Monday, April 29, 2013

Gold Vases

Confession time:  I have a weird quirk.  I probably have lots of them, but this one confuses even me.  Each time one of the kids gets sick, I start thinking of projects around the house that I can tackle.  I have a running notebook of ideas, and when opportunity strikes, or a new feeding tube gets inserted, as it were, out come the craft or project supplies.  I'm sure it is a pathological something rooted in my inner child or a repressed memory trying to surface.
Anyway, I recently updated this vase.  Like it?

Here's what it used to look like.  I had two of these vases on hand that were a good shape, but just plain.

I got the idea from Young House Love's decorating book.  It's a great resource with lots of ideas to get you going.  My mom gave it to me as a little respite during Nate's ongoing medical issues {she gets my quirk - inherited, maybe?}, and I read it from cover to cover.  Twice.  Maybe it's a sociological fixation with home decor.  Can you have a sociological fixation with home decor?

Back to our project.  If you'd like to do this, just pick any old jar or vase and a favorite color of craft paint.  Now gob it on with a foam brush or paint brush.  Thin coats aren't going to benefit you here.  You'll do a lot of coats if you want it to be opaque anyway, but each coat only takes a few minutes.  It was fun, actually.  You can see I experimented with both long strokes {top of picture} and a little circular pattern {bottom of picture}.  It didn't end up mattering very much which I did.  The end product was a hammered gold look. 

Once you're done, you've taken a boring or average vase and made it a very pretty vessel for your flowers or whatever you put in your vases. 

I painted both of these the same way, but later thought that it would have been cool to find another at a thrift store {they always have lots of vases} and do them each with a slighty different pattern and display them all together.  Multiples in odd numbers are the most pleasing to the eye.  I know that that is true, but I don't know why.  Anyone want to enlighten me?

This project was very easy and not very time consuming.  It took a long time from start to finish to get the opaque look I wanted, but each coat just took a couple of minutes and the rest was drying time.
My only caution - be careful not to paint the bottom of the vase or it will stick to the surface on which you place it.  Not that I know this....  Because I don't have a new vase-shaped ring on my dresser now....
Update on Gater:  He has had his fourth tube for two weeks now, and has gained nearly two pounds with it!  He still isn't eating, but he is opening his mouth to take water on a spoon which is great progress!  He is very happy and we are doing really well.  Please keep praying.  I am amazed how quickly I can fluctuate between being perfectly content in whatever circumstances I am, and being discontent, whiny, and petulant.  I am so thankful my Heavenly Father is in charge of this {and all things} and not me!    

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Coolest Coffee Table Ever {and what I learned by getting it}

Quite a title, hmm?
From almost the beginning of our time in this house, I have had this idea of making a coffee table together with Handsome Hero.  This is a big deal.  See, when we bought our first house we quickly realized that for the sake of our marriage we would do separate projects.  We operated that way for years, working separately but encouraging each other in our endeavors, and slowly, as Handsome Hero has mellowed and my lazy attitude of "it's fine" or "it's good enough" has changed, we've become a team, able to work alongside each other.  For the most part.  I mean, let's not go crazy here.
Our teamwork capabilities have grown and been enriched in our time in this house, which is why I thought it would be fun to create a piece of furniture together.   Celebrate solidarity and all that.  I wanted to find two or three large logs {think stumps}, chisel off the bark, sand them down to a smooth finish, and clear-coat them.  This is the best example I could find, except that stumps that big are hard to come by so ours would likely be smaller.
Perfect little coffee tables.  They would be an awesome rustic element in an otherwise fancy room {I had a dream of them sitting in the center of two tufted sofas} which I was hoping would keep the space from being too formal. 
Awesome, right?  I mean, really.
It was going to be great.  We were going to do this together.  It would be cheap or free {you find stuff like this all the time for free on Craigslist}, Handsome Hero would get to use power tools, and I would get my awesomesauce tables. 
I started to notice something, though.  I was the only one enthused over this idea.  Handsome Hero did not seem to share my vision.  He was a willing but unexcited participant in my project.  When I would find promising stump options on Craigslist, he was always reluctant.  Finally, it dawned on me that this was only an awesome idea in my head.  He would probably like the finished product, but wasn't looking forward to the process the way I was.  I was thinking of this as bonding time, a chance to build and work together, to make something that we could be proud of, and that we would enjoy the process.  He was looking at it as yet another thing that he would have to work on, yet another item on a long list of to-do's, and not seeing the journey as fun but as tedious.
In short, I am a whistle-while-you-work-er, and he wants to get the job done so that he can enjoy himself doing something non-work-related.  We're just different, and that is why we are such a good team, but I realized that while we are doing a great job working together on the tasks we need to do, it does behoove me not to create extra ones just so that we can "enjoy" them together.
Why, yes, I just said behoove. 
Fast forward a few weeks.  I was checking Craigslist for various items we are need for our house, and I came across this beauty.

It is an actual original factory cart taken out of a factory in Atlanta, GA.  It may be the coolest thing I've ever seen.

The wheels are cast iron, folks.  This is the real deal, not some reproduction.  I showed it to Handsome Hero, who showed more enthusiasm for this than he had ever shown over my log idea. 

As you can see, we have now acquired it as our coffee table, and I love it.  It is a focalpoint that everyone comments upon, and it makes me giddy.  It would be awesome with some blingy accessories, but I have little kids, and while we don't really kid-proof in most areas, I think it's a little cruel to have untouchables right at their height, so our coffee tables are rarely adorned with anything but the children themselves.  And aren't children the greatest accessories of all {said in holier-than-thou tone}?

