Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Mantel Makeover

Early last week, I dug out the fall/Halloween boxes. I've never really purchased a bunch of fall decorations at once. I've gradually accumulated enough that I feel I can finally do a decent job of decorating for autumn. I artfully arranged my pumpkins and put out all my spicy scented candles, but the wall above the mantle was vacant. The painting that usually resides there is mostly yellow and spring green and totally doesn't feel like fall. It feels like spring and summer, and I needed a better focal point for the living room.

My solution? Plywood, spray paint, acrylic craft paint, and one very abused paintbrush. My original idea was to use actual leaves and stamp them all over the painted wood, but the trouble with that idea is that all the leaves large enough to look neat are still living very high in the treetops. The ones that have fallen are already dead and a bit too fragile for painting and stamping. I have a couple of thick felt placemats cut in the shape of large leaves, so I traced one of them onto each piece of wood and dabbed paint inside the leaf shape. It looks kind of spongey, and I like it. And the very best part is that I only spent about $11 - $4 for each piece of wood and $3 for the can of brown spray paint. I know. I was out. Can you believe it?

I think finishing up my fall decorating is the best way to celebrate the first day of autumn.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's curtains!

In the last couple of weeks, I feel like I've curtained, and re-curtained, my entire house. I inherited a few cast-offs from a friend who is moving, and I've had some fabric sitting in a box for about a month just waiting to be turned into curtains for the front door and in the kitchen.

And before you tease me, yes, I do realize that I have inadvertently turned yet another room of my house into a red, white, and blue room. In the thumbnail online, it appeared to be orange, white, and blue checks, but it most lighting (and definitely once hung in the kitchen) what I thought was orange really looks red. Actually, now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure the color was called persimmon. Persimmons are orange, right?

Here's my first ever balloon valance, balloon shade, cloud shade, or whatever you prefer to call it. I think my curtain how-to book called it a cloud shade, but I didn't actually make it a shade. It's fixed.

This is the second one. Who's that naked kid making a mess in my kitchen?

This is the one for the front door. I bought an aqua and brown toile to match the console table I spray painted for my foyer back in the spring. Please ignore the slightly not matching ribbon tying it up. I intend to get some brown fabric and make a sash that looks better at some point. Hopefully it will happen soonish.

Hooray! I've been in this house for over a year, and I finally have curtains up everywhere...except for Aidan's room and my room. I'll get to them soon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Doctor Debacle

Yesterday afternoon, I had an appointment to take the kids to the pediatrician. Normally, I try to take them separately to make life simpler. However, they both needed flu shots, Neely needed her 12-month check-up and vaccinations, so I rolled everything into one visit. The appointment was for 2:45pm. As a result of prior insanity (yesterday was one of the busiest we’ve had in a while), I arrived at 2:46pm – one whole minute late.

The waiting room was pretty full when we got there, with several people waiting outside because it was stuffy from all the warm bodies packed in. There are a couple of things to entertain the kids in the waiting room – a funhouse mirror, something mounted to the wall with a steering wheel and looks like you’re driving a tractor, a chalkboard sans chalk, and this broken thing that used to be a sort of maze that turns (I’m pretty sure it’s broken because all the kids would stand there and spin it as hard and fast as possible – think Wheel of Fortune – and not use it correctly.). They also have a television set up with a movie playing, but the screen is up pretty high and the wall of windows on the opposite side almost always produce a glare, making it hard to see. These things held Aidan’s interest for maybe half an hour. Neely wanted to play, and I did let her try, but she always ended up plopped down the floor wanting to crawl around and make friends with everyone, so I ended up having to hold wrestle her in my lap. Once Aidan’s attention waned, I had to share the chair with him (since there were none empty), and was practically wrestling him as well.

After about 45 minutes, I noticed that everyone who was waiting when I arrived had been called back. A little while later, I realized that four or five families who showed up after me had been called back, too. Granted, most of the people there were getting flu shots and were leaving minutes after they were seen, but you’d think with that much traffic going in and coming back out, I wouldn’t have had to wait so long…especially with an appointment.

Finally, I decided it was time to revisit the receptionist. Neither of my kids had gotten their afternoon nap, Aidan was asking every 30 seconds whether or not it was our turn, Neely was squirming and trying to rip my earrings from my ears, and I’d had it, too. When I questioned what was going on, the receptionist called the nurses’ station for my doctor and informed me that there was only one person in line ahead of me now. Moments later, we were called.

