Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back 2 Skool!

That's right - Pat headed back to school this week.  We're really excited about him getting his associate's degree this December! 
All this time, all he needed was one "real" course, economics, and two PE courses, a total of 5 hours.  Since he's working (more than) full time right now, he had to do all three courses online.  Which is funny to me, because one of his courses is Jogging and another is Exercise for Health and Fitness.  For his jogging course, we did actually have to buy a pedometer that will upload workout information to our computer, so I kind of understand that one.  But so far, it looks like there is no real assessment tool for his other PE course.  I guess it's the honor system?

As excited as we are about the degree he'll be receiving shortly, we are both a little apprehensive about his new schedule.  This first week has been especially hard; Monday night he got home at around 4 PM, and wasn't finished with school stuff until about 7:30.  Yesterday he didn't get home until about 6:30PM, and again didn't finish until about 7:30.  I realize that 7:30 isn't that late, but it is after Madison's typical bedtime.  So he hasn't gotten to play with her since Sunday (although he did hold her while she they slept for about two hours last night).  For the rest of the week (through Sunday night) he now has 7 workouts to do, in addition to his ECON classwork and the anticipated overtime at work.

Getting back into "student" mode has been kind of rough for him; it's amazing how much you can forget in such a short period of time!  For example, Monday night it took us both about thirty minutes to figure out how to use slope intercept form, and another thirty to actually plot out the equation.  And we still got the first one wrong.  For a guy who was enjoying his calculus course four years ago, that's pretty bad! 

Still, I think once we get the rust scraped off his brain (ouch!) he'll enjoy being back in school.  We're hoping that this semester works out well; if it's not too horrible, we will get him enrolled at UofH Clear Lake for the spring semester, to hopefully earn his bachelor's by May 2013.

Have you ever gone back to school after a hiatus?  Do you have an eighth grader that can come tutor us on algebra?  What do you think of online PE?  


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

House Tour: The Office

In honor of Pat's first day of school (yesterday) I thought I should let you guys see his classroom.  And since Madison's still on the road to feeling better, and therefore is still being pretty stinkin' demanding all day, and therefore I never have a chance to clean it (or anything else, for that matter), I thought I'd let you see it as is.  Don't judge.   
Office/playroom/guest bedroom in one.

Obviously, we're not making the best use of our space.

Sadly, I'm responsible for picking out this light. 

The room looks better already. : )

Bills, school stuff, work stuff, medical docs, last night's dessert and milk, bulb syringe, Bible...your typical workspace clutter.

Do you think we might need help with cords/files?
We stole the doorknob from the closet for Madi's room.
So, my goal is to have this room serve five purposes: office, playroom, guest room, reading nook, and being pretty. Okay, maybe that's really only four purposes with one contingency.  Either way, we've got some work to do.  To the list!
-Repaint- I was going for a buttery cream, not tangerine sherbet.  I think it's time to just pick a new color altogether, although I'm sure we'll wind up with my favorite blue-green-grey, like always. 
-Replace light- With something less like a piece of anatomy and more in keeping with the style in the rest of the house.
-Get sleeper sofa, daybed w/ trundle, or (heaven forbid) a futon-It's important to us to be able to sleep two guests.  Important enough to live with a futon?  I don't know yet...we shall see.
-Replace desk- Our desk now is really nice; we've been "borrowing" it from my parents for probably three years now.  So it's probably time to move on.  We also want something that takes less visual (and actual) space.
-Get a rug, curtains, desk chair, reading chair, side table, and light.
-Replace closet doorknob
-Create filing system
-Hide wires
-Stop eating in the office!!
-Amp up Madi's play space- I've got some exciting ideas from Pinterest for this...we'll see how much I'm brave enough to actually incorporate!

What do you think?  Are we crazy to try to fit four functions into one small room?  Do you have any suggestions for CHEAP but stylish guest bed options?  Do you also mindlessly eat peanut butter cookies while facebooking?  I need your help on this one. 

