Monday, October 28, 2013

Anything for the Kiddo!


(Just chillin waiting for our table at the restaurant on a regular Sunday)

Caroline loves costumes!  She loves to play dress up (no princess stuff though).  We have an assortment of costumes - mostly superheroes.  She has been extremely excited about Halloween and Trick or Treating (or Trick or Training as she says).  I even had to make her a countdown calendar so she'd stop asking me every day if it was time.

(the entrance at the end of the ridiculous line)

I thought we'd take her to the zoo for the "Haunt the Zoo" trick or treating experience as an extra special treat.  She's been doing really well in her Pre-K class.  She's done a good job of using her words to express her feelings, including telling me that she was "so excited for Halloween!"

(the ridiculous line)

"Haunt the Zoo" is open on weekends from 6:30 to 8:30, after the zoo is closed.  You just have to pay for the person receiving candy.  I thought it would give her another chance to go since she's so excited about Thursday.

(Waiting patiently while looking at all the other kids)

I wanted to leave the house at 6 so we could get there early and get in line.  I didn't know what kind of crowd it would be, but figured getting there early would be good for parking.  Saturday, the weather was kind of gross and rained off and on.  Sunday, the weather was beautiful.  Naturally, we went Sunday..... just like every other person in Oklahoma City.  We should have just gone in the rain.  Lesson learned.

(Momma, take a picture of that cute robot!)

We exit the interstate and approach the zoo at 6:20.  I say approach because we can't get close to it for the traffic jam going on of people trying to get into the zoo.  We park across the street from the zoo parking and walk towards the entrance.  At this point, T and I are both regretting ever bringing this up.  Caroline, on the other hand, is pumped!  She is having so much fun looking at all the other kids in costume.

(Darth Vader with Princess Ariel and Prince Eric)

We get to the end of the line which is approximately 3/4 of a mile from the entrance.  I'm not sure if I'm exaggerating or not.  If I am, it's not by much.  Also, the gates don't open until 6:30, so the line isn't moving.  Even after 6:30, the line is not moving.  The line doesn't start moving until at least 6:45.  Caroline doesn't care.  She's "a little bit excited."

(Ariel - with braces - and Darth Vader)

We finally get through the world's longest line and enter into the zoo.  But at this point, we are still in a line.  We stayed in a line through THE WHOLE THING.  Pictures the world's worst cattle-call-Disney-in-July-capacity-crowd-slow-moving line you can think of.... and this is it.  In the dark.  With over-amped kids and super immature adults.... and I repeat THROUGH THE WHOLE THING.

(Time to lose the mask and just take pictures at each place!)

It would open up in places but WHAT A MESS!  And yes, the all caps are totally justified.  After walking at least 2 miles, my knee was unhappy.  But there's no exit from this hellacious cattle call of death.  Just keep moving or you're going to get trampled by the grown man dressed as the Mad Hatter racing to get candy.

(Robot and Vader)

Each candy station is set up with a little scene for picture taking.  About half-way through, Caroline decided she wanted a picture at each one.... we only had our phones, so the pictures aren't top quality in the dark.  When we finally made it to the end, T and I cheered.  Caroline didn't even whine about it being over because she was so tired.


(The robot thought she wanted to battle.  She just wanted a picture.)
 
We took a couple of pictures with the Science Museum Robot and "Mike the Tiger."  She said "that robot was cool, Momma!" 

(Posing with "Mike the Tiger")
 
It was a late night last night.  We got home at 8:30.  Caroline was so tired she was delirious with the giggles.  But she did go to bed easily, so that's a plus.  I think it's just made her all the more excited for Thursday.  I'm not sure we'll do the zoo thing again next year. 

No caption needed.

Wait... who am I kidding?  If my kid wants to do it, I'm sure we will.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Family Fotos


I couldn't resist the alliteration.... I know it's photos and not fotos.  We took these pictures a couple of weeks ago when it was still warm.  But I made sure we all had on long sleeves so it would look like the Fall even if the temperature outside didn't get the memo.

