Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fall Wrap Up

This fall has come and gone so quickly, but we enjoyed it to it's fullest. There were several trips to the cider mills in and around our house. We apple picked, made apple bread and sweet little mini apple pies. There were small town trick or treating events, a preschool party to not be missed and of course the big day itself. As you can see from the picture, by the time the 31st arrived, the boys were tuckered out. Or at least sick of all the pictures. I couldn't help but take advantage of the fact that they were still small enough to fit into shall we say a more "babyish" costume and easy going enough to not really care what costume they wore. They may have been a little old for these costumes but Mommy needed one last Halloween to cherish before the super hero, scarey guy costumes surface.

In November we had professional pictures taken of the boys. They came out beautifully but when we added up all the expenses, we decided to give our own camera a shot. The above photo was taken by Kevin, the perfect depiction of their silly and unique qualities. We were lucky enough to get some great shots. We'll still order some from the photographer, but now we don't have to spend a such a fortune. Note to self...become a professional photographer in my next life.
Thanksgiving was nice family day. We spent the earlier part of the afternoon with Kevin's family and then the second half of the day with my own. The boys love spending time with Grant and Claire. They have so much fun with them and Grant and Claire are such great role models for the boys. Two days after Thanksgiving was Claire's birthday and we all went to see The Muppets and have dinner together.

December will arrive in just a few short hours and we welcomed the Christmas season by attending the Big Bright Light show in downtown Rochester. We watched in the rain as Santa lit over 1.5 million lights lining Main Street. We've decked our halls, made a list for Santa, reunited with our Elf on the Shelf and started watching all of our favorite Christmas classics. Christmas will be here in just a few short weeks followed up by a very big day soon after. The boys 5th birthday.

I wish I could say I am excited. I'm not. I'm dreading it more than the fact that a week after they turn 5, I'll turn 36. Since before they were born, I've always used the age of 5 as my what if age. I wonder what they will look like when they are five? How will their personalities be at 5? How tall will they be, what will be their likes/dislikes, who will their friends be, etc.... Now it's here and I know all the answers to my questions. I've never imagined them much beyond 5 because 5 seemed so far away and it was always difficult to see my babies as anything else besides babies.

I want the past 5 years back to re-live all over again. I want to feel their soft fuzzy baby hair, wiggle those teeny, tiny toes, pluck a binky into their mouths and melt into them. I want it all back, learning to walk, hearing those first words, boring mundane days in the winter, exciting discoveries with each passing season. I'll even take the days that I felt like I was losing my mind.
I can see now just how important the work I was doing was. I often felt like I was so busy but at the end of the day I had not accomplished a thing. I was wrong. We gave them every bit of ourselves and enough love and affection to last a lifetime. In return we have two amazingly bright and every bit as loving little boys. They have beautiful spirits and a potential that cannot be measured.

Since we can't stop 5 from coming, we are going to do it up big. The boys have asked to have an Angry Birds party. I've been working on handmade decorations for the past month since there really aren't any Angry Bird party favors. We had previously planned a trip to visit my parents in Punta Gorda, FL this March, but plans have changed due to a wedding. So instead we are going to surprise the boys on their birthday with the news that we are going to go back to Disney. We are going to leave on my birthday, a week after their birthday. Kevin and I felt a bit strange about taking them back before it's even been a year yet. As I explained the apprehension to my sister she reassured me that I should take advantage of their age right now. She said she wishes she could have that time back with her kids to do it all over again and it didn't take much for her to convince me that you can't do Disney "too much" when they are this little.

So goodbye to fall and welcome to the upcoming winter. I won't wish you away like I have in the past because I need every precious day to create more memories with my three boys.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Swim class

The boys began their first swim lessons last month and not surprisingly, they love it. They seem to just love life in general and this was without exception. I know that sounds a bit nauseating, sorry about that! It can be a bit much when one doesn't exactly have the same energy levels as those two little guys.

