Monday, June 30, 2008

Hanging out with my boys

This was Friday night. I was so happy curled up with my kiddos watching Thomas the Tank Engine. I am so thankful to God for these 2 precious boys. Please, God, let us raise them to love and follow You and not the crowd and to be men of the Word and not of the world. Sometimes the idea of it all is a little overwhelming, but I am so thankful for the opportunity. And especially happy for times like this- Thomas and a fuzzy blanket- can't get much better!

Cleaning for the Cleaning Ladies

About a month and a half ago, while on our women's retreat, I came to the conclusion that I can't do it all myself. That might seem like a no-brainer to many of you, but I have always thought- without really putting words to it- that I'm super woman and CAN do most things (excluding changing my own oil, squashing bugs- not flies and cleaning baseboards). Anyway, I re-learned that God gave us communities of friends, families and neighbors so that we can get it all done. I am a much better, mom, wife and Christian example when I'm not stressed out. Cleaning is one of my weaknesses, so I've admitted that and enlisted some help.
I decided to make a few cuts in the budget elsewhere and hire cleaning ladies to come twice a month. I found some ladies that came highly recommend that work for $15/ hour/ person and you just tell them how many hours of work you want done. Not bad, huh? There are 2 of them that come for 2 hours ($60 total) and they dust, mop, vaccuum, clean bathrooms, take out trash and even clean the dishes in my sink if there happen to be some there (who am I kidding here- there are always dishes there!).
We had "hep" off and on growing up and pretty consistently from about middle school on and my sister and I would throw fits about cleaning before the cleaning ladies came. I didn't understand the point and thought "If I was going to clean then why in the world do we have these people coming over?", etc. You know the drill.
So, go ahead and file this under, "I NEVER said I would do that!" I was frantically picking up our house this morning before the cleaning ladies were coming. I think this is somewhat different though, because I don't want to pay for their time to pick up toys when I could be paying for them to vaccuum, right? Anyway, as I was hiding cleaning this morning, I had a flashback to childhood and could not believe that I was here- on the other side of this time warp. It's like words flying out of your mouth that clearly resemble your mother's, but were never supposed to come out of your mouth! Wow! Next thing you know, I'll be telling kids to eat vegetables (wait a minute, I already do that!) and asking them to put on a slip (okay, maybe not that one).
Gotta go pay the cleaning ladies! Money weeeeeelllllll spent!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Safari Playroom

The Safari Playroom is finally post-ready. I've been working on this for a while now, but it's just about all together.

We decided to turn our 4th bedroom into a playroom to have another place for the kiddos to play that's not right smack dab in the main living area of our house. So, if we have people over, eventually we can say, "Go play in the playroom". Ahh. That will be nice. For now, we are still spending a lot of family time in there, so it's been fun for all of us!

I decided on a safari theme since 1) Ollie loves animals, 2) I AM a confessed Pottery Barn stalker and 3) I lurve a theme- and this one seemed easy.

This was the room before (as a spare bedroom and where my personal computer was): And this is what it looks like NOW:

Don't you love a before and after shot? I am a sucker for those!

Here is the wall to the left of the sofa:

And this is the wall to the right of the sofa:So, here's how it got there and where I got the goods:

As you can tell, the walls were already green. The color is Sherwin Williams Artichoke and I used a tinted primer underneath because the walls were white. Decorator's tip here: be sure to ask for a tinted primer at the paint store if you are using a dark color. They can do it in any color and not just pink for red, etc (gray works better for red, anyway). Usually they combine your paint color with the white primer.

The sofa (pull out sleeper sofa), pillows, palm leaves on the wall and rug all came from Pier 1.

The beanbags, curtains and silhouettes for the animals all came from Pottery Barn Kids (not just a stalker- I'm an actual customer, too!).

The toy cube storage unit and baskets are from Target (and I already had that in Ollie's room- just moved it and got green and beige baskets).

The prints of the elephant and giraffe on either side of the window are from World Market (also have cool zebra mask in the entranceway from there not shown).

The bulletin board is from a teacher store in town and its 3' x 4' (actually pretty big, but you can't tell from this picture). I glued jute rope around the edged because it was framed in aluminum and looks better in person than you can tell from this picture. I can't wait to get the kids artwork up there, but this was the last piece to be added. My pointer finger is still sore from our dinky little glue gun (there's a Christmas present hint!) and all that jute.

