Friday, May 27, 2011

Keep Austin Weird! - A Contest

The ladies from Harried Mom of Four, Impulsive Addict, JennyKate's Spot, Seriously Shawn, The Texas Darlings and The V-Spot just spent a fun weekend in Austin, Texas.


Keepin' Austin Weird from Rebecca Darling on Vimeo.

Keep Austin Weird is Austin's slogan... so the six of us tried to do our part!  We shared our senses of humor, a lot of laughs and a ton of off the cuff comments {some too inappropriate to share here}. We decided to write down the funny comments that were said and turn them into a contest for all of our readers. The winner will receive Austin souvenirs, picked out by all six of us.

The contest is very easy. Below you will find six quotes. Match up the quote with who you think said it.  For example, if you think blogger A was the person who said quote #4, your answer is A=4. Leave your match-ups for A-F in ONE comment.

This contest is running on all six blogs, but there is no need to leave multiple entries, but go and visit all of these fab ladies. At the end of the contest, the reader with the most correct answers (or ties for the most correct answers) from each blog will have their name entered in a drawing. The random drawing will be held on Friday June 3rd and the winner will be announced that same day. (Then they can watch their mail box for the six separate little Austin-gifts that will be coming their way...)

Sounds fun, yes?   Here we go...


A. Becca- The Texas Darlings
B. JennyKate- JennyKates Spot
C. Jen-Harried Mom of Four
D. Vivienne- The V-Spot
E. Seriously Shawn
F. Impulsive Addict

Who said it...?
1.} Well clearly he wants to play a game called Just The Tip!
2.} Oh, that's even worse sober!
3.} He looks like a porn-star with that phony-tail and a 9th grade mustache!
4.} I'd rather be juvenile than an old fart!
5.} I think I just peed on my shoes a little.
6.} I don't know how to knick-knack my house so I don't know how to knick-knack me.

Have fun and good luck!

Jen :)

Here are some more quotes, just because they're too funny to go unmentioned!

* Did I shower last night? {Vivienne}
* No more free drinks! {JK}

* We brought the flats {Mimi Mamarazzi out last night but they got wet. {Becca}
* I've always wanted fallopian tube art! {Vivienne}
* We had pizza last night...right? {Vivienne}
* I can't get it in the hole, Shawn. {JK}
* I might have just tinkled a little. {JK}
* I just drank matches. {IA}
* Tapas? I don't want to go to a topless restaurant! {Shawn}
* When I get waxed I yell Bradley Cooper! {Shawn}
* Either I'm in a disco or this room is spinning. {JK}

* Walk away while you still can Tony Rogers {a comedian we ran into while having pizza at 4 in the morning}, we will suck you in! {JK}

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bathroom Remodel Part 6: It is finished. Mostly!

I can hardly believe I'm saying this, but the bathroom is finished - for the most part :) The doors need to be painted, and some other trim as well, but mirrors are hung, grout is sealed, and Matt took the first shower today! I have to say, my bathroom, which I was never really crazy about, now makes me very, very happy. I have a thing for houses, and changing them and making them my own - this is probably the biggest thing we've done to date, and I'm thrilled with how it turned out! If you want to see the original bathroom, click here. All posts mentioning the bathroom can be found here. Otherwise, take a look!:

We ripped out the white builder's grade cabinets and laminate vanity and replaced it with cherry cabinets in an espresso finish, with venatino marble for the counter top and backsplash.
Light fixtures are Pottery Barn's Mercer collection in polished chrome. I think I got the last two on ebay. After spending an eternity looking for mirrors, I ended up ordering silver leaf frames from pictureframes.com in a custom size, and then had beveled mirrors cut to fit. This was the last piece of the puzzle, and I'm thrilled with them :)
Clear glass shower door opens into the tiled stall; all plumbing fixtures are from Kohler's Bancroft line, as well as the robe hook and towel bars.
The pocket door leading to the water closet will have frosted glass film on it, as soon as I can get to that :)
And here's some more pictures! I think I may just move in here for a few days and not come out :)


