Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DIY dessert stand

I learned this technique from a guest blogger over at The Wood Connection. I've done something similar, but you get the same look with much less time and much less elbow grease with this new secret ingredient. I was amazed at how well it worked!

I'm not good at step by step tutorials, because I don't like explaining a lot of details and I never remember to take pictures of each step, but this was easy enough that you can probably figure it out with what I offer.

All my supplies are from The Wood Connection. They sell plaques in just about every size, and they sell the candle sticks and finials in a couple different sizes too. So you can make yours as big and tall as you want. I almost did mine as a 2 tier, but I decided to add the 3rd. I think my plaques are 5", 7" and 9". And each item I used ranges between $1 and $3-ish.

First I did dark brown streaks here and there on each plaque, no need to be super careful on this step. I did the same thing on the candle sticks and finial, too. Let it dry for a few minutes, and then pull out your Vaseline. (crazy, right?!) Decide where you want the brown to show through and rub some Vaseline on those spots. When you finish that, paint your top coat. I did 2 coats of light ivory. The Vaseline keeps the top coat color from getting on the bottom color! Let the top coat dry really well.Then, I rubbed the Vaseline spots with a paper towel, just to get a little goo off. Then I sanded over the whole thing. The more sanding you do, the more bottom coat color you'll get and the more rustic it looks.When I was done sanding I just glued everything together with wood glue.I love how it turned out. I'm glad I didn't make it bigger, (I almost used 7, 9, and 11 inch boards) because this one holds about 4 dozen mini cupcakes, and I always make too much dessert when I'm hosting. This is plenty big!

Monday, May 28, 2012

On being a mother of two.

I've been the mother of two for six and a half months now. Here are some thoughts, ideas, differences I've noticed, and just a general update on my two favorite little munchkins.

Garrett is just over 20 months now. Once a kid turns one, I don't like saying their age in months. So he's still 'a year and a half' when asked by strangers. Because let's be honest, no one really cares how old my kids are. I'll never see these strangers again, but for some reason, the age of my children is the most frequent question I'm asked. And it's usually followed by, "Wow! You're busy!" But with Lulu getting close to 7 months, and Garrett still being 'a year and a half', I don't want to be asked if they are less than a year apart. So, I've decided that when Lulu is 7 months, Garrett will then be 'almost 2'. Much easier. I'll seem 'less busy', 'less crazy', etc. etc. Just in case you cared to know...

Although most people don't seem to believe me that going from one to two kids was a much easier transition for me than going from zero to one kid, it's still 100% true.

Lulu was a harder newborn, but much easier 'medically'. Easier delivery, easier well baby checkups... symmetrical (big) head, no need for a helmet, no need for a chiropractor, or a physical therapist, no need to see a specialist for anything, etc. We just go to the doctor and come home. No follow up visits, no referrals to new doctors, and a lot less expensive.

She's at a stage now were I tell Paul if they were all like this I'd have a dozen more, (but with the stage Garrett is in) I follow that up with, "but most days, Garrett makes me want to get my tubes tied." But truthfully, Garrett is a sweet little boy, he just pushes the limits as he tries to figure out life...I wonder where he got that from... And I'd love another baby in a few years. Boy or girl.

Differences I've noticed with 'round two'...

-I spend less money on, "maybe we should try this" type things.
-I worry MUCH less about completely irrational things. Though, I give a lot of credit on that one to the medication I'm on. Worrying and depression go hand in hand.
-I don't freak out about not being asleep. I used to lay awake (when I could be asleep) and think, "I need to hurry and fall asleep because Garrett will be awake in 2 hours and how will I function on so little sleep?" Then an hour later I'd think, "I have to get up in an hour. I'm so tired! Why am I awake?!" Then and hour later Garrett would wake up and I'd be so tired and depressed. My councilor really helped me train myself to not think about sleep when I'm awake. If my body really needs sleep, I'll sleep. I'm not going to die from sleep deprivation. Even if I have to call someone to come get my kids so I can nap because I think I might die, my body will sleep if it really has to. Having said that, we all four sleep for 8 hours + now, and we're doing great.
-With Garrett I loved pulling out the next size of clothes as he'd grow. With Lulu, I try to squeeze her into clothes for as long as possible.
-I was so excited to start Garrett on solids. The thought of starting Lulu doesn't sound fun at all. And no, at 6.5 months, we haven't started yet.
-I don't pull out the hazmat suit and wash every binky and toy that touches the ground. I don't even wash it, just kinda maybe brush it off and give it back.
-At the 6 month well-check, the doctor said to start weaning her off the binky. Umm, no. I'll decided when I want to do that. With Garrett I would have read about everything bad that can happen to teeth and speech when babies use binkies. Taking a binky at 6 months doesn't worry me at all. Garrett never took one, so I never thought about it.
-Speaking of doctor advise, he told us 2 months ago to get a potty for Garrett. Still haven't. Just like the solid food thing for Lulu, I have no motivation to potty train. I think he's too young. We'll get there when we get there.
-We're doing more of what works for us this time around. I read less parenting books. I research every little thing on the internet much less. I follow my gut more. I don't want to miss out on my children's childhood because I'm trying so hard to do it 'right'...or what I'm being told by books and people who don't know me or my kids. It's much better, and a lot more fun this way.

