Monday, March 23, 2015

Swim Lesson #4

Last weeks swim lessons were, as usual, awesome. The sessions are only 6 weeks long but they only got 4 classes out of it because of the darn snow. They’re both signed up for another session though and I’m looking forward to watching their progress. (We’ll be missing next week though because of spring break plans.)

For some reason Dakota got it in her mind that she didn’t want to go in the pool and when I brought her in she was crying. Luckily the teacher immediately picked her up and reassured her. It was so nice to see her teacher giving her the love and support she needed in that moment and Dakota was having a good time in a matter of minutes.

They did pretty much the same routine as the week before with going under, playing games, kicking their feet, jumping in from the side and floating on their backs.

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At the end of class they were both given report cards. Harper’s indicated that he was mostly a level two while Dakota was still a level one. She isn’t as confident in the water as he is (probably just an age thing) and he’s quickly catching on to each concept while she’s still working on being okay with getting her face wet and going under water.

They’ll be taking the same 1/2 hour lesson together for at least another session, but I guess if Harper makes leaps and bounds while Dakota struggles I may have to split them up. I think a lot of Dakota’s willingness and strength comes from the support of her brother though, so splitting them up might not work either. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Five on Friday

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  • One day this week Landon came home and told me that he and a girl he knew had been looking at my Instagram account. He said I had more posts than some popular guy that he knew of and he was quite embarrassed about it! He said it was just a little ridiculous that I had more than 2000 posts! Too bad his embarrassment isn’t going to hold me back! Haha! And, the picture above was taken while we were having this conversation…and posted to Instagram.
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  • As you all know, Harper loves his Legos. I was happy to find this little Easter egg Lego challenge online for him to do. Buying kits gets expensive so this was a nice way to use some of the thousands of bricks we have lying around.

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  • This is what story/bed time with Dakota looks like these days.

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  • A couple of days ago, when it was nice out, we all went outside on the driveway to play red light, green light. Harper just loves that game right now. He loves to “trick” us by saying red light and then yelling it again just to see if he can get us to move. He laughs like a mad man and tells us we have to start over. It’s pretty funny!

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  • Apparently Mother Nature didn’t get the memo that today was the first day of spring…please, please, please let this be the last snow of the season!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dakota’s Room

I just got Dakota’s bedding in the mail and I was going to wait to blog about it all when I got the border, but I can’t wait. I’m so happy with how it all turned out I’ve just gotta get it on the ol’ blog!

So, the bed was Zoe’s originally and it was just a plain brown (like Landon’s dresser) and begging to be painted. I told my mom to go ahead and do whatever she wanted with it. She went with white because Dakota’s dresser is white and white goes well with everything anyhow. I love that she gave the side rails the splash of pink and as Dakota gets older we can remove them if we want. Right now Dakota tells me her favorite colors are pink and purple but who knows what she’ll say in a few years. I found the quilt on JCPenny’s site and I was lucky to find it was half price too! She tends to be warm natured so this thin quilt and sheet is likely all she’ll ever need. The art behind the bed is old, stuff I made before she was born and I’m not ready to let go of it yet.

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This side of the room is where her changing table was before. The table is now in my closet waiting for a new job. I moved her dresser here to make room for the bookcase and it seemed to fit there just perfectly. Mom painted the drawers and door front to match the bed rails and it just makes the whole thing look brand new. All the stuff on the walls was already there minus the flower w/ butterflies. That’s something my mom brought up as a little bedroom gift. Smile 

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The wall the bookcase is on is pretty bare right now. I have a couple ideas to spruce it up but right now I’m waiting on the border to get here. I do love how the bookcase turned out though! (Looks like we will need to be getting rid of some books soon! Many of them are from when I was a kid and many are from Zoe’s and Landon’s younger days as well.)

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And there you have it. I’ll be sure to update once the border gets on the walls!

