Sunday, May 29, 2011


This year, our annual camping trip mostly revolved around these two...

It's hard to take kids this age camping. There was lots of holding, chasing, wandering and diaper changing. No crawling was allowed, especially since there was plenty of mud. But, we had our big kids, so there was also jumping off the log, playing in the raft...
bug bites, ping pong, Ticket to Ride...

s'mores, the dutch oven, bocce ball...
and skipping rocks at the river.

We're glad our friends came and kept us company this year. It made the sudden rainstorms (yes, that is plural) a little more bearable. And it gave Tanner one more thing (Lily) to look at. It also gave Tyler some peer pressure when Spencer offered $10 (!!!) to whoever would jump off the top of the log. In a nutshell, I'm still not much of a camper and I get the most excited when it's time to come home. But I sure value that family time.

Friday, May 20, 2011

why every mom needs a tanner

I have to admit, sometimes I wonder why I have such needy babies. (Imagine that, right?) I guess it's just an adjustment everyone has when they have a baby, and then with every stage. They need stimulation. They crave it. I hold my babies almost constantly when they are awake, wishing I could just hold them more when they were asleep. Saucers and swings, for me, are tools to get the dishwasher emptied, or a load of laundry switched out. Nothing more.

But, I think every mom needs a Tanner (or a Tyler, or an Emma). He has forced me to think less of myself. Going without make-up is totally the rule and no longer the exception. Hair in a bun or ponytail is the norm, at least 5 days a week. I plan my day and what chores I can get done around 5-minute periods of time, when I know I can get a few minutes out of him with no crying. I so appreciate those snippets of time when Spencer is home and can actually hold Tanner. Another set of hands. Those moments are absolutely golden.

I love having a Tanner. I have to be an involved, purposeful mom. That is just how it should be. I take nothing for granted. I think this is good for me; having a baby like Tanner keeps me humble as a woman (have you seen me?) and reminds me that it's not all about me {and it's not even a little about me}.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

my mother's day

I think I may have just had the most productive three weeks of my entire life. Almost every minute of every day was spent being busy, not that I necessarily enjoy that. I have this dumb vinyl lettering WORD up in my kitchen, and I'm fairly certain it will be coming down as soon as I get to it. SIMPLIFY. Who ever thought that was a likely option?! Why on earth did I put that on my wall?

When we first moved into our house 4 years ago I was so thrilled to have a non-carpeted kitchen, a pantry, room for a dining table AND a breakfast nook, and a built-in microwave. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I didn't mind the 70s tile backsplash or the 80s appliances. Well, as time went on, and as I got really into home decorating and design, I started to get irritated with my kitchen. I think that when this custom kitchen was installed 26 (?) years ago it was probably really nice. I knew it was time to make a change but since I'm frugal to a fault sometimes and since I clearly forgot about my recently discovered preference for "hiring out," I came up with the crazy idea to remodel it ourselves. So off we went.

I starting faithfully saving money after Christmas for the remodel. And my poor husband...I know he loves me because he took time off work (shocker #1) during the kids' spring break to help me. So he took work work. And he sincerely only complained a few times.

Let me just say that there were a few things that saved us:
*A nice commercial paint sprayer that a dear friend offered to let us use. We returned the not-as-nice one we had bought.
*A lifesaver of a neighbor who was up in our attic re-wiring for hours, and then hooking things up inside the house as well.
*Amazing paint (it better have been amazing for what it cost!)
*Sanding blocks
*Stainless steel appliance film. Wonderful, that stuff.
*Understanding that everything in life is negotiable (granite included).
*And of course, HGTV.

What we would do differently:
*Come up with a better way to drill holes for handles so that it doesn't take 8 hours and a LOT of frustration (and a couple slightly un-straight handles).
*NOT use the paint sprayer inside the house at all.
*Not attempt this with a needy baby around.
*Hire a painter. (I say that...but we really did all this for not a whole lot of money so I don't know if I mean it. Ask me in a few weeks.)

So, here is what it looked like before... (as Mark was taking that annoying in-the-way cabinet out, and as Spencer was in the attic loosening the bolt that was holding it in.)

This once-popular wallpaper made an appearance. Hmmm...hello 60s! I truly love that I got to see that.

And although the angle is different, here is what it looks like now. Clean, bright, and white.
We aren't entirely done; we still need to do the glass tile backsplash and add the beadboard and crown molding, but it is functional, beautiful, didn't cost a whole lot, and Spencer and I still love each other.  Complete success! And Happy Mother's Day to me. Probably the best one ever.
("Simplify" - what a joke. I'm off to pull that down.)