Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My two favorite pictures from vacation

Silver Dollar City, 9.25.08

Somehow Alan just has a knack for capturing great pics of our family at SDC!
Thanks again Alan!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

On why women need their energy

Overheard at breakfast this morning, on a day when Shane is planning on golfing with Uncle Alan and Dev is planning on going to the spa for a massage with Aunt Deanna:

Shane: "Dev, pass me the frosted flakes."

Dev: "Goodness gracious, Shane. What is that, like, your third bowl?"

Shane: "Nooooooo."

Shane: "Well, I'm going golfing. It's not like you need your energy for a massage or anything."

Deanna: "Well......we might need to shop first."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Flying by the seat of our pants

Greetings from the beautiful state of Missouri!

Yes, I did say Missouri. And, if you are not an regular follower of my blog--we do not live in Missouri! Shane woke up Monday morning and said, "Would it be crazy to go to Missouri this week?"

Apparently, somewhere in my flabbergasted stammering of "uh....uh....what?" he heard, "Yeah, we're there!"

Not saying, of course, that I didn't want to go. I was just a bit taken aback. I'm a planning kind of a girl. This flying by the seat of my pants thing kind of threw me for a loop--especially with something so major!

Enter some frantic packing, phone calls, and planning, and, now.....we're here!

We're having a great time so far, keeping busy doing tons of stuff. So far we've been shopping at this awesome place called the Landing in Branson (sidenote: Mom, I sooooo wished you were here with me when we went down there! You would have loved it....) and we've been to a great zoo here in Springfield--and there is, of course, more on tap for tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday--Silver Dollar City with the whole family included in there somewhere!

The family we are visiting and staying with--Shane's aunt and uncle--are like, the family that everyone wishes they had. If, you know....you don't actually have family like the one I am about to describe....

They are so laid back--um, can you say we called them Monday morning and said we are coming Monday night--and they were thrilled! Not freaking out like I would be like most people would be! They have a beautiful and amazingly spacious house for us to stay in--we have the entire basement floor, complete with family room area, game area, kitchen, two bedrooms and a full bathroom--all to ourselves! And, most importantly....they love us and love our kids--and it really shows. Talk about a vacation.....it really doesn't get much better than this. Seriously.

Oh, and a sidenote: I really am starting to think that there is something in Missouri that makes Ethan talk. I should've come down here sooner! I don't know what it is, but today he actually said (fairly clearly): Gam (Gram), drink, Ethan, okay, yes, sure, mama, daddy, dog, 'raffe (giraffe), one, two, please, daydoo (thank you), and I am certain that I am probably forgetting a couple more. Oh, yes, of course....there was also a lot of head nodding. *giggle*

So, I'll be home in few days and on a photo posting rampage, I'm sure! See you then....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I think I can, I think I can.....

We visit a local park every so often that has this weird twisty-climby-holey thing for the kids. From my vantage point--the bench about 15 feet away--it seems to be a fairly difficult object for the children to figure out. Most of the kids I have witnessed get up, huff and puff, grunt, and huff and puff again before giving up and jumping to the ground to go and play on something that is actually fun and not work elsewhere.

Colin doesn't give up so easily. It's a great character trait, for the most part. Except, of course, during the times when he seriously takes forever trying to convince me to change my mind about something I've already said "No" to; or to tell me the 97 reasons why he just needs to do something. He usually presents his case in a respectful and courteous manner, so I try to make sure I hear him out each time. It can be like, a 20-minute process to get to the final, "Colin, my answer is no, okay buddy?"

*Sigh.* I digress. Anyway....

Colin has tried all summer to master climbing this twisty thing.

On our last trip there, he did it.

Persistence paid off....the satisfaction is quite evident in the grin on his face at the bottom.

Here it is--proof, in pictures!

By the way....getting down was a whole other story.....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Real LIFE.....it happens at my house in some form every day

You know that old saying? The one that goes something like, "You can't leave them alone for one minute?"

I usually practice that. Really, I do.

But, today at breakfast, my bladder was screaming.

I made the later-determined-wrong-decision to answer it.

To the bathroom I went.

A moment of peace, and then....

....Colin came tapping on the door.

"Mom....I think you need to come quick."

Not. Good.

I followed him back down the hall as quickly as I could.

I guess I left the box a little to close to Ethan....

"Mom, I swear. I didn't know that if I turned the bag upside down and shook it and shook it and shook it and shook it like that, that the whole entire box of cereal would just DUMP out all over the place. I swear."

"Yeah, Mom.....I'm pretty sure I can tell, because of the way you're looking at me, that I was NOT supposed to do that."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Down my crack

Colin has a crack. And, no, it is not the one that probably immediately came to mind.

This particular crack has provided Colin with many, many 'funnies'. He doesn't even realize it, which is the cute thing--and it really makes the things he says that much funnier.

