Friday, March 29, 2013

8th Flaunt My Friend Friday! Kim!

Today I bring a special flaunt my friend! It's my friend Kim. I've known this gal for almost 6 years; we used to get to meet up from time to time with our older boys were 1 yr olds, and now they're in Kindergarten and they both have two younger siblings! Crazy! I was actually able to meet up with her again recently in November when we went back to the midwest to visit family. We had another friend join us and had a fabulous brunch.

Kim is fantastic, she's one of those people you can be laughing your butt off with one minute, and the next you're discussing the deep mysteries of our psyches and solving the problems of the world! When this gal gets an idea or a bug about a project, she tackles it with gusto. I'm always "wait, you just had that idea, and you're already done?!?". She's sharing something special with us today... so sweetly titled "Pink Happens".

Pink Happens!

Hello, I'm Kim, Mom to two little boys named Keilan and Grayson ages 6 and almost 4. When I became pregnant with our 3rd this summer I just knew that my luxurious "boy mama" lifestyle of being able to let my children wear mismatched Granimals, buzz cuts, stains and dirty fingernails like badges (boys will be boys!) would continue. I was a "boy mama", this was my gig and I loved it. There was just no way I was capable of managing all of the details that seem to come with little girls. The months and debilitating nausea wore on and the thought that this could actually be a girl started to creep in. I was super sick, carrying differently, and ugly as all get out during those first few months. So the suspicion was there early on but I just told myself it had to be another boy. After all, my husband (who has been terrified of having a girl) always says, "I only make boys.". Surely we'd keep our status quo.

It was finally time for the 20-week ultra-sound and as I lay down on the exam table I smiled and anxiously awaited to see yet another little "floater". After all of the measuring we finally focused in down below and had a great angle, it would be impossible to miss. But where was it? Zoom in, zoom out and absolutely no "floater" to be seen. I asked "Could it be hiding somewhere?". My husband quickly jumped in with, "Oh if it was there you'd see it.". True. There were officially no floaters whatsoever! Just two squirmy legs and two little lines which we all know means....It's a GIRL!!!

WHAT??? Ok, exciting for sure. I mean what a blessing to be able to experience both. But how do I dress her? How do I do her hair? How do I decorate her room? How do I keep her clean? All I could envision was a dirty, homely-looking little girl with mismatched Garanimals and mis-placed bows hanging from her knotted locks of hair. My "girl mama" friends would say "Oh you'll figure it out reeeal fast, trust me.". Yea, really not so sure about that. When it came to the nursery I immediately began to envision buttercream yellow with vintage touches. Perfect. Just because I was having a girl didn't mean I had to get all Pinkalicious with lace and tulle. Yuck. Totally not my thing.

Finally we got around to picking out the paint and loaded the beasties up for a trip to Lowes. I wanted them to be as involved as possible in the whole baby sister preparation process. To make a long story short here's how the color selection played out.

 I chose a glowy buttercream yellow, they chose a hideous shade of pink and promptly put back my yellow. I chose a calming lavender (hoping for a compromise), they chose an even more hideous shade of pink and promptly put back my lavender. Over and over and over. It was a lost cause. All three of my boys were insistent on pink (Valspar "Taffy"). And the 6 year old in particular had plans for big bold flowers all over. "Her room has to have LOTS of flowers, Mom". It was too sweet that they all cared so much! So what's a Mama to do? Allow her precious boys to have their pink. Because hey, what can you do, sometimes "Pink Happens!".

Look at those sweet big brothers painting little sister's room

So without further ado here is our PINK baby girl nursery for the little darling who will join our family on March 29th (today!). I won't go into a lot of details about how everything came to be or why I put what where because I am so not a decorator and I didn't have much of a plan except to "follow manic instincts whenever they strike". My theme was basically "pretty" and "ladylike". It's a mixture of new and re-finished pieces I found at a local antique mall and spray-painted new.


