Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dying for Some Sun

This last week the sun came out for a little bit. And for my boys that meant a picnic in the yard. But not the backyard, because even though that is where the picnic table is, plus the easiest access from the kitchen, we had to have our picnic in the front yard. Even though the sun was out, it was still a very chilly day temperature wise. But that did not stop one of my boys from wearing shorts, and all three going barefoot. I sat with them, mostly to make sure they stayed out of the road and that crows did not steal their food.

And to attempt to record the very first picnic of the year.

Sorry, did the pajamas confuse you? Did you think I meant it was a breakfast picnic? Or maybe it was brunch? Nope, it was vacation so that means 'jammie-day'. Except for Jack who was just so excited to see sun that he felt the need to wear shorts and a t-shirt. I was cold just looking at him.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Quick and Dirty

So, what did you do on your day alone? I have been asked that by several people. So here it is, what I spent nearly the entire day Sunday doing. Minus time I spent reading and of course taking a nap. 

We moved into this house almost 4 years ago today. At the time we did what was absolutely necessary for us to live in the house and left everything else alone. One of those things that we pretty much ignored was the fireplace. We painted the outside of it with one coat of paint, and called it done. For the past 4 years I had lived with this:

Not just the lovely brass and chain fire 'screen', but a fireplace filled with old ashes. I read in some magazine that ash was actually good for the garden. I envisioned myself carrying out a bucket of ash and spreading it in my garden. Being clean and earth friendly all at the same time!  When I mentioned this idea to Brandon he laughed and said, good luck. Then he said I would probably need a chisel to get the ash out. That made no sense because ash is soft and fluffy. What would I need a chisel for?

I am also a dedicated reader of this blog and have watched them paint an entire fireplace, including the inside. Before beginning this project I went to their website for some 'how to' advice. But there was too many words so instead I just looked at the pictures and called it good.  Clean, prime, paint, what more could there be to do?

Notice the lovely fingerprints, a left-over from my last painting project.
I ran into my first snag when I went to remove the screen. It wasn't just screwed in, it was bolted.  And it was really dirty. At this point, I wished Brandon was home so I could call for a strong man. But then I thought of my mom. Moving all her furniture by herself, check. Refinishing hardwood floors, check. Painting the outside of her house, twice, check.  What would my mom do in this situation? Well, not give up that is for sure. At one point, I wondered if I had any bolt cutters to use.

I decided to put aside the removing of the screen and just focus on cleaning out the inside.  What I thought was layers of ash, was actually dust and dog hair. It was at this point that I realized I would not be shoveling this into my garden. I actually went and got the shop vac instead. Not nearly as earth friendly, but much easier to clean up this mess. I also realized I would need to do some prep in the living room, as this was becoming a much messier project then I had first intended. I looked for a drop cloth, but couldn't find one, so I settled for a bed sheet instead.

After the initial excitement of vacuuming up the gunk, I realized I was going to need a chisel, or maybe a hammer. Once the dog hair and dust was gone, I was left with a hard mass of what, I'm not really sure. Back to the basement I went to find some appropriate tools. It was also at this point that I realized I would probably need a mask. I had my head stuck in this old fireplace breathing in old dust and who-knows what else.  Of course, I couldn't find the masks either. I went to my scrap bin and found an old undershirt of Brandon's. I tore it up, tied it around my face, and viola! A mask of sorts. Althought, later I couldn't decide what was worse, breathing in all the dust or breathing through the armpit of an old undershirt?

If nothing else, this post should prove how absolutely lazy I am when it comes to doing projects right.  It takes too much time to really prep and locate the right equipment, so I just fake it and hope for the best.  Here are the tools I scrounged up to clean out this fireplace.  That shovel, was the only one I could find because the garage key wasn't in its usual place.  Instead I just looked in the yard for a shovel that had been discarded by the boys.

Fast forward a few hours and this is what I had accomplished:

I finally got the screen off by using a socket wrench. Actually I don't know if that was what it was, but it worked and the screen came down and I was very proud of myself. Although, since then the old screen has found a new home on our picnic table. Not sure what to do with it now.

