Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

We had a really wonderful, but busy Memorial Day Weekend. On Saturday, we were involved in an activity with the missionaries in our ward, "tracting" to invite neighbors to our ward's Memorial Day Celebration. Most people didn't answer the door, and some casually took the invitation, but we had one nice long visit with a religious professor. The man was really sincere, and he wanted to clarify the differences between what Mormons and other protestants believe. I think he felt the Spirit, which is all we could ask for! It was really neat being a "missionary" with Paul. It made me really excited to do this, just the two of us, when we're old someday.

I was pretty involved with the Memorial Day activity itself, too. There was a primary activity with games, crafts and contests, face painting, a really nice flag retirement ceremony put on by our boy scout troop that especially honored veterans, and a barbecue. We love our ward!

Tug of War with the primary kids. Benjamin thought it was hilarious.Brother Smith's homemade side-car extravaganza. Benjamin had a little joy ride on it, although he was gripping onto the children next to him the whole time.
And here are Peter's latest stats: 19 lb. (55th %) and 28 in. (78th %).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Brothers

A few days ago when it was time for his nap, Benjamin insisted that I leave Peter with him in his bed. I obliged, and left the two alone. I was actually surprised at how long it was quiet in there. Benjamin was busy reading books and Peter just laid there sucking on his pacifier.
Benjamin was very attentive to his needs. He can be very sweet with his little brother.
Here's Peter's latest vocal trick. He clicks. He also babbles a lot these days and gets very animated. I feel like he'll figure out how to crawl any minute. He lunges at things and today he even pulled himself up from sitting. I love this stage!
video

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Playing Hookie

Last week was pretty intense as my friend and I spent hours prepping and painting our bedroom, all while juggling our four little ones. But we finished painting, and it looks great! We still need to hang crown molding, finish our head board, recover some pillows, possibly paint our furniture, and make some Roman shades, but I'm feeling pleased with the progress we've made. It instantly feels so much cozier. By Friday, I was pretty burnt out and Benjamin was a little out of sorts, so I was not especially thrilled when disaster clean-up in southern Missouri took Paul away all day Saturday. Not that I didn't think their problems were bigger than ours or that he shouldn't help, but you know. I'm needy. Yesterday was the Saturday we never had and more. Paul sensed my frustration and took the day off to play a little hookie with us.

After a nice leisurely breakfast and some time in the garden, he whisked Benjamin off to the music store (this was the bribe hanging over his head all week to help him remember to be good) to look at violins. Lately, Benjamin talks about how he wants to play the violin. I wish I had a picture, but the ones that are his size are SO tiny and cute. I don't think we'll start him playing the violin this early, but I am still toying with the idea of signing him up for classes or lessons instead of regular preschool (at least this year).

Anyways, while they were having some quality father-son time, I was able to keep my momentum going and painted Peter's room (pictures to come) while Peter hung out with his toys. Once I was done painting, Paul and I cut out our headboard. It was kind of fun working with power tools again! It's been too long.

Then yesterday afternoon, we took a nice long drive to pick up a small table and chairs set I found on Craig's List for a great deal for Benjamin's birthday. Luckily, Benjamin and Peter fell asleep on the way, so Paul and I had a nice quiet drive together, and the present remained a surprise. Then we finished the day at a cute new Mexican place near our house. It was mostly yummy (at least mine was good), but it was the perfect ending to a very satisfying day.

I just wanted to show this Van Gogh painting that I love. I'm kind of drawing inspiration for our room from its color palette. I'm not going for quite the intensity of these colors, but I love the restful feeling it has.

So what do you think about the grandma furniture? Should we paint it black? White? Yellow? (just kidding about the yellow) ...or should we just switch up the hardware? I don't mind the wood so much anymore now that the walls are a different color.

And a few random pictures I thought I'd post of the past few weeks:


Benjamin admiring the elephants. He loved watching them squirt water into their mouths with their trunks.

The zoo is free everyday, and so is the carousel during the first hour. Benjamin loved racing with Dad!
Just checking out the creepy chimpanzee for a minute before hurrying on to better things.
The tigers were where it was at. There were five one-year old cubs, and they were pretty active for zoo animals. And of course Benjamin still refers to himself as a tiger, so this was a highlight.
Haha...this was so creepy. The legless lizards were doing a snake dance up against the glass. Peter loved them! Here he is standing up on his own.

One afternoon, Benjamin decided to rescue his kitty from various trees in our yard with his fire engine.

Benjamin insisted that Peter wear his hat when he decided it was too small for him.
Benjamin with a "face mask" playing baseball.

And last, but certainly not least, check out these beauties! We had our first strawberry harvest of the season today, and they were oh so yummy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bedroom Makeover

My arms and back ache right now, and it stings under my fingernails from paper cuts. But you know what? Our bedroom is finally going to get done! And I'm not going to be that person who paints another coat on top of a textured wallpaper border, or the person who applies a new border on top of an older one. No, I am really going to be that thorough.