It took less than five minutes to weigh both kids and measure Neely (Aidan is 33 pounds, Neely is nearly 20 pounds and is 29 inches long now, 50th percentile), then it was time to wait again.

We waited about 20 minutes to see the doctor. It was pure torture. Here we are in an exam room with absolutely nothing for Neely to do but play with herself in the mirror, which got old quick, and a few tattered books that held Aidan’s attention for about as long. Plus, at this point, Aidan is sulky because he’s remembered that he’s here for a shot, and he doesn’t want a shot. I’m not kidding when I tell you that when we got into the room, he sat down in his chair, huffed, asked me for a book, huffed a bit more, took a book from me, informed me that he was ready to go, and hurled the book across the room. He’s absolutely wonderful when he hasn’t napped.

Talking with the doctor was fairly uneventful. He looked in Neely’s ears, listened to her heart, checked out her tummy, and then asked the necessary questions. “Have you switched her to whole milk yet?” “Yes.” “Is she still taking a bottle?” “No.” “Do you give her vitamins?” “Yes.” He looked stumped for a minute before telling me that I was already doing everything he usually tells moms to start doing at this appointment.

Then, we discuss the flu shot. These were just your regular, run-of-the-mill flu shot. They will be getting the swine flu vaccine sometime in October. I kind of look at the doctor for a few seconds, hoping I’m not going to get in trouble with this, and I ask him, “Do you think that’s really necessary?” He told me that he has seen several children who’ve caught the swine flu in the last few weeks, but that every case he’s seen has been very mild. He said that typically when you’re seeing it as often as they have been lately, it means it’s at its peak and will usually die down within about a month. He thinks that by the time the swine flu vaccine comes to Shreveport, the season for it will be over in our area. He told me to listen to the local news, and when I start hearing that it’s available, to call him and see if he thinks it’s worth getting at that point. He seemed to be about as skeptical as I am about the swine flu being such a big deal, so I think he’ll be pretty straightforward about that when the time comes. Thank goodness.

And now? We wait some more. The doctor always leaves the door open once he’s finished, presumably because the nurse should be ready to come in with our shots so we can go. It never works this way for me. I get to try and keep my kids happy, still with no resources, while watching the nurses outside take a drink, chat about what they’ll be doing this weekend, fiddle around with some papers, take another drink, chat some more, etc. To be honest, I usually let the kids scream as loud as they want to when this happens, thinking that eventually they’ll clue in to the noise and decide to do their job so we can leave. I mean, really, how hard would it be to prepare our shots while the doctor is in talking to us? Or while we’re waiting that first 20 minutes for him to come to our room? Or RIGHT THEN when I can see you messing around? It’s so frustrating.

Fifteen minutes later, a nurse brings the kids’ vaccines in. And only minutes after that, we’re done and ready to go home. Finally. All in all, we were at the pediatrician’s office for two hours. Two hours. Note to self: do not take kids to doctor’s office in the afternoon once school is out, or any time that it’s not absolutely necessary. It’s Crazy Town in there.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

She's Getting Better

This isn't much, just a short video to show Neely's walking progress (and she's even gotten better since I taped this) that's mostly for Daddy's benefit.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Baby Girl

One year ago today, my baby girl nudged me in my sleep as if to say, “Mom, wake up. It’s time.” A few moments later, I noticed the contractions. I lie awake for an hour trying to determine if I really was in labor, if I should bother waking John, and before I could decide, I fell back to sleep. We went to the doctor’s office later that morning and confirmed my suspicion – we were going to get to meet our little Neely that day.

She was much more eager to meet us than our Aidan was, popping out to say “hello” at 2:16p.m. My Neely Caroline was the most fragile little creature I had ever seen, weighing in at only 5 pounds, 9 ounces. And boy, was she pretty.

Neely still is beautiful, and she’s turning out to be such a sweet little troublemaker. She is walking some now, and has gotten to be an extremely fast crawler, so she can get into pretty much anything she pleases, which is often my food cabinet (no pantry in this house), the toilet, and the collection of DVDs and electronic paraphernalia housed in the unit under our television. But she has the sweetest disposition that it’s hard to stay angry with her for long.

