Monday, June 28, 2010

Flying without my cape

I'm a single parent for a week, flying without my Super Cape - my husband is half-way around the world in South Korea for a conference this week. Oy! He left at o-dark-early on Friday morning and I think arrived in Seoul around 1:30 am EST Saturday morning - poor hubby :( So as I'm typing this, I've survived 3 full days of summer with my kids. I'm wondering if this knot in my back is permanent, or if it will go away when the kids go back to school?

My point in mentioning this, blogging friends, is please pardon my absence - I miss seeing what you all are up to, but honestly I have NO idea where the days are going - well, I do - they're being eaten alive by my job as SAHM, and the fact that Sarah has now discovered PBSkids.org and wants to play games so I'm fighting for computer time to do what needs to be done as well as what I WANT to do. Wonder when we will need more than one method of internet access? I'm guessing soon....

So I have some randomness for you, since I haven't done any sewing or taken any pictures of what I have done, or even managed to deal with the yard sale leftovers from a month ago - let alone all the end of school stuff sitting on my dining room table for the last two weeks - so here goes:

- Evie and William have been playing 'Punch Buggy'. Or, more like Evie has been playing Punch Buggy and hitting William whenever she sees a Volkswagen. Apparently Matt was familiar with this game growing up - I only remember it from recent commercials. Let's just say it's one more area where William is a bit lost - Eagle Eye Evie's always been very savvy and aware of things whereas William is more of a thinker and lost in his own head. Which is not to say he's not competitive, so the fact that he NEVER sees a VW first just crushes him. We've tried banning the game (didn't work), telling them not to punch, until finally I've resorted to helping William along or just calling them myself. Although Matt did tell me that when he was out with William the other day, William saw one, took a look at Matt & said "You're kind of big - I don't think I want to hit you." He's a smart boy :)

- I took the kids to see Toy Story 3 Sunday afternoon, as it's been so hot here (102 in the car today - we didn't go outside at all!) Great movie. Interestingly, at bed time Evie was asking me about college & how long it takes, how long you're gone, & all that. I explained how it all works to her & then she told me she's going to get her degree online, so she doesn't have to leave home. I guess ever. We'll see how long that lasts :) I'm sure by the time that day rolls around she'll be chomping at the bit to get the heck out of Dodge!

- Have you ever seen this bit of awesomeness? Our church was taking pictures for the new directory early this month and seeing as how we hadn't participated before (I think the last time this rolled around I was due to give birth to Jason in 2 weeks and there was NO WAY NO HOW I was having THAT image immortalized for the entire congregation to see, should they have chosen to look - the horror!) we thought this time around we were up for the challenge.

And here is the best of the best of our pictures, which came in the mail last week. I have to say I was instantly reminded of that blog post when I opened the envelope :) This scan actually looks pretty good color-wise, but the print in person looks very 'blue'. Matt's expression was absolutely identical in every shot, and I think this shot is the only one where Evie's eyes are open and William isn't making a goofy face. Jason is sitting on my lap because otherwise he was curled up in a ball facing the backdrop, and Sarah is laughing that big laugh because of the photographer and his stuffed monkey. At least I think it was a monkey.

After the pictures were taken, Matt ran off for an appointment and I, in all my educated smartness, decided to take the 4 to the Chinese restaurant by myself for some crappy Chinese food (the only kind they serve). That was a disaster - we had spilled juice, small people crawling under the table, and no music playing to mask some of the noise we were making. Or, I thought that was a disaster until I tried to take them to Mario's Pizza for dinner Friday (no, Mario, Luigi and Bowser will not be there, they are not REAL) and we ended up bolting because Sarah turned into Linda Blair before my very eyes because she wanted to sit next to William and he didn't care to oblige - we didn't even sit down, she was making so much noise. Let's just say I will not be going back to Mario's for a very long time, if ever.

