Archive for January 2013

Toddler Times


Last week I started a new thing called, "Bad Decision Thursday". It was a great idea, considering I do make bad decisions on a daily basis...plenty of which, make excellent stories. But as this week has gone on, the events of each day have left me longing for Friday. (Is it really only Wednesday??) And even though a few of these events have occurred because of my regular bad decisions, most of them have not. Most of them have been caused by the curious little boy who son.

And so, as I sat down this morning thinking about which bad decision of mine would make it to my Bad Decision Thursday post, I realized...
I don't really need to vent about those bad decisions. 
I can live with my bad decisions and their following consequences. I've had to do so for my entire 23 years. But the thing I can't seem to live with, without venting to at least one pal and always to my the endless stream of terrible awfuls that come from the sweet little hands of my toddler.

Thus the beginning of 'Toddler Times'. And so long to the regular, weekly 'Bad Decisions'. I'm sure there will be one or two along the way that I simply can't go without sharing. But seriously, I NEED this outlet when it comes to the mischief that is had by Aden.

So, for today...let's begin with this...

Yesterday, I took advantage of the lovely 62 degree & sunny weather to go outside and get our yard cleaned up. Winter blues have bogged me down and the chance to rake away the ugly and mow down the yuck was simply irresistible. Also, a chance to let my little guy release his energy in the wide open spaces of the yard was a nice, juicy cherry on top of my sunshine sundae.

6 bags of leaves, 3 hours and a swept driveway later...
After a long, exhausting but highly rewarding morning of yardwork, Aden and I decided to head inside for some lunch. And just as we finished up the driveway, my husband got home. Perfect timing! Because Mama was tired and had a serious headache. So after we had some lunch and Aden was napping, I laid down for a nap myself, hoping to sleep off the aching. Long story didn't work, and after getting Aden up and dressed once he woke up from his nap, I sent him outside with Daddy and went back to sleep. ONLY TO WAKE this...

That's right. Nail polish. My FAVORITE nail polish. My only $4 bottle of nail polish that I have ever owned, usually tucked safely away in my purse, which is usually hanging in our entry closet.

Of course this day, my purse was on Harold's desk in the living room. Where he had left Aden...while he ran out to the garage 'only for a minute!'

Ok, ok, so it could have been worse. It really could have. And I've made this same mistake before, thinking that Aden would behave himself if I just run to the other room 'only for a minute'.

Not every man can pull off this shade of pink...

And me making that same mistake is exactly why I am writing this post.

Because yesterday, I have to admit, I was annoyed.

I was annoyed with my husband because he made this mistake. You can't leave a toddler alone! Not even for a minute! It's exhausting, it's frustrating, sometimes it's just a downright bother. But that's life! That is life with a toddler. And after I finished my mini-tirade, spouting all of these things at my husband, who I love and adore and can't thank enough for putting up with me, I did feel a little bit guilty...because I AM guilty. I am guilty of doing exactly what he did. But I left it alone and we moved on...

...and now, I am eating my words. Big time.

So, today I decided to finish up the yardwork. It's 70 something, sunny and breezy...perfect for another day of raking & mowing. Aden came outside with me, dressed in his rain boots and ready to work! He was helping me for awhile, raking while I mowed, pretending to mow while I raked. He would disappear every once in awhile and I would have to stop and go find him. Almost every time, he was sitting in our little garden area, picking weeds and digging with a little shovel while the dogs sat next to him, lazily basking in the sunshine. I left him there, pausing every so often to go and check on him. But then...after checking, and checking, and checking...I made my mistake. I decided to just keep mowing instead of shutting it off to peek around the corner to see that he was still in the garden. 

What could he get into, anyway??

Almost as quickly as I thought those words, I shut off the mower and went to check on him.

The garden was...empty.

No Aden. No dogs. PANIC.

I ran to the back door, knowing my son and knowing that he would remember that we still had tools in there from our laundry room project.

But before I got there, I turned the corner and was stopped...and I gasped...literally gasped for air...

That would be paint. Fresh from the paint roller I so carelessly left in the laundry room.
It gets better...

See the dog door? My sweet son broke in through there...and all those muddy prints? That's from the muddy dogs who followed him in and rolled around...fortunately BEFORE his little paint job.

