Sunday, August 28, 2011

kc time

a couple weeks ago my mom and i, along with the boys, escaped to kansas city for an overnight stay. because the boys get restless in the car and are quite tricky going to bed, we'd never done any long trips with them or stayed the night anywhere other than grandma and grandpa's, so this was an interesting experiment.

i realize that some might not consider a 3 hour car ride a long trip, but for me, that qualifies. amazingly, miraculously, happily, the boys did very well in the car.

we left around 3pm, hoping that maybe, just maybe, the boys would nap in the car. and they did!! for about half the way up!!

mom and i enjoyed the time to talk and the glorious cloud displays. as much as i don't like riding in cars, the flint hills really are a pleasure to drive through.

i love clouds.

when the boys woke up and were getting restless after a pit stop, we were saved by the DVD player.

(ben's tv stare kinda freaks me out.)

we had such a great time spending saturday evening and sunday with my brother and his family. the boys loved cousin time...

and new electronic toy time...

and it was so nice to just get to hang out with my brother and wonderful sister-in-law since we usually only get to see them at big family gatherings where it's always a little (or lot) hectic and overwhelming.

plus, i finally got to see their oh so cool house in it's completed form. tim and i had seen it the summer before they moved in when they were still finishing it, but we hadn't been back up that way in almost three years and had only been able to marvel at it in pictures.

i totally have a crush on their house. i didn't want to be creepy and take tons of pics of their living space, but their house is just so. dang. cool. (if you want to read more, the house was featured in dwell magazine here.

i love the clean lines, the unconventional use of building materials, and ALL THOSE WINDOWS. definitely not your average suburban ranch! i have to admit, if i had just seen this house featured online and hadn't personally been in the space, it would seem a little sparse and a bit cold-so much open-ness would seem uncozy i suppose. but it is the perfect blend of cozy and private in the bedroom areas and open and peaceful in the living room/dining room/kitchen area.

they designed this gorgeous wooden room divider to basically create another "room" in the big open living room. so, so beautiful. (i was super thankful my wild ones didn't slam into it and break it.)

did i mention the windows?! such a view!

on sunday afternoon my kind and patient sister-in-law took me to trader joe's, which i had been longing to go to for a long time. although the store had been open for over a month, it was like it was the opening day and was totally packed. i'm sure part of that was that it was the weekend-it seemed like a lot of people where checking it out and just wandering along. although it didn't live up to the utopian grocery i had built it up in my mind to be, i would be happy if one came to town. some of the prices were pretty good, some just the norm. the selection was interesting and it would have been fun to just wander and look but the crowd just made me want to grab a few things and GET OUT!

we honestly waited in line for about 20 minutes. but the company was good and the people watching was top notch.

after checking in with the boys and picking up mom, j took us to urban arts + crafts-a totally awesome fabric/bead/yarn/crafts stuff shop that is within walking distance of their house.

it would be seriously dangerous to our budget if i lived so close to soooo much beautiful fabric.

it was cool to see anna maria horner's fabric in person-i have long drooled over it via the interwebs. the voile feels as soft and light as she describes it to be and would be so delicious to make skirts and dresses out of if i had those skillz. serious fabric lust occurred at that store.

after a little more time back at the tree house snuggling the sweet little princess we had to get on the road.

again the boys did well in the car. thankfully grammie is very, very patient and i'm pretty sure, loves the boys more than i do.

a long post for a short trip, but it twas a good trip.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

da shelf

i have some blog catching up to do. i blame tim's work schedule. and my laziness.

we have hard water so we have to buy bottled water. it's a major pain and has led to much marital strife and annoyance-it's actually pretty rediculous how much stress this issue has caused tim and i.

for several years now, our system has consisted of refilling our five gallon water jugs and then filling a pitcher from those that we keep on the counter or fridge, depending on the season. but the pitcher would never last the whole day and always seemed to be annoyingly empty at the worst possible times. plus it was hard for the boys to be able to get themselves drinks with that system. ben was finally able to get himself drinks with minimal messes but when the pitcher was full it was too heavy for max to handle. after five years of getting drinks for little boys, i was ready for them to take over that task.

back in september of 2010 meg at sew liberated had this great post: quenching thirst, montessori style. at the time i read it, her system seemed like a great idea, but i just never put it into action. i think i was being cheap and decided i would just muddle along with our free pitcher system instead of buying a water crock. plus, i was pretty certain the boys would make huge messes with unlimited access to water.

but the idea stuck with me and this spring i was totally fed up with our annoying system. while researching water crocks online, i remembered that my aunt and uncle used to have one on a stand in their dining room, but knew that they no longer used it. being the cheapskate that i am, i called her up and asked if she still had it around. sure enough, she did, and gifted it to me, but no longer had the stand. it needed a new faucet and gasket so i set it aside and procrastinated ordering them.

