Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

I just like this picture of Nathan. That's a look I see often from him. I think he gets it from me.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bathroom Remodel #1

To say that our downstairs bathroom needed a remodel when we moved in would be a huge understatement. My initial instinct was to bomb this room. I NEVER entered this room except to clean the litter box. It was DISGUSTING when we moved in so it seemed like the perfect location for the litter box.

The toilet in this bathroom successfully flushed once. I would like to say that this toilet was never used after that once flush, but that would be a lie. I informed every contractor that worked on our house (as well as every guest that came over before the remodel) that this bathroom was not to be used for anything! Still, it was used not once, not twice, but THREE times. How? I still don't understand. Oh, and remember how I mentioned the toilet only flushed once...gross!

Take a look at the "before" pictures. Horrifying. Even my fancy camera and Photoshop couldn't make these pictures look nice. Somehow even they knew not to take or edit a decent photo.

Don't you just love the commercial soap dispenser? What the heck? We have a plastic paper towel holder in the master bathroom too! The orange stickers are from when the city shut the water off and winterized the home. We stashed construction hardware in here occasionally during the kitchen remodel, but that's about it. To get a better "feel" for this bathroom, click on the photos to enlarge them.

Looking at the "after" pictures is a huge relief for me. Finally, people can use this instead of our upstairs guest bathroom (the one shared by Ian and Ryan). The shower (which you can't see) is the only thing that remains. Yay!!!

I had to include a picture of the new floor--pretty travertine. The old tile, which ran through the laundry room and into the kitchen as well was UGLY!!! Seriously, they were 16 X 16 ceramic tiles that looked like the wood floor of a basketball court...only slightly more orange. WHY??? We kept a small piece to remember how far we have come with all of our projects.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

THE Play Date

Before I begin my rant, can someone please tell me if play date is one word or two? I see it both ways so often that I can no longer figure out which was is correct. This bothers me to no end.

Here are some photos from yesterday's play date at the library...the one that ended with me in tears in the parking lot once the boys were strapped into their seats. None of the photos capture the experiences that upset me. This is not because I'm trying to paint a delightful picture of our lives, but because I was so frickin' busy trying to make everyone happy (and failing miserably).

The boys and I always have a talk before we go to these things. I ask Nathan if he wants to go and he always says that he does. I remind Ian that he is not to eat anything unless I give it to him. We discuss that there is NO running and absolutely NO screaming. All parties agree to the rules. And then we arrive and it's chaos (the other kids/moms are almost always partly to blame).

One of Nathan's peaceful moments when he happily worked on his hat/bowl. This boy loves his crafts. He would have stayed and worked on this hat for another hour, but everyone around me felt the need to clean up and leave.

Ian also enjoyed the hat craft. In fact, he made three hats!

Since I had to welcome new members to the group, help with cleaning up the room and keeping track of all the other kids working on the craft, I bribed Nathan with chips. This worked better than I expected.

Nathan screamed his head off for the majority of the first hour of this event. Why? I don't know!!! He doesn't really like people, he certainly doesn't like people to touch him and he doesn't like it when things get too loud. He has what I have labelled, "only child syndrome" despite not being an only child. He likes the three of us and a few select friends, but he seems to just want everyone else to GO AWAY! And he will scream this at you if he feels you deserve it.

Ian, on the other hand, loves people. He also loves food. So what does Ian do at all of these large gatherings? He steals food and begs other people for more food. Every time I turn around someone else has given that boy another cookie or he's helped himself to a handful of grapes. I used to feed him before all of the food-centered play dates, but he would still eat more than his fair share and I worried he would end up sick to his stomach.

Ian, always willing to pose for a picture.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

We had a fun-filled St. Patrick's Day. The boys and I went to a playdate with our Mocha Mommies group and all the kids made these fun little hats. Ian was nice enough to make 2 extra hats--one each for me and Ryan. Joy. I painted Dixie bowls with green acrylic paint and cut off part of the brim so the blue didn't show. The kids then decorated their hats with stickers, glitter glue, markers and fun foam. I'm sure the other mothers were thrilled to take home their children's wet artwork.

The boys will be off to bed soon and I'll be having a beer. Nathan was more than a handful today. Don't let that cute, chubby face of his trick you into thinking he's a little angel. He brought me to tears in a parking lot today. Nothing so bad that a Guinness (or 4) can't fix!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Decision Time

This past Monday night was pretty darn stressful for me. I returned home from a scrapbooking crop and checked my email like usual. Unfortunately, I had an email sitting in my inbox announcing the end of my business as I knew it. I Remember When (the direct sales company I've represented for a few years) abruptly closed it's "doors" earlier that day. WHAT?!?!

Okay, now what? I had been toying with the idea of striking out on my own, but the plan was to continue to make some extra $$$ through my already-established business before making the switch. Great. I wanted the decision to be MINE, not made for me.

Now I feel forced to scramble to make a quick transition to the new business so as not to lose all the customers/students I've managed to find here in Virginia. Remember, we move all the time and it generally takes me a good year to build up a decent reputation. I don't have a bunch of long-time friends more than willing to spread the word about my business. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

So, can anyone recommend a graphic designer? I need a logo and ultimately an e-commerce website. I use a crappy website template currently and do not understand html to the point where I can build my own website.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Beautiful Day

We have been blessed with beautiful weather today and yesterday. We had a playdate at our house yesterday--4 moms and 6 kids. After an hour inside, the noise level was out of control and we were lucky enough to be able to head to the park. While the kids played, we talked about The Bachelor. Gotta love the trashy reality TV.

Today we had a lovely time at Locks Park in Chesapeake. We weren't lucky enough to see any boats go through the locks today, but the kids had a wonderful time in our 70 degree weather.

Nathan, roaring like a dinosaur.

We had to take a break from the fun to get a quick bite of food. These boys would eat 24/7 if I allowed it.

Ian wanted to spend most of his time at the park digging in the dirt, digging up grass and filling his dump truck with bark. Boys are so easy to please.

Eventually, all of our friends left the play area and entertained themselves on the hill. It was hysterical watching a bunch of 2 and 3-year-old roll down the hills.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Homemade Breakfast Bars

It turns out that I love my boys too much to buy processed junk food. This means more work for me. Yay! (Can you sense the sarcasm?) As I was explaining to my mother on the phone, I'm trying to change one food item at a time so that I don't feel overwhelmed. The most recent recipe we tried and loved was a Weight Watchers breakfast bar recipe that I made the "normal" way for the kids. I'd post a picture, but both times that I made it, the boys distracted me with their whining and I forgot to take a picture. I'll make them again tonight.

Here's my version of the Oat and Apricot Breakfast Bars

1 cup whole-grain wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup uncooked quick oats
15 pieces dried apricot halves, diced
1 T butter, melted
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, oats and apricots.

Whisk together eggs and butter. Quickly mix together wet and dry ingredients. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake until firm, about 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

**We've also used mixed dried fruit because we finished off the bag of dried apricots after the first batch of breakfast bars.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Ryan!!!

Today Ryan is 30!!! Can you believe it??? I'm sure that his parents are struggling with this more than he is. :) It's a cold, rainy day and we are expecting snow tonight, but we still managed to go out and try to enjoy the day. We had lunch at an Irish restaurant, grabbed coffee, wandered around the mall (I tried to get Ryan to buy clothes, but it didn't work) and then we stopped by a local wine & beer store so Ryan could buy something interesting to drink. I'd post pictures, but he won't let me take any of him. Boo!