Monday, April 30, 2012

Updating the kids' room

This weekend, I took a couple of trips out to the local fabric stores.  I found some wonderful goodies for the kids' room, all based around the fabric you see in the middle.

I also picked up some other things to use in the room.  What am I going to use all of these fabrics for, you ask?  Well, you'll just have to wait and see {meaning, I'm not sure what fabric is going with which project for all of it}.  I'm excited to get going, though!  I have a feeling this week will just keep me in stitches!!! 

Get it? 


Because I'll be sewing a lot? 

Come on, now, don't be biased against a good sewing joke.

Okay, my puns are terrible.  I blame my father. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

I'm not stumped anymore! Ella and Jack's room

Ella and Jack are going to be sharing a room very soon, and I'm getting antsy.  I am feeling the time crunch and I want to get going decorating this space!  So what's the hold-up?  Well, I've been stuck on how to create a space that is suitable for both a two-year-old boy who loves balls and trucks and a five-year-old girl who loves dolls and playing house.

One of the things I often suggest people do to figure out a color scheme is to shop the scrapbook paper sheets in their local craft store or spend some time looking at fabrics, because often a fabric designer has several related fabrics that can give you color ideas.  I know what you're thinking.  What a wise suggestion!  That girl is truly a genius!  She should have her own design show!  Isn't that what you're thinking?  Isn't it?  Well, then you'll be shocked to learn that even with these handy tips, I've been hitting my head against the wall.  Inspiration has been slow in coming.  As in, the inspiration train left the station while my pregnant self was waddling toward it. 

Well, friends, that is done.  I've finally been stung by the decorating bee {I thought it was time for another alliteration.  The train wasn't doing it for me anymore}. Ready for it?  The kids' room colors are going to be {drum roll, please}:


with small splashes of


to help Ella still feel girly.

Awesome, right?  If you disagree, don't tell me.  I think these colors will work because of the neutral beigy walls of this room.  I had originally thought of painting a focal wall, but with such a bold color palette, I think I'll keep the walls beige and use the colors in the accessories.  I mean, there's already pink:

What do you think? I'm finally excited to start working on this room! I'm going to go fabric shopping this weekend, which is like going to a candy store for me.  It is possible that I will change my mind on the color palette if I see something else more fabulous, but I'm hormonal and that's totally allowed.  At least this has given me a starting off point.

Here's my to-do list for the space:
 - Make new curtains with black-out lining that cover the windows completely {they get the morning sun}.
 - Redo the embroidery hoops on the wall in a creative way.
 - Find some cheap frames and paint them to match, filling them with either pictures of the kids or their artwork.
 - Make built-in bookshelves for either side of the closet doors {a big project, but one I think is necessary}.
 - Buy bunk beds.
 - Find some bedding for Jack.
 - Introduce Jack to a big boy bed and get him to stay in it {this was actually supremely easy with Ella, but Jack is his own little self and I'm not holding my breath that he'll be as easy}.
 - Repaint the table and chairs in there.
 - Make more seating - details to follow.
 - Anything else I haven't thought of.

This seems a bit daunting, but lots of the projects either aren't hard or aren't time consuming.  And the big bonus is that the nursery is done.  We just have to move Jack out of it.  And if all of these projects aren't totally complete before the baby comes, who cares?  Well, I do.  A lot.  But I'm trying to take the relaxed view.  Trying hard.  Really hard.  So hard it's giving me a headache. 

See, I'm relaxed. 

What do you mean, I just look constipated? 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A letter to the one who lives in my belly

Dear little child in my belly,

Let me introduce myself.  I'm your mom, and I'm very excited to meet you.  I can't wait to introduce you to the world and your family.  You are already loved and eagerly awaited.  However, we have a problem.  Let's talk.

I understand the need to let me know you are there, but I promise I will not forget you.  You will be able to come out in due time, and any amount of your kicking is not going to change that.  Maybe we should start learning the concept of gentleness.  I'm already working on it with your siblings in anticipation of your arrival, so why shouldn't you benefit, too?

