Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Prep

Did you know how cool we are at our house?

Well let me fill you in.  Santa (the big guy himself) has us on speed dial.  That's right.  He called us last week.  Talked to me personally on the phone. (By the way, he said to tell you "hi")  Anyway, turns out he had a specific message for our 4 year old.  He needed her to carefully go through her toys and decide what she didn't need anymore so that there could be room for the new ones he's bringing on Christmas.  (And oh boy, there will be some good stuff coming.)

I told miss A this as she was going to bed the night before Thanksgiving.  ("Guess who just called?!")  And she instantly assumed she would be giving away her Lion.  You know, the toy she's slept with every night since she was around 3 months old?  We assured her this wasn't the case, and that is was the toys she never plays with that other kids might like to play with.

It seemed to stress her out, because she kept bringing it up all the next day.  I was busy with Thanksgiving prep and figured we'd go through her room together later with a garbage sack.  But she beat me to it.  With relief in her voice she came and told me she had found the toy:

Some little polly-pocket-something-or-other from a kid's meal prize.  Great.  Now I can call Santa back and tell him we have loads of room for him.

I then went through with the giant garbage bag (by myself) and made some selections from both kid's rooms (where do all these trinkets come from?) and will be stopping by the DI later while a certain someone is at dance class.  

Let me know if you need a word put in with the big guy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

the one about the kitchen

Last week for a Relief Society activity night, I was asked to speak on what I was grateful for.  I actually found this really hard to do.  How do you talk about how your life's been blessed without it coming across as how MUCH you have, perhaps lending others to start the comparison game of what they don't have.

Anyway, I chose some topics that I think worked and kept it light.  You know me, sarcasm has always been my safety blanket.  But I would like to share here what was forefront in my mind but didn't share.

It has been a little over a year since we made the big move to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  I can't believe it.  At this time a year ago we still had two of the most amazing grandparents around blessing our lives.  December is when it disappeared all too quickly.   But at this time last year, they had moved to assisted living, and us to their home.  

It was hard at first, probably for too many reasons to list here.  Hard to feel like we were suddenly invaded a space that was special not only to us, but all of our family as well.  Yet, I really felt strongly that we needed to make this house our own.  So two weeks solid were spent de-wallpapering.  (possibly the worst way to spend one's time.)  Each room had it's own special wallpaper.  One room was even covered in a grass wallpaper that I discovered I was allergic to.  It was exhausting but well worth all the effort to give us a clean canvas for our family's changes.

Before all the work began, we took some before pictures...you know of just the way Grandma and Grandpa had it.  I just spent some time looking through them, and I am actually shocked at how there isn't a single room that looks totally different.  It feels like us now when we walk in the door, but we kept some elements of our well-respected loved ones so they weren't erased.

Here are some before pictures of grandma and grandpa's kitchen.

It is important to note that the wall paper had pink ribbons and green artichokes in it.  It wasn't until that came down that I realized the cabinets were two different colors (top and bottom).  Also, for tall people that center row of cabinets were frustrating.  Bug and I had differing opinions on this one: remove them all (me) or keep them for storage (bug).  We ended up compromising in the end.

Although it was tempting to replace everything and start afresh, Bug reminded me we have a ridiculously tight modest budget.  Actually these cabinets are amazing.  Each drawer rolls out, there are specific drawers for flour and sugar, a spice cabinet that is the envy of some, and very solidly built.  I just wasn't digging the fleshy color.  Or the yellow counter-tops for that matter.  What can I say?
Enter in simply solutions time: paint the cabinets.  I have always dreamed of having a white kitchen.  And I am not disappointed.  Although pounding out this project in a weekend was a bit overkill on my part.  But this meant instead of forking out $ for cabinets I could upgrade our laminate counter tops and the stove top to gas...enter in my unbridled excitement!

Other loves: how it has brightened this room up, the new hardware (I admit, I cried when I put it on...but that was admittedly probably due most to fatigue), the granite counter tops, the tin back-splash under the microwave...I could go on and on.

Not to mention a new sink.  When I get to heaven, one of my top 5 questions for grandma will be "why in heaven's name did you put up with your tiny sink for so long?" I think it's meant to wash a teacup.  Bug was excited that  I am now thrilled to do the dishes, and it isn't accompanied by any cussing from water overflows.

I would't feel right if I left out the disclaimer that when the project fund gets back up again, we will attack the flooring.  (so sue me if white carpet under the kitchen table isn't a favorite of mine...or laminate flooring. bleh.)  And if I can pull it off: a new fridge (that doesn't stand out like a sore thumb) and a double oven that was made at least during my lifetime and not 3 decades earlier would be nice.

And remember how cool I thought the flour and sugar drawers were?  Apparently so did our toddler. 10 minutes before we had to head out the door.

He discovered it.

And has loved it ever since.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the halloween one

I shudder to think of the time when A finally realizes most people get to pick what they want to be for Halloween.  For now, I highly manipulate recommend what she will be each year.  And since I know the window of recommending is closing quickly I like the kiddos to have some sort of theme.

Last year they were Little Bo Peep and her Sheep.  This year they were yard art.

Behold the garden gnome.  This gnome ran at top speeds the entire evening.  And although he discarded the beard immediately, we count ourselves lucky he kept the hat on for most of the night.  Also, I did clue in and roll up his sleeves after the picture was taken as well.

 And every yard needs a pink flamingo.  (thanks to my mom for her mad sewing skills on this one)  A has a tutu, a wing cape, and tail feathers to complete her look.  What 4 year old girl can't resist dressing in that much pink I ask you?

 And for the first time in years, Bug and I got in on the action.  These are the greatest pictures, but they'll give you the idea.  Bug dressed up as my idol when I was 10: good old Bob Ross from The Joy of Painting.  You know the guy, the one with the Afro on PBS who always talked like he was high on something other than life?  And everything in his world was happy?  Which inspired my costume as a Happy Little Tree.

I don't want to brag, but we did win funniest costume.  
(But I think that might of had to do more with "bob's" dance moves.)

Also, when I explained what we were going to be to my mom, her reply was "remind me what Bob Villa has to do with a happy tree again?"  Good try mom, at least both are PBS superstars...

Anyway, it was a fun Halloween for us this year.  Complete with pumpkin decorating, preschool trick-or-treating, parties every weekend for the past several weeks, boo at the zoo, visits to pumpkin patches, and finally trick or treating as a family in great weather in the best neighborhood that includes homemade doughnuts at one neighbors and ends with us all cuddled around fire pits drinking hot chocolate at another's.

A was pretty disappointed that it was all over this morning.  
She said "Mom I have a good idea: maybe I should wear my flamingo costume for Christmas!"