Sunday, September 25, 2011

Finn at the park...

I took my best boy on a wagon ride to the park.  I have got to do this more often because fresh air and exercise makes for a very smooth and easy bedtime (It's hard to fight sleep when you're plum pooped out!).  He's been tugging on his ears a bit, so I played the over-protective mother role and put his hat and sweatshirt on before we left, but soon realized that being in the late afternoon sun was warmer than I thought, so I took them off pretty quickly.  He walked and crawled his way though that playground.  I can't believe how big he's getting...big enough to crawl up and down the stairs without help and brave enough to try to get onto toys that are clearly too big yet for his toddling ways.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

d + a = love

Daniel left to go back to Kuwait on Friday and so I've been working today on the pictures from our visit.  I just sent a bunch of pictures off to Daniel and Ady and thought I'd share my favorite with you.

Hug your loves.
Pray for peace.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Abby: Team USA for Volleyball (& Wood Block)

Let's talk about Abby, shall we?

She had her first volleyball game this week.  She played...with enthusiasm.   She was so nervous before she left for school that she forgot her snack and her water bottle.  But she was equally as excited to be wearing her jersey.  She is so proud of that jersey.  When it was her turn to be on the court, she could never remember to pull her knee pads up.  And she waved at us.  Twice.  

But she loves to play.

She loves to cheer for her teammates.  She loves the smell of victory.  And she gives the game her all.  Every time she is on that court, she is playing as best as she can and is positive even when the score is looking a little bleak.  I think Tuesday was the first game that both teams had ever played because they were all running around, not quite sure where they were supposed to be, not really getting the ball over the net, sometimes not even getting the ball in the near vicinity of the net.  But they all had fun, Abby especially, and I think that's what's important.  It takes time to learn how to work together as a team.  It will be fun to watch their season progress as they start to become a team.

The Homecoming game was a couple of weekends ago and Abby marched in her first Homecoming parade.  She showed that woodblock who was boss while rocking her sweet, fine Spirit Lake Indians Marching Band Uniform.  While we were waiting for the parade to start, the elementary school kids were chanting back and forth across the road to keep warm.  One side would yell: "Indian!" and the other side would answer back with increasing volume: "Power!"  Uriah and I could only laugh.  This school...this so different from what we are used to.  And Abby is thriving.

See that really tall kid in the back?  Yes, he's in 7th grade.  And yes, I asked for you.  He is going to play basketball this season.  I bet the basketball coach tinkled in his pants a little bit when he saw that kid.  Based on the way she blushed when I asked her about him, I have a feeling Abby will be asking to go to a lot of basketball games this winter.

And that's the middle school news from Iowa.  It's getting cooler here, although this weekend's forecast boasts of low 70s. I've been DIY-ing the crap out of my days this week. I made some sweet little Halloween luminaries that are almost done (hopefully tomorrow) and I've been painting and mod podging the alphabet to hang on Finn's wall, but that project is taking longer than I anticipated.

It's almost the weekend...I'm going to get out and enjoy it!  You should, too.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

He's my lobster! {DIY - Baby Feet Lobsters}

Sorry about bailing on you yesterday.  Abby had her first volleyball game on Tuesday evening and I guess I sort of forgot to get my crap together for the kid-friendly DIY post.

I found this idea for the Lobster foot and hand prints guessed it, Pinterest and set out forthwith to do this little project with Finn.  He has these lobster socks that still put him in, even though he's getting a little to big for them.  I would have given you some step-by-step photos like I did with the lamp and the chalkboard, but really, it's pretty self-explanatory.  Plus, red paint on wiggly baby feet and hands and trying to stamp the paper and take a picture at the same time was not going to happen.  I'm talented...just not that talented.  And Finn is really wiggly.  Here's how it went down:  I stripped him down to his diaper, I painted him, I stamped him and I tossed him right into the kitchen sink to wash him.  The end.

And that red paint?  Candy Apple Red.

Here are some other crafty things I going to do with my best boy:

this i'll try
Homemade Finger Paints - actually, I think this is a project Abby would probably like to try, too.  She and I have made awesome homemade neon colored play-dough in the past, so finger paints are right up her alley.