We still have to pull out that screw and patch it, but wanted to give a close up of my little antique store planter. I had so much fun making her over. She used to have blue ribbons and flowers and a blue bird and was just a little dull and scuffed. Amazing what some iridescent paint can do! Also my attempt to stencil the top of the shadow box was a fail. I envision some sort of jewel glued on over it. Stenciling is hard

(Tyson here interjecting that I'm totally crushing on that butterfly plate in the shelving unit!)

Sign was made by a proud Grandpa for his grandaughter. He's so crafty and creative. What a cute touch.

I also enlisted the help of a crafty Etsy Mama, Amie Erwin from Pinkapotamus to create a custom floral mobile that I absolutely adore.

Yellow, Grey and White Ribbon, Pearl and Ruffle Handmade Fabric Flower Kids Chandelier - Mobile
Not exact mobile, just picture from the etsy shop.
The mobile ordered has not arrived yet
(note from Tyson: I told Kim we'd do an update post when it arrives)
We will put a large scroll font decal of her name over the crib after she's born, which, unfortunately for now, leaves the room lacking a bit. But you can squint your eyes and imagine it there! It has been so much fun to work on this nursery.

Thank you Tyson for inviting me to share on your blog. I hope you all enjoy seeing the finished product! And for the record, I'm certain my precious girl will indeed be a little rag-a-muffin with mis-matched clothes and dirty fingernails. And that's going to be a beautiful thing!

Aw, Thank you so very much for sharing! You know this mama of all boys is a wee bit green with envy of the addition of some pink to you life (heck, I'm tickled pink just having some pink on the blog!). She's going to be one loved little girl. By the time this post goes live, I'm sure your sweet lil' muffin will one her way (stay tuned I'll come back and update with stats... my guess was 8lbs, 8oz & 20")! Congratulations to Kim and family!

A Little Ray of Sunshine Girls Print

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Make lemonade from lemons?

Well we're day 3 into Spring Break. Yikes. Christmas break wasn't nearly as hairy as this week has been thus far. The boys have all been absolutely NUTS. I'm thinking it's a lot of cabin fever. But, still... yikes... what in the world are we going to do this summer?!?!

Monday was a snow/pajama day! Not very springy for spring break ;)

Tuesday we got ourselves publicly presentable and went out to lunch with Greg. We've never been able to meet up with Daddy for lunch before, so that was a fun treat!

Yesterday luckily was a gym day, spin class! It had been a little hard to move since the Trail Run 5k on Sunday, so it was good to get to the gym and work those sore muscles. I was very thankful for the boys being in childcare for an hour.

So all the stuff I'm not mentioning... I don't even know where to start.

- the almost 22mth old took litter out of the cat box THREE times. It's only like 5-10 seconds before I catch him, but in that short time absolutely havoc is wreck by him THROWING the litter. Luckily, one of the times was the one upstairs that the cat doesn't use. But I'm STILL vacuuming up there to get it all up. The other one was down in the basement our office/playroom/exercise room combo. The cat box is tucked off into a corner next to the treadmill and elliptical... so both pieces of equipment were coated with litter in all the nooks and crannies. Sigh.

- something majorly TMI happened with the 4 yr old. Still am not sure exactly what happened. Obviously it was an accident. Ended up with excrement down the front of the toilet, and all down the back of his pants and legs. OH MY. It's one of those things that for the first 30 seconds all you can think is... Where do I even start to clean this up??.Sorry to share that with you, but I had to pass on my trauma.

- the baby also is in the middle of a power struggle for when we leave the gym. The rule is, you walk and hold mama's hand OR you get carried. He's does the "limp noodle" & scream NO routine the whole way out of the gym and around the block to the car. It's fabulous. Everyone and their brother stares at me. But I'm not giving in, he cannot walk alone it's a super busy plaza/parking lot. I shouldn't have to carry a 22 month old. So we fight this struggle every time. Today's theatrics were ramped up a notch. So exhausting.

