Sunday, November 28, 2010

Eccentric or Looney?

Jason and I managed some spectacular feats this four-day weekend.  Jason gets a lot of four-day weekends, but it was nice to have one together for once. It also meant that Jason did a lot more work since I was there to hold a whip, instead of holed up in my office on conference calls and fighting the backlog of emails that never dies.

Instead of doing my normal Thanksgiving weekend holiday decorating, we focused on finishing painting some areas of our house.  We did the trim last weekend (all trim in the house is eventually going white instead of the super shiny foak that it is now) and so this weekend we applied color.  The living room was the only major downstairs room not to be painted yet, so it looked just a little out of place  It's now the same color as the kitchen, Guacamole!

And we finished the hallway upstairs.  It's a slightly paler yellow than the front room and dining room, and I had previously painted the stairwell, just not the hallway at the top. It's something I had been procrastinating on because of the amount of trim and cutting in required (4 bedroom doors, 1 closet, and 1 bathroom door).  Unfortunately, only one door is white already, and it's going to stay that way until Spring when the weather is warm enough for me to take everything out to the garage for painting.

And we hung pictures last night!  Hooray for stuff on the walls!  There is still a lot of dead space around the house because we haven't yet figured out the purpose of our front room and I don't want to hang anything in the living room until... our new furniture is delivered!

Here's what our current furniture looks like:

It's nice, but it's over sized and really only comfortable to lay on, not sit on.  It's also been hardily abused by the whole family over the last four years, and I'm not comfortable having guests over with our unsophisticated look.    So, we went down to American Furniture Warehouse and got ourselves a new couch, love seat, some end tables (hallelujah!) and a coffee table.  Oh, and for Jason we got a new 50inch LCD TV with a entertainment center that should also serve to shelve some of our ever-growing collection of books.  Needless to say, our Christmas shopping (for Jason and I) is done.  No Kindles, no kitchen island, no TRX training system this year, we maxed out our budget and then some.  But I couldn't be happier.  I just hope when our furniture arrives on Tuesday, I'm still happy with what we selected. I'm pretty sure it will look awesome, but is it practical?  Before I post pictures, let me just preface it with the fact that for the last four years I've been berating Jason for allowing me to make the purchase of our current furniture while I was pregnant. Hormones do funny things to your judgement and at the time, I just wanted something really soft and comfortable.  But here I've done it again, only this time, it's the dust and dog hair around the house that has been bothering me and I'm craving something fresh and clean.  So without further ado, our new living room. (pictures in setting to follow on Tuesday or someday shortly after).

This color isn't very accurate, it's actually much closer to the entertainment console below.

And there it is.  Is it cool?  or just crazy?

Monday, November 22, 2010

My son, budding photographer

Dominic has definitely shown a keen interest in photography from as far back as I can remember.  In fact, it was with a kid's camera as the prize that I was finally able to potty train him.  This is fun in so many ways, but can be a pain as well.  For instance, I love seeing his crazy shots, but when I want to take pictures, my camera batteries are always low.

His Fisher-Price camera has never really satisfied him, the quality just isn't there.  So more often then not, he snags my little point 'n shot and goes to town.  It's so fun deleting a hundred pictures of the floor and people's butts.   Every once in a while though, he get's a few good shots in.  Here are some of his latest:

Self-Portrait (but he really does have hair, I promise)

view out his bedroom window- I'm impressed with how in focus everything is
Me, painting trim this weekend 

Da da da Done!

So, I FINALLY  have Darcy's room ready to welcome the little girl.  Her crib and dresser are painted and in the room, and I've finished all the crib linens that I'm going to be making.  (Well, I may sew more sheets come summer, but I'm not committing to that now). 

I have her clothes sorted into the drawers of her dresser (how are six drawers already packed?), and the newborn and 0-3 month sizes have been washed.  I've also washed the carseat cover and the bouncy chair cover in anticipation of her arrival, but I have to dig the carseat base out of storage. 

In actuality, Darcy will probably spend the first month in a pack 'n play in our bedroom so I have easy access to her in the night, but we'll see.  However, when she is ready to move into her own room, this is what will greet her:

I'm little frustrated by the hitch in the crib skirt, but it can't be helped since this is a drop-side crib.    I am, however, extremely proud of sewing my own ruffles and the crib bumper came out exactly how I wanted it to.

I wish I could show you the rest of the room, but it's covered in junk that I'm still sorting, cleaning, washing, assembling, etc.   It definitely still needs a few homey touches, like artwork and a pretty lamp, but were she to arrive early, I'd be ready to meet her.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November Monthly Menu

Okay, so it's half-way through November already, but I only just finished the four weeks from my last menu, thanks to a cooking hiatus in Milwaukee for work.

Without further ado:

Week 1

Asian Turkey meatballs with carrot rice and stir-fried veggies

Sauteed Chicken with Linguine with lemon-cream sauce and steamed broccoli

Black Beans and Sausage

Spicy Apricot glazed chicken w/ French bread and sauteed green beans w/ slivered almonds

Chicken carcass soup w/ baking powder biscuits

Week 2

Grandma’s Veggie Chili w/ Cornbread

Lighter chicken Enchiladas (add spinach)

Open-faced cheeseburgers w/ mushrooms and onions /w sweet potato home fries

Chicken, carrots, and broccoli stir-fry

Herb-roasted Pork Tenderloin w/ pears and roasted acorn squash w/ cinnamon butter

Week 3

Very Veggie Lasagna

Ginger chicken stir-fry

Cottage pie

Fish Tacos

Chicken and kale hand pies w/ cheddar crust

Week 4

Turkey Keema

Slow cooker Chicken taco soup

Tuna Nicoise Sandwiches

Baked Ziti w/ Sausage and Fresh basil w/ green salad

Easy Beef Stroganoff w/ green beans

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another Monthly Menu

Week 1

Cassoulet w/ lots of vegetables
Lighter Chicken Enchiladas
Spicy Apricot-Glazed Chicken, Green beans w/ toasted pecans, and quinoa
Meatball Sandwiches w/ baby carrots and celery dippers
Broccoli and Pork Stir-fry w/ jasmine rice

Week 2

Jamie’s Minestrone
Grandma’s veggie chili w/ cornbread
Whole-wheat flatbreads w/ lamb and yogurt
Chicken stirfry w/ broccoli and carrots- w/ rice
Pasta w/ Rosemary Shrimp and Scampi w/ sautéed zucchini

Week 3

Slow-cooker Green Chili w/ tortilla chips
Maple-glaze Cornish game hens w/ carrots and warm green bean and potato salad
Very Veggie Lasagna
Mediterranean Baked fish w/ roasted zucchini / couscous pilaf
Ginger Chicken Stir-fry w/rice

Week 4

Slow cooker Short Rib Ragu w/ baking power biscuits
Lentil Soup w/ Sourdough Croutons
Green Chili Burritos
Healthy turkey loaf w/ mashed sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli
Beef and Broccoli in Oyster Sauce w/ rice

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Crazy With a Touch of Insomnia