How did I get the animals on the wall, you ask? I painted them myself! I used an old trick my mom often did for her bulletin boards at school. I got some clear sheets and some vis-a-vis markers (Mr. Jenne style if any high school homies are reading) and asked Jason to "borrow" an overhead projector from his office. (It has been returned, you'll be happy to know.) Then, I traced the silhouttes from the giraffe and the elephant from the curtains and got the monkey picture from online. I put them onto the clear paper with the vis-a-vis markers and projected them on the wall to draw in pencil. Here's how that looks when you're doing it:

It's actually pretty easy and I got all 3 of them done- drawing and initial painting- in a couple of hours. I used Delta Dreamcoat Light Foliage Green paint for the animals- yes- just the cheap 98 cent paint in the hobby store. It works fine! I did use a primer first and then painted over with the lighter green. Then I went back and outlined in black to cover mistakes. Ollie got to my paint brush that day and decided to add his personal touch to the room:

Inspired, don't you think?

If you want to get technical, the room is a neutral plus a color color scheme- my favorite in design school because it was the easiest to do- so that's why I stuck with green on the walls for the animals. Alright, I think that's it! Let me know if I left anything out.

If I was being completely honest, I'd show you a picture of what it looks like right now... trains and tracks everywhere, quilt on the floor because the rug hurts Henry's knees (I think- he doesn't complain), toys sprawled all over the place and Diego coming from the TV. If you have kids, you can most definitely imagine. Good thing is I can just close the door. Ahhh. Gotta love a playroom!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Potty- Day 3

Alright- we made it! I think he's getting it. Of course we'll have to wait and see, but so far, so good. He's going off to pre-school today, so we'll see how that goes. I'll keep you updated!

Post Script- Mid way through Day 4- Just picked up Owen from Pre-school and he had NO ACCIDENTS today! I can not believe it!!! I am so thrilled! He went to the potty twice there. Amazing! Now, I know they kind of hover and make sure they go, etc, but that is still a big deal. And he went when we got home before nap! I'll stop updating you on every trip to the bathroom, now, but just know that I am very happy with the 3 day boot camp method and I'll be happy to answer any questions about it if you have them.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Potty- Day 2

A quick update for those following along.
Day 2 went a lot smoother than day one. Owen woke up and pottied and had only 1 1/2 accidents all day. The half was an accident that he realized needed to be taken to the potty about half way through. Both occurred while eating, so we can see that can be a distracter. If you've ever seen Owen eat- he eats a lot- then you'd know that already.
He had an accident about 5:00 am this morning in bed, but this morning had a big breakthrough. While eating breakfast, he looked up and said, "I have to go potty". HUGE. So, we went to the potty, took care of business and went on with the program. Awesome!!!
Owen has been getting litte toys along the way for potty progress, but we brought out the big guns yesterday afternoon when he was doing such a great job- Thomas trains and tracks. He's gone Thomas and I don't think we'll ever get him back. He was very sad to go to bed last night. And he wanted to play "twains" this morning and 5:00 am, but I told him it was night night time, still.
The bad thing about where we live (just West of the Eastern time zone) is that it's hard convincing someone that it's night night time when the sun is out and the birds are chirping- 5:00 am. So, a few weeks ago we went ghetto/ Troy trailer park and put aluminum foil on both the kids windows. I know, don't judge me. If you know me really well in real life then you know I'm a certified interior decorator. So, this is truly beyond my comprehension and right mind. It was lack of sleep that lead me to it.

So, 5:45 am- twains.
6:30- breakfast and successful trip to potty.
Day 3 is looking to be good! Gotta go help Jason- I hear the choo choo of many twains.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Potty

Today is the beginning of day 2 in the 3 Day Potty Training boot camp. Our house is on lockdown and Harris has been shipped off to Connie and Irv's for the weekend. I feel almost like I did when I was in the hospital after our babies were born- like the rest of the world is spinning and ours has stopped.