Why do you have such violent tendencies so young?  Is it because you are a boy?  When the ultrasound tech watched you, she told us we were really in for it.  However, that was not an invitation to prove her right.  Boys can be calm creatures, too, you know.  When you use every one of your extremities and your head and rock out to your heart's content, please remember the woman whom you are occupying.  I am more than willing to share the space with you, but you must be a good roommate.  You may not believe it, not having seen other women, but I'm pretty tall and you have a lot of room.  You've got a good thing going, kiddo.  I expect an apology and a thank you from you before you're thirty.

Your mama, who just grunted involuntarily thanks to some calesthenics you were doing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Apple Matt comes to visit!

Handsome Hero's brother, Matt, came to visit us over the weekend.  It was wonderful to see him again {it's been awhile}.  The kids were so excited, especially Jack, that his Apple Matt was coming.  Does anyone else see the resemblance? I think these brothers look alike, but it may just be their mannerisms.

It is weird seeing two grown men treating each other like, well, boys.  Communication is done through silly put-downs and stuff.  I guess I have to get ready if that's the way brothers communicate.  Sisters don't do that, and we have only one brother, David, so he didn't have anyone to trade insults with, because instead of joining in we'd just start crying.  Poor David.

The kids adored their Uncle, um, Apple, Matt.  He has all boys, so Ella was a bit of an education for him.  They worked out an arrangement - he played house with her, and she built lincoln log towns and railroad tracks with him. 

Jack just did whatever. As long as he was being included, he didn't much care what he did. 

We were sad to see Matt go, and eagerly look forward to the next time!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Allow me to introduce our new arrival

What?  Did you think the baby had come?

No, friends, this is Walter.  He's my new elephant/bowl/dish thingy.

I eyed him for awhile at World Market, and finally bit the bullet.  I just think he's adorable, if slightly kitchy.  Or more than slightly kitchy.  Ella thinks he goes well with her dog, Ellen.

While I don't like too much clutter around {it offends my aversion to dusting}, I do enjoy adding little things that are funny or whimsical to liven up a space.  I try to be careful to edit, though, so that everything on display is interesting and nothing is just taking up space.

As for our other upcoming arrival, well, judging by this picture that I took this morning,

I'm still hatching.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

She's blooming!

I've been DYING to share this.  Simply DYING!

Copyright: Janice Ahn

My beautiful sister,

devoted wife,

um, no, really!

fabulous aunt,

and now a mom-to-be. 

She finally announced this to the world yesterday, or to facebook, which is the same thing as announcing to the world, isn't it? 

Just between you and me and my mom, she is going to be a terrific mother.  For example, she was the best babysitter ever.  When I babysat, I decided kids were not a natural fit for me.  And then I went on to be a teacher {read: dealing with kids all day} and have three children {read: dealing with kids all day}.  Go figure!  When Rebecca babysat, she got really excited about entering into their imaginative little games and would come home exhausted and saying things like, "Well, we played time machine, and he only wanted to be Indiana Jones, so I had to be everyone else!"  I would have been counting the minutes until bedtime, but she was fascinated enough to sit and play for hours.

Of course, this is also the girl who thought she was a mouse for three years.  She came home from school each day, pulled on her pink leotard and headband complete with mouse ears, and taped a yarn tale to her bottom.  Then she put tube socks on her arms and legs for fur, and she had completed the transformation into mousedom.

Admit it. You would love to have her for a mom! 

Whoops.  Not convincingly maternal.  Um, here we go:

Ah, yes.  A mother in bloom.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Photo Shoot

My mom volunteers at a local clothing donation center.  She always looks to see if there's something for the kids, and recently called to say she had found a play dress for Ella.  Ella is currently asks to wear a dress nearly everyday, so I was very happy to add to our stash.