One of the ideas I had going into this was to clean and paint the inside of the fire box and make it a reading 'nook', again, WHAT WAS I THINKING?! I blame this website, because they always have great pictures of cool things people did with their fireplaces. Early on in the cleaning process I realized that there was no way I was going to wash the sides of this, or the bottom for that matter. I never managed to get all of the gunk up, so the bottom is uneven and the sides are covered in soot. I did one test swipe and called it done. So much for a reading/toy nook for the boys.

Oh, but wait, what is that? BLACK?! Yep, I painted the old 50's style brick, black. A shiny black, at that. I wasn't sure how it would work, but since our trim is a creamy white, I wanted a color to make the brick stand out.  I loved the paint, but was not happy with the giant hole I now had. I once again searched for ways to make this more attractive. Pinterest, was not helpful, but I did find pictures of candles and mirrors inside a fireplace, more pictures of books stacked inside, and of course the obligatory wine storage. None of those worked for me.  I would love to put something in there, but I need a flat base to work with. I am hoping my somewhat handy-hubby could cut a piece of plywood to size. But that still left me with a hole to fill.

After some moving around of things I already had on hand, this is what I ended up with. I was hoping the plants would deter the boys from climbing inside. Instead they seem to think it is an invitation to play 'jungle'. Oh well, it used what I had on hand and did not require any trips to Target.

I picture my boys sitting in the little chair while reading their library books. Still waiting for that.

And yes, the green fingerprints are still there. Hey, I can only accomplish one thing at a time!

And that is the story of how I spent my kid-free, husband-free day off.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Best Patient

Today I had a certain kind of doctor appointment. The kind you only go to once a year and pretty much dread it, unless you are pregnant, then it might be kind of cool. Except, most of the time you still dread it, or that just might be me.

When I got dressed today I tried to think of an outfit that would work for both a playdate this morning and a doctor's appointment this afternoon.  Mostly, I wanted easy slip on shoes, that would then be easy to slip off. But I was running late and most of my clothes were dirty. Instead of jeans and Danskos I ended up in a skirt with leggings and boots. So, not what I had in mind, but it was 9:00 and I had to have the kids in the car by 9:30.

Walking back to the exam room, the nurse told me I could put my things in the room before being weighed. Aahh, the dreaded moment had come. Should I take the time to take off my boots in order to reduce the number that would appear on the scale?  I had to make a split second decision, and I decided to just go with it. Because, seriously, how much do my boots weigh?

As I stepped on the scale and waited for the number, the nurse said, "Wow, look at you all confident. You didn't even hesitate to get on that scale. You are the first person all day to not take their shoes off".

Huh. I just laughed and said, "Well, I just figured it is what it is". I didn't say that it seemed silly to take the time to take off my boots. The nurse proceeded to tell me about the woman who removed not only her shoes, but every piece of jewelry she had on.  Because, really your ring weighs at least 5 pounds.

The number that came up was not a number I wanted to see but since it was 3:30 in the afternoon, after my second triple tall latte, and a bagel and cream cheese for lunch, I figured "it is what it is".

The nurse tagged me as her best patient for the day.  I felt honored. I did not tell her that if they had been my Danskos they would have been off. Because those really do weight 5 pounds, at least.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mars and Venus

Years ago I remember the book that came out, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, and how popular it was. I believe it even was the basis for a sitcom. I never read it, but I think I can sum it up in one sentence. Men and women are very different, almost as if they are from different planets.

This was never more apparent to me until this weekend, when Brandon and I found ourselves kidless.  After driving the kids all the way to my mom's and back, we walked into the house and immediately went in two different directions. I had been counting down the minutes until I returned home, kid-free. I put on my slippers, found my favorite blanket, grabbed my book and planted myself on the couch. It was 3:00 in the afternoon and I had no one I had to take care of. I was going to read, maybe take a short nap, watch Grey's Anatomy, stare out the window, whatever.

Brandon on the over hand, it was if he was on crack. As I am relaxing and enjoying my downtime, Brandon goes to the library. Then he goes to a friend's house to help fix his bike. Then Brandon comes back home, but only for a minute. Now he is off to the beer store, with Elsie.

It is at this point, I roll over on the couch, put the pillow on my head, and yell, "I"M SLEEPING".  I do not understand this restless energy that Brandon has. Sit down, read a book, work on the computer, just settle down.  I am pretty sure he is thinking, why is she still to the couch? Get up, do something, there are no kids here!