Look who popped out from behind the door? "Oops..."
And this is what this look says..."Um...are you mad? You look mad...should I cry??"
And this is what he really said..."UH OH...SOWWY MAMA!!"
And now...I will be cleaning paint for the rest of the afternoon. 

And apologizing to my husband.

Project: Laundry Room, Part Two


My laundry room is nearly Pinterest worthy.

And it makes me SO HAPPY!

Seriously, this morning I stood at my back door, looking out into the laundry room, admiring the new look for more time than I'd like to admit. I just can't keep myself away from it! My husband and I actually took a few moments last night to take in our handiwork, talking about how nice it is to feel like the laundry room is actually a part of our home, instead of the cold little lean-to afterthought it was before. 

If you haven't seen our project from the beginning, you can find that here.

After procrastinating for a few days, Harold got tired of waiting around for me to get the floor painted and so he painted it himself. I swear, if he wasn't around, I may never get anything finished!! After it was done, though, I was so excited about how the room was coming together that I couldn't help but get started on the soon as the floor dried. Day 4: Paint floors...CHECK!!

This was taken through our back door window, so the glare is a little distracting...there isn't really a big white triangle on the back wall. But behind that, you can see that I did finally get the walls finished!! And even though it's hard to see in my pictures...(I promise to upload photos that aren't taken with my phone at some point)...this is the paint color.

Behr Premium Plus Ultra: Moss Landing.
 See? The pictures just don't do it justice! Also, the light we have in there right now is just about to die. So it is currently giving off a purplish glow...which doesn't do much for our Moss Landing green.

Day 5: Paint the walls...CHECK!!

And here is the last part of our progress so far. Everything is starting to look a little closer to the final product that we have in mind. Day 6 included getting the pedestal painted as well as putting up the shelves. Now that the pedestal is all white, it really looks a lot better to me. At first I was wondering whether we should have gone with more of a built in base, using drywall or keeping with the original look and using cinder-blocks. But now, I'm very happy with what we chose to do.

 Especially since our plan for this house includes putting it on the market within the next 2 years.

Everything we do with this home, we are doing with that in mind. The paint colors, the upgrades, the storage...we want the biggest bang for our buck, and the best way to do that is to spend a little and get a lot. With our $100 projects, I'm absolutely positive that we will get ourselves to the point where our home is ready to sell, by the time Hubby gets his orders and we are ready to leave Virginia behind us.

So when it comes to things like upgrading our laundry room, we figured that a base that is removable is best, in case new owners want options. Just in case they don't have front loader machines. Just in case they want to use the space differently. But just in case they DO have front loaders, this would be an excellent selling point, don't you think? All the work is already done! 

So anyway, there's the laundry room re-do update! Next up, finish putting up shelves, then cleaning up and bringing our 'beer fridge' back in.

Day 6: Paint Pedestal & Install shelves...CHECK!!

Project: Laundry Room


Harold and I have started a new thing. For as much as I like projects, my husband likes to build things, make things, improve things probably twice as much as I do. And this guy is a perfectionist. A REAL perfectionist. There is not one ounce of lazy in that man...which is good for me. Because usually all I have to do is mention a project, and as long as I can get him as excited about it as I am...I know that it will happen. PLUS it will happen in the most cost effective way possible. Because Harold is the most penny pinchinest guy I know.

So anyway...we started a new thing, because one of our shared interests happens to be all-things-project-like, official Family Projects have come about. (We probably could have picked a more unique name...I was trying to figure out something that rhymed...but this will have to do.) Together we have already done countless projects in our almost 4 years of marriage...but since making it a real things, only one project has earned the title. (this is a relatively new thing)

In order to be an official Family Project, it has to... something that we choose to do together. something that we are both excited about.
AND something that costs our family $100 or less. 

And so, our family projects started with a table...

Our finished table!! Beautiful, right? And only $100!! Thank you, Pinterest.

I was SO happy with the results of our first project!! The supplies were inexpensive, we had all of the tools we needed and it only took us 3 days (including 1 full day to let the stain dry), the table was ready just in time for Thanksgiving and all of our company!