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. Thanks for letting me vent & Happy Monday :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lazy Hazy Days

If you know me in person, you know I love my phone. I think that love has doubled since I've discovered the Hipstamatic app - it turns your iphone into a vintage camera. Thank you Laura for posting your pictures to Facebook and introducing me to this fantastic app. Somehow my life looks 'better' through the distorted lens of fake-time (not to mention you can't see my white hairs and old face as much...I'll be wearing a hat to the pool today until I get these roots covered...)Father's Day was good, we sat on the deck a good bit and Matt & I had margaritas. YUM. It's been hot here, up to 95 today, and this is supposed to continue through the weekend. I can't get over how brown the grass is - it usually isn't this bad until late July, and we could really use some rain.Sarah is going to Vacation Bible School for the first time, with the big kids, and I think it may be having somewhat of an impact on her desire to use the potty. She's gone a few times without prompting, and actually asked to be changed twice yesterday & brought me a fresh pull-up and the wipes. Baby steps in the right direction, before she never really cared. I'm hoping that she's starting to see that she and Jason are NOT the same age, that she's bigger than him, and take the next step to get into underwear soon. (And then MAYBE he'll follow along!)
We've been going to the park every morning while Evie's at swim team, there's this fantastic 2 mile path that runs through a treed area right next to the playground - it's so cool there in the shade. Unfortunately, my little two don't really want to walk on the nice, cool path, they'd rather be baking in the sun on the playground equipment. William's a trooper - he would walk or hike forever I think. Matt took E&W hiking on Sunday morning - Evie complained the entire way while William didn't want to leave. Why are we always pleasantly surprised by him?
So we walk on the path, play on the playground, and wait for Evie to be finished.
Then William has his lesson, and the rest of us color in the shade and have a snack while we wait for him. These are my summer mornings for the next seven weeks; no wonder the days are flying by! Afternoons are nice though - having two nappers forces us to be home during the heat of the day and relax a bit, and it allows me to get my bearings before the big push through dinner and bedtime. I will miss those two quiet hours when they are gone...I'm enjoying my time with Jason in the evening while the other three are at the church. This is the first time I've had any time alone with just him EVER, and it's really really nice. This fall when Sarah is in preschool 3 mornings a week, he and I are going to have lots of fun. Because he's my little buddy - and perhaps my favorite (for the moment anyway) - and I think the feeling's mutual. Even if he hated the skirt I was wearing yesterday and didn't mince words in telling me so. Stinker :)
Sad Jason - new batteries can't fix everything, if the toy is just broken :(

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bathroom Remodel Part 2 - A room with a view!

3 months in, and it's time for an update on the remodel of our master bathroom! Matt opened the wall in our master bath back in March to install a pocket door, which went pretty well but hasn't been 'finished' because of the other work that's been going on in there. Since then he's been working (in between his job, soccer, life, family stuff, yadda yadda) on making the built-in cabinet for storage in the 'toilet room', and this weekend he installed my window - yay! Here's the story in pictures....
Late Wednesday afternoon he opened the bathroom wall from the inside to frame it out for the window.

Interesting thing, the floor plans showed a window here - and sure enough, there was framing there to accomodate a 20" window - Matt just had to remove that center stud and add a horizontal piece at the bottom. Wonder if the builder forgot to order a window or it was just framed wrong...

The best overall 'view' of what we're talking about here, given the lenses that we have

Before...

Removing the siding...

And after the hole is cut!

The small people were VERY excited about the hole in the house :)

My new view :)

Of course, I'd have to stand on the toilet and look down to see this...

Let there be light! and the top of Sarah's head...

Here's the pocket door. The drywall is finished on the inside, but the outside was left open until Matt had finished framing out the storage cabinet. We're going to put some 'frosted glass' vinyl on the lights of the door.

Matt, ready to put the window in



I made him take some pictures of the cabinet-in-progress from the outside, as you can't get a full length pic of the whole thing from inside the bathroom. I cannot WAIT to fill up all those shelves with towels, toilet paper & all the what-not stuffed under our bathroom sinks...

The window is in!


And it's as if it was always there :)

I can't tell you how much of a difference it makes to me to have some natural light in that small room. It's always been very dark and dreary. I can just picture that window sill with some small cobalt-colored bottles sitting there to catch and reflect the light :)

The next step will be to finish that little room - make the cabinet doors & put in the wainscot that I dearly want & have discovered that I can now have - thanks to the fact that the walls aren't straight & Matt needs to adjust his plan for the frame on the cabinet - and finish the trim around the new window. We're going to 'finish' that part of the room except for the floor before we tackle the main bathroom, mainly because we're trying to keep it functional as long as we can, and also because we're figuring out what the next step is as we go. I will say, once the shower and tile all gets ripped out, we'd better have a plan in place it get it put back together quickly because I'm sure NEITHER of us wants to be using the girls' bath for very long...
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I hope everyone had a terrific weekend, I know we did - I had dinner and a show with the ladies Friday evening, we saw Showboat at the local university's summer music theater; Matt had the window finished by 11:30 on Saturday morning & he then helped me get the kids ready for the pool - my first trip with the 4, it went surprisingly well, I may try it again - before he took his motorcycle out for a bit. Saturday night we had a babysitter & walked downtown to my favorite restaurant for dinner (I did not cook and ate out TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW! You'd think it was Mother's Day...) and then Sunday we didn't really do much of anything. Which sometimes is the best thing to do of all :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Break!

