Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Wear My Sunglasses At Night

Brennan is a hoot these days. His favorite accessory is sunglasses. He wears them all the time!

He can also be found in various locations wearing his bike helmet. Safety first!

He is experimenting with language like crazy, and can sound so grown up. A few recent or common Brennanisms I want to remember.

Pirate talk:
"Where me are?"

Me: Are you finished with your cup?
B: "Well of course I am Mommy."

At lunch: "These chips are so refreshing."

First thing this morning he came to our bed to announce: "We have a french door refrigerator!"

This week we have been eating "rich dark chocolate party cake".

Every time we pass a Lowe's or Lowe's truck he announces,"Lowe's-never stop improving."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Living A Little Lighter

As I mentioned in this post, our living room recently got a little makeover. I had not been happy with the wall color since we painted it three years ago when we moved into this house. We had decided to live with it and see if it grew on us. The color was a nice color, but was just a little too dark for the room. We ended up living with it for three years (because a living room gets a lot of living and it's hard to pull apart a much used room). Finally, after a year at home, I was ready to see the light. I decided one week while Mike was traveling to get this project done. It took five days of nap times to get it done, but it is done. I ended up using the same color we already had in our dining room and hallway. The living room has two large openings into each of these areas, so I was hoping to tie it all together for a larger look. I think it worked somewhat. The room is definitely brighter. It's a long, narrow room. It still has old, ugly carpet. I'm not done, but it's a start. I just can't seem to get a pulled together finished look in there, but trying is part of the fun I guess. I'm definitely open to suggestions!


AND So far:
View from middle of the room. The doorway to the dining room is on the left.
This is probably the closest to the actual paint color also.

The other end of the room from the middle, and the doorway to the foyer. The dining room is on the right.

I did restyle the bookcases a little bit, changed out a couple of tables, moved the chaise downstairs, gave the train table a different spot, and rearranged the gallery wall. We've realized the train table really works best in the living room for now, even though there is a nice playroom downstairs. B plays with it the most of all his toys, and he can't go downstairs alone yet, so it provides a nice little play area. I'm much happier with it now that it isn't the center of the room also. Like I said, there is plenty of tweaking to still be done. In our long range plans, this room becomes a dining room and the family room moves downstairs. That's part of why we haven't put a lot of money into it yet, but I'm not sure how long the range may be.

Feel free to start following this blog and give me your suggestions in the comments! I would love to hear from you!

New Paint: Glidden Historic Tan

Sunday, May 27, 2012


HF&M, otherwise known by the scary name Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, has invaded our fun holiday weekend and CRASHED our BASH. Instead of going to the hot air balloon glow and having a party, we are quarantined with a rather uncomfortable, grumpy toddler. Our days have included lots of Disney movies, lots of cuddling, a good bit of crying (from the toddler), a good bit of sleeping (more from the mommy than the toddler), and some swimming thrown in to beat the heat. It's been nice to have Mike home through this, since B thinks he hung the moon and we've been able to tag team. It hasn't  been so nice that this is how we are spending his time off. The poor little guy looks pitiful. I'll spare you the pictures, but it's actually quite scary looking. Thankfully he does seem to be feeling better today.

This is one strange illness. I don't remember ever hearing of it until the last few years. It sort of seems like what Chicken Pox was for our generation, but maybe less dangerous and reoccurring.  I've heard other moms talk about it, and always hoped we wouldn't experience it. Once we did, I was glad I knew of others who had gone through it. As these things always happen for us, I realized B had HF&M about 4 o'clock Friday afternoon, the start of not only a weekend but a long holiday weekend. I was able to find some info online, but some of it was contradictory. I did find enough info to know without a doubt that he had HF&M. I also realized it's a pretty lengthy illness.

Thursday, 3 a.m.: B woke up crying. He felt really hot to the touch but didn't have a fever according to the thermometer. He went back to sleep quickly.

Thursday, 9 a.m.: B woke up an hour later than normal and was clingy. He ate and became very excited to run errands with us. He was a little sick to his stomach, but it seemed more like sinus issues.