Check out the tutorial we found and followed here, at Country Girl Home!

Thanksgiving snacks
Thanksgiving pies & desserts! There were another 4 pies at least in the kitchen...I have a problem.
So, of course, since that project went so well, we decided to go a little bigger this time. We decided to tackle our laundry room. It is in some serious need of a remodel, and after drawing up some plans, pricing out the materials and deciding it would take less work than the rest of our projects, it got moved right up our list to #1 real quick. And so we went to our favorite place and got started...

Want to see a bit of our inspiration? Check out one of my fave sites (found via Pinterest), Ana White: Homemaker, and this one with Contractor Kurt.

$100 worth of materials: Check!

This is another time when I almost forgot to take my Before picture. The only thing you're missing here is in that right hand corner, there was a 'beer fridge', which is currently in the garage until we are finished. Also, the entire floor was that blue color...awful. And as you look at these pictures, you'll notice I never finished painting the walls. I started this project with my pal Tara while our husbands were deployed...actually, we started the painting project about 5 days before they were due to return.

So we rushed a little...and we cut a few corners...literally. 

The fridge hid that corner fairly well and I didn't want to move it at the time. (I'm lazy, ok?) We also put up those shelves...but they are now taken down and will be on the opposite wall...that you can't see right now. But anyway...

Here we go!! This was so exciting, I can't even tell you how happy I was to see this project finally beginning...

The base for our washer/dryer pedestal was starting to take shape!
I think we have a little handyman in training, here!! Aden loves projects just as much as Mommy & Daddy!
Here is the frame for the base! Beautiful, right??
Aden left his signature on the box.

After disassembling in the garage, we brought all the pieces into the laundry room to be installed.
Aden is testing out the dog bed. (The left will be a dog bed for our girls, the right will be room for 2 laundry baskets)
Fits perfectly! Plenty of room for the laundry baskets.

The top all painted! Notice the little paw prints on the floor? Our kitty, Blue, had to check out the project.
Here we's starting to look more like our final goal!
Are you still with me? I know there were a lot of pictures to go through. This project has taken us 4 days so far, this last picture was at 3 days of progress. And to be fair, that $100 won't complete our laundry room. It really just did exactly what you see here. Today I will be painting the rest of the floor and depending on when that completely dries, we will be finishing the walls next. We have all the paint for those projects, but the next part we have to wait to do. We will be adding the finishing touches to the pedestal, as well as tearing out our steps down into the laundry room and rebuilding them...

Have you seen this idea on Pinterest? I have seen it all over the place...I tried to find a link to a tutorial, but haven't been successful yet. We will just have to wing it! Anyway, it's the inspiration for our new steps.

So, that is days 1-3 of our laundry room re-do. I'll keep you updated as the progress continues!

Project: Organize.


I'm a lazy perfectionist.

Weird, right?

But really, that's what I am. I like things the way I like them, in a certain way at a certain time and with a little bit of charm, as close to Martha as I can muster. 

But only when I feel like it.

And it works for me.

Until I get this feeling like I'm slacking and things start to seem like they are anything but perfect. Then I just get annoyed...and I clean. I clean a lot. And I organize. A lot.

A week ago today, we got home from 20 days of vacation chaos. We were going, going, going from the minute we stepped onto our plane out of Norfolk, right down to the minute we crawled back into our own beds that first night back home. The next morning, though, instead of relaxing and lounging and doing what any normal person might do...I started in on my To-Do list. Laundry, cleaning, de-cluttering and organizing. After twenty days gone, my house was feeling much less than perfect...and I wasn't having it. 

I was on a clean every corner. Nothing was safe.

And before you begin, let me just say that I have already added "Always take Before pictures, no matter what" to my 'Resolutions' list, because I never remember to do that, and it's moments like these that I really wish I had.

This is our pantry. It is in need of a face-lift (ranked as Project #5 so far on our Family Projects list), but other than that, before my need to clean took over, this pantry was a mess. Once upon a time, there was order, organization and rhythm on those shelves...but that time had long passed. It was time to right my wrongs and make up for my laziness of the past. I would no longer have to apologize to anyone before opening my pantry door. I would no longer purchase multiple items thinking we were out, when in fact the items were simply hidden behind the clutter. (note the 4 bags of croutons...I'm ashamed) The time had come. And so it was written, and so it was done! Organize Pantry: Check!

