Monday, December 30, 2013

Please, no pukies! Please, no pukies!

After seeing The Naptime Decorator's post today of her most popular posts of 2013, I curiously looked at my stats.  I didn't look very long before getting completely sidetracked by the few posts I never finished and never published.  

This post I stumbled on from earlier in the year reminded me why I sent Mike a couple of texts urging him to take precautions (wash hands a lot, shower as soon as he gets home) while he's playing poker today with friends who have been sick recently.  Influenza and the Norovirus are knocking family after family off their feet.  Am I paranoid?  Read on to see why! (There are no near-death experiences involved, just stuff that made me whine a bit.)

From January 2013

If Michael and Sophie remember anything specific about their first official gymnastics class from today it might be meeting their teacher Ms. Michelle, or swinging on the ropes and rings, or balancing or something like that.

Mike and I will remember it as the day after the stomach bug sent us straight to hell, how we watched both kids tumble like champs all the while hoping nobody, including ourselves, puked.  And nobody did!  Miraculous.

Sophie was sick earlier this week.  We came home from the zoo on Sunday after only seeing penguins, birds, and reptiles because about 20 minutes into the adventure Sophie wanted to be held and then asked to go home.  We knew that was a pretty bad sign.

On Monday my mom came, and kiddo seemed back to her playful self by the afternoon.  

However, on Tuesday morning, just as I was wrapping up my morning routine and putting my coat on for work, Sophie threw up.  Twice.  I was too late (by two minutes!) to put in for a substitute teacher in the online system, so I had to make phone calls, email sub plans, and once again re-adjust my vision for how this week would go.

By Wednesday morning Sophie didn't have a fever and hadn't puked in 24 hours, but Mike stayed home since she was still pretty lethargic.

My mom came on Thursday and emailed me that we might want to plan to be home on Friday as Sophie just still wasn't herself yet.  I called Mike, he prepared to be home on Friday just in case, and I made a mental note to dock Sophie's first year of allowance to cover one week of missed child care.

But since the kids had been well for over 24 hours and all looked good, they did go to child care on Friday. 

I, however, stayed home after enduring a night of my own stomach bug torture--it hit me around 11 PM Thursday night.  Amid my agony I took a mental account of this week's damage: two sick days, two days of sub plans, incomplete plans for next week to finish at home by Monday, and an out-of-control stack of ungraded work for me to return to. So not my style.

At least I got a day to myself to recover...

Except that by noon the child care center called to say Michael was flushed, sleepy, and just not himself.  He didn't have a fever or anything, but he fell asleep at the lunch table without eating anything.  I called Mike so we could figure out our game plan,  knowing from experience that our boy was sure to throw up at any second, and I was still in rough shape myself.

To my further dismay, Mike answered his phone from our driveway.  He had come home having gotten sick at work.  

So at this point, twelve hours into the stomach bug and feeling the need for rest and assistance myself, I was essentially a single parent with two kids to pick up, and lots of puking still on the horizon. I knew grandparent back-up was unavailable, so I did my best to take on the "a mom must do" mentality.

I'm pretty sure the kids' teachers felt sorry for me with my sick-day hair, no make-up, and shaky hands as I tried to put the kids' coats on.  They kindly helped me get the kids out the door, but I had to sit down in the lobby for a few minutes to settle my stomach.  Thankfully, Michael was willing and able to walk to the car along with Sophie, and she was relatively cooperative about climbing in the car herself (there's typically a little silliness involved).  

Once home, I rolled out the nap mats, turned on Little Einsteins, and we chilled like that well into the evening--with the exception of when Michael did in fact puke.

This is where the draft ended.  I don't recall much more, so I'm glad I documented that much as it reminds me, at least, why I feel something akin to PTSD when I hear of highly-contagious garbage going around.  It also brings to mind this post about the kids' first stomach bug.  Ominously, these two posts were written in the middle of the last two Januaries.

Alrightly, time to wash hands again, kids!!!

Monday, December 23, 2013


We became an elf family this year!

