Monday, April 30, 2012

Tiny hats, tall tractors and "throwing crap up on the wall"

After last weekend's gorgeous weather I was kinda excited to get out and work in the yard but instead we had snow and puddles.  Luckily there were a few birthday parties to attend (the proportions/angle of this photo crack me up - tiny hat, giant head and tiny hand):
And a farm/ranch show to check out:
 The petting zoo was there and Matthew was pretty excited.  They had lots of new, new babies to check out:

 Meanwhile Catherine's been busy moving and grooving.  Her new trick is flipping over the second her bottom touches the car seat.  She then arches her back making it nearly impossible to get her to sit without some tears.
It was also a good weekend to do some preliminary scoping of new (to us) cars since James' Exploder is on its last legs.  Matthew dressed up for the event.  Very ganster with his mardi gras beads with mirrored bling.
As always the kiddos enjoy their books:
And Catherine enjoys waking up daddy:
(unfortunately she doesn't like my phone's flash so these super adorable pics are crazy grainy)

The big project for the weekend was doing more hanging of art and stuff on the walls.  We've almost got all of the art James and I "collected" up, so I started on a few projects.  Here's the photos near our front door.  I blurred out the addresses but basically each frame has a picture of our house and then the address and years we lived there.  Some fun memories all in about $8 worth of cheap frames.

Grandma Jennie was ahead of her time with her plate collection which we then converted to a smorgasbord of family photos.  What I referred to as "throwing crap up on a wall" is now stylishly called a "gallery wall".  So, because we're totally hip and cool, we put up a "gallery wall" this weekend :-)   It's been a great way to consolidate some random stuff I keep moving around the house, not knowing how to display it but not wanting to get rid of it.  With $3.50 worth of spray paint I painted the frames to match and give it cohesion (or some other cool word they'd use on HGTV) and everything else we had lying around the house.  First up are these bears that both James and I picked up on independent trips to AK.  They make a nice set (and now the cats can't knock them around and further break them).  The picture's a piece of art made by a former student.  Love the colors and love the reminder of that kid.  I hope he's doing something amazing now. 
 Then there's a basket from the restaurant where James and I had a crazy fancy dinner the day we got engaged, a Christmas card from Biosphere 2, and on the shelf (L-R) something grandma Jennie machined during her Rosie the Riveter days, a coal miner lamp from Papa (or papa's family) and a steel ball from US Steel marked with the day Papa retired.
 We also decided to shadow box one of our pep band vests with some of our combined favorite buttons and paraphernalia from Pep Band:

 And I put up a quick wedding silhouette surrounded by the lyrics to our first dance that I threw together in Word and printed on generic copy paper, a mask carved by one of my former students, Matthew's first handprint ornament and a neat chickadee print I found somewhere. 
A chunk of shag carpeting (that I framed for James' birthday) and some old wooden blocks of my father's also made it on the wall.

Other goodies include James' autographed SG-1 photo, some plates from both grandmother's, old guns, an old license plate and a vine wreath from James' family's properties in addition to the butterflies and wedding shadow box I made earlier.  The biggest project was the giant family print in the center which I had made for $3.  It's just an engineer's print (aka cheap B&W) from Staples put in a painted poster frame that we've moved around since college.  I've given James a lot of grief about these things and they turned out to be perfect and saved me a lot of headache (all the tutorials about doing this involved modge podge and other things*).     There's a few banding issues in the printing when you're up close but considering it wasn't a high res image to begin with I think it's awesome and I can't beat the price.  We still have a few ideas of things to add to take it up the wall, but so far I love it.  It's quirky and fun and adds something to the very blank, very overwhelming wall we've been staring at for a while.  
 The Matthew on a hill photo isn't as awesome in B&W as it was in color but I still like it.  Don't worry, all those great family photos are waiting on my next project, a geneaology wall for downstairs which I'm excited to start next.  Also, I believe that while our things were in storage there must have been some hanky-panky going on in our art/photo boxes.  I feel like I have frames coming out of my ears so who knows what weird things I may frame next. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Duck Ponds, Dirt Eating and Decorating Dilemmas

