Sunday, August 29, 2010

When he's not looking but we are

The Evster isn't much for posing, and doesn't rank cooperating very high either. Top it off, I'm not much of a photographer :(

I experimented yesterday with being on the other side of the yard and just zooming in. He was off in his own little world playing with the hose. He simply LOVES playing with the hose. Pretty sure he's given his sinuses a good cleansing many times, we go through at least 3 outfits a day, and his favorite thing is to put his hand over the end of it. He tickles himself pink with surprise when it shoots him in the face!

Of course I didn't capture what I wanted (since I couldn't catch his facial expressions since I didn't want him to know I was taking pics!)... I wanted it to capture how awed, proud, enthused, and happy we are when we sneakingly watch him play (when he thinks he's "alone"). I wanted to show how completely enthralled in wonder and simplicity he is when playing with the hose. He really loves it, and we really love this little guy... or as we call him... Big Little!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Most Favorite Movie of All Times!

Has been for 18 years, don't see it being usurped anytime soon. The Last of the Mohicans had my heart at hello! Last night, I watched it for the first time in a couple years. It was wonderful.

I remember 1992 sitting in the rec room of my home seeing the previews for it on TV (still give me chills!). I thought "I HAVE to see THIS movie". I did, twice. Not sure how I convince my fellow 14 yr old best friend to see it twice... probably because it was one of the few thing we could do without parents!

I was blown away by it at the movies. I don't recall any one thing that stood out (beside the awesome scenery), I just fell in love with the whole thing. I got it on VHS when it came out... and for just about a decade I watched that thing to death. Towards the end it was so "watched" that it was starting to skip in places... it was probably threadbare, ha ha! My dad (hi dad!) used to joke with me asking if that tape was actually still working! I finally upgraded to a DVD, woo-hoo! Unfortunately by then, Greg was in the picture. He's not as much of a fan, so we rarely watch it. Especially now. We don't have time to rewatch movies, we barely have time to watch new ones!!

Oh and not to forget the score! I do have that cd, it's so scratched and one song doesn't even play... probably time to just buy online for the ipod! Don't for get the big song in the movie... even though they took it out when the director's dvd was released.

I've tried to read the original novel by James Fenimore Cooper... and it's a really hard read. Thought perhaps I just didn't have the IQ for it... but I have read reviews that state it's "formal prose style" makes it hard for modern readers. So I guess it's not my IQ, I'm just not cultured enough! But I do own a lovely early 1900's edition of it though!

Imagine my delight in discovering a series based upon the son of Hawkeye & Cora. I about flipped! It's a 7 book series, my library only has 1 & 4 (booooo!). I keep looking on ebay for the whole set to just buy, but it must not be very popular or maybe because the 7th book just came out, but they're all full price. I'll get my mitts on it eventually!

Lately I've been researching Greg's ancestry (since I received the family tree from his Grandma) and they have a ton of ancestors that were the early founders of Albany and the US. One was a famous Puritan settler, one the very first mayor of Albany, a few Revolutionary War generals, and one a signer of the Declaration of Independence! So I've been very immersed in Albany (where TLoTM begins) and that general era.

It was like a visit from an old best friend last night! I washed & dried dishes for the first part of it, then I got a nice comfy blanket and laid on the couch to watch the rest! I was so content.

Why do I love this movie so much? Last night I was pondering that exact question as I reveled in my delight. There's a lot of deep stuff in this movie, even violent at times, but very poignant.

There's the beautiful elegant (sometimes savage) native american culture. Makes me wish I knew more about my own Native American roots (hey Aunt J and Dad, don't we have a native american ancestor?).

There's the contrast of the formal & proper Cora that awakens to the discovery a passion and respect for this raw land and it's people. You can see the change in her throughout the whole movie from the way she talks, looks, and most importantly handles the adversity and sometimes despair.

There's a father's (Chingachgook) love & respect (and later revenge) for his sons, adopted and biological.

The conflict of the fact that yes we came and took the land away from those that were there first. However, majority of the people that came to the New World were escaping persecution and looking for the basic human need/want for a better life.

