Friday, May 28, 2010

I *Heart* the AC Man!

air conditioning So if it wasn’t bad enough to have a houseful of sickies around here, we’ve also been without air conditioning (AC). 

And of course, after a spring full of cold, damp days, we jumped from highs in the low 60s to upper 80s/ low 90s OVER NIGHT!  (Cause that’s how we roll here in the Heartland of America…makes for some ferocious storms!)

Actually, we’ve been dealing with no heat or AC since March 20th…when we got the 8 inch snowstorm on the first day of Spring.  In fact, we’ve had a heating/cooling guy out several times this spring.  He would get the system fixed, providing heat, only for it to stop working a few hours later.  On Monday he was just plain honest with me…,”Ma’am, I give up.  You need to call someone else.”  Okay then.  We called someone else and they made it out today.

Two-hundred fifty-eight dollars later I’ve got AC pumped throughout the house.  Worth every penny!

In the meantime, we had Mary Catherine’s all-school picnic  to attend.  We missed most of it due to the AC visit, but I’m NOT complaining!  We took our picnic basket and blanket, but  Mary and Ben were really too excited to eat.  They were all about the playing!

 

My two little pirates.

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Merry-go-round love.  I rode this type of playground equipment every chance I could get as a kid.  Today…makes me dizzy just watching it!  

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I can never get enough of this sweetness…sweaty-boy smell and all!  There’s just something about those blue eyes and blonde curls that make my heart melt!

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Mary’s favorite piece of equipment…the “troll” bridge!  This thing is so old I cringe every time she runs across it as it buoys up and down and rattles its chains.

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In the meantime, I’ve been working on a little nursery project that involves this…

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and this…

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Can’t wait to show you the final outcome.  It’s transforming nicely into baby boy changing table goodness!

Wishing you all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend here in the United States and a relaxing/peace-filled weekend to my out-of-country readers!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Summer Bug…Ugh!

We’ve been a mess over here today,  hence no creative post or pictures!

Mary Catherine woke up with a 101 degree temperature yesterday morning and then began throwing up.  It didn’t last all day, basically just the morning, but cleaning up throw up…even if it is your own kid’s… is just gross!

Then around 12 noon, the stomach bug hit mommy.  I really don’t know where Mary and I picked this up from.  I’m going to guess at one of those many graduation parties we attended on Saturday afternoon!   You know…everyone’s hands in the chip/nuts/dip bowls.  Eeeew!

Last night was also a disaster.  As if I didn’t feel bad enough, little man was up every two hours…every.TWO.hours.  Like a newborn.  Hmmmm….

He cried off and on all night about his ears hurting him.  So, since he’s been sporting that awesome green nose accompanied with the deep chest congestion, I called the pediatrician and got him in this afternoon.  Yup…raging ear infection in both ears. 

We were supposed to go camping this Memorial Day weekend with good friends, but cancelled our plans.  A)  I’m a wimp and the mere thought of tent camping on an air mattress at 30-weeks pregnant was enough to turn my stomach, and B) with both kiddos recovering from illness Fire Hubby and I decided we just need to recuperate at home.  Our friends are disappointed, but a family’s gotta do what a family’s gotta do.

What a  way to start the summer!  Hope to be more energized and creative tomorrow.  I’ll be by to visit y’all soon!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Art of Gifting…and Gift Wrapping!

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It seems like in this busy and rushed world we live in that the art of gift giving and gift wrapping has been lost. 

Not so much in blog land…where I see tons of talented ladies (and gentlemen) putting together lavish, HOME-based birthday parties, mailing delicately wrapped gifts for blog give-aways, and tablescaping galore (often set with little gift-wrapped trinkets at each setting), but not so much in day to day life.

I mean, take a look at any big box store’s gift wrap aisle and you see it…the gift bag display…complete with solids, patterned, and designed bags with complimentary or coordinating wrapping paper.  And the other day I noticed that even Hallmark has joined in with this wrapping shift…displaying way more gift bags than tubes of wrapping paper. 

Now, don’t get me wrong…I myself have been known to give a loved one a “gift-bag present” a time or two, but lately I’ve come to dislike the “gift bag”.  It seems to me to be such a simple way out of taking the time to carefully craft a wrapped gift and present it to the recipient.

My mother is extremely crafty at gift-wrapping.  She rarely gives in to the gift bag.  And I can remember, vividly, the birthday and Christmas presents that she so artfully wrapped and displayed for my siblings and me.  You were filled with so much excitement and anticipation, just waiting to open the present…and yet, not wanting to tear into that beautiful glossy paper or rip off that magnificent bow!  And while we didn’t get a lot of presents on these occasions (her sacrifice was staying at home with us) each one was so beautifully wrapped and displayed.  She continues to do this and now my children and nephews are the recipients of her hand-crafted love!

