Monday, March 28, 2011

good intentions

We have lived in our house for 8 years now.

We moved here in the fall of 2002, when I was pregnant and on bedrest with Sydney. We bought the house, and then found out we were expecting... so it was a huge blessing, as our first home was quite cozy.  By the time we sold our house and moved, Austin was 9 months old.  We knew that this house would need some serious the sweet orange shag carpet in our bedroom, and pealing linoleum in the kitchen would testisfy, but we liked the layout, location, and size. The plan was to work at it slow and steady, as we had recently discovered that we liked doing home remodel projects together. Upon moving in, there were 3 of us.  We had an extra bedroom upstairs that was home to my computer for a very few short months, and a bedroom that sat empty in the basement.

Fastforward 8 years...the house has changed a bit.  Aside from updating/painting, knocking out walls, re-doing flooring, and adding on to our kitchen...we have certainly done the bedroom shuffle over the years.  And our free time to work on house projects shrinks a little bit more every year.

Initially, Austin and Sydney each had their own bedroom upstairs.  A crib set up in each room.  When Dylan was born, he gained Sydney's room and crib, and the 2 "big kids" shared the other room.  It makes me laugh now when I think back....they were 2 and 3 years old and we had them in bunk beds. At the time they seemed so old!

This room scenario worked out really well for a few years.  When we found out that we were expecting again, we finished out the bedroom in the basement, and moved the boys and bunks downstairs to share. Austin was 6 and Dylan 3.  Sydney gained her original bedroom back.  It was painted pink, and the room with bunks was converted back to a nursery.  We left it the cute blue and green checkerboard theme I had painted on the wall years earlier when it was just Austin's room.... because we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl.

Stella was born, and the checkerboard was first painted lilac, then yellow, until I finally settled on a pale shade of pink that I was happy with.

And when Stella was 1 years old, we found out the good news about Ellery. I spent the better part of her pregnancy on bedrest, and in a "take it easy" state, so I never really had a chance to do much with rooms, or prepare much at all for that matter. 

What to do with Elle?  Would she be an Ellery or an Elliot?

On a side note, our baby's don't have a very good track record for sleeping at night.  They stay mixed up for a very long time, don't really like their cribs much, don't stand for being put down in those early morning hours....and consequently force us to ignore their cries once in a while. So, I knew I did not want her sharing with one of the kids.  I also wasn't ready for Stella to share with Sydney as she was still only 21 months old, and awake @ 3am most nights as well.  I didn't really want to put the babies together, because I didn't want them to wake each other up, on the off chance that one of them was actually sleeping.

After much debate, Sydney and Stella each maintained their own rooms, and we set up a pack-n-play in our bedroom.  We had never had a baby in our room before this, and we were a bit hesitant to do so.

Well, this scenario worked for a bit, because most nights were spent holding Elle out on the recliner in the living room.  She wanted no part of being set down between the hours of 11pm and 7am.   After about 4 months, this situation started to get old.  I could not let her cry it out in our room, and I was tired of not sharing a bed with Tim.  So, we moved Stella's crib into Sydney's room, and moved Elle's cradle into Stella's room.

Are you still with me?

This worked out well for the summer.  When fall came around, I realized I didn't want Stella and Sydney sharing once school started, because Stella is a very light sleeper.  It was also very clear Elle needed her own room, as she was still awake most nights.

So, we moved Sydney down to the basement, and she currently shares a room with the boys.  Both Stella and Ellery have their own room upstairs.  We are currently in the process of finishing out a room in the basement that we gained with our kitchen addition for Sydney.

Okay, I apologize about the long-windedness of this post if you are still with me.

Where am I going with all of this?  We have moved rooms around a lot.  The combination of the whirlwind of getting pregnant with Elle when Stella was 1, being on bedrest and trying to keep up with 4 kids, and the fussiness that defined the first year of Elle's precious life....I feel like I just haven't been on top of all things household for a long while.  I hastily dumped our dishes into our new kitchen cabinets 2 years ago while on bedrest, and I still have yet to go back and re-arrange them.

I've also come to realize that I have good intentions....way too many unfinished projects, rooms, ideas, etc.  And I've learned that I try to tackle too many things at the same time, only to leave me overwhelmed, and nothing completely finished.  I'm learning I need to stick with one project at a time.   So far I've stuck to little out the linen closet, the pantry, painting the trim, and sorting through and getting rid of a ton of clothes, etc.  Now that our family is complete, I feel like I can move forward with confidence in decorating and re-doing bedrooms.

And so, I've decided  to tackle them, one room at a time.

First up, Elle's room.  After we moved all of Sydney's junk out, removed all of her pictures from the was clear that it would need to be re-painted.  I chose a lime green color.  Sorry, my pictures are pretty poor, and make it look much more yellow than it is.  Join me on a journey of "getting it done"....

I have had this sweet old quilt in my closet for several years now, not knowing quite what to do with it, but knowing that I love it. It goes perfect!  I made curtains for the window, and some quilted letters to spell her name on the wall.

