Monday, August 30, 2010

Where I Blog

Linking up to Centsational Girl's "Where Do You Blog?" Party...
Dad added this little nook to the kitchen years ago.

Behind the bifold doors is our mini home office.
I added the Swedish tapestry to the doors.

Inside are more of my oddities...
the ladder turned memo board covered with a favorite Homecoming dress.

To the left are magazine holders for the kids to put favorite schoolwork.

Cubbies hold little essentials for each of us.
The file folder system is from Aby Garvey's website.

I love being in the kitchen.
Looking forward to seeing other spaces!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kazoos and Kleenex Time

Day 3 of the kids being back in school.

They were ready,
I was ready!
Even Sofi's leg was ready...she's doing pretty well, just a little limp.

First day.
Are they really this big?

Thank goodness my nephews are still little,

and one of them really likes to cuddle with me...

Too bad they are in Washington and California,
and I'm here in Illinois.

Time for an annual back to school Kazoos and Kleenex Party with my Mommy Friends.
Some days I'd like a kazoo.
Others a kleenex.

It really goes too fast.

That said, I am enjoying 6 1/2 hours a day by myself.
I've been to the gym every day.
Today I even sat in the spa, sauna, and steam room.
After that I was nearly in a coma! :)
I've been to Borders.
I've had coffee with friends.
I ran with a friend.
I browsed Pottery Barn and favorite store.
I've weeded my yard.
I've cleaned.
I've organized.
I've taken the dogs for a run and to the dog park.
I even watched "The Proposal" while folding laundry.

Next week I make a schedule for myself,
and start dreaming a bit....

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bye Bye Table Saw Hello Birdbath!

Come see where we've been sleeping!

With 13 nights of family here,
we haven't been sleeping here...

Come down the stairs with me and I'll show you the "spare bedroom."

Walk through the playroom,

Pass by my art studio,

Through the "mid basement" nightmare, I mean future game room...

and you'll enter Mark's new office/studio/mancave...
He started framing the walls after our vacation.
We have a ways to go...

Turn to the left and you'll see our luxury accommodations!
We set up the girls' old double bed, threw some things together,
and felt like we were living in a cave.
Cold, dark, and very quiet.

While lying in bed, look to the right and you'll have this cozy machinery next to your head!
There will be a wall there soon, don't worry.

Between the bed and the desk was an escape route...

With a pretty decent view of the sky....

Walk up the stairs and you're on the patio.

My brother and sister both offered to be in the basement,
but there was no way I'd put their families down there!

I miss them all,
but I'm really happy to be back up here,
right next to my birdbath.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Where I've Been

I've been one of the head counselors at Camp Cousins...
and I'm happy and exhausted.

This crew flew in from CA, and has been together for 6 days now.
Keeping 7 kids ages 13, 11, 9, 7, 6, 6, and 3 busy and fed has been a challenge.

Thank goodness I've had Mark and my brother here to be counselors too.

Before that we had my sister and her family here for a week.
Her little boy just turned 2.
Such a fun stage to watch.
And so grateful that I'm the aunt.

My dad and his friend were here too.
He brought his 90 pound mutt.
She bought a 2 pound puppy while here.
Add our two dogs...

It's been a little bit of a zoo around here,
but I'm so grateful to have them all here,
and get to be aunt for a little bit.

I'm also happy that these cousins know each other so well,
with miles and miles separating them.

The silly band craze is still alive here in IL,
and has helped me maintain my sanity.
Add one of these,

to a ball jar, and everyone has their own glass.
Rinse them out,
and store in a basket by the sink.

With heat indexes in the upper 90's, it's been really helpful.

And if you want to save it for later...
add a lid!

Back to the crew.
Two more days and I'll have an empty nest for 6 1/2 hours a day.

What should I do?!
The list of options and opportunities is growing each and every day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cast is Off!

Sofi on the happiest day of her Summer....
Cast came off 6 days ago.
She's still hesitant to walk on it completely.

Anyone gone through this?

No pain.
X-Ray looks great.
Just timid.

Still using the crutches to move as fast as her siblings,
but huge progress since 6 days ago.

Baby steps.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Carl's Room Reveal

Here is one happy teenager...
Home from camp,
and surprised on his birthday with an extreme room makeover.

This was an enormous task.
Carl left for camp on Sunday.
We emptied the entire room.
Mark sanded the floors.
Three coats of ceiling paint.
Three coats of sealer on the floors...sanding in between coats.
Two coats of "Starless Night" paint on the walls (Behr- Home Depot).
This involved a run to Home Depot, literally, for more paint, just before closing.
I was desperate to finish a wall, and Mark had the car.
I looked like a crazy woman in my paint-spattered clothes and birkenstocks.
I made it with 9 minutes to spare.
A few blisters later, I was home.

All that is left is the trim.
I'll tackle that after the kids are back in school.