This is my closet. It's actually mine and my husband's closet. This was something that, upon purchasing our home, I didn't care much about. It's a place to hang clothes...yay. But now that we have lived in this home for over a year, and I have done my best to keep this overflowing mess in order, I've decided I should have cared a little more about this...because there. is. no. room. I have utilized every inch of this closet. (Except for that patch of white straight at the back...I could probably do something with that...hmm...) But anyway, the beauty of this photo will never fully be appreciated because there is no before photo. The before was awful. It was scary and it was downright embarrassing. There were clothes coming from every corner, spilling onto the floor and crammed into spaces that don't even exist anymore. And I was tired of it. And so...I fixed it. It took entire evening...but once it was done, I was happy, and I could finally relax a little. Organize Closet: Check!

Ok, so those were my big projects when it came to organizing my house...I really felt like there had been more...but now that I think about it...those two projects just took me almost two entire I guess it just felt like more. Is it sad that it took me two days to organize two closets?

Project: Fresh.

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A new year calls for new beginnings.

New beginnings, fresh starts and new goals. 

That's what this post is all about...starting fresh.

So here's my new fresh bold new beginning...


Genius, right?

Ok, if you know me, this isn't really a new thing for me. I'm pretty much always doing projects, big and small, crafty or foody, building or tearing down, inside or outside...but if it's outside, I'm usually just supervising. (I don't like dirt...) And considering the name of this blog begins with the word 'Project', maybe this isn't that bold or really all that fresh, even. But there's more to this than just a word. A word is boring...and trust me...this will be anything but boring. (see what I did there?)

I. Love. Projects.

No exaggeration, there. I really, truly, love projects.

I want to be busy all day, every day. I want to be doing things, making things and improving things with every minute I have to myself. If I am watching a movie, you can bet money there will be a project on my lap through the entire thing. If there is a holiday around the corner, my craft room is drowning in the festive colors of choice...and if you follow me on Pinterest, you may be overwhelmed with an obsessive amount of DIY overload...and if you happen to be my Facebook pal, you're most likely annoyed by my weekly updates of my completed Pinterest finds.

You get it, right? Do you see where I'm going with this?

Writing. Photography. & Projects.

Weekly, sometimes maybe even daily projects? I'm excited already!!

Ok, before you say it...which you may have already thought it...

A Mommy blogger obsessed with Pinterest and DIY projects?
Old news.
And if you didn't think that, then don't bother going anywhere else but here. Because I'm the only one with this idea and it's never been done before. Love me. And only me.
 Otherwise, you're right. It is sort of old news. Which is what I was afraid of. But as I was reminded just recently, what isn't old news these days?? 

So, now that my blog actually has a purpose of sorts...I feel much better about blogging.

And if you haven't already, and maybe feel like you could, should or would...

Follow me!!





It's been a long and busy January, and we still have another 10 days to go. This time last week, my little family and I were on our way home, making our way from Utah to Colorado. 

(Has it been a week already?)

I am not usually one to wish away the days, especially since my son was born. OH, how I wish those days hadn't gone by so fast. But lately, this little man, my sweetest guy, my biggest fan...he is just...


I'm not a toddler person. I'm not a kid person, at all, actually. I'm just a person with a kid, and I have to deal with it. I have to deal with this kid who has come into my life and no matter what I will forever have an overwhelming, unexplainable, incredibly beautiful and unconditional love for him.

Even when he is...two.

Oh yeah...
Aden. Is. TWO.

And two is challenging.

Two is difficult.

Two is hard.

But no matter how many fits, screams, tears and tantrums...

I have decided that in the midst of it all, I need to do my best to make these days count. To see past the emotional meltdowns of my little handsome and remember that once the clouds have cleared, my little sunshine will be shining bright again. I will make sure that I treasure the days I have with this little boy. I will be sure to be the best Mom I can be and keep calm, stay patient and just love him...because that's what he needs.

I will not wish two away.
 In the words of a dear friend, Noel...

"This too shall pass...and then you'll miss it"


Did I mention I'm dying for those sleepless newborn nights? 
There is wisdom in those words...