- we have ants. All along the baseboards. YUCK. At least they aren't fire ants like in TX, but ick. So of course the earliest pest control can come out is for when I had made plans for today to meet up with a friend and her boys. Had to cancel those plans :(

- the 6 year old is the ringleader of these crazy lunatics. He has energy that knows no bounds. He's also figuring out how to set up others to get into trouble. There's been a lot of lecturing and time spent in his room. Oh and one occassion of having to write lines for talking rude... then having to continue to write lines about talking rude due to yelling/laughing "I WILL talk rude" after writing said lines. Sigh.

- last but not least the 4 yr old has been coloring NOT on paper with markers. I've never had this happen. First he colored the windowsill in his bedroom red during quiet time. Then the real gem was that he drew "E's" in black all over his nicer khaki pants yesterday. He was on his 3rd pair of pants that day due to above toilet mess and then another little accident (he never has accidents!) so only the nicer ones were left. When asked WHY he simply told me... "I like E's".

In trying to do something fun yesterday we made homemade lemonade using this recipe:

homemade-lemonade 3wm cover 1

It was a good time. They did all the juicing and enjoyed the fruits of their labor. Although, Jake did say "that was a lot of work just to make lemonade".

Luke was not a fan, he looked at me like... "why would you give this to me?"
So turning my lemons into lemonade....

- at least we've solved the baby's fascination with picking apart his diaper at night by putting good ole duct tape on the front... one less mess. So at least I didn't have that AND the litter issue

- at least the cat box was clean each time he went "dipping"

- Crayola isn't lying when they say their stuff is washable... all the black marker E's came out of Evan's pants

- As crazy as Jake has been, it's been nice to have him home. I feel like I never see him any more due to school. He's gone from 8:30am-4pm during the week. But wow, I wish I had a 10% of the energy he has.

I'm tired.

Monday, March 25, 2013

W&OD Trail 5k Race 2013

Yesterday, Greg and I did something different for a date. We ran a race together, the W&OD Trail 5k 2013! It was Greg's first official race/run/event... my 3rd. But it was my first actual 5k, non-mud style ;)

It was on the W&OD Trail in Falls Church, Va... click here to read the history behind it (used to be a railroad track segment)

I have exactly ZERO pics to show. I don't know why I didn't ask the sitter to at least take a quick pic with my phone of us. So I'm borrowing stuff from online ;)

One of the street we crossed over on the trail
Greg and I had been talking about doing a run together for awhile now. Most races start so early in the morning, it would be difficult to get a sitter. Found this one that started at 4pm... perfect!

Registered us in snowy February, think that by the end of March we'd be free of cold weather. Ha ha. NO. It was 41 degrees yesterday. It was predicted that the snow we have right now was suppose to start at 4pm... it held off until 6pm thank goodness. I froze my butt off though! I needed warmer pants, my legs were incredibly stiff from the cold while running. So not used to that!

Ran across this bridge twice (was surprised to feel it swaying!)

Greg has been running his whole life. Usually once or twice a week he runs 5 miles. Let's remember I just started running for the first time in my life last year when I trained for the Indoor Tri. I'm still not a "runner"... I don't get that rush or high from it. It just feels like work, hard work. I keep up with it because while it's not my fave, I do feel like I'm accomplishing something. Plus, I would like Greg and I to have something to do together.

I fully expected Greg to leave me in his dust (pretty sure he thought it too). He is currently having issues with his knee/IT band, but still warned me that he was just going to run even if it was ahead/faster than me. I was totally cool with that. It's really hard to run at the exact same pace as someone else. But, I will say the end of it all I was just shy of a minute behind him. I finished the 5k in under 30 minutes, yay! I'm pretty stoked about that. My best is usually about 36 minutes at the gym. I'm thinking I do a lot better on real ground than on the treadmill. I felt like it was easier to use my longer legs than on the treadmill. And before anyone tells me that I should run outside more... I just can't... it has to be at the gym due to childcare. I need that. It's the only way I can get in exercise.

Final results:

Greg ran in 28:46 placing 64th overall (43rd out of 60 males)

I ran in 29:43 placing 74th overall (28th out of 68 females)

We were both middle of the pack overall... there were some speed demons on this! There were 20 that finished in under 20 mins! I'm sure that's pretty normal in the race world, color me amazed!

