Monday, August 31, 2009

PLAY

We have the good fortune of having an awesome playroom in our new house. In fact, the location of this room was one of the key reasons we bought this house over another one we looked at. The playroom is upstairs, a sort of loft-like room that is open to the family room and kitchen below. It is down the hall from all of our bedrooms, right next to the boys' bathroom and across from a large closet which stores all the boys' toys. We can see this room from most angles of the house, making it a perfect place for the boys to hang out and, well, play. In my head we will eventually turn it into a sort of homework / computer room when the boys are older and have no need for a play room. Like I said, this house is for the long run. But I love this room's location, and love that no matter what I might be doing - cooking dinner, folding clothes, working in the office, etc. - I can either see and/or hear them in this open room. I'm telling you, this house has an awesome layout (it is how we looked past 8 years of heavily built up dirt and grime, seriously).

So anyway, I got it in my head that I was going to tackle this room with a design update as soon as Jackson was in Kindergarten. I assumed Holden would be napping so I would have time to work on the room. That has proven to be incorrect as Holden refuses to nap 85% of the time. Nonetheless, he's crazy-easy-going, so I have been able to paint and sew and wield a glue gun to get this room done, all while he plays nearby. I also did it on the cheap-o. Majorly. And I honestly love, love, love how it turned out. And more importantly, so do the boys!

First and foremost I wanted a chalkboard wall. The paint for this was $12 and I still have half a can left for future projects. This is 2 coats. The "chair rail" is actually metal stripping you would use to separate tile and carpet. I thought since it was metal it would be magnetized and I could hang the boys' art up. Wrong. Turns out it isn't magnetic. BUT the little nails used to hammer it in are, so I can hang stuff up if I get the magnets right on the nails. Cute! I chose red because we had it left from Jackson's bedroom. I chose the green because the previous owner had 2 small cans of similar green paint so I mixed them together and was able to get a single coat out of them. I love the red and green contrast. And they were free! And the boys LOVE this wall. Love it. It is so fun to see their artwork change daily.

I love this tree. I saw something similar in Pottery Barn so I borrowed the idea. I used leftover paint around the house for the apples and stump. I bought a small can of spring-green paint for the tree itself. I have since added a small "nest" I made from a paper bag and craft moss. There are also 2 birds made from play-doh. A red one and a blue one, each of the boys' favorite colors. I'll have to snap a picture of them They are cute, and the boys love pointing them out to friends.

I plan to hang letters that say "PLAY" on this wall, as well as two big pictures of the boys with goofy faces, in white frames. For now I just used Photoshop to show what the letters will look like. I'm waiting for payday. :-)
More of them being silly.

I made this bench. OK, Shawn helped. But still, it was my idea, and I did 70% of it. We had a bunch of MDF already cut from a previous project we didn't end up doing. We put it together with screws and support brackets. I painted it with white I found -- you guessed it -- from the previous owners. I made the bench pad from a bed pad we no longer used. Just cut it down and wrapped it with some red and white mattress ticking fabric I got (on sale!) from JoAnn's. I used the same fabric for (un-photographed) window treatments. Easy-peasy-cheapo! I will some day get wicker baskets that fit, but I had these tubs that fit and were already labeled so I'm going with it for now.
I seriously love this room. And I think the boys do, too. It is fun and bright and feels like their space. And since it is viewable from most parts of the house, it also adds a bit of whimsy to our decor. I need to photograph the whole thing, once it is completely done, but I wanted to put up some of these bigger projects to show my Dad and Mom why I haven't been blogging much lately! :-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What's the Buzz?

In an effort to continue our financial savings (ie: I'm too cheap to pay $17 for each of the boys to have a haircut every 2 months), I introduced the idea of giving the boys a buzz cut. Dad shaves his head every 1.5-2 weeks, so the boys are no strangers to the idea of the head shave. But they don't like haircuts. At all. Remember this. But I'm into being cheap, and I managed to get them both to agree. Here's the results for J's trim. He was really patient and though he looksmelancholy following the cut, he really does love it. He's just exhausted for full day Kindergarten. You will notice no pictures of Holden's trim. Because he hated it with a capital H and cried likenobodies business. I will not be buzzing his hair again. Back to the Jack and Jill salon for him.



ps - when I asked Jackson if anyone at school noticed his new haircut he told me that a few kids at school didn't recognize him and thought he was a new kid. Ha!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crummy with a Capital C

Lest you think it is all joy and fun in our household, today was a crummy day. Capital C. The boys were both on some kind of terror-train that they refused to de-board. We even canceled a small dinner gathering at our house for this evening because it wasn't worth watching them deteriorate even further in front of company. As it goes, some days are just like that. The day started with good intentions - plans to take the boys to a classic car show. It seemed the ideal thing for our two car-crazy kids. But it wasn't a good sleep-night last night, and both were grouchy before we even left. Add to that mid-morning heat and we had serious over-drive on our hands. The day deteriorated from there. Forced naps did not come to fruition. Shawn and I just dug in our heals and waited out the rest of the day. By 6:30 we were starting bed time routine, and lights were out by 7PM.