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This weekend I searched for the perfect gift(s) for Mary to present to her classroom teachers as a way to say thank you for an incredibly wonderful year of learning.  I discovered these tiny Willow Tree  ornaments and thought that they were the perfect way for Mrs. Davie and Mrs. King to remember their 2009-2010 group of PreK-ers! 

And while I could have stuffed them into gift bags with tissue paper, I took the time to wrap them…just as Mary’s teachers took the time to teach and reinforce in her the letters of the alphabet, her numbers to 100, home address/telephone number, etc.  These skills took months to accomplish…shouldn’t I take a few extra minutes to wrap a gift?

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And I did the same for my flaxen-haired beauty…searched high and low for the perfect gift…a symbol of all her hard work and effort, positive attitude, and sunny disposition and came up with this:

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A “Growing in Grace” figurine from Precious Moments.  Nothing elaborate or over-the-top (it is only PreK for goodness sakes!), but meaningful and symbolic just the same.  She loved it…and immediately explained to Daddy that he was going to need to put up shelves so Benjamin and Baby Brother won’t touch it!  Love this girl!

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And as a side note…or maybe a sales pitch for Hallmark…I must say, they DO have the best wrapping paper!  It’s heavy weight and printed lines on the back make it ideal for cutting and not tearing…unlike some wrapping paper purchases from the big box stores…that will drive you to the gift bag aisle!  And at $3.99 a roll, compared to $2.50 for a one time gift bag purchase, the wrapping paper really is the better deal.

So what do you use?  Gift bags, wrapping paper, or some other unique type of wrapping arrangement?  (My sister-in-law is the best at presenting gifts in sand pails, car wash buckets, etc. depending upon the gift’s theme!)  I’m always looking for new ideas!  (One year…back in the 90s and when I was a huge Martha Stewart fan, I gift-wrapped everybody’s Christmas presents in tinfoil with white tulle ribbon…crazy I know…and I got a lot of kidding from Fire Hubby’s side, but you know they secretly LOVED it!!!)


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Graduate

Last night, Mary Catherine graduated from PreK. The ceremony was so sweet and she looked adorable.  It’s hard to believe that this “baby” that we longed for, for so many years, is now ready to start kindergarten.

A year ago, I was contemplating whether or not to send her to kindergarten.  I am so glad that I waited; otherwise, Mary would have missed out on an awesome year of letter, number and sight word reinforcement, as well as this memorable graduation ceremony.

Mary,

Mommy and Daddy are so very proud of you.  We know that you are more than ready to tackle the world of kindergarten and will do great things during elementary school! 

We love you!

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Mary with Mrs. King (L) and Mrs. Davies (R).  They enjoyed her so much and you can tell from Mary’s smile that she adored them!

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A picture of Mary during the giant slide show.  This was Teddy Bear day at school and each child won an award for the most……….bear.  Mary’s was voted “softest.”

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Don’t you just love their little gowns?  They entered to Pomp and Circumstance.  As you can see, we got a new hair cut for the occasion…bangs!

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The back of the gown…so sweet!

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Performing Bible versus and songs with her class.  All of these children were kindergarten eligible last Fall, but like Mary, their parents decided to wait.  Thus, the small size group.

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After Bible versus and songs, the “graduates” exited the church to put on their caps. 

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Our girl with her diploma! So very proud!!!  The Preschool Director read a short sentence about what each child loved best about PreK…Mary’s answer…EVERYTHING, which got quite a chuckle from the crowd. Spoken like a true teacher’s daughter!

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So very serious.

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Cookie time!

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Daddy was on-duty last night. Fortunately, a fellow fire fighter was kind enough to trade a few hours with Chris so that he could attend the graduation.  Afterwards, we took Mary out to dinner.  She wanted McDonalds…we convinced her otherwise!  LOL

IMG_3602 A gift for the graduate…

IMG_3606 A “Growing in Grace” Precious Moments figurine.  The bottom of the figurine says “5” and the little girl is holding a stack of books and a lunch box.  So sweet and appropriate!


Monday, May 24, 2010

I Feel Beautiful Again!

After a crazy busy weekend that involved lots of birthday and graduation parties (we made 3 of the 5 since little man was still under the weather) we came home to a broken air conditioner…ugh!

Yes, after weeks months of cold, damp “fall-like” weather, spring, or should I say summer, arrived to the heartland with a vengeance.  It has been 85 degrees (F) or higher since Saturday, and while I’m not complaining (think pool opening, camping trips, visits to the lake) I would love a little AC on the 2nd story! 

So…what’s a girl to do?  Go to her nearest hair salon for  a Monday morning makeover…complete with AC!  Actually, I’ve had my hair appointment for over a month and was eagerly looking forward to today. 