Jake is our little daredevil and Anderson plays it safe. It seems I have inadvertently put their teacher on tilt. On the first day of class, they announced that all parents had to watch from the bleachers on the second level. Ummm....come again?!?!? The boys are total non swimmers, and even worse Jake thinks he is a swimmer. I needed to be close to them, I needed to know I was within arms reach of them if the teacher was distracted and didn't notice you know what ( I hate to even verbalize it). Keep in mind that the class has about a 6 to 1 ratio.

I took both boys by the hand and walked up to their instructor to introduce her to her "Totally non swimmers, as in can't float above water, only 4 years old, first swim lesson, and this one right here thinks he can swim and tries to swim whenever he can." I don't know, guess I must have come off a bit strong because this instructor is constantly glancing up in the bleachers at me during every class. She never lets either one out of her sight and if Jake makes an attempt to swim independently she quickly puts him back on the wall and looks to see if I'm watching.

I feel bad that she thinks I'm a total helicopter mom, cause really I'm not. I guess when it comes to their swim class, I am but we've all heard the horror stories of kids drowning in a pool full of adults. When it comes to protecting our kids, instincts just take over and damnit I just don't care what this chick thinks of me as long as she keeps my boys safe.

Pumpkin Festival

Anderson pumpkin bowling
Jake bowled with the potty shot method
Hayride Anderson and I
Anderson playing the old colonial day games...he was collecting eggs in his basket
Uncle and Jake
The cousins
This was our second year attending the pumpkin festival at Van Hoosen Farm which is just around the corner from our house. The boys really enjoyed it last year and had a great time again. Unfortunately we have all been feeling under the weather this past week, so our time there was cut short because Momma felt like passing out in the unusual heat combined with a head cold from hell.

We returned later that night because that is the best part of the whole festival. After hundreds of people spend the day carving their pumpkins and lining them up on the nearly two hundred year old stone wall you return at night to see them all lit. It's pretty magical, even when your thirty five years old. To see hundreds, if not a thousand lit jack o lanterns on this old stone wall surrounded by a street of historic homes's a sight to be seen and experienced. The boys love finding their pumpkin and then checking out all the creative pumpkins that people carved. They each had their favorites and you could just feel their excitement and wonder.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Fall Wreath

This was an easy project. I took an old wreath I had and covered it in burlap. This literally took about 3 minutes at most. I bought a couple of new stems from Michaeals, gold clearance pumpkins and some damask Halloween ribbon. It took some time to arrange and hot glue it all together. I'd say the trickiest part was the ribbon. I tried some online tutorials, but I just don't have the patience. I ended up just doing my own thing. I couldn't recreate it if I tried. Linking up to my favorite Friday night party.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Mantel

It's fall and it's my favorite time of the year. Today,I'm linking up to Layla's Fall Mantel party happening over at The Lettered Cottage. My mantel is definitely leaning to the Halloween side and that is for the little guys. A and J love them some Halloween almost as much as I do. We have a tradition that we started when they were babies. Right before they go to bed we bring up bins from the basement. While they are sleeping I decorate and in the morning they "discover" all the Halloween decorations around the house. They love it!

Showing up on the mantel is my beloved mercury glass. The candle stick is from PB and the pumpkin is from Home Goods. Looks just like the ones in the PB catalog but only cost me 12 dollars.

I found these adorable small "trick/treat" frames this weekend at a tiny town Harvest Festival. So easy to make...spray some dollar store frames, add some scrapbook paper and adhesive letters. I was going to borrow her idea, but she only wanted 15 dollars for the set so I cheated and bought hers.

I added a couple of pics from our entertainment center. I cut some branches off our Japanese maple tree to add some fall color. The bat candlestick holders are from Pier One. The candles bleed red. That's about as spooky as we get around here.

Here is a wider shot. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Not ready for takeoff

Summer isn't officially over, but it might as well be. As if on cue, cold and rainy weather rolled in simultaneously with the first day of school. I had a wonderful summer with the boys. We enjoyed babysitting for Grant and Claire twice a week, Wednesday playdates with their friend and meeting Daddy for lunch. We went to movies, threw rocks in the river, swam in our blow up pool and never missed a chance at some ice cream.