When we got the dress, Ella loved it!  She immediately called her G.G. {my mom} to thank her, and said she would take a picture and send it to her.  However, when I got out the camera, she didn't just want a picture.  She wanted a photo shoot.  She posed herself, and sometimes Jack, for each picture. 

Pretend I'm thinking, Mama.

I'll rest my arm on Jack's head here, Mama.

I'll hug him in this one, Mama.

Then she added the sweater for an accessory.

Come back here, Jack!  Don't worry, I'm smiling, Mama.

But I AM looking at the camera, Mama!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Battle of the CENTURY!!!!!!!!

And in this corner, we have the heavyweight champion, the Jack-o-lantern!!!!!

He's chosen his weapon, folks, and it's a doozy.  It''s...the Crimson Club!!

The Jack-o-lantern seems to be inspecting his weapon and sizing up his opponent at the same time.  A true multi-tasking master, our champion!

And he swings!!!!!!!  The tree doesn't stand a chance against the Jack-o-lantern and his Crimson Club!!

Oh!  That had to hurt!

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present, our WINNER!!!

Hi, Mom.

Friday, April 13, 2012


That was big when I was in high school. How old were you when that was the in thing to do to show excitement?  I was the one who always looked stupid and uncoordinated doing it, and then tried to pretend that I was doing it badly on purpose.  Did you know you could raise the roof badly?  Now you do.  I also managed to ruin the Macarena.  These scars from my youth still haunt me.

Last Spring, the storms that ravaged most of the country hit our neighborhood, too.  I actually don't know of any homes in our 'hood that didn't need their roofs replaced, and we were no exception, except that we didn't get on the schedule until too late and had to wait for this Spring to have it done.

 July 2010

We plan on painting the shutters black this summer, so a darker roof seemed in order.

July 2010 - look at my teensy Jack with the feeding tube!

On Wednesday, the workers showed up at 7:30 and the roof caved in.  Okay, it didn't really, but it sounded like it was about to as they stomped around and started to demo the old roof.  We left right after breakfast to preserve our sanity, and didn't go back home until 6:00.  You can't know how amazing it was to come home to a completely finished roof, in ONE DAY!  It was like they had never been here except for the totally different, wildly changed color on our roof.


What?  You don't see it?  Well, it is darker, I promise!  And though it doesn't look much different, it is very nice to know we have a snug new roof over our heads.  Just in time for this year's Spring storms....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Yummy in Yellow

I found this table on the side of the road last Fall, and thought that it would make a great side table for a reading nook in our room.  Unfortunately, it was too cold to paint it until now.

I started out by sanding off the rough edges and any sheen.

Next came a couple of light coats of primer,

Then I painted it a nice yellow, which looks great against the gray of our bedroom.

See the bird I wrote about a couple of weeks ago?  Same color.  Obviously.  Because it is on the same piece of cardboard.  With the same paint.

Once it was dry, I put the table in our room next to the chair. 

That chair is going as soon as I can get the new chair upholstered.  I hope that's before the baby comes....  I debated antiquing the table, but I truly love the brightness of the yellow.

It's sitting near the entry to the room, and truthfully, I just put things on it for the pictures.  I'm waiting to actually decorate it until the kiddos get used to it.  Right now it's a source of fascination, and tips a bit more easily than would be comfortable with a vase of flowers or a heavy candle or books on it.

I do love a pretty pedestal table.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Birdseed Wreath

Recently I read this birdseed wreath tutorial by Infarrantly Creative and had to try it with Ella.  It is SO extremely easy, and she really enjoyed doing it.

You just mix together the ingredients and press it into a mould like a bundt cake pan.  Then leave it overnight to dry.

There is very little mess, which made me smile.  Ella felt the need to document this.

When the wreath was dry, I ripped some old fabric strips and tied them around it,

and hung it from the flag pole off of the deck.  I realize it would have been better to hang it from a tree, but the only mature trees we have are in the front, and I cared more that Ella be able to watch it from her window which faces the back.