See, I’ve always been a blonde as evidenced by my own two towheads, but those crazy pregnancy hormones go the best of me earlier this spring/late winter and I did something crazy…I dyed my hair brown.  Yes, brown.  I’ve always wanted to know what it is to be a brunette. Seriously.  Not kidding.  After years of dumb blonde jokes that I have worked to overcome by obtaining multiple degrees through higher education ;) , I have always wanted to know what it felt like to be a brunette…and taken more seriously.

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Well that and my all-over bleach job was getting to be a pain.  Not natural looking at all.

The funny thing was, nobody seemed to notice when I dyed my hair brown..humph!  Seems my 3-inches of roots did a great job of convincing folks that my natural hair color was “honey sugar”!  LOL  And when my own two little ones asked me when I was going to get my “yellow” hair back, I knew it was time for a change.

And I feel beautiful again! 

Which is sometimes hard to do when one is 8-months pregnant!

I am especially pleased that I got my appointment in this morning as I have had several other things on my to do list, including…

  • ironing my daughter’s dress, and
  • baking a dozen cookies for PreK graduation (tonight!)
  • and picking up last minute teacher appreciation gifts this afternoon!

Oh…and the heating and cooling guy is on his way over with the new “motherboard”…wooo whoooo!  Cooler temps are on the way!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Letters of Intent…Dear Wal-Mart Shoplifter…

Foursons

Today, I’m joining  in the fun over at Foursons to air some grievances that I have.  Now, if you’ve been following me for some time than you know that I usually try to keep it light (except for a few infertility posts here and there), but this weeks has had a lot more downs than ups and I just need to get them off my chest!  :)  So, here it goes…

Sugar Free Wafers

Dear Wal-Mart Shoplifter,

Perhaps you think of yourself as a mere “taste tester”?  Well, I am here to inform you that unless Wal-Mart is PAYING you to open and eat out of packages of  Sugar Free Vanilla Wafer Cookies, you are STEALING!  I’m sure you just wanted to decide for yourself whether or not this particular brand of cookie was worth purchasing, but too bad…you need to pay first and that’s a gamble anytime you buy sugar free.    And while you might think that it was the responsibility of the cashier, bag boy, myself, or even my 5-year old daughter to have caught that opened package instead of purchasing it, in my exhausted, but sweet-craving state at 7:00 at night I did not.

Sincerely,

Newly-Diagnosed GESTATIONAL DIABETIC Mommy

 

Dear Gestational Diabetes,

While not surprised, I am disappointed that you have decided to return to invade my poor pregnant body, yet once again.  There’s nothing that thrills me more than checking my blood sugar 4-5X a day, counting carbs, and sticking to the boring (albeit healthy) gestational diabetic diet.

I guess I should take solace in the fact that you did not rear your ugly head sooner…I passed my 1-hour glucose tolerance tests earlier on in the pregnancy and 28 weeks is the typical timeline for imposing yourself on those of us you afflict.  So…thank you? for kicking in during my last trimester and not sooner.

Sincerely,

Repeatedly-Diagnosed Gestational Diabetic

Managing Diabetes

 

Dear Church Lady,

While I know you only have the best of intentions in showing your children the significance of attending Mass regularly and of course, pleasing God, I PROMISE you that God would much rather have you keep you SICK child at home providing comfort rather than spreading germs to all of those around you.

I have to say, that your daughter was one of the most pathetic sights I have seen in a long time. One look at her flushed cheeks, watery staring eyes, and lethargic state was enough to diagnosis some type of upper respiratory ailment…and the icing on the cake was the green mucus constantly running from her nose as she coughed and sprayed spittle on me, my mother, sister, children and nephews.

I must thank you now that Benjamin is displaying the exact same symptoms including a 101 degree temperature.  We only had planned to attend 1Friday night Work Function and 3 high school graduations on Saturday.

Sincerely,

One Seriously Annoyed Parishioner

(No picture…it probably would have been rude of me to photographer her sick child…not to mention grossed everyone out!)

Okay…I feel better!  Now, I’m off to medicate my son and pray that by tomorrow afternoon he is fever free and well enough for us to make the rounds of graduation parties…because there is nothing a gestational diabetic craves more than CAKE!  LOL

Happy Friday,


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rainy Day Woes

Mother Nature is seriously confused.  I just read on MckMama's blog that her kiddos went SWIMMING at the lake yesterday in 80 degree weather?  WHAT?  We had a  balmy 59 degrees here in Kansas City with a heavy rain that lasted all day and night and Minnesota has 80 degrees?  I think Kansas is the new frozen tundra!  They’ve even had warmer weather in Sweden according to my friend Christer!

So what to do when your children are doing their best to tear up the interior of your home…even though they have a play room in the basement?  (Could it be too damp down there for even the little ones?!!!)

