Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Sunday Night.

Boys asleep...check
Kitchen cleaned...check
Fold laundry...check (well, it is never really a firm check)
Put away laundry...check
Watch mindless television (The Kardashians, anyone?)...check
Having my sweet, lover dog Beasley lay on me while I fold laundry and watch tv...priceless!

His demeanor and actions our family, makes us think that he is unbelievably grateful that we rescued him...grateful that he now has a home with humans that love him. And when he lays with me like this, amongst the many other things he does, I am so happy that we did.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Room Flip...Again. For Staging Purposes.

One of the major things that attracted me to our current home two years ago was this small room off our entryway. It has french doors that open into the family room and it has a large window with a decent size window bench. I guess it was supposed to be a dining room or maybe an office, either of which might have been great for us, had it been just us. Now add two growing children and their even faster growing supply of toys and this makes a great space for a playroom. And this is exactly what we did, we made it their playroom. It's worked out perfect that past few years for the boys and for me (and my sanity). Despite the fact that this space has shelving units and organized/labeled cubbies, it usually (every minute of the day the boys are awake) looks just like this. And this just happens to be on a good day.
We pick up when we can, and to be honest if some nights I just don't have the gusto to do that, I simply close the doors and forget about it until the morning. Now, this is an easy way to live if you happen to be a normal, settled, not moving, don't have your house on the market, won't get a call at any moment for a house showing family. This we are clearly not. After two showings and a third one approaching, I decided this space needed a flip, for two reasons. (1.) The toys...I needed to regain control of them and (2.) I wanted a potential buyer to have their own thoughts on what this space could be for them and/or their family (as in, it needed to be a fresh palatte). So, during Owen's nap-time yesterday, Jack and I went to work. I pulled out all the toys, the train table, the books and took down the swing.

Ahhhh! Better already, right? 
I boxed up a bunch of toys (and all those darn puzzles that O loves to pull down and dump, everywhere...those needed to go go for now), actually two big bins worth that I now have stored in my front closet, just in case, we are all in need of some fresh, haven't seen in awhile toys. I also stored the better toys (aka the boys play with a lot and for longer periods of time) in our coffee table/chest or brought to our basement (another play zone).

Moving on....

These two sweeties then helped me clean the walls, the trim and the baseboards. With two boys who love to ram their trucks, cars, skateboards, trikes and plasma cars into the walls (cause it's fun, I guess?), we had a lot of scrubbing to do.
Owen helped scrub the walls with me along with intermittent breaks to suck on his rag.

And J walked around pointing out all the dirty spots. I guess I like this angle for taking pics?!?

Let me just say, Magic Erasers are amazing!!

Now I needed to stage it a bit, so I brought up a table and chairs that I already had. This set is very special to me as this was the first table Pat and I had when we were first married. We ate so many meals together at this table...just the two of us. Good memories. The rug used to be in my family room under/in front of the couch.
Ahhh....much better!

Another bonus, it gives J a racetrack to zoom around on.

Sorry about these pics, it has been gloomy and gray here for the past few days. 
And I don't know how to take pics in gloomy and gray.

This window bench, my mom and I made when she was here over Thanksgiving. I followed this tutorial, which was rather simple. Every now and then, I find one of the boys laying on the bench reading a book...very cute in my eyes.

I still need to take down the artwork displays, but that means then I need to patch holes and repaint. I need more of that gusto before I take that on. I am trying to use what I already have in an effort to not spend money and honestly, it just seems plain ole' silly to buy stuff when we are moving. I need to go look in my uber messy, filled to the brim basement storage to see if I have any artwork that would fit in this space.

But, I think this will work for now....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

63 days.

We have 63 days until April, which means 63 more days of winter (around these parts, March is still very much considered winter). We have no plans to fly south for a snow break this year. My little puppies get so sick of being inside all the time. They need to be ran and have fresh air blown in their faces. They need to feel the warm sun on their skin without layers of clothes covering them up. 63 more days, ugh! Thank goodness we have this bouncy castle, so my little puppies can bounce off their energy. They have needed it lately.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Eight I's....

