Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Train a child . . ."

. . . in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22:6).

As you can see, we start that training early around here! :-)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In Honor of Earth Day

All in a day's work . . .

Now, if only it will grow.
(secretly, I have some serious doubts.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Break

Claire's spring break ended up being much shorter than it was originally due to snow day make-ups. Boy, it sure is nice having those snow days in the winter, but it's no fun when your spring break is only 4 days long.

However, we managed to fit in a lot of fun during those few short days.

We slept in . . .

explored the Children's Museum . . .

made some doughnuts . . .

went grocery shopping . . .

drove a "mighty machine" . . .

and visited a local garden to take in some of the early spring flowers.

It was short but lots of fun having my girl home.
I miss that kid.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

So Behind . . . tsk, tsk.

I know Easter has long come and gone, but our celebration lasted for a couple weeks, so it's really only right that it takes me a couple of weeks to get the pictures up. How's that for slacker justification?

Anyway, prepare yourselves for a ton of pictures here. Pictures of my kids, eggs, my kids and eggs . . . you get the idea.

We started the week before Easter at a local park who sponsors a great Egg Hunt for the kids. Instead of filling the eggs, they ask the kids to return the empty eggs after the hunt and then give each child the choice of a ton of really great prizes. Claire walked away with a large basket filled with treats, and Ben chose a Spiderman kite.

She's at the perfect age for this stuff. She can run fast and isn't afraid, yet she is still respectful of the other kids. I saw her several times walk away when she saw a little one going for an egg.

Ben holding up his completely empty egg basket. He had absolutely no interest in finding the eggs. Smart kid, really. What's the point in running for empty eggs? He spent the whole time swinging with daddy on the playground.

The day before Easter we met our church small group at another local park that was sponsoring a fundraiser to raise money for medical research for the cure of neuroblastoma. Lillie's Friends sponsored a HUGE race, bouncy house, kid's band, and egg hunt.
We met at the playground before heading over to the event.
If only this thing would start.

Claire and some best buddies.

Ben enjoying his very favorite park activity. He would swing all day if he could.

We also enjoyed a picnic lunch with our friends too.

And then Easter day after enjoying the church service, we met up again with our small group and ate lunch together at one of their homes. These next pictures were taken there.

Don't they look sweet? Yes, the answer is "yes."

How cute is he in his Easter vest and tie? Shawn wore a tie that morning for the first time in YEARS so the two of them could "match."

Someone thinks she's cute.

And then, like millions of other mothers that day, I attempted to get a nice family picture of all of us in our nice Easter clothes. What you don't see in these photos is all the yelling, cajoling, threatening, pleading and bribing that it took to get them.

Hmmm, let's try that again.

Oh well, good enough I guess. At least no one was crying. That's progress I say.

Grandma came to visit that weekend as she was on Spring Break too. We enjoyed having her, and the kids are always over the moon when they get to see her.

We also put on a small egg hunt for the kids in the front yard.
Surprise, surprise, Ben actually participated. He's no dumby. These eggs were filled!

The "big girls" showing off their chicks.

Hello, son. Just what evil plan are you hatching in that sweet little head of yours?

Okay, so he's not really evil.

I've been told this pictures looks like a campaign photo. It must be the tie and rolled-up sleeves because it's certainly not the freaky, flyaway hair that appears to be growing from my ear. Any good campaign manager would have edited that strangeness right out of there.

Vote for us, your local representatives of worn out parents everywhere. :-)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What Have We Been Up To?

Well, I'll tell you. Amidst all the Easter excitement (stay tuned for a later post on all that), me turning a year older (poo!), and grandma coming to visit, we have also been doing some home improvement work.

It all started several (and, yes, I do mean several) months ago, when my dear husband and I decided that it was finally time, after nearly 9 years, to take down the awful border in our living room and PAINT!

When we bought it, this house had border in EVERY. SINGLE. ROOM, so by the time we finished taking it down and repainting all the other rooms, the living room was just too much. We decided we would "just live with it" for a year and then fix it. Well, 9 years later. We finally got our act together.

And even then, it was a very slow process.

I took a few before photos to give you an idea of the hated ivy boarder and how big of a job it was to take down.

And finally the process began. I won't tell you how long ago this picture was taken. Let's just say that it was around "the holidays." Which "holidays" you ask? Well, um.......

Shawn is so totally going to kill me when he finds out I posted these pictures.

Hey honey! heh, heh.

And then, when the boarder was FINALLY down, we quickly painted the trim and started the great wall paint color debate. You may remember me talking about it here. You will also note just how long ago the great debate started. To say that we take our time in making paint decisions is an understatement. Really, it's all about self-preservation. Just ask Shawn about the "Electric Yellow" paint choice of 2001. Scary, I tell you. Simply scary.

We decided to go with the top color on the left - Stonington.

In progress . . .

Shawn's getting pretty good at this painting thing. And, yes, that is paint on the top of his head. Not altogether sure how that one happened, but I just keep my mouth shut during this process. If keeping my mouth shut means he does the painting, then the mouth is shut I tell you!

Once the painting was finished, I began the curtain hunt. Getting curtains to frame the huge front window was another thing on the "will do it eventually" list. But, I was ready for it to finally happen. Thanks to some helpful ideas via The Nester, I came up with these.

Need a closer look?

Okay -

Impressed? You should be, and if not, just pretend.

Since I didn't have a spare vital organ lying around that I could sell to purchase drapes, we needed to find an economically viable option. For less than $25 bucks I made these things. Did I sew one stitch to make them? Nope. Are they perfect? No way. Are they exactly what I wanted? Not really. But it looks better than it did before, and when I get tired of the fabric, I can easily switch it out.

While I was in the mood, I decided to bring up a desk that has been in our garage for over a year now. It used to belong to my grandfather, and I've always wanted to find a place for it to work in our house. This is what I came up with.

It's currently right at the top of our stairs. I like it there. I LOVE all the drawers that it has. When you live in a converted cracker box like we do, drawer space/storage is like finding the golden ticket in a Wonka Bar.

I'm still tweaking the arrangement on the desk, but I'm a little concerned that it's not really working. For one thing, the placement of the desk there meant we had to move another piece of furniture somewhere to make room for it.

So, now the rest of our living room looks like this:

See that bookshelf thingy right next to the fireplace mantel? That used to be where the desk now is, and we can't figure out where to put it. Obviously it doesn't really fit where it is, but there really is no other place for it. The couch takes up the entire opposite wall, and there are 2 chairs in front of the window on the right. Any ideas?

I'm afraid the desk may need to return to the depths of the dark basement for no other reason than this:

I'm not sure what happened to the bottom half of this picture, but what I'm attempting to show you here is the very small space between the edge of the desk and the wall. This is all the room there is to enter the hallway. It's plenty of room. No need to turn sideways or anything, but it is a little awkward.

So, anyway, I'm still trying to figure out what to do. None of the pictures are hung yet because that will depend on the furniture placement. I'm so very ill-equipped for all this. It's sad really.

Maybe by "the holidays" I'll have figured it all out.

Here's hoping.