Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 179 - To-Do List

I knocked a bunch of stuff off of my never-ending to-do list today. Believe me, I would have rather gone back to the scrapbookimg store to see what goodies they had left, but instead, I was good.

In one round trip we hit the cleaners, the recycling center, the church to sign up for religion classes, Target (to buy warmer clothes for the baby...stupid 44 degree weather this morning), and Micheal's (because I can never let that 40% coupon go unspent.)

When we got home Maria made a new friend. We got to play with Elizabeth while her grandpa "swept" our lawn. What a cutie! We had fun getting out all of Maria's old toys including the neighborhood favorite - the ice cream truck.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 178 - Tooth Fairy and First Steps.

Luke lost his third tooth yesterday. He ordered apple fries from Burger King and it popped right out.

In our neighborhood the toothfairy will reveal her color if you leave out a glass of water. She'll dip one of her wings into the water and then you'll know what color fairy visited. (I guess there are many of them working out there.) We had an orangy-red one visit us this time. (In the past we've had a blue one and a green one.)

In Elise news...she took her first step today. She stood up, balanced for a moment, and then when I reached out to her she took a big step. Lots of claps and smiles. When we tried it again she took a big step, lost her balance and wiped out big time and bopped her head on the floor. I think a rubber room would come in very handy in this house...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Day 177 - Do Over

I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was the day JFK Jr. was missing, July 17 1999. I had just flown from Alaska to Seattle with my aunt at the tail end of our poor man's Alaskan cruise (The Alaska Ferry). We met up my mom who had just flown in herself. The three of us had one day together before I headed back home.

We were slightly familiar with Seattle since we'd been out there a couple of times before. We were eager to find our favorite store. As we strolled up to it we noticed a sign on the door - "Last Day". Everything was priced as "make an offer". We were like kids in a candy shop. Too bad I didn't have a lot of spending money back then.

All of us look back on that moment as one we would love to relive. We should have bought more. People were bringing arm loads of things to the counter and said "$20" and the owner hardly even glanced at the product as she said, "OK." We were being careful, picky, frugal. I still remember what I bought that day (which wasn't much). I don't remember what I passed up...but I always wish I could have bought more.

Fast forward 10 today. I got my chance. Not in Seattle, but in a small scrapbooking store here going out of business. PAPER!! (I've never scrapbooked by the way...I just make stuff with pretty paper.)

Anyone who has seen my craft room knows that I don't need one more piece of paper, tool, ribbon, or embellishment. But, today as I shopped, I thought of that missed opportunity years ago...and I let the credit card fly to new heights. (That's 54 pieces of paper in the picture!!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 176 - New "Diet"

All of the days at the gym have not given me the results I need. That whole 9 months up, 9 months down thing with baby weight was done and over 2 months ago and I'm still 12 pounds heavier than when I got pregnant.

So, the last resort is here. The diet.

This one is 2 part. Part 1 is low carb. I'm not going whole hog on this part though. I really don't think I could survive without bread...and sugar...I'm just trying to be more aware.

Part 2 is much more effective. I'm writing down everything I eat. Everything. Licking the cake batter spoon, finishing Maria's peanut butter and jelly, the $2 worth of chocolate covered peanuts - everything. (Why am I admitting all of this to you?)

And then, I'm going to give this list to my trainer at the gym. She is going to read it and know the crap tat has entered my body. And believe me, I've shaped up this week since I've started...but there are many fails as well. The whole thing makes me really think about every bite.

How long do you give it?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 175 - A Lovely Package

I had signed up through another blog for a gift exchange called "A Lovely Package." My gifts came today and I was so excited to open them to see what was chosen for me.

I was surprised when I opened the envelope to see ALL of these goodies waiting for me. It was like Christmas day (minus the gift cards!)

She picked out lots of paper-y things, and relaxing things, and even gifts for each of my kids! Personalized cards for Luke, crafts for Maria, and the cutest shirt for Elise.

Are you wondering what I sent her?

This is the cute bag I decorated. Inside are these 3 pillow boxes that I stamped:

These are the 3 gifts I bought for for each pillow box:

The necklace is made from recycled paper and was made in Kenya (which helps women earn money by making them). The key fob is made by my friend Karin...check out her cute shop here. And last are the little vintage looking tags I made.

Thank you Mara. I had fun exchanging gifts with you!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 174 - Home Makeover (Part 2)


The closets are here. And they are lovely. We should have done this years ago. But here they are. (And nope...your monitor is not wonky today, it's my out of focus camera on the wrong setting.)

Mud Room:
Mud room with a few things starting to get put away:

The kids are now able to retrieve and put away their own jackets. Shelves everywhere. And the best part are the 5 sliding for each person in the family - perfect for mittens, hats, etc.

Next up is the girls' room:
Their closet with some stuff put away:

Now Maria will be able to reach her clothes. There is a laundry basket! And the shelves will soon be filled with organized tubs of toys, games, and craft stuff.

On to the master:

The first picture is looking in and to the right. The second picture shows behind the door.

All my sweaters, sweatshirts, t-shirts, and tank tops now have a place to sit (within reach!).