 I saw this idea on another blog, so I bought a bunch of hoops and began filling them with colorful fabric.  I'm very pleased with the way it turned out!
 I bought this picture from Ikea about 7 years ago, because I loved it so much, but never knew just where to hang it.  It goes so perfect!
 My helper :)

Next project- Stella's room.  Stay tuned :)

Friday, March 25, 2011


A truly monumental occasion. 

For the past week, this boy has been obsessed with his loose tooth.
And I have heard "MOM! Look at how much my tooth wiggles now!", no less than 48 times every day.  Usually to be followed by..."MOM!  You're not looking....LOOK!"

And sure enough, the tricks that tooth could do.  He could wiggle it, turn it on it's side, and flip it around.  Tuesday night while tucking him in, Dylan was giving me one last showing of his famous tooth tricks, when that tiny little piece of white fell out of his mouth.

The tooth fairy paid a visit.  And now the greedy little boy keeps asking if I think he should put one of his shark teeth from Florida under his pillow.  "Maybe it's worth 2 bucks, mom."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fashion Friday- A date with dad

Tim once again escorted Syndey to the local Father/Daughter banquet tonight.  Heather Williams is the vocal artist, and based upon the giddiness in Sydney's step before they left, I'm pretty sure they're having a grand ole' time.
Naturally, it was a good excuse to make her a new dress and hairbow...

And I must say, I think I've finally got the hang of it! I would even let you look at the stitching on the inside, that's how proud I am with the way it turned out.
While I still have no use for a pattern, I'm getting pretty good at just cutting the fabric up and piecing it together as I go.  My unit of measure on this one?  Each side of the hem at the bottom measures 3.5 wine glasses long.  Clearly professional seamstress tools.

Happy Friday all! 

Monday, March 14, 2011


Sydney turned 8 a few weeks back.  She spent her birthday at home.... a snow day from school.  While the news delighted her in the morning, the reality of not being at school to hand out her birthday treats became a bit more disappointing as the day wore on. 

At 8, Sydney's favorite past times include crafting, sewing, organizing, and mothering her 3 younger siblings.  She is a confident little gal, very tenderhearted, and always strives to please.  She can hot glue blindfolded, sew a sweet doll dress,  and delights us daily with the thoughtful little creations she  makes for all of us.  She has a creative mind, and doesn't see the purpose for math in her life.  For fun, I give her little sewing projects with specific dimensions, and she is appalled to know that she is using math :)

  For fun, I thought I'd interview Sydney as well.....

1.  What is your favorite color? yellow
2.  What do you want to be when you grow up? a nurse
3.  What is your favorite toy?  Lexi doll
4.  What is your favorite thing to do with dad?  dance
5.  What is your favorite thing to do with mom?  make crafts and sew
6.  Who is your favorite princess?  Cinderella, because I like her blue dress the best.
7.  Favorite subjects in school?  Reading, art, computer, library
8.  Least Favorite?  Math
9.  Favorite movie?  Ramona and Beezus
10.  Favorite food?  Big long thing and nutty bars
11.  If you could have chosen your name, what would it be?  Alyssa
12.  What is your favorite sport?  dancing
13.  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?  Florida- DisneyWorld
14.  Best part of being 8?  no more booster seat in the van

Proudly standing by her artwork that was chosen to hang on display at a local college.  She was quite proud.

 We had a combined birthday party for all of the Jan. and Feb. birthdays on Tim's side of the family.  Naturally the gals wanted a Cinderella cake.
Dylan wanted  "the claw" from Toy Story.

Happy Birthday Sydney!  We love you!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

random life

I  cleaned out the cupboard above my desk today.

You know, that cupboard.

The one that hangs directly over the desk.  The desk that rolls out the red carpet for school papers, newsletters, bills, junk mail, kids art work, random lists, buttons, memory cards, sticky notes, computer gadgets, coffee cups, candy wrappers, cards, and basically whatever is hastily tossed at it on a daily basis. 

Well, that cupboard, is the one that on a moments notice, can safely tuck that heap of junk behind its doors... making the desk feel all neat and tidy again, and me feel like i've got it all together.  The intention is to sort through it later, naturally....but thanks to my gift of procrastination, it usually doesn't happen until i'm frantically searching for a permission slip.

Well, while going through a precipice of mostly useless papers today, I stumbled across this little poem that got stuck in the mix.  And I thought I'd share it with you, because it made me smile. 

By:  Erma Bombeck

If I had my life to live over again, I would have waxed less and listened more.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I'd have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten popcorn in the "good" living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television, and more while watching real life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for a day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later, Now go get washed up for dinner"

There would have been more I love you's, more I'm sorry's, more I'm listenings, bu mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it, look at it and really see it...try it it...exhaust it...and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

a magical week- days 7 & 8

Okay, last vacation post.  It's starting to feel like homework, but since I started, I must finish.
Saturday morning we were " up and at em" at the crack of dawn .  We finished packing, loaded the van, said good-bye to the condo, and headed out to our last magical day of fun ....Disney's Animal Kingdom.