Because it is not always easy being a parent. They try and tell you that when you are cute and round and 28 weeks pregnant and enjoying the soft flutter kicks of your soon to be bundle of joy. But it doesn't hit home, really, until you have two kids crying and whining in the middle of the classic cart show at 10:35 in the morning and you have at least 8 more hours in the day before quiet will again enter your abode.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It must be love...

I'm so in love with our home right now. SO love it. It feels like home. It feels like us. I have so many projects I am working on, and a hundred more on my list. I'm inspired daily by the blogs there to the right -- so many wonderful decorating ideas on the cheap from incredibly talented ladies. Love it! Currently I'm working on updating the boys' playroom. I built a bench with my own two hands (and Shawn's 2 hands), and am currently giving it a few coats of paint and looking for fabric to make a cushion. I envision the boys cuddling up on it to read a favorite book (ok, maybe I'm daydreaming but it could happen!). I also just painted one-half of a wall entirely with chalkboard paint. It is drying. I can't wait to see how it turns out. A lot more surprises planned for that fun room. I'll take pics when its all done. But I felt the need to shout out my love for this house which is now a home to us. And a special shout of love to my hubby who makes it possible for us to live in our dream home every day. I'm off to pick up J from school. More updates in that area to come, too! Peace out!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A date with Holden

Since big brother is now in school full day every day (except 1/2 day Wednesdays), it's just me and the littlest guy on our own. He's lonely as heck for his big brother, and has cried the last two days at drop off time. It breaks my heart. So I've been trying to fill the mornings with some fun activities to keep him occupied. Our rather dull trip to the DMV to renew my tags turned into a totally fun date-morning, exploring our quaint little downtown area. Castle Rock is, by golly, the cutest darn small town ever. I love its mix of heritage and modernization. It is the ideal spot to raise a family. And seeing it at the pace of a two-almost-three-year-old gave me a new appreciation for our quaint little town. We visited boutiques and shops that I rarely (or never!) go into simply because it would be too much for me to stress over with two. And honestly this is the kind of thing Jackson and I used to do all the time before baby-brother came along. Now I suppose it is Holden's turn for some exploration and Mommy-time. Love this boy. To pieces.

Full of life
A bee and a flower we met along the way
Adorable mailbox at The Barn
A peek into the Firestation
Exploring the flowers
Hello Mr. Grasshopoper!
Self-explanatory

Me and my little guy. I had to try to salvage this shot - it was blurry, taken by a very sweet man at the Crowfoot shop
Crabapples
Chocolate Milk
Fountain in the square
Checking it out, up close
"Mind Garden" - such an awesome toy store that has been here for 2 years and I've never been in. It is incredible! I'll never shop at Toys R Us again!
Such a fun morning!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Silence in the car

It is so rare that I am ever in the car without my boys. The occasional date night, perhaps. Or running a quick errand after Shawn is home for the evening. But by myself, in my own car, listening to my own music, for a long period of time - that just doesn't happen. In fact the only time it really happens, as of late, is on my way to a photo shoot. I found myself in this situation just yesterday morning. I'm driving along I-25, on my way into Monument, and there is utter quiet except for Amos Lee playing in the background. No yelling. No talking. No crying for a drink or a snack or a potty. No playful jabber either. No laughter or singing of made up songs. Just me and Amos jamming out. Then I noticed immediately that I was tensing my jaw. I found myself anxious, without cause.

Now I should add, yes, that I usually get a little bit of butterflies before a shoot. I'm still new enough to this biz that I get a little nervous, like stage fright, just before I arrive. But that wasn't what I was experiencing. I was anxious, I realized, because I was alone. Because there was no one else in the car with me, asking for another song or a snack or whatever. I guess it shows that I'm not really comfortable in my own skin these days. Not by myself any way. I'm so accustomed to having others around to care for that left to my own devices I sort of don't know how to act or behave or feel. I was anxious not having my boys with me.

