Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ready to Play Monopoly!

"I get to be the dog!"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In Which Having Mommy Brain Finally Pays Off

Yesterday was my 38th birthday.  Had you asked me a few years ago what I thought about turning 38, I probably would have said that it would make me feel really, really old. 

About 9 years ago I developed a complication of pregnancy called "Mommy Brain."  Unfortunately this was not one of the pregnancy complications that is cured with delivery.  In fact, it became even more...complicated with the birth of my first child.  Over the next several years, my scathing case of Mommy Brain was compounded with the pregnancies and births of children numbers 2 and 3 to the point that it is truly miraculous that I can even make microwave pancakes without involving the fire department...oh, wait.  I can't. 

During the past 9 years, Mommy Brain has been responsible for me pouring glasses of orange juice, putting the OJ container in the cupboard, putting the full glass of juice in the refrigerator, and walking away and completely forgetting that I ever wanted orange juice in the first place.  I've left my keys in the freezer on more than one occasion.  And how could I forget the time I bought 4 gallons of milk at 10:00 am on a hot summer's day, loaded it all in the back of my minivan, and promptly forgot all about it until dinnertime?  Don't even get me started on remembering the kids' names:  MB either causes me to draw a complete blank or mockingly supplies the wrong name every other time I look at one of my babies and open my mouth to speak.

But, finally, for once, Mommy Brain did me a kindness.  I can't remember what prompted this, but a couple months ago I did some math --  2012 minus 1974 -- and realized that in September 2012 I would be celebrating my 38th birthday.  Here's the thing:  thanks to Mommy Brain, from sometime in late 2011 and throughout most of 2012, I already thought I was 38 years old!

Mommy Brain gave me a whole extra year.  I don't even care that I never got to be 37.

So yesterday, I got to celebrate being 38...again!  I don't feel any older at all.  In fact, I like 38 so well I might just celebrate it for a few more birthdays.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Staircase Remodel

Thirteen years ago when we bought our brand-new house, I did not really have an opinion about the generic oak cabinets in our kitchen.  With each passing year, however, I did begin to form an opinion:  Bleh.  Which makes my current opinion of our cabinets Bleh to the 13th Power.

About a year ago I began reading about a new product by Rustoleum called Cabinet Transformations. It is a kit that allows us "normal" (read: not particularly handy) folks to redo our cabinets with minimal work and supposedly professional results. I was, in the word of Baby Bear from Sesame Street, "intwigued." (I don't know what it is about the word "intrigued." Ever since I've had children who watch Sesame Street, I cannot say or even think the word without hearing Baby Bear say "intwigued." But I digress. As usual.)  However, redoing cabinets was not something Steve and I wanted to jump into feet-first.  Cabinets are pretty major: if we screw them up, there's really no taking that back.  So I would furiously research opinions on Cabinet Transformations,  read about how much everyone loved it, gather up my courage, and...get cold feet and forget about it for a month or two.  And then I would repeat the cycle.  Current state of our cabinets?  Still generic oak.

Recently it came to our attention that our staircase (also generic oak) was looking a little shabby.  Not only that, it no longer matched our floors since we replaced the hardwoods a couple years ago.  Steve and I had begun to research replacing the handrails and newel posts.  About the same time, I started up anew with the Cabinet Transformation research cycle and got fired up once and for all:  I was going to take a leap and redo those cabinets!  So I showed Steve the informational video, and he immediately said, "Why wouldn't that work on the staircase?  We were going to replace it anyway, and if this works, it's a lot less expensive than replacing it, and it'll be good practice for the cabinets."  This is why I married my husband.  

Guess what?  The opinions I read on the interwebs were right on.  This stuff is great!  No sanding or priming.  Just scrub all the wood with a deglosser, paint two coats of specially tinted paint, paint on and wipe off dark glaze, and top with protective clear coat. It took about five days, including drying time in between coats and the odd evening or two I took off to focus on eating bowls of chocolate peanut butter ice cream.  The worst part of the whole process was trying to keep all the hair from the World's Shedding-est Dog out of the wet paint. 

So, I give you our new staircase, courtesy of Rustoleum Cabinet Staircase Transformations in "Harvest":
Before:  grimy, worn oak
 After:  clean (anyone's guess how long), new "Harvest"


During the first part of the process

Closeup of the finished product

Next on the list:  cabinets!  Move over, Oak, you're about to become Antiqued White...just have to buy a new kit and some more ice cream.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Heartfelt Letter to Preschool

Dear Preschool,

I can't believe we've been together this long.  Remember when we first met?  It was fall of 2005.  Andrew was not quite yet two years old.  You really weren't on my radar yet; but Andrew would say no words except animal sounds (which I thought should count as words but that snotty speech therapist said otherwise), so we thought maybe you would help expose Andrew to lots of other kids talking and get him to do the same.