Houston. Again.


Houston is a very bad place.

 This is where flights go awry and bags go missing, where long days get longer and where the weary traveler is met with confusion, disorder and inconsistency.

Never. Go. Here.

Ok, so maybe Houston isn't so bad. We did have a pretty good time exploring in our 24 hour layover the first time around. But the airport, oh, the airport is a place where traveling dreams go to die. And before they die, they are tortured...tortured by the people who claim to work there. It's a tad grungy, outdated and in dire need of a face lift. This place is depressing, just thinking about it makes me sad...and angry...and whiny...

So maybe I'm jaded.

Maybe my expectations are too high.

Maybe...just maybe...I'm a spoiled brat.

But MAYBE the people of the Houston airport don't know how to do their jobs, and if they do, they just choose not to do them...every time we fly in. 

I've had a couple days to cool down a bit, since we finally touched down in Norfolk and vowed never to fly again. But as I sit about 5 inches (seriously...) away from my laptop screen, straining to see the words that I am typing, all of the happiness of finally being home is quickly turning right back into a big, dark, nagging cloud of ANGRY. 

Houston. Stinks.

So, let's get you up to speed on what's happening here, just in case you actually like Houston and you're possibly feeling defensive. My griping is justified...I swear. See, when we flew into Houston  THIS TIME, we were flying out of Denver and our plane was overbooked. The thing was huge, with lots of room for lots of they crammed us in, stuffing the plane as full as it would go. And as we were boarding, rushing to get ourselves together just outside the door to the plane (if you haven't flown with children, I suggest you keep it that way) we made a split decision to leave our biggest carry-on bag there at the gate for them to check for the flight and then return to us at the gate of our next stop (Houston). NO BIG DEAL, we've done this almost every single time we have flown, at one point or another, because of overbooking or little room or whatever. And even when we have been caught in an unexpected layover, we have always had our bag waiting for us at the matter what...even without a contact tag. 

OH YEAH, we forgot to label our bag. For as much as we travel, you'd think that we would have thought to cover all of our bases by now...

So anyway, our bag that we left in the hands of the airport people happened to be our layover bag, prepped with an outfit for each of us, our toiletries, extra pull-ups & wipes, my make-up and my glasses & contacts. That's glasses... my contacts...MY EYES!! Without them, I am practically blind. 

Seriously...5 inches from the screen...pity me.

Our flight to Houston was smooth. Almost too smooth. Aden fell asleep before we even took off, we had just eaten a good lunch and we even bought ourselves a few magazines to read during the trip. It was...relaxing. I actually enjoyed that flight. So I should have was my sign...the sign that something was coming, something bad. 

We landed in Houston with a good 40 minutes to get ourselves from one gate to the next.

Plenty of time!!

We got off the plane and stood at the door of the plane, and our bag was nowhere to be seen. Harold asked the man standing there what happened to our bag...and then came some of the worst words I have ever heard...

"Oh, it will be down in baggage claim."   

Instant rage. INSTANT, I tell you. 

Without a word, Harold and I took off down the walkway, bursting through the gate and searching frantically for Baggage Claim signs. We got ourselves to the doorway leading out to the land of bags and started down the escalator. 


Harold and I usually travel with a carseat travel stroller, one that we can just leave Aden in his carseat and snap it in as we high tail it from plane to plane. But this time, we absentmindedly left that stroller at Harold's Aunt & Uncle's house in instead of pushing Aden around, we had to hold his hand and drag him along as we took turns carrying the carseat and our other carry-ons...technically not Houston's fault...but I'm blaming it anyway...

Anyway, as we stood on the escalator, I looked up and realized...we had just...left...the airport...

I mean, in the back of my mind, I knew that we would have to leave the secured area in order to go to baggage claim...but I just didn't make the connection until we were in that very moment...when we were about 10 feet too late to go back. There may have been a few choice words muttered on those steps...

So let me just make this next part quick, because I just can't go through the details again. 
It makes me want to cry...and I just don't want to cry today.

Run to baggage claim. Stand around. Watch for bag. See last bag come down the belt. Get angry. Cry a little. Stand around. Wonder "WHY?!". Harold kindly asks lady "Where is bag?". Lady says, "Bag in Norfolk."