   
 
 

We took them at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.  It's one of my absolute favorite spots downtown.  They spent a lot of time and money redoing the whole park a couple of years ago and it's truly a great downtown space.




We took our family pictures here two years ago and I'm actually wearing the same sweater.  Sshhh... don't tell anyone!


Can you tell my kiddo is a ham for the camera?  I attribute that to sticking a camera lens in her face from a very early age.  We are actually scheduled to take some pictures of her in her Halloween costume like we did last year.  She really enjoyed that and the pictures were so cute. 

 

  So I hope Darth Vader comes across just as cute as Buzz Lightyear did.  We shall see!!

 
 
There is one more picture that will be used on our Christmas card... so if you're on the list, stayed tuned.  If you're not on the list, maybe I'll post it after the holidays.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Operation Cover Up The Crap - Part 2

 
As you recall, I'm in the middle of Operation Cover Up the Crap.  And I'm on a slight holding pattern at the door stage.  What's the hold up, you ask? 
 
Oh... well... um.... knee surgery.  I had knee surgery a month ago and that's my problem.  Truthfully, I'm not 100% with the knee but it's not holding me back.  I've been stricken with DADD.  What's DADD?  That would be Decorating/DIY Attention Deficit Disorder.  My brain is all over the place and my limbs are tired.
 
But I did want to show you updates of the actual doors since I think they look really great.  Please ignore all the other crap in the garage (where I'm working).  We already have doors to cover up that crap.
 
 
What's left?  Sanding the wood filler and that is happening tonight.  I promise.  I really, really mean it this time.
 
Then after the sanding, I'll slap a coat of paint on there.  Considering all the flat surfaces and the relative small amount (even with the backs), I'm hoping that won't take too long.  I'll put the final coat on tomorrow and Thursday will be the hardware and hanging phase.
 
T will be in charge of the final phase since he took Thursday off.  And hopefully it will get finished before our guests roll into to town in the early afternoon.

The hinges arrived on Friday and the handles arrived last night.  They are seriously heavy duty and I'm quite impressed with the quality.  The pulls were just under $9 a piece.  Yes, that's expensive if you are outfitting a whole kitchen.  But for our 4 doors, it seemed like the right touch to really make the whole thing standout and more high end and less DIY.

And there is still the issue of adding the poly to the cabinet itself (and the doors), but I don't have any yet... so that may be a guest assisted project!  Who knows at this point?

At least the weather has cooled off quite a bit and working in the garage is comfortable.  That should make sanding better... but have I mentioned I hate sanding?  That's probably another big part of our holding pattern.

Oh well.. time to push through the plateau.  Wish me luck!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Kryptonite


I know everyone was expecting finished project pictures today.  Unfortunately I've got this issue with weekends... it's hard to get going!  I like to sleep in, slowly drink my coffee, enjoy College Game Day and snuggle with the girl.  None of that is conducive to finishing ambitious projects.

But here's what I have done.  I took comprehensive before pictures.  You'll be astonished at just how bad this area of my kitchen is... and then again, if you've been to my house recently, you will not be.  I also got the actual pantry painted - one coat of deglosser, two coats of primer, two coats of paint.  It looks really great.  I only painted the face frame and the outsides.  I intend to put a fun color on the inside in the future.  I probably should add some poly, but I don't have any.  And I didn't think about it.  I'm sure it will happen before I call this project complete.

I got the doors constructed and filled with wood filler in the gaps.  I was trying to save time and cut multiple boards at one time... and while that works, it doesn't make for an exact fit.  So I should have just taken my time and cut them one at a time.  But it was after 9 pm and I was working a chop saw, much to the chagrin of my neighbors, I'm sure.  Oh and I was tired.