Throughout the day Thursday he became lethargic, wanted to sleep earlier than normal, and generally acted ill. He would also perk back up on occasion and seem normal. When I asked what felt bad he would say his mouth (my first clue it might be HF&M).

Friday he woke up acting normal and feeling good. At the grocery store he was really quiet, and then suddenly yelled out that his foot hurt. He took his shoe off and wouldn't put it back on. His feet looked normal. Later in the afternoon he got sick to his stomach again. I also noticed a rash when I changed his diaper. A couple of hours later the rash started on his hands and feet. He also had blisters on his arm and leg.

So about 36 hours after this all began, we finally knew what was going on. I had suspected an ear infection, but thankfully didn't let him play with anyone just in case it was more. The start of the rash also started his major discomfort. Friday night we gave him Benadryl, but he still didn't sleep until the second dose about 3 a.m. He layed around almost all day Saturday. Finally, Saturday afternoon he got a burst of energy and was wild. I had called the doctor to find out what the best pain relief was, how long it would be contagious, and if he could swim. I knew we were all going to need some relief, and swimming was the answer. The doctor suggested alternating Tylenol and Motrin. He also said B could swim at home with us, but did not suggest it in public. He said the contagious part was a little tricky, but basically 5 or 6 days.

Today he has gotten several more sores. There are none on his torso, but basically everywhere else. He hasn't been sick to his stomach again, and is eating and drinking ok. Especially the "rich dark chocolate cake" I made for his "party" today. I read that the last day or two were the worst for sores, so we are still in that stage I guess. It's not the weekend we imagined, but we are getting a lot of restful, family time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Drop In Drop Cloths

Yes, I am a little obsessed with drop cloths. I am about to use them in our barn as a curtain wall. They will hide all the barn stuff (paint, garden supplies, etc.) when we use the barn for entertaining. I went to get them today at Home Depot, and found a super deal awaiting. Right now they have this bonus pack:

It is two 6' x 9' drop cloths for $10, the normal price of one. They are the exact same cloths as I had gotten before. The shelf tag said promo, so I don't know if they will keep these in stock or not.

I had already thought about using one as a shower curtain. It would be a great size for a ceiling to floor one. Now I think I may also use them as table cloths. I tried one out today and it fits great on a 6' folding table. I'm thinking I could have all matching table cloths for the barn, but I'm still deciding if I want that. I'm also wondering if you could dye these suckers. Oh, the possibilities!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Good Day All Around

I have two bits of good news to share! First, Mike will keep his job until August. That sounds a whole lot better than no job after today. He has a couple of leads to continue after August, and will continue pursuing any options.

Second, Brennan has made potty training progress. Yes, I know many of you would rather not hear about my toddler's bodily functions. I'm primarily documenting this information for myself. He has shown that he was ready for training, but personally chose not to participate. Finally, he chose to start working on it yesterday and seems to really want to be an official big boy. He just needed it to be completely his choice, in his time, and wants to be totally independent when it happens. I'll take that! We have a long way to go, but I'm sure if he stays set on it the time will pass quickly.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Great Mother's Day Weekend!

We've had a nice, sort of quiet, Mother's Day weekend. Our week last week ended with an unpleasant surprise, so a quieter weekend was welcomed. The big surprise was that Mike will very likely not have a job after this Tuesday. Yeah, not the news you ever want to hear, but definitely not when that is your only income. His company is restructuring, again, and the word on the street is they are outsourcing three levels of jobs. He'll know more in the next few days, and we are hopeful that everything will go better than it looks right now. We aren't making any big decisions right now, so I don't really know yet what that will mean for me at home. Prayers are appreciated!

As for our weekend, Mike was out of town all last week so we started it off with homemade pizza and play time Friday. Brennan was so excited to have his favorite playmate home! On Saturday, we went to a super cute Lightening McQueen birthday party for Brennan's buddy Connor. Saturday night Mike took Brennan out for awhile and I had the time to put together the gallery wall I wrote about. Today has been filled with lots of love from my boys.