Window in the water closet is now cased, and I have a sill deep enough to put some pretties on...
Yes, there is a mirror across from the shower. Fun!
Another view from inside the shower.
So we survived our bathroom remodel, even if there are bits and pieces still to be finished up. I think we're taking a break from big projects for a bit, lots of things have gone by the wayside while we've been swamped with this - and soccer, and kids, and life - you know how that goes. That is not to say, however, that I'm not already planning what that next project will be :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I should have seen this coming...and we have baby robins :)

It was bound to happen. And I think in the back of my mind, I knew it was going to - I just didn't want to face it. Jason - my baby, my sweet boy, my little buddy - is turning into a big boy with big ideas of his own, and he doesn't want to go to bed at night. And he's being ugly about it.

Trying to tuck him in at night and give him a kiss is becoming a joke, as he kicks and fusses and yells, and won't stay in bed. He tells me he hates me and blows raspberries in my face. I'm trying to blame it on the full moon, but I'm afraid it's more that he's 3-1/2 and our baby-moon is over :(
I'm starting to wonder if I have a favorite anymore :) Not that he isn't still very sweet - if I'm upset, he's the one that comes running to make me feel better - but those days when I hung the moon and was the center of his world are over. I'm not sure I was ready for that yet.
The upside to this is the fact that Jason will let Matt help him with things more now than he ever used to, which of course makes things easier for both of us. And while I know he'll always be my baby - it still is a fist in my heart to watch him get bigger every week :)

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We've been patiently waiting these last two weeks while our Mama Robin sat on her eggs, and on Tuesday we discovered we had babies! All four eggs have hatched, and we have blind little baby birds nesting in our play fort :)
It's the funniest thing - they instinctively pop up and open their mouths when the nest moves, as they think Mama is back with food for them - when in reality it's just us climbing up to take a peek :)
I only hope we can keep the kids out of there long enough for them to jump out of the nest on their own and be big enough to fly off on their way :) At which point the fort will need a good cleaning.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Too busy obsessing to blog...and no, the bathroom isn't finished yet.

I think I've mentioned in the past that I'm a hypochondriac. Usually I can keep it pretty much under control, but recently I've been obsessed with the idea that something is really, really wrong. The mind (or my mind, anyway) has an amazing ability to blow things completely out of proportion. It's not a cold, it's pneumonia. My back doesn't hurt, I'm riddled with sudden onset cancer. Of course, none of this is funny to people who really are battling horrible things - but the internet is a wild and dangerous place for the person who tries to self-diagnose. Some have been known to actually faint :) I haven't gotten there yet - and I'm hoping this phase will pass soon, as it can be all-consuming. I guess since we're finishing up with the bathroom, I needed something else to obsess about, so why not my health??
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So the bathroom is pretty much done, with the exception of the mirrors over the sinks and some trim paint - I have the mirror frames, and am just waiting on the mirrors to be cut and beveled so we can hang them, hopefully this week! Matt cleaned up the grout on Saturday & we should be able to seal it by Tuesday night, and then it needs to cure for 3 days (I think) before we use it - which will be just in time for me to fly out of town on Friday to meet up with Shawn, Jenny Kate, Vivienne, Becca, and Impulsive Addict in Austin for the weekend!! I'm betting that Matt and all the kids will have used the shower by the time I've returned, but that's ok - I get a weekend away with the girls - CANNOT WAIT :)
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Have you seen the movie starring these two yet? I haven't - and I'm really hoping I get to before it leaves the theaters. Apparently the elephant steals the show.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Apparently you annoy me because I have control issues.