That being said, I'm completely proud of myself! I was shocked I finished under 30 minutes.

Friday, March 22, 2013

7th Flaunt my Friend Friday! April!

Today I'd like to introduce my friend April to you! In knowing her over six years, I've been able to watch her go from "I really enjoy the art of photography" to "wow, I'm so busy I need to cut back on sessions". She took something she loved and turned it into a flourishing business. I'm always thinking... how can I get us to Georgia just so she can take our family pictures. She captures the essence of people and the event... that is an artist!
She's beautiful, a riot to talk to, lover of wine, and in her own words from her blog:
"I am short and have hair that hasn't yet figured out what it wants to be when it grows up(currently it's majoring in wavy with a minor in curly). I love red wine, hot hot summers, nail polish, words that end in -urple, high heels, my mother-in-law's cooking, spending the night with my mom & daddy, repurposing old things that I don't use anymore, cooking Mexican food on Monday's, making new friends, blogging, pretending I can't hear "Maaaamaaaa!" and banging on the bathroom door when I am the shower, sleeping late, Standing on the hearth with my back to the fire, waking up an hour before the alarm goes off, getting any mail that isn't a bill or an offer from a credit card company, looking through old family photo's, wearing my husbands sweaters, road trips without the kids, Christmas shopping with my mom and sister-in-law, wine and whine sessions with my other sister-in-law, hour long phone conversations with my best friend, painting rooms a new color, ball-point pens, Mass, taking time off, playing in dirt, flouncy skirts and flip flops..etc"
new blog pic

My name is April, I have been a photographer for right around 5 years. When Tyson asked me if I would like to guest blog sometime for her, I immediately said yes though I had no clue what I was going to touch on. I have been thinking about it this week and I finally came around to the conclusion of all the things I could tell you about photography, about being a busy mom of 3 while also being a photographer, and even all the boring technical mumbo jumbo of the job. What I would want you to know it would simply be a few things that I wish people would never ever say to me again. Ever.
Five Questions that Photographers are sick of hearing:
5. Where did you go to photography school?
This question implies that you simply must have formal training to be a photographer, or at least a professional one. The term professional in the photography field really means nothing as far the quality of the art produced. I have seen terrible professional photographers, and I have seen incredibly talented amateurs. What makes us professionals in our field is simply how we conduct business. And while we can feel boat loads of confidence in our training, whether it is self training, or taught in a classroom, having to defend our abilities to some random guy who’s a little bit too tipsy and trying to hit on you at a wedding that you are working gets very old very fast.
4. Can you suggest a good, inexpensive camera?
Yeah, funny thing…I actually don’t sit around studying up on the best crappy cameras that are currently on the market. If you are looking in the price range of $1200-$2300, I can help you. If not…then google is your buddy, not me.
3. Photographers make pretty good money, don’t they?
The problem with my field is that, no, we really don’t make that much money. I talk about that and people look at me like I am nuts. They have seen my prices and yes, I am sure it stings to shell out over a $100 for one hour of photography but what people don’t understand is that the work doesn’t stop there. There are hours upon hours of editing to be done after we get home. So let’s say I shoot a one hour session 10 miles from my house. I have already spent 20 minutes in driving time, over an hour with the client before I even get the images onto my computer. That night will probably put my kids to bed and work for about 4 straight hours until my eyes are starting to go crossed and I run out of wine. I will get up early and do another hour of work. Then I will burn the disk, put some images online, blog about it and tell the world how this kid was the best kid I have ever photographed. Then I’m either going to drive to my client to deliver the disk or mail it, neither of which I will charge for because I’m just nice like that. At the end, I probably have at least 7 good hours of heard work into this job…for $100. Don’t even get me started on weddings. No, we don’t make a lot of money.
2. Can you do me a favor?
No. I cannot. I cannot fix your photo, I can’t take “just one” picture of your family for free, I can’t show you how to use your camera, I can’t retrieve pictures that you accidentally deleted off your SD card, and if you dare to send me an iPhone picture and ask me to see if I can do anything with it…I will break your finger.
1.What kind of camera do you have? It takes great pictures!
This is the single most offensive, annoying, and infuriating question that you could ever ask a photographer. Formal training or not, that person has dedicated years of their life to learning the art of photography. They didn’t just wake up one morning and say “I think I’ll buy a $2,000 camera and become a photographer today!” I’m sure you have all heard the story of the photographer who asked the waiter what kind of oven they have in back because it makes such great food? Photography is not as simple as it sounds or looks and believe it or not, the photographer himself is the one making those pictures. The camera is simply medium. You don’t give the clay credit for becoming pottery, the canvas & brushes didn’t create the Mona Lisa, my camera doesn’t take my photographs for me…these things are the hand crafted work of artists.
Thanks for listening! If you ever want to win the heart of a photographer, just stay away from these bonehead questions and you’ll be good J