Sometimes I just have to face it, I'm my own worst enemy.  I know that with the boys and Carson gone for the weekend, I should be resting up and recharging myself- at 30 weeks pregnant, I definitely need all the extra rest I can get- especially considering I'll be leaving to work my annual convention one week from today.
However...with the boys and Carson gone, I also have the perfect opportunity to knock a bunch of items off my to-do list.  I started yesterday by leaving the house shortly after wrapping up work around 5pm.  As I left I thought, "should I turn the porch light on?  Nah, I'll definitely be back before it's dark."  Well, at 8:45 I rolled back in with sub in hand to finally sit down and eat dinner.  I got a bit hung up on my first stop- Joann Fabrics, because I had fun browsing and THEN took a number to get my fabric cut.  Big mistake.  They were completely swamped, something I didn't expect on a Friday night, and between the cutting and the check out lines, I was there for another hour.
Then I had to hit up Ross and TJ Maxx/HomeGoods looking for some maternity khaki pants (fail) and a cool lamp for Darcy's room (fail).  Then it was off to Target to do some birthday shopping for Dom (fail) and buy some bras that don't chafe and poke me in the wrong places (success at last!).  After all that, I grabbed a sub at Jimmy Johns and went home to watch a chick flick on the instant queue.  
I don't know why I'm so wound up, but I ended up not turning in until 11, and then I woke up, wide awake at 2.  Though my body is kind of tired, my mind has been racing since then, trying to prioritize what I need to do this weekend.  At 2:30 it occurred to me that I wouldn't disturb anyone by turning on lights and actually DOING stuff on my to-do list, instead of stewing about it.  I did try to go back to bed at 4 and wasted another 1/2 hour before I called it a lost cause.  So, now it's 7 am and I've started to wash my newly purchased material, eaten 2 breakfasts, a cup of coffee (and am currently sipping some tea), finished a big print job for work, and sewn two more crib sheets.  I KNOW I'm going to crash at some point today, but hopefully I'll sleep soundly with a few more things checked off my list.  So what else am I hoping to get done this weekend?
1. Finish painting and polyacrylic Darcy's dresser.
2. Sand, paint, and polyacrylic the crib.
3. Sew a crib bumper
4. Sew a crib skirt
5. Sew a jersey baby wrap (just need a seam down the middle and a reinforcement panel.
6. Buy and install blinds in Darcy's room (I took the old one down to paint and forgot I have a guest coming next week who might enjoy her privacy!) and maybe in the master too, since we've been unable to shut our blinds for months now.  Thankfully, there is an easement behind our house, so nobody is looking directly in our window.  Although, I suppose that if someone across the way had a pair of binoculars, they've had a pretty good show!
7. Hang pictures in stairwell and hallway/ figure out what I want to hang in Darcy's room.
8.  buy lamp for Darcy's room
9. find rocker/glider and/or recliner for Darcy's room (to be reupholstered in some awesome toile currently 40% off at Joann's)
10.  Make monthly menu and do grocery shopping

The painting stuff really has to be a top priority for me because as the weather is getting colder, I'm going to run out of space for painting.  But it's not going to get over 60 until after lunch- so I'm off to start on my crib bumper while the material for the skirt is still being washed and dried. 

Hopefully I'll have some finished projects to show by the end of the weekend!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Darcy Day

For a day that started off pretty shaky, it has ended very well.  I haven't done a single one of my normal chores, but I've made a lot of headway on some of the things I've had to put off. 

The last two weekends we were away from home, and that always makes me a little stressed out.  The weekends are when I menu plan, grocery shop, do the laundry, and do the majority of the housecleaning- so whenever we're away- I have to try to pack all those things into a much more condensed time frame, which makes for a very cranky Erin.

However, this weekend I said to hell with clean floors and clean bathrooms and made Jason promise to do the laundry, as long as I will fold and put it away.  Now, this might come back to bite me in the butt later- my parents are flying in on Thursday night and I would like the house to be clean for them.  However, Jason has agreed to let me HIRE A BI-WEEKLY HOUSEKEEPER to help out with the chores.  Hooray, hooray! I just need to get someone in before Thursday or my parents will have to deal with my slovenliness (is that a word Dad?).

I got a great start to my morning by going over to my grandparents house to spend some time sewing with my grandmother.  She worked on a baby quilt for one of my cousins and I borrowed her machine to start sewing crib sheets for Darcy.  Man, I underestimated how long that would take me- but I got one done (minus elastic).  I also managed to iron all the material I have for Darcy things prior to going over there- so progress is being made. Now if she shows up early she has a sheet, if nothing else.

In the afternoon the boys took a nice long nap which allowed me time to finish sanding Darcy's dresser and learn how to use my new paint sprayer- the Graco Spray Station 2900.

I'm still getting used to it, but so far I am pleased.  The spray is a little thinner than I anticipated, so I will have to do more coats that I had planned (I usually do primer + 2 coats).  However, it took me about a half an hour from can opening to finishing cleaning up to prime a six-drawer dresser and all the drawer fronts.  Did I mention cleaning up is so EASY!  I hate cleaning rollers, so this may be the best $99 I ever spent.

Right now it is coming out a bit speckly, but I have a feeling that is more user-error than anything else.  I'm still trying to find the right flow volume and distance for that professional spray. But, I will just give it a light sanding between coats and I should still finish in record time.  Tomorrow, I hope to put 2 more coats on (and hope that that is all it needs) so I can start the polyacrylic process as well.

In the evening I managed to get the trim in Darcy's room sanded and a first coat of paint on the dresser.  Jason and I would have hung the closet doors in Dominic's room, but my drill ran out battery (for the first time ever).  My good friend Sheena is coming over tomorrow afternoon to help me paint, so I am hoping to get the trim in Darcy room at least primed and first-coated.  I doubt that I'll get her room painted prior to my parents arrival, but I'll be happy with the trim done.

We ended the day with a late dinner at Texas Roadhouse and Dominic behaved better than he has ever behaved while we're out.  He ate the dinner we ordered him, including veggies, and colored during all the waiting times.  Now, after a nice hot shower and a chance to blog, I'm ready to crawl into bed and see if I can get 5 pages into my new book prior to zonking out.  I just hope when I wake up tomorrow too stiff to move, I'm still as gung-ho about the day's plans as I am now.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Manic Mom Monthly Menu

My first blog failed.  I attempted too much and ended up giving up altogether.  I was trying to post my monthly menus with links to all recipes, and then do a detailed "how to" post for each recipe, including pictures.  After a week I discovered it was WAY too time consuming and abandoned it.
I also don't always have a monthly menu.  While Jason was away for 6 months, I didn't make any menus.  We ate a lot of PB&J, eggs for dinner, and ate out.  Being pregnant and packing up a house at the same time just didn't inspire me to cook as much as I usually try to.

Since we got settled in in Colorado, I have been trying to at least come up with a weekly menu.  The commissary is close, but not so close that I want to run out and pick up a missing ingredient.  I also wasn't shopping at the commissary initially, but I've discovered it saves us between $20 and $40 a week on groceries, so I'll make the hike.