For me, it makes me sad that the Frontier was considered "west of the Hudson"... and now... well... thank goodness there's at least some parks & conservation sites.

Not to mention dozens of other feelings and situations dealing with frontier life, loyalty, sedition, war, love, pride, discovery, fear, bravery, courage, loss, death, survival, kidnapping, mercy killings, and suicide. I think it meant even more to me last night than it ever has before. Obviously could go on and on (the quotes, more on the scenery, the actors/characters!)... but the boys and I need to run to Hobby Lobby!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What to do with stuffed animals?

As parents we talk about this alot... no matter what, our kids have a ton of stuffed animals. They get a favorite here and there, and once in a they actually play with them.

However... this has become a new daily activity around here. Usually in the late afternoon when they're surly and impatient. Stuffed Animal Ball Pit! This is the most use our stuffed animals have ever received! Not sure why Jake thinks he needs to pose like he's sleeping when I would take a picture!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Spam I am!

Yah, me, spam I am. My email was hacked early this morning and spammed everyone I've ever cooresponded with! Viagra anyone? Geeeez. I have no clue how it happened as to I know all the scams and take all the precautions.

I can't believe how many people contacted me over it. I mean, I'm thankful in a way... but the amount of people that did... do they think I'm stupid or have lost my mind??? I'm glad most realized it was spam and not my doing, but still a bit unsettling.

I'm just glad it was spam and not a virus it was hitting everyone with. If spam gets this kind of reaction, I can only imagine the reaction of sending a virus!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A couple more home improvement projects!

I warned you all a month ago that we were gonna be making a push at decorating the house a little more!

Here's two more projects we've completed.

There's a little hallway (abt 7 ft) that goes from the living room area to the master bedroom. We decided a photo collage was really need there. Photo collages are more work than you think. First I had to round up all our frames that were pretty much black (refused to buy anything!). Then go through all our pictures in person and mostly on the computer to decide which pictures to use. I wanted it mostly black & white with a few color ones to pop. Then I had to figure out a good placement/layout for them. That took me a long while. Then I moved them to put the pictures in them, thinking I'd remember how they went... um, no, not at all. It took me another 2 hours and all of the 2012 movie to figure it out again. I wanted them somewhat lined up in places, but random, yet leaving the same amounts of negative space. It made my brain hurt. The easiest part was putting them up surprisingly enough!

Then I went to Target the other night and got a table using some giftcards! Put a vase on the table that was a wedding present. The flowers need some work. We had it at the townhouse, so the colors are different and they're a bit beat up from being moved and then stored until now. I'm really happy the project only cost us about $2... the price to print out the pics we didn't already have printed and that was it!

The next project was for Jake's room. I don't think I've shown his room before, most of it was done when we first moved in. This is his big boy room! It was hard because everything is so cartoony or really expensive....finally after much online browsing I found what I had in mind! I painted his initals, put on new ribbon, and I also painted the wall art (the 4 square canvases with the vehicles) in his room. I'm very proud of that too by the way. Very much, in fact, I always point it out when showing his room... I can't help it. It was such a creative relief that turned out well!

Soon we'll get a bookcase for that corner with the basket of stuffed animals. He gets little snowglobes and trinkets when we travel... starting to really fill up his shelf in the other picture... so time for a bookcase! The desk is from Cost Plus World Market, but we got it over 6 years ago for our home in IL. They no longer carry the bookcase that matches the desk... darn it! So still hunting for a good option!

Last but not least, the project last weekend was to paint this chair. This chair was my moms, was probably my grandma's originally. I've had it since college. It's been white, light blue, pink and then green when I had it. Now it's Jake's chair for his desk and it's a fun glossy blue! Not sure how much he'll be using it yet, since when we do "learning time" it's at the kitchen table. Next year will be Pre-K and then Kindy! Wow! So while I won't be prepared mentally or emotionally... at least he has a desk & chair ;) I know there's quite a bit of space between the shelf and the table. Figure a alphabet chart, or numbers to 100, or multiplication chart or whatever will eventually go there... or probably a bulletin board someday. But let's not think THAT far ahead, I might cry!