We followed the drove of people into the park, and headed to our first ride,  Kilimanjaro Safari. An open air vehicle tour through the savannas of Africa. 

We got a few more autorgraphs....

 Taking a break, eating "the mix"....clearly a vacation staple :)
The kids enjoyed Dinoland. Digging for bones, and Dinosaur the ride were a few of their favorites. 

A quick pic with a palm tree on the way out.  Saying good-bye to 84 degrees and sunny was oh so sad.   
All in all we had another magical day.  We were on the road by 3pm, homeward bound. 

We drove north until we were somewhere south of Atlanta, Georgia, where we stopped for dinner at a local Denny's.  We drank our pot of coffee, and then drove until 4 am, when neither one of us could keep our eyes open any longer. The drive home sure isn't as exciting as the drive down!  We pulled over at a reststop somewhere in northern Kentucky, and slept for about an hour or so. A couple hours later we stopped for breakfast in southern Indiana.
At breakfast, it began to rain, and we were alerted that we would soon be on the trail of a big ice storm the rest of the way north.  Thankfully we stayed ahead of the storm, and it didn't get really bad until we got off the highway.  We made it home safely, and quickly emptied out the van before heading over to pick up Ellery and Phoebe from Tim's folks.  We were all really eager to see our Elles again. It felt really weird not having her along with us, but it was a good decision to leave her.  We would have not been able to keep the pace we did with her along, nor would she remember it anyway.  Thank you to my MIL and Cara for watching her!
The kids had 2 snow days upon returning home, and then sickness began filtering through our family again.  Strep throat, ear infections and the pukies are hard to get on top of when there are 7 people to filter through.  Fortunately, we are starting to get on top of our game again over here.

All in all, we had a wonderful week chock full of memories... and we hope to return again someday, when Ellery is no less than 40 inches tall, of course :)

For my own record keeping...
-taking a back pack w/snacks and lunch worked really, really well
-bringing along pre-made casseroles and sub sandwhiches in the cooler made meals a lot easier when we got there.
-Disney seemed to be the slowest on the weekend.
-next time I would take more restaurant gift cards along
-non Disney members can not get into the park early, no matter wha the literature says.
-doing Disney every other day worked well. It was nice to have a day to sleep in and relax in between.
-having a plan of attack before we got to the park really helped

Friday, March 4, 2011

a magical week-day 6

On Friday, we slept in a bit, had a nice breakfast at our condo, packed a picnic lunch, and then headed out the door to Downtown Disney.  The kids wanted to get a few souveniers, so we thought we'd try it again.  We were pleasantly surprised to find it more serene by day, and were able to walk the streets unruffled. 

A dragon made entirely of legos. You could almost see the wheels turning in the boys heads as they studied the creation.

We left Downtown Disney, and headed back to Cocoa Beach for the afternoon. We had a picnic on the beach, and spent a delightful afternoon soaking in the sun.  I'm glad we went back, because it was much warmer this visit.  Once the kids had their fill, and my right leg was thorougly sunburned, we headed back to our condo for dinner, and to work on homework and packing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

a magical week- day 5

Thursday morning we were up bright and early, in line again at the Magic Kingdom before they opened.   The night before, Tim and I made a plan of everything we had yet to see, and what we definately wanted to do again.  He also made inserts for Stella's shoes out of pieces of rolled up socks, to ensure we could all ride Splash Mountain together.  Worked like a charm :)

The park was definately busier on Thursday, and by 10:30am there were lines for most rides. We made sure to grab fastpasses to all our favorites as the times came available.  By afternoon it was so busy that we took time to get ice cream and sit down, in an effort to get away from tripping over people for a bit.  At one point we were waiting in line to meet Rapunzel, and get her signature.  After about 15 minutes, the attendant happened to be walking by, so I asked him how long the wait was. He informed me she wouldn't even be out for another hour, and based on where we were in line it would take another hour to get up to her.  Needless to say, our kids never met Rapunzel :) 

By the time the fireworks show ended in the evening, our fun meters had been filled to the brim, and we left satisfied customers of all things Magic Kingdom.  Another fantastical day of memories.

Dylan LOVED the inter-galactic Buzz Lightyear ride.  We rode it no less than 8 times.  The kids were also quite impressed that instead of signing their autograph books, Buzz had a name stamp.

We watched a pretty entertaining interactive pirate show.  The kids were called up on stage and became honorary pirates.  A few certain mates could not stop drooling :)

Waiting in line for Splash Mountain. 

Do you see the half smile on the little gals face? From a distance she tolerated the loveable bear, and even gave him a high five.

Favorite rides?

Austin- Space Mountain
Sydney- It's a Small World
Dylan- Buzz Lightyear
Stella- It's a Small World