Monday, May 30, 2011


today i said goodbye to these old friends. tim and i bought them, old theatre seats, when ben was a toddler. sometimes after dinner, when we felt like doing something but had no plans, we would go stroll around a huge antique mall that's close to our house. ben would chill in the backpack and we would chat while looking at all the interesting treasures. honestly, we only did it a handful of times, but it was always fun and was a good winter activity, until ben got too grabby and i got pregnant and too nauseous.

close to christmas time we spotted these and really liked them. we didn't really have any place for them in mind for our house and the price was kinda high, so we made an offer that we were comfortable with and figured that the vendor wouldn't accept it. but then he did, and we hastily bought them, making the chairs our christmas/birthday/anniversary present to each other.

but like i said-when we bought them, we didn't really have a place or plan for them in our home and they just floated around, never really being very useful. i had decided a couple of years ago that we should probably just sell them, but knew that we'd have a hard time getting what we paid for them and i felt stupid losing money on our impulse buy. i'd posted them on craigslist a few times but hadn't gotten any interest, except for shady scammers, further killing my motivation.

yesterday morning, it popped into my head that i should post them and did a quick listing. when i came back from church i already had a text about the seats. i got excited, planning out which project i would tackle with the extra money. unfortunately, i got a speeding ticket last night. (much deserved-i'm terrible about speeding. part of my impatient nature.)

when the guy came and got the seats today, i was sad to let them go, but especially annoyed that the money would just pay my ticket. tim was sweet and said i should still do a project. i'm blessed to have such a kind and generous husband. i probably would have scolded him if he was the one who got the ticket. when i told him that i got one, we was very sympathetic.

it's silly how attached i get to things-old tshirts, books, old papers and letters, and in this case, furniture. it's good for me to watch hoarders and home organization shows to keep me from going down that road ; )

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


if i were to take a survey about what my style is for dressing my boys and my choices were 1.) preppy 2.) punk rock 3.) sports wear...i would have to make up my own category-simple and free. or ragamuffin/orphan child. okay, that's really just their behavior ; )

for the most part, i'm pretty laid back about what my boys wear. we've been blessed with lots of hand-me downs and generous gifts from a friend the boys charmed into being their adopted aunt/grandma. tim's mom usually gives the boys a few cute outfits for their birthdays and occasionally my mom finds some really cute stuff at garage sales. i've honestly not bought anything for my boys other than a few outfits for ben when he was a baby, that honestly, we didn't even need, and socks and underpants. and their super sweet aunt/grandma even gave them socks for christmas : )

it's probably a good thing that i'm pretty low maintenance myself, otherwise i would spend all my energy trying to wrestle and battle my boys to look presentable.

sure ben-plaid with plaid covering most colors of the spectrum is very handsome.

and of course you would want a similar look for the day, max.

the winter after max was born, one of ben's cousins gave him some black snow boots that he had outgrown. ben's other shoes at the time were some really cute chuck taylor converse high tops. way cute, but a total pain in the tush to put on. so we often let him wear the easy to put on snow boots. and the habit stuck. if you saw my boys at all this winter, you would have seen them wearing their boots. bright sunny days=boys wearing snow boots. sometimes it was a little embarrassing, like at mass when their pants wouldn't stay pulled over their boots (at least making them look a little more normal) because of their constant wiggling or when they would stomp back from communion. or when strangers at the store would point them out and give me dirty looks like i was a 14 year old neglectful mom. and i would explain that they had perfectly nice non-snow boots shoes at home, but preferred to wear boots. apparently it didn't bother me enough to wrestle them into their chuckie t's or buy them other, easier to put on shoes.

but now that it's summer, ben is still suck on his boots. they're easier to put on than his sandals and he likes the fleece lining. (i think they make him feel tough. boots are more appropriate for pirate adventures than sandals.) i had max broken of his boot habit because i put his sandals on for him, but then his cousin, who he totally adores, gave him some black church shoes. now, although i'm pretty lenient about their apparel, i've always had a thing against black shoes. i let him wear them on sunday and had to admit that they were pretty cute, but when he wanted to wear them with shorts yesterday, i totally cringed. i tried to talk him into his sandals, but he was really insistent. i gave in and sent him to get some socks to wear with them and of course he came back with bright red ones. since we were just going to my sister-in-law's house, it wasn't worth the fight.

matching out the door, proud of his style victory.

as i was driving, i again cringed when i remembered i needed to stop at dillon's on the way. then i braced myself for more condescending looks about my obvious neglect and our pitiful poverty.