So per usual the other day, I was trolling the news on my phone while waiting in the car somewhere for someone when I ran across an article on msnbc.com by Melissa Dahl titled 'What bugs you? Book uncovers science of what irks us'. Because I tend to be annoyed a lot (if you know me I realize you may not find that all that shocking), I clicked through & started reading (I'll wait if you want to go read it now). And let me just say, wow - she had me with the first paragraph! Yep, all of that is annoying! Not so much the way Matt chews, and I don't have any co-workers, but YES - traffic, videos, misspellings - all annoying. I'm sure I can come up with lots of other things that bug me too - anyway - I kept reading, until I came to the part about personality type, and is there a personality type more prone to being annoyed?

AnnoyanceWell. Feeling myself to be in the center of the cross hairs, according to the article, yes -  a lot of annoyance is about things being out of your control. There's that damn word again, control. Probably one of the main reasons I refer to myself as harried is that I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THE SMALL PEOPLE IN MY HOUSE. none whatsoever. Well - some - but not as much as I'd like. In my perfect world, they would all do as I ask, we'd all get along fine, birds would be chirping all day long, the house would be neat and tidy, and I would be the perfect wife, with a smile on my face and a happy greeting for my husband. Instead, we have four kids who are now big enough to get up and down from the table at will without washing hands & getting their grubby paws all over everything, preschoolers who blow raspberries and tell me they hate me multiple times a day, and school-age kids who shed socks and other crap the minute they walk in the door, then yes me to death while ignoring me (or can't hear me, as William always seems to have a runny nose & fluid in his ears). Happy greeting for Matt? Only if Happy Hour starts early :) (The birds do seem to chirp here all day long).

I forwarded this article to Matt, who's on a trip this week, and his response was something to the effect that other than my amazing ability to get us ready for a road trip, he sees no benefit to my control issues. Hmph. I would argue that the world needs people like me, because how else would it stay organized? Someone needs to have a plan, right? Just like the world needs people like William, who would rather do math problems in a workbook than read a story - I just do not get that at all, but I do recognize that the world needs people like him. They are the ones who come up with amazing answers to problems. Where was I going with this? I have no idea. Wait - control, yes. I have none. Or at least it feels that way. So, I'm annoyed, and trying to get through my day and daily life, and wishing that there was a resolution to it all, instead of just an explanation to why I'm annoyed. But I guess self-awareness is half the battle, and at the end of the day bedtime comes, the house is quiet, and we can re-group to do it all again the next day. And there's wine :)
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So our TiVo died, after weeks of me wondering if it was on its last legs as it froze up in the middle of recordings (yes, the royal wedding, I was TICKED! but grateful that TLC replayed it in a timely manner)...so I was trying to catch Glee Tuesday night in the midst of reading stories and tucking in children, and I am so grateful that I was able to catch this week's episode, as Rachel and Jesse sang the song that I've heard on the radio a few times & never been able to catch completely (radio time is severely limited here, and the ability to here any chatter in between is non-exsistent)  - love the song,  and love the video! And Adele's playing in DC today, but as I don't have $600 for a ticket, I guess I'll have to settle for the video instead :) Bitch has pipes. And I love the water glasses thumping to the drum. There's a musician in me somewhere wondering how we ended up with this suburban life.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day? And some other random stuff.

A mama robin has it easy. She lays an egg one day after a breakfast of worms, and then goes about her business. The next day, she lays another egg. Apparently the eggs are ok without her sitting on them for a few days, while she lays her full clutch. By the fourth day, there are four eggs in the nest, and the mama bird sits down to wait. She'll sit on her nest for 12-14 days, and then the babies hatch. From what I've read, it's maybe another 3 weeks before the babies are ready to fly off and be on their own. If only it were so easy for people.
My kids were particularly sucky today. It's possible we asked for it, by having them up late on Friday night while friends were over to visit, and then not getting them to bed early Saturday night. Or maybe we're being punished for playing hooky from church today - who knows?? What I do know is that all four of them managed to push Matt's buttons today until he was snarling at them, and then they managed to push all of mine as well. FUN!

