Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Whew! What a day. It was one of those "hit the ground running" sort of days. I had the camera out a lot today so I'll just share the events through pictures.....then I'm going to go crash.

Carving a pumpkin. Greta was excellent at pumpkin gut removal.

Jack, Greta and I.

Greta and Abby ready for the Halloween party.

Spiderman Wesley getting ready for the Halloween parade.

Wesley's kindergarten class.

Every year the elementary school marches down the road to show off their costumes.

What a family picture! Empty buckets and a couple of anxious kids.

Trick-or-treating at Noni and Papa's house. They have the best loot!

One happy kid.

Another Halloween over, hope everyone had fun!

Monday, October 29, 2012


What do you do when your travel trailers deadbolt vibrates into place during the long trip home from Colorado, essentially locking itself from the inside out?

You rack your brains trying to figure out how to get into the trailer to unlock it. Zeroing in on an access panel that opens up under the bed. But who is small enough to squeeze through that access panel? Why your grandson of course!

 So the access panel was opened, cleaned out, the board was pried up and Wesley squeezed through.

Unfortunately he couldn't figure out how to push the deadbolt back so he did the next best thing and pulled the screen off of the back window (that serves as an emergency exit) and my Dad was able to climb in that way.

My camera froze at that point and the rest of the pictures died. But they made it in! Wesley was the hero of the day! They took him to the toy store and he got to pick out something. Go Wesley!

While Wes and I were away helping my folks, Sean was home ripping off the siding on the South side of the house. What was supposed to be the last project of the year is proving to be tougher than expected. Hubby was hoping to just pull down the old stuff and put up the new stuff. Pretty basic right? Nothing is that easy. Turns out the windows are rotting. The vinyl, Andersen windows are rotting. I was under the assumption that vinyl windows don't rot. I guess inside the vinyl is wood. So we are stumped at what to do next. Not all the windows are bad, just a few. What are to odds we could walk into a Andersen window store and order new windows that will match the existing 25 year old windows? I suppose I'm going to find out. Oh goody!

At least it wasn't all work this weekend. We did manage to escape together to eat snow crab Saturday evening. Thanks Rich for babysitting! We also rented Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter last night. What an excellent movie! It's so rare to see a movie that's actually enjoyable that when one does come along it's noteworthy. Hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Some days

Prepare yourself, this is what I like to call a "big ol' vent post." Some days I can cope with the ever presence of a three year old and some days not so much. For the past two weeks I've been remodeling two bathrooms. New tile, grout, paint on the walls....the works. One of the very last steps before trim is to caulk the edges of everything. It's a bathroom that small children use so it literally has to hold water like a giant fish bowl. Yesterday I spent three hours spreading caulk around everything in these two bathrooms. It was tedious and downright painful on my poor legs (due to the 5K this weekend). I was so grateful to be done.

This morning I was awoken by Sean telling me that Greta was in the bathroom playing in the caulking.


I suppose it should have been my first clue when yesterday Greta was perched at the opening of the bathroom watching me caulk while saying "Mom, it looks just like frosting!!" For some reason it didn't dawn on me that she'd go play with it and possibly taste it (she tells me she didn't though, goodness I hope not).

So apparently at 6 am she got up and started poking around my fresh, uncured caulking. She then went into her bedroom and started wiping her fingers on everything. There were smudges of caulking on nearly every surface in her room including my brand new carpet and her hair. To say I was mad would be an understatement. So I spent the next 20 minutes wiping everything off and trying to salvage the bathroom. What a mess.

What worries me is Greta's attitude about this. There is no remorse for what she did. I realize she's three years old but it's very difficult to not compare her to her brother at this age. He picked things up quite a bit earlier than his sis. If I told him not to do something he wouldn't do it. Even after she had been reprimanded this morning I was afraid to leave her alone near the bathroom for fear she would go right back in and mess with the caulking all over again. She's on a short leash today.

Since I'm venting I might as well keep going. Potty training has stalled out. I so thought she was done. Nope. She's back to pull-ups and she urinates in them about 90% of the day. Luckily she hasn't soiled one in some time. I've tried coaxing her with candy, stickers and now we are on to toys. She tells me daily how she wants a Tangled doll and I tell her she has to keep her pull-ups dry for seven days and we'll go get her the doll. She gets excited and then an hour later pees in her diaper. Oh and the really fun part? When she's done "using" her pull-up she takes it off and flings it somewhere, gets a new one and puts it on. So I find these discarded diaper bombs all over the house. It's so frustrating. She's old enough, it's just a game to her now.