By the way, if this is your first house tour, you should go check out the living room, kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and bedroom!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Madi's Wall- Take Three

Forgive me-this is my third attempt at posting this morning.  Apparently Blogger is too complicated for me after five days (and nights) with a sick baby.

I worked on a few projects this weekend.  The first project is one I've been meaning to do since I was about eight months pregnant.  Woot procrastination.  I "finished" her nursery about a week before she was born, but this poor wall stood blank.  I would show you a picture of the sad, lonely wall, but in my delirium I deleted the "before" pic this morning.  And it would just be too much work to go take the pictures off the wall.  Oops, I spoiled the surprise-scratch that last.  Anyhoo, imagine a very blank, very boring, green paneled wall....


Isn't it sad?  Well, you'll never guess what I did with it this weekend.  Okay, maybe you will, but I'm gonna show you anyway (assuming you haven't already stopped reading my rambling post). 

I wanted to make it interesting, pretty, and personalized.  So I started with an "M" (for "Mommy", of course) from Walmart.  I painted it the same color as her dresser, a creamy white, and hung it with some mauve ribbon, also hailing from Walmart.  You may notice a trend.  Why, you ask, do almost all of our purchases come from Walmart?  There are two reasons: 
  1.  We're cheap.  Really, really, cheap.
  2. Have you ever seen King of the Hill?  We pretty much live in Arlen.  So when it comes to home decor, crafting, clothing (Walmart clothes almost never fit us correctly), tools, or small household appliances, it's Walmart or drive for thirty minutes to find a real store.  Walmart typically wins
Back to the topic at hand, I hung the "M":
 Piece of cake.  Then I hung a frame (also from Walmart)  that I had painted the same color.  In the frame I have scrapbook paper (can you guess where it's from?  Nope! Hobby Lobby!), the reverse side of a gift tag from some sweet friends (thanks Cecilly & Ryan), and a "2" (for 2 months) cut out of more scrapbook paper.  I used ribbon from a gift for Madison to hang the frame:
 Then I hung a shadowbox.  Actually, then I hung a shadowbox, the shadowbox almost fell off the wall, I bent the nail upward with some (rusty) needle nose pliers, and then rehung said shadowbox.
 I filled the shadowbox (from another "real" store, IKEA) with more scrapbook paper and one of Madison's hospital bracelets.  I can't believe her pudgy little hand was in this tiny bracelet 9 1/2 weeks ago!

(Not so) finished product:
BTW, Bella says "hello". 
So, after stepping back and taking a look, I thought the view was much improved.  I also thought that I need to add about four more items to make it feel "full" enough.  Madison agrees:
"Eh, it's alright, Mom.  I don't hate it."

 "M" (Walmart)-$1
Mauve Ribbon (Walmart)-$0.85
Frame (Walmart)-$3
Paint- already had it
White ribbon- already had it
Scrapbook paper (Hobby Lobby)- $1.10 for 2 sheets
Tag- already had it
Shadowbox (IKEA) - $9.99
Hospital Bracelet- $1954.54
Total Cost- $1970.48

What do you think?  Do you have any ideas for what else to hang?  Have you ever spent so much for one piece of art?  Do you have dreams about IKEA, Target, Hobby Lobby, HomeGoods, Lowes, Kohls, TGI Fridays, and Chick-Fil-A moving to your town?


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Like newborn infants...

...long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation.  -1 Peter 2:2.  (ESV)

Wow, that one blew me away.  Now, I know how newborn infants long for milk.  It's not a "well, this is nice" kind of thing.  No, it's more like, "it's been an hour since I've had milk, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to die!" 

I'll admit, I pulled out my copy of The Message, hoping it would say something like "you should love learning about God like babies love to suck", but it didn't.  You win some and you lose some. 

In all seriousness, this got me to I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm terrified of Madison rejecting a feeding.  It's never happened, as you can probably tell:
My 13.7 lb baby!
Nevertheless, that is one of my biggest fears right now.  I know how good that milk is for her, and I love giving her what she needs, but I can only give it to her if she cooperates.  My guess is that's how God feels toward us.