Thanks April! Most of us just see beautiful images that are produced seemingly effortlessly without knowing all the blood, sweat and tears that is a part of it. It's always good to be reminded of different perspectives, and thank you for taking the time to share yours. To my friends in Georgia, you should look her up! To see some of her wonderful work for yourself check out her blog:

April Ingram Photography


Monday, March 18, 2013

Quick Winter Organizing Idea!

You know for next winter ;) Although, we did just get 3" of snow this morning... nothing that stuck on the streets or sidewalks and will be gone by tomorrow. But still... more snow. Texas certainly spoiled us rotten the previous three years. My Texas friends have been posting awesome park and pool pictures on Facebook... I'm feeling homesick!

I totally found this idea on Pinterest. But can not recall the exact pin, but go search... there's tons!

Simple: Use an over-the-door shoe organizer on a coat closet door to keep hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, and headbands organized for winter.

Found this one at target for $13.99, here's the picture and link (it does say no longer available, but these things are can easily be found at various stores and online).

Over The Door Shoe Organizer

The number one BEST thing about this... the kids can do it all themselves! I don't have to spend time looking for their hats or gloves. Plus, I am NOT a retrieve or servant! It makes it their responsibility. Works about 90% of the time... sometimes there's still some misplaced items or kids will be kids and just be obstinate.

How I have it organized:

Very bottom row: all Luke's (21 mths) stuff
Next 2 rows up: the Big Boys stuff (ages 6 &4)
Then one row of not used as much items: Big Boys only use scarves really when playing outside not just general everyday use
The next 2 rows up to the top: Mine & Greg's items

Highly recommend. Try it if you have to space and you want to spend less time looking for stuff and have a way to help keep the kids involved and responsible for their stuff! It's worked out so well all winter... and anything that helps keeps things organized helps my sanity. Anything that helps my sanity gets two thumbs up!

Close the door and it's all nicely stored. Haven't decided if we'll just leave it like this, or change for summer. Don't think it'd be as full for summer... but maybe hats, sunglasses, or goggles? Hmmmm. Not sure. We'll see how it evolves when the time comes.

Hoping in doing a winter post that it'll will be done in the spotlight and will finally let spring come :)

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of aversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."
~ Anne Bradstreet (British poet, 1612-1672

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sixth Flaunt My Friend Friday! Kerstin!

Six weeks of meeting my friends so far! There are so many interesting people out there and they all have something they're really good at, something to teach, and something to share. Along the way, I've asked some people and some have volunteered. I'll throw out ideas, sometimes they already know exactly what they want to write...but I always say "whatever makes you proud, happy or you just plain want to share". I think we've gotten fantastic results. I do this all for fun, it makes me happy to flaunt these people to you. I'm just a small blog, a little island on the internet. While I always love to hear from you, my goal is never traffic, and never had my blog set up to earn money. I do it because I simply like it.

Today I introduce Kerstin to you! This gal is as real as they come. Always there with a "Heck yah" in celebration, a "Boo" in commiseration, and finds beauty in every day life no matter how mucky the day might of been. She knows her stuff and she's a force to be reckoned with when it comes for advocating for her son. Her creativity and passions know no bound.

Here's what she shared with us today...

