Thursday, September 17, 2009


The kids went on strike. That's right. I don't even know of a creative way to jump into this. Long story short, the kids got a hold of a huge empty box (we finally got around to the rest of the boxes in the garage...eight months later...) which, for some reason completely beyond me, resulted in a huge disaster in Girlie's room. And I mean huge.

Being the Love and Logic parents we are, the box was removed, and the kids were instructed to clean the mess up. The offspring were completely devastated at the loss of their box/cave/rocketship and the next time we turned around, we saw this:

That's right. They formed their own little picket line, each waving signs of protest.

"I am on strike"

"No more back massaging." That's right. We make our kids give us back massages, and here they are waving ultimatums in our faces. I think this one was my personal favorite.

And, finally, "I Quit."

It was too funny. We busted up laughing and had to applaud their creativity. I then explained that they didn't have a union to back them up, and they still weren't getting their box back.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One of Those Moms

Well, school started, and we're gradually getting into the swing of things. The scheduled time, the crowded parking lot, the whole business of learning. It's good. It's really good. My kids were ecstatic about starting school--Girlie in 1st grade, Sammy in a co-op preschool. Girlie was thrilled that one of her best friends from Kindergarten was in her first grade class, too (above) and I was thrilled that she got the cutest, most loving, awesome teacher (below).

This is Sammy on his first day of preschool. His backpack was chock full of...stuff (extra underwear and shirts, stuffed animals, Leap pad, water torpedo)...anything, really, that one might need on the first day of preschool.

I think this stance says "I'm just a little too cool. Oh, yeah."

But. All this brings me to my 'issue'. I think I'm one of those moms. We've been in school now for about two weeks, and I'm still hovering. In my head I know I need to give my kids a little shove out of the nest--they certainly have no problem with separation, but it' I still (with the two boys in tow) linger on the playground until the morning bell rings. My heart actually constricts as I watch my tiny, 39 lb First Grader navigate a playground full of gigantor 6th graders. I tear up when I see her find a group of fellow tiny friends, hugging and chatting very excitedly about whatever first grade girls chat about. I should leave at this point, I know. But I stand there mesmerized until the bell rings and I follow at a respectable distance as she walks with her little friends to line up at the classroom door. She watches me from the corner of her eye, and still blows me kisses before I go. I, again, should leave at this point, but I kind of hide behind the shrubbery, making sure that she makes it the two feet from the line to the door.

First grade is something new. It's like the beginning of the end. She will now spend less awake time with me than with someone else, and it's hard to wrap my mind around that. My overly dramatic imagination grieves at the idea of being separated, and when I forecast it out to letting go of her at wedding doesn't bode well. For her and her groom, in particular. I've clearly established the benefits (financial and otherwise) of her growing up and living close by. I think she's sold.
Some parents, I know, are all too eager to kick their kids out the door and onto the school bus. I wish I could be a little more like that. But, luckily for me, we live out of bounds, so I get to drive her there every morning, and see her just a little longer.

I know I need therapy or something. Or at least I'm going to when she leaves for BYU. Or maybe I could just move to Provo... But, I digress. The point is, I'm one of those moms who can't let go so well. It makes my heart hurt.

Then again, I'm sitting here, both older kids gone and Little Buddy down for a nap, and, I'll be honest, I'm enjoying the silence.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Wild Man Turns 4

Sept. 13, 2005, 1:18 p.m. Sam Sam the Wild Man entered the world peacefully. Then he cried for 4 months. He was a super intense little baby, and we should have realized, that was just...him. What a wonderful little guy we've had the pleasure of raising for the past 4 years. If there's one thing I could say about Sammy (and, believe me, there are a LOT of things I could say about him) it's that with him around, life is never boring. There is a home video clip of him laying on the couch, sick, when he was about 18 months. On the tape I say, "I just had to get this on film, because we've never, ever seen him sit still before."

We started off his birthday morning right with a great big sugar rush, compliments of Daddy. Not that he needs any help with energy. He is always full of life, so enthusiastic (about his love for us, about the messes he makes, the disaters he creates...), and really, really hilarious.

With his mesmerizing eyes and sense of humor, this kid keeps us on our toes. He wakes up early and whispers loudly to me that it's "WAKE UP TIME". He attends a co-op preschool (although he will swear to you that it's a co-ock preschool). He is fully self sufficient, which is a joy, but also makes for really interesting outfits. He loves anything athletic, and loves to pretend, and loves to eat.