What keeps you thirsty for God's Word?  Do you know any funny "Message" passages?  Have you ever seen such sweet baby chunkies?


Saturday, August 27, 2011

...Like a Busy Little "B"

Blogger, that is.

Today's post is another short one, because I've got some work to do!  While Pat takes care of our precious, pitiful little girl,
I'll be working on a few things:

and maybe even:
Wish me luck...I really want to get these accomplished. 

Are you working on any special projects this weekend?  Do you have a closet that resembles ours?  Is your baby-daddy, like mine, better than you at taking care of your sick little one(s)?


Friday, August 26, 2011

Tell Me All About It...

Our poor Madison is sick for the first time.  I took her to the doctor yesterday, and she has a cold.  We were told to use saline and the bulb syringe every three hours along with a humidifier to help her get better.  She'll probably be sick from 7-14 days. 

The pediatrician told me to expect for her to be very fussy and difficult while she is sick.  I wish!  Instead, she's breaking my heart with her sweet patience.  Every once in a while, she'll "tell" me how bad it is, but not by screaming or crying.  Here, I'll let you see what I'm talking about:
If that doesn't make you want to cry, I don't know what will.

Gotta baby has something to tell me. :(


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our DIY Dog

When introducing herself, Bella left out one fun factoid.
Can you tell what she's doing?
That's right.  Our dog clips bites her nails, regularly.  She has never had them clipped.  Maybe she sensed from the beginning my lack of skill with clippers.  Now if only she could teach Madison that trick...


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

House Tour: The Bedroom

Disclaimer: Consult your doctor before viewing this room.  You should not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know the effect that viewing this room has on you.  While viewing this room, you should not consume alcohol.  You may experience dizziness, fatigue, depression, or sudden boredom-induced death while viewing this room.  If you experience any of these symptoms, stop viewing this room immediately, unless the symptom you experience is death, in which case you won't be viewing this room anymore anyway.  Unless you don't know Jesus, in which case you will never be able to stop viewing this room for all eternity.  
For all the non-Baptists out there, the word "room" in the last paragraph could make for a great drinking game!  And for those of you who are brave enough to continue reading, let us move on. 

Almost everything in our room is handed down from other(usually higher) purposes.  In the first picture, you'll see (part of)the ceiling fan in all of its droopy-bladed glory, which originally lived in our living room.  I couldn't deal with looking at the saggy blades anymore, and reasoned that in a smaller room we wouldn't be able to tell.  The jury's still out on that one.   The comforter, from the world-renowned home decor establishment more commonly referred to as Walmart, was originally purchased for our guest bedroom.  It never looked very nice in there, either.  The bleach-stained tan pillowcase on the right is the only surviving piece of the sheet set we got as a wedding gift.  It is our semi-permanent substitute for the other white pillowcase, which I can only assume was sacrificed to appease the dryer gods.  It's been MIA for about a year and a half, and I've given up all hope of seeing it again. 
 Our bedroom furniture is actually pretty nice; it was a Christmas gift from my parents when I was in the seventh grade.
Even Bella won't come into the room!
 This is the less than functional portion of the room.  Pat's work offers laundry service, so we keep his uniforms separate from other clothes.  They accumulate here until Tuesdays when he brings them all to work with him.  I'll be working on a solution for that.
 This is our lovely exposed wiring.  'Nuff said.
 I mentioned that the furniture is nice, and it is!  However, it has lived with me now for twelve years, and time (along with a few coaster-less glasses) has not been kind to the tops of our side tables. 
 One of the perks of living in a house built in 1945 is the diversity of building materials. 
We are lucky enough to have one of these lovelies in every bedroom.  Because who doesn't love stubbing their toe on an ancient iron natural gas valve on their way to sneak a midnight snack?