1. I am thinking about my dear friend Ann. We became friends in nursing school and spent endless hours together studying, laughing, writing papers, studying, eating, crying and studying.  She lost her husband to Cancer last week after a rather sudden diagnosis and short battle  They were a wonderful couple who I have always and will always hold very dear in my heart. Thinking of you Ann. 

2. I made these...
 They were soooo good! We had them as our main dish with a side salad. Pat, the boys and I devoured them....I might have had three, they were so yummy! I will definitely be making these again.

3. I am reading this....
My favorite mail day is when I get this shinny, delicious magazine just for me.

4. I captured this....
It was post nap with a big bowl of M&M's sitting right next to him.

Owen liked..he liked a lot.

5. I want to make these....

A chocolate chip cookie stuffed with an Oreo.
Need I say more?

 And while I'm baking and stuffing, I want to make these too....
A chocolate chip cookie stuffed a Rolo.

6. I am dreaming of.....

Beautiful Kitchens.

7. I am making a few of these in red for Valentine's Day.....

8. I am organizing, purging, staging, cleaning and constantly picking up because we are....

After living in Michigan for two years, we are moving back to the Twin Cities area. Thank goodness! We are so excited to be back where we are from, near our family & friends, and in our comfort zone. After moving 5 times (4 different States) in the last 6 years, we are ready to put down roots and settle down in a place we love. Although we have created amazing memories on this journey, we are ready for our forever home (god, I hope so). So, if I start talking about sinks, knobs, pulls, barn doors, or carpet on here, I hope you's starting to get into my blood ;)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I would LOVE to get this postcard in the mail!

This boy is dang hard to take a picture of these days!
He tells me no, he runs away or the picture is blurry due to is inability to sit still.
I still love him though.

Monday, January 24, 2011

He will play with what? For how long?

Jack has never been the type of child who will play by himself for very long. He has always preferred someone play with him, be near him or watch him play. As he has gotten older, I have seen this starting to change. 

He is learning to be more imaginative with his toys. Hearing him act out a pirate battle with his ships and a castle made of blocks, is music to my ears. However, this does not happen too often without some sort of direction. And with his naps almost disappearing forever, I have needed to find things that Jack will enjoy doing by himself for longer periods of time so I can have some me time for a few minutes or take care of that one constant in my life...laundry. 

He seems to really enjoy activities and projects that are simple, creative and challenging.

Digging for dinosaur bones.

This was a birthday present from his cousins. He thought it was neat searching for the dino bones and then putting them together to discover what specific dinosaur it was. This one he needed lots of help in the digging process, but it was still fun doing it together.

Oldie, but goodie...Rice.
He played with this rice and his cars & trucks f.o.r.e.v.e.r. He loved it so much that I did not mind one bit as I watched half of the rice fall on my rug.

Painting has always been a favorite for Jack. He has been doing this since he was 2 years-old. Crazy, I know. We tried this with Owen and he was eating the paint brush and whipping paint everywhere. Jack never did that, ever! I remember he would stand at this same counter and paint pictures while I held, rocked and/or nursed Owen as a newborn. It was a sanity saver...and still is.

Moon Sand
Jack also received Moon Sand for his birthday from his cousin Ty. Now, I had heard about Moon Sand and had seen it a million times at Target, but I have to admit I was always scared to buy it. I was scared because of the mess it would make all over my kitchen I didn't actually know what it did. Well, Jack loves this stuff and can play with it f.o.r.e.v.e.r. as well! 

And yes, my kitchen does look like the following picture. But, I manage!

Blocks...the old fashioned ones
I know I have talked about other types of blocks on here, but these truly are the best! These were a hand-me-down from his cousins and they are fabulous! Both boys play with them a lot! The list of things they make with these blocks is endless...roads, castles, garages, zoos, houses, etc. These blocks are a perfect example of "it's the simple things". Remember this?

How long until we have warm weather?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Works Every Time.