Aside from sitting in a toy airplane on top of the fridge one day and sipping syrup on a kitchen counter on another, most days Ginger just returned from the North Pole to sit simply on a cabinet or table or shelf to be discovered there by Michael and Sophie in the morning and to do her scout elf duty.

On Friday, coincidentally on my last day of work before Christmas, Ginger left a note for Michael and Sophie at the top of the stairs saying that Santa knew they had been good and wished for her to do some tricks to make them laugh. After reading that note we found this:

On Saturday she left another note for the kids explaining that her favorite color is red (favorite colors are a big deal around here lately) and that she hoped their Cheerios would be extra cheery thanks to the milk she had prepared.


On Sunday she made a "snow" angel.  Although the kids did get a kick out of that, Sophie requested more red milk.


Perhaps in response to Sophie's request, last night Ginger left a note saying she would only be hanging around for a couple more days.  She also asked, "What color is the Grinch?  Go have some milk to see!"

The ornaments she strung are ones Michael and Sophie have been making over the last few weeks.  She must have overheard us talking about stringing them in the playroom doorway.


And that colored milk got a big laugh again.  Silly Ginger!

Tomorrow I bet she'll be in the Christmas tree so she can easily hitch a ride back to the North Pole with Santa.

I'm very glad that Ginger came to us.  We will definitely miss her and look forward to her return next year!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A glimpse of winter

Here's a quick glimpse into some Christmas and winter fun from this last week...


Last Saturday we picked out a tree in 20 degree weather and decorated it on Sunday.  This is the view from the landing upstairs.  Looking at it, especially from up there, fills me with joy, gratitude, and awe, so I think we picked a good one.

While we could (and surely will) put some living room furniture in that space as well, I'm really enjoying how functional it is empty.  Furniture would just get in the way of our "ice skating" in slippers.

On Wednesday evening we attended our 4th Christmas party at the kids' child care center.  Like last year, Sophie tried to sing in the two-song class concert and tried to muster up the nerve to sit with Santa, but once again both events led her to tears.  Another kid kept bumping her as they stood to sing, and her big smile and excited waves turned into flustered sobbing.  She spent the concert snuggling on my lap.  Later she walked right up and started to talk to Santa, but when he and Mike both leaned down to lift her onto the big guy's lap, she screamed in terror (for real...terrrrrror), her feet kicking in a blur as Mike carried her away.  She really tried!

Michael participated in the concert, but he was hidden a bit behind some taller kids, so the video isn't great.  He said he would sit with Santa after Sophie, but her reaction caused him to politely decline his turn.  The sweetie.

Sing it with me: Maybe next year.  However, Mike does have a work party this week and the kids know they can try again to talk to Santa there, so they're thinking about it.

LT Party-1

Prior to the songs and Santa, we hung out in the kids' classroom for a bit.  I got there a little early and changed the kids into fancier clothes than the finger-paint and spaghetti stained gear I usually pick them up in, sitting in the same spot you see above to do so.  This is where the teachers sit for circle time, and within half a second of sitting there I had a dozen preschoolers around me showing off their sparkly shoes and tambourines and...that spot is asking for it.  When Mike arrived and offered to read "Sleeping Beauty" to Sophie in this spot, I almost warned him. Instead I enjoyed watching him get initiated as a preschool teacher.

This morning we welcomed the first big snow in our new house and finally put that little hill to the use we envisioned back in September.


Happy winter!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Phase One: Before and Afters

One of the things that drew us to our new house is its not-so-badness.  We know it will feel pretty comfortable until we are able afford to take on the heftier projects, and in the meantime it has some nice, neutral features and the potential to be lovelier with some quicker fixes. For example it came with...


...white cabinets that are in great shape, including some uppers with glass doors and a wine rack...


...big windows with a view of a grassy hill and trees...

Untitled island with storage, electricity, and space for my little chefs-in-training...


...all open to a family room with a fireplace.

And here's how those spaces look today!


In addition to painting (Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter color matched by Valspar again), Mike replaced the brass knobs, handles, and hinges in the kitchen and hallways.  