Landon’s Dresser

Since we moved the big bookcase out of Landon’s room and moved his bed & dresser, I was inspired to redo his room a bit. It’s time to get rid of the little kid stuff and make his room a little more teen friendly. We emptied his wall shelves of all the old Lego creations and toys and made room for a few books and yearbooks. For now we left his old trophies, but he said he wants to take them down as well. I’d like to find something to replace the things we took down and I’m sure we will, in time.

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His old bed and dresser were a standard brown but since the beds been gone and now the bookcase, the only thing left that color was the dresser. I thought about painting it, but then thought maybe staining it would be a cooler idea.

I bought all the stuff to do it and knew that if I didn’t do it right away, I’d get lazy and forget about it. So, a few days ago, on a chilly, windy day, I set about sanding and staining.

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I chose an ebony stain because the shelves in Landon’s room are black and I thought a black dresser would go well with that. Once I got started I realized that the ebony wasn’t going to be a true black, but more of a deep dark brown. As you can see, the grooves in the wood turned more of a black while the wood stayed dark brown.

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I wasn’t about to stop and run to Lowes to buy new stain, so I soldiered on and finished it despite the color being off.

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The stain I bought was supposed to be dry in an hour, but it took many hours for it to completely dry. I had to leave it over night because even when I touched it several hours later I got a bit on my hand. The next afternoon though, I moved it back up into Landon’s room and I have to admit I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

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I’ve officially refinished my first piece of furniture, all on my own. Granted, it was a super easy thing to do and NOTHING like the stuff my mom does! I told her that and she said it was just the beginning…haha! We’ll see.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Caning 101

The day before my parents drove up a strange package was delivered. I’d ordered a few things the day before but this package didn’t resemble anything I’d ordered, yet my name was on it. So, I opened it. I had no idea what I was looking at and immediately texted my mom to ask her if she’d sent the package.

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She said she had sent it and it was caning to go in the back of the chairs that we rescued from the side of the road back in December. (I’d pretty much forgotten all about those chairs!) Of course my mom didn’t forget about them and she’d given them a pretty antique look paint job and recovered the seats with a heavy duty navy and brown speck fabric. And, because she got such a great deal on the fabric, she bought enough to also recover all my other dining chairs to match! She’s awesome like that.

The day after they arrived we tackled the back of the chairs, and they were tough!

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After soaking the caning for a good bit you have to push it down into the groove of your chair, which was pretty challenging. We were afraid of tearing it or not getting it tight enough. Then, once that part is done, you fill the groove with wood glue; easy peasy. The worst part is saved for last when you have to use every ounce of your being to push the spline into the wood glue/caning filled groove.

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That was a BEAST! I wasn’t sure my mom would ever be able to use her thumbs again after pushing that crap into those chairs. Somehow, and I really don’t know how, she was able to finish both chairs without breaking her thumbs off. The results are amazing, and you’d just never even know we’d picked these up off the side of the road! 

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They’re gorgeous now, right? They’re super comfortable and we ALWAYS need at least two extra chairs at our table. Six seats is rarely enough!

*By the way, this is what the chair looked like when we found it. It doesn’t show how bad it was, all the gunk in the grooves, and the wear and tear, but now you have an idea. It’s amazing the difference a little TLC (and a DIY mom) can make!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring Tease

Today was such a beautiful day. It was near 70 and windy and perfect for a day at the park.

Both kids were up with the sun and I was prepared with a few St. Patrick's Day crafts. We started with a marble painted shamrock then made some pretty rainbows. Our rainbows even had a little pot of gold at the end!

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Here’s Dakota’s finished rainbow (she needed a lot of help):

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Harper’s finished rainbow (he only needed a little help):

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After working on our art we headed out for a morning at the park.

They had such a great time running up and down that hill! They’d bring the ball up and kick it down and then chase it just to turn around and do it all over again. It was great fun and boy were they worn out!