A project for Finn and Daddy...

I want to make him a tent...the kid likes to crawl in and out and around and through pretty much everything.  This would be pretty simple for Uriah to help me put together, I think.

It's a pirate ship playhouse!  Oh sweet Lord, I'm pretty sure Finn would crap his baby drawers if he got to play in this thing!  I'd better go tell Uriah that Christmas is coming and he'd better get on this... By the way, you can actually buy this pirate ship playhouse.  Go to the link and look at the price.  I choked on my tongue and died of sticker shock.  I'll even give you a hint...the price has three zeros in it.

Happy crafting, friends!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chalk it up to AWESOME! {DIY - Chalkboard}

I have wanted a chalkboard for forever.

It's the teacher that I could have been coming out in me, I'm sure.  Every time I see a chalkboard at a restaurant, I want to erase everything on it and start over.  Usually with a grammar lesson.  And a doodle.

Anyway, give this girl a can of chalkboard spray paint and watch her wildest dreams come true!

In the process of moving one zillion times this summer, I have found that I have a lot of picture frames laying around because I'm not motivated to hang up a wall of pictures like I had when we lived in Kansas City.  I've picked just a couple of the kiddos that I hung over the faux fireplace and I'll change those out as the mood strikes me.  So, since I have a shat-ton of picture frames still boxed up, I chose a big one for my first chalkboard (because there will be more.  So many more.).

You could probably spray paint the frame (it's fun and easy and everybody loves a good can of spray paint) but I find that your color choices are sort of limited - and also I love to collect paint cards and read their names out loud and imagine what I could paint with them.  I bought a can of Candy Apple Red from The Wals this summer to paint a chair for Finneaus, and I have a lot of paint left over.  As in, that whole can you see below?  That was the smallest size I could get and it's pretty much full.  I'll have Candy Apple Red paint for the rest of my days.

Commence with the painting.  Oh, first you should cover your surface, make sure the wind is not blowing, and if it is, grab the copious amounts of packing tape that you have left over from your gazillion and twelve moves (what do you mean you don't have packing tape just laying around in case you get the urge to move?  Must just be me...) and tape down the paper.  You are now ready to paint away.


It took me two coats of Candy Apple Red to get the color where I really wanted it.  Plus, my frame had a little fern design on it and I had to wiggle the brush around those to make sure I got it completely covered.  I let it dry overnight before I put  the second coat on.

Then came the fun part...spray painting the chalkboard paint.  It was like magic!  I actually just sprayed the cardboard backing of my frame and then put it in front of the glass so that I had a solid back (basically, if you turn my chalk board around, you'll see the piece of glass).  But that solid back is, in fact, a piece of glass, so this would NOT be advisable if you were going to let little kiddos write on your chalk board.  In that case, measure your frame, go to your local lumber store, buy a piece of plywood, sand it smooth, then spray it with the chalkboard spray paint and then attach to your frame.

I lack patience and I knew I wasn't going to let Finn play with this particular chalk board, so I went the unsafe, easy way.  Next time I'll do it the hard, plywood way so that Finn can play, too.  (Excuse me while I go take that box of broken light bulbs away from him...that boy, finds the darnedest things to play with...)

And voila!  The finished project hanging happily in my kitchen, safely out of reach of Finn, but totally an acceptable height for everyone else in the house.  Sidebar: I feel as though people in general hang pictures much too high on their walls.  Someday I will compose a post on acceptable heights to hang pictures on a wall, because I think the world would benefit from my knowledge.  And also because it bothers OCD me.

See you tomorrow for more DIY fun...a totally kid-friendly craft (no glass shards involved, pinky swear).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Revamp the Lamp {DIY - Floor Lamp}

Chelsea Floor Lamp Base
{Pottery Barn Chelsea Lamp}

I love this lamp.  It's got classic lines, which means that it will most likely be able to transition as my decorating transitions.  And the color is great, too.  It'll look brown if I pair it with light tans and if I choose to go a route that's decidedly more black, this lamp will work with that color scheme, too.  Overall, it's a great lamp.  I love Pottery Barn.

I do not, however, love the $199 it would take to buy this lamp.

