Wednesday, August 31, 2011

the return

We are back! 

I loved being gone the last week of summer but will make sure I have all my school stuff ready before I leave next year.  Holy busy, batman.  School forms/supplies/back to school night coupled with house-guest preparation (cleaning, unpacking, groceries, laundry) nearly killed me yesterday.  I survived, however, and am feeling much more in control today.  (Patrick helped out a lot after work last night, thank God.)  I can't wait to see Cheryl and her family later!  :)  We are all so excited!

Our mini-vacation was wonderful.  Duluth graced us with beautiful weather which is not something you ever take for granted in Duluth.  We had lots of fun as a family and I was once again reminded (not that I ever forget) how wonderful my family of origin is.  I got to see my aunties, cousins, baby cousins, parents, in-laws...it was so wonderful.  We are so blessed.

I'll show you one geeky tourist thing we did and ended up loving... 

Beginning of the ride:  (James actually sat between us because he couldn't really reach the pedals yet.  Next year!)
 End of the ride...Nicky was fast asleep.  So sweet.  We saw Ruby start to put her arm around him and cuddling him and then he was just asleep.  I love how he is still holding on.
(Patrick and I went again on our date night.)  :)

Hope you are all well and enjoyed our last week of August, 2011!

xoxo


Monday, August 22, 2011

home makeover: jewelry frame edition

I got out the spray paint  my favorite spray paint (Krylon Hosta Leaf) the other day and changed things up a little.

I like it soooooo much better.  I guess I'd say I love it.
The background is a blue pinstriped fabric.
The light in my room is awful for pictures in the morning but they'll do.  I want to cover the whole wall above my sewing machine (which is in our bedroom again) with things I love.

This is a pretty good start.

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Here are some pictures from a movie night we had last week.  We watched Rio...pretty cute movie.
 He sat like this for about 3 minutes.  He was naked.  :)


This weekend was both good and boring.  I suppose they can't all be full of beer tents and fireworks, can they?  :)  James had a friend over (hours of star wars Wii), we cleaned the basement and garage, I took Ruby for a haircut and school clothes shopping and did lots of yard work.  This morning I feel sleepy but happy.

Vacation week!  :)

oxoxo


Friday, August 19, 2011

frames, toes & chairs

Apparently bike helmets are the tip of the day!  Wear one in your pictures...you will look skinny! :)  heehee. You guys are all so sweet.  I am totally not skinny minny but sure appreciate you saying I look thin!  I haven't lost any more weight this summer but am managing to (barely) hold on to what I did lose.  I don't weight myself every day anymore right now because I found that I do go up and down a pound or two nearly every day when I'm not in "losing" mode.  I think that's pretty normal so I don't worry about it anymore.  (as long as I see the down days along with the up days.)  I've been exercising every day for at least 30 minutes for the last 8 days and hope to keep it up until Sept. 1.  It helps combat all of the hamburgers and ice cream that this summer entails.

Here is another little project I did last week while my kids were gone/outside/asleep.  I had wanted to use chicken wire behind the frame to hang stuff on but didn't really want to buy a whole roll of it.  (I see chicken wire everywhere in blog land these days!  It influences me!)  I thought of stringing this thin metal floral wire instead and then just backed it with some fabric.  I love it but don't like the fabric I chose.  I thought it was a darker orange when I grabbed it in the basement and just went with it when I saw it was actually lighter.  I know the right fabric is out there and I will not rest until I find it!

kidding.


I do love this frame but might repaint it, too.
It's good for now and I do like to look at it so that counts for something.

Here are little Nicky toes the other morning.  It's what I saw when I first opened up his door.
The full crazy is revealed with the flash.
Isn't he charming?
We had such a nice day yesterday.  We met Heidi and her kids at the dig and then went to a park for lunch and stayed all afternoon.  I hadn't seen her in a while so it was fun to catch up.  AND she let me have the 2 coolest lawn chairs EVER at the dig.  This is a picture I stole off of the internet but mine are exactly like it:
eek!  so cool for the patio!

I have to go shower now and get us loaded up.  We have another fun day planned with Kari and Zoe and I can't wait!  Happy weekend, you guys!

xoxo

Thursday, August 18, 2011

crabby dabby do

Before I posted yesterday I went for a bike ride.