Their theatrical performance to the Leapfrog magnetic barn music. Ha! Ha!

 Brennan is at a very loving and sweet stage (when he's not being a two year old :). This morning I had made him oatmeal. He said with no prompting,"Good job cooking in the microwave Mommy." I've also gotten lots of I Love Yous and Happy Mother's Days from him. I had gotten my present several weeks ago, which I absolutely love, two large canvases of the little guy.

I had taken the pictures when we were at Fort Morgan last fall, and love getting to see them and remember that trip every day.

Tonight we had a nice dinner with my family at Mom and Dad's house. I've tried two new recipes this weekend. For brunch today I made an Overnight French Toast casserole from my Pinterest board Rise and Shine.

You put it together the night before, which took about ten minutes, and then it cooks for about 30 minutes when you're ready. We all thought it was very yummy! For dessert tonight I tried a strawberry cream pie from my Sweet Treats board.

 It was a little like a strawberry pretzel salad, minus the Jello. It was pretty tasty also. It was good to spend time with family. This was the best shot I got with two wound up toddlers.

Overall, we've had a great relaxing weekend. I think we're ready to take on this week head on, and hope it's good to us.

Happy Mother's Day!

To Honor Mom

My mom has taught me so many things through our years together. One is a love of my home and decorating. She has a lot more style and finesse than I ever will, but I aspire to be like her in many ways. She has always been one to do her own thing and not really follow the crowd. It usually ends up that she is a little ahead of the trend. One trend she beat by at least 30 years is the gallery wall. She has been grouping pictures for years, so when I started to see so many "gallery walls" on Pinterest I had to chuckle. Hers come together so effortlessly it seems. She just sort of throws a bunch of stuff together and it looks great. I still haven't become that confident, but  I did tackle expanding our gallery wall in the living room. I've had a gallery wall of sorts since I had my first house in Minnesota six years ago. Most of the pictures have changed since then but I hadn't added much. This past week I painted our living room (more to come on that), and decided I was ready to mix our wall up a little.


First, I put down a large roll of package paper in the extra bedroom floor. Then, I gathered all the items I wanted to use on the wall and started to lay them out on the paper. I had decided to continue using all black frames but add a few other items besides black and white pictures. I knew I wanted the outline to be a large box, and I knew I didn't want  the middle to be all straight lines. At first I had a center design and spread the rest around it. I decided I didn't really like how "perfect" that was making it look like it needed to be, so I changed it up a little more. Once I liked what I saw, I drew around each picture frame with a Sharpie. Then I measured for the center and marked that on the paper. Finally, I took a picture of the finished layout so that I could refer back to it when I was actually hanging the prints.

Once I had cleared all the frames away, I measured the wall where the gallery would hang to find the center. I lined up the center of my paper with the center of the wall and hung the paper with painters tape. Next came the tedious part that my mother has taught me well. Measuring, measuring again, measuring another way, and kind of eyeballing it to finish up. Actually, Mom can do a lot more eyeballing than I can. I measured from the top of each frame to the hanger, and then transferred that measurement to the drawings. With the paper hanging on the wall, and the measurements I had made, I nailed every nail into place. Then I tore down the paper and started hanging. I'll admit, they weren't all perfect. I had to rehang two, but out of eighteen I don't think that's too bad. The whole process took a couple of hours, toddler free hours thanks to a Mother's Day treat from the hubs.

The finished product! Sorry, it's not the best picture.

I like the look of all black frames, and thanks to six years of collecting and IKEA our gallery wall has grown. Most of the frames came from IKEA, Walmart, or Target, and I paid very little for any of them. That said, next I think I'll try a smaller grouping of a mix of frames. I'm liking that look too.

A few things I've learned:

  • Draw around the frames carefully and accurately. You can probably tell from the photo that I didn't do this for every frame but it would have been better.
  • Measure the distance from the top of the frame to the hanger for every frame. Even two identical frames may not have the same spacing. 
  • Use two nails or a picture hanger so the pictures will stay straighter once your done.