And do you know what happens when you pull out your brad nailer and just use whatever nails you've got in the gun and don't think about it?  You nail your 3/4" door to the table with your 1.25" nails.  I'm not kidding.  I totally did this.  Luckily it was just the skinny brad nails and I was able to pull the door right up.  So did I halt my construction and wait until I could get the proper nails on Sunday?  Of course not... I just created more work for myself.  Now we've got to snip all the extra off, countersink the ends, fill with filler, sand and THEN paint.  We'll put this in the DIY FAIL category.

But I did accomplish other things this weekend - watched LSU win, the Saints come oh so close, family pictures and I made some decisions about the fate of my black wallpapered foyer.  I'm all for making a statement in a small space... I'd prefer not to make one that says, "Welcome to 1986!"

Tonight I'll be sanding my heart out on the doors and HOPEFULLY getting at least one coat of paint on them.  It's raining today, so I'm not sure if the humidity will be conducive to the painting.  But at the very least, we'll get the rest of the kitchen cleaned out and random furniture put where it will eventually end up.  Hopefully.  Probably.  Maybe.  Definitely!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Office Makeover

Earlier this year, we hired another person at work, and I moved into a new office.  Well, I should say I moved into an ACTUAL office, not just a desk floating in the middle of the large front room.  I've got doors (yep, 2 of them), walls and built in bookcases!

 
 
 

We really were starting with a clean slate.  The desk and chairs in this space were broken and needed to be replaced.  So I had a great idea.... I was going to make over the space using some office stuff and a bunch of my own stuff, including Dad's old desk (made over in a glossy navy blue).  You can see my the plan below.

 

I was lucky to have freshly painted walls, even if they weren't necessarily the color I'd choose.  I'd consider them neutral enough to work with whatever I wanted (the proper color is reflected in other pictures below, not the green/gold shot shown next).  I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go, but I decided on navy, pink and white with gold touches.


 

  
I'm guessing start to finish, the whole office design and move took about 2 months.  We had to clean out the office of it's previous contents (see above) and paint some things I was adding (the desk above).  I also had two old chairs recovered.  We had 3 here floating around the office, but only 2 would fit in here.  They look pretty mid-century to me, so no telling how old they are.  I'm sure they were purchased for the very first office in 1971 when we opened.

 

The faux white leather and new pillows totally transform them!  The upholsterer even said someone came into their shop and tried to buy them.  No way, Jose!....especially considering how much recovering them cost!!!  They were structurally sound... just needed a little face lift.


In fact, a lot of little things got a face lift.  Our motto was "if it's not quite right, use the spray paint!"  So several things were painted either pink or navy blue (like my tape dispenser)



The gallery wall is made up of things that remind me of not only family, but also home. (Some of the smaller pictures have already changed)  And the best way to break up the giant built in was to put something on the back.  I had this design printed in color and mounted on foam core.  They are just resting against the back. 

    

The curtains are just simple IKEA panels ($10) with ribbon glued onto the front.  The gold lamps were hand me downs and got new cheap-o Target shades.  The only knick-knack I bought for my office was the gold sea urchin from Target.  I adore it!

 
 

Six months later and it's really "lived-in" and still not quite finished (big blank wall above the credenza and incomplete bookcase styling)... but it definitely reflects my personality.  For the first couple of months, whenever anyone would walk in, they'd go "whoa!"  I guess I should preface that by saying I work with 98.9% men.  So seeing this much pink in one room is certainly mind-blowing for them.  But it truly does make an enjoyable space to work.  And I love that I've made this room my own.  When I do leave (upon retirement, of course), I can take all my things with me and it will once again be a normal blank office.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Chante's help in all of this.  Chante is the person we hired and I'm sure she didn't imagine part of her job would be sanding and painting a desk.  Although we both did work on it.  It was definitely a group effort - especially the emptying of the room.  She did that all by herself!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Virtual High Fives!

We interrupt this talk about DIY pantry projects for me to squeal with delight over an internet find.  You know that feeling when you score something great on super sale and then get to the register to find out there's additional $$ off?  Yes... that's how I feel right now.