I was going to write something fabulous. I had all kinds of ideas in my head…the craziness that is the special needs parenting gauntlet, educating an intellectual outlier, communication between couples, the importance of kindness, politics, advocacy….yeah. All really, really good ideas.

Try as I might they would not come together. Creativity is a slippery little creature. I did my due diligence, created outlines, had footnotes, etc. etc. et al ad nauseum and began each theme.

And erased it. Began and finished then erased that. Threw some more out. Almost sent one. Changed my mind no fewer than eleventy billion times. Started something and wound up in a really unexpected place. This one sounded angry, that one was just mean.

This is what happens when a Libra tries to write during Mercury retrograde.

Regardless, this came to me. If you are seeing it then it is meant for you.


I see you seeing yourself

Frowning, you lean in closer

You tilt your head, smooth an errant hair.

Now smiling.
Thank you so much Kerstin for sharing your original piece of poetic art!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

March 2013 Sensory Bin

It's almost mid March, it's almost St. Patrick's Day... I'm getting in just under the wire for this sensory bin!

The idea has been bouncing around in my head. I knew I wanted to use split green peas as my filler, I just kept forgetting to actually buy it.

There were only four bags left at the store... so I snagged them all for about a $1 a piece. I usually try not to spend any money on the bins. But, after we're done with them for this bin, I'm throwing them outside into the sand & water table for some spring fun!

I used a smaller bin this time (instead of the one I used for the January Winter Bin and the February Valentines Bin)... the split peas would of barely covered the bottom of the bigger one, and I wanted them to dig around more in this one.

I looked for anything with rainbows... can't find a single rainbow item in this house of boys! Except one unsharpened pencil with rainbow dots. I added some green and yellow items such as...

- 2 green nesting cups
- 2 green spoons
- a handful of gold coins
- a few yellow bricks (big chunks of gold)
- green & yellow pipe cleaners curled up curly-q like
- pair of green tongs
- a couple of holiday paper plates
- a green magnifying glass... the split green peas are interesting to look at
- and a book, "The Night Before St. Patrick's Day"

The reaction... Luke really is enjoying the scooping of the peas into the little green cups the most! Well, that AND dumping the on the floor. He's trying to put back in bin, but I'll definitely be vacuuming later ;) Evan was too busy playing Indiana Jones to come play when I was taking pics... but he's down here now while I'm typing this up and he's loving digging for the gold! P.S. These peas can make a mess!

"March is the month of expectation,
The things we do not know,
The Persons of Prognostication
Are coming now.
We try to sham becoming firmness,
But pompous joy
Betrays us, as his first betrothal
Betrays a boy."
- Emily Dickinson, XLVIII

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Check out the Punk Farm book! It Rocks!

I wanted to share with you a new (to me) author... Jarrett J. Krosoczka! Check out his site

Awhile ago this author/illustrator came to visit Jake's school and there was an opportunity to purchase a book and be autographed. It really impressed Jake that he showed them how he illustrated and the process of writing Punk Farm. Jake has been making little books even since... which is exactly what is stated on the website about his school visits... "Students will walk away with a new found passion for books and the motivation to begin writing their own stories."

I had never heard of these books, but decided on Punk Farm (not knowing that was the one that would be highlighted in the presentation at school)!

Very very cute, fun, rockin' book! This is not your parent's "Old MacDonald's". Love the illustrations.

All books autographed by the band... Jake's also autographed by the author
Love the bouncer horse for the barn concert

After their encore!

The boys thoroughly enjoy it, and I enjoy reading it in a rocking manner! Good times.

Jake posing with the book for me. If you look closely you'll see his lego "hearing aids"... some of his best buds have hearing aids. So he likes to make his own to wear at home. Cute AND cool kid!

Then we downloaded songs to go along with Punk Farm! More rocking good times. They rock out and dance all around!

There's also other great books... have read great reviews for the Lunch Lady book series for older children (ages 8/grade 3 and up) that he has as well!

I always like to share when something new comes our way that we enjoy. Plus I love books, can't help it!

"A room without books is like a body without a soul" - Cicero