Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Just Call Me Mrs. Rogers

I have changed my shoes and sweater/sweatshirt four times today...

1. Sneakers to walk

2. Ballet flats to be art mom
until I decided to keep Izzy home

3. and put on my sneaks again...

4. then garden sneaks
until the mower ran out of gas...

5. back to sneakers
to run on the treadmill....

6. sandals for a meeting....

and now I'm off to a track meet....
I'm not running,
just cheering the boy on...
....and it will be too cold for sandals.

Ridiculous, isn't it?
-Julie

p.s.
This is how I feel...right now. My dear son took this video of me on the train after a long day in Chicago. Prepare to be amused. :)
video

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Escape From Weeds and Dust Bunnies

Why I am so overwhelmed?

The bathroom is still unusable.
The house needs to be powerwashed and painted.
The living room needs some drywall repaired.
The gazebo needs to go up.
The patio needs to be ripped out.
The hot tub died.
The birch tree needs to be removed.
Two trees need trimming.
The front walk and drive need to be sealed.
The front patio bricks are falling apart.
The grass is growing and weeds are filling the beds.

While I tend to things outside, the dust bunnies keep coming.
I'm in the car every afternoon carting kids back and forth from activities and picking Mark up from the train.
I have a few other projects for church and school to finish up.

It's April.
I'm always overwhelmed as we head outside and still have rainy days inside.
The calendar is piling up with end of the year concerts and excursions.
Spring and four kids and two dogs = constant dirt...no matter what I do.

What to do?

Escape on a date with my boy for a bit.
Isn't he cute?

Since he was a toddler, his favorite place to go with me is a library or a bookstore.
We plop down with a drink and explore a stack of books together.


And I feel much better.....
Julie

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Math Lessons for My Little Thrifters

My kids are growing like weeds,
and I've been weeding through their drawers.

Last week we did a little thrifting,
and came back with a pile of tags,


a pile for Sofi


and a pile for Izzy....


Fun, happy colors...
All in excellent shape, and things they picked out.

First I took them to Target and Old Navy for a little window shopping.
They each found something that they tried on and liked for $15.

We left the capris,
and went down the road.

I told them we could head back for that one pair of capris,
or get their stack for $13.

Each chose their $13 stack,
and took the $2 to garage sales.

I did the same little lesson with Linnea when she was six,
and she still talks about it.

Funny,
she still loves to go thrifting with me, five years later...

Now they are ready for Summer...
and I'm not quite there....

-Julie

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Outside Gym

Looking for me?
I've been down by the river...

This little oasis is about a mile away from our home.
Just a quick jog or a bike ride, and I'm here....
almost every day.

Here's another view from the path.

Gorgeous isn't it?
Yes, even in Illinois we have some beautiful places to go.....
A five mile loop, a little Pandora in my ear, and I feel like a new person....

-Julie
p.s. It's Friday...down 2.4.....



Monday, April 19, 2010

Kiddy Lit and Bathrooms

A true story.


If you find water seeping into your hallway from the bathroom,
You'll need to rip out the linoleum.

After you rip out the linoleum,
you'll find you need a new subfloor.

While fixing the subfloor,
you'll need to pull out the toilet.

While pulling out the toilet,
you'll remove wallboard on the adjoining shelf.

Upon seeing the ripped wallboard,
you'll investigate a little further.

While you investigate,
you'll realize there are three layers of wallpaper covered in three coats of paint.

While pondering this,
you'll pull out the vanity.

As you remove the sink,
it will crack.

Upon viewing the large crack,
you'll head out looking for a new vanity.

Upon finding a new vanity,
you'll look closely at the old disgusting medicine cabinet.

While removing the medicine cabinet,
you'll find some hidden wallspace.

While looking at the new possibilities,
you'll discover a hot wire.

While taking care of the hot wire,
you'll look at the wallpaper and paint covered drywall again.

While dealing with the mess,
you investigate further.

While investigating,
you remove existing mirror and lighting.

The removal of mirror and lighting
sends spouse in search of new options.

Upon further discussion with spouse,
you will rip out the drywall.