Owen will be 3 on August 23rd and has to be potty trained for his next class at school which starts August 9th (how's that for a little pressure?). I was super pregnant and/ or just had a baby when I thought we should have started potty training him, so I just kept putting it off. There are my excuses. I have more, but I'll spare you.

Point is, we put this weekend on the calendar about a month ago to knock it out. I was crying about it (fear, pressure, not wanting to deal with it) yesterday morning before we started, but I'm glad we did.

I found the information about this method on my friend Tara's blog and asked her about it. She said it worked great with her son- who is several months younger than ours- so I thought I'd try it. The more I read it, the more I liked it. I can't "reveal" all the secrets because it's actually patented and you have to buy the e-book yourself! I will tell you that we had to throw away all of Owen's diapers yesterday morning- he did it actually- even the hidden ones- that was mainly for us, the parents. Very scary. And we went through 13 pair of big boy underwear yesterday morning with lots of pee pee on our floor.

After that, I think he's actually getting it, though. He hasn't had an accident since yesterday around lunch time. He slept through his 3 hour nap and ALL through last night without an accident. He got up at 4:15 this morning and I went in there with him to pee pee in the potty and he got up all by himself around 6:30 and went to the potty and poo pooed BY HIMSELF. We got up when we heard him talking about it in the bathroom! HA!

This was Owen's special breakfast pancake this morning that Jason made. Pretty cute, huh?

So, day 1- not as bad as I was imagining. I'll let you know how the next 2 days go.

Here's the big boy this morning sporting some Diego undies. We have a collection of Cars, Mickey, Diego, Thomas- you name it. And I think he's worn most of them already!
As you can see from the first picture, we still have a yellow, pink and blue bathroom in our 1971 home. We'll eventually get to remodeling them, but they're working for right now. The boy's bathroom is the yellow one and I did yellow, green and black in there with bumble bees. Our bathroom is the blue one and we did brown and blue and actually already had a shower curtain that matched. And the pink is the guest 1/2 bath and I put brown in there, too. It will be a big project when we start, but I would like to eventually get some white potties and not colored ones. They make it a little more difficult to tell potty progress if you know what I mean- especially the yellow ones! OK- I'm getitng gross here. I've been in potty land- please forgive me!
Have a great Saturday!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Weird Wednesday

Today has been full of highs and lows.

One of the highs has been that we picked these hydrangeas yesterday and they are still beautiful! I love fresh flowers on a table- especially ones you don't have to pay for. And, to top that, ones that you don't have to care for. This bush takes care of itself and I haven't done a thing to it (although, I think the sprinklers hit it).
For lows, I haven't slept enough and it is showing! I went to bed at 10 last night, but woke up at 4:30 with Owen saying. "Where are you, Diego?", "Where are you, Alecia?". Too much TV, you think? Anyway, I have been sending blank e-mails today, not able to get things to print, telling people weird things (just in general have not had my act together). I called it a day with work when I just went upstairs and fixed myself a glass of milk (to go with my chocolate chip cookies) in a sippy cup. YES! Straw and all. Nice.
To end on a good note, my $1 makeup came in today!! Hoorah! I was missing 3 items from what I ordered, but other than that it was all there. I'm sure they probably ran out with the massive amount of people and things being ordered at $1. Here's my loot. Overboard? Yes. But it was JUST ONE DOLLAR! I'm such a sucker. I'll let you know how it holds up. Probably like $1 makeup should... We'll see. I'm excited no matter what!
Speaking of weird Wednesday, does this picture look off to you?

That would be Owen in Harris's jumper. He loves to sneak in Harris's toys and try to use them. I'm surprised nothing has broken, yet!

Hope you had a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Best Dad!

Just wanted to give a belated blog shout out to my hubby for being the best dad to our little ones that he could be! He is super fun, very handy and he tolerates me- which is supposed to be pretty important.
Hope you had a great Father's Day, Jason!

Here is what we got Jason for Father's Day:
- a monogrammed dress shirt for work- from Land's End- they have my favorite (pin point, no iron oxford).
- a daily devotional (Can't find the link on, but it's a book about a basketball coach- Coach Wooden- apparently famous)
- a neat book about raising boys to be men for dads
- AND, a gift certificate to a fancy spa.

