was just something you did solely because it's Christmas. By this time, my siblings were all moved out and starting families of their own, so our traditions kind of just started to fade. I usually knew what all the presents were, and a lot of the time wrapped everything. None the less, I still have always loved the time set aside to spend time with my family.

Well this year, I still love the time with my family, but decorating and countdowns are starting to get a little bit more exciting again as well. I still HATE Christmas music and I don't think that will ever change. But it's fun beginning to decorate and get ready for our first Holiday season as a married couple. I've spent Christmas with Jake before, but now we have our own house to decorate, and our own traditions to start. Of course we don't have any children, so no excited kids to play up the season to. But Jake is kind of a child himself when it comes to the Holidays. When I made no effort in decorating the house, he went and found us a tree and hung up the stockings. He wraps all our gifts and makes us hot chocolate to sip while we sit in front of the fires he starts. He makes me bundle up in my snow gear after a storm so we can make snow angels and have snowball fights. He even perks up like a 5 year old when the movie "The Polar Express" is mentioned during Sunday school. So, my husband may be rubbing off on me more and more. We already got our gifts "to each other" as we bought a new TV on black Friday. But Jake still has to sneak a present for me under the tree. What's more exciting than that? We don't have big plans Christmas day since we don't have a family of our own. And we're not even going to be doing a lot of the traditions we used to do with our families. But it's been so fun decorating our tree, looking at lights, and enjoying some Christmas cheer together. I don't know what's gotten into me? But I like it!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary

As I was reading through all the information regarding the tragedy in Connecticut today, my friend Lauren posted this picture. I have no idea what the families of those affected are going through, but I sure hope something like this can bring them a little bit of peace. 


My heart is broken for the families and the kids who were in class today. I cannot imagine the trauma they will face the rest of their lives because of the memory of this incident. But I know it will be hard for every one of them to forget what happened. I was brought to tears just looking at the pictures taken of the scene. It's so heart breaking that some people can be that evil. My prayers go out to all those involved in any way.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What some paint and wood floors can do

This is what our dining room looked like when we first bought the house. We immediately started ripping up the tile. Little did we know there were about 5 layers of flooring under that that also had to come up. Getting the floor up was hard work, but once it was done, the rest went fairly quickly. 

After we got all the layers up, and before we installed our new floor, my nephews came for a visit. I told them to draw us some pictures on our floor that we can have forever. They LOVED this, and immediately got to work, turning our sub floor into a personal mural. 
After their pictures were done, we installed laminate hard wood floors. We found a FANTASTIC deal on 10mm flooring at Sutherland's in Salt Lake City. To cover our entire kitchen and dining room it cost around $350. My cousin Levi, who had worked in flooring for a while, was kind enough to come over and show Jake how to install laminate flooring. We that to hire someone to install it for us as it can be pricey for how simple it is. Sure enough, Jake had it in in a day. It was hard work for sure, but we saved a lot doing it ourselves. 

We painted the walls ourselves, put in the flooring, and then added a simple baseboard. I think it turned out wonderful!


Dining Room Remodel.
Paint from Lowes- $30
Baseboards from Home Depot- $30
Laminate Hard Wood Flooring from Sutherlands- $350
Padding for wood from Granite Furniture- $40

Dining Room Total- $450

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Office

I finally convinced my husband that the Office is wonderful and that he needed to watch it. Three weeks later we're on season 5. The best thing is that Jake is convinced that he is more funny and awesome from watching it..

Fireplace Remodel

The first thing we changed in our home was the fireplace. That is the very first thing I saw in the house that I thought, "That HAS to go!" Mind you, that was before I spotted the counter tops. Regardless, it is the first thing that went. And this is how we did it.

This first picture is what the fireplace looked like before. It was a classic, all lava rock fireplace. I'm sorry this is the best picture we got. I didn't think of taking a better one as a keepsake, I was just more concerned about getting the dang thing out.

What we did (mostly what Jake did) was simply, tear it down! We chiseled into cracks to start with the knock everything loose. Once one rock came out however, the rest came a lot easier. We took them one at a time and pulled them out. I was surprised by how light they were too. So it really isn't too hard of a job.






If anyone is going to try this, I have a few suggestions.
1-I would suggest starting from the top down. As you can see, we didn't, and it got a little scarier towards the end.
2- Have a garbage, or somewhere to put everything on hand. It was a nightmare cleaning this up after we just threw it on the ground.
3- Make sure you have nothing around that you wouldn't mind if it got ruined.. there is a chance that it will get everything messy.





Now we had create our new fireplace. First we had to patch up the wall around it. We put mudded the wall around it to patch up any distorting features in the wall. We then texturized that entire wall to give it a little more appeal and blend in (hide) any flaws we may have missed. Jake texturized it by putting a garbage bag over a plunger and dipping that in mud. He would push this up against the wall randomly across the wall to give it the added texture. This is how his dad did it when he painted walls for a living. We let the mud dry and then painted the whole thing
Next,we found this mantle online for $50. It was used, but only for about a month or so. It was in perfect condition and we thought it was beautiful!


Next, we found a tile, which we also used in our basement, on sale at Lowes. It ended up being 55 cents a foot. Meaning the tile used for the fileplace cost us about $12

Total cost of our fireplace remodel? $62