Our bag was supposedly on its way to Norfolk, being treated as an actual checked bag. Without an I.D. tag. Without any sort of identifier at all. This bag, small and black, is as generic as they come. 

So on to the next part...which makes me want to cry even more...

Follow signs to Terminal B. Hop on Terminal Train. Train door breaks. Stuck in train. Cry a little. Panic, picturing scenes from horror flick. Door opens. Run out. Man fixes train. Get back on train. Get to Terminal B. Go through security. Again. Bag flagged by scanner. Picked for bag search. Leave Harold to deal with it. Run with carseat to find gate. Mislead by unhelpful airport man. Run up escalator. Get lost. Run down next one.

4 minutes to take-off.

And just as my arms are about to give out from carrying such a large and awkward object through a sea of obviously grumpy travelers (maybe they hate Houston, too) I run up to see Harold sitting at a chair with Aden. 

"The plane is late."

I. Hate. Houston.

But the good news is, we made our flight. We got out of the black hole. And even though the flight was tough (Aden cried until they announced that we were making our final descent. Then he promptly fell asleep), we made it home, safe and sound.

 Without a bag.
Harold and Aden asleep on our flight from Denver. No pictures from the flight from wasn't pretty. You're better off pretending this is how we always travel.

Scratch that...


So here's the deal...

As I sat down to start a post, forcing myself to write, trying my hardest to come up with interesting things to say about uninteresting photos and blah details of my day to day life, I realized...this isn't what I want. When I first decided to do this 365 project, I thought that it would be the perfect way for me to keep my family and friends updated on our lives. I already take anywhere from 5-300 pictures in a day, why not pick one or two and post them with a little story from the day? I love to write anyway, especially for people who appreciate my style...of writing, that is. And I love why not combine the two??

And so I did. And it was fun...for a little while. And then it got hard. And then I failed.

But then it got fun again. But then life took over. And then my blog became work.

And me and work...well...we don't play nice.

So now, here I am, making myself sit down and work. And I don't like it...not even a little bit! I'm searching out photos from a week ago, trying to remember the details that go along with them just so I can make up for the days that I missed...because I can't handle looking back and seeing that my 365 project is failing (in all honesty, I'm technically already down to about 355...) And as I read through a few posts that I posted just to post, it leaves me wondering how many people might even care about these blah details. Sometimes I wonder why I even care about them...(only the boring ones, like what we had for lunch) YES, I was actually writing a post that included a picture of Mexican food. Which means that I am finding myself turning my blog into something I don't want...

And that's just not gonna fly.

So now I'm left with a decision to make. Do I buckle down and make up these posts, filling up my blog with boring? Well, I don't. Instead, I am going to ditch the 365 project. 

Say what you will...

...but it's hard! And let me just say, I was warned. OH, was I warned. I was told this would be hard and I was told it would be difficult sticking to such a specific subject, especially when Lord knows I have plenty of other things to say. But I didn't listen. I might be stubborn, and a glutton for punishment. Maybe.

 And so I did it anyway, and I have learned the error of my ways. And I have turned from the darkness that is work and have chosen a path of less resistance. And it shall be...awesome.


Q: What if I like reading about your blah details and the sweet nothings of your daily routine?
A: Facebook.  
 Q: How often will you be posting, now that you've failed your project, your loyal friends, family and followers?

 A: Every day that I feel inspired to do so. Which will hopefully be every day...but count on less. I like to keep the bar low, so as not to disappoint any further.

Q: Will you be creating a new blog? I mean, this one still suggests that this is a 365 project...that's pretty misleading.

 A: No new blog, me + work = no. Remember? Plus, this is my third attempt at a blog, and it will not fail. I like to think of this blog name as I think of my one and only tattoo. I may have outgrown it, but whether I like it or not, it will be here to remind me of where I've been and what I've learned and where I never care to go again.
 Q: Can I publicly follow you so you feel like your posts matter, even though I'm not sure what your blog is even about anymore?

 A: Yes. Yes you can!! Over on the right hand side of this clean cut blog there is an option to "Join This Site". Do it. You won't be disappointed.