Thursday, August 27, 2009

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Yesterday was the first day of school. At some point, after dropping everyone off, I let out this long sigh of relief and let my mind drift back to last year and how truly awful it was.

I remembered how guilty I felt about our move and how scared I was that my tiny shiny children would suffer for even a minute. The thought of them feeling scared and lonely was unbearable.

But now here we are. And everyone w
ent off to their classes excited, nervous, and happy. Just like it should be! Katie is a freshman in high school! How did that happen?
Maddie is a JUNIOR! Stop the clock.I can still pretend Jonathan and Ellie are little so I'm going with that. Notice not how big they really are.
Perhaps the sweetest moment of yesterday came in two parts. As I was driving Maddie to golf (yes, she is playing varsity golf) she started telling me about how at lunch she saw a girl eating by herself so she and a friend went over to talk to her and invite her to eat with them. They found out that she was new and had moved here from Washington. Then Maddie told me how she wished someone had done that for her on her first day last year, and how she thinks that people who haven't ever moved don't even really notice someone who is alone but that because she has been through it, "my heart goes, 'ohhhh,' when I see someone like that. I know now that no one really wants to eat by themselves."

My own heart went "ohhhh" when she told me this. I am so happy that my beautiful girl has found a way to take something good and valuable away from a difficult experience!
I sometimes call Maddie and Ellie my "bookends" because they look so much and act so much alike, so what happened next shouldn't surprise me. As I was tucking Ellie into bed last night I asked if she liked who she was sitting next to in school. She said that she did because she is sitting next to the new girl and she is happy to be her first friend because she knows how it feels to be scared on the first day at a new school.

I have a very full, very happy mommy heart right now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Three Books, From Me to You


I don't really do reviews, it takes too much serious thought to figure out what I really like about a book, and then if I do, it ends up being too personal to share anyway.

But I am going to tell you three good books right now. I'm not going to review them; I'm just going to recommend them. Don't be mad, it's just how I am. Lazy.

The first is The Magician's Assistant, by Ann Patchett. Do you already love Ann Patchett? Here is a sentence out of this book, "While Iowa struggled through the bitter knife of winter and New York folded in crime and the South remained backwards and divided, Los Angeles pushed her slender feet into the sand along the Pacific and took in the sun." Boy do I like that sentence.

Okay, next is Malinche, by Laura Esquivel, the author of Like Water for Chocolate. I'm reading Malinche right now and I promise it is fascinating. Malinche was Cortes' native interpreter and lover.

My last recomendation is There, Their, They're: A No-Tears Guide to Grammar From the Word Nerd. This is super handy for answering your quick grammar questions when you're writing your blog and WAY shorter and more user friendly than, say, The AP Stylebook. My sweet mother-in-law has been recovering from a surgery and I learned that all this time I've been talking about her being "nauseous", totally insulting, she's "nauseated!" So helpful.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Paying for it

The problem with spending my day on this DIY project:is that I don't get to this do it myself project. How did the shoemaker get those elves anyway? I mean, I'm nice. I'll make some little clothes or something. They just won't get washed.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Did it Myself Porch Makeover and Wreath Renovation


DIY Day @ ASPTL
I am so loving "Do it yourself day" at A Soft Place to Land. It is like getting that extra motivation to pretty up the house that you get from having company coming, except you don't have to clean the bathrooms. After you read about my front porch makeover and wreath renovation you can clicky click on the button up there and see what everyone else is up to. There is good stuff I tell you!

Before I start, I have to share this reoccurring dream I have. I already typed it up once, and then accidentally deleted it. That must be nature's way of telling me to "omit needless words."

So. The dream. In it I am walking through this fabulous house slowly realizing that it is mine. As I open doors I discover it is full of things that I love-stuff from my past, things I own now, furniture I've seen in magazines, and fabulous stuff my head made up just for me. It is beautiful.

When I wake up I always feel happy knowing that whatever I really need, it will come to me. I've been blessed with a beautiful life and this dream always makes me remember that God will provide. It's a good dream. I like it.