The kids are finished school! Wahoo! Or, Dear Lord please help me get through the summer with my sanity intact :)

So we're off to a banging start. Somewhere in my head I thought dismissal was at 12:45 on Wednesday, and that the kids would be back sometime shortly after 1pm. So around 11:30 I took S&J off to run a few errands in town and pick up some balloons to greet E&W at the bus stop with. We got back around 12:15, I made them lunch & then got down to coloring in a poster for Evie and William, planning to meet them at the bus with the balloons and the poster & the little kids.

Damn if the doorbell doesn't ring at 12:50, Evie and William home from school. Crap! I do this EVERY SINGLE TIME they have early dismissal. WHY do I always think it's at 12:45 and not 12:30??

Anyway, the balloons were a hit with everyone, as were the Mrs. Field's ice cream sandwiches, in their choice of Oreo cookie or chocolate chip (I preferred the oreo, myself.) I do get bonus points for buying 5 balloons instead of 4, in case one popped. Evie popped hers within 5 minutes of being in the house - by accident, of course :) I lose those points for not taking any pictures.

One thing that kind of struck me this afternoon, while they were eating their ice cream, Evie asked why I was so happy. I know I need to work on my attitude a fair amount, but how to explain to your 8 year old that it's a moment in time that's exciting & fun whereas the rest of the time she's always arguing with me about every.damn.thing.under.the.sun while I'm trying to get through what needs to be done with the house/chores/little kids/make dinner/yadda yadda yadda. I WISH I were a bit (ie: a great deal) more laid back, but we have to play the hand we're dealt I suppose.

After dinner and blowing off steam outside for a few, the girls got glitter toes and then all were off to bed. No rest for the weary, swim team starts first thing at 9am today and continues through the first week of August. Hopefully my bag of tricks is well-stocked to keep small people entertained, and I've got the camera packed to take pictures of all the happenings, in case anything wild and exciting - maybe the bear shows up? - happens, or if Jason's looking especially cute :)
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Monday evening Evie and William had a piano recital, Evie's second and William's first. I get SOOOOOO nervous for them! I hate that feeling in the pit of my stomach, I used to have it whenever I had to play solo in public - UGH. I'm always afraid they'll mess up and be embarrassed - because I've been there and it sucks - but I forget that they are not-quite 7 and not-quite 9 and things don't affect them the same way. Anyway - I think they ROCKED!

Here's William - he was one of the younger kids there, has been taking lessons for one year, and I believe may have been one of the youngest ones to play two songs from memory:



And here's Evie - girlfriend REALLY surprised me - she always RACES through her songs when she practices & sometimes stumbles through her lessons, so I was really happily surprised to see what a great job she did - go Evie!



Sorry for the crappy iphone video, but I really have no idea how to get the video off the HD video camera, and really don't feel like devoting the time to it :) Also - that kid in the front row in the orange shirt? His parents were two rows in front of us and in every.single.picture I took, he's turned around, mouth open, trying to talk to them. Memories :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Whole lot of nothing

Nothing much going on today. Ok that's not exactly true - I have a mountain of dirty clothes on the dining room floor to push through the wash today, and it's sheet day! I get to bang my head on the boys' bunkbeds again. Yay! Although I've finally stopped changing Jason's sheets every week and just wash the pillow cases, because he doesn't actually sleep IN his bed, he curls up in the corner against the wall on top of the comforter. It's really just a big crib.

I also have half-finished projects scattered everywhere. My attempt to spray paint some candle holders is not turning out quite the way I hoped (crappy, not crafty) and I'm still trying to figure out what to do to add some color to the girls' new towels for their bathroom, so nothing to show you there.

So in lieu of anything super-fantastic-creative to show you, here's a video of my little people make sandwiches Friday afternoon while we had the rugs cleaned. I can't believe how big they're getting.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Welcome to MayBEARy

Camping out is something we've wanted to do with the kids for a while now - Evie and William are so into video games & electronic entertainment that we thought camping and getting away from all that would be really good for us as a family, and we figured we needed to start them young - WAY younger than I was at 12 when my parents bought the pop-up (Hi, Dad!) We bought a tent at Costco the spring after Jason was born and that summer Matt yard-camped with the big kids a few times while I stayed in the house with the little two.