So here's our list of "to-do's" for the bedroom:
- Shift the bed to be centered on the window- (after getting Madison to sleep in her crib and then removing the bassinet)
- Replace the bedding
- Refinish the side tables
- Hang curtains
- Find lamps for side tables
- Find rug
- Replace electrical switch/cover
- Repaint gas valve
- Replace closet doorknob

And that's it for now!  If you missed my earlier house tours, you should go check out the living room, the kitchen, the bathroom, and the hallway!

I'd love to hear what you think!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bean Fail

Okay, so as I mentioned last week, one of my goals is to have fifteen meals under my belt (sometimes literally, heh-heh) that work for our family.

Well, last week I decided to try my first menu beans and rice.  I found a recipe here and decided to give it a go.

Here's a shot of my ingredients list:

Do you see the marked through ingredients?  That means I didn't have them on hand.  So what did I do?  I just left them out!  Except, that is, for the celery seed.  I used caraway seed instead, since it also starts with a "c" and uses the word seed.  And yes, that was my actual logic behind the decision.  Feel free to mock me mercilessly in your comments; I won't even delete them, because I deserve it!  Well, also because I love having comments of any kind.
1) So I soaked the beans overnight:

2) Then I rinsed them and covered them with water in a large pot.

3) And then added the spices and turned on the heat:

3) JK, I actually turned on the burner.

4) Then I went to check my FB notifications because I had posted my weekly pics of Madison and I thrive on people's "likes" and comments.  They make me happy.  Thirty minutes later, I heard Pat arrive.  And I promptly swore.  Okay, I just said "cr@p", but by some people's standards that's a naughty word.  And why did I (semi)curse?  Because I was supposed to get the beans to a boil and then immediately turn them down to a simmer.  Instead, I brought them to a boil and then forgot about them, resulting in this:

In spite of my epic fail, the beans did smell pretty good.  Good enough that Pat was willing to try out a crunchy bean:
50 Points if you spot me!

He approved, so we decided I'd try again the next day.  I repeated steps one through three, and in place of the fourth step I actually stayed in the kitchen and turned the burner down this time:

So I served it over a bed of rice (doesn't that sound fancy?) and enjoyed our new, cheap, healthy dinner.

Here's the breakdown:
Cost per meal: $1(and that includes leftovers for lunch the next day!)
Calories per serving: 350
Tastiness factor: 4/10
Health factor: 8/10

We'd love to hear your comments.  Have you burned beans recently?  Do you obsess over checking out people's "likes" and comments on FB as much as I do?  Have you made shamelessly corny jokes about heaters or other household equipment on your blogs?


Monday, August 22, 2011

Missin' Daddy - by Madison

Mondays are kind of hard for me sometimes.  See, Daddy and me get to hang out together all weekend. 

Sometimes we look at each other,
by Snapshotz Photography
 sometimes we take naps,
 sometimes Daddy snuggles with me so I can rest,
and sometimes we watch ceiling fans together.  That's my favorite.
Daddy will do anything to make me feel better.
 That's why when he has to go away, I feel kind of sad, because I miss him.  But the cool thing is he always comes back.  That's my favorite, too!

 So, Daddy, I hope you have a really good day at work today.  I love you!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

House Tour: The Hallway

Since our house has less than 1100 square feet, it's kind of crucial to make the most out of every inch.  That's why I'd like our hallway to be more than just a passage between rooms; I'm shooting for a beautiful passage between rooms.  And let me tell you, we have got a ways to go! 

This is a shot of the hallway as seen from the living room, guest starring Bella:

 From the kitchen:

  The "back" of the hallway.  To the left our bedroom is and to the right our office/guest bedroom will be, young Skywalker.
 The trapdoor to the attic.  Note the yummy tar-stained pull.  Mmm, mmm good!  The surgeon general could use this as a warning to smokers!
So the to do list for the hallway is pretty basic.  Here we go:
- Finish painting trim
- Get paint (!!!) off our hardwood floors
- Replace nasty attic pull.
- Buy runner for the hallway- I'm not totally sold on this looks-wise, but I hate the idea of Madi having to crawl on those hard, (gonna be) cold floors.
and, my favorite...
- "Wallpaper" this wall with frames a la young house love!  
Can you find Madi in this shot?
I'd love to hear what you think!  Have we left anything out? Do you have any tips for getting the paint off without re-refinishing our floors?  Have you ever covered a wall in frames?  Have you ever had to choose between comfort for your baby and style for your house? Do you ever lapse into Yoda-speak without meaning to?