Colin's bed is pushed as far as it can go to the wall, but there is still a space between his mattress and the wall because of his bed frame. Approximately 7 inches or space or so. It used to terrify me when he was little--I was always worried that he would fall down into that 'abyss' while he was sleeping, so we used to stuff big pillows down there at nighttime. Now that he is bigger, we don't do that anymore....and this space has been affectionately nicknamed by Colin as, "my crack."


He finds toys there all the time. Just the other day, Colin came to me and showed me a car that he had found. It had been missing for about 2 weeks.

"Look Mom!" he said.

"Colin, where did you find that car?" I asked.

"Down my crack."


"The crack" now remains open all of the time--and therefore, in this mommy's eyes, it can be a very treacherous space.

All three of the boys like to play this game where they climb up on Colin's bed and "play" (which translates to wrestle), and then jump to "escape from each other" onto Cameron's bed below. (By the way, I have tried keeping Ethan out of this game, for safety reasons--but now that he has become so proficient at climbing, and can get right back up on to Colin's bed himself two seconds after I leave the room after taking him off the bed, the effort is futile. Plus, they all three put up such a protest to have E included--a chorus of "Mom, we'll be careful! Please??" is generally heard--that I have just given in on this one. It's not always pretty, but we deal.)

Sometimes, the play turns a bit rough, which is always my fear--and things happen which lead Colin to say things like this:

"Mom! I need you to come here and help me please!"

"Colin, what's the matter?"

"Well, Ethan fell and now he is stuck down my crack...."


But, the greatest funny Colin has ever provided me in regards to "his crack" came a couple of weeks ago when we went to Grandma and Grandpa's in Chicago for a visit. See, Lynette has a bed just like us--a single bed with a trundle underneath--and she always sets it up for the boys when we come. Her bed, like ours, sticks out just a little bit from the wall.

Upon close examination of his bed when we got there, Colin proclaimed:



"Grandma and Grandpa have a crack just like I do!"

Hilarious. I just couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Letter A

Well, I have finally found a great use for my old magazines that I never know what in the world to do with.

If you follow my blog, you know that we decided to keep Colin home this year, and not enroll him into preschool. There were many reasons for our doing so, and everyday that goes by I am more and more glad for the decision we made. I know there are many who disagree with the idea of home schooling, or say, "I could never do that"; I was one of those people for a long time myself. But, I must say, what I thought it was going to be like really isn't how it has been at all, and I am really enjoying teaching him at home. It is really neat to see him learning right before my very eyes, and being able to watch the wheels turning while he is grasping new concepts and ideas. (Also, let me just say that the decision to keep Colin home was, so far, just for this year. What will we do about Kindergarten? We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, that's what!)

We have been working on numbers (reading and writing them--we're up to 8 already!) and letters/phonics, as well as many other concepts and ideas. Colin's project this morning in our "learning time" was to look through a magazine for things that begin with the letter "A"; cut those items out; and then glue(stick) them onto construction paper.

Here is what he came up with:
He wrote the "A's" at the top of the paper
(and my scanner cut off part of the capital A)
then found:
  • An arrow
  • A real letter "A"
  • 2 different pictures of apples
  • An antler (really hard to see, I know)
  • An ape
  • And then the one I was most proud of--an "accident" (it is a picture of a lady wiping up spilled cereal!)
He also named a few other things that started with the letter "A"--an alligator and an axe, to be specific--but we didn't have any luck finding pictures of them in the September 2007 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. *giggle*

Keep watch for the presentation of the letter "B"--coming soon to a blog near you!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Well, don't we all?

Cameron came running into the kitchen today, shrieking at the top of his lungs.

"Mommy, Mommy, Mommy! I nee' your help!"

He was so worked up that I was really concerned for a moment. I thought something really might be wrong.

"Cameron!?" I said. "What on earth is the matter?"

His response? A bit flustered, he looked at me and said:

"I got problems."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happenings, part four: The Kitchen/Dining Room

So, by now you all know that Shane and I purchased a "fixer-upper" when we bought this house. What you may not know is that the ugliest room by far in our house was our kitchen/dining room combo.

It. Was. Awful.

Here is a shot of the kitchen on Move-In Day: October 7, 2006. Yes, that is my mom in this horribly blurry picture (sorry, it's the only shot I had that showed the entire kitchen) doing her thing--cleaning.

Did I mention it was awful?

Well, give me a couple of weeks, and I was able to make lemonade out of lemons. It wasn't the greatest looking kitchen, but I was able to make it feel like home until it was time to really do something about it! I think the teal panelling the former owners had gone with was a nice touch. What--don't you?

Fast forward to June of 2007.

This was the state of our kitchen the night before I left for Chicago. I went there to live with Lynette and Roger for 7 days while Shane did a miraculously quick "base makeover" of the kitchen. In this picture, all the cabinets have been ripped off, and everything has been cleared out that could be cleared out! That's Ethan in the picture...about 6 months old at the time. (Yes, I'm a little behind on blogging this!)

