Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day

We headed to La Mirada park late morning on Father's Day to have brunch and say good-bye to Paul's cousin.  He and his wife and kids were off to Texas for their next adventure the following morning.  Paul's Aunt Esther brought everything, so we just had to show up.  Side note: Have you ever had Subway flat bread breakfast sandwiches?  I'm not a breakfast person.  At all.  But she brought those and I was hungry so I tried it.  They are so good.

Anyway,  Garrett had so much fun a couple weeks ago with his cousins that he'd never met and he was so excited when I told him we got to go play with them again.

 This was the first time that Poppy and his 9 great-grand children were all together.  He was so happy.  I send this image to Costco as soon as I took it and had it printed as an 8x10.  I framed it and gave it to him that night at a family barbecue.  He was so surprised that I did it so quickly, and he was so happy.  He hugged the picture after he'd studied it for a few minutes.  It was really sweet.
Uh-oh...  Me and Paul have a joke that if I ever ask him to do something specific to help, rather than just help me clean, or help me make the food, that he messes something up.  The joke is that he does it on purpose so he won't ever have to help again.  He wanted to jump in the pool right before we were about ready to eat, so I asked him to get the dip and salad from the fridge and take it down to the table first.  Aaaand, he dropped the salad.
 Addie's in the muscle showing phase, so of course, Garrett's back in it too.

 They love their Daddy.  I do too.
 Snuggle time before bed, after a full, fun day.  He couldn't ask for a better way to end it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Project 365: 156-167

June 5- The beginning of my dining table and chairs makeover.
June 6- Such a sweet package in the mail form my darling friend, Dana. This was a (unnecessary but greatly appreciated) thank you gift for our help at Great Strides in SLC last month.  She knows me so well.
June 7- Fancy schmancy Lion's Club Dinner.  I find myself humming 'One of these kids is not like the others' at these events.  Picture wealthy, well-established, cigar smoking men, with fancy dressed wives by their sides.  And then picture me, courtesy laughing at jokes, while rocking my half-priced Target skirt and fake jewelry.
June 8- Yard sale finds this morning.  They don't look like much, but I'm on my way to buy more primer and spray paint.  Big plans!
June 9- These three took a dip while I worked on my chairs. And Garrett got his yearly buzz cut.  Must be Summer!
June 10-  Time to bolt our furniture to the walls to keep the kids safe during "quiet time."
June 11- I woke up with a killer headache this morning.  After unhealthy amounts of medicine and diet coke, and a lot of water, I'm convinced that the only thing that will help is my bed.  Very, very soon.  And this little ball of energy hasn't been even a tiny bit understanding.
 June 12- The end of our anniversary date.  Wouldn't have wanted to spend it with any other people.  The comments I heard from people passing by these two just about melted my heart.  Can't wait to see what the coming years have in store foe our family.
June 13- The dining table makeover is finally done.  Multi-colored chairs, and a chalkboard table with white legs.  I think I'm either going to love it or hate it.  But right now I love it.
June 14- We went to a funeral today of a man who Paul and I knew through sponsoring and helping with events at a center he managed.  He was young and died very unexpectedly.  The kids were awful.  I was so mad at them, and I spent the last half of the service outside the church giving them the evil eye.
June 15- I got all my stuff from my old phone transferred to my new one.  It's odd looking at a screen that doesn't have a big crack across it.  Also, the traditional 4 year anniversary gift is flowers/fruit.  Paul got me roses and an Apple.  Nailed it.
June 16- Happy Father's Day.  I loved reading all the Father's Day posts online today.  Such a similar trend:  "best dad ever" "awesome husband and father to our kids." "wonderful grandpa" etc.  There's a lot of really good men in the world.  And I echo everything I read today about the dads in my life, this one very much included.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

4 years.

Paul and I celebrated our forth anniversary on the 12th.  It was a good day.  Thinking and talking about this day four years ago and how far we've come, and how far we still have to go.

We hadn't really planned for a babysitter, so when we talked about what to do, we were trying to think of something fun for the kids to do with us.  We decided to go bowling and out to dinner at the Puente Hills Mall.  We had so much fun, just our little family.  And bowling was a huge hit.  6lbs was the smallest ball they had, and I didn't think Addie would be able to carry it herself.  I forgot for a minute how strong and determined that girl is.  She kept up with Garrett the whole time.  She even snuck up behind Paul one time and threw her ball down the alley, no ramp needed for that girl!