This spring, when the littles and I were spending copious amounts of spare time at my parents house, I came across a heinous lamp.  It was brass and a bit dingy and looked like it was circa 1987 (a good year for many, I'm sure, just not for lamps.).  So, I decided to revamp the lamp.  I bought some spray paint (cheapest way to make something old new again.) and a new lamp shade and then proceeded to move twice, throw my back out and generally forget that I had big plans for this lamp.  And so it sat, ugly, brassy, and unloved in my parent's garage for another 3 months.

That is, until a couple of weekends ago, when my Mom and I decided to pull out the Project Of The Summer and finish it off.  I should have taken a before picture, but I was too excited to get out my spray paint and go to town on this lamp.  This is is as close to a before picture as I got.

Heinous brass, right?  It was.  Nothing a couple of coats of Rubbed Bronze spray paint couldn't fix, though!  I probably would have sprayed the crap out of it as is, but my mom suggested taking the thing apart  and spraying each part individually.  Why didn't I get her perfectionist tendencies?  I can't even tell you how many times growing up I heard: "Neatness and accuracy count."  I don't really have the patience for that, but I went ahead and did it her way and, once again, I am really glad that I did.  We decided to recruit my dad to help with the spraying.  We convinced ourselves that he has steadier hands, but really, he was available, he helped us take the lap apart and it just seemed logical to let him do the spraying while we supervised.

He does great work.  I might promote him to Staple Gun Operator for our next DIY project.

I'm on the hunt now for some table lamps that I can spray with this Rubbed Bronze.  And maybe even a metal mirror to hang by the front door or some towel holders for the bathroom. I am in love with this color.  And here, my friends, is the finished project.  Sorry for the disheveled shelves behind my lamp, my son likes to pull cookbooks off the shelves and look at the pictures.

My DIY-Chelsea Floor Lamp:

Lamp base = free (thanks, Mom!)
Lamp shade = $14 (the wals-mart)
Spray paint = $7  (the wals-mart)

My total cost, $21.

See you next time, friends!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pinterest is crack.

I ignored my house and cleaning zones.  I ignored the bike trail. I ignored the grocery store. I ignored the handprints on the windows and the crumbs on the floor. I ignored the laundry. I even admit to ignoring my kids (well, not completely, but a little teeny bit.  I'm not proud of it).

I could blame the seasonal transition - the gray skies, the shorter days, the cooler weather and all that crap, but that would be a straight lie.  I blame Pinterest.  It is my new obsession.  I have found some fun crafty ideas and things to do with the kiddos, some great photo inspiration, lots food to bake, and some fun ideas for changing my house.  But I probably need to take a break from it.  If I can.  And I'm not saying that I can, I'm just saying that I probably should take a break from it.  In the interest of, you know, feeding and clothing my children, and all.  But I probably won't.  I mean, I'll feed and clothe my kids, I just probably won't take a Pinterest break.

Bonus for you, week I have a bunch of crafty crap to share with you as a result of my Pinterest addiction.  Let me put it to you this way...I bought mod podge, chalk board spray paint and, if I keep my craftiness up and don't get my butt back on the trail, I'm going to need to dive back into my chubbier clothes because I've tried a couple of great recipes, too.  (Just kidding.  I won't get out those chubbier clothes.  I like it when the scale tips down instead of up.  I vow to better balance crafts, cooking and working out this week.  Pinky swear.).  Maybe you'll be inspired to do something fun, like make Candy Corn cookies or lobster pictures with your kids...or spray paint the crap out of everything in your house.

And the quote with the picture?
Yes, I got that off of Pinterest.

Oh, and if you're on Pinterest, find me...I'd like to see what you've pinned and what inspires you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Isn't he so happy?  He is literally glowing from the joy of having everyone sing just to him, of having candles to blow out and cake to eat and presents to open.

Childhood is magical.
This boy is magical.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If I had a nickle...

...for every inappropriate picture Sarah has taken with my son, I'd have...two nickles.

{Finneaus - 2 weeks, 5 days old}
{I laughed.  Out loud.}

{Finneaus - 13 months old}
 {Yes, those are crutches and she is, in fact, holding a beer.}

Stay classy, Auntie Sars.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Home again, home again, jigity jig.