There is more work to be done! And many more things to sort out. Goodwill here I come!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 173 - Home Makeover (Part 1)

Tomorrow is the big day. The new closet shelves and racks are going to be installed. I am hoping this will solve some of our clutter problems. We outgrew this house too fast, and the "stuff" has taken over. No more. Tomorrow is a new beginning.

Here are some before pictures.

The mud room's closet. Coats, shoes, hats, paint, batteries, you name it...this was a major catch-all.

The mudroom closet as it looks tonight awaiting it's makeover. Empty!!

The girls' closet. Stuffed with dresses, games, books, and a chest full of stuffed animals. (I didn't take a picture today since the girls were asleep, but it is empty like the mudroom closet.)

The master closet. I had it 2/3 empty by the time I remembered to take a picture. Pretty much a square full of clothes, laundry baskets, and yes, that Hannah Montana guitar.

Empty. And painted. This color in real person looks like chocolate milk. It's so yummy. Look how gray our contractor "white" walls look next to it. They are going bye-bye too after I get some things organized.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day 172 - Running in Circles

Long story short...

Breakfast, laundry, sweep. Dishes, phone calls, baby's bath.
Computer time, steam clean carpet, lunch.
Wiped up spilled bottle of shampoo.

Post office, paint store, donation center.

Drop off Luke & Maria to playdate (thanks Laura!).

Elise to the doctor. Poke.

Dinner, playtime, walk. Pick up toys, laundry, dishes.

Work on closets (pull out screws, sand, & spackle).

Drink. Bed.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day 171 - Odd Jobs

Weird day.

I worked on moving stuff out of the closets (in anticipation of the miracle worker who comes on Wednesday!) My bed is covered with sweaters.

I trimmed a tree that now looks super goofy and a little phallic. I'll need to fix that.

Dad helped me move furniture and took down the existing shelves in the closets.

I made a yummy pizza for dinner tonight.

I worked on etsy orders. 3 are going out tomorrow!

Luke feel asleep at a record 9:07 tonight. I hardly knew what to do with the extra time!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day 170 - Zonked

You know it's been a busy day around here when the baby falls asleep at the dinner table.

We had an afternoon party filled with carnival games, pony rides, bouncers, and a band.

We went shopping at Sam's Club...(why do they have to have the cheapest diapers and formula?)

We went swimming at the gym. The baby loved it.

Now we are in the middle of our first sleepover. I think they are having fun...I haven't been bugged in over an hour! I'm keeping my finger's crossed for some sleeping in.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 169 - Boredom

We still have 2 1/2 weeks until school starts. Talk about a long summer. I know we sound like we are on-the-go-busy-every-minute, but there is a lot of time we just sit around and watch Sponge Bob. We have a neighborhood that has 30 kids, but only 1 that willingly plays with my kids. That leaves for a lot of empty time.

So we have to import friends.

Today Luke's friend Jacob came over. We were having a hard time coming up with something everyone wanted to do and since his mom only allows 30 minutes of Sponge Bob a day (a good policy) we headed outside between spits of rain and made an obstacle course.

We drew circles, zig zags, numbers, swirly lines, and designated lots of silly moves to them.

It was good until the rain came and washed it away. Now we have a clean slate for tomorrow's boredom killer.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 168 - Pay it Forward

In the past 168 days we've had a lot of people do things that help us out. The grandparents have been great with babysitting to give me those much needed breaks. A few neighbors have kept our lawn looking good. One of Chris' co-workers helped with some landscaping.

So, for the past 168 days I've been trying to pay it forward. (When I catch them) I give the guys who mow our yard beer as "payment". I've cooked lasagna for laid off neighbors. I'm a sneaky on-line shopper who sends stuff unsuspectingly to others. We've tried to be more charitable with our money. I've tried to buy local and handmade.

Today I made the yummiest looking fruit salad for a neighbor going through a difficult time.

Now that I wrote all of that it sounds a little on the bragging side, but that is not the point.

First, I think we all need to do more things that help others around us. It's the whole karma thing.

Second, I need more ideas! I want to keep up my good deeds, but I am running dry! Any thoughts?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 167 - Babysitter

The kids have a babysitter about once every 2 years or so. Realizing this made me really think of how I need to get out more.

So, tonight was my night to escape. My neighbor/friend/craft muse and I went to eat up some tapas and drink sangria. It was super yummy and better than that...I did not think of the kids once. And to have a meal where I don't have to bend over and pick up food off the floor is priceless.

When I returned to the house the babysitter said Maria had been thirsty and headed out to the garage and came back inside with an entire box of juice pouches. The babysitter asked Maria if she thought I would have wanted her to drink a juice pouch at that time of night to which Maria excitedly replied, "Well, Mom's not here!!"

Yeah...I need to get out more.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 166 - Our Poor House

Today I took my first step in having a nice and tidy house...I had a closet organizer come to help us work some miracles. I figure, if we have more places to put things, there might not be so much junk lying around. (I know...I'm kidding myself a bit on that, but there is hope involved here and I don't want to blow it.)