The bundt form made for a cute wreath {even with my wonky bow}.  This is a great activity, and it doesn't take long.  It would even be appropriate for Jack's age {2}.  Best of all, all I needed to buy was the birdseed.  I had all the other ingredients on hand.

Now if I could just tell a bluebird from a blue jay....

Monday, April 9, 2012

Resurrection Day

I hope you all had a happy Resurrection Day {which is a better name for Easter for those who love my Lord}!  We celebrate Resurrection Day with such joy, for our Lord rose from the grave after conquering sin by becoming the ultimate perfect Sacrifice!!  For those of you who know my Lord as your personal Saviour, you will be rejoicing with me.  For those who don't, I probably sound totally loopy, and I'm okay with that.  Loopy looks good on me.

We celebrated with our friends, the Martin's, with whom we have celebrated the last two Thanksgivings and last Easter.  These next two pictures are from last year because though I fully documented the table setting {yep, you heard me} I did not take one single picture of our friends.

I was a little horrified to realize this.  But they will forgive me because they are awesome.  These girls cooked, washed, took care of the kids, and were, in a word, fabulous.  Or in two words, utterly stupendous.  Or in three words, incredibly easy guests.  Or in four words....

They filled some Easter eggs and hid them for the kids.  Ella knew just what to do and was waiting outside with two bags, itching to get started.

Jack didn't quite get it at first.

He just set his bag beside the first egg.  Is this what I do, Mom?

Eventually, with some prodding, he got into it.

Ella, who had done it before, ran around like a whirlwind, and I couldn't get a single shot of her finding an egg.

During our hunt, we found a real nest with an egg.  The kids are so excited!

This was a success, I'd say.

I have a feeling next year we'll have two runners.  Jack was pretty into it by the end.

After the hunt it was time for dinner.  I really enjoyed putting the table together this year.  I combined a mix of heirloom pieces with some Goodwill finds and wedding gifts, and loved the result! 

Most people my age have a set of dishes, but, unless they came from the South as I did, they rarely have fine china.  I am blessed to have more than one set of fine china.  In fact, I have five sets in addition to our everyday dishes.  I don't use them as much as I should, because mostly when we have people over it's pretty casual, but since I do not like to have things I don't use, I'm going to make more of an effort.  What's the point of having things if they aren't being put to use? 

I realize I should have ironed the tablecloth, but I HATE ironing, and I didn't realize how wrinkled it looked until I started posting the pictures.  Sorry, Mom.  You really did train me better.

We used our wedding china with silver chargers.  Then we added crystal stemware and silver candlesticks that had belonged to my grandmother, who has decided to enjoy seeing her children and grandchildren love her beautiful things rather than wait to pass them on.  I think this is pretty wise.  Smart lady, my grandmother. 

Another addition to the table from her are the little egg baskets that are actually place card holders.  Those were a hit.  One of the girls with lovely penmanship wrote out our name tags {my handwriting is messy at best}.  I had some miniature butter dishes that my mom gave me a few years ago, so we put one at each end, and finished off the table with large pink flowers in bud vases from Goodwill.  I realize that there isn't much height, but I hate not being able to see everyone.

I should have taken some close-ups so that you could see how beautiful the individual pieces are, but didn't think about it until I was reviewing my pictures.

We served on the buffet.  There were green beans, asparagus, sauteed carrots, curried fruit, and mashed potatoes.

The bread and meat were served on the table.  It was a feast! 

Jack didn't get a charger because I didn't want him to use it as a plate..

We finished everything off with a meringue style dessert, but I was so stuffed by then I forgot to take a picture.  It's no big loss because it was UGLY.  Delicious, but ugly.

It was delightful, as always, to enjoy this holiday with our friends.  We are blessed indeed.

Do you like to know how people celebrate their feasts?  I love seeing how the tables were set, seeing how and what was served, how formal it was, how pretty the food was.  It's eye candy to me. 

Maybe it's that loopy thing?