He frequently asks to have his picture taken.
This I love.
He poses for me and smiles so nice.
I love this too.
But, sometimes I want to capture him with his natural Jack Smile and adorable laugh.

But, that is hard to accomplish while I am taking the pictures, too.
So, I need to call in reinforcements aka Daddy.
And what does Daddy do to make Jack smile and laugh?
He makes a variety of farting noises.
Oh yay, that's how we roll around this house. All boys, remember.
Well, this makes Jack erupt into giggles and belly-laughter.
And I capture his natural Jack Smiles and adorable laugh.
Works every time!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ten on Tuesday.

1. I am not going to let The Bachelor suck me in this season. I'm not. A repeat bachelor, really? I didn't watch his first go at it and I don't even know his name. Okay, I admit I watched it tonight. It was a long, busy day, I sunk into my couch to watch How I Met Your Mother (one of the BEST shows on funny) and then there was that darn Bachelor with all its drama. So, I watched and then before I knew it I was an hour in. The older I get, the more ridiculous those rose ceremonies become and the crying is even more ridiculous (and this is coming from a big, emotional crier). Ugh, who I am kidding? I've got a long winter ahead of me so I'll probably be watching it. Darn you Bachelor with your "most dramatic rose ceremony ever".

2. Do you have any thoughts on the shift in the Zodiac Calendar? Is this for real? Apparently, I am no longer a Sagittarius as I am now the new Ophiuchus. Really, I can't switch just like that after being a Sagittarius for 32 years.

3. I would love a photography wall similar to this somewhere in my home. And I would love it to be filled with photos of the everyday moments with Pat and the boys.

4. Our current pantry is a make-shit one. We have a coat closet right off our kitchen, we added some shelving and it became our pantry. I'm not sure if I will ever have an actual walk-in pantry and if I don't, I think something like this will do!
5. Both of these pics I have on my new Pinterest. My lengthy, unorganized, ever-growing list of bookmarks is thanking me right now for setting up this new Pinterest account. And I am giddy! I've got a lot of work to do to start filling up my boards, but it's going to be so great. Picture bookmarks...genius.

6. When do you start having your kiddos do chores? Right now, Jack helps pick up toys and he takes his breakfast/lunch/dinner plate and cup to the sink. Just the other day, on his own, he cleaned the couch for me so we gave him one dollar to put in his piggy bank. We were proud of him, he was proud of himself and he was so happy that we were proud of him. Make sense? Now, he has been asking what else he can do to get money for his piggy bank. Side note: I love the innocence in his excitement to simply put the dollar bill in his piggy bank and no concept of actually spending the dollar on buying something

So anyway, I was thinking that this might be a great time to implement a very basic chore chart (maybe 3-5 simple tasks, for example, make bed). I was also thinking that he would get a sticker for every chore that he completes and then for every so many stickers he would get money or a special activity or alone time with Mom and/or Dad. Just something I have been thinking about. If you have a good example of this that you use, please let me know! 

7. I grew up in a very male dominant family, I was born smack-dab in the middle of two brothers, I married my husband and I have two sons. You would think that I completely understand the male gender and all of their weirdness...right?! Well, it's not that easy. Now that it is my job to do the parenting, which is a learning process in itself, sometimes I catch myself thinking, "Boys, hmmm?" It is so important for me to teach, nurture and guide my sons to one day become loving, nurturing and honorable young men themselves. As my head hits my pillow at night, I ponder questions like, "Was I a good mom today?", "Was I present for my boys?", "Am I nurturing my boys the way boys need to be nurtured?", "Am I letting then have the freedom to be boys with the right amount of guidance to learn and grow?" I think I am doing a good job, but I just never know. I have added these books to my reading pile for a fresh perspective. We will see.