New appliances freshened things up quite a bit.  I love the oil-rubbed bronze doorknobs that we added throughout the house, but I'm considering switching again to nickel drawer and cabinet pulls for down the road when we update floors and counter tops in the kitchen, but that's a ways away.  Right now I think the dark ones add some necessary warmth and contrast.




The family room lamp and kitchen pendant are from Ikea.  The drum shade you might recall from the old place.


As much as I look forward to updates to our fireplace facade and so on, I'm finding myself much more patient about improvements with this second house than I was with the first.  We'll get there!


This is my favorite view right now, the one I see when crashing on the couch after a long month of settling in!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Warm House

Yesterday the four of us ended the day in heap on the couch watching Elf with a fire going, relishing the knowledge that phase one of fixing up this place is over, we've broken the ice on entertaining here, and now it's time to enjoy the holidays.  The open house style party we had yesterday totally worked its housewarming magic.

I do regret not taking many pictures of our party, especially since the food and guests all came together nicely.  Picture bagels on cake plates, donut-and-fruit kabobs, and kids and adults filling this house with friendly faces and happy noise.

To keep our youngest guests occupied I put my mom to work the other day making gingerbread cookies in the shape of houses for the kids to decorate.  I found this recipe for her, and the cookies were quite good--soft like the blogger promised.  (Mom would want me to advise using a silicone mat and rolling the dough on the thick side to make cutting the cookies a smooth process.)  I put Mike to work making royal icing using this recipe just as the guests were arriving.  Despite not actually creating the cookies or icing, I believe my vision, research, and delegation skills deserve full credit for the fun and deliciousness of the end result. I know who will come through!

Sophie decorated a cookie for (with the help of) Mike's best friend Jeff.
Once the kids all finished making cookies, I intended to break out a second craft (paper cup turkeys), but that never seemed necessary.  In fact, we had some cookies left over, so I let Michael and Sophie decorate and eat a couple more after breakfast this morning.


Like yesterday, eating the decorations (mini M&M's, square pretzels, and peppermints) was at least half the fun.

Thank you to the friends who came to visit yesterday.
It really does feel more like home since you came by!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Michael's Big Boy Room

Unlike Sophie who was thrilled with her new room immediately, Michael took a little more time warming up to his.  Thankfully, he has also been sleeping pretty well, but it has taken a little more snuggling and storytelling to settle him in.  

Big Kid Rooms-7

The beds were Mike's when he was growing up, and his parents were gracious enough to let us paint them navy blue (Royal Navy by Valspar).


Speaking of paint, Michael's room looked pretty feminine when we moved in.  I'm glad I didn't give in to the pretty purple walls and delicate windows that suggested it could be a better choice for Sophie.  I knew their furniture would fit better the way we have them.

Big Kid Rooms-6

His dresser was part of a set we picked up at a garage sale years ago for $60 (the longer dresser is now our family room TV stand). The lamp is from Ikea and lived in our old basement family room for years.

Big Kid Rooms-2

The airplane and double-decker bus pillows came from Etsy. The quilt sets are from Target. I have a number of ideas for wall art for both kids' rooms including a box of industrial gears from eBay for Michael's.  I hope you'll check back in to see those details down the road.

Big Kid Rooms-1

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sophie's Big Girl Room

While Michael and Sophie's rooms still need art for the walls and window coverings, I'm pleased with how they're shaping up!   On tours of our new house Sophie literally jumps up and down with excitement to share hers, so I think I did well.  She also goes to sleep and stays asleep in it almost every night and nap time.  Hallelujah!

We painted our kitchen, family room, and both kids' rooms Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter (color matched by Lowe's/Valspar).  Perhaps we'll get more playful as time goes on, but so far it really is the perfect neutral it is often touted to be on Pinterest.  

Big Kid Rooms-1-2

Sophie's bed is from Ikea, cost about $100, and I love the idea of painting it another color one day. Red has been on my mind, but we'll try it out as is for a while.  We chose to go with a queen so it can function as a guest bed and would allow the kids to sleep in the same room if they ever request it.  We weren't sure how this transition would go, but so far no loneliness issues.  (Michael has two twin beds for the same reasons...another post is in the works.)