We've only been back to school for a week, but I'm already mourning those lazy summer days. I'm fortunate to yet again have a flexible part time work schedule this school year. The boys started their second year of preschool last week. They go twice a week for a full day. So far things are going well. They have a new teacher and new friends and best of all a much smaller class. Today their teacher complimented them telling me what good and sweet boys they are. My heart swelled.

It saddens me to think this is the last year the boys will stay sheltered at home. In just a short year, they will be off to Kindergarten and no longer spend a majority of their lives safe within the confines of their beloved home coddled by their family. I don't want them to go, I don't want this time in their (our) lives to end. I want them little and starry eyed forever.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

For the boys

Anderson's Space Mural

His tiny gallery wall. We love his spacey clock.


Jake's Star Wars Mural

Some Star Wars subway art I found online for free. I just printed it up at Costco. It has the names of all the characters.

I had been putting off decorating the boys' rooms for quite some time. I was overly worried about committing to some kind of theme for their room because their interests are constantly changing. Making their room their own had been nagging on me for months and finally I decided to just move forward with it. I let them take the lead.

Jake had been showing some interest in Star Wars for quite some time now. He's never even actually seen the movie, but he has some books and Kevin let the boys watch just a few snippets of R2D2 and C3PO. It wasn't long before Jake was asking for a "Star Wars" room. To him that meant having R2D2 painted on his wall. I've been eyeing the Star Wars Pottery Barn line and even made a couple trips to the outlet but always left empty handed. Things were either for the wrong size bed or too expensive to justify. Lucky for Jake, he has a talented Grandma who spent nearly a week painting an R2D2 and C3PO mural on his wall. We found the Star Wars logo on Etsy. It is just vinyl for the wall that we applied next to the mural.

Anderson's choice was a bit trickier. He wanted a "Zoobles" room. For those that don't know, zoobles are little creature toys that roll into a ball and pop back open. There is no such thing as zoobles decor or even books to use as a reference. Instead Anderson decided he wanted an Outer Space room. I quickly found some items to use in his room. I brought them home after shopping for the afternoon and little Anders was so grateful and appreciative. He loved everything I had gotten and thanked me many times over. His Grandma Merris painted his wall to his specific requests. Those included a spaceship, an alien, a shooting star, and a robot to name a few.

The boys are very fortunate that their Grandma is so talented. I know she enjoyed every minute of creating the murals for them and that makes it all the more special for them.

Not your ordinary breakfast

If we didn't insist otherwise, the boys would dine like this daily.
I envy their inhibition and innocence.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Family Rules Free Printable

View from in the kitchen

View from the living room

This took me forever to create, but that was because it was the first time I ever did something like this in Picasa. I enjoyed learning as I went and I'm very happy with the final result. Our family rules are...

Always tell the truth
Be Forgiving

Say I love you

Laugh Often

Play Nice

Put family first

I'm sure the boys will be reminding us and eachother of the rules often. They have a knack for that kind of thing. If you are interested in printing one of your own, you can find a high resolution copy of it here. I printed mine in a 16x20 and bought my frame from IKEA. Linking up to Tatertots and favorite linky party of the week! Thanks for hosting every week, Jen!

ETA...also linking up to delicate CONSTRUCTION.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My very first feature

I was featured at a blog called Corner House yesterday. Check it out here!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Playroom Alphabet Bunting

I'm loving the different buntings I've been seeing all over the great blogs I frequent. I decided to make an alphabet version of my own for the boys' playroom. I just headed up to Michaels and found some patterned scrap booking paper and got to work. The scrapbook set actually included a page that had different font letters on it, so I just cut those right out. Then I layered the letters onto solid print cardstock, cut out my triangles, and glued it all together. The last step was to hole punch them and thread some ribbon through the holes. I love how it all came together.

I also repurposed the blue shelves we had in there originally and replaced them with IKEA expedit shelves. The blue shelves are now being used as storage in the playroom closet. I found the guitar art on major clearance at Michaels and framed it with an IKEA frame. It will eventually be hung on the wall, I just haven't gotten around to that yet.

I added a map you can see on the right. The boys enjoy finding where they live, where we've vacationed and of course California...the home of Lightning McQueen.