I cannot believe my little girl is one year old today. The time has flown by. I know that before I have the chance to blink, it will be time for kindergarten, her driver’s license, graduation, and I will scarcely be able to believe that young woman is the same five-pound baby we welcomed into the world with open arms on September 16, 2008.

I love you, Neely bug. Happy birthday!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Canton Find

Last weekend, while my parents were visiting, we loaded the kids, the little red wagon, a stroller, and some snacks in the car and headed to Canton, Texas for Trade Days. If you've never heard of it, it's touted as the "World's Largest Flea Market." Most of the other patrons ogled us as if we were nuts for bringing the babies, but Neely was a big hit anyway. She happily rode in the wagon, checking out the sights. There was much people watching to be done.

None of us actually bought much, but for a grand total of $8, I did find two old soda crates. What do I need soda crates for? I'm glad you asked. I've seen them used as shadowboxes. A friend of mine has one hanging in the kitchen that houses seashells in summer and...well, shoot. I can't remember what she puts in it the rest of the year. But the seashells look wonderful. And they gave me my inspiration.

First, I had to clean them up. They were very, very, very, very, very, very dirty. One cleaned up nicely with a wet rag, but the other had to be taken outside and hosed off. Mud came out of it, literally.

Next, I attached picture hangers to the back. I bought the kind with those little sawtooth pegs on the back, so they just had to be tapped in to the back of the soda crates with a hammer.

Then, I hung them side by side on the wall and filled them with...embroidery thread! Come on, you're not really all that surprised, are you? And before you tease me, yes, the thread is organized by number and color. I am not ashamed.

Even though not all of my thread fits, it's a much better solution than having them all lined up in a drawer and trying to keep them straight. I love them!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Homework Assignment

Last Friday, it was Meet and Greet day at Aidan's new preschool. We got to see his classroom, meet his teachers, and find out a little bit more about what preschool will be like. When we left, Aidan was given a posterboard "A" to decorate and bring back for the first day of class. He was allowed to decorate it however he wanted, but one of their suggestions was to put things on it that start with the letter "A." After a trip to the sticker aisle at Michael's, Aidan decided to decorate his with animals.

For the first step, he painted it. He was being so careful and concentrating very hard.

Aidan could hardly contain himself waiting for the paint to dry. He wanted to put the stickers on it so badly. I thought he wasn't going to take his nap, he was so excited. Every three minutes, I'd hear him whisper-yell to me, "Is it time to get up yet?" Finally, he slept, and he got to add the stickers after he woke up.

Again, this was serious business. He's been finished for a while now, but he still periodically asks me if he can check on his "A." I have to reassure him that it looks the same as it did when he finished it, and we will remember to take it to class in the morning. It's his first day! I can't believe he's old enough for preschool.

And to be an equal-opportunity mommy, here's a picture of my Neely, too.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I got some new rain boots last week. Aidan likes them. Ta-da!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Just for kicks...

...and because I was thinking about it this morning, I'm re-sharing my post from last September 4th. I was having one of those I-can't-believe-my-baby-girl-is-going-to-be-one-in-two-weeks moments, and I thought, "What was I doing this time last year?" Oh, yes. Breaking my ankle...

"Oh, what fun it is to be eight months pregnant, at home with a two-year-old, and on crutches. That's right, on crutches. Yesterday afternoon, I slipped going down our back stairs outside because of the rain and banged up my ankle pretty good. It's HUGE. I saw a doctor about it today, but all they can really tell me is that they "think" it's not broken. They can't do an X-ray on me because of the baby. No kidding, this conversation happened...

Dr: When's you're due date?
Me: October 11th.
Dr: If your ankle is still giving you problems after the baby's born, then you can come back and we'll do an X-ray.

Seriously. If I walk around on a broken foot for a month, I may just hack it off myself. Good grief!"

And if you'd like to relive the hilarity of Aidan making fun of me with a broken ankle, click here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Learning to Walk

Before you watch the video, I say only this: Unless or until you have tried to balance a newly walking infant on her feet, scoot backward across the floor far enough away to videotape but close enough to convince her to walk to you, and tried to fend off a three-year-old and a dog at the same time, please do not comment or complain about the quality. I know that I didn't get her feet in most of the shots. I'm sorry. I did try.

And for those who remember Aidan's huff and puff face, yes, Neely has started making it. And it's even more hilarious with her puffy little lips.

Anyway, Neely walks. Enjoy.

More Walking!

Four steps this morning! I lured her with the phone.