Was it just me or did it get really hot this weekend?  As in...pull out those shorts and tanks you thought you'd put away for the season last week when the mornings were cool and the evenings were cool and even the in-between times were cool, because the mercury has spiked up into the 80s these last couple of days!

Anyway.  I know that I promised not to complain about the weather being too hot, but since Daniel is back in the good old U.S. of A for the next week and a half, I figured I am allowed a by-week.  Is that a football term, by-week?  Did I use it correctly?  Or is it a bye-week? Or a bi-week?  I think it has something to do with the team not playing a game that week, but I think I could also be making that up.  Sometimes I do that, you know, pretend like I know sports jargon and use it in everyday sentences but really, I have no idea what I'm talking about or if I'm even using the lingo correctly.  And that was a very long run-on sentence.

Anyway.  So, it was hot this weekend.  Luckily I remembered at the last possible second on Friday that I hadn't packed any shorts for Finn or me and I threw the car in park and raced inside to get us each a pair of shorts.  We were already a half an hour behind schedule; really an hour behind schedule because there was a communication breakdown between Uriah and me about what time he was actually working until on Friday and I may have gotten a little pissed that he wasn't going to be home when I thought he was going to be home.  It's a long story.  No, I guess it's really not.  He said one thing (allegedly) and I heard another thing (the truth).  See?  Not that long.

Anyway.  I got the shorts.  We got on the road.  I drove the whole way and let me tell you, I am still not comfortable passing cars on a 2 lane highway.  It makes my palms sweaty and my heart beat a little bit too fast for my comfort level.  We spent the weekend at my parents among kith and kin.  I took a ton of pictures (oh, about 300 or so.  Stop choking on your tongue; it was a 3 day weekend.) and now I need to sort through and edit and find disks for all of those pictures so that I can send them off to the aforementioned kith and kin.  And, on top of that, I need to clean my house because Finn apparently forgot how much he loved every single book and every single toy that he owns, so he pulled every single book and every single toy that he owns out of every single book and every single toy basket and they are now scattered across my entire house.  Literally...from one end to the other, Hurricane Finneaus spread a path of toy destruction.  And tupperware destruction.  That crap is all over my kitchen floor right now.

While I plan out my cleaning strategy, I will leave you with this lovely from the weekend:

It's all about the kith and the kin, people.  The kith.  And the kin.
I promise to share other (less disturbing) pictures soon.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Mama

We get up with the kids at the ass-crack of dawn, even though we'd like 12 extra minutes of sleep.  We put on our happy-morning face, sing a happy-morning song and change a not-so-happy-morning diaper.  We turn down the request for pancakes and waffles and bacon and eggs and pull out cereal instead.  We will the coffee maker to brew faster.  We kiss the baby and ask nicely if he'll feed himself this morning without making too much of a mess.  Pretty please?  We make sure teeth are brushed and back-packs are ready and laptops are charged.  We straighten ties and kiss good-byes.  We drink 6 cups of coffee before 9 am.  We sweep bits of cereal off of the floor and decide that it must be time to face the day, so we all get dressed and beds get made and laundry gets taken to the washing machine and the toys on the bedroom floor get picked up.  We corrall the baby behind the baby gate for 5 minutes so that we can go to the bathroom in peace - and that usually only lasts for about 2 minutes.  We remind about sunscreen - extra, extra sunscreen.  We take a break for play time and we read 400 books.  We walk to the park.  We think about what to make for dinner while pulling out something for lunch.  We rock babies for morning naps and afternoon naps and pray that both will last the sum total of more than 1 hour.  We straighten pillows and vaccum the floor and pick up the toys for the 100th time and do the dishes and make a gorcery list.  We water flowers and weed the garden and listen to incessant chatter.  We make the dinner while doing a dance around little fingers and little toes that are suddenly constantly underneath our feet.  We put tupperware back into the cupboard.  Again.  And again.  And again.  We give the okay for 20 minutes of video games just to be able to finish making dinner in peace.  We kiss hellos and how was your day and could you please move the baby out of the way?  We soothe pinched fingers and give out goldfish snacks all while we dice and chop and saute.  We listen to the daily thankfuls and and all about the daily fun.  We clear the table and do the dishes and sweep the floor again.  We scrub pink little bellies and sweet little toes.  We brush hair and faces and teeth and snuggle into the world of bedtime stories.  We sway and smell baby hair for those sweet moments before the dreams take over.  And then we stare until we remember there are still dishes to put away and laundry to fold and counters to wipe down.  We tiptoe down the hall and tuck blankets into beds and turn on nightlights and say our prayers and lights out for safety. 