We had Mongolian barbecue for dinner.  It's my favorite food court type food, and our kids are noodle addicts.
After dinner we wandered a bit.  Bought some new books from a fun little store, READiscovery Books, stopped by the big sale at Bath and Body Works, and shared a Cinnabon on our way out.
Paul and I don't do much for holidays.  At least we say we're not doing much, but he always surprises me.  This year, I wanted a griddle and he wanted a juicer. So about a week before our anniversary, he went and bought both.  I thought that's all we were doing, because we talked about it and decided that's all we were doing.  Then on our anniversary, he surprised me with a dozen red roses, and a new iPhone.  A while back, Garrett tried to squeeze a tomato on me and as I tried to stop him I bumped my phone off the arm of the chair on a patio and it broke the screen.  I've lived with the crack for over a year, and I'm quite used to it, but Paul decided I needed an upgrade.

I love Paul.  He's pretty great and it's a pretty great thing when you find that one person who you want to spend the rest of your life with and they feel the same way about you.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Beach...just a regular night at the beach.

Garrett really loves the beach.  It's quite possibly his favorite place ever.  Whenever he's on a deck chair, in the hot tub, or even sitting in his little plastic chair on our porch, he makes a comment like, "Aw, relax at the beach."  I let him play with his sand toys in the water table on our porch and I hear him talking to himself about the beach.  I have a little zen candle thing in the guest room that has a tiny bit of sand around it, and I've found him in there more than a few times, just sticking his fingers in the sand.  See?  He loves the beach.

I think about going to the beach a lot.  But I talk myself out of it.  It really is a lot of prep work (and clean up).  Wagon, sun screen, umbrella, towels, blanket, snacks, drinks, toys, diapers, wipes, etc...  And then I think about nap time, finding friends that can meet us when we're free to go, etc.

But this year, I'm determined to go more.  I'm joining with some other mom's for a beach day once a week, so that's most of my motivation.  But I'm going to try and take my kids more, just them and I.  We're right in the middle of June Gloom, which means cool cloudy mornings, especially at the beach.  But come July, it's gonna happen.

We went a couple weeks ago when Paul got off work.  We stopped at Cafe Rio on the way and grabbed dinner.  Garrett was so happy.  He's like a different kid when I tell him we're going to the beach.  As I watched him play on this particular night, I thought to myself, I have to remember how great this feels.  And right as I was thinking that, Garrett looked up and out of no where said, "I'm happy."  Moments like that make it all worth it.  It's worth all the schlepping of stuff.  It's worth the stinky sun screen.  It's worth the sandy crunchy snacks.  It's worth the sandy footprints in the van.  And it's worth changing sandy bed sheets after carrying two exhausted, sweaty, sandy, sleeping kids to there room for a quick nap before sandy baths.

 "Hiii!!!"  Addie believes that every airplane pilot sees her and waves back at her.
 Yummy, sandy, cold quesadilla.
 We bought this sweater from our Peruvian friend at the Long Beach farmers market.

 He begged me to bury his legs before we left.  Anything he could think of to stay for just a minute longer.
My whole world, right here on one little beach.

It's always worth it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I have a dream...about a table.

Several months ago I had a dream that I spray painted my dining room table with chalkboard paint.  I totally loved it in the dream and I woke up thinking I should do it in real life.  Months passed and I never did anything.  Then, a while back I pinned a couple of pictures of multi-colored dining room chairs, and I thought that might be fun someday.  I remembered then, about the chalkboard table, so I did a little Pinterest research on that.  I didn't find much, but I did find pictures of a little cafe somewhere that have chalkboard tables.  I've been a little worried about how durable/washable a chalkboard surface would be.  Spills, grease, etc.  But I figured if it can hold up at a restaurant, it'll probably do ok at my house...maybe...hopefully.  Because I finally did it!
First off, let me tell you, I'm not a tutorial blogger.  I'm terrible at step by step pictures, and I'm not great at laying out all the details.  But here's a list of the colors I used, and a couple things you may find helpful if you decide to do the same.

