Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Randoms

1.  As a family, we got a new ipad for Christmas, and the kids are all about taking pictures and making videos.  As such, we've been finding all kinds of little gems when we open those folders.

2.  Jacob had his first Upward basketball game last weekend.  It was...interesting. I'm hoping this week will go a little smoother now that he knows what to expect.

3.  It was really cold a few days ago, and when I went into Jacob's room after he'd left for school, I found that he gave Mimi (his stuffed dolphin) a blanket before he left!

4.  Speaking of cuddly, the boys decided to have a "sleepover" in the playroom during the long weekend last weekend.  They spent two evenings tucked in bed with all their blankets and pillows and stuffed animals watching movies.  They actually even slept!  However, early Sunday morning, the first thing I heard was Carter whispering, "Get away from me, Jakey.  I don't like snuggles!"

5.  We have a few coyotes that have been hanging around the subdivision in recent weeks.  I snapped the picture below midafternoon last week, and I was so glad Shadow was inside!  I saw the coyote again yesterday just behind our fence and when I stepped out the back door to "shoo" it, it looked at me like, "Really, lady?"  So they're not exactly scared of people.

6.  Some of you know that we lost a friend and neighbor to suicide a few weeks before Christmas.  Another neighbor organized a run in his memory last weekend.  Frank did the running; I lent my moral support.

7.  Our library hosted a program for new readers where kids could read to certified therapy dogs.  Even though Jacob isn't a huge dog person, he said he wanted to do it, and he even brought a book about dogs.  I was picturing the dog as a sweet little beagle or something--- nope!  He had the biggest dog in the whole place!  To her credit, she was a sweet dog, and laid her (giant) head on his leg as he read.

8.  And I leave you with some big news:  My man Carter finally- FINALLY- earned his "No Diapers Party," complete with a cake and decorations.   Before the cake was even eaten, he was already propositioning me with things he could do to earn more cakes in the future.  Cake as a parenting strategy-- it could work!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Yesterday, Jacob lost his first tooth.  Late that evening, after performing my very first duty as the Tooth Fairy, I remarked to Frank that I couldn't believe we had a child old enough to start losing teeth.

The next morning, he smiled at me with that gap-toothed smile that every kid smiles in the primary grades.  "Can I play basketball in the basement before I leave for school?"  he asked. And off he went, pausing briefly to inhale a poptart and some bacon  (we keep it healthy around here) before the bus came for him.

Later that morning, Carter and I met some friends from my mom's group in the Discovery Room at our local library.  The Discovery Room is an awesome space where kids can play with trains, puppets, Legos, etc.  The kids and I have been going to the Discovery Room for years, and it's especially nice to have available in the winter.

As the others arrived, I watched them lug around strollers and infant seats and diaper bags.  I watched them dole out snacks, wipe little noses, and play trains with one hand while bouncing a baby with the other.

Life has changed in such incremental little bits that it's hard to believe that isn't my season any more. Not that I'm an experienced mom or anything, but the whole new/young mom gig has a very limited shelf life, and I am certainly at the end of that.  As everyone said it would, this time has flown by.

Instead of worrying about cutting teeth, my kids are losing them.  Instead of washing t-shirts with cute little animals on them, I wash Nike socks.  Instead of wanting to be read to, they want to read to me- even Carter who has memorized most of our books!

(Okay, so maybe Carter's PJs have a cute little animal on them!)

Although I wouldn't want to go backwards in time, days like this are a reminder to savor every little bit of preschooler and little kid-ness that I can. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Re-decorating Craziness

The new year always makes me want to organize and redecorate. I want to clean out every closet and make a huge trip to The Container Store to find cute little bins, boxes, and baskets for all of my necessary items (read: useless stuff).

So then I decided to use some of the Christmas money from my parents to redecorate our office and living room.  Here's how the office currently looks:

And because the rooms are on opposite sides of the foyer, I want to update the living room, too.

Here are my concerns with this space:

The floor in the entry and office is Brazillian Cherry, which I don't feel lends itself as well to the usual blues/greens/creams that I've used as I've updated the rest of the house.  

The desk was custom-made, and the cabinet above it was built by the previous owner, recycling the top of a neighbor's hutch.  This character is why we bought the house, and I feel like a bold wall color better highlights these features yet I think a lighter wall color might be fresher and more modern.

I like the current level of coordination and color-flow between these two rooms, and I'm not sure how to create that on my own.

And last but not least- Frank likes the red and thinks it should stay!

Now, I'm a smart girl, and I know when I'm in over my head, so I emailed one of my very favorite designers who occasionally does e-design.  I haven't heard back from her yet, but I'm hoping she will take me on as a client!

This week, I started a few small updates on our bathroom.  Seriously, we haven't made any changes here since we moved in in 2009.  New towels have been purchased and a new mirrored tray is on order. It's a small space, so I think I can just change up some accessories here and make us think we're in a new room.  