So when I decided to redo my front porch starting with the sad little wreath I had up there, it gave me a happy feeling to find I could do it all with stuff I had stuffed around the house. I began with the wreath because I wanted it to be my inspiration piece. Here is the sort of scrappy little guy I had up there to begin with.The first step in wreath renovation was to head over to the Nester and search her archives for "wreath." I did like she said (I always do like she says) and rounded up everything I could find that might look good in a wreath including every other wreath I own.The best idea I got from the Nester was to use an old Christmas wreath for my base. I cut out the red berries and then started sticking in stuff. These white roses seemed like they were going to look good, but on second thought, didn't.I love lovity love love the nest and birdie. The feathers and flowers I just stuck in, but I hot glued the pears and wired in the nest.Here is my porch-a-rama before I even moved a skate board. That is the new wreath though, I got so excited that I nailed it up there before I remembered to take the "before picture."The plant stand and pot I totally found by the side of the road when I was garage saleing one Saturday. The pot didn't look right when it was terracotta but I remembered some yellow spray paint I have, and now...it's like a symphony in green and yellow is it not?Here is the big splurge. You know Smith and Hawken is going out of business? Sad, but Marc scored me this mat for $25. Since everything else was free to me, I feel good about it. The final touches are the "Families are Forever" whatever that is and my little bunny.It looks so much more welcoming doesn't it? If you come over we can sit on the bench and watch the kids play while we enjoy these last few days of summer.

Saturday at the Oakland Zoo

So the answer to who won the Fosse weight loss challenge is...we tied. Total win win, eh? I seriously don't even mind golfing if it means I get beautiful blue gray paint all over the place!

I'm feeling kind of sick today and it makes my head not work right so I will leave off with the talking and just share some pictures from the Oakland Zoo on Saturday. Perhaps the best moment was when I said about the baboons, "It's so weird that they don't have hair on their bums." and Kate replied, "Neither do you, don't judge."




My first diet coke in two weeks! Oh, I am so happy. Plus you can see the beautiful charm bracelet Marc gave me for my birthday. Sweet man.

This picture makes me want to play Zoo Tycoon.
When we first got on the sky lift Ellie was nervous and hanging on to me, about 1/3 of the way across she got her "air legs" and was trying to lean over the bar and squirm around to see stuff. As I held her in my white knuckle grip she complained, "Mom! Let go, I'm not a baby anymore you DON'T need to hold me. Hey! Are you scared?"

I know you all have been to the zoo before and don't need to see my 50 pictures but I need to include some because I do love the animals.
They are turtle enough for the Turtle Club!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I'm a Gambling Girl


Marc and I have had a bet. A little wager as it were.

I bet that I could loose the most weight in 9 days, and if I did he would have to paint the entryway, our bedroom, AND the family room (yeah, I already painted it, but I don't like the yellow).

He bet that he could loose the most weight, and if he did I would have to take two golf lessons and golf nine holes with him. Don't imagine he is nicer than me; I feel the same way about golf as he feels about painting.

So this morning was our weigh in. Who do you think won?

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Scout Camp Coma


So. Cub Scout camp was last week.

I saw a request on the Redbook website for people to submit blog posts about their heroes. Right now my vote for most heroic women goes to the beautiful ladies who volunteered their time to organize our Scout camp at Saint Mary's college. And then stayed ALL week. Five days, no joke, with 115 boys in 90 degree weather.

I volunteered for three days and by the third day I was all mumbling and grum
bling at Marc about how tired I was. Because I'm wimpy like that; now you know something bad about me.

But onward and upward! Remarkably, Scout Camp was not exhaustin
g to Jonathan. He had a fully energizing time, coming home each day excited about all he had done-and ready to play with his buddy Kiran who lives next door.

Here he is doing the things boys like:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Target Whups CVS


Last year I waited until too late to buy school supplies and when I finally went to get them the pickings were very slim. It's always hard to screw up my nerve and head to Target, four supply lists in hand, four needy, squirmy, demanding children in tow. Oh how I hate it.

It's specialized mommy torture. This child needs 24 fine tip bright markers, and this one needs 16 wide tip classic color markers and this mommy is going to need a drink. Soon. An extra large diet coke, of course. Hate. It.