I didn't get a before pic, but lets just say it need a good coat of paint ($4 can of spray paint in fact)! It was so worn down it didn't even need to be sanded! That box makes it's last appearence and final use since it started out as the box the chair came in, to a house for the boys, to coloring on it, and now it was used for this project. Then it was put into recycling on Monday! I think it had a good useful life!

Thanks for letting me share our projects! How do you think we're doing? See anything you like? Does it give you any ideas for us or yourself?

Monday, August 16, 2010

We've got it covered!

The kitchen floor that is! Wow what a difference it makes, visually I'm not used to it yet!

Our lovely chairs did make a ridiculously LOUD noise when you'd pull them away from the table. Only because they're wooden chairs on a tile floor. Problem solved. Visually the table was getting lost on the beige tile floor. Problem solved.

This is an indoor/outdoor rug... hoping it'll help keep the crummies swept up. On the tile floor pretty much the only thing to really take care of it was moping. It'll be nice just to vaccuum the rug when needed and not mop as much!

So like anything in our house, it's a long ordeal/process and it involves the boys!

First they walked on it like a balance beam while it was rolled up. Then I unrolled it and they both pretend to sleep on it!

Evan sucking his thumb, tired of the whole process of me shimmey-ing the table onto the rug, then centering the rug AND the table in the right place. By the way, Mr. Evan is 20 mths today!

Immediately the rug gets used/broken in... kettle corn popcorn snack gets eaten over it and the dog is laying on it (Jake's blanket dog AND the real dog!).

Looking back, it's so sunny... only an hour later it's pitch black out like it might storm.

Overall, I'd say the rug is a success! Bonus is that we got it at a really great price! I always get leary buying stuff online that I can't see/touch in person... but I'm happy with it! Like I keep saying... one piece at a time, slowly but surely!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Letting blog opportunities pass me by!

I keep thinking "oh this would be fun to blog about" then life gets hectic and I feel the moment has passed.

So nothing specific but...

- Paintbrushes dipped in water for "painting" the fence, house, cars, etc... hold more novelty than the actual blow up pool. Said blow up pool kept them entertained for 1 hr and 45 mins the first day, then 45 mins the next morning then sadly only 30 mins later that afternoon :( Was sure hoping they'd spend more time & attention on it. "Painting" still held their attention longer... in fact Evan looks for his paintbrush and bucket each time we go out and says... "Water! Bucket! Paint! Please!". Jake's "painting" is "washing his car" he even wants a rag to throw over his shoulder like the carwash guys! Funny kids!

- bubbles in the dipping container dry up too fast in the Texas heat before the boys can figure out not to spit or blow so hard and actually make bubbles!

- when in a pool for Mom's Night, you tend to drink more. Guess because you can't really set your drink down, so you just keep drinking. I had my first hangover in oh about SEVEN years. This just means I drank 4 glasses of wine instead of 2. Sure, laugh at me, hardy-har-har! ;)

- found a rug for under the kitchen table, should be getting it tomorrow.. stay tuned!

- I just finished rereading on of my all time favorite books.. The Alienist by Caleb Carr... it's more or less about the hunt for a serial killer in 1896 and the beginning of forensics and criminal psychology. Good stuff. I've yet to ever find another book like it!

- Went to CVS last night... had a 20% off coupon for entire purchase. So I stocked up on items that I had a coupon for AND were on sale or you'd get back extra bucks (free money!). Been along time since I've let the coupon queen out to play. My bill was $140 before coupons... I paid $90. Yah $90 is still alot for a trip to CVS but like I said, I stocked up on stuff... Qtips, lotion, bodywash, shampoo, contact stuff, moisturizer, visine and various other odds and ends. I was rather pleased.

edited to add: due to my purchases, I also received $9 in extra bucks to use towards any CVS purchase in the future... remind me they expire Sept 13th though!!