Another potential reorganization is the playroom.  The kids toys are changing, and rather than 234, 876 toy cars, we have fewer, larger toys such as a play kitchen and a "school room" easel/chalkboard. We also have a new TV that Frank received as a gift, and in true Frank style, he bought an antenna that gets randomly odd channels that he thinks are fantastic.  Of course, the antenna only works in the part of the room opposite the entertainment center, so for now the TV is on the floor.  The entertainment center is too tall to move to the other wall, because the ceiling slopes.  Do we need two TVs in one room (cable and antenna)?  Should I get rid of the cable TV, cut off the top of the entertainment center, move it to the opposite wall, and use it for Frank's TV?  These are the things I think about in the middle of the night.

Then, I realize my ACTUAL project in 2016 was supposed to be turning Carter's room into a "big-boy" room over the next few months.  That's going to be much, much simpler, though.  I've narrowed my bedspread choices down to three:

The one above would match perfectly with the navy, light blue and orange already in his room

This sporty one above just somehow looked like Carter to me.   This is kind of my "out-there" choice, since I typically don't like themed rooms.

And then there's the good old madras plaid.  Jacob almost got this bedspread, I've loved it so long. Maybe madras plaid with some combination of sporty pillows?  Maybe I will keep thinking...

So I've been like a hmmingbird fluttering from project to project, probably not making much headway in any of them!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Remember Me?

Wow, I didn't plan on taking that long of a blogging break.  November was busy- making everyone's Christmas lists and buying presents, a prolonged, near-daily fight with our old insurance company over a claim from May, and then researching options for new insurance on January 1.  Add to that an awesome upper respiratory virus followed by a stomach bug and yeah, I had neither the time nor the creativity to put the proverbial pen to paper.

So I'll recap a bit...

The weather continued to stay mild, and we enjoyed as much outdoor time as we could, even after the time change.

That grump-face!

Shadow became somewhat of an indoor/outdoor cat and has fallen in love with her new life.  We have been amazed and horrified to learn that she can hunt, as she routinely plops dead mice on our doorstep now.

We had a neighborhood 80's themed party

and a freak snowstorm on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

We spent Thanksgiving at my parents' where Carter helped put the final touches on dinner

and Jacob read to his younger cousins.

The first weekend in December, we had planned a two-day party for Jacob.  The first part on Saturday with family and the second party on Sunday, also with family.  Well, the Saturday party was cancelled due to illness of the party-goers, and the second part of the party was cancelled due to Jacob's illness!  About three hours after the picture below was taken, he came down with the Great Stomach Bug of 2015.

He was better by his actual birthday, two days later, but the rest of us continued to fall throughout the week.

Fortunately, it worked out that he could meet his cousins the following weekend at an entertainment complex in Edwardsville. The four of them always have a blast together!

By now, we were deep in the Christmas festivities:  decorating,

baking Christmas cookies,

and Carter even had a Christmas program! (He's the little nugget in the red sweater.)

The weekend before Christmas, we traveled to Southern Illinois where we had a party with our extended family one evening

and a lovely Christmas dinner with our immediate family the following evening.

We also celebrated Frank's grandmas' birthdays.  These two have a birthday on the same day and have been celebrating together for 44 years!

We were back home in time for Christmas morning at our house

and Christmas day at Uncle Brian and Aunt Sarah's.  I loved overhearing the table conversation between these three--- it was so grown up, so little-boy, and so delightfully funny.

Whew!  I think that brings us up to current.  It's been a busy, fun, and challenging few weeks!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Outdoor Fun

We've had some great weather the last few weeks- perfect for enjoying some outside activities.

A few weekends ago we decided to load up the kids' bikes and head to the park for the afternoon.  It was especially nice that Frank, who has worked most weekends since he started his new job, was caught up enough to come with us!

This particular park has amazing paths where the kids can ride their bikes, and they were all about it!

We ended up at the fountain.  Guess which kid didn't want to have his picture taken...

The one who was only interested in his "thanck."

It was a gorgeous afternoon to spend some time outdoors.

Another weekend, we spent at our neighbor's parents annual Apple Butter Festival.  The kids had just finished a hayride in which the hayrack was being pulled by this tractor.  After the ride was over, they wanted to check out the tractor.  Frank took these with this phone- wouldn't you love to know what was being said in the first picture?

And of course, there has been plenty of time spent just playing at home.  This particular afternoon, Carter decided he wanted to drive... Jacob agreed, but then ran to get his bike helmet in case of a crash!

By the end of October, time outdoors is winding down.  Between the time change, and what has historically been a drastic drop in temperatures right around Halloween, we won't get many more "outdoors" days this year, so I'm glad we've been able to enjoy such a nice autumn!