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Take them to Daddy’s work!  Because after all, isn’t a fire station just one giant playground for the big boys?

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Look how tiny they are are next to that giant hook and ladder truck.  It’s like one enormous jungle gym!

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And yes, my son really is wearing SNOW boots and my daughter a Christmas tee shirt, because this mama has yet to do a full closet conversion.  (Ben wore a turtleneck with shorts on Monday…quite the fashion statement!)

And even this guy thinks there’s too much rain…

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OMG…I screamed and insisted that Fire Hubby promptly remove this guest resident.  And while I’m not a big fan of killing spiders…this guy was just too much for me.  *shiver*

Hoping drier weather and warmer temperatures arrive soon!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Town’s Loss

Good morning! Today I am joining Susan over at A Southern Daydreamer for her “Outdoor Wednesday” post.  Feel free to join us as each of us share the wonder, beauty, and awe of both Mother Nature and man.

One week ago today, horrific storms blew through the Kansas City metro area.  Around 11:30 PM on the evening of May 12, Mother Nature unleashed her fury.  While the jury is still out (waiting on The National Weather Center’s final confirmation) as to whether damage was caused by a microburst, straight line winds, or a tornado the end result was the same…

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utter destruction of this historic, preserved barn.

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As the local media descended upon our little one-stoplight town on the outskirts of Kansas City, the pain and loss of this historic landmark was evident in the owner’s eyes.  (Those blue skies can hold such power and fury!)

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A little over one year ago (April of 2009) I shot the above three photos showing the beauty and effort of this piece of Kansas history and Americana preserved.  Mary had been invited to a birthday party and had the time of her life.

According to the  De Soto, Kansas Chamber of Commerce,

“Kill Creek Farm is a place where families and friends come every October to the traditional Harvest Festival with basket-weavers, blacksmiths, food vendors along with thousands of locally-grown pumpkins.  All taking place on what continues to be a working farm with the livestock and buildings associated with agriculture 50-100 years ago.  Open year-round by appointments, the farm specializes in offering children's guided tours covering everything from bee keeping to hand-milking a cow.”

In addition, Erin, a long-time De Soto resident, close friend, neighbor, and fellow blogger had this to add about the history of Zimmerman’s Barn,

“.......The unique 1880 timber-framed barn was originally built on the White farm in rural Johnson County, now owned by Ernest Waitzmann. Daryl Zimmerman and a group of volunteers dismantled and moved the barn to Kill Creek Farm, about 7 miles away. The farm, owned by Zimmerman, is dedicated to "Maintaining the Rural Heritage of Johnson County" and plays host to more than 6,000 visitors annually.” 

Erin is an incredible photographer and to see more of her pictures of the destruction, feel free to visit her blog, The Little Things in Life.

Although not locals, my husband and I have come to love being a part of the fabric of our tiny town over the past eight years and have participated in many of the events held at Zimmerman’s Barn.

Each year, Chris and I take our little ones out to Zimmerman’s for the annual Fall Harvest Festival. Even though this pumpkin patch isn’t as elaborate of activity-filled as other area patches, there’s just something about supporting your local economy that makes one feel good inside!

The following pictures were taken in October of 2006.

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On the grounds of the Zimmerman Barn/Farm for the De Soto Blues and BBQ Festival, June 2007.Blues and BBQ DeSoto 2007 011 Blues and BBQ DeSoto 2007 001

In April of 2009, I took Mary and Benjamin to the English Rose Lawn & Garden Show on the grounds of Zimmerman’s Barn.  Inside the barn were the most beautiful wares…French soaps, handmade quilts, English pottery, etc.  On the grounds behind the barn, local farmers and gardeners sold their spring plantings.  I remember letting the little ones each pick out a Gerbera Daisy for purchase.

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As you can see, this barn holds a special place in my family’s life.  This summer, we had planned to hold Mary’s 6th Birthday Party at the farm…it was to be her first party with “friends”.  Needless to say, Mary was quite upset when she learned of the destruction.  Unfortunately, even though we drove by the barn to photograph the damage, she doesn’t quite grasp the magnitude of the destruction. 

The local media has reported that the town wishes to help Mr. Zimmerman rebuild the town’s gathering spot, but in Mary’s mind, she thinks this will be done by August.  :(  It is my hope that whatever fundraising and barn-raising activities take place, my husband, children, and I can be a part of them so that we may leave our mark on restoring a piece of Americana/Kansas history.

P.S.  If you notice on my blog header, I have a couple of pictures of the Zimmerman Barn.  One is of the barn and windmill and the other of the Emerald City sign I discovered tacked up inside the barn!  I thought these were appropriate pictures since my Kansas-born daughter is such a Wizard of Oz fan!