- This morning we walked around the lake, fed ducks, cooed at baby ducks, played at the park, lost 8 lbs in sweat alone, home for a snack, off to the pool, home for lunch & boys naps... then we painted a chair for Jake's room! Wonder what's in store for the rest of the day?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pull up a chair...

and check out our NEW kitchen dining set! I'm in love *swoon*.

In my last post I mentioned hand-me-down furniture. Our kitchen table is almost 28 years old... it was Greg's parents table until he inherited it in 2002. It didn't ever seem to outdate in the townhouse... here it was glaringly obvious. We were both ready for a change.

Of course, I had an idea for something that I couldn't find. Ones I would find would get horrible reviews, and we did take a chance and purchased one online that was NOT antique white, it was buttercream yellow for sure! I wanted a white table, something to be fresh and living in the kitchen area. The dining room is more formal with the black & dark wood tones. Our kitchen has almost black granite, dark wood cabinets, chocolate colored walls and I accent with black accessories. So a nice white set would pop just like wonderful molding does on painted walls. Aaahhh... just imagining it is refreshing!

Finally we just decided to swing by Gallery Furniture on Sat morning and planned at stopping at the Dump (an actual furniture store for those that don't know!) afterwards. We're looking for rugs, coffee/end tables, a console table and as always a kitchen table.

500 black or very dark table sets later... I found our set!! It wasn't exactly what I originally had in mind, but it was just right afterall! I was soooo excited, I would of jumped up and down... but for some reason did not. We had it delivered that day... oh my, the difference it makes! We love it!! Greg said he's helping me save face for the bunco group next month. Aw, what a guy ;)

Now I'm on the hunt for a black & creme or beige indoor/outdoor rug to put under the table

The wood part of the table & chairs is actually the same color
as our kitchen cabinets and our entertainment center in the connecting living room!

I love the detail, don't you?

Seeing that above picture reminded me I never shared this. I did this project for our kitchen. When Jake was born Greg's mother gave me his baby spoon & fork and then his Grandmother gave us her baby fork (engraved)! So I asked my Grandma and she passed on to me my mother's baby spoon (engraved with name & date) and another baby spoon from my Grandpa's side of of the family. I polished them up and put them in a shadow box. How neat is it? I love showing it and talking about it when people notice it in our home. The hook is where I hang seasonal decor. This pic is from last fall, so no worries I'm not "Happy Harvesting"... yet... but I am quite pleased!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Got it fixed! Yay! Now for randomness...

Got the background fixed, it was really easy... not sure why I'm so brain-dead about it at first.

So the mirror and lights weren't a hit huh? Yah, probably not as exciting as I thought it was ;)

Totally embarassing predicament last night. Had bunco with the ladies on my street, it's always a good time. Before we played we were eating and chatting. One of the ladies mentioned something about my undecorated house. It kind of hurt to know that my undecorated house in the topic of conversation.  totally realize it's undecorated. And yes, I am personally a bit embarrassed by it. However there are many many things that come into play here.

1. We over TRIPLED our space when we moved here. The scale of the things we used to have just don't work here.

2. We were smart and readily accepted and made due with hand-me-down stuff. Worked great for our first home... but is starting to be glaringly obivious in this house... can't really put it into words.

3. Newsflash... we have kids! I'm not going to raise them in a constant state of "don't touch that!". Us being home together, we have the maximum chance of ruining stuff with sneaky sticky fingers, runaway runny noses, and the stowaway sippy cup! Our beautiful bedding already has a huge run/snag in the very top of the comforter from the dog (or a kid) chasing the cat one day AND a perfect set of handprints on the silk part that won't come out :(  Oh and no one should kid themselves, all the raving about microfiber is hogwash!

4. Seems like anything we want to furnish starts easily at $200 and usually is more like $500. We don't use our credit cards and we put money into our savings, retirement, the boy's savings and their college 529s. $500 is a lot to come up with everytime we want to finish (ok, start) a room. I don't know how people go out and furnish their homes so fast! I'm simply amazed!! I refuse to spend ungodly amounts of money or use credit just to furnish our home... it's home w/o all that, even though I would LOVE for each room to look like a magazine spread.