It took a lot of online shopping for me to get a vision for Soph's room. While reading this book at bedtime in the weeks leading up to our move, I told Mike I would be thrilled to find a quilt like the one in it for her.  I wanted to get away from the pastels of the kids' nursery but still create a room that clearly belonged to a little girl. 


I was thrilled to discover this quilt here and loved the bold colors that are also youthful and girly--that was a tough combo to find.  I like it even more in person.

Big Kid Rooms-8

Big Kid Rooms-9

Big Kid Rooms-10

Big Kid Rooms-5

This lamp was a $1 garage sale find, already painted the perfect robin's egg blue (that color is sneaking it's way into a number of places in this house--mildly obsessed at the moment). The shade is from Ikea.  The side table is a treasure, one crafted by Mike's grandpa.

Big Kid Rooms-4

Sophie's dresser is obviously the tall one from the kids' old room, complete with the same accessories on top, for now at least.

I can't wait to share Michael's room with you as well!  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Buzz and Jessie

Way back in September I shared the plans for Michael and Sophie's Halloween costumes.  Since the forecast for tomorrow's trick-or-treating is not camera-friendly, I costumed up my buddies on this 50 degree afternoon and snapped some photos.

Buzz and Jessie-2

Buzz and Jessie-10

Buzz and Jessie-3

Buzz and Jessie-4

Buzz and Jessie-5

Buzz and Jessie-6

Buzz and Jessie-7

Buzz and Jessie-8

These were all taken at our new house.  In most of the photos our property ends where the kids are standing.  More on that when we come up for air.  The whole packing-moving-unpacking ordeal has been kicking our butts!

Buzz and Jessie-9

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pumpkin Fruit Cups


To keep them busy and out of the way, I'll be taking the kids to a Halloween party on our moving day next weekend.  Since spending any amount of time cooking in the next week is unlikely (I also have a desperately-needed hair appointment and parent-teacher conferences in the middle of all of this), I opted to bring this make-way-ahead option.

I spent Friday evening following the directions at Crab and Fish and am pleased with the final product. These are a combination of Dole pears, peaches, and mandarin oranges in 100% juice.  I'm not sure if this always is the case, but the expiration date on the peaches in all three packages was notably easier to remove with rubbing alcohol than the dates on the other fruits.  Although this whole project turned out to be much more time-consuming and expensive than pretty much any other dish-to-pass, doodling while catching up on shows in my jammies was probably a better choice for my sanity than baking something in the midst of moving.

I linked up here:
Made in a Day

Saturday, October 5, 2013



Last night we went to my school's Homecoming parade.  With another busy weekend of packing and Mike's birthday ahead of us, we skipped the game to get the kids (and us) to bed at the usual time. Michael and Sophie had a blast, and I think they finally believe me that I'm a teacher who teaches really big kids.

Speaking of preparing for the move, since this process has been a long one (the sellers are using their 30 days of occupancy), and the kids don't really have a concept of what two more weeks means, we made a countdown chain a couple of nights ago.  It was a great between dinner and jammies activity.

It really speeds up the pajama and tooth-brushing routine to have tearing off a link as a reward!

When I went in to work yesterday, one of the classes had decorated a hallway with chains like this.  Their chains and ours are all for "home coming," I suppose.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Apple Picking

We should probably be packing.  However, yesterday was an orchard day.  It just was, and packing would have been an insult to mother nature.  And doughnuts.  Must not insult the doughnuts.




The kids' clothes just came home from my MoMs club's mom-to-mom sale.  You know you're buying from friends when you don't even feel the need to wash the loot first. :-)  I tried to convince Sophie to wear her new jeans instead, but she wanted to be fancy.

Their shoes are new as well.  They were delivered on Friday, and I thought for sure they looked too big when I opened the boxes.  Nope! My kids are just getting bigger faster than I realized.







Bloggers love comments!

If you stop by for a visit, please leave a note. I would love to know who's checking in on us!