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We stayed at the park for about an hour but the wind was pretty strong so they were ready to go. We made a pit stop at the library and then headed home for lunch. We were no more than finished eating when Dakota asked to go back outside…and off we went to the backyard.

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That’s pretty much how the whole day went. We’d go out for a long time then come in for a bit of a rest then head right back out. It was a good day and we made sure to enjoy it since we are supposed to be getting some cold weather again beginning tonight.

Swim Lesson #3

Last week the kids had their third swim lesson. They missed two weeks because of snow and they were both a little nervous about going back since it’d been awhile. Dakota was really protesting but I did my best to remind her how much she enjoyed swimming and when we got to the pool she seemed to remember and off she went. (It helped that my mom was there to encourage her as well.)

They had the teacher they had the first week and both kids remembered her.

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They got right to work once in the pool. She had them floating on their backs, with support, and I am amazed at how relaxed they are! Tony and I couldn’t get either of them to do that last summer. They also practiced blowing bubbles, kicking their legs/feet correctly and played a game with the rubber ducks. Then she took them down to the deeper end and had them jumping in to her. She held their hands and made sure they went under water each time.

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When she brought them back to the side of the pool, she had them get out on their own. I was happy she was able to teach them how to hoist themselves out of the water; it’ll sure come in handy this summer!

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Near the end of the class she dropped a ring on the bottom of the pool (at the shallow end, of course) and they had to go to the bottom to retrieve it.  Harper did a lot of the work on his own and after four tries he finally got the ring. Dakota had a lot more help but she had to take a couple dives down before she could grab it. I was really amazed at how well they did and they both came out very happy. They are really enjoying their lessons and I just love watching them do their thing!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tulip Barn Quilt

The blogs been quiet again because I’ve been busy as a bee. My parents drove up last Tuesday because my dad had meetings in Baltimore for the week, and while he was away at his meetings, my mom stayed here at the house with us. When she comes there is always work to do! (I mean that in the best way possible!)

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She came bearing gifts and I couldn’t believe she’d made me another barn quilt. I absolutely love it! She knows that my all time favorite flower is the tulip, so she included them on this one. I love it and as you can see, it fit the space above my bed perfectly! Thanks again, mom! You’re the best!

She also brought up Dakota’s finished bed. I saved Zoe’s old twin bed with the trundle because it was a bed that I worked and saved for back when Zoe was little. I felt pretty accomplished and proud when I’d finally saved enough for that bed, and I couldn’t just let it go when she decided she was too big for it. So, the bed got a bit of a face lift and is now Dakota’s. I’m waiting for the quilt and sheets I ordered before I post pictures of it, but it went from a standard run of the mill brown to a shiny white with pink bedrails…it’s beautiful and perfect for my pink loving two year old.

I was a little worried how Dakota would feel about moving from her crib to a big girl bed, but as usual, worrying wasn’t necessary. She was thrilled about it and has been sleeping in it every night just fine. Hard to believe I don’t have a little one in diapers or in a crib anymore! My little’s are growing up!

I’m working on about 50 thousand craft projects right now, so I’m cutting it short on the blog tonight. More later…

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Regular Old Monday

Today, after what seems like forever, we had a normal Monday. (The stupid time change didn’t even mess me up!) Kota was up at her regular 6:20am, and I had to drag Harps and Lanny out of bed around 7:30am. Landon was off to school at 8:30 and the other two and I were out the door and on our way to preschool at 8:40. It felt good, that little routine.

I’m always a bit nervous when I have to get the two boys up in the morning because I don’t know how badly they’re going to drag. Landon is a terrible procrastinator and when I have to get Harper up too, it can be a really        s-l-o-w morning. Luckily, this morning wasn’t one of those days. They both got out of bed and did their thing and we were out of here on time.