While ripping out the drywall,
you'll be concerned by the tile attached to the drywall.

Upon pondering that further,
you'll realize the dust and mess is too much to deal with.

While in the dust you constantly cough,
leaving a messy trail behind.

The messy trail has now seeped into the hallway,
leaving you to clean up the floor in the bathroom and start again.

*the "you" in the party is my dear husband...who once again is juggling work, home improvement, and life.....



Friday, April 16, 2010

Tantrums and Cookies

Go together.
Too many cookies,
and you'll have one.
Guaranteed.

Sofi and Izzy wanted a lemonade stand.
We had an hour.
No lemonade.
Plenty of cookie baking supplies.
So a cookie stand it was.

Apparently I did a little quality control.



And today I had a two minute tantrum.
Up 1.3 pounds.
What goes up,
must come down.

No more cookie stands with me supervising.

-Julie

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Running Ramblings

I think when I run.

Today was the perfect day for a five mile run along the river.
Pushing through, moving to the beat of "I've Got a Feeling" (Black-Eyed Peas) on Pandora.
LOVE Pandora stations.
Some of my favorites are....Annie, Bonnie Raitt, Flashdance, Jackson 5, Michael Buble, Lenka, and Pink.
I choose based on my mood.
What's your favorite station?

Thought I'd share part of another bird for the upcoming "Birdland" art show....
here is "Well-Dressed."


Been thinking about this quote...
"She went on a limb, broke the branch....and then she flew."
Author Unknown

Started a challenge with a good friend.
Friday is weigh-in day.
I'm struggling with age, genetics, and sugar still...not a good combination.
I can't do anything about my age or genetics, but I can control the sugar.

Here's my visual reminder of where I'm going....nine down by the time the kids are out of school.
If you want to join me, just tell me how far up or down on Fridays....ex..."down 1.6 pounds."


Spring cleaning and gardening are on the agenda.
Here is my Spring miracle in the garden.


I planted a ton of bulbs last Fall...
I had no idea what colors would come up, or how many.

They're here now.
36 of them.
36 has never been my favorite number.
My first mom died when she was 36.
As a little girl I always hoped I'd make it past 36.
I did.
My second mom died when I was 36.
Funny, I've never liked Mother's Day.
I think it's a stupid Hallmark holiday.

Anyway,
I'm two years on the other side now.

...and I'm flying.

Julie

Monday, April 12, 2010

Preparing For Birdland

Just a little sneak preview.....




Sunday, April 11, 2010

Progress

We survived a family trip to Lowe's.....
and I'm still here to write about it.

Everyone picked three of their favorite colors,
and here is what we came home with.

This should be fun, right?

Mark and I thought we had a favorite in the pile,
and it turns out it's the color of our hallway....

so back to the paint swatches.


I spy day 2....there are a few additions!
I spy a light fixture.
I spy a level.
I spy more trim molding.


Everything is down....
and today I'm removing some wallpaper.
Vintage 1970?


And look, there is a hole already where the new medicine cabinet will go.
Hole on left is where the old medicine cabinet was.
Little hole on left leaves room for all sorts of exciting possibilities!

Dad reconfigured the rooms soon after Mark and I were married.
The hole leads to my sister's old closet.

We could....
add a stackable washer and drier.

We could....
make a closet for three little girls to share.

We could....
make a reading nook.

Or....
we could just leave the space covered up and eventually (like years down the road),
reconfigure the master bath.

What would you do?

Today more of the floor will be complete.
Time to narrow down our tile options and paint colors.

In the meantime, we think the washing machine died.

There is always something!
-Julie

Friday, April 9, 2010

What Would You Do?

Here's the kid' bath...

Beautiful isn't it?

Lets play a little I SPY...
I see a tape measure.
I see a toilet.
I see a can of pledge.
I see a bottle of shampoo.
I see a wastebasket.
I see a broken vanity top.


This is what I see when I go up the stairs.
I see Izzy's name.
I see an unfinished project...that would be the printer's tray....hanging on the wall for way too long, virtually empty.
I see a birch branch.
I see an ugly lightbulb.
I see a tin bucket hanging on a hook.