i had to get a picture of them both in all their glory. ben was proud of himself for matching his shirt and shorts. max's shorts he picked are actually pants that are too small and fit like capris that i rolled up. his socks, although both red, don't match. and of course, the lovely footwear. combined with their awkward prom-esque pose, maybe ragamuffin/orphan child really is the best description of our style.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

long long ago

this post is made possible by the miracles of max AND ben napping, me not needing a nap, and the fact that i have to wait to pick up a tool from my brother before i can start my next project.

back in march, when winter was dragging on and on and i was about to go nuts, i decided to finally tackle a project i had been thinking about for a long time. i had actually planned on doing the project in january and my big sister was going to help as my birthday present, but i wasn't feeling well the night we had planned to start. then i kept putting it off, pretty certain that it was going to be more work than i had initially thought.

my plan was to turn this blank wall, between the kitchen and laundry room, into a chalkboard wall. the part that caused my hesitancy was deciding whether or not i wanted to also make the wall magnetic. the door next to this wall is metal and i use it to hang up the boys' art. did i really need two huge magnetic surfaces right next to each other? i didn't want the wall to get cluttered or to have papers get knocked off the wall as i walked by, and it just didn't seem like i would use the wall for magnets. but...if i didn't make the wall magnetic and then changed my mind, i would have to redo the chalkboard part, as the magnetic paint is a primer and the chalkboard paint is the top coat.

both tim and my sister, knowing me well, encouraged the magnetic primer so that i wouldn't have any regret. better to have it and not use it than to wish i had it.

because the magnetic primer would need at least three coats and it needed at least an hour to dry between each coat i had two choices-work on the project every night for a week, having to drag out my supplies each night, or, get rid of the boys for a whole day and tackle it all at once. knowing my usual lack of energy after the boys are in bed and the fact that i HATE paint clean-up and didn't want to have to do it each night i worked on the wall, i asked tim's mom if she could keep the boys for a day. because she's totally awesome, she kindly agreed.

i was glad the boys weren't around because the wall, as i suspected, took a lot more time and effort than it should have. instead of the three coats of primer the can recommended, i had to do five coats, waiting an hour between each coat. after each coat, i would check to see if a magnet would stick and the pull was too weak to hold anything up. i actually had to run to lowe's to get another can which really ticked me off since the stuff cost about $20 a can.

after five coats of the goopy, messy, horrible smelling magnetic primer, i called it good.

next went up the chalkboard paint. it went on a lot easier, but i was really nervous that it would actually work because it just looked like black glossy paint. i wouldn't know for 24 hours, because i had to let the paint cure, which was really hard for little 'ol impatient me.

as i drove to pick up the boys from tim's parent's house i was totally bummed. the project had taken all day to paint one silly little wall, i was a mess, and i was pretty certain the whole thing was a bust. i spent most of my drive writing mental letters of complaint to the two paint companies. it turns out, the chalkboard wall actually did work. i rubbed the whole thing with chalk and then erased it, per instructions that i had seen of other blogs but that wasn't mentioned on my brand of paint, and away we went a drawin'.

of course ben had to draw a rocket in my flowers.

and a jeep driving through my daisies.

the magnetic part is still pretty weak, but it has enough strength to hold one piece of paper. if i were to do it again, i think i'd just skip the magnetic part. and i did call the company that made the magnetic primer and requested a refund for the second can of paint, which i shouldn't have needed, and they sent me a check without any hassle.

i've had mixed feeling about the wall. it's great to use for my to-do lists and sometimes while max is napping, ben and i sit down and draw together. but mostly the boys scribble on it, then ignore it for days, which just makes one more visually cluttered thing for me to deal with. or they squabble while drawing because max likes to erase ben's work to get a rise out him. and it makes a lot of dust.

but last night my sister and several of her boys stopped by. the boys hadn't seen the wall yet and kept going on about how cool it was. my nine year old Godson is pretty selective about what he considers "cool", so it made me feel pretty good that it passed his approval. and then i saw this at the bottom corner of the chalkboard this morning, written, hopefully by the seven year old and not the nine year old ; )

that little message made all the work totally worth it.

Monday, May 9, 2011


so i guess i never said which monday i would close the comments for my little reader appreciation giveaway ; )

we've been very busy and very tired around here, which seems to be my constant refrain. plus our computer has become really slow, so it's frustrating to spend my precious little free time trying to upload pictures. i think i need to move our pictures onto our external hard drive to free up some space, cause this is ridiculous.

ben helped me draw the names of the winners. yes, i wrote out the names, old fashioned style. i prefer to do things in the most time consuming, primitive way possible.

so if the following people could email me their addresses-mary_strawberry(at)yahoo (dot)com, you can expect something in the mail in oh....considering my speed of action around here....about two years.

*army wife-i realize that's not your name anymore but my brain was frozen at the time and i couldn't remember your married name. please forgive me.

the michelles really dominated on this one. ben must be partial to the name michelle. max pronounces it sha-shell.