Preschool, it was love at first sight.  I was so very, very swollen and elephantlike pregnant with Adam; and Andrew was like a little toddler shark, always moving, moving, moving.  All I wanted was to sit motionless on the couch and mentally telegraph eviction notices to my enormous unborn child, and, Preschool, you gave me six hours a week to do just that.  And then Adam was born over Christmas break, and in January you graciously welcomed Andrew back into your loving arms *right when Daddy went back to work!*  And I got to shower.  And nap.  And try to figure out if the hospital had given me the wrong baby (but that is a letter for another time).  And it was glorious.  Preschool, I have never loved you more.

Oh, Preschool, it wasn't all love and light between the two of us.  I gave you "The Adam Years."  Those time-out chairs sure got a workout being thrown across the floor like that, didn't they?  Heh, heh, heh.  And, really, I cannot apologize enough for the "Running Away at the Strawberry Farm" incident.  (Note to self:  probably still not too late to send Miss Martha a bottle of good wine.)  There were the days when, for whatever random reason, my children would cling to my leg to prevent my leaving and your teachers would have to remove them using the jaws of life while ten or twelve little classmates watched in horror. 

But you must admit, Preschool, you gave as good as you got.  Your halls are admittedly a breeding ground for every form of childhood crud, no matter how your teachers chase down their charges with "hanitizer."  We certainly received our fair share of viral "gifts" from you!  And the stuffed animals and their journals you love to send home to overwhelmed mothers whose own children's baby journals should look so good have almost broken my spirit on more than one occasion.  In fact, Libby just brought home word that there is a stuffed monkey threatening to come here one random Thursday this year and he will be bringing his journal.  (We'll just see about that, Mickey.)  And do not get me started on the Thanksgiving banquets.  Just do not.

However, I think you will agree that ours has been, in the words of my cousin Molly, "a true love affair." But it will soon come to an end.  Libby, our little caboose, will go to kindergarten next year, and our relationship will be over.  Now that our last child has started her last year with you, I find myself a little nostalgic.  Time for a little trip down memory lane.

Andrew's first preschool Thanksgiving banquet with Grandma Betsy
Andrew and Seth at the 2-year-old class Thanksgiving program
Andrew and Adam before preschool one morning
modeling backpacks
Andrew and his buddies at preschool graduation
 Adam and Cocoa, the first of the $*@%! stuffed animals

Adam at (yet another) Thanksgiving program
Libby's first day of preschool!
Adam at the best. preschool. graduation. EVER.
Libby.  Our last preschooler's last "first day of preschool."  (sniffle)

Preschool, I would like to thank you and your wonderful teachers and directors:  Miss Veronica, Miss Oh-My-Goodness-What-Was-Veronica's-Helper's-Name-That-Was-So-Long-Ago?, "Mr." Pam, "Mr." Lisa, "Mr." Terry, (sorry, ladies, Andrew was only two), Mrs. Love, Mrs. Yow, Mrs. Tyson, Mrs. Belk, Mrs. Williams, Miss Martha (really sorry about that year again, Miss Martha), Miss Robyn, Miss Terry (again!), Miss Kris, Miss Libby, Miss Ginger, Miss Nicole, Miss Jenn, Miss Kitty, Miss Beth, and Miss Randi. 

Preschool, let's make this the best year ever.  Maybe I will even actually attend your Thanksgiving banquet this year.  Maybe.

A Grateful Mommy

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Dog and His Boy

Cooper and Adam.  So sweet...with a smidgen of creepy.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Charlotte's Web Dinner

Oh, it has been far too long since we've done a book theme dinner!  But now we have another little reader in the family and new opportunities to watch movies while eating hot dogs wrapped in dough in the name of  "education." 
Adam and Steve finished Charlotte's Web on Thursday, so Friday was our big night.  None of us had seen the live-action version of the movie, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.  Except for the closeups of the creepy CGI'd furry spider (Charlotte).  Spiders should not have big, expressive, Julia Roberts-like eyes under any circumstances.  *shudder*  *willies*
About the dinner...I can't say it was particularly healthy...
 Pigs in Blankets and Pig-Tail Fries

My favorite part -- ketchup for dipping!

Farm-Fresh (or frozen Mrs. Smith's perhaps?) Apple Pie

...all accompanied by County Fair Lemonade.  I admit, there was not a vegetable to be found.  Please do not alert the authorities.