Evie did bring me coffee in bed this morning, made to my controlling specifications (thanks Matt!) and Matt made me breakfast. Eventually, after much dithering by the little ones, he had them all in the van for a trip to Lowes, where they proceeded to publicly torture him. I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 hours of peace and quiet :)
Of course, they had to come home eventually, and I made lunch while Matt did some work on the bathroom. And instead of taking his Harley out for a spin on this gorgeous spring afternoon, my fabulous husband took the kids to the park for almost 2 hours. I was actually able to hear the radio while making dinner  - because only crazy people try to go to restaurants on Mother's Day - which of course, only half of us ate. Such is the life with small kids :) In what can only be described as a Mother's Day miracle, 3 out of 4 kids were in bed before 8pm, and William was actually sound asleep the first time I had to re-tuck Jason in. Happy Mother's Day, indeed :)


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So am I the only one who gets overwhelmed by the change of seasons and what that means with regards to clothing for kids? Or is this reserved for people with 3+ children? Just the thought of going through it all makes me hyperventilate. I'm not sure why I find it so daunting, but I really REALLY hate the whole process of shopping for new clothes, pulling out what doesn't fit, deciding what to keep for the little kids versus what to just throw out and/or donate - it totally overwhelms me. And then there's the weather that can't make up it's mind - 86 one day, 54 the next, sunny, rainy, somewhere in between. Sometimes I wish we lived in a shack and had our 'every day' dress and our 'church' dress.
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In case you were wondering, the bathroom is almost finished. Cabinets, counter and shower door are installed. The window Matt put in last June now has casing (and a sill! I need to find some cobalt bottles and jars to put on it!). The cabinet knobs I've ordered have arrived, and are awaiting installation. The only things left to finish up are mirrors - who knew deciding on mirrors would be such a challenge?? - touching up the paint, and sealing the tile and grout, which will have to wait until the tile guys fix the one floor tile I discovered is upside down - one dull spot amidst a field of shiny. SO - I am very, very hopeful that by the end of next weekend we will have a finished, functioning bathroom. It really is looking exactly as I hoped, although at this point Matt and I are joking that it's not a real bathroom, it's just a picture in a magazine - but what a picture :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Zoo trip with the first grade; William's piano recital

I went on my very first field trip on Tuesday, with William! Matt went on Evie's first one, and then the last two years he's been out of town; Evie's trip this year was the day after Matt had his knee surgery, so that was out - so I was very glad to be able to go with all the Kindergartners and 1st graders to the National Zoo! Let me say, there is nothing quite like the din of a bunch of shrieking 1st grade girls on a motor coach. By the time we got back, my head was about to roll off my neck :) I do believe a good time was had by all though. We loaded up the buses just before 9am and rolled out of Mayberry towards DC. William sat with his "BFF" Ryan...
Once we got there we ate a quick (and early!) lunch, and then headed out to see the sights - this cheetah stood in this tree for quite a while...

the otters were wrestling each other...
William and some fellow classmates posed with the bronze otters...

 We got a close-up look at various bugs...
William wanted to visit the bird house & we saw lots of bright tropical birds...
The stinky ape house was empty, as all the apes were outside or otherwise 'busy' (more on that in a minute), but this orangutan was out in the sun for a bit...
The rain forest exhibit had a lot of neat things to see including rays...

Yum, chocolate :)

I had a really fun day with William, and was so glad for the opportunity to spend a whole day just with him - a rare treat in our house. I hope he enjoyed our day together as much as I did :)
Some points of interest about our trip:
  • Motor coaches with potties are endlessly interesting for 1st graders. We weren't 10 minutes out of the school parking lot before William was off to use the bus bathroom.

  • William thought the zoo was ok, but he was disappointed there were no sheep.