Saturday, August 20, 2011

House Tour: The Bathroom

G'day mates, en wilcum to th' thud instollmen' of ah ha'as tuh.  Yeah, I never was any good at accents.  Anyway, if you missed the first two rooms, you should go check out the living room and the kitchen.

This is our bathroom as it is today:

 Okay, so technically this was our bathroom yesterday morning.  Today the toilet paper roll is almost empty, there are toothpaste splatters on the faucet, Pat's dirty work clothes are on the floor, and my contact case, solution, and glasses case are out on the counter next to the without-a-lid toothpaste tube.  Maybe I should be cleaning the bathroom instead of writing a blog post about it.  Oh well.

Let's play a game...I'll show you some detail shots of the bathroom, and you can see if you can spot all the things we plan to change before Madison's first birthday party.  I'll start with some easy ones for you!

This is where they start getting a little tricky:

Did you get them all?  Let's compare:
- Put a faceplate on the switch- I'm sure you're thinking we're super lazy for not doing something that easy when we already have the plates laying around.  But here's the thing: we are actually going to have to cut the plate on the right side to fit next to the cabinet.  So it's not that easy.  But yes, that probably does still qualify us as lazy.
- Touch up paint- I really hope you didn't miss that one.  Even if you didn't miss it, don't pat yourself on the back too soon; there are two or three more things in the second pic that we'd like to change!
- Change shower rod- I'd like to get one of those curvy numbers that makes the shower feel bigger, but they're pricey!  Time for some bargain hunting...
- Get new shower curtain- We've had this curtain since we got married 5.5 6.5 years ago.  Oops!  I had to do math to figure out how long we have been married.  Don't feel too bad, Pat-I have to do the same thing with my age now.  Anyway, the shower curtain has served us well, but I think it might be time for an upgrade.  Especially when you consider that our lovely "professional" painters used it as a drop cloth(!!!) while we weren't looking.  More on them later.
Replace shower surround- This is not a huge priority.  It's in okay condition, and it's neutral, but it's just so cheap looking!  We'll see.
- Replace Nixon-era ceiling mounted space heater thingy- First of all, this is, in my opinion, a huge fire hazard.  Every once in a while the switch for this, which is kind of on top of the counter, accidentally gets flipped, resulting in a burnt dust odor.  Second of all, it's ugly, and it's got to go.
- Upgrade switch/plug to GFCI
- Repaint the ceiling- Remember those "professional" painters I mentioned earlier?  Well, take a look at the second picture from the bottom.  Do you see the bright white streak by the air conditioning vent?  That, my friends, is semi-gloss trim paint.  Apparently our not-too-bright painters couldn't tell the difference between our too-bright trim paint and our just-right ceiling paint.  You would think it would have helped that the ceiling paint started out purple when you applied it...shouldn't the lack of purple have been a red flag during their touch-up?
- Install towel bar-  That sounds kind of funny - is it towel rod? 
- Replace vanity light
- Rip out trim/shelf between the cabinets- at first I typed RIP, which also works.  
- Replace mirror
- Add accessories/art
- Install quarter round trim on the floorboards
- Replace toilet seat- Right now we've got an oval toilet seat with a round toilet.  Not pretty.
- Upgrade faucets
- Trim the wand for the blinds to fit the window

And that is all I can think of for now!  I'm curious, what else did you guys think of that we need to change?  What did you leave off?  Has anyone else had a horrible experience with "professional" painters?

Come on, throw me a bone, or better yet, a comment!