Friday, March 30, 2012

surviving vs. thriving

Sometimes I feel like I barely make it through each day, not really enjoying it. I hate the feeling when I am SO excited as the kids finally get into bed and fall asleep. I am determined to enjoy each day more, and not just survive through it.

I have made a conscious effort this week. I feel like I am at such a turning point with Tanner. I adore that boy more than I can tell you but we have had a rough go. But he has just become so fun! This morning we laid on my bed for a half hour, just playing. He makes faces, he knows how to tease me, and I love this critical part of our relationship where we are laughing and interacting so closely. Laughing feels so good! It is a great feeling to feel like I finally "get" Tanner and accept who he is, impossibly obnoxious habits and all. He has a fun personality and I love getting to know him more as a boy rather than as a baby. I love drinking fresh-squeezed juice with him every day (his request), and going to the park and pushing him in the swing for 45 minutes until he starts to nod off.

Another thing I really have enjoyed this week is spending some time with Tyler. Spencer and I talked a couple weeks ago about how he sometimes slips through the cracks. He is quiet and easy and if he's not bugging me, asking me for things (he almost never is), I often give him less attention than the other two. But Tyler has a hobby, and it's actually a talent too - games. He loves to play games and we would play games all day if it was up to him. Instead of telling him "no" this week after school/homework, I pulled out "Sorry" one day and asked him if he wanted me to beat him. I did beat him...but then we played a few more games and he beat me every other time.

The game he likes most of all is Ticket to Ride. Do you play that game? Spencer taught the kids last year how to play and they have been hooked ever since. However, we now have it on our phones and on the ipad, and playing electronically is really fun because the device moves everything for you, and the game goes a lot faster. Tyler loves that game. He was used to losing every time he played Spencer so last Sunday when Spencer was at meetings I sat down with Tyler and showed him how to WIN. I showed him how to piggyback routes so he could get more points, and a few other little strategies. Needless to say...Spencer is no longer undefeated, much to his dismay. Tyler "practices" every free second (when I will let him), and he is getting really good. He is a lot of fun, and he is such a good sport.

And sweet Emma. We had been anticipating news about the swim team she tried out for a few weeks ago. Last night I got the call...they had no room for new swimmers because of so many who signed up this year. She cried for a minute (so disappointed!) but handled it so well! When we are at the ball fields she will take all the little boys and collect trash with their "help" so they can get Red Vines from the snack shack. She is a little pied piper, that girl. I love watching the little 1-4 year old boys follow her around. I am sure someday I will be watching much older boys following her around... :(

You know, I enjoy having more fun with my kids, and being more fun. I've had so much less stress this week in doing that and in not being distracted. I love not feeling like I should do the happy dance when my kids are finally in bed...I can just look forward to playing with them more the next day. Even if it means getting beat in a game by my 6 year old.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

here we go again...

February through June are fun and crazy months around here with some very time-consuming sports going on. After t-ball last year Tyler was certain he didn't ever want to play again. Spencer and I just smiled. Sure enough, around Halloween time he decided he wanted to give Farm a try. We were happy, not because of the time-commitment, but because we really want our kids to lean toward team sports, especially when they are this young. It's such a formative time, and we feel those types of sports are important. He has two great coaches who really teach them the basics and just encourage them to have fun and cheer each other on. I love it.

Opening day was last week.
When Tyler was born with flaming red hair I decided I would never put him in orange. Thankfully it's not flaming red anymore, and is more of a brown/blonde/strawberry (depends on the season)...

Because his team color is bright orange. And he looks adorable. I mean...handsome?

Here's to a fun - and long - baseball season (with a buddy on his team). Go Mets!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


It's funny how when you finally get to buy a house you don't really care that things are outdated, totally NON-functional, etc. Or you think you don't care. But they do start to get to you at some point. And I like to do things the cheapest/easiest way possible, without having to tear out too much.

My pantry was one such area. The closet-like area doubles as a pantry and a storage place for the furnace. We have long had this free-standing shelf unit from Ikea in there (this was after we moved it out, obviously)...

But that got old, especially since the pantry is so deep and all that space back there was completely unused and wasted. Before Emma's baptism I asked my handy-dandy dad how long it would take to build pantry shelves. He figured a couple days, so I blew off the idea of anyone building a pantry that same weekend.

Imagine my surprise when he showed up with SO many tools! I honestly laughed in shock as he continued to pull huge things out of their not-so-big car (and you'll remember my mom transported all those frosted sugar cookies here, in the same car). He pretty much did the entire pantry project himself, and worked when he had a few minutes/hours, broken up by all the activities and other things we had going on. Spencer helped too, when he could. :)

For about $100 I now have a much more useful pantry area. I'm still working on it, and I'm pretty sure it will always be a work in progress. But I love it. I love that it is permanent and built-in. It makes me happy to have even more little details in this house added by us. Oops, I mean added by my dad.

(can you see that the bottom shelf is the perfect level for Tanner to play with all the cans? he loves stacking and re-arranging. i will never have a perfectly organized and pretty pantry until i have older kids...and maybe not even then.)

I put lazy susans (spray-painted, of course) on the 3 inner corners. They're cute and sorta useful but not nearly as much as I had hoped. Oh, and those plastic holders on the right side are for small things like soup packets and pectin. So so convenient.

Thanks Dad! (He also managed to get Tanner to actually play with him - a big deal).

Monday, March 5, 2012

new kitchen colors

If you know me at all, you know what I do when Spencer travels a lot or when it's busy season - I paint. I guess that's better than shopping...though sometimes I do that too. Remember last year when we remodeled our kitchen, and the light green color I had on the walls no longer looked that great with the white cabinets? Well, I've been stewing over colors ever since then. I no longer tune in to HGTV, but I do tune in to Pinterest. Did you know that you can (often) type a paint color into Pinterest's search bar and it will pull up rooms that are painted in that color??

Anyway, Spencer knew I wanted to paint but other than that I was leaving him out of it. My kitchen/dining area is quite large and I knew it would take some time, and a lot of prep time. I decided on Martin Luther King Jr. day. My big kids would be home from school to help with Tanner, and Spencer would be working. We ran out to get the paint at 8:30 that morning and I immediately got to work.

At first I was horrified with how it looked on the walls - it didn't look bad, but it totally was not what I had thought. It almost looked purple to me. I kept on going...after all, with how often I paint, I would likely re-do it within the year if I needed to.

Other than Tanner getting a nice handprint full of paint one time, it was a breeze. Well, it took a long time but I was slow and steady and finished around 8 pm. I put the kids to bed, cleaned it all up, and got the kitchen put back together as Spencer walked in at 9 pm. I was so nervous about what he would think or say but the first thing he said was "Wow. This looks nice!" Phew. Over the next 24 hours I really started to like it. It got better over the next two weeks as I accessorized the rest of the walls, and saw what a great match the color is for the granite AND the backsplash.

So here are sections of my new white, gray, and yellow kitchen, along with some of the decor and other details I'm still working on. Next I'll show you my spiffy new pantry!

And, I made my first bundt cake yesterday! Sorta related since it is IN the kitchen...