Last summer, for whatever reason, it didn't happen - we had a cool, rainy start to the summer & then things just got busy.

Now that Jason is no longer in a crib, we figured this was a great time to get started - camp out in the yard to get everyone used to it and figure out what we need at a bare minimum (which would apparently include an inflatable queen-size mattress for the the old geezers of the bunch) before we attempt to actually travel away from the comfort of our home (I will also need coffee - preferably decent coffee - ready immediately upon waking - any ideas on how to manage that?)

Over Memorial Day weekend we (ie: Matt, of course! - with some 'help' from Jason) pitched our tent in the backyard and slept under the stars. Oh my gosh the moon was HUGE at about 4am! Anyway - here's the blurry proof, courtesy of my phone, that a good time was had by all:
The picture Matt took of me was immediately deleted due to its horrific nature, but you get the idea. I was amazed, Sarah and Jason did really great & slept through the night outside - I thought surely one of them would want to come in.

So the plan was to do this in our yard a few times. I don't think we're going to be doing that anymore, at least for a while....



That, my friends, is about a 200 lb black bear eating the bird seed out of my neighbor's bird feeder, as seen from his kitchen window. People, this is like 40 feet from my deck (give or take). We don't live in the woods, we live in a neighborhood IN TOWN. Granted, there are woods directly behind our house but they aren't extensive (or so I thought.) I would like to know what wildlife/nature show is punking us and releasing all the animals around my house to freak me out??

The police came & talked to everyone and today the local TV station came by and interviewed Matt and our neighbor & they were on the evening news! Here's the link to the article and the video - I have no idea how long it will be up & haven't figured out if we can save it somehow or not, but check it out! It's short and won't take too much time :)

Needless to say, my children will not be playing outside unattended for a while, nor will I be running in the wee dark hours of the morning (like that ever really happened anyway) and hopefully Mr. Bear will not find anything to eat around here and move along to someplace more appropriate for him. I'll take the bunnies, squirrels and deer, but the snakes, groundhogs and most especially BEAR can just MOVE ALONG, thankyouverymuch!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Countdown to Summer Break

I took the kids for a bike ride this evening. Well - everyone but Sarah, as she didn't want to ride in the bike trailer with Jason (who loves it, by the way - but then, he's the easy-going one.) So we left Sarah behind with Dad and the rest of us were off.

What a disaster. William is still getting up at the crack of dawn- maybe earlier. He has black-out curtains in his east-facing room, so daylight isn't waking him up. He also has a clock in his room & we've instructed him not to come out before 6-3-0. Matt came down for work Thursday of last week at 5:10am and found him in the basement playing Wii. I had to practically roll him out of bed for school at 7:25, he was so sacked out after Matt sent him back to bed that morning. But back to our ride...

William is exhausted, and when he gets tired, he gets weepy. Everything makes him cry. He was in tears because Jason had his new sandals on but William didn't know where his were (um, how about 'Hey Mom, where are my new sandals??') Anyway - off we went on our ride around our neighborhood. We went maybe a total of 1-1/2 miles, if that, and in the process William
  1. Started crying because he thought we'd left him behind
  2. Fell off his bike
  3. Raced up to a corner and almost knocked a little girl off her bike
  4. Almost ran into Evie
  5. Almost ran into me
  6. Ran into Evie and bent the fender on her bike
  7. Fell over in the middle of the street after almost crashing into me
  8. Raced ahead, went to make a sweeping turn in the middle of the road to turn around and look for us while not noticing the approaching car
Now, imagine me yelling at him the entire way, because of course I'm worried that he's going to get hurt, and also he's acting like a bit of a doofus and I'm embarrassed - but I guess I should know by now that's par for the course for Momhood. Principle Number 1- Be Prepared to Be Embarrassed Daily By Your Offspring. We did make it home alive, after I'd banished William to sidewalk riding only. Matt has since removed the Wii and Xbox from the basement playroom.

In the meantime, we have 7-1/2 days of school to go here in Mayberry, until the true test of my parental fortitude begins.

Instead of trying to entertain Sarah and Jason at the soccer field on Saturday mornings, I will be entertaining Sarah and Jason and William at the pool every morning for 7 weeks. I hit all the $1 sections of Target, Michaels and Joann fabrics last week stocking up on crafts to keep in my 'pool craft bag'.