8. This morning, I got the boys dressed in some cute Spring clothes, I styled their hair and I may have bribed them with cookies. All of this, in an attempt to take some photos for a new blog header. Out with Christmas/winter photos and in with Spring photos (too early? yeah, kinda). Halt, Screech, not happening!!!! Owen was not having it, was not into it and actually had a small tantrum in refusal to have his picture taken. Let's just say the whole thing was a disaster, except for Jack, who willingly participated and did a great job posing for me. As a mother of two small children, you never know how things will go. Just when I think something will be a disaster, it works out perfect and just when I think something will work without a hitch, it becomes a mess. Double Argh! But, I had my mind set on changing my blog header today, so I worked with what I had and it will work for now, I guess.

9. I found this great idea that I so needed to replicate.

Red Plastic Hearts + Cute (spray painted) Cheap, White Frame + Glue Gun =

A quick, easy and cheap Valentine's Day decoration.

 9. And speaking of Valentine's Day, this free printable is super cute!

10. We're trying something new this year and it's called The Myers 2011 Time Capsule. I saw this idea here and they found it here. I love it. It's going to be neat keeping all of our little mementos and favorites that we the boys gather throughout the year. I promise this is the last time you will have to see this Christmas card photo. I had one extra card, so I put it to use.
First Entry....a rock.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's been snowing,

so we've been...

Putting out bird food.
Because Jack learned about winter birds this week at school.
I think these heart shaped bird-feeders would be fun to make and very fitting for the upcoming  
(pseudo) holiday.

Spraying the snow with blue and green water.
Because this Momma thought it would be neat, however, the boys disagreed. 
They grew bored of it in 5 minutes.
This picture led to a few squirts of blue water right in my eye and in my camera lens. Figures, *sigh*.

Because it's fun.

Eating icicles.

Because it's yummy!

Staying warm and cozy inside, playing with these new pals.
Because they are soft and lovable and Owen's favorites!

Getting this little chap a big boy haircut!
Because it was about time. I think he looks so handsome.
(And I think I can hear my mom saying, "Finally!" through the computer.)

And working on my patience with this lovey.  Breath Nicole, Breath.
  I was informed by our Pediatrician at Jack's 4 year-old well-check that the 4's are known as the Ferocious Fours. What? What happened to Fabulous or Fantastic? Eh, I think it's a little bit of all of those, actually. Some days are Fabulous and some days I need one of these at the end of the day.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Happy Birthday O!
How did my baby become a two year-old so quickly?! These past two years have been so fun and wonderful and amazing and fun watching you grow.You are truly coming into your own and showing all of us (including your big brother) your personality. You understand so much and know more then we even realize you do. 

You have more and more new words everyday. For example, you are in love with the Toy Story characters and were always calling both Buzz and Woody...Buzz. In the last few days, you suddenly started calling Buzz, "Buzz Lightyeea" and the others by their appropriate names. Another cute example, is that at Grandma GiGi's local pool you pointed (with a questioning look on your face) to the water sprouting mushroom thingy that was not on and said, "No Battewees (batteries)?" So cute...I want to bottle this up and keep it forever!

You are yearning to be independent, constantly telling me, "Self", "No, I do it" and "Mine". However, at the end of the day, you still are mommy's boy and you always want mommy to rock you before bed. You try to emulate Jack as you are already requesting to wear "Spidamaaan", you know about all the superheros and you prefer Toy Story and Tarzan over Elmo and Sesame Street. If you are not holding your three lovies, you fill your arms with toys as you always need one in each hand, just like this.
You are my easy-going, sweet, funny and lovable boy.
Owen, we love you so much! Happy Birthday!

*The wand Owen is holding is for The Crayola Glow Station. This is an awesome toy! It is one of our favorite Christmas presents...the boys love it! Thanks Grandma Stevie, you pick out the BEST presents!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

We're home!!

We left in the wee early morning hours the day after Christmas.
We drove many (many-many) hours and miles to see family and friends and celebrate the holidays.
We have been away from our house, our beds, our toys and our comfort zone for two weeks.
Ahhh.....feels so good to be home!

I think they feel the same way!

Hello 2011, we can't for the exciting things that you are bringing to us!
Can't wait to share (and no, I'm not pregnant)!