After taking Harps to school, Kota and I hung out at Mema’s for a bit. I had a few errands to run so we left early, and Mema came along for the ride. Our errands didn’t take nearly as long as we’d thought and we ended up back at preschool to wait for Harper way earlier than necessary. After hanging out in the car for 15 minutes, I decided I’d take Mema and Dakota on a little tour of the new school. When we got there, Harper was eating snack, but as soon as he finished he jumped up and ran to Dakota to show her around. He got right in front of her and put his hands on her face and said “this is my school and you’ll come here next year”! It was so nice! Dakota was a little shy with all the unfamiliar faces but she really wanted to stay and play with all the toys. Some of Harper’s classmates offered words of encouragement to her and it was very sweet.

Since we were out, we decided to take the kids to lunch at Ledo’s. We sat and ate toasted ravioli and pizza before heading home for rest time. (No naps happening in my house anymore. It’s strange.)

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It was a good Monday. A Monday that I recognize as normal and good and one that I’m hoping begins the trend of warmer days (it was close to 60 degrees here today!) and regularity. We’re over being holed up for the winter and ready for the adventures that Spring promises.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

National Aquarium in Baltimore, 2015

I was totally going to write a long blog post about our weekend, but then I remembered that the Walking Dead was about to come on and Tony feels like we HAVE to watch it the night it comes on, so, a long post will have to wait.

So, instead of lots of words, I’ll just post some pictures of our Saturday morning at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

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We spent a little extra this time to take the kids into the 4D IMAX show. They’re showing SpongeBob SquarePants: The Great Jelly Rescue! right now and we thought the kids would enjoy it. It was a short flick, about 10 minutes and Dakota was scared to death the entire time.She sat on Tony’s lap and whimpered until it was over. Harper loved it and was also scared to death the whole time. He jumped every time something would happen and he ended up sitting on my lap holding my hands for dear life. Landon liked it but he couldn’t figure out why Kota and Harps were so scared!

We had a great morning and now that we have a membership, we’ll definitely be going back.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snowy Thursday

When the phone rang just a bit ago I nearly cried. I knew, before looking, that the kids were going to be out of school again tomorrow. Tomorrow makes our 6th day of missed school, and they’ve also had 8 days of going into school 2 hours late. It’s been a lot and it’s enough already.

Many people are upset with the school’s decisions on closures and late arrivals, but for the most part, I think they’ve made the best call each time. Like everyone else, I want my kids to go to school now so that they get out earlier in the summer, but I also want to be sure my kids are going to make it safely to and from school in the first place. Fortunately I don’t have a job I have to get to every day so when the kids are out of school I don’t have to take off work. I know that isn’t the case for many people, but really, I believe that schools are making the best decisions for our kids.

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But…damn my kids are getting crazy. Harper and Dakota were terribly stir crazy today and watching Harper pace was about enough to send me over the edge. Tony was here so he was helpful, but there’s no school tomorrow and I’m on my own. WAHHHH! Landon’s no trouble at all, especially when you consider the fact that he doesn’t get up until 1:30pm.

Play dough creations by Tony:

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We played play dough and watched cartoons and played games and all kinds of things. I found a cute project on Pinterest, but it only kept them busy for about 5 minutes.

Easter bunnies. Dakota’s is on the left, Harper on the right.

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We did puzzles and Lego’s and paint and ate food and still, there was pacing. We played with the dog for a good while and when we were done they both gave her some treats, a favorite for all involved. When they were finished giving the dog treats, they wanted to make each other do tricks for treats (goldfish). So, Harper would tell Dakota to “speak” and she’d bark and get a goldfish. They took turns at that for about 20 minutes and they thought it was the greatest!

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They both refused to go outside and play in the snow, and usually, I’d suit us all up and we’d go anyways, but today I just wasn’t in the mood to fight them. I figured with the way the snow was coming down and the wind blowing they’d just be miserable, so I didn’t push it. Tomorrow though, if we don’t get out of the house, we’ll be in that damn snow. Like it or not.

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How To Go To The Bathroom, by Harper and Dakota

So, I found this little paper tutorial hanging in the bathroom the other day. I don't know where I was while this was being made, b...