 Time flies when you're having fun!  On Monday I got the clearance to get rid of my crutches (and I may have experimented without them Sunday) so now I'm just in the walking boot for a few weeks.  With all the baby wrangling needed in this house it's quite a blessing to only be on the boot and to be able to stay by myself with the kids.  The weather's been gorgeous (though snow is forecast this weekend) so we've been taking advantage of it while we can.  Today we headed to the duck pond.  First however, Matthew tried to climb trees:
 Then we picked flowers:

 Not surprisingly, Catherine climbed all over me:
 But her favorite part was hanging out in the sand, peacefully watching the ducks . . .

. . . or not.  Catherine is a sand thrower/eater/lover.  Papa would be so proud of her, even after a good soak and scrub tonight there was still dirt I couldn't get off!
 And when she wasn't doing that she  was crawling over to the dock to cruise around:
 Or watch her brother run!  Matthew and one of his friends love to stand next to each other and scream "ready! set! go!" and then run off screaming.  Apparently he doesn't mind it as a solo game either.
 Matthew was helping Catherine put the sand somewhere other than her hair.  What a nice brother he is.
In light of hosting a party last week and having a few other plans coming up, I decided it was time to finally hang something on the walls.  We've gotten a good bit of our old art hung and I've gotten motivated to get some other projects done.  Here's Matthew showing off part of a project that's not quite finished but hopefully I'll have mostly done over the weekend:
 Here's the shadow box I finally put together of our wedding albums (and/or to keep the dust off the legos because they're a PITA to dust!)  There were so many great pictures of where we'd be in 10 years from our wedding album but I chose this one done by one of James' former co-workers because it's pretty close to our reality at 6 years if you just pretend one of the kids in the drawing is June :-)
 Our craft room is full of boxes and boxes and boxes like this and though I'm overcautious and judicious with grandma's stuff, it's time to get busy loving or leaving some of our clutter. 
While I love our high ceilings throughout the house, decorating them intimidates me a ton!  Large scale artwork is crazy expensive even for the cheap stuff and truthfully I find a lot of it ugly.  So, like any good modern woman I spend inordinate amounts of time on Pinterest and I finally decided to act on some inspiration, combining my need to declutter with my need to decorate.  First I took our wedding cards and made this big canvas.  I love that it's kinda abstract from afar, but up close it shows a bit of the eclectic nature of our friends/family, is slightly romantic and includes some good quotes about mawwiage and all that jazz.  I also learned I severely lack the stay-at-home-mom gene that just looooooves modge podge.   It's a giant pain in the butt and I'd rather never do it again.
 In the things that came from grandma's desk I keep moving around this envelope of pressed butterflies (which crack me up because they have little fake paper bodies glued to them and I'm dying to know where grandma or great-grandma got them!)  Anyway, I couldn't bear tossing them but what was I going to do with a stack of plastic and butterflies?  I finally took the plunge and mounted them in a shadowbox and I love it for being meaningful, super-cheap and semi-classy (maybe that should be my personal slogan) and can't wait to hang it up. 
That's all the news thats fit to print in Watsonville.  Hopefully next week I'll have an update of crazy things I'm hanging on the walls (shag carpet anyone?)  :-) 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Terrible Twos...ome

One of the greatest and most frustrating parts of my day is watching the relationship between Matthew and Catherine blossom.  Matthew has taken a keen interest in Catherine and wants to play with her but often his toddler impulses and lack of body awareness turn "playing" into crying.  However, when they're playing well, it's terribly fun to watch.   Their biggest capers thus far have been their stair adventures.  If Matthew (or James or Sky or June or Olivia or sunlight or, well you get the point) heads up the stairs Catherine follows in hot pursuit:

 The next, very important step, is stopping halfway up the steps for Catherine to wave in a "hey mom, I got this, chill" sort of way as I hobble across the room prepared to catch her as she starts to tumble down the stone steps  onto the hardwood floor.  (who puts these in a family home?!?!?!)
 No really mom, I've got this.
 Matthew's been jumping in to help.  Besides screaming "NO CAFFRINE" at the top of his lungs, Matthew has also learned to "help" keep Catherine safe by throwing himself down on the steps to keep his sister out of harms way.  She's not impressed and this mostly results in even more giggling:
 With dad in place they give one more wave:
And then triumphantly celebrate at the top of the steps:

The other day I tried to give them away on Facebook.  They were all packed up and ready to go:

There was lots of interest but shipping costs were too high so we'll keep them around.  It's a good thing because who doesn't need serenaded by "doo doo doo doo" played on a funnel all day:

 Or who would eat all the ice cream from my work party and leave sticky fingerprints on our glass door:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Splotched eggs, big gulps, photobombing dogs and rocking out

I don't think I shared this earlier but here were our dyed eggs.  Not bad considering the kids did them all by themselves as all 3 adults were on spill, picture or egg preservation patrol during the dying process.

In the meantime Catherine (and oddly the cats) have been enjoying the train set.  Matthew is not a fan of sharing but as always we're working on it.  
 There was not much to report from Mom's visit as I had my foot surgery on Monday and then spent the rest of the week at home trying not to go stir-crazy before my appointment on Friday afternoon where I was released onto crutches for purposes greater than going to the bathroom.  Woohoo?

We "celebrated" by going for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.  Catherine's mastered the straw cup (which makes life much easier)
 But sometimes she just wants the big gulp:
 And sometimes (okay, all the time) she just wants to try and crawl on the table.  Grandma sure got her work out keeping track of her!
 But I managed to corral them for at least one picture:
 James and I have been trying to buy Matthew shoes for a few months without luck.  (I think he's worn his snowboots for probably 2 months straight.  Oops.)  Matthew picked these out for himself and thinks they're pretty awesome:
 Here's one of my favorite times to steal a picture of Catherine (and one of the only times she's sitting still enough to do so!).
 You know, unless her brother is trying to hold her for a picture and then we get this:
 Or this:
 I don't even have words for this one:
 On Amma's last day we headed outside to enjoy the sun and our new Craigslist find (the plastic monstrosity in the corner).  Matthew and Amma also did a lot of egg hunting and apparently I was photobombed by Sky as well. 

 Here's Matthew closing his eyes while Amma hid the eggs:
 And Catherine playing peek-a-boo with me.
 Remember those crazy landscaping "rocks" I mentioned earlier?  Well, they are turning into tiny balls of hate that are making me crazy.   I'm generally pretty laid back about Catherine exploring with her mouth.  Dirt, snow, leaves, grass, most rocks etc. don't bother me but unfortunately these "rocks" are the perfect round esphogus blocking choking hazard for Catherine which means she has laser focus when it comes to trying to find all of them and shove as many in her mouth as possible.  The dogs tracked them everywhere this winter and because they're spheres there's no hope of them ever settling or interlocking to a point where they aren't so easily disturbed.  Anyway, the moral of the story is I hate them and hopefully they're going to go far, far away sometime soon. 

Luckily Amma was there to save the day again and contain the tiny monster for a while:
Unfortunately she headed back to Virginia, but not without some big hugs and cuddles first:
 And now James is left to fend for himself with the wild ones with mischievous eyes as I am still hobbling around on crutches. 
 Who me?

And because there's nothing better than toddler's dancing.  I was looking up the song from the GI Joe trailer because I thought it was pretty cool.  Matthew apparently agrees:
And Catherine working on waving "hi" with Amma. 

Her new favorite time to wave bye is when she's crawled halfway up the stairs (out of my reach of course).  She'll climb up, turn around on the stair (causing me a series of mini-heart attacks), wave bye and then climb up the rest of the stairs.  Just thinking about it again exhausts me.   If she's causing me this many grey hairs now I don't think I can handle her dating.  EVER. 

Five on Friday

1.  Look at these winter white legs out enjoying the sunshine at the dino park.  Spring has FINALLY sprung! These boys went from winter di...