I got inspired over the weekend and dug up last year's September menu- that really made the process quicker, though I had to sub out some recipes that weren't hits- and take out some vegetarian meals since Jason has expressed that he prefers meat at every meal (too bad- we're eating meatless at least once a week).

So here's my menu plan for the next four weeks, sorry links not included.

Week 1
Rotisserie Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Steamed Green Beans
Chicken Taco Soup with Home-made cornbread
Kung Pow Chicken over Jasmine Rice
Beef Stroganoff and Oven-Roasted Zuchinni
Lemon Garlic Tilapia over Quinoa, with Steamed Broccoli

Week 2
Shrimp Pad Thai
Chicken Fajitas
Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup w/ French Bread
Pan-seared Pork with Potatoes and Lemon, with a side of Shredded Brussels Sprouts and almonds.
Veggie Calzones (providing I can find refridgerated pizza dough)

Week 3
Bacon and Broccoli Quiche
Turkey Spaghetti w/ mixed veggies
Pork and Green Bean Stir-Fry over Jasmine Rice
Tilapia Tacos w/ fresh salsa and guacamole
Granny's Veggie Chili and home-made cornbread

Week 4
Lentil Soup with Sourdough croutons
Keema curry w/ naan
Red-wine marinated steak with roasted root vegetables and potatoes
Stir-fried ginger chicken w/ rice
Baked pork schnitzel w/ white wine and lemon sauce, with roasted Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes

I plan 5 menus a week to account for the fact that at least 1 night we are going to eat leftovers, and 1 night I demand to be taken out.  I saw an apron at Salvation Army that said something to the extent of, "A wife who cooks and cleans deserves many thanks and dinner out once a week." But the apron version rhymed and I cannot for the life of me remember what it was- or I'd paint it on my kitchen wall.  I can't agree more.  At least one night a week I go on strike and refuse to even microwave anything- because there are still dished to be cleaned, tables to be wiped, and floors to be swept after a leftover dinner.

The Dining Room/Front Room

After Dominic's room, the dinning room and front room (so called because it doesn't really have a function) were the next thing I tackled.  This is kind of an awkward space since it it is long and skinny, and has a weird beam running straight across it.  My first thought was that the beam just looked so out of place and awkward- especially since it was the same color as everything else.

This room isn't really "done" yet. I still need to line the curtains (table clothes from Target) find a corner hutch for my wine glasses and liquor, and figure out what I'm putting in that front room area. I keep hoping to find two matching wingback chairs that I can re-upholster, and I'm also hoping that when my Grandparents move, they won't have room for their piano and I'll be forced to take it off their hands.  Oh- and I want to paint that brassy chandelier- but I can't decide on white or oil-rubbed bronze.  Any thoughts?
Before-From Front Door
After- From Front Door
Before- From Dining Room
After- From Dining Room
Stairwell seating area-
where the piano or wingback chairs would go

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dominic's Room

When I arrived in Colorado, I expected my shipment to be right behind me.  However, because of the wonders of military shipping, it was diverted all over the country before it actually made to my doorstep, 6 days after the date I had initially been told.  I had arranged for Dominic to spend the week with his grandparents so he wouldn't have to be caught up in the moving of furniture and unpacking, and so that he could arrive at his new house with his new room set up with all his things.  It was just not to be.

Dom's Room Before
But, since I had a week off of work (no internet access or desk yet- so I didn't have the option to return early) and nothing to clutter up the house- I decided to make the most of the situation and paint!  I choose Dominic's room first for 2 reasons: 1) he would have the hardest time with the transition and 2) he has the most furniture of any room in the house- no kidding.
Dom's Room Before

First a word about the general condition of the house.  It was in pretty good shape- decent carpet, everything works, etc, but every wall and ceiling was the exact same color of off-white, and all the trim was this really beat-up "foak" color that had been sealed with something so shiny, you could not longer tell it was real wood and not plastic.

Eventually, all that plastic-wood will be painted white, but I'm taking it one room at at time- that's about all I can manage these days.  Dominic's room got the white trim treatment, and 2 coats of "Spa" blue by Olympic.  I picked Olympic because it has Zero VOCs- even the colors.  Without further ado- I give you Dominic's room with it's new color, decorations, and furniture (all painted by me, btw).  I have not given you a shot of his closet though- as I have yet to re-hang the doors.  I need Jason's help, and I've only been asking for about a month- so it's should only be another 2 months before it actually gets done.

I didn't take a picture of his other bookshelf and the "Goodnight Moon" lithograph- it was too close to the undoored closet.  I'm also not one for staging a photo. What you see is pretty much what his room looks like on any given day- wires showing, bed slightly rumpled, etc.  Did I mention I also made his quilt?  I am pretty proud of the fact that his toys are picked up everyday and not allowed to get out of control, now if only we could institute the same policy for our kitchen bar!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Itchin' for some Thriftin' (why I'm completely insane)

Hi, my name is Erin and I'm completely incapable of making realistic evaluations of what I can and cannot take on.  For instance, I am whining (just a little bit, and mostly in my own head) about the fact that the next two weekends because I'll be away from home.  This means that my regular cleaning has to get done some time else, but most importantly, I don't have time for projects.  I really want to go to this flea market with my friend Sheena (even though I don't really NEED anything right now) and check out what's there. 

What am I hoping to find?  Well, I'm thinking it would be great to find a wine cabinet (that could potentially hold liquor and our wine glasses that are still in the box from our wedding).  I also want some cool frames that I can turn into chalk and cork boards around the house.  I'd love some floating shelves for the kitchen, some more bookcases, a rocker glider, a better desk, a futon, and a pair of wing back chairs, and some chandeliers to replace the hideous brass fixtures in the dining room and kitchen.  Also, a porch swing and maybe some cool pots so I can liven up our entry way next year.  I wouldn't be opposed to finding some nice fall decorations either.

Okay, maybe that doesn't sound too crazy- but keep in mind that anything I buy I will probably end up painting or refinishing is someway- and I'm 6 months pregnant with a 3-year old and a puppy.  And a husband- he needs looking after too.  Plus, I already have the promise of a desk and a rocker glider from my grandparents, if I can just find the time to drive up to their mountain house and get them.  I also could just paint the ugly chandeliers with blogland's favorite ORB (oil-rubbed bronze) spray paint.  That's actually what is most likely to happen.  I'd like to get a futon so we can sleep a few more guests- right now we have twin with a trundle- and that's not so very nice for couples because even though I CAN make a king from it, there tends to be a huge gap in the middle.  Plus it would be nice to have a futon in my office.

And all of this is on top of the projects I'm already trying to complete.  I've got a lap quilt I've been working on for 8 years (yes, it takes me that long) and it's coming close to being finished.  I've also purchased a lot of fabric to sew my own crib sheets and bedding for little Darcy Rose (all rose-themed of course), and I still need to repaint the crib and the yard-sale dresser I have for her room.  Plus I'm planning on painting her room (along with all the trim) before she arrives, and I'd like to finish the living room down stairs and the hallway upstairs too.  Preferrably the room painting will get done prior to my parents arrival on Sept. 23rd- yipes!  I'm not sure I'm going to get the three bathrooms, laundry room, office, or master bedroom done before December.  The painting seems a lot harder now than it did a few months ago, and crawling around on the floor to do trim and cut in means I can barely stand up straight the next day. 