Sarah and William will be doing swimming lessons every morning after swim team, so then I'll be entertaining Evie and Jason for 30 minutes. (William tried out for swim team last week - apparently, he gets his natural ability from me, whereas Evie takes after her dad...)

We really do have a packed summer ahead. The last week of June is Vacation Bible School in the evenings - and they take 3 year olds! No word yet on if they have to be potty trained...(do you think that would be enough incentive for Sarah? I'm a pessimist so I say NOT).

My younger sister and her family are coming for the 4th of July, and Matt's sister is coming in mid-July with her family so she and I can learn to ride motorcycles - VROOM VROOM!

Evie's doing a pottery camp, Hogwarts camp (I hope she's not disappointed, expecting real magic...), and her first Girl Scout sleep-away camp - 3 nights in August! while William will be headed to a morning basketball camp one week and Let's Get Cooking! camp...

We just planned a last minute trip to visit The Mouse for the very first time, we will be driving to Disney World in August for a few days - I've been really itching to get Evie and William down to the Magic Kingdom before they get too much bigger to really enjoy it, and I can't wait for Jason to meet Mickey Mouse in person - hopefully he won't be terrified - Mickey is his very favorite Mouse :)
And finally, my mom is coming to visit the weekend before we head back to school and our fall whirlwind of birthdays for everyone in our family with the exception of Matt, our lone spring birthday.

So - with ALL that going on, surely the summer will fly by, right? I've decided to treat lunch time like the schools do - I'm going to serve a different lunch each day, but everyone has to eat the same thing - I'm done playing short-order cook and making 4 lunches to each individual's taste every day. Like it or lump it!

And as summer is flying by and my children are making my hair ever-whiter, I clearly won't have time to color it every 3 weeks like I have been - I'm thinking about just letting it go white.

What do you think the chances are I would look as cool as Storm, and not like the Old Lady who was staring back at me from the bathroom mirror last week at the movie theater? Pre-root touch-up, of course - I REALLY need to stay on top of that - or invest in a bunch of hats - or wigs...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Girls' bathroom makeover!

You know, I should really know better by now - things take 10 times longer than you plan, always. I painted the girls' bathroom this weekend!

My plan was to have it all prepped and ready to go by Friday evening. I'd paint the first coat while the kids watched a movie with Dad, paint the second coat Saturday morning, the trim at nap time, then get it all put back together before bedtime Saturday. Hah! :)

The reality of it was, we didn't do ANY prep on Friday, so I spent most of Saturday washing the walls & waiting for the spackle in the holes from the old towel bar to dry. Went to paint the ceiling & realized we didn't have any roller covers left so I gave up Saturday as a lost cause. I took William to see Alice in Wonderland & we went to Lowes after the movie.

So I spent pretty much all day on Sunday - the most beautiful day of our weekend, thank you very much - painting. 3 coats of paint in all. We tried to not have so much left over so we only bought 2 quarts, but that was just barely enough to do 2 coats of this pale, pale pink over a darker blue, so Matt ended up running out Sunday afternoon for more paint. I should have primed it, but hindsight is always 20/20. Anyway, on to pictures!!!

Here's mostly what we started with. There was a duck shower curtain in here, but I'd pulled that down before the yard sale, and Matt had already replaced the shower rod for me with one of those curved hotel ones. What you can't see in the pictures is how beat up and chippy the baseboards are, and the funk all over the walls from Evie's hot showers. This was one of the first rooms we painted & after 7 years it really needed a do-over.


And the after! I wish I had a better lens to take better pictures in this teeny tiny bathroom, but we work with what we have. I LOVE LOVE LOVE how it turned out! I picked out the shower curtain (Target!) first, and then went from there. I think the wall color (Quebec Calm, Lowes) looks a bit darker in the pictures than it actually is. We replaced the double towel bar with hooks I found at Target on clearance for half price. The frames were in the dollar section at Target (can you tell I like Target?) in a 3 pack for $1.50. E for Evie, S for Sarah, G for guest...

Two things I haven't finished yet, I'm working on some pictures to hang over the hand towel where the prints of the ducks used to be, and I want to do something with the new towels so the girls (and we) can tell them apart - maybe some colored stitching - we'll see.

Good morning, Sarah!Sarah, who was checking in and watching my progress all day Sunday, is very very happy with
her new pink bathroom - pink is her favorite color :)

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