Ok, vent post officially done. Thanks for listening.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


My legs feel like jello right now. For some strange reason I felt the need to run a local 5K this morning. It was cancelled last weekend due to the rain so I felt I was off the hook but then they rescheduled it. It would have been much more enjoyable had I run at all in the past month. Turns out training is needed even for little 3 mile races. Oh well, I made it. It was tough though. About half way through one side of my brain is saying "What the heck were you thinking?" Then the other side of the brain is saying "Wuss, you did 13 miles with no problem earlier this year!". Didn't do too bad, finished with a 29:14. Not my best 5K time, but I'll take it. I think it's time to start running on a regular basis again.

We were invited to an open house at the aircraft company my father works at. So today, after the race, we all loaded in the car and headed into town. The kids were excited because I promised them they could go explore some airplanes. I'm always excited to get them out of the house, they have been wound up lately. It was a lovely day with live music, good food, fun things to do, trolley rides and big airplanes. I'm thankful my dad invited us, it was a lot of fun.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

It's pumpkin patch time. Greta had been asking when we were going to go over and over and over. I caved and we went Monday. It was sunny, warm and the perfect day to go. We coincided our trip with the preschool trip there so Greta could play with Abby. She had a nice time, I had a nice day away from the was a win win situation.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Small Scale Renovations

We finished up the bathroom remodel yesterday and are thrilled with the results. I love "do-it-yourself" projects. Always have. This house was a giant do-it-yourself project when we moved in nearly eight years ago and there is hardly a room in the house that hasn't been touched in some way or anther. All except this little bathroom off of Wesley's room. I'm happy the former owners kept the decorating neutral when they built it back in the mid 80's. It sure made living in it manageable while we slowly remodeled rooms.

The whole project started when I was wandering around Menard's and stumbled upon some nifty tile that floats and snaps together. It's appropriately called SnapStone and it was the answer I was looking for. Our house is the incredible forever shifting house and I refused to ever put tile down again in fear that it would crack and shift like every other tile in the house. Until I found a floating tile floor. It was a bit more expensive (about $25 for 5 square feet) but it eliminated the need for mortar and underlayment and get this, I could lay it over the existing linoleum (it makes it better for the environment with out the old flooring in a landfill or so it says on the box). I am all for not ripping out the old nasty floor. So five boxes later and a super handy husband that layed it for me, we have a nice new tile floor in the bathroom.

I've gotta tell you though, what I was most excited about was transforming that ugly, worn out sink vanity. I ran across a woman that paints furniture with a chalk paint (not to be confused with chalk board paint). You take two parts paint and one part plaster of paris (bought a little jug at Michaels for $5). This can be any paint, satin or flat or whatever. I used a little sample quart in the color Bark...kind of a deep brownish gray (sample quarts are $5). Mix it up and slather it on. It goes on so smooth, like butter. This chalk paint eliminates the need for presanding or stripping the old cabinet. You just wipe it down (to get off all the toothpaste junk), tape it off and go to town. Then when it's dry you take a furniture wax, I used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax (found it at Lowes for $10), and wipe it on. Let it dry and wipe it off. That takes the chalk feel off and leaves you with a silky smooth, slightly shiny cabinet. Here is a video if you want to see how to wax furniture. I love it! My mind is racing with all the things I want to paint in this house. I painted the wood medicine cabinet as well so they match.

I picked up a gallon of Valspar Matt paint in a rich brownish gray to go on the walls. Valspar is the only company that seems to sell a washable matte paint that I can find. We painted our whole house with a washable matte paint from Benjamin Moore but they don't seem to sell it anymore (plus they are an hour away and a gallon costs $40). For some reason I can't stand semi-gloss or even satin paint. I'm a flat paint kinda gal. Flat paint in a bathroom is not a good idea so this seems like a good option. We'll see how it holds up to the humidity. Time to move on to the main floor bath this week. A bathroom a week, not bad!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

-The nurse at the elementary school called to inform me that Wesley failed both his hearing tests. For some reason this doesn't surprise me. The kid can hear great but he's always had ear issues. He inherited wonky ears from his father and we've been battling ear infections for years. Since school started he's had one long cold so failing hearing tests would lead me to believe he's got fluid in his ears. Sure enough, his pediatrician confirmed that yesterday and we are to retest in 6 weeks. If he fails again he's got to go see a ear, nose throat doc. Poor kid.

-We had our first freeze of the season last weekend, which seems early to me. I'm bummed because I had six nice sized cantaloup back in the garden. I was really hoping they'd make it until harvest. But on a side note, I can happily say that some of that grass seed I put down two weeks ago is sprouting and looks like it will make it. 

-I've been keeping busy this week remodeling one of the upstairs bathrooms. I've started a list of projects I can do around this house to keep me busy during the week and this was one of the big ones. The bathroom is nearly done and I'll post some before and after shots this weekend. It's turning out really nice, I'm excited.