That's right. You read the last one correctly. I was having my wonderful massage and facial on Saturday (my mother's day gift certificate came to fruition) and I just kept thinking how much Jason would love it! He would NEVER go to a fru-fru massage place like Terreme- which is right around the corner from us, but he would secretly love it if he did. And, if he is too macho to bite the bullet and walk in there, then he can just give the certificate to me, right? I figured it was a win-win gift. He says he's going to get a "sports massage", so at least they name it so than manly men will go.
Hope you all had a great Father's Day with your families.

Here is a funny supermodel picture of Harris- because posts with pictures are more fun!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The War in {my} Wardrobe- Part 2

Yesterday afternoon, I was exhausted from kiddos and work and I think Jason can sense these things when he walks in the door. Maybe it could have been the tears or the loud sighing at going to the potty for the third time with Owen in 30 minutes with no result.
Anyway, my wonderful hubby walked in and said "LEAVE"- or I think he said it much nicer, but that's all I heard. I was out the door on my way to Marshall's for returns.
OK- here is the stuff I found:

I knew I only had a short time before dinner, so I loaded up the buggy with anything I could think of that might fit/ look decent and I ended up taking 24 things to the fitting rooms. I told myself the men's and children's section was out of bounds and I had to focus just on me. This is harder to do than you think! The girl at the fitting rooms was super nice and I think could tell I wasn't going to steal anything, so she let me take TEN items in at a time! Woohoo! Small things, right?

Out of those 24 items, I came home with 5 tops and 1 pair of pants (the other in the pic is the one pair that mom got that fit). Most of the items were $9.99 or $14.99 and I only ended up spending $13 of my own money after the $80 gift card from returns (thanks, again, Mom!), so I think I did a pretty good job! All things fit properly and the pants are a size 8 10, so I've still got a little ways to go before my goal of fitting properly back in an 8 (or smaller would be fine, too).

Thanks for your support and encouragement! I'm so glad everyone else feels my pain. We can all work on it together! Now, the search for khaki shorts continues! Along with the search for the perfect purse... does it exist?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The War in {my} Wardrobe

Let me start by saying that we are blessed beyond all belief. We worship an amazing God in a free country, have healthy children, enjoy life and are truly and overwhelmingly blessed.
With all that said, I'm having some clothing issues lately that you might be able to appreciate. I've had my fair share of thin and thick times. But being pregnant really throws me for a loop in the clothing department. Now that it's super hot (even for really cold-natured me), I'm looking for shorts every morning.
I didn't have regular shorts last summer because I was pregnant. The summer before that I was a size 14 (thick time). The summer before that I was pregnant (REALLY thick time). And the summer before that was 4 years ago and apparently colored bottoms were in fashion then- or at least I thought they were. I have blue, red and hot pink capri pants. Really??
So, for my options in the morning, I have cotton T-shirts that I've bought at Target under the guise of "Grocery Money" and size 14 shorts/ size 10 light denim capris from 5 years ago- some of both pleated. I have started coming downstairs every morning and asking Jason if I should be allowed out of the house in the current ensemble. Most of the time his answer is NO. He has turned into Clinton Kelly.
My favorite shorts right now are baggy, pocketed Columbia shorts that I bought in *gasp* 1998 at Sikes & Khon's while I was in college. They fit (good news), but they are so far out of style and make me look huge (bad news).
Apparently my mom noticed my dilemma while she was here because she went out one afternoon and came back with a slew of clothes for me from Marshall's! THANKS, MOM! Unfortunately, only one pair of pants fit because I'm a little off balance lately. It might be that the clothes were from Marshall's, too, but I feel like my torso has gotten longer and my hips wider with each pregnancy. Can anybody hear me?
What's a girl to do?
Here's the answer: new wardrobe. If only one could afford that. I do need to go What Not to Wear, though and ditch the current clothes (2 closets full) to make myself only wear the stuff that fits.
In the meantime, I'm headed to Marshall's to make some returns in hopes for one pair of khaki shorts from this century and maybe a cute shirt to look "modern" and not mom-dern.
Fashionista- can't wait for your advice!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Let the Doting Begin

Blurry shot, I know, but this was the best one of all 3 of them. It was hard to take because they kept looking at Henry! Do I even have to tell you- that is my mom on the right.