I have to wonder if other mamas feel this way when they are separated from their spawn for a period of time, especially, I suppose, those who are with their children full time. I know when I was working outside of the home full time and Jackson was an infant, I felt a lot of anxiety being separated from him. But I always sort of chalked that up to new mom anxiety. I think that perhaps there is something to the idea that our children are tied, figuratively so, to our apron strings. And letting them go, in whatever form that takes -- be it for an hour long photo shoot or full day Kindergarten or even daycare or visits to Grandmas -- it sort of takes us moms by surprise. And we don't always know exactly how to feel about it. And anxiety about letting them go sort of fills us up... Or perhaps it is more about them letting us go.

Needless to say, I cranked the music up louder. Forced myself to focus on my shoot ahead. And brush the kids to a little corner in my brain for the hour or so I was on my own. And as soon as my shoot was over, I was racing home to swoop them up and be a part of their world again. It's going to take some getting used to I think. Silence is unnatural.

Friday, August 07, 2009

First day of Kindergarten

Well as you can see today was Jackson's official first day of "real" school. No more 2-3 days a week, couple of hour, preschool type days for him. He's full day Kindergarten, 8:40-4PM. Seriously, a full day. And from the minute he woke up this morning this kid was flying high, so excited for all that was to come. Though, we got a little side tracked when he went to get dressed. I had (lovingly of course) laid out what I wanted him to wear today. Red plaid cotton shirt, navy shorts to match. He came out with khaki shorts with a blue stripe down the side, a size too small, and an old yellow and brown t-shirt. Not what I had pictured (or laid out). But not wanting to start a tantrum, we compromised. I allowed the slightly-too-short-shorts, and he switched to the red, plaid shirt. All order resolved.

The minute we arrived at school he was raring to go. He practically pushed us out the door of his classroom, barely giving us a sideways kiss good bye. No tears. Which is best, I suppose. And honestly, Shawn and I didn't shed a tear either. I thought we would. But alas, he was so excited, there was no need for tears. Except from Holden, who was pretty much beside himself with confusion and grief. But amends were made - we took Holden for chocolate milk and scones as soon as we left the school grounds.

I'm beyond excited and anxious to hear from Jackson about his first day. How snacks and lunch went. What his new friends are like. What his favorite thing to do at school is. If he found the potty OK. Etc, etc. My little man is pretty darned independent now. 7+ hours a day completely without my supervision or guidance. Wow. I think now the tears might fall.

breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Raisin Bran with his cool truck spoon.
Soooo excited.
New lunchbox
milk on his mug
I'm here!
Daddy's boy
Me and my guys
Oh yeah, these boys are lov'n their daddy
In line with his class
Check ya later mom and pops, I'm outta here!
scones with the little man

Thursday, August 06, 2009

First Day of "School"

Before I was a stay at home mama, I went to a big fancy office and begrudgingly took Jackson to (a really awesome) daycare every day. Here he is, 17 weeks old, on his first day of "school" back in 2004. Look at that cutey-pie! Tomorrow, however, is the real deal. I'll update more tomorrow!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Sleep? What's that?

Want to know why I'm not sleeping? Because my baby starts Kindergarten in 3 days. I can't handle it. Seriously. I started crying at the library today explaining his full day schedule to an acquaintance and how worried I was about the whole full day school thing. Seriously!

Last night as I was lying down with J at bedtime we started talking about school. I'm sort of freaking out about him having lunch on his own. OK, I know he's not on his own. He'll be with his class. But I will be packing him a lunch and it will be 100% his responsibility to decide which food he will or will not consume and how much he will consume. And he might and probably will just throw away the carrot sticks that, at home I can negotiate with him to get him to eat. So what does he ask me? "How will I know where the trash can is at school?" Tears. Mine, not his. I need to get a grip. But it's the little things that are getting to me. Yes, he's had preschool for two years now, and did great in that classroom setting. But this is all day long school. Lunch at school. Two snacks at school. Quiet time at school. 24 other children in the classroom school. I'm so freaked out about him getting lost in the shuffle of things. Of being too scared to ask questions like where does his trash go. Or potty accidents. Don't get me started on worrying about possible potty accidents -- never mind that he's been potty trained for well over 2 years now. Accidents happen! And what if he can't find the bathroom or the teacher doesn't let him go or he doesn't make it there in time? And what if some kid bullies him? Or worse, he bullies some other kid???? What if he has one of his tantrums -- he's really good at them -- on the first day of school?! What if he gets lost? Or forgets where his cubby is? Or a million and one other worries that filter through my head. THIS IS PRECISELY WHY I'M NOT SLEEPING AT NIGHT!

This is the kid who woke me up several times a night for the first year of his life. Is it any wonder that he's got me up at night again? Only this time he's 5 and he's sleeping like a dream. Me? Not so much.