Carl is a kid who doesn't like change.
The whole time we were a little nervous.
Once upon a time he said if he could change his room from tan, it would be midnight blue.
So...we went with that.
I knew he'd never part with his bed, chair, desk, or desk chair.
I also knew he'd want polar bears, basketballs, root beer bottles, art, and books to be a part of the room.
This was a challenge....

Come on in!

Oar ladder leading up to the loft,
Initialed pillow on Great Grandpa Malcolm's Lazy Boy chair,

Curious little sister checking it all out up above...
Shelf and light added up near bed.
On shelf are some of his polar bear collection and a copy of Harry Potter.
Under the loft is his desk area...

Mark made Carl this bed when he was 20 months old and Linnea was soon pushing him out of his crib. We had an oar head and footboard, and the design is similar to an Ikea bed. When we moved to Batavia we purchased more oars, and had them around the room as a border.

The desk is an old Ikea corner desk, and Mark added an extension.

A new pillow purchased for up top.
Well-loved Arctic, Carl's polar bear, peeking over the top...

I would have replaced the desk chair, but this was a non-negotiable for Carl.
It was my childhood chair.
Carl's a sentimental guy. :)

We did add a large basketball chair to sit on...
not pictured here as his sisters were using it.

I used his bottlecap collection to make some new magnets.

An old cork board was recovered with burlap.
Scrabble tile pushpins spell out his name.

Shelf on the other side of the room holds part of his root beer bottle collection.

The biggest challenge was organizing his stuff.
More pics to come of the closet redo.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back in the Picture

Just scrolling through our trip pics,
and am excited to see that Mark and I are back in the pictures.

It's been a long time since we had a trip with several pics of us taken together.
On this trip there are at least three!
I guess it's because two out of the four kids can be trusted with the camera for a moment...
and that is a good thing.

Here are some more good things from the complete random order...

Our "B & B" in Vermont for two nights....
Mark's aunt has the coziest sweetest home along a dirt road nestled in the mountains...

Sofi's orange leg amongst the others...

Another pic!
On the ferry boat crossing Lake Champlain...

No lack of confidence here!
I don't think I've ever posed so confidently in a swimsuit! :)

Sofi proudly rowed me around Aunt Mary's pond...such a sweet ride

There is so much more to this pic than meets the eye...
Sofi was so proud to catch and hold a frog.
After a few days at our campsite she ventured down to the pond,
crutching herself down here.
See her crutches?
She was so happy.
I love the dirt.
The peely chipped nailpolish...
and of course the frog.
When I was 8 and 9 years old I caught frogs in this same pond in NH,
I had quite a thrill watching my girls catch frog after frog!

One day I saw a middle aged man crouching around the pond like Elmer Fudd.
In his hand was a large net attached to a long pole.
He spent an hour just moving through the long grass,
swooping his net in and out of the water.
Each time it was empty.
He was hoping to catch a frog for the weekly frog jumping contest.
No luck.

Sofi and Izzy caught frog after frog with their hands and their net.

Perhaps not my best shot,
but this was a very fun moment.
Carl signed the two of us up to jump on the blob together.
I was nervous for most of the day.
It's a huge water trampoline out past the deep end.
I survived.
We had an absolute blast.
Here he is helping me prepare to be launched.

I have a confession.
In College I could eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's.
Today I can't even touch the stuff.
I'm lactose intolerant, and it's no longer a good thing.
But we took the tour anyway....
and the rest of the family had ice cream almost every day!

We tent camped for 7 days,
and Mark, Carl and Linnea backpacked for another two days.

Here's Izzy at the Beaver Pond down the road from Aunt Gretchen's home.

And the mountains.
This is what we saw outside the kitchen window each day in Vermont.

Remind me,
why do I live in Illinois?
Each time I come back I'm not really sure why....


Monday, August 2, 2010

We're Back!

And we had a terrific time.

We were gone for 14 days.
I have piles upon piles of laundry.
An entire yard to weed,
and a house to prepare for 15 days of company.
You read that right.
Aunts and Uncles and cousins start coming next week.
Camp Cousins to prepare for....
Then school starts.
Lots and lots to do.

Back to sweet vacation memories.
Sofi was a trouper.
Thank goodness for the gortex cast lining.
Here she is with her entry to the sandcastle contest.

Two nights in Michigan.
One night in New York due to our unexpected episode at the border.
Two nights in Vermont.
Seven nights camping in New Hampshire.
One night in Pennsylvania.
And home we came.

It was our best family vacation to date.
Such fun visiting our old stomping grounds....
Pilgrim Pines, the camp where Mark and I met in New Hampshire....22 years ago.
Yesterday we celebrated 18 years of marriage.
I'm 38...
so we've known each other a long long time.

Off to laundry land.
More pics to come.
Glad to be home.