I see this behind the door.
I tried to close my eyes.
I opened them and this mess was still there.


I see an attempt at repurposing an ugly medicine cabinet...worked for a few years.
I see a C for Carl.
Now Carl would probably like a car....four years from the license, TERRIFYING!
Pray that they up the age to 18.
I see a L for Linnea.
Linnea doesn't always behave like a lamb. How does a lamb behave?
I see a S for Sofi.
Sofi can be a steamroller. Maybe that should stay? Yesterday she gave her "little" sister a bloody nose by hitting her with a pillow.
I see an E for Izzy.
Izzy does not start with an "E," and she surely doesn't resemble an elephant.
I do know how to spell.
Izzy's name has caused lots of confusion.
When I did this little modge-podge five minutes of fun, she went by Ella, which does start with an "E."

So....that needs to all be removed.
I'm scared to see what we find when remove it....
Dad if you're reading this, don't tell me.
I love surprises!


Here's a beauty of a picture.
The window frame was my pathetic attempt to deal with the unframed mirror.
At the time I had virtual twin two year olds, and little time to decorate.
At the time this 2 minute decorating project made me happy.
Now it doesn't.
I didn't know how to deal with the lights.
So...I pretended they weren't there.
Funny, maybe that's why my girls love candlelight baths...

The paint on the wall is black.
I don't mind it....but others think I was nuts to paint the room black.
They shall remain nameless.

So my dear reader,
What would you do with this lovely mess?

I have a toilet.
I need at least a new vanity top...the base is white.
Right now it's sitting in the dining room....we almost hauled it to the curb this morning.
We kept it there, as visions of dollar signs pranced in our heads.

I need to figure out a new medicine cabinet.
I need a new floor.
I need to appease an almost teenage boy, and three girls.
Linnea is rooting for lime green and polka dots.
Carl's not on board.

I need a plan by tomorrow when my dear husband's feet hit the ground.
He wants to work on it all day.
I don't do well making family trips to Home Depot, Lowe's and Menards while under pressure to make a decision.
Not well at all.
Help me please???
-Julie

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How Do You Recharge?

Today is one of those rainy April days,
I cleaned late last night,
Worked out this morning,
and now the girls each have a playdate here.

Call me nuts,
but it's easier to have two extra girls here for the afternoon.
They will happily play,
and I will recharge my batteries.

Reminder to self,
4 kids home for 11 days will exhaust you,
and will be fantastic too.
They will make a mess.
There will be piles of laundry upon their return to school.
Floors to clean,
and of course unplanned projects (more on that tomorrow...).

This afternoon I'm recharging with....

A good lunch...these are my favorite veggie burgers...


a new read....


a soy chai latte


A little treat....

shhhh...nobody has discovered my secret dark chocolate stash yet...


And then bake and decorate cookies with the girls and their friends...


A perfect afternoon.

How about you?
What do you do to recharge?

-Julie

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Update on the Neighborhood egg hunt...

920 eggs,
4 teens hiding eggs,
26 children hunting,
25 adults and teens watching,
over in minutes.....
priceless!

First year in the pouring rain...
all 51 were inside
opening eggs,
drinking coffee,
and munching on goodies.

Mud,
candy,
crumbs everywhere.

Truly an exhausting blast...
and I can't wait to do it again next year.


Today a nice quiet afternoon today at Grammy and Papa's house...





Mark is holding Carl, which is why he is laughing hysterically....Mark is 6 foot 6...so Carl has a ways to go....
Look closely, I think I'm shrinking! I'm wearing heels...and Carl is still taller than me....






Happy Easter Everyone!
-Julie

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Break

This week I've been....

Baking


Spring Cleaning and Organizing (this is in the garage...)


Running,
Pilates,
Zumba,
and Yoga,
Playing outside with kids,


Gardening,


and going on dates with people I love...

Not a great picture,
but it was a sweet date by the river with Sofi,
treating her to cotton candy ice cream.

....a GREAT week
enjoying L.A. (local attractions)

...but I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was ready for school to start again on Tuesday!
-Julie