6:30am. Don't I look pissy?  I wasn't trying to look pissy, I just was pissy.  The pissy - it was oozing out of me.
The ride was lovely,
and I do like how Nicky's seat holds exactly one bag of groceries,
but I was still pissy.  I posted my post about James and had some coffee and was pissy.  Wendy called and I was pissy.  I called Wendy back and said I was sorry for being pissy and hung up and was pissy.  I decided to get us out of the house and STOP BEING PISSY.  It worked for the most part.

The kids and I went to the downtown farmer's market and got some delicious produce, scones and beef jerky.  We walked to Walgreens and got some bandaids (oh, the bandaids we go through).  We walked up to the Monona Terrace and ate our lunch and the kids ran and ran and ran.  I felt less pissy.  When they tired of their urban playground we loaded up and drove back home...hot, sweaty, tired out and feeling a lot better.

The afternoon grumblies set in soon after we got home (the kids, not me) so I called our sitter and arranged to have her come over at 5:15.  I had a nice little evening on my own that ended with me (grudgingly) getting groceries.  I didn't get home until 10:45!  I am so happy now that I don't have to take my kids, though. 

As I was driving last night I felt the last bits of heaviness (sadness, pissiness) fall off of me.  Thank you for your kind words on my last post about James.  It's hard to admit that you feel sad about ultimately good news, you know?  I think a let down is a let down, though, no matter where you start from. 

We just booked a room on the lakefront in Duluth for 2 nights next week.  It was a bit of a splurge but waking up and being able to step outside and be on the lakewalk is a little dream of mine.  I can't wait!  (we got a lake view room with a balcony!  woohoo!)  After those 2 nights we will go to my Dad's house for a few nights.  I am really looking forward to it.  We are going to be there for our 16 year anniversary and it looks like my family is going to take the kids so we can celebrate.  We'll come back next Monday and then on Wednesday my sister in law and her family come for a week...I CANNOT wait to see them and meet my nieces for the first time.  (man, that is sad that I've never met them.)  On Thursday the big kids start school.  wow.  On Friday, Patrick will be off again until the following Tuesday.  Sounds like a pretty awesome way to wind up our summer.

I was going to say I was taking a couple weeks off from the old blog but now I don't know.  If I can fit it in, I will be here.  I like being here, you know?  Thank you for being here with me!  :)

xoxo


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

food allergies (grumble, grumble)

Yesterday was James' annual visit with his allergist.  His test this year shows that he has "undetectable" levels of both milk and peanut IgE in his blood which is great news, really.  (can you hear the excitement in my voice?)  Of course, he still has skin reactions to both.  sigh.  But he ate half a piece of cheese a couple of weeks ago (on accident...was on his sub that we ordered with no cheese) with no ill effects (aside from a little redness around his mouth that could have been from the spicy salami that has made his mouth red before).  I've always known his skin to be extra reactive so what does this all mean??  It was good to see that his skin reactions are significantly smaller than they have been in the past.  (like two years ago...holy cats!)

It means we continue to wait.  It means we celebrate that his scores in everything (milk, egg, peanut) have gone down every year of his life and he can now tolerate baked and melted dairy of all kinds.  That has been so awesome for him and us and I don't want to seem ungrateful...I am SO grateful for this, especially when I can make pizza, grilled cheese, quesadillas, etc. for dinner.  :)  (more dinner options are always good, right?)  He can also tolerate some baked egg and our doctor told me to keep going with that...just getting a little bit in him as much as possible will most likely help him outgrow the allergy faster.

I had told my sister that I would probably fall over dead if he didn't show a skin reaction yesterday but, of course, there was still a part of me that was hopeful.  I still am hopeful for the future, I suppose, but am giving myself a couple days to just feel sad about this, too...about food allergies in general.  Something with a food allergy comes up for us nearly every day of James' life.  Most of the time it is no big deal, we just figure it out and move on, but it is still always there.