Le sigh.  I'm ready to not be pregnant anymore, and I still have 15 weeks left!  In fact, I'm so ready I'm even fantasizing about running again. I've downloaded a cool app to my iPhone for a 10k training program, still determined to do the Bolder Boulder next Memorial day.  Potential start date is Jan. 31st- as long as I've been cleared by a doctor. I figure that's about 6 weeks after delivery and any stiches/staples/what-have-you should be healed.  No need for a baby weight loss plan- I'll be running and breastfeeding- so if that doesn't do it, nothing will.  Thanks for reading my ramblings if you made it this far, the next post will contain some house pictures, I promise! 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Transition Sucks

Well all, I'm back.  I've survived a huge move without my hubby, while in my first trimester, with a temperamental 3-year old.  Of course, I had help.  My wonderful father-in-law flew out to Virginia just to spend 3 days in a car with Dominic and I, and then my in-laws kept Dominic for a week so I could "move-in" without him.  Unfortunately,  my shipment arrived 6 days later than originally anticipated, so Dominic was back with me by the time I actually got to do any unpacking.

But the week of no stuff and no Dom gave me a chance to start painting (and I mean start, there is still SOO much to do) and to get some things squared away.  I will post before and afters as I finish rooms.  Dominic's is almost done, I just have to finish and rehang his closet doors and get some of his decorations up on the wall.

I also got a chance to tour the school that Dom is attending while he was up with his grandparents.  It seems very nice and had a philosophy of learning that both Jason and I embrace, but it is the source of my tears this morning.  We LOVED Reston Children's Center where Dominic went from the time he was 10 months old to just three weeks ago.  Dominic knew and loved the teachers, and they reciprocated in a way that you don't expect from a facility serving so many different children.  It was very hard to leave it, and I've already shed many tears over that.

Dominic started his new school last week and seemed to do fine.  He was a bit clingy in the morning, but there were no tears.  His teacher reported that he was transitioning well and I was pretty pleased.  Well, pulling up this morning Dom says, "I don't think I like this school.  I think I just want to be with you all day, Mommy."  As soon as we stopped he unbuckled himself and went to hide in the back seat.  I had to tell him I would sit with him a bit before he would come out.

So we went inside and I sat with him in his class room, just hugging, for a few minutes until he was ready to go join the rest of the children who arrive early.  Then I helped him find a toy, lay out his mat, and gave him another big long hug.  But he wouldn't let go.  When I left, he wasn't shrieking or being hysterical, just quietly sobbing into the neck of the teacher.  It was heart wrenching and I barely made it to my car before my own sobs erupted.  Maybe it's the hormones, but this morning was especially hard.

I'm sure that part of Dominic's sadness has to do with the many, many goodbyes and transitions lately.  First, with his dad going off to training, and it being more than 5 weeks since we last saw him.  Then leaving VA, then leaving his grandparents and favorite uncle in Greeley.  We also had my brother and sister-in-law here for a whirlwind trip of 4 days and my parents here for 6 days.  We had to say goodbye to them at the airport yesterday.  I imagine that Dominic is feeling pretty insecure, and I am the one constant through this whole transition.  Hopefully things will improve next week when Jason finally comes home.  Sunday can't come soon enough.

Now off to work, the whole reason why I have to send Dominic anywhere in the first place.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

All Quiet on the Eastern Front

I haven't been blogging as much as I've been meaning to, but I hope that will be forgiven considering my current status as a single-mom trying to get ready for a move while also preparing to be out from my extremely demanding job for two weeks.

Since my last post I've managed to accomplish many things.  I have now notified all my utilities that they should be turned off, and I've arranged to have internet connected at the new house the day I arrive (yeah, I can't live without my internet).  Thankfully all the other utilities for my new house are on and all I have to do upon arrival is switch them to my name.  I've finished de-cluttering the house, except the fridge (top and inside) which will be done this weekend when I officially start eating out 3 meals a day (can you see my butt getting bigger?).  I've also patched and touched up every nail hole in the house and had a walk-through with our moving company.

With some of these more onerous tasks done, I'm looking forward to the weekend.  On Saturday, I'll get to see my aunt, cousin, and grandparents at my cousin's bridal shower.  My family is probably the single most important thing in my life, so I'm so grateful I have the opportunity to say goodbye to at least part of the East Coast clan.  I'll be with my grandparents much much more in Colorado, and that will be wonderful.

This post is getting long, but let me just take a moment to talk about how much my grandparents mean to me.  Grandfather has always been a supporter and encourager of my sometimes wild imagination.  For years he encouraged me to pursue writing and become a published author like he is.  I think my writing may be a bit different, but I have a dream to write a series of children's novels, something I've been harboring since I was about 12.  LONG before Harry Potter, I dreamed up many magical worlds that are somewhere between Narnia and the wizarding world of the Potter series.  Grandfather, you may see me published yet.  And Grandmother.  Well, if there was ever a more gentle, stubborn, loving, and determined person, I haven't met them.  My grandmother taught me to quilt, and basically gave me my entire stash of fabrics when she was "cleaning" out hers.  She also taught me to drive (or tried to) the summer before I went to college.  I remember taking a right turn at the bottom of a hill WAY too fast and swinging all the way over into the left lane and on-coming traffic.  She didn't scream, didn't clutch at me, she simply said, "Erin get back into the right lane as quickly as possible."  I can't wait to be near you again.

Okay, now I forgot where I as going with this post, so I'll wrap up.  I'm excited to get going and to be so close to some family I haven't seen much in the last five years.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Making Progress

Jason headed of to GA for some more lovely training on Saturday morning.  Thankfully, we got to spend Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evening with him.  I had to work all week, but Dominic did get to go hiking with his Dad and gruncle on Thursday.  Anyway, with Jason gone before 9am, I pretty much had the whole weekend to get stuff done.  And I got'r dun.
On Saturday:

  • 3 loads of laundry
  • trip to Walmart for vacuum bags/filters and car stuff for the upcoming road trip
  • trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to pick up shower gift for my cousin Lara, who is getting married this summer
  • 2 1/2 hour nap (much needed)
  • posted items on Craigslist and freecyle
On Sunday:
  • 3 more loads of laundry (washing sheets, towels, and comforters to be stored until after the move
  • cleaned out master closet
  • trip to recycle center to drop off too much stuff
  • trip to target (after discovering I purchased all the wrong vacuum components on Sat)
  • Starbucks date with the Dom to celebrate mothers' day
  • Home Depot to drop off propane tanks that will NOT be moving with us, and buy tool caddy and hardware organizer (plus pick up paint chips for my home records book)
  • Trader Joes for groceries (mostly frozen meals since I won't be cooking much until after I settle in in CO
  • sanded primer and painted two dresser/side tables one coat
  • organized tools and paint downstairs
  • made arrangements for treadmill pick up
  • took Dom on roller skating adventure around the neighborhood
  • sold massive corner desk and watched in leave (if somewhat painfully) the premises
  • made chocolate chip cookies and dinner with Dom
So I am definitely making progress.  This probably doesn't matter much to the few of you that read this blog, but posting it makes me feel like I got something accomplished.  And I need that because I still have to:
  • call Verizon and cancel service, despite not being the name on the account and not knowing the account number or the customer service number
  • follow up with WashGas to confirm service cancellation
  • cancel service with Fairfax Water
  • clean grill- it's yucky
  • paint one (or two?) more coats on dresser/side tables
  • put together important documents file and continuing cleaning office
  • clean out Dom's closet
  • clean out bathroom cabinets
  • patch and paint various parts of house
  • sell sofa and love seat
  • freecycle guestroom bed
  • use or lose pantry and refrigerator items
  • take video of household goods
  • pack up stuff to take in the van with me
  • wash pots (for flowers) and replant one plant for a colleague
  • finish removing personal touches from work office
I could go on, but you get the idea. Wish me luck, I see many more nights of work ahead. I have two weekends left, and on each weekend I have a family commitment that will rob me of most of the day.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Birthday Resolutions

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions- I hate to be just one of the crowd.  But every year on my birthday I sit down to think about what I want to accomplish in my next year of life.  These things range from the mundane to the improbable, but if you don't set a goal, you'll never reach it!  So here is a list of things to do by the time I'm 28.

1. Run another 5k, be very close to being prepared to run the Bolder Boulder (10k) in 2011.
2. Re-upholster at least one chair
3. Sew my own curtains
4. Finish my columbine quilt and my secondary circles quilt.
5. Sew decorative pillows for my living room
6. Paint EVERYTHING! (Or at least almost everything in my new home. I'm talking walls, doors, trim, and cabinets.  If I get really into it maybe even the kitchen counters?  Don't freak out Mom, that's just a musing.)
7. Build a bed and some bookshelves using plans from
8. Raise my own vegetables and make home-made jam
9. Expand the family...
10. Visit my family in SE Asia (this is the improbable must most desired one)

As you can see, I have quite a few hobbies.  There are fewer things that give me more pleasure than crafting- either with wood or fabric. I love to work with my hands and add beauty, or at least flair, to things. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Losing My Mind or Just My Keys?

My afternoon turned into a saga rather quickly, but I'll start at the beginning.  It's been a beautiful day and I had a good conversation with my hubby while I was driving from work to Dominic's school (yes, I do talk on the phone when I'm driving, deal with it).  I pulled up to Dom's school and went it, picking up my raffle prize on my way.

Dominic's class had just gone outside and he was gleefully zipping around on a tricycle, so I let him play for a while, in no hurry to get home.  After about 10 minutes I rounded him up to go home and headed out.  I realized, however, that my car keys were not in my pocket, so I went back to check Dom's locker where I frequently leave them.  Nope, no keys there, but I had managed to forget the raffle prize, so I picked up.  Next thought: maybe I left them at the front desk when I went to pick up the prize?  Nope, no keys there either.  Dreading what I might find, I took Dominic outside and peered in the window of the van.  Yup, there in the cup holder were my keys, mocking me, right next to my phone and purse.

I went back inside to let the front desk know that I would most definitely be violating the 10 minute parking rule while I ran home to break into my home for my spare set of keys.  Yvette was kind enough to suggest that Dominic stay at school while I carried out my mission, and I'm glad she did, because that hadn't even occurred to me.  With Dominic safely back in his teacher's care, I set off through the woods to get home.  Thankfully it's only about a 10 minute walk at a brisk pace. 

Here's where the plot thickens.  You would think that I would have a house key hidden outside somewhere for these occasions, but you'd be wrong. You'd think I'd at least give a trusted neighbor a spare key, but you'd be wrong.  You'd think that maybe, just maybe with all my forgetfulness lately, I would have forgotten to latch a ground level window or maybe even have left the walk-out basement unbarred, but you'd be wrong.  After several pathetic attempts to open the living room windows, I realize that would not be my point of entry.  In fact, the only windows in the house that I knew were not currently latched were the windows in the kitchen, a full story up above the walkout basement.

Oh for ladder!  I was pleased to see a car parked in my next-door neighbors spot, for I knew they have a 30 ft. ladder in their back yard and I thought maybe someone would help me.  No go, nobody answered the door.  Just then, a neighbor I usually avoid due to his propensity to be quite.. loquacious (and from me that is saying something) pulled up.  I seriously considered busting a window, but I decided to just ask.  Thankfully a ladder was available!  It only took him 10 minutes to unearth from somewhere in the basement, but I could not have been more grateful. I had also seriously consider climbing the fence of my neighbors and helping myself to their ladder, I just couldn't figure out how I was going to manage it on my own, and whether they would forgive me if I destroyed their windows/fence/yard by dropping it.

Once I had the ladder, it took me less than a minute to pop out the screen, lift the window and climb through.  One minute after that I was back on the trail in jeans and a t-shirt (so much more appropriate than the work clothes I had been wearing) and so endeth the drama.  Dominic and I made home safely after I was berated by him for my thoughtlessness.  We even managed to squeeze in a half-hour at the playground before dinner and cookie making.   The cookies served the dual purpose of comforting my fried nerves and acting as token of thanks to a helpful neighbor. 

If you got to the end of this, good for you.  This is probably WAY more details that anyone wanted to know, but sometimes I just have to share.

So much time, so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.

Oh what I wouldn't give for a little team of Umpa Lumpa's these days. I could even deal with the obnoxious songs telling me about my bad parenting if they would just help me sort through all my junk. I can just imagine them now, squatting up and down singing:
"Umpa lumpa dumpadi dap,
Why are you collecting this crap?
Clutter and mess will bring nothing but stress
Why has your house become a trap...
for everything that's useless.."

And so on and so forth. After that foray into fantasy I must return to the issue at hand. I have TOO MUCH to do, and not enough time or energy to do it. I have long since started the great de-clutter of my house, but it has plateaued recently. I still have two huge problem areas to tackle- areas where I have no idea what I will find. These would be Jason and my offices. Jason's office is currently being used to house a dusty treadmill and two bins of random things I threw in there when I was making room for the treadmill. My office...well I don't even want to talk about what might be in there (like the various pictures and art that have never been hung on my walls for the past three years!).

I did manage to make some headway last night, thanks to the rain giving me a good reason to keep Dominic in from the playground. I cleaned the hall closet. Who knew how much junk was in there? What came out was 1 FULL bin of winter gear to be stored for another season, 1 large black garbage bag of assorted crap (the word of the day), and 4-5 trips either to the basement to put tools and a stroller in their "right" place or to take purses, clothes, and other items not currently in use upstairs. I also moved the shoe rack out of the closet and around the corner, in hopes that keeping it in plain view will help it to be a) used, and b) kept tidy. I then moved Dominic's scooter, roller skates, and ball bin in the closet. Here's the result.
Ahhh! I should have taken a before picture, but I didn't feel the need to shame myself on the world wide web.