  • Orangutans have no shame. In one building, the 'Think Tank', Kyle and Bettie the orangutans apparently thought the big glass room they were in was a perfect location for some 'afternoon delight'. I swear I did a double-take, realized what was going on, and then hustled William out of there before he could ask any questions. Yikes. Can we at least have some privacy curtains in there or something?
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William had his second piano recital on Monday, and I must say he amazes me - maybe it's his age, maybe it's just him, but he just gets right up there and plays, proud as can be :) I may be biased, but I think he's got some talent, too - hopefully I'll be able to keep him playing!


After the recital was over, Evie told us that she wants to take lessons again - because she misses being the center of attention at the recital. I told her that if she's serious, she can start reviewing her old songs before I arrange for lessons again. I haven't heard her play one note yet :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring travels and some other stuff :)

So the tornadoes that blasted through the south last week? Pretty much followed the path we drove from our home in Virginia to Matt's parents' house in Louisiana. It was surreal to hear about all the damage to places we'd driven through only 6 days before - Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, the northern corner of Georgia, then Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Bristol, VA. Two of my big fears are tornadoes and nuclear radiation - and yes, I stayed up pretty much all night last Wednesday because we were under a tornado watch - when it changed to a warning at 3:30am, I got the kids out of bed & we snuggled under the basement stairs until the warning passed. Better safe than sorry, but I think next time we have a tornado watch at night, maybe we'll all just sleep in the basement.

Anyway - I've finally culled through some pictures from our trip, so here they are! We arrived on Sunday afternoon and relaxed on Nana's back porch with hula hoops...
Evie has mad hula hoop skillz - I had no idea!


Jason showed Nana how to play Angry Birds...
After a good night's sleep, we all went to the duck pond. Matt remembers going to this pond every summer growing up during their 2 week trip to Shreveport. The ducks are amazingly tame :)

'Can you hear me??'
Matt's grandfather came to sit with us and enjoy a picnic lunch of fried chicken, a rare treat :)
Matt's dad, Matt, Matt's grandfather (O'Pa) and Matt's mom (Nana)
Nana and O'Pa



The next day went went to the Norton Art Gallery & walked the amazingly beautiful grounds before heading inside. It seems like there were just acres and acres of azaleas planted amidst fabulously huge trees, with immaculate walking paths throughout - gorgeous.


William has a big love of sheep :)

While Matt finished up inside looking at some things, I amused myself by taking pictures of Jason :)
The next morning while Matt spent some time with his sister, my kids and their cousin Madeline spent some time coloring in the shade on Nana's back porch.

Shortly after this picture was taken, Evie leaped out of this chair to chase a squirrel. The chair did not survive the leap.



We had ice cream....
...and dinner (and margaritas!) at this fabulous Mexican grill...
Evie, Aunt Amy, Evan, and Madeline
This was our last night, so we went back to Amy's house for visiting, and I took some final pictures...
Evan and O'Pa
Matt and his sister, Amy
All in all, despite William adding to my gray hairs the first night, we had a great trip. The 20 hour drive was surprisingly uneventful, and the kids held it together really well.I don't think we're quite ready for a trip to the Grand Canyon, but maybe someday we'll pile in the family truckster and give it a go!
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Call us silly, but Friday morning my neighbor came over with her daughters and we had breakfast while watching the royal wedding :) I had tiaras for the girls to wear, and we drank mimosas and munched on scones.
Sarah's friend Rebecca brought all of Sarah's Disney princesses down from her bedroom and played with them on the couch while William and Kate said their "I will's" - Rebecca was the only one who actually watched the wedding with us, and I got a kick out of her raptly watching the service at different points :)
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I was outside with Jason and William on Saturday and we noticed that a bird had nested under the shelter of the fort on their swing set! We peeked inside and on Saturday there was only one egg in this perfect little nest. Evie took the camera out on Sunday morning & snapped this picture, now we have TWO eggs! I only hope my kids can stay out of there and keep their hands off it long enough for Mama Robin to hatch her babies. Any idea on how long that will take? Guess I can google it...


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And finally - this is REALLY cool, take 2 minutes and watch it :)


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