I just searched my own blog and found this post that I wrote after his first negative blood test for dairy, 2 years ago.  The feelings are the same even with how far we've come.  I've learned that I just have to let myself feel sad for a couple of days and that it passes.  It's always on my mind more before a new school year starts, too.  Especially since the policies aren't really in place yet for his new school this year.  Yikes.  I hope we hear from the school soon...they are supposed to be figuring some stuff out.

I am going to drink some coffee.  Hopefully I will be back later with something a little more fun.  xoxo

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

new love

Today.


Today my floors are sticky and my nose is sneez-y.  My kids either won't stop eating or won't eat at all.  My babysitter canceled and we're all out of groceries.  We all need a bath and I didn't do the dishes after dinner last night.  My skin feels clammy and my coffee is cold.

Today is one of those days where I slept as late as my kids.  Instead of doing the normal morning kid routine leisurely, I need to scramble to get caught up and right in the head without even getting my morning routine done yet.  It's a large price to pay for staying up late watching Bachelor Pad (LOVE the PAD) and 2 hours of Intervention.  (sigh.)  And then I was so hot last night (our room is the stuffiest) and Patrick asked me if I wanted to spoon.  Gag.  He wrapped his big hot body around mine and I almost threw up.  Now that is love.   :)  (he was tormenting me, btw, not really dying for a spoon.)


I feel lighter now that I got all of that off of my chest.  (and Wendy is helping out with the babysitting today...thank God.)  I've got a few more minutes so I'll show you what I did yesterday.  I started this project over a year ago (in my head) after I did it in Nicholas' room.  I pulled my favorite fabrics last week telling myself to just go with it...they didn't need to match.  I only ended up switching out one of them - a gingham - because yes, I love me some gingham, but it is kind of boring.

I laid them out a few different times but ended up deciding how they would go as I banged in the nails yesterday.  I LOVE IT.  Love.  These are some of my very favorite fabrics...most were thrifted, 2 were new, and 4 are vintage.  They are on one of our bedroom walls.

Patrick loves them as much as I do.  (kidding.)

Also, Nicky is definitely using his power for evil:  (yes, those are scissors in his hand.  sigh.)

And, finally, here is the most delicious lunch EVER.  I ate it 3 times last week and am mourning it this one.  I need to hit a Farmer's Market for more tomatoes and cukes as my neighbors' supply seems to be dwindling.

It was cold quinoa (cooked in chicken broth) with olive oil, tomatoes, cucumbers and salt and pepper.  A hard boiled egg, laughing cow cheese wedge and some pretzel sticks rounded it out.  SO delicious and about 300 calories.  yum yum yum.

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Yesterday after Wendy offered to watch my kids, I offered to watch hers this morning for a couple of hours.  I kinda forgot about it (as she wasn't sure yesterday) until she called this morning.  Um, can you say ill-prepared?  It worked out for the best because I had 30 minutes and got my house all picked up...the dishes done, the laundry put away, more laundry started, blah, blah, blah and now it's done!  The kids are playing outside and I am going to finally have some breakfast and more (hot) coffee.

xoxo

Monday, August 15, 2011

very wordy

The house is silent.  I've exercised and showered but still have to make the coffee.  What are you doing?  How was your weekend?

My weekend was all kinds of awesome.  It started with surprising our kids at 9:00 Friday night by telling them to put their shoes on...we're going to see some fireworks!  They had no idea...it was so cute.  James was like, "REALLY???"  :)  It was Community Picnic weekend here in our small town and the fireworks were the kick off.

The picnic is normally at a park by the river but they are doing all sorts of upgrades and work on that park this summer so the picnic was at another park just a few blocks away from us.  (instead of the 5 blocks that the other one is...yes, this is a small town.  :)  )  I loved having it so close.