Next stop - cleaning out stuff like we are going to put our house on the market to sell. It's the only way to stop these piles from getting (more) out of control.

Look for some before and after pictures soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 165 - Back to School Shopping

I had a chance to go shopping today with only 2 kids in tow. Still, it was no easy feat...and really, the job is incomplete.

I discovered today that Elise can stand up in a cart. That made things ugly real quick.

I also realized that since Maria turned 5 she has whined non-stop.

But, I did get Luke a pair of shoes. And that is what mattered most. I don't know what else I bought...I just kind of threw stuff into the basket knowing that my 30% off coupon needed to be used today. Never mind that I'll have to go back to return half of it anyway...Do you really think I'm crazy enough to go into a fitting room with these people??

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 164 - Post Vacation Blues

I'm pooped.

I was sick all week, but it didn't matter because I was on vacation. I tried to get the sun to bake it out of me. That didn't quite work.

I'm sad.

I wish Chris would have been on vacation with us. He's missing so much. I want time to speed up so he gets back, but at the same time I want time to slow down.

I'm overwhelmed.

Taking care of 4 people is hard work. It's 24/7. I haven't had a full night's rest in over a year. I'm so looking forward to school starting so I no longer have 3 extra bodies hanging on me wanting something.

I'm done feeling sorry for myself. Things could be much worse.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 163 - The Haul will not want to read this post.

You will not want to look at this picture either...

But I know you will anyway.

Fair warning... is my week's worth of stones I collected off of the beach. (Who's the greatest stone hunter now Dad, huh? I know you are going to look at this...)

This is 1/2 of what I picked up. The stones were everywhere. Insane. I never sat down. I nearly threw out my back... (Click on the picture for a close up!)

But is was so worth it. Every stone I picked up has a purpose now. Some will be turned into pendants. Some will be turned into magnets. Others will get placed on the birdhouses I make. The sea glass and petoskey stones will be stocked piled to sell. And the Leland blue, which was in abundance this year, will be saved for some unknown craft down the road.

The rock tumbler took last year off...but I have a feeling it's going to be running until the snow falls this year!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 162 - Today's Photos

We started off the day at a little (and I mean little) Children's Museum in Traverse City.

The kids spent a lot of time with the flowing water table. I admit, I spent a lot of time there too.

Maria loved being a part of the water cycle. Elise enjoyed the "precipitation" part.

Then we went to the beach...7th day in a row! We saw a huge storm brew with lightning and thunder, but thankfully it headed north instead of west. Lots of stones were collected today.

We had a lot of sun, but we did have one cloud that sprinkled on us for about one minute. Our giant umbrella kept our stuff dry.

4 hours of playing at the beach each day gives you strong muscles. Now it's time to pack up and get ready for the ride home tomorrow.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 161 - Beach Bums

I feel I am raising my kids right by training them to be beach bums.

The beach is a place where time doesn't matter. You just follow the sun. It's nice to be unplugged.

If you get hot, get in the water.

If you get cold, get wrapped up in a towel.

If you get hungry, get something out of the cooler.

If you get bored, take a nap.

If you have to pee, go in the water.

If you need something to do, go dig a hole.

The beach is easy. Unless you throw sand, you aren't going to get in trouble.

Sand on a beach blanket is fixable. Sand in a sandwich, not so much.

I love it here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 160 - Full Day

No wonder I'm tired. Besides being slightly sick, we've been on the go. When I get home, I'm going to need a vacation, or a nap...whichever is more easily obtained.

We woke up and headed down to the cheese shanty for sandwiches. Today's pick for me was chicken, brie, dried cherries, a vinaigrette, and sunflower seeds on a pretzel bread roll. For my "diet" I ate 1/2 for lunch and 1/2 for dinner.

Next we drove to the tip of the pinky finger of Michigan to see the lighthouse. I think the kids were a little young for it, but it was a nice scenic drive.

Next we spent a few hours at a new beach we found out about called Christmas Cove. It had a lot of petoskey stones...but it also had a bit too much seaweed for our liking.

After a rest and dinner, we headed out for the daily dose of Moomer's Ice Cream. I have switched to a kid sized cone this year. Think of how many calories I've saved. The kids have switched to cups instead of cones since we've lost a few too many scoops to gravity over the years.

After the ice cream, we walked to the local park and Luke immediately was drawn to the huge trees. This one had about 6 trunks and was hollow in the middle.

This one was begging to be scaled. That's a trick he learned at home in our hallway.

Elise has been a trooper this whole trip. She's had the same ugly cold as me, but she's still had a good demeanor. This swing had her name on it. A perfect way to end the day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 159 - Cherries

When vacationing in the land of cherries, it is fun to make a stop at Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor. Everything is made with cherries. Plus, they have free samples everywhere. It's a fun place!

I bought myself lots of goodies today. This should hold me over until their Christmas catalog shows up in my mailbox.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 158 - Pictures of Leland

I've enjoyed staying right in the heart of Leland. This place has it's own vibe and magic to it. It's unexplainable. Being a stone's throw away from all of the shops and beaches has been so fun.