I said 'base makeover'; that is to say that Shane:

  • installed new electrical
  • installed new plumbing
  • installed new recessed lighting
  • tore off the hideous teal panelling and installed new drywall
  • finished said drywall (doesn't sound like much, but that one is a three day project in itself!)
  • Primed all the walls and ceilings
  • installed all the cabinets
  • installed all new appliances, a new sink and faucet, and a garbage disposal
  • installed all new counter tops
  • installed new slate flooring (in the kitchen only)

Any carpenter will tell you that that is a tremendous amount of work to accomplish in 7 days.

Anyway, the boys and I stayed away (seriously, who on earth can live with no kitchen--with three boys 3 and under at the time--for a week?) so that we would not be in the way, and they (with the asthma problems they have) would not have any problems with all the dust and dirt that would be stirred up.

This is what we came home to:

Since the initial make-over, here is the rest of the work that Shane has done:

Installed new sliding glass doors where our double window used to be

Inside view
Outside view

This is the beginning of the demolition of the 'back room' area. We tapped into what was an old attached 2-car garage that the former owners had turned into part of the house to extend the dining room out about another 5 feet. This is Shane removing the panelling to begin the demolition of the current walls.

Now, before you go too much farther, I want to warn the squeamish (and those who haven't followed my blog for all that long)--you may want to stop here and skip a few pictures if you don't like things that slither!

One of the days that Shane was ripping off panelling was more *ahem* interesting than any of the others had been up to that point. On this particular day, Shane found a little "house guest" during demolition of the walls. His account of the story was that while he was pulling a sheet of panelling off, he heard a 'tssssss, tssssss' sound. (Similar to a rattlesnake, was it Shane? *giggle*) The rest is history. If you'd like, you can read the whole account in my original post, (complete with lots of pictures!) entitled: "There's a WHAT in my wall?"

Did I mention that that was an unbelievably interesting day!?!

Once the excitement of the snake was behind us, the demolition of the wall between our dining room and back room began! Most of the pics from here on are of the dining room; the kitchen already was semi-completed. Only the finishing touches remained for the kitchen.

Panelling and insulation gone
Studs and header coming out
All gone!

Beginning the drywall on the ceiling. The new drywall is on the left; the old ceiling tiles in the middle; and the ceiling in the old 'back room' area (that we ripped into to give more space in the dining room) is all the way on the right.

Old, yucky ceilings are all gone now! Only new, beautiful drywall remains *giggle*

Hey Julie--remember that stuff you uncovered in your MIL's kitchen? Here was our old dining room floor (the 'white' tiles). How hideous is this? And to think....it was covering up even more hideous brown tile underneath!

This is always an exciting day for me--drywall going up!

Taping and mudding of the drywall begins
Three coats later, the sanding can start. This is Shane sanding over our slider (and supplying the rest of my house with a covering of fine, white powder in the process)
Drywall DONE! This is also always a great day. I love those smooth, beautiful walls!
*I get excited over silly things....*
Painting begins! We chose a golden color for the kitchen area, and then faux-finished over that; the gold was also the base color for our faux-finished dining room. Shane, by the way, does all the cutting in around the ceiling.
Let it be known that I possess neither the skill nor the patience for that!

However, I am mean with a roller in my hand.

Faux-finishing the dining room begins! (If you at this point are wondering how on earth we are going to do one room in two colors....just hang in there for a few more pictures!)
Finish in the dining room complete

Hanging my plate rack and plates above the sliding glass doors

Okay, I know this may be difficult to see, but we simply blended the two finishes of the two different areas together over the archway and over the slider, where the rooms came together. You can see it a bit in the pic above, too. It really turned out well and we were able to get the feel of two distinctly different areas, instead of one big room--which I love.
Working on some electrical so we could hang our new light fixture

Let there be light! Yay!
The slate tile installation begins....

This particular tile is probably the most difficult tile floor you can install. The tiles are cut from the earth (slate rock) and are each unique and very different from each other--not like installing man-made ceramic tile that comes from a factory! These are all different colors (makes for a very cool and unique finished look) and many are different sizes and thicknesses, which increases the difficulty of installation. Lynette and Roger were able to help lay some of the floor when they were down one weekend.
Cleaning and sealing the floor--this has to be done both before and after grouting on Slate tile. See the color difference on the first three rows that he has completed already?

The new, shiny floor!
Beginning to build the posts for the archway

Posts done, and wood stained

Back to the kitchen:

Cutting the hole for my cookbook shelves

Shane built the two cabinets for this area himself

Shelves are in, time to stain the trim and the door!
Installing the crown moulding on top of the cabinets.....

....and the fancy trim moulding underneath the cabinets
And now, presenting the final result: our finished kitchen!

Here's how the cookbook shelves turned out. I love them--they are one of the handiest things in my kitchen! This door leads to our laundry room, in case you were wondering.

The final touch--my favorite sign in the whole entire world....and only a little bit true.
So, needless to say....I love my kitchen!!

And now, here I am, all done with this post; and I just realized that I forgot to include pictures of the finished dining room! I am not going back and adding them now, so I will just do another post another time.

Seriously, am I the luckiest woman alive that my hubby can do all this stuff for me?!