On Saturday morning (well... at 11:30) James and I went for a bike ride.  After a while he headed for home and I took off down the trail for another half an hour.  It was gorgeous and still had a bit of that delicious chill in the air.  After lunch and a shower I took the big kids back over to the picnic while Nicky napped.  I told Patrick we'd probably be gone a couple of hours...we got home nearly 6 hours later.  It was so fun!  First the kids bounced in the inflatables they had set up and then we spent some time watching turtle races before getting a snack and sitting in the beer tent to listen to the band.  James decided to go home after a while (music was too loud) but Ruby and I stayed for quite a while.  She loved the live music...it was so cute.  (sitting there eating salty popcorn and sipping a cold beer with her was perfect.  love.)  A while later we went to find our friends who were grilling ribs for the competition.  Ruby ran off to play with her friends and I just relaaaaaaaaxed.  happy sigh. Right after judging the heavens opened up and there was a DOWNPOUR.  Everyone ran to the (luckily huge) beer tent and we spent the rest of the afternoon dancing and talking and dashing in and out of the rain.  (that was Ruby, not me.)  We finally left for home during a break in the rain and I called Wendy to see if she wanted to go back down later for some more dancing and beer but she couldn't make it.  I guess that worked out for the best because I heard later that the band (different from the day time one) wasn't that good.  When we got home Patrick and I made grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner and the kids danced around the nearly dark living room...it was one of those perfect moments that makes you want to stop and have it linger on for a while.  As icing on the cake, the big kids were invited next door for movie night.  They didn't get home until 11:00pm...Ruby walked up to my room, fell onto the bed and was asleep almost instantly.  We didn't have the heart to move her.

Sunday morning was church, then lunch and a quick clean up of the house before the sitter came at 3:00.  (we go to 11:15 church so our day is half over by the time we're out...we like not rushing in the morning, though.)  Patrick and I went to see Harry Potter (his choice so I get next choice!) and had a coffee at Barriques...it was so nice.  Patrick commented that the movie was hard to see and I said it was probably just for effect.  It wasn't.  When we got out they gave us all a free ticket for another movie some time.  Pretty nice for something I barely noticed.  When we got home Patrick spearheaded a giant toy sort (??) while I mowed part of the lawn.
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I have to tell you, I love going to bed at night.  It is one of my favorite parts of the day as funny as that sounds.  I love sinking into our comfy bed with the room dark and the house quiet.  I love going over the things I was thankful for that day in my head...offering up another thank you for them feels so appropriate and necessary and that is usually how I fall asleep - mid-thought/prayer.  How is my life this good?  How is it so full of things that make me so happy?  I am so blessed. 

I had an extra lot to think over at bedtime this weekend.

xoxo

p.s.  I started this so early and just finished it now at 2:42pm.  :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

artsy fartsy

I knew I was taking a chance with yesterday's post and I was not wrong.  The whole day was not a nightmare, quite nice actually, but everything imploded at about 4:30.  I pushed through the screaming and boredom, grilled up some brats, and we met Patrick at McKee Farms for dinner, a walk and some play time.  Thank God for my husband.  While I relish time at home, too much of a good thing can be not so good.  (when does school start??  heehee.)

I felt so accomplished yesterday with 2 small tasks I completed along with a mountain of laundry.  First, I got this painting at the thrift store last winter and just fell in love with it.  It came framed and matted with a horrible mustard yellow mat.  (?)  The picture is an odd shape so I couldn't just pop a new mat over it and cutting it with an exacto knife was not going to work.  I thought maybe I could just paint over the mat but only had fabric paint at home.  sigh.  I decided to try it anyways and tested it out on a sheet of paper.  It seemed to work fine so I went for it...I love how it turned out.

I'm going to repaint the original frame in black.  I love this so much that it became my new header today.  fun.

My other task also involved some art.  My sister bought me a beautiful print that I had fallen in love with after she had purchased the same picture on a note card from the Art Fair in July.  (run on much?)  I totally love this picture and it has inspired me to get it and some other stuff that I love up on our walls.  (super cool birthday gift from my SIL is next to be framed!)

Here is the print from Andrea, in a frame I found in my basement:


Sorry about the weird angle...I was trying to avoid my messy morning face in the glass.  See - it's a clothesline!  LOVE.

You guys, it's Friday already!  How did that happen?  The week went so fast except for those mind-numbingly slow hours yesterday afternoon.

Nicky (finally) likes to look at books.  And he can crawl up on the couches.  yikes.


As long as he uses this new power for good (reading on the couch) and not evil (climbing up onto the half wall behind him) I am okay with it.

xoxo

Thursday, August 11, 2011

devil's lake and some self reflection

I was so nervous at the beginning of August.  The month seemed to stretch out so far in front of me with lots of empty days to fill. 