So here's the list of things for me to do before we move.
  • Purge of junk: kitchen, Erin's office, Jason's office, Dominic's room, master bedroom, bathroom cabinets, and finish purging the basement (specifically tool and pain area under the stairs).
  • Sell or give away: big corner desk, couch and loveseat, captains bed in guestroom + any other crap I find that I don't want to keep.
  • Endless trips to the recycle center.
  • Create a folder of all necessary travel documents, housing and utility contacts, and identity documents.
  • Schedule carpet cleaning.
  • Schedule lease check out.
  • Schedule maid service or suck it up and do it myself.
  • Pack up office in McLean and make sure I have all things I need to work from home in my POV so I can start working right away upon arrival.
  • Call utilities to end in VA and utilities to start in CO
  • And most importantly: spend time with friends and family before setting out on my great life migration tale.
Now that I've written it out it looks so much more manageable- NOT! Anyone got a paper bag? I'm starting to hyperventilate.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Too Short

Dominic got a haircut this weekend after months of my begging Jason to do it. I think that Jason doesn't want to do it again for a while, because it is now really short.  Like, is that poor child in the Make-a-Wish program? short.   Unfortunately I have no after pictures, but here's a "during" pic.

Master of Persuasion

After taking FOREVER to get Dominic to sleep in his own room just after he turned one, it feels like a backslide every night that he ends up in my bed before 5 am.  After 5am doesn't count because we get up shortly after that and it's just morning cuddle time.  With Jason gone, it has been a challenge.  1) I don't like sleeping alone, and 2) I have parent guilt that says I need to make some special accomodations for  his absense.  Nonetheless, I would really not like to start a habit that is going to end in midnight battles later down the road.  Every night I've been tucking Dominic into his own bed with a hug and a kiss, and every morning, he is somehow slumbering right next to me.  Usually he just sneaks in after I've gone to sleep (is he waiting for the lights to go off?) or after I get him up to use the bathroom, but last night was a bit different.

Erin: (reading book)
Dominic: (patters into room looking adorable in jammies) Mommy, can I sleep in your bed now?
Erin: No Dominic, you have your own room and your own bed for sleeping in.
Dominic: (indicating big empty spot next to me) But there's a spot right there!
Erin: There is also a spot in your bed, in your room.
Dominic: but I want to snuggle with you.
Erin: Did you bring your oobie?  Promise mommy to close your eyes and go to sleep while I read.
Dominic: (scampers off and returns quickly)
some minutes pass
Dominic: Mommy, I'm going to go potty so I don't pee pee in your bed
Erin: That would be good.  Goodnight Dominic.

Monday, April 5, 2010


When Dominic was born I was a little taken aback by how many people exclaimed that he looked EXACTLY like Jason.  Not a drop of me in the child.  And I have to admit, he carries some of the dominant genes from that side of the family- the nose, the cheeks, the big brown eyes (while my eyes are brown, they are definitely more "squinty" than J's). 

But as Dominic grew older, two things happened.  1- he started to look like he might actually be my child, and 2- his personality emerged.  Anyone who has met both my husband and my son can tell you- Dominic is 100% Erin in personality traits.  He is very (sometime too) friendly, outgoing, happy, and energetic.  He can also be stubborn and sulky when he doesn't get his way, and he shows a definite flair for the dramatic as well as a developed imagination.  We get along great together (most of the time).

As he has gotten older I've really come to appreciate that we have similar senses of fun.  Three is such a wonderful age.  In between tantrums and boundary-testing, Dominic and I are able to do a lot of things that I enjoy, together.  In addition to helping me cook, Dominic is now able to help me paint furniture and garden.  Yesterday we spent a great afternoon painting a dresser and planting some violas- followed by sword fighting and riding his scooter around the block (we took turns).  We sang some Disney tunes together all the while.  (Okay- he only know "Street Rat" from Aladdin, but I'll take it). 

Next I'll have to teach him the wonderful tunes from Mulan and the Little Mermaid- and maybe teach him to cross-stitch/needlepoint?  And in case any of you are concerned that I'll make him a girly-boy, just keep in mind that we also play soccer, baseball, basketball, golf, wrestle and have tickle-wars.  The sports are not going to be sustainable (for me) in the long run though, he is quickly passing my skill level!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Waiting for the Paint to Dry, Literally

Well, I'm at it again.  Painting furniture that it.  However, this time, inspired by a post from Lindsay at Living with Lindsay, I'm painting a laminate dresser.  I've had the dresser for about 8 years and I've thought it was hideous for exactly that long.  My grandmother purchased it for me when I moved out of the dorms and into my first apartment in college.  Did she know I thought it was ugly?  No way.  She took me to a furniture store and told me to pick what I like, but plagued by fierce independence and reluctance to accept charity, I made sure to choose the absolute cheapest thing I could find that would serve the function I needed.  So now, 8 years later, I really want a NEW dresser, but I'm also obsessed with painted furniture, so I figured why not?  I forgot to take before pictures, but I'll be sure to post after pictures.  Right now I'm at the step in the instructions where I'm supposed to let the primer dry for 7 days.  Auugh!  I do NOT like to wait an entire week when I have a bee in my bonnet.  And I'm not loving my plastic-drawer replacement while my dresser is in the basement.

This painting experience is almost a perfect metaphor for my life right now.  My life has been signed over to the US Army by my association with my husband.  However, I do not yet have a military ID, nor have I been given power of attorney by said husband.  What this means to the Army?  I can do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help facilitate our move (or PCS- see I can learn the lingo).  It is aggravating to have to rely on Jason for this. I've always been in charge of moving, and until the Army gets back to him, I don't even know what day they are going to come pack us up.    This means I can't schedule carpet cleaners, a maid service (because I have enough to worry about), or turning off certain utilities. I can't schedule our lease check-out.
Being out of control is really not my favorite status, nor is having to depend on others whose priorities may differ from mine (yeah, so what if he's exhausted after PT and a full day of school).  But this is my life, so I'm just going to sit here until the paint dries and I can pick up my brush and roller and get back to work.

Wow, I just realized that stress causes me to write some pretty poorly constructed sentences.  Oh well, I refuse to apologize for this.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Silent Treatment

I know I've been really quiet- I haven't blogged in almost a month!  To tell the truth, this is because I was allowing myself time to have a little pity-party.  Jason reported for duty in Ft. Lee, VA on Feb. 7th, and I've been single parenting for most of the last three weeks.  This is pretty much the reason why I told Jason (just months into our relationship) that I would leave him if he ever joined the military.  Well, never say never.  I find that those types of ultimatums don't generally work in a marriage (at least in a marriage that lasts), and so now I find myself being something I thought I'd never be, an Army Wife.