And then we enjoy a big glass of wine and fall into bed...because tomorrow, we will do it all again.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I remember exactly where I was on the infamous 9/11.  

Don't we all have a story like that?  Mine starts with:  It was a beautiful fall day in Minnesota, a bluebird day, my mom would call it.  The sky was so clear and the clouds were white and puffy; they looked as though they'd been painted on.  I was on the threshold of my senior year of college - the end was in sight - and I was teaching preschool to pay the bills.  My littles were running around, enjoying free play before we were going to head upstairs for art time with the nursing home residents.  Their chatter filled the room with a throb of energy.  Another teacher came into my classroom, white as a ghost, and said her husband had just called and as she told me what had happened - what was still happening, my mind didn't quite comprehend and all I could think was: "What kind of dumb-ass falls asleep while flying a plane?"  

But as the details came in and the shock of that monstrosity settled around me, I looked at my preschoolers, still oblivious of the dangers of the world, and for just a moment, I envied their innocence.

Six  years later, on September 11, 2007, I again found myself holding my breath and clutching my phone for the entire day...but for an entirely different reason.  My brother was on the cusp of becoming a dad, thus making me an auntie for the first time.  My heart raced all day; my palms were sweaty and my patience was non-existent.  On that 9/11, the day was filled the hope and the promise of a new person entering the world.  Isn't it funny how a baby makes even the saddest days, the hardest of times, easier to handle?  That just by smelling their little heads and kissing their tiny toes, you can feel free from whatever the dark clouds are that loom over your head.  He did that for me.  And even though he is officially a big boy now, his smile still obliterates any dark clouds I might be carrying around.  Every time I see him, every time he wraps his little arms around my neck or snuggles up onto my lap for a story, I am reminded that there is good in this world.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy.  You continue to make our days brighter.
Auntie Heather loves you so much and so much.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Michief Antenna

Finn inherited his hair from me - it's about the only thing he got from me, except probably my voracious appetite and love of books.  It's  four or five different shades of blond right now, bleached on the top to an almost white from hours spent playing outside this summer.  It's very fine hair and prone to sweet, soft curls in the back.  I can't bring myself to even trim it because I'm afraid that I will loose those curls.

When he wakes up in the morning, the little curls that formed after his bedtime bath have somehow morphed into these wild horns of hair on his head that stick up in random and weird ways.  It looses all sense of sweetness and takes on a whole new savage aspect.  We've taken to gauging how much daily mischief he's going to get into by how wild his hair is in the morning.  It's a pretty exact science.

We call it his Mischief Antenna.
The higher the antenna, the more mischief he will get into.

I think we're in for a day full of mischief today...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ady in Iowa

Daniel's Ady came to visit us here in Iowa a couple of weeks ago, and I think we showed her a pretty darn good time, if I do say so myself.  For the record, Sars came, too, but she had a class to take, so she had to leave early and didn't get to do all of the fun stuff that we were able to do with Ady.

We took her for a walk around Arnold's Park and showed her the lake.  Since it was a hot day, an ice cream cone from the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor was necessary.  It is such a fun little retro ice cream shop with big bins of ice cream tucked inside white coolers.  You get to pick your scoops and your cone.  Perfect for eating by the lake on a sunny day.

Abby and Ady each got a cherry cheesecake flavored ice cream cone.  Finn and I shared Rocky Road.  I love Rocky Road so much.  Just thinking about Rocky Road ice cream makes me want to go and get a cone right now.  Too bad the ice cream shop is probably closed since summer is officially over here in Spirit Lake.   I think I might have to make that in my ice cream maker next week.   

Finn loved the Rocky Road, too.  In fact, he gave me dirty looks when I would try to wipe his face off.  I think he wanted to save the extra ice cream on his mouth for a snack.  I also got an extra plain cone for him to nibble on and he was in baby heaven.