As I drove home from purchasing the table, I passed no fewer than six trees that had fallen and already been cut into perfect little coffee-table sized stumps.  I felt a pang, but it's not like we'll never make awesome stump coffee tables.  Maybe awesome stump bedside tables for the guest room???

Honey, what do you think?  We could work together!  It would be fun!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Making Memories

I love to take pictures of the kids that capture their personalities.  I keep my photos organized by season and year, and I'm so glad I started that, because it's amazing how easy it is to forget how old they were at the time you took that great picture.  What I also forget, though, is what they were doing at that time.  Was she crawling yet?  Was he saying anything at this point?  In the spirit of keeping the memories, here are some examples of my favorite pictures from Spring so far.

You may see a little girl wearing her daddy's PJ's, but this, my friends, is a worm.  She wants to be a mermaid when she grows up.  She wants to marry both of her brothers.  She still calls yellow lellow.  If she really likes something, it's fablious.  She always wants to hold the baby, and is really good at it when she remembers not to turn him upside down.  She wishes her hair was golden and thinks the more jewelry you're wearing, the prettier you look.  She has gorgeous brown eyes.  She's my shopping buddy, my only girl.  We often talk about the responsibility of being an older sister and how wonderful it is to have the emotional heart of a girl.  I want her to always feel very special and loved.

You may see a little boy choking himself with a baby blanket, but this, my friends, is Super Dog.  He is at times Buzz Lightyear, at times Super Dog, at times Jacky Wacky.  He calls the kitchen a chicken, dessert a buh-dessert, music is musegit, yellow is nennow.  He usually mixes up his T's and C's which gets really confusing.  He wants to be an airplane when he grows up and always dreams about mean cats and nice dogs, but is scared of both when he actually sees them.  He has great green eyes with the longest lashes you've ever seen.  He reminds me at least four times a day that he is a big boy.  We talk a lot about how he and Daddy are Ella's protectors, and so he stands at the bottom of the slide to catch her.  I want to nibble his ears and pinch his thighs but I refrain.  Sometimes.  Because you don't do that to big boys.

You may see a baby with tape on his face and tights on his head, but this, my friends, is The Gater.  He plays peekaboo with his elbow, is shy about smiling but rarely cries, is reserved with others but ticklish at home, and lets his brother and sister do whatever they want to him.  For now.  He has caused more joy and heartache for his mom in his short life than he will ever know.  His eyes are a fablious blue and I hope they don't change.  His dimples make me melt and I'm in trouble. 

Everyone who has gone before tells me how quickly this time passes and to enjoy it.  I want to.  I really do.  It's so easy to send the kids outside, or put on a movie, or have them play in their rooms, and I don't have a problem with any of those in moderation.  Otherwise the laundry or dishes {or getting a shower} would never get done.  But I want to remember every little beautiful and difficult part of this phase of life.  I want the kids to remember the fun times and the special times.  I find myself praying at periods throughout the day that I won't forget how good it feels to do a craft with Ella, to sing to Jack while cuddling him when he's sick, and to snuggle up with Nate {even when I'm at my wit's end with his situation}. 
These kids are gifts, not only as little people, but also in the memories they provide.  I am so grateful.
Note:  Lest you think I'm some great mom who does it all well and with grace {hah}, I just whined to the kids, while writing my sentimental last paragraphs, that I would like if they would please leave me alone because since I began writing this post I have not had five minutes without being interrupted.  Ella said, "But you've probably had four minutes."  Jack said, "I have socks on my hands."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gater's first bites

Okay, that title is deceiving.  Here's the scoop.  Last night Nate took his tube out.  It was bound to happen - we were just glad he kept it in as long as he did.  As you will see from the video below, he's chunked out a bit {beautiful chub} from when he first got the tube.

The first day with the new tube

We had an awesome session with the speech therapist last week.  She was able to get Gater to open his mouth for a spoon {by taping it to a vibrating toy}.  It was incredible.  It was the first good sign we've seen in over three months.  They had to bring me a box of Kleenex.  I was a total basket case.  I didn't even know how pent up I was about it until my emotions overflowed out my eyeballs.

We immediately bought one of those vibrating toothbrushes and have been trying to keep up the momentum, but it hasn't really worked.  Then, yesterday, Ella was sitting with him, eating a cup of dry cheerios, and offered him one. 

And he ate it! 



He ate ten or so before he was done.  It felt surreal.  It felt like I was levitating.  You can't know how hard it has been to try to get this child to even touch something to his mouth, so to have him willingly desiring to eat cheerios was a delicious shock.

After he took out his tube, we decided to see if he could make it without putting in a third tube, at least until his little cheeks heal from the tape burn.  This morning I tried banana cut into tiny chunks, and he ate three of them.  It was a good first try.  Then I started in on the cheerios again and he ate probably five.  On occasion he'll just open his mouth for them, but more often, here's what it's like:

My thoughts:

How awesome is it that he isn't getting upset as I keep trying to feed him?  I'm making sure to stop before that point, because it is very important that he not view eating as stressful. 

Please pray that I can keep up a positive attitude.  It's very easy for me to get impatient or aggravated, wanting him to just get it.  Even these steps, that are huge for a little guy like Nate, seem very small if I set my sights too far ahead to what I think he should be doing.

Does this video make my hand look fat?  I mean, seriously, I've been examining my hands ever since.  I don't think they look fat, but maybe I'm wrong.  Or maybe the camera adds ten pounds to your hands.  I guess I will never be a hand model.  Cross that one off the bucket list.