I'm adjusting to this idea (slowly) and realizing that I actually don't have it so bad.  Jason is now in Charlottesville for the next 10 weeks and should be able to come home most weekends.  This is certainly much better than not seeing him at all for the full 18 weeks of JAG training.  He came home last weekend and we had a nice time, although I think he was a bit disappointed that I vetoed so many of his weekend plans: buying a new car, buying a new computer, getting a dog.

Hopefully I'll get back to taking pictures and writing regularly, but until then, feel free to check out some of the blogs of Jason's classmates:
Earl Wilson
Bobby Luyties

Sunday, January 31, 2010

You Turn Around For One Second/ Stop, Drop, and Roll

I have a boy.  And he's a boy's boy.  He put the "boy"  in boisterous.  Anyway, my favorite little hooligan is quite a handful, and recently, I've had to wonder if I'm teaching him enough about safety.  I am definitely not a "helicopter parent," and sometimes I think I may swing too far in the other direction.  Today, Dominic and I had the pleasure of making a little outing with five stops.  We went to Target to return something and pick a few things up, then Trader Joes, Home Depot, Harris Teeter, and a stop to pick up some things I got through Freecycle.

Dominic was pretty well behaved, with the influence of the bribe-threat combo.  And I was very impressed at how patient he was at Home Depot while we waiting for a staff person to retrieve some totes from a high shelf for us.  We had one more thing to pick up and he was sitting so nicely in the approved position for the shopping cart.  But I turned around for one second and this is what I found:
 Quietly and quickly he had unbuckled himself and climbed out of the seat and into the totes.  I laughed and took a picture, but thought, briefly, how easily he could have fallen and smacked his head on the hard concrete floor.

Now the stop, drop, and roll part.  Dominic has taken to throwing his ooubi and dish towels up on the stove top.  I've warned him about doing this, and thankfully, the stove has never been on when he has done it, but I decided that I had better give him a lesson in fire safety.  He is a rascal, and genetically predisposed toward pyrotechnics... from... um... his father.  Okay, that's a pretty big lie, I've always enjoyed playing with fire and it seems to run in my family.    The good news is, he took to "stop, drop, and roll" like a duck to water.  All night I've been running up to him and yelling, "You're on fire, what do you do?"  Is that wrong?  I figure better early, after all, I was calmly able to smother the fire on my breadspread at the age of 13.   Still, I probably shouldn't have showed him how to put out a candle with my fingers last weekend...

On a completely unrelated note, how cute is is that whenever he is getting a piggyback ride he likes to say, "Oink, oink, oink."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Child Labor

It's been a while since I posted, so this is just a quick one during my lunch hour.  I grew up doing chores, and I have been doing them for as long as I remember.  I have to admit, I still feel the same way about chores that I used to, I just have no authority figure to complain to, so I'm a lot less vocal about it.  I remember calling my mom a "slave-driver" as kid, partially in jest, and partially with the firm belief that she and my dad had kids so they would never again be forced to set or clear the table.

Continuing on in the grand tradition of child labor, I have been instituting chores for Dominic at home.  Since he was a baby, he has "helped" me in the kitchen.  He has always cooked with me, first in my sling, then, when he reached out and cut himself on my knife, from a walker safely on the floor.  For a while he simply played in the kitchen, but then he became much more interested in helping me.  For about a year now he has been pushing chairs up to the counter to "help" and has been thwarted in most of his attempts.

At first, I would only let him help me mix baked goods, but he quickly graduated on to stiring pots and pans full of hot food.  Don't worry, I don't leave the room and I'm never more than an arm's length away from him.  In other words, don't report me for abuse or negligence.  But Dominic has wanted to do more and obeying that first instinct, keeps reaching for my knives.

Last night I was hit with a memory of what I used to do for my mom before I was allowed to trim beans. 

I peeled!  Carrots, potatoes, cucumbers.  Thankfully, these vegetables make pretty regular appearances in our home, especially the carrots.  So, I tested it out and Dominic did a beautiful job!  I'm still feeling a bit guilty for letting my 3-year old handle what could be considered a sharp implement, but he didn't come even close to hurting himself, so he'll be my official peeler from now on.

Other chores he does: putting silverware on the table, clearing the table, cleaning up his toys.  Now if only I could teach him to make his bed... but he may still be a little to small for that.  It's hard to make a bed that's on the same level as your chest, or at least, I imagine it must be.

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's Growing

I have thick hair.  Very thick hair.  I also used to have very long hair that one of my dear friends described as "beer commerical hair."  I've been pretty vain about my hair in the past, but I gave up vanity when it started falling out in clumps shortly after I weaned Dominic. I was sick of pulling hair out from drains and vacuuming it up, so I chopped very short.  It wasn't the most flattering hairstyle I've ever had, but boy was it easy, just wash'n go.  I let it grow out to a bit of a bob and have kept it that way for about two years.  But, I decided to start growing my hair out about a year ago (alright, I didn't so much decide as I just got too busy to go get it cut) and now I'm pleased that my locks are getting long again.  Today I discovered I can return to my favorite whoops-I-forgot-a-rubberband-and-I'll-never-make-it-through-the-day-with-my-hair-in-my-face do. 

Yay!  I can now bun up my hair using only a writing implement, and this gives me plenty of opportunities to grab the pencil while gently tossing my head from side-to-side in that beer commercial way.  I <3 having long hair.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I try to only resolve one or two things each year, this makes those resolutions more attainable.  Last year, in addition to making exercise a regular part of my life, I resolved to learn to crochet.  I kept thinking about it all year, but I had so many other things going on.  The first two months of the year found me working madly on a quilt for my great-grandfather-in-law.  Alex DiSanto is the wonderful patriarch of my husband's family (father's side), and I feel blessed to have been so accepted by him and his clan.  Anyway, Papa always hosts the family, whoever can make it, at a beach house in the Outer Banks, NC every summer.  Each year a new t-shirt is made up for family members, and I had a great idea to make a quilt with all those t-shirts.  Unfortunately, I had the idea in the late fall and his birthday is in February.  But, I worked hard and diligently in all my free hours and got it done, and I'm pretty pleased with the result.

After that I finished a quilt for Dominic (something I had started in college for somebody else), but I don't have any pictures of that one.

Meanwhile, I started a new job, Jason graduated from law school, and my other life events happened, providing me with ample excuses not to get on with my resolution to learn to crochet.  Well, along comes November and I decided it wasn't too late.   I got myself a book, a hook, and a ball of yarn and sat down one weekend.

This is as far a I got.  2 rows of a really long scarf chain, and I haven't picked it up since. (Also, I lost my crochet hook).  I hope to get back to it this weekend as I'll be going to a meet-up with my good friend, Suzi of the Stars.  I should have a replacement hook to as she is making me one of her wonderful felted crochet hooks.

Technically, I would say I kept my resolution, I did learn... a little... about how to crochet.  Hopefully, this year  I'll actually complete a project.  I'd love to do a baby afghan and maybe some booties and a hat- I know a lot of people having babies, so these are good items to start with, as soon as I finish my scarf.

Wish me luck!

Monday, January 11, 2010

So Darn Tired!