Next summer our plan is for Daniel can come back with Ady and we can show him around Okoboji, too.  Although I think there will be more beer and less ice cream consumed when Uncle Dan comes to visit!

The weekend is almost here and I can't wait to see Daniel and Ady!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

You Capture: Summertime

We are soaking up every single sun-shiney ray in these last days of summer.  I take Finn outside every chance I get, not only because he likes to practice with his new wobbly legs and grass provides a soft place to land, but because soon we will be knee deep (thigh deep...elbow deep...chin deep...) in snow.  And while I love the that we have four solid, definable seasons here, this time of year - fall -  is my favorite...I was made for fall.  I love how fall curls around the edges of the day, cool enough for sweaters in the morning and the evening but perfect for playing outside in the middle.  The leaves are starting to give up their grasp on the branches and yesterday they drifted down around us and crunched under the bike tires and with every spin of the wheel, wrapping us in the scent of crisp things to come.

Here's to the end of summertime...I'm ready for fall.

If you want to see some more Summertime pictures, head over to I Should Be Folding Laundry...
Next week's challenge: Apples

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hello, did you miss me?

I missed me - and you, too!  I've been busy trying to get my new "working-mom" life in order again.  It takes practice and planning and I'm still getting the balancing correct, so thank you for being patient with me.

I just put Finn down for a morning nap.  He's got five teeth brewing in his face and that makes for a tired and cranky boy.  Did I mention that he's walking now?  That makes for a very mobile and tired and cranky boy.  Last week when I was working, Uriah had the day off so he and Finn spent it together.  I'm sure it was the first day that they'd been together, just the two of them, since April.  Uriah took it upon himself to teach Finn to walk.  Not to worry...he video recorded those monumental first steps for me to watch when I got home from work.  I cried a little bit at first that I missed it, but to be perfectly honest, I'm more glad now that he's walking.  I know kids do things in their own good time, but I was starting to get a little worried.  And now that he can do it, he tries to walk all of the time; he falls down and picks himself right back up again to try again.  By the end of the day, I'm tired of holding my breath during the big spills and cheering so loudly for his accomplishments, but I'm so happy that he's got his little feet semi-solidly planted underneath him.

Abby's fully into her volleyball season and, although she hasn't had a game yet, they have practice every night after school, so she comes home tired and cranky, too.  Do you see a pattern here with my tired and cranky kids?  She's also waiting not-so-patiently to get an instrument in band.  Since homecoming is right around the corner, the band teacher has been working on marching with the students that played an instrument last year.  Until his time is freed up just a bit and he can work with the new band students, they are given an "interim" instrument.  Abby's playing The Woodblock.  You can imagine how she feels about playing The Woodblock (I think it's kind of funny, she does not.).  I'll be happy when homecoming is over and she can play an instrument that lives up to her lofty band expectations and stop complaining about The Woodblock.

Uriah's first summer season is done...thank you, Baby Jesus.  Hopefully now he'll be home a little bit more, although tonight he's going to hit some golf balls around the course after work, so maybe I'm just trading the busyness of the summer season with the faux-busyness of fall golf?

In an effort to make my life a little bit more organized, last week, I implemented cleaning zones.  I spent way too much time cleaning everything chaotically and randomly during the week, or cleaning whatever I felt needed the most attention on a daily basis, and yet somehow I still felt like I'd accomplished nothing.  Now, each day of the week has a different zone to clean and organize.  So far I feel much less like a chicken running around without a head, trying to catch up on laundry and ironing and dusting every single day, and more like: one day at a chore at a will all get done in its own time.  Speaking of zones: today is bedrooms, so I'd best get my tush into my room for a dusting and sheet changing and floor vacuuming flurry before Finn wakes up from his nap and we clean his room together (which, trust me, takes a lot longer, but I know that he needs to learn to "help.").

Happy Hump's all down hill after today!  Daniel will be home for a short leave (although it feels like he just left, but I guess that's the military for you, right?), so we'll be at my mom's this weekend reveling in a Post-Family reunion and a birthday party celebration for my special boy, Dane.  I can't even wait!