He was beyond excited about his scooter. We were too, until a crash left a big gouge in my kitchen floor.
He is passionate about the ups and downs of life. Sammy reminds me of an ad I saw once that said "Some people duck down when life comes at them. Others stand up tall and say 'Dish it up, and don't be stingy with the jalepenos.'" That would be Sammy. He has a super strong will, and pretty impressive little muscles to go with it. J and I know he will be a force when he grows up.

Sammy insisted we have candles and sing to him at every meal. So, we put a candle (the self re-lighting kind) in his cinnamon roll at breakfast, his hot dog at lunch and his ribs at dinner. I asked him what he wanted for his special birthday dinner. His reply? Chocolate. So, we went with my Plan B.

We are having a friend birthday party (Batman themed) next Saturday, so instead of another cake, he chose to have a giant cookie cake.
We have so much fun with this little, I mean big guy. He is truly a joy. And even though sometime he makes 1/2 my hair turn white, and makes me pull the other 1/2 out, I adore him. Happy birthday, darling boy. I love you.

Here is the first post I dedicated to my guy-guy: Grocery Shopping with Sam Sam

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dining Room Makeover

This was our dining room "before." Then I came up with an idea for reverse wainscoting, to which J replied "That sounds really weird." That's what he always says to my design ideas right before he gets roped into doing them with me and ends up loving them.

This is the "after." It was really hard to get a picture of what it looks like, because of the backlighting from the window. So, here's a mediocre picture of what our dining area looks like now. The second picture shows it a little better. I chose a greenish-grey color for the bottom, and matched our existing trim color for the top part.

With the help of our friend Mike, we put up the chair rail first (the window is beautifully wrapped, but hidden by the window panels) and then measured the vertical slats, which we attached with liquid nails, and a finish nailer (any excuse to use power tools). J caulked everything before I did the painting. Then we attached the drapery rod and black ticking window panels. I found my white hemstitch runner that I thought I mistakenly gave to DI, which was a total bonus for the table.

And what window doesn't benefit from glass jars full of fake fruit?

This project was really fun, and totally worth the tendonitis that I suffered with for two weeks after.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fall Mantels

I don't know if I should really be decorating for fall yet, as it will reach a balmy 81 degrees later this week. But, I can't help it. And, as there were some requests for fall decorating tips, I thought I'd share this year's Fall Mantel with you. Let's go step by step.

This is the before. A lovely, albeit boring mantel.

Start with a nice, full garland with realistic leaves (the same goes for evergreen ones at Christmas). I attached it with clear packing tape--I still have much at my disposal. I taped it at the front corner of the ledge. I also taped an acorn and leave swag in the middle as a kind of "centerpiece." You can click on the mantle close-up (below, a couple pictures) for a better look.

Then, add some tall elements. One of the most important thing about accessorizing is thinking about positive/negative space. Positive space is where the things are. Negative space is all the space around the objects. When you have a varied assortment of sizes and shapes, it makes it more visually interesting to look at. You need interesting positive and negative space. Does that make sense?

Here's a closer-up of the mantle. One idea is to tip objects in different directions. It may be kind of hard to see, but the pumpkins on the inside of the candlesticks are tipped forward so their tops are showing.

Then add some smaller objects. This arrangement is fairly symmetrical. It's not exactly the same on each side, but it is similar, and more importantly, visually balanced. I wanted some more height on the left side of the hearth area, so I used a cardboard box covered with a pretty kitchen towel as a stand. A crate would have been better, but I made do with what I had. :)

I used indian corn and some more stems of leaves for fillers. And, voila, I'm done! Hopefully you got some ideas that will help you in your fall decorating! Happy Autumn!

Was this useful/interesting? Let me know!
Click here to see 2010's mantel!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ask Me

It is cold and rainy here. Like, sweater and jacket kind of weather. Gloomy? No. It makes me positively giddy with excitement for fall decorating and baking. I baked zucchini bread this afternoon, and I'm this close to breaking out my bins and bags of autumn splendor. And it's prompted me to post another design how-to. The problem is, I don't know what you want to know. Because, not to sound like a design snob, it all seems kind of obvious to me. So I don't know what burning interiors-related questions you might have. So I'm asking you what you'd like to see a post on. Holiday decorating? Halloween crafts and activities? Color schemes? Leave it in the comments, and who knows? You might see your name up in lights. Okay, your name isn't going to be in lights. But maybe an answer to your question will be.