Ironically, I am now feeling like I want it to slow down.  It seems to be racing by!  I know I can't have it both ways so I am super thankful it is this way instead of the alternative (dragging).  I know the great weather is helping A LOT and our looser schedule is helping, too.  A lot of days we don't even go anywhere until swimming lessons would have been over but it helps me mentally knowing we don't have to go to them.  My mind is a funny kind of place.  :)

Certain hours of the day feel long, of course.  What is helping is for me to think first about what will make me happy and then make the kids comply.  :)  I am the parent after all and you know how the saying goes...if mama ain't happy...

One of the things that has always made me happiest is being outside with my kids.  We've been going for lots of bike rides (painful, to be honest.  it's better with Patrick but when it's just me and the kids I normally feel like banging my head on the sidewalk by the time we get home.  maybe it's building character?), walks, and just hanging out in the patio and yard.  Sometimes it is so hard to pull myself away from "my stuff" (including housework, projects, a book, talking on the phone, computer stuff) but when I do for a while we always have better days.

side note:  The other day I told myself I wasn't going to check my email (and facebook and blogs) until noon.  It was 9am.  I lasted until 10:45 and I won't even tell you how many times I resisted the urge between 9 and 10:45.  It was sad.  The next day I physically shut the computer down for 4 hours and that was much easier.  I'm trying to do that every day now.  I tell myself that I just check "for a minute" but that minute can easily turn into 5 or 10 or even 15 minutes.  I make myself ask myself, "Is reading about someone else's life so much more entertaining than living my OWN LIFE?"  Sadly, the answer is yes sometimes but I am so much more likely to make my OWN day fun when I am not throwing other peoples' lives down my throat all the time. 

that came out of no where!  I love blogs but sometimes I get fed up with them/me.  I see that they can be a big stumbling block for me and I use them to escape my kids.  Sometimes that is FINE and GOOD, I need that, but I also need to have these days right here with them be good days and I need to work a little to make that happen.  whew.

This post was going to be about our trip to Devil's Lake yesterday.  It was a good one (except for when I nearly peed my pants on the way there and finally just ended up pulling over and peeing right on the side of the highway.  and let me tell you, that was the best pee I ever had.  ahhhhhhhhhh.) and I felt super happy to have taken them there all by myself.  They were all really good (that always means they were normal kids...there is always some fighting and fits but "really good" means there weren't more than I could handle.  :)  ) and we had such a fun time.  Our favorite part was hiking on the tumbled rock path. 

Ruby laid in her "nest" for a long time:
 James attempts a self burial:
 Nicky makes a mess:






 I know I'm making a goofy face but I wanted a picture of me carrying him.  I love it and he doesn't always let me:
time to shut off my computer.  have a good day, friends!

xoxo

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

glenwood children's park

The weather this week has been just perfect.  Not too hot, not too cold...just right.  What a refreshing change of pace after all of the heat.  I feel like I just need to be outside on these days. 

The other day I took the kids to a park I had heard about in Madison.  It is a really cool space, a chunk of woods in the middle of the city, set apart for kids to run wild.

At first my kids weren't sure what to do.  Then they realized they could climb and run and they had a great time.  (for about 45 minutes.)  There were some mosquitoes (see all the green?) but bug spray held them off...I don't think any of us got a bite.  I want to go back in the fall as I think it will be even more fun to explore without all the foliage...you can't really see everything through all the leaves. 










After playing we sat down to have a snack and I decided to try for a picture.  (again, because of Teresa.  How much influence does she really have over me???  :)  )


why bother?  :)
cute dirty knees, at least:
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You guys.  My family has eaten SO MUCH zucchini and they have no idea!  ahhahahahhaha!  That jumbo zuke gave me 7 cups to work with.  I made 4 loaves of bread (3 of which are gone) and a big pan of brownies.  It was all delicious.  I've also received tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and lettuce this week from neighbors.  Super thankful for all of it.

I think we are going to Devil's Lake area today.  It is going to be another beautiful day and I am in the mood for a hike.  We'll see.  I hope you are having happy weeks wherever you are!

xxoo

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