-loves chasing people and playing hide and seek.
-hugs my legs a lot when I'm standing.
-is pretty nice to his sister.
-tries to share his sippy cup with her a lot.
-gives her toys and her binky if she's sad.
-loves to tickle people and does a loud surprise scream/laugh when he gets you.
-loves having juice and milk on his big bear.
-is trying harder to say more words.
-is still obsessed with Shark Tale.
-is so handsome, and is losing his baby look more and more.

-gets called Lulu 99% of the time by Paul and I.
-is sleeping really well.
-is drooling less.
-only cries if I wait a little too long to feed her, and we almost never make it anywhere in the car seat without a few tears.
-smiles all the time.
-rolls over a lot, scoots, and is sitting up like a champ.
-laughs the most at her brother.
-is so, so, happy in the morning and after naps.
-naps twice a day for about 2 hours each.
-is SLOWLY catching up with her head.
-is the cutest baby girl in the world.

These pictures above are a result of an evening where Paul and Garrett were watching sports and Lulu and I had nothing better to do. She's such a good sport, and such a doll.I love my babies.


An update on the Hansen Family. Though we've never met in real life, I've followed their story closely and have been really inspired by their faith and their commitment to family and God.

Atticus finished his hard fight with cancer yesterday and passed away peacefully at home in the arms of his parents. He died on the last day of what the Mayor of Sunnyvale, Texas had declared "Atticus Hansen Week". Just four and a half years old, and less than 5 months after he was diagnosed with DIPG. I was emotional and heavy hearted when I got the news. I just cried and held Lulu until she didn't want to be held anymore, then I went and got Garrett from bed, luckily he wasn't asleep yet. We read, colored, played with magnets, and shared a cupcake before we both finally called it a night.

Something Atticus' dad wrote just a couple days before he died, has really stuck with me, "What I wouldn't give for just one more day with a healthy Atticus."

Tragic experiences like this remind me of how blessed I am.

Friday, May 25, 2012

ordinary day, ordinary blog

I try to remind myself often that this is my journal, not a lot of people read it, and although public journals need to be filtered from time to time, I try to let you take as real of a look into our 'window of life' as possible.


Garrett only took one nap, which is becoming more and more normal these days.

He had a melt down because I kept taking a pen away and wouldn't let his write all over me and himself, so I drew a tattoo on his arm. I know, awesome mom moment. Especially because we're in the 'monkey see, money do' phase of life.

I broke a grass in the kitchen. I tried to brake it's fall by using my knee, and I think it actually broke on my knee first before exploding on the tile floor.

Both kids got dangerously close to running out of diapers.

I looked at Pinterest and dug through my craft stuff for ideas for Addie's first birthday...because, ya know, I have less than 6 months to plan.

Addie took only one nap, and it lasted for six and a half hours! I started to worry at 5 hours, and even asked for advise on facebook, but she was as happy and energized as could be when she woke up.

I feel like I'm constantly surrounded by baskets of clothes that need to be washed and baskets of clothes that need to be folded and put away. But I do ok at ignoring it. (Pinterest)

Garrett spent a good part of the day pulling out every toy, every book, every kids DVD, every magnet, as well as some of my craft stuff, and putting each thing in a different place throughout the house.

It was grocery shopping night, which I dread. But it had been too long, and I figured it was time because Garrett had toast for breakfast that had honey and butter flavored crisco pan spray on it, and ramon noodles for lunch. (Don't judge, this is a safe place.)

Paul gave me a $130.00 grocery budget. Not bad, right? I started at Costco, and after getting diapers and wipes for both kids, I was down to $19.04 for food. It was the first time in my life that I thought I should maybe try cloth diapers. Then I remembered how I almost throw up when I have to wash out an outfit that is the victim of a blowout and I scratched that idea.

Unrelated to diapers, but related to money, I had to get gas in the van. I try to close my eyes when I fill up, but I accidentally saw the price. I forced it out of my head, but I think it was about $4.55 a gallon.

Needless to say, I had a lot of little things that were pushing me to wanting to throw in the towel for the day and go to bed.

Speaking of towels, it was bath night. Both kids were cranky. We were behind schedule. The groceries that we couldn't afford were all over the kitchen floor, which probably still had bits of glass all over it. Paul and I weren't fighting, but there was just enough frustration, mess, and unhappy sounds from the kids, that if you were looking in the window, you could have probably seen the tension.

I bathed Garrett while Paul turned on some music in the hall and took Addie to put all the diapers away. Garrett almost choked to death in the tub. He lunged out in fear, and drenched me. But it was fine because he needed to be comforted and the choking was my fault.