-I took a video yesterday this I think is adorable. The Minions (our three adopted cats) have always kept their distance from the dogs. Our dogs are kept in a fenced in area and the cats, up until recently, have kept their distance. The dogs have always barked and lunged as it they would murder the cats if given the opportunity. Well something changed in the past two months. The Minions started slowly entering the dog pen area and lounging until a dog got up and chased it out. This went on until the dogs just stopped getting up to give chase. They gave up and realized the cats were here to stay. And they realized the cats were no longer afraid of them. So now, this, is what poor Cody has to deal with on a day to day basis. Please mute your computer because Greta was in the background chattering up a storm.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Tasting Game

The farrier was here last week trimming the miniature horses hooves. He's a young guy but I think he knows his way around horses pretty good. I, on the other hand, can honestly say I don't know horses all that well. Yes I've owned horses now for going on eight years but when it comes to training them, I know nothing. This is evident in the fact that I have a almost eight year old miniature horse that has been biting ever since I brought him home as a six month old colt. Rocky has gotten away with everything because I have no clue how to correct him. It started out as him just being "mouthy." He would put everything in his jacket, my shoes, buckets and so forth. I didn't mind him being curious until the mouthing turned into biting.

He liked testing his boundaries. He would stand there all innocent then casually bend his head around and bite my thigh. I would react and he would race off across the pen. It was a game, a very painful game. I learned quickly not to trust that little horse. Then the biting turned into kicking. He'd bite me, I would yell at him and he'd flip his rear end around and try to kick me. This didn't get dangerous until I became pregnant. Then I didn't get too near that horse without a whip (actually it was a riding crop). He respected me as long as I had that crop in my hands. This went on for years. He eventually grew out of the kicking. But sadly, the biting has remained.

So last Friday I'm standing there holding Rocky's halter while the farrier was trimming his hooves. Most people just hold the lead rope that is connected to the halter. Not me. I stand directly in front of Rocky, face to face, with one hand on each side of the halter. This prevents him from biting the farrier but it also pisses him off. So that little horse stands there and gets more and more agitated that he can't move his head. The farrier is getting agitated because the horse is antsy.

Farrier: "You have to stop holding his halter like that, NO horse likes being held like that."
Me: "I'm holding him like this so he doesn't take a chunk out of your shoulder."
Farrier: "You think he'll bite me?"
Me: "Um, yes? He bit the last farrier and he bites me all the time."
Farrier: "Why do you let him bite you?"
Me: "I don't know how to get him to stop."

So he instructed me to just hold the lead rope and see what Rocky does. Of course he sniffed the farriers shirt and carefully put it in his mouth. That guy jumped to his feet and pushed that horse as hard as he could. Almost pushed the horse over. Rocky had no idea what had just happened. I could hardly keep from laughing at the incredulous look on that horses face. The farrier went back to work on his front hooves as if nothing had happened and again Rocky carefully sniffed him and once again tried tasting his pants this time. Before he knew it that horse was once again being shoved five feet. Rocky didn't try "tasting" the farrier again. Perhaps I will try the shoving technique. If anything it was worth a laugh.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Projects

Fall is a busy time of the year. Most people do their major cleaning in the Spring but for me it's the Fall. Spring is all about planting. Planting a vegetable garden, flowers, trees and grass. Every year I tell myself to stop over seeding grass in the Spring and do it in the Fall (you know, when you're supposed to). But by the end of the summer I want nothing to do with landscaping. But this year is different. This year is the year I renovate the lawn.

The poor yard has taken a beating over the years. When we moved in it was beautiful, manicured almost. You could tell the last owners fertilized and applied weed killer regularly. With all the animals nibbling here and there I told myself there would be no more weed and feed applied. But I think I'm about to change that. The back few acres are the only areas that get fed to animals (the tortoises in particular). So this weekend I went to the local rental store and rented a Vertislicer. Cool name for an oversized, extremely heavy lawn mower that has blades. Those blades slice into the ground creating a nice home for grass seed. I pushed that thing all over the lawn Saturday morning and deposited 100 pounds of grass seed. It didn't go nearly as far as I was hoping so I'm off today to get another 50 pounds. I must add that my arms and shoulders can hardly function after the workout I got with that piece of equipment. I sure hope it was worth the time, money and energy involved in renting it. In two weeks I'll be applying a general weed and feed to the front yard in the hopes that it takes care of the weeds. Here's hoping.

I'm excited about my other project too. We were at the hardware store yesterday and I ran across a display for renovating old hardwood floors. Our cypress hardwood floors were so pretty when we moved in but now after four dogs and two youngins they are in a sad sad state. They should be refinished but I'm not willing to put the time or money into that. So, back to that display I saw at the hardware store. It's a product called Bona and they have a whole line of wood floor products. I came home and researched them (mainly Amazon) reading every review. The Bona Hardwood Refresher was rated wonderfully and supposedly will turn old floors into somewhat new looking floors (and it says it works on cabinets too). I bought some and thanks to our Prime account (which we forgot to cancel after the trial period) we will have a bottle here on Wednesday. I can't wait to try it out! I'll let you know how it works.