My mom has been in town this week helping me with Henry. Thus the lack of posting or commenting- blogging in general has been on hold because we moved my usual computer out of the room where she is staying into my office. It's got me all out of whack. Anyway, Cooper, our regular babysitter is on a mission trip helping the rural poor build houses in North Carolina with our church (how dare she, right?).

Anyway, we have had a lot of fun with GiGi and today we went to eat lunch with Nana (Jason's mom). Henry went with us, so this is how the conversation went:
GiGi (my mom): Isn't he cute?
Nana (Jason's mom): Yes, he's just adorable.
G: What about those eyes?
N: He's precious.
G: What are we going to do with these 2 cute boys?
N: I just don't know. They are something special aren't they!

Et cetera. I could go on.
You weren't going to find anyone to argue with them at our table, so they didn't stop!

I had some pictures there that Melissa had given me of Ollie and a lady at the next table came over to tell us she couldn't help but notice how cute the little boy in the pictures was. Well, that was all they needed to get started again.
We had a great lunch at Victoria's Cafe- a definite old lady hang out. I love it! The strawberry pretzel salad is heavenly. We all got samplers of some sort with macaroni salad, divine chicken salad, pumpkin bread and of course the strawberry pretzel salad. I think Connie got a broccoli and cheese concoction (instead of the chicken salad) that is delicious.
Thank you so much for being here, GiGi! We're having fun!! And thanks to Connie and Mom for lunch! I enjoyed being doted on, too!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fun with Wadybugs

We have an outside kiddie pool set up for general splashing and revelry.

As a side note here, I read one time that if ever your kids are crabby- always throw them in water (bath, pool, sprinkler) and they get happy. I really think that's true!

Anyway, Owen, Harris, Cooper (our babysitter) and I were outside in the pool one day and a ladybug joined our party! Owen was more than happy to entertain her.

Again, somewhere, I read that most ladybugs are male. I don't know how that could be and I'm going to have to research it. I guess some have to be male, but I don't know about MOST. Any ladybug experts out there? Are they all in drag? What a misfortunate name, if so. Let me know-

For now, here is our adventure with the "wadybug":

P. S. It's just as much fun to watch chubby in the background trying to find anything to put in his mouth (read below).

The First Tooth!

Well, we thought there might be a tooth on the way, because this is what most of Henry's pictures look like lately:

Or this:

Or this:
Hooray! We finally felt a real tooth coming through yesterday. It's not even big enough to photograph, yet, but it's definitely there. Watch out steak! Here he comes!!

If you are a sly and faithful reader (my mom, maybe) then you might notice a sneak peak of the new playroom in this last shot. The safari playroom is coming along (just got sleeper sofa in tonight), so it should be post-ready soon!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Henry is crawling... backwards

Did your kids do this? Ollie did it, too, so I'm guessing it's normal although I haven't Googled it or looked it up in the huge "Child Development From Birth to Age 5" book. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've cracked the spine on that book! I normally look things up on or read about it in magazines.

Anyway, Henry was showing off his "mad skillz" this past Saturday morning. Granted, he had on a fleece sleeper and was scooting on hardwood floors, but I've his moves in action on carpet. Here he is on Saturday. He started on the quilt shown in the very last picture:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Holy Bargain, Batman!

Girls, right now, you need to go to this website:
The Eyes Lips Face (ELF) line at Nordstrom is having a huge sale. Everything is $1! It's like the Dollar Tree, but with nice makeup instead of stale Wheat Thins!
I just stocked up on my favorites: lip gloss (I almost cried when they Mary Kay quit making Cream and Sugar), eye shadow, powder, blush, concealer, foundation with SPF (always looking for that)! The good thing for me is I can always pick out 0100, ivory or Tone 1- with this company- and know that that shade of pasty pale will work for me. Also, I'm super excited about a 9 piece professional brush set (splurged for $15- case included) and a 5 pack of nail polish that I got.
Oh, yes, please don't forget this, too: enter code CAROLINA when you check out and they'll give you 1/2 off the first fifteen items, so you save another $7.50 ('cause I know you're going to have to have at least 15 items for A DOLLAR!)
Woohoo! Great excuse for a little fun shopping!
Special thanks to my dear friend Laura in Austin for sending this info to me!

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