Our bedroom is pretty ugly. I'm sure you've caught glimpses of it in the many pictures I've posted on here, and thought to yourselves, do they really have a sage green bedspread and seafoam bluish-grayish-green walls? (If you haven't had this thought, you probably weren't looking at the pictures hard enough. It really clashes.) So it's not a color we would have chosen ourselves, but the walls are also covered with flaws; old security system boxes (I think that's what they were), a few large cracks that were poorly puttied over, gaping nail holes, and of course the painted-over textured wallpaper border that covers up an even older one.

Back in December when our ward had a goods and services gift exchange, I came away with (in my mind) the BEST deal ever: a home improvement project of my choice from my good friend Patrice. I cannot praise her skills enough. She has fixed her home up largely on her own, with two little kids and a husband who has very little spare time to help. She framed and drywalled their basement, installed a new counter top, and added a lot of cool built-in features to their home. And her work never looks DIY. She researches and learns how to do stuff, and has the confidence to tackle most projects on her own. I only wish I were that cool.

So when she came to "evaluate" our bedroom, she would not hear of just painting it. She's going to get the walls looking decent. I'm so excited! I'm also borrowing her jigsaw to make a nice headboard. This is going to start to come together pretty fast now, so stay tuned...

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I love being a mother. I really do feel blessed to have two wonderful little boys who love me, no matter how inexperienced I am at the job. I am also so grateful for my mother and Paul's mother, who sacrificed so much and are such good examples of what I want to be. This week when Peter got an ear infection, and Benjamin refused to take a nap for a few days, all while Paul was out of town, I still found myself loving my role as a mother. There's nowhere I'd rather be, and nothing I'd rather be doing. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Pay it Forward

Pay it FORWARD--How it works: The FIRST THREE people to leave a comment on this post will receive at some point during this year a handmade gift from me. What it will be and when it will arrive will be a total surprise--to both of us. The CATCH is that YOU MUST PLAY TOO! Before you leave your comment here, write a pay it forward post on your blog to keep the fun going (you can cut and paste these instructions). Then come back and let me know that you are going to play, and sit back and anticipate the arrival of your gift. It's THAT easy! Remember, only the FIRST THREE comments will qualify. Good luck!

***Update: 5/11/09:
We have TWO takers so far. Congrats to Alexandra and Miriam! One spot left. Remember, you can make anything! No art degree required. :)

Monday, May 04, 2009

A Few Highlights

It feels like I've been absent from the blogosphere for longer than usual, which inevitably means I have a few things to catch up on. We had a fun week, and the boys continue to grow. Peter is starting to wisen up to the ways of Benjamin, and will scream to get my attention before he strikes. Smart kid! But they are also starting to have more fun together. There are some sweet moments where they just giggle and giggle together.
I finally got more laminating sheets, so I made Benjamin a little Blues Clues Notebook, some paw prints, and "Blue" puppy. It's nice to make stuff now and then, even if it's silly things for Benjamin.
Here he is, excited to be looking for clues on his fire engine and fire hat. He never goes anywhere now without his notebook and crayon.
Here's a little glimpse of our thriving strawberry patch. We did Square Foot Gardening last year and really enjoyed it, but realized we were trying to grow too many different crops. This year we're doing more of less, and turned nearly an entire box into a strawberry patch. It's exciting to see all the little white flowers and tiny fruits that are already covering the plants!
The long anticipated Annual Vehicle Fair finally came up this past weekend, so we of course made an appearance. It started right around Peter's bedtime, so he groggily hung out in the stroller while we indulged Benjamin's infatuation with all things mobile.
How could we have missed this?!?

They let the kids "drive" most of the trucks, which is the highlight.

Our basement has been smelling worse and worse over the past few weeks. The Spring rains have been coming in somehow, soaking my little carpeted art room. We brought in a wet vac on Saturday, which is when we really discovered the extent of the damage. So much of my art was ruined and moldy. It was devastating, really. We'll probably have to remove the carpet down there and some of the drywall. We'll also have to figure out how it's coming in and fix the problem. We also have a few cracked windows that need to be fixed and a gaping hole in the drywall where our plumbing issues were last year. Ah, the joys of (old) home ownership...sometimes I wish we were just renting a place. It would make things so much less complicated and less expensive. But then I remember that we're where we're supposed to be, and in an ideal location. We're getting the chance to learn how to take care of a home and yard, which is a real blessing.

On Sunday, Paul's brother Josh, his wife Anne and their baby Adrian stopped through on their way to Utah. We had a wonderful time with them! We miss our families, so we love it when we get to see them, even if it's just an overnight visit. We can't wait for this summer when we get to spend some real time with family.
Adrian and Peter are about 5 months apart. Adrian is adorable!