As Paul and I were about to pass in the hall, me with Garrett bundled up in his towel, and Addie in his arms headed to the bath, we both just started dancing to the music that was still playing. We didn't talk, we just danced. Both kids started laughing. Paul and I started laughing. Garrett wanted to get down and dance. Still laughing, towel falling off, he carefully held the corner over his manhood and didn't miss a beat. It was the happiest 5 minutes of my week.

I love my kids. I love my husband. This, sometimes less-than-glorious job as a full time wife and mom isn't so bad.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cancer's a Bitch.

(Yes, two in one day. Addie also got two and Garrett got one. I'm on fire! I love getting caught up!)

My little buddy Atticus is not doing well. I mentioned him on here a couple months ago and things got better for a very short while (by 'better' I mean, Atticus' mom and dad are AMAZING people and I don't know how I could even breathe if I knew one of my babies was going to die). They inspire me everyday. And Cindy and I are friends in 'real life' now. Like, emails, letters in the mail, and it's even 'facebook official', I hope to meet her someday. His cancer has spread, his symptoms have returned with a vengeance, and his days are very numbered. Please pray that he'll have a few weeks of feeling good, and happy memories for his parents and baby brother.(A card from the Hansen's)


The day before we went to Utah (May 15th), my mom called to tell us that my Dad found out that day that he has Melanoma (skin cancer). He's had one procedure already to have some removed and he's having surgery in 2 weeks to have more taken out. We'll know shorty after that if it's deep enough to have reached the lymph nodes. Because of where it is, that's a fear the doctor has. We're praying it hasn't effected the lymph nodes because it could get really ugly if it has.

My dad has as amazing attitude about it all. And our time in Utah with him was so good. Even Garrett, who sticks to my mom like glue, and pretends that even I am invisible if she's around, had some really sweet playtime and cuddle time with his Grandpa. It was really awesome.Please pray for my daddy.

Great Strides 2012 (Utah)

I've talked before about the best thing Paul and I got from our birth class when I was pregnant with Garrett, new friends, Matt and Dana. We love these two so much and are so very thankful our paths crossed. Their little man was born just three weeks before ours, and when he was two and a half weeks old he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Every year the CF Foundation has a fund raiser 5K called Great Strides. We made it to Salt Lake last year for it, and we made the trip again this year, and our plan is to be there every year until there is a cure. And there will be! I could go on and on about new drugs that are currently being tested for this awful disease, and the amazing results they are seeing that are treating the underlying causes of CF, and not just the symptoms, but I won't. But if you're interested, look it up, it's so exciting! So, that was the reason for this trip, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Here's a little of the other fun stuff we fit in on our quick trip.

A picnic at the park with Grammy and Grandpa.Playing in the backyard with Uncle Dave. We spent a lot of time in the yard.

I also did some shopping with my Mother's Day gift cards. We had a barbecue at my parent's house for Jordon's birthday, and then my mom and dad babysat the kids and Jordon and Kate's baby so the four of us could go to a movie. We finally got them the read The Hunger Games a couple of weeks ago, so we went to see it with them. Just as good the second time around. But I didn't take pictures of any of that.

Great Strides. It was a beautiful day. Perfect for a walk through Salt Lake City. I love the sea of blue for Team 'Jason's Journey'.Garrett walked a lot of the time. He had a lot of fun and loved having Grammy there. My mom, Jordon, Kate and baby B all came and supported the J man, too. It was such a great event.Top left: Matt, J, and Dana. Bottom left: Jordon, B, Kate, Lulu, Paul, me, and G. And Bottom right: Dana and me.
We had dinner at the Mchenry's, but story time with Erik and little C bug was the only picture I took. A good-bye breakfast with the Elbert's. But it wasn't really good-bye...
That night there was a Solar Eclipse and Kate reminded me about it that afternoon. They had to drop something off to us, but they'd spent all day trying to find eclipse glasses but EVERYONE was sold out. My mom happened to remember buying some 13 years ago in Germany and she was able to find them in her scrapbooks. So we had mom's birthday dinner and then a total eclipse party and we invited the Elbert's to stay and watch. It was so cool! Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Barbara were over for dinner. Scott and Laura came, then the Elbert's, then my brother Dave showed up on his way home from Vegas, then my uncle, aunt, and a couple cousins stopped by to bring my mom some birthday brownies, then some neighbor kids came over...the party just kept growing! I wish I had a camera that could have really captured it, but these turned out ok. It was a good last night in Utah. We flew home bright and early yesterday morning, and the kids and I slept all day.
The kids did pretty well on the flights. On the way there they were just tired enough to NOT sleep, and they both acted like they were on the verge of a meltdown. Fortunately with snacks, bottles, sippy cups, an ipad, and a lot of passing back and forth, we made it almost tear free. And on the early flight home they were just tired enough to be super mellow and even sleep part of the time. I'd do it again, but I don't think we will before Garrett's old enough that we have to buy him his own ticket.

This was one of the best trips to Utah that we've had in a long time.