There's no before or after pictures.  Sorry.  And I scanned through a couple months of pictures, and this is the only one I could find of at least a tiny part of what the table used to look like.  And as you can tell, I wasn't careful about protecting it from paint, glue, kids, etc.  My parents bought it for me in Germany 13 years ago at IKEA.
 Here is one of the four chairs that we've also been using for years.  (Two are painted now.)  I got these from my Grandma's house several years ago when she passed away, and who knows how long she had them.
I knew I wanted different/mismatched chairs, so I started watching for them.  I found one at a thrift store in Dana Point for $7.00 a couple of months ago.  Then, two weeks ago I went hunting at garage sales.  I found 3 sales that were selling just one dining room chair!  Who only has one chair to sell??  A lot of people I guess, so get up early on a Saturday and get hunting. And you can get them for cheap, because who only wants one dining chair?! I wasn't willing to pay more than $5.00 a chair.  The chair on the left, was going for $5, I offered $2 and got it.  The other two had a big FREE sign on them on someones curb.  I grabbed them!  I only used one in my set (so far).  I may paint the other a different color, just to have a back up.  So $9.00 for four chairs.
I also had a random IKEA chair that I've had for ages that I threw in the mix.

On to sanding/priming.  I hate sanding.  Hate.  So on all the chairs I just lightly sanded the seats.  That's all.  And while, as you see in the picture below, I used up lots of primers I had on hand, and they all go on just fine.  I will say, all primers are not created equally.  Zinsser COVER STAIN (far right) is the best primer I've used.  Especially if you're painting over another finish.  I got it at Home Depot for $5.96 a can.  I think I used four cans of primer for six chairs, a booster seat, and the table.

The seven colors I used are as follows (six chairs and the booster):
Oh, and I've used several brands of spray paint.  Rust-Oleum is hands-down my favorite.

-Sun Yellow
-Colonial Red
-Fire Orange

On probably three of the seven chairs, I just used one can of paint.  Different colors, and different sizes/details on the chairs changed it a bit.  One tip though, I painted all my chairs outside and I know the wind contributed to some of my paint quantity needs.  I did the (final coat of the) table in a garage and it went on so smooth and easy.  So do them in a (well ventilated) garage.  I'm sure I lost a lot of paint to the wind, and would have been able to do each with just one can.

I sealed the chairs and table legs with Rust-Oleum clear glossy sealer.  I've also used lots of sealers.  This one is just as good as any in my opinion, and is one of the least expensive.

I took the legs off the table and primed and painted them plain white.  I really sanded the table top well.  It had a lot of dents and scratches that I hoped to smooth out a bit, and for the chalkboard paint, I really wanted as much of the finish off as possible.  Then I filled in all the holes.  There were just a few (haha).
I just used nail hole fill putty stuff.  Let it dry for a couple hours, then sanded again.  Such helpful kids.

I used black Krylon chalkboard paint.  I have a leaf for this table that I painted too.  It's about a third of the size of the table top, and I used 2.5 cans total.
My chalkboard advise, and it depends on the feel of your table, the thickness of your primer, etc.  But, get your table top sanded, puttied, sanded and ready.  Then: Prime. Lightly sand the primer. One coat of chalk paint.  Second coat of chalk paint.  Let dry a couple hours. Lightly sand.  Then finish with another coat of chalk paint.  I skipped all the sanding and the third coat of chalk paint the first time around.  Then the next day I took the blasted table apart AGAIN, and sanded the rough spots of primer and (hard to control) thicker spots of paint, and put another coat of paint on. I did the primer and first coats of chalk paint outside.  I think it may have got a little dust on it, and the wind made even distribution challenging.  The final coat, that I did in a garage, went on so nice and smooth.  A world of difference I tell you.

Here is my first "finished" picture.  Those white splotches aren't chalk.  They just appeared after I prepped it and wiped it down.  I tried to pretend like I didn't mind, but the next day I knew I needed to re-do it if I was going to be happy.
And here's the re-done picture.
Tons better!  I can't resist the cheap fresh flowers when I go to Trader Joe's.  My plan is to keep the table junk free and if I buy myself flowers once in a while, I'll probably do better at that.
And I also have a jar of chalk to leave on the table for dinner-time doodles, drawing fake dinner place mats etc.
And my kids think I'm pretty cool, for letting them draw on the table.
I hope this helps anyone who is going for a fun, bright change!