Well,  today was my sixth consecutive weekday to get up to work out before 5am.  I must admit, by Thursday and Friday of last week my workouts got a little bit short and rushed because *somehow* I managed to take a really long time to drink my coffee.  But, I kept up the program and did a long-ish run (outside in the below freezing wind) on Sunday and got up again this morning.

I'm pretty happy with myself, but I'm also so tired.  I feel like I could fall asleep while typing this...

Whoa, what? (wipes drool from corner of mouth)  I guess I should take myself up to bed so I can face tomorrow when it arrives... at 4:30 am.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Side Table Re-do

Here's the second project I accomplished.  This was almost free, I used the same paint and primer as the dresser and the two leftover knobs from the 10-pack I purchased for the dresser.  The stand itself is something that I picked up from Freecycle and has been sitting in its pre-sanded state in our entry way for almost a year.  The only thing I bought for this project was the four new legs.  I'm not sure that I like them after all, but at this point I'm not willing to spend anything else on this project, and the old flat legs were destroyed when I remove them.  With out further ado here it is:


I have one more project I think I can squeeze from that quart of Billowy Down (love that name), so stay tuned.  Quick thought- do you think this would look cute with a little skirt under the drawers?  If so, ruffled or tailored?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Motivation

Like most Americans, I struggle endlessly with making the right food choices, portion control, and getting enough exercise.  It feels like I'm always starting over and resolving to do better.  I'm not a dieter, I've known that for a long time, but I have tried to gradually make changes towards a healthier lifestyle.  I've done pretty well in food choices, and I can now say that over 50% of my weekly groceries are fresh produce (we buy our meat once a month at a Costco).  I've successfully transitioned my family to eating cookies and other desserts made with wholewheat, cut the salt and oil in most of my recipes, and started using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and regular yogurt (which was easy because it's delicious!).

However, exercise continues to be a challenge for me.  I got a pretty good start on healthy habits in 2009.  With Jason finally graduating from law school and being able to spend evenings and weekends at home, I found I had the time to start something.   Initially I joined a gym with the intention of going 3-4 days a week, and alternated swimming with cardio & weights.  That went alright, but as the weather warmed up, I decided that I would try to be a runner.  Jason has been running pretty regularly for over a year, and I'm always looking for ways to find common interests between us.  So after about three months of runnng (somewhat sporadically), I quit the gym since I was no longer going.  But alas, fall came and with it came stress and long hours at work, which led directly into the holiday season of parties, eating, and a lot less daylight by the time I arrive home.

By sheer luck, I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and snagged a free treadmill at the end of November, and so now I many less excuses for not doing something regularly.  I do want to be in shape, but it's hard to find the motivation.  Yes, I want to be able to run around with my kids and grandkids, that's always been a goal.  And yes, I'm sick of my exercise-obessed husband looking better than me.  (To understand this you must know that when we got married he was about 50 lbs. heavier and I was about 15-20 lbs. lighter, I'm not digging the role reversal).  But my primary motivation for getting up and onto the treadmill these days?

Excuse the pictures, I'm a terrible, terrible photographer, but I'm doing my best.

The lasting effect it will have on Dominic.  He so excited about exercising right now.  Yesterday he was reluctant to come home (as usual) when I picked him up from daycare.  He was just having too much fun.  In the past I've tried bribing him with TV, seeing Daddy, a snack, and anything I could think of that would induce him to stop kicking and thrashing and come quietly.  Well, yesterday all I said was, "Don't you want to come home and do your exercises?"  And boom!  He was practically running for the car. 

I can't tell you how adorable it is to watch him run on the treadmill (with a parent standing very close) and do his push-ups and sit-ups with daddy.  But I can show you...

I'm admittedly biased, but really, isn't that darling?  He is wearing his exercise clothes, that he picked out.  I'm not sure why, but he definitely feels that a hat and gloves complete the ensemble.  So now when I don't want to get out of bed, I remember that it's not only my health and habits that I'm influencing, it's his as well.  And that helps.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My very own before and after

The month of December saw an expansion in my blog appetite.  No longer was I content to quietly stalk the lives of friends and neighbors, I needed more.  So, I stumbled upon home improvement/decorating blogs and endless hours were spent pouring over picture after picture and just itching to get my hands on some "good bones" piece of furniture I could refinish.  Thank you so much BetterAfter, for the countless hours of visual pleasure.

Then, on an afternoon jog I passed a pile of furniture with a large "FREE" sign.  I had to cross the street and run by.  Wait, could that be, no really, COULD THAT BE!  There was a hideously painted and spotted blue dresser with a darling curve and little legs.  And don't you know, I desperately need another dresser!  So I finished my run (considerably faster than I had planned) and dashed home to recruit the hubby for a minivan salvage mission. I promised that I would finish this project speedily, that I wouldn't need anything else for Christmas, and that I would take over dinner duty for that night.  This combination seemed to do the trick and hubby acquiesced to my fervor.

We got it home and took it down to my "studio" in our unfinished basement.  Here's the before:

I thought I had spotted a piece with potential.  It was quite dinged up, and I ended up puttying an entire corner (which will be strategically camouflaged when I figure out what I want to reside on my new surface).
But two hours of power sanding through blue, white, then green paint, and I felt I was making progress.

I also decided to replace the hardware from old-fashion pulls, to shiny new knobs.  So I filled in the extra holes and sanded some more.  Then a thorough going over with a damp cloth to get rid of any dust and on to the next step.

I put on a couple coats of primer, then a couple coats of Behr Billowy Down.  and Voila, the after:

Isn't she a beauty?  Right now I haven't decided how to "dress" her, but she is acting as a buffet in my dining room. I really do need another dresser, but I decided on the buffet first.  I know we will be moving in the next 4-6 months, so I have no idea where this piece will find its final resting home.

I love the crisp white of this, but I may have to had some distressing or another color when I figure out where she finally belongs. For right now though, she'd fit right in any room of my house and add a little much-needed class.

Stayed tuned for other projects I'll be doing to try to use up the rest of that Billowy Down quart.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Try, try again

I started a food blog back in the August/September time frame with noble ambitions.  I was going to blog about my monthly menus (yes, I do plan my menus a month in advance-mostly) and post each recipe with step-by-step pictures every night.  Alas, my eyes were bigger than my stomach for blogging, and this lasted a grand total of one week.  I guess you could say I bit off more than I could chew.

Really though, what was I thinking?  I work full-time, have a three-year old (plus husband) at home and am doing my best to try to develop that healthy and painful habit of exercising.  However, I do really like the idea of being a blogger.  I've never kept a journal or a diary, but I certainly tell stories of my life to whomever will listen.

With that in mind, I'm starting this blog with no grand promises of posting daily.  I'll post what I want, when I want.  I'm not going to try to stick to any theme, but this blog will revolve around my home and family.  I'm very much in a nesting mode right now, probably because there is a possibility that we'll be buying a home in the next year or so.  I've always wanted to be a home owner (just think, I get pick my own wall colors!) so this prospect has me in a tizzy, though I have at least 8 months to wait before even getting to start looking.

Anyway, we'll see how it goes, hopefully this won't be my only post.