5. I get an idea in my head of how I want something to look... then can never find the items to complete my vision. I really need to become a carpenter and make furniture, ha!

6. Even when I was in school... I was never much of a "decorator", I was more of a designer. My thing was space planning, budgeting, solving issues in the space, etc. I never was about what vase went where, it was more about what window should go where, what is the most functional layout for this home... so I guess it's still true for me now. But, people don't realize that... they lump it all together.

7. Last but not least, it takes me months to get Greg and I on the same page. We approach just about everything in a team manner (it would feel wrong not to do so)... even though sometimes I do secretly (okay, not so secret, because I DO tell him) wish he would be like some husbands that just let their wives do whatever with the house! hee hee!

It's my turn to host bunco next month!! I'm totally feeling the pressure now. We do a tour of your home before we play... I know they'll all be expecting to be wowed... no wowing here I'm afraid :(   Just a home that can be lived in and enjoyed. It's not a museum and it's certainly NOT a magazine layout.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Having technical difficulties :(

My background on here is all screwed up. Thing is... I can't remember how I did it in the first place... so I don't know how to fix it. How bad is that???? So uuummmmm... stay tuned... I'll figure something out... eventually! I remember last time it took me longer than it normally does to figure out something computer related, I was rather embarassed... and here I am AGAIN! Still confused!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Let there be light!

Yesterday was a long, but good day. Greg's old coworker from IL got transferred down here and they moved to the neighborhood next to us last week! We had them and other "oil industry" friends (ha ha) over for some dinner and hanging out! It went well. Eefore all that, the day started with an early morning grocery trip, then back home to clean, went to a birthday party at the splash pad & clubhouse for our little neighbor. Back home for naps, cooking, and cleaning before our get together!

This morning I guess we had a bee in our bonnet still... we were at Lowe's by 8:30am! We went to Lowe's to get some wasp spray and air filters. Which somehow ended up into impromtu (but WAS planned in the future) purchases and a trip to Home Depot and Best Buy... resulted in:

- New Guest Bathroom light fixture
- New Guest Bathroom Mirror
- New Master Bathroom light fixture
- New Kitchen light fixture
- 2 new houseplants
- and more!

Good thing was we DID remember to still get the wasp spray and air filters. Once we got home we found that the mirror was broken (pretty sure it was already like that, so please no 7 years bad luck for us. I kept telling him it couldn't be good that it was rattling in the box!). So Greg went back to return and went to another Lowe's for a new one. Best Buy was right next door... which prompted him to buy a new receiver (needed for the surround sound). The current receiver was actually struck by lightening 7 years ago. The dvd portion of it stopped working 5 years ago and now the it just doesn't recognize any power. It would cost more to fix it than to just replace it with just the receiver version (we have a separate dvd player). Then once Greg got home, here's how the rest of our day went:

Guest Bathroom sans mirror w/ old fixture... which I'm at a lost for how to explain it.
It's not bad, it's not outdated really, but it's nothing really that special.

Jake entertaining himself in front of the old mirror

The new chunky white framed mirror!!

New mirror & light fixture

Better pic of the light fixture, I like the little bubbles in the glass

A blurry, not very good shot of the new light in our bathroom.
We do have vanity lights over our sinks too, so no worries, this isn't our only light in here!

Up close pic of the light in our bathroom!

This standard ole light that was in the bathroom made it's way into my pantry.
It's so nice to have better lighting in there! But now I fear I need to organize the pantry :(

Which brings us to the kitchen light. Yet another bad pic, sorry! I also don't have one of the old one... but for being a brand new fixture in a brand new house, it was very 70's. As you'll notice, I'm still on a hunt for a table set for this space... much harder than I ever thought!!

Hopefully a better pic showing the detail a bit more.
The scrolls rather match the ones in our railing for the hallway and stairs.
Oh, and we added the little medallion on the ceiling as well...
little architectural details like this can make such a huge difference!
We hope to put a bigger one up in the dining room whenever I'll be able to convince Greg to do all this again... so I dunno, about a year from now ;)