By 6:30, Brandon had released all his pent-up energy, and I had woken up from my nap and regained some energy. We ended the night at one of our favorite pre-kids restaurants, enjoying a leisurely meal.

 It took us some time to reach the same place, but we finally did. And it was lovely.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Riddle For You

I realize I have been very tardy in writing any new posts. I have things to say, and blog posts have formed in my mind, but tonight I am too tired.

Instead I will leave you with a riddle:

What do you get when you add a toddler with severe intestinal troubles (think giardia) with a mom who has a serious stuffed up nose and can not smell anything?


Some seriously nasty sores

Oh, was that too much information for you? So sorry, but it's late, my week has been spent changing one disgusting diaper after the other, dealing with an almost 5 year old with an ear infection, and an almost 7 who didn't want to go to school or stay home or eat breakfast or play or do anything but watch TV.

Plus, I am still waiting for the lab to call and let me know if someone other then the dog has giardia in this house.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Because it is 'Second Tuesday' a monthly event where Brandon goes out with a close friend, we decided earlier to treat the boys to dinner out tonight. Unfortunately, we choose the same place as everyone else in town. Since, waiting an hour for dinner at 6:00 is not an option, we had to compromise *ahem* bribe the kids.  We ate at a restaurant close to home and finished the dinner with their choice of ice cream: Molly Moons or Baskin Robbins.

Guess which one they choose!

And, yes, that is ice cream on his head.
Hope all of you are enjoying your Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Valentines

Look at these two adorable boys, all dressed up for Valentine's Day

Oh, wait, it's just their Christmas shirt, or as Finn calls it, "his ho shirt"

Well, at least it is red, that is somewhat valentine-related, right?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Two Things

First, as I was walking near the mall today I saw this:

Sorry for the glare, but as I was taking this picture the boys were on their way to Target. 
And I had to stop and take a picture, because REALLY?! Azteca is the #1 Mexican restaurant on our side of the mountains? I'm pretty sure the taco truck parked outside Home Depot has better food. Sorry, if I offended any of you die-hard Azteca-lovers, out there. But, it really doesn't qualify for the #1 spot.

Second, I did a double take at this:

Because I swear, this is something one of you serious DIY-ers would see, snap up, take before pictures of, reupholster in amazing fabric you have on hand, take after pictures, and post on your blogs.  Then it would be pinned to Pinterest, because it would be that amazing.

I, on the other hand would haul it to my basement, where it would sit for years, until Brandon asks, "What were you thinking?"

Um, it had good bones? And it was free?

In other news, we had our first picnic outside today and it was marvelous. Made me wish this weather was here to stay.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Stop Following Me!

Please, I am begging you! Don't follow me on Pinterest. I don't understand what it is, or what it is for, or how to use it, or really what the point of it all is.  I'm not even sure how to say it. My mind immediately thinks: pine-trest. Which, obviously makes no sense, and also shows you my very week phonic skills. I think it is supposed to be: pin-terest. Get it, PIN-terest, something you are interested in that you pin?

I only signed on to Pinterest because a good friend of mine was on FB begging for an invitation. I had one in my inbox but had never finished the registration process, because it freaked me out.  But that night I decided to. I went to the site, created a profile, and began pinning away!

But that is the problem, and the reason you need to stop following me. I have only pinned one thing. Some weird little candle votive idea that I needed for MOPS. That was the one and only time I have been on Pinterest. But everyday I get a new email that someone is following me.

Please, stop!! I have nothing pinned, I will have nothing pinned, I really truly do not get this whole thing that is Pinterest!  You are just simply "pinning" pictures of things you like? Not the directions on how to do it, or even a reason why, aside from "so cute!" or "I love this" or "I want this". Which, is just really weird to me.

I've embraced the whole blogging world (obviously) which I use to think was bizarre, but this Pinterest thing, I just can not understand it.

P.S. Even though I just typed "Pinterest"  6 or 7 times, I still think it should be "Pine-trest". It's just easier to say. Maybe I'll start my own website, Pine-trest: dedicated to all those who struggle with phonetics and finding things to pin.  Although, that may be a very small group of people.  Like, just 1.