i finally ordered the new parts in july and when they came, gave the crock a good scrubbing and had tim put it together. we started using it with it just sitting on our counter. it was nice because it held more water than the pitcher we had been using and ben and max could reach it, but tim wanted to be able to just put the whole five-gallon jug on top of the crock instead of filling the crock every couple of days. but when he would do that, it would block the upper cabinets that stored everyday essentials like plates and glasses--no good.

tim wanted to order a stand like this one but i really didn't want to spend almost $50 for something so simple, plus i wanted to have shelf space on the stand. so i said i would build a shelf. *insert tim's skeptical eyebrows raised look here.* in our years of marriage, i may have developed a reputation for saying i would make things that haven't quite materialized. tim has been patiently waiting five years for a tshirt quilt and a lemon meringue pie.

but this time i was really going to do it. i drew up a rough sketch-pretty good for me since i usually just start screwing things together-and called my little brother to see if he would be game for helping me.

with my boys at my parents' house, i went to lowe's to get my supplies: sandpaper because i forgot to bring some from our house, screws, and one 2x12x12 untreated board. fyi: lowe's will price match anyone else, plus 10%-no printed ad necessary.

i thought i was so clever for having them make my cuts for me, which is free, saving myself and brother the time of getting out the saw and adjusting it, but they didn't make the cuts the right length. brother and i persevered anyways, just screwing it together and ignoring the gaps, because i was running out time-the boys' movie was almost over, and i really just wanted to get the project done.

when we stood up the finished shelf it looked great, except for a suspicious feeling that it looked a little too wide to fit in the space i needed it to. i tried to ignore the feeling all the way home, but upon bringing it in the house, it was proven that yes, it was too wide. being the expert carpenter that i am, i hadn't accounted for the width of the boards on the sides of the shelf, which was about three inches because of my thick board.

i was soooo frustrated. i had already been having a very cranky week and i needed this to be an easy project to perk me up and that wasn't happening.

after literally dreaming about fixing the shelf, the next day i took it all apart and attempted to cut it with our circular saw. the thing with our saw is it doesn't cut staight through the board-it cuts at an angle because it's messed up. i tried to adjust it and thought i had fixed the problem, but nope, it still cut at an angle.

totally irritated, i called another brother (there's a lot of perks of having six brothers)and asked if he could help me. i think he could hear the crazy in my voice because he kindly agreed to let me and the boys come over. i would say he helped me fix the shelf, but he actually did all the work while i stood there and watched. he sympathized with me-we both enjoy doing projects but with limited free time, we both get really frustrated when they don't turn out right the first time because then we have to wait awhile to be able to fix them. granted my projects are small and simple and his are big and amazing, but it still made me feel better knowing i wasn't totally crazy for getting so annoyed over a shelf.

the shelf now fits perfectly and allows for a nice display space for some on my colorful treasures, as well as a spot for glasses so the boys (and second kind brother's kids)can help themselves to a glass of water-YAY! admittedly, we had a few accidents in the first couple days of use-max would be so mesmerized watching his glass fill up that he would stand there watching as his glass overflowed and water poured onto the floor. but now with a couple weeks of use under their belts, i think the novelty has worn off and we haven't had any more spills.

now, whenever i get a drink, i think of two of my very sweet brothers who helped me. and the price:

$24.78 sure beats $50 and i still have a few screws leftover and the sandpaper has me ready for my next project.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


as a mother of two "energetic" boys, i sometimes fantasize about having one of these suits.

like tonight, as i was getting the boys' toothbrushes ready for them, max was jumping up and down on his stool and landed on the back of the stool, making it flip over....on top of my foot. steel toe boots should be worn around here at all times.

then as i was putting on max's night diaper, we was wiggling and kicking. i asked him to lay still, which he responded to with a high pitched chirp and a bicycle my nose. i did not keep my cool. that's a silly little quirk of mine-i don't react well to nose smashes.

the protective face mask would have saved the day on that one.

the other night, after a pretty rough day, the boys were being wild as i laid down to read to them. while i was correcting max about something, ben delivered the book he wanted me to read by dropping the hardback book on my eyeball. again-protective mask would have sava da day!

i can't count how many times i've been reaching over to help the boys with something and they jump up or throw themselves backwards, smashing my nose/mouth/teeth.

when i tuck the boys in at night, i lay between them and read to them and we say our prayers. max is always getting up to get more books or get a better view of a page or get yet another drink of water. to get up from a laying position, he has to firmly plant an elbow in my chest or ribs to heave himself up. both boys have also always done that if they're sitting next to me in a chair or on the couch and they get up. chest pads-yes please.

i feel like i'm a pretty tough gal, but geez, sometimes i'm just ready to throw in the towel. it's particularly tough because tim's not home very often, so i don't have a tag-team partner to throw into the ring when i just can't be patient anymore. and i've never been a very patient person. although i joke about my frustrations a lot, some days, it all just seems like too much.

God, grant me the strength to mother these boys.