Anyway, although I have put it off until almost the last minute, this year went pretty well. Jonathan didn't even want to go with me, and the three girls were very well behaved. They have matured beyond crying in the aisle because I'm not buying the fancy $4 pen with the large pink plume.

I'd noticed that CVS had a pretty big school supply section so I thought we'd go there and hopefully save some cash because we wouldn't be tempted by all the, uh, temptations at Target. But it was not to be. After checking and collating our lists we realized we were going to have to go to Target for a few items that we couldn't find.

And you know what? Target had WAY better prices than CVS. I don't want to hurt CVS's feelings, but when we saw how much cheaper the stuff at Target was, we re-bought all our folders and book covers and then returned the stuff we had got at CVS. You want to know the total price difference? I know you do. Twenty six dollars! Can you believe that. Six binder/folder things and a slew of those stretchy book covers cost $26 more at CVS than at Target. Unbelievable.

I also want a gold star for not being too lazy to take the stuff back, because it did cross my mind you know.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pinkies Up, Excuse Moi!


Post Edit-I'm linking up at The Inspired Room

Ellie got a book last week. It's called "Fancy Nancy Tea Parties." Oo La La, did this book ever get us thinking. As we snuggled in her bed Thursday night we planned an exquisite tea party for her friends (real and stuffed).

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We carefully planned the menu: cheese and ham crackers (like a fancy lunchable), cookies, apples, ice cream sundaes, and pink lemonade "tea." Delightful!

We shopped on Friday, set the table Saturday morning, and were ready for our guests at 11 am. The girls were so adorably excited. They seemed as pleased with the sweets as they were with me as the "servant." It was my job to wear my uniform, a purple boa and grass hoola skirt, while I served them tea and spoke in my most upper crus
t snotty voice.I have to say, this was very fun. Generally I don't play, per say, with my kids. I read, snuggle, do puzzles, cook with, tickle, teach, chase, and whatnot, but I'm not so much for the imagination games. That's what they have siblings for by golly.

But planning this out and then actually doing it made Ellie so happy, it was totally worth it. And yes, we did use my fancy tea cups and stuff, it made her day...and mine.

My Craig's List Love Affair

We've sold, we've bought...Craig's List, I love you.Finding the perfect dresser for $40 makes it even perfecter!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Moderate Makeover

* POST EDIT: I forgot to put on here that I was inspired to finish this bad boy up by Kimba at A Soft Place to Land. It's a cool blog and today there are a billion other great DIY ideas linked up there. Don't do the dishes, check it out!

Katie and Maddie's bathroom was in desperate, desperate I say, need of a makeover. Megan came to help paint.
You might want to cover your eyes and peek through your fingers when you look at the before pictures of our downstairs bathroom.

In one of her books Francis Mayes refers to her little bathroom as "il bruto," or "the ugly." I think ours qualifies for the title too.Obviously something needed to be done about the floor. I can hardly believe I'm showing off those mold stains. The important thing to know here is that we didn't make those; it was like that when we got here. Which may make you wonder how we ever got here...all I can say is, Springbrook Ranch does have other redeeming qualities.

Anyway, I knew this needed to be a bargain basement makeover and stay under $100. Here's how I spent my wad:$5 for oops paint at Home Depot. The girls picked the color, it's a pretty bright for me but I totally don't care. Do you know what oops paint is? It's the paint that was mixed wrong for the original customer's order and is now for sale for CHEAP. I love the whole principle.

$60 for peel and stick linoleum tiles. These are so cool; I cut them to size with my kitchen scissors and then they stick down like, well, stickers. It's like scrapbooking for your floor.

$3 for the white picture frames. I got those at a yard sale last Saturday and cut some more pictures out of my "Pressed Plant" book to go into them.The window mistreatment was free. I was digging through my fabric looking for something to stick up there with upholstery tacks and found the old window thingie I had in Ellie's nursery seven years ago. It's not perfect, but free trumps perfect right now.The last thing the room needs is a small dresser for the girls to keep towels and stuff like tp in. I've been cruising Craig's list for a freebie. We'll see what happens.

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