I also painted some MDF letters I found at Michaels to add some interest to their reading area. I have some matching yellow curtains to hang and I'm contemplating replacing their toy bins with a more industrial/locker look. One project at a time. I'm happy to report that the boys are enjoying their newly decorated space! Linking up to Tatertots and Jello for the weekend wrap up party and The Lettered Cottage for Home May'd.

The Lettered Cottage

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Little Dragons

The boys had their first Karate lesson last week. They are in a trial period right now to see if they have the interest level and maturity to join the little dragons class. They both absolutely love it and oh my goodness do they look adorable in those little outfits! I was proud of how well they did in class. Not only did they follow the directions and do what was asked of them, but they were just exuding pure joy and excitement. We go back tomorrow for our second class and I'm hopeful they will do just as well. Both of them have been practicing counting in Japanese and can't wait to show their teacher what they've learned.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Creating My Own Space

This our den. It has served no other function except as a dumping ground for misfit furniture. We moved into our home 8 months ago and it just kinda became the spot for all the furniture that just didn't have a spot in our new home. As you can see it also houses about 100 ft. of cable and Internet cords and let's not forget the random hockey net as well.

It is a beautiful room architecturally with the wainscoting, wood floors, and large bay window so I knew I owed it to her to dress her up a bit. I wanted to create a work space for my sewing machine and some crafting. It also had to be feminine and outside my comfort zone. Most of our home is fairly neutral so color was at the forefront for me.

The fun part was I didn't want to spend any money on reinventing the room. We had a pair of old leather couches that weren't being used so I put them up on Craigslist for 400 dollars. I sold them in just a week for $375. I now had my budget for my mom cave.
This desk is about 8 years old that we purchased from Cost Plus World Market. The original chair broke so this teeny tiny red Ikea chair was its replacement. The shelf on the right was bought at Target years ago. I decided a new desk would eat up too much of my 375 dollar budget, so I would attempt my first furniture painting by re doing the desk.

The two things I knew for sure that had to go were the rug and the accent pillows. Eight years of the squares and circles was enough. I would have loved to have replaced the love seat and chair with something more light and bright, but with 375 dollars that just wasn't going to happen. My focus was painting the desk, finding a new chair for the desk, an area rug and new accessories for the room. Here is what I came up with.......

The rug came first. I searched high and low in stores and on line for a rug that would compliment the sage couches and it appeared to be a lost cause. I had resigned myself to a solid cream rug on Overstock but thought I'd give Pier One one more try. Buried deep behind several other rugs I saw something creamy sticking out. The rug had been repackaged and the picture on the package looked promising. The only problem was that it was 300 dollars. I had a 20 percent off coupon so I figured I'd at least bring it home to try it out. I was pleasantly surprised when the sales associate told me my total was 50 dollars and some change. What?!?!? I was no longer bringing it home to try it out....I was going to make this work. Now I had my color pallette to work with and the rest just fell into place.
The accent pillows are from Pier One and Home Goods. The yellow ones I already owned. The shelves on the wall I picked up for $2 from a garage sale. I just sprayed them with some of Rustoleum's Heirloom White. I also already had the mirror above the couch and the lamp. Note the hot pink throw on the chair. It has a great ruffle texture and the color was perfect. The throw is from TJ Maxx and was on clearance. The chalkboard was originally red and in our kitchen, I sprayed that as well.


Love this beautiful bird pillow from Pier One. I found the chair at K-mart of all places. The nailhead trim and distressing on it are quite nice. The chair cost twice as much as the rug.

I primed, painted, sealed and distressed the desk. It didn't go quite as I planned but it turned out nice nonetheless. Not bad for a first time experience. Now I know a bit more for the next project
I had a great time recreating this space. I have to say the best part was setting a budget and getting creative to stay within the budget. Most things that I bought were on clearance. I actually have about 30 dollars left in my budget for more accessories. I was able to take couches that were collecting dust and use the money to create a bright and cheery space that I can call my own.
I'm linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick's Before and After party, Evolution of Style and Tatertots and Jello. Come check out all the great projects!