So I put together a plan for our Master Bedroom that I'd kind of put together over time.  There was no rush because T said I couldn't start decorating the house until it was unpacked.  And we know that's not done, so I didn't really think much about moving forward on the things we don't have.  We have the bed, the nightstands, lamps, mercury glass accessories and three picture frames already.  We've also got the dressers, they just aren't painted.

Naturally I picked lots of neutral things to put the attention on the bed and the pillows on the bed.  What's that awesome fabric?  Well, it's Schumacher's Chiang Mai Dragon in Aquamarine.  If you follow any sort of design blog, you'll see it's everywhere.  It's a linen fabric from 1927... can you believe that?  1927!

So I started looking around for the fabric, said to be pricey, and/or pillows already made.  Pricey is right!  Yes, it would be cheaper to actually buy a yard of the fabric and make the pillows myself.  The problem is my angst with sewing.  I can sew... just not well enough to not have mistakes.  And when I make a mistake, it's all I can see.  I did not want to ruin the pricey fabric with stupid mistakes.

So I started looking around on Etsy to find some pillows already made.  I did find lots of them.  But they were ridiculously priced AND didn't even have the fabric on the back... just a coordinating solid.  I figured that either I'd break down and buy the fabric myself and pay to have them made properly, or I'd break down and buy the pillows that weren't 100% of what I wanted.

But that doesn't matter right now because I'm not decorating... I'm unpacking.

Enter eBay.  Searching for this fabric and/or pillows is just something I do whenever I'm looking at sites...in hopes of finding a good deal.  It's like popping into the thrift store to see what's there.



 
Not only did I find a good deal... I found a GREAT DEAL!!  For the price of ONE pillow on Etsy, I found TWO PILLOWS.... and not only do I have two pillows, but the fabric is on the front AND THE BACK, with a self welting.  Seriously... awesome!

Ok, first potential drawback - they are in Great Britain.  Hmm... ok, for the shipping she wants, the price of two pillows is still less than one domestic pillow.  Sold.  I hit "buy it now" and didn't look back. 

My only thought was that I really needed 3, 18" pillows to go across my bed (even though there are only 2 in my picture).  Oh well... I'll make 2 work, right? 

The mail came today and there was a package.  Chante and I both assumed it was from Leslie, since she said she was mailing me a package with some Halloween stuff for Caroline.  It wasn't... IT WAS MY PILLOWS!  I got my pillows from Great Britain quicker than I get stuff from Leslie.  Ridiculous. (But rants on Canada Post are for another day).

The pillows are exactly as pictured above.  Exactly!  I'm so thrilled!!!  So naturally the only thing left to do was jump on eBay and see if the seller had the other pair still available.  They did.  Not anymore... SOLD!  So now I've got my third pillow for the bed and an extra for the bench.

I can't wait to show you the room as it starts to come together!  I guess that means it's time to put away the suitcase from my trip last month and pick up the dirty clothes.

*internet high fives for fantastic designer fabric finds*

Cue the On-Hold Music


While I'm hard at work on our pantry update, I figured I'd share some pictures of our vacation in Florida - sort of like providing on-hold music.  (Yes, go ahead and agree my post title is so clever!)  In July, we joined Leslie & Co. and my mom for a beach vacation.  Naturally, we headed back to Navarre Beach.

 

This time we rented a townhouse instead of a condo.  We didn't have a pool, but we did have tons of space to spread out, a bed for everyone and a dining room table that could seat us all. 


 
 
 Of course, the beach wasn't the same without Dad.  But we did enjoy our time together.  The kids love seeing each other so much.  Navarre felt a little left out because Caroline and Jay have so much in common and were like two peas in a pod.   


Luckily, Caroline was over her fear of touching the sand.  She ran and played and was happy as she could be.  She's like her Momma though and after 3 or 4 days, she was content to stay in the house with me. 




The water was so rough this year.  There were days we couldn't get into it at all.  And the days you could get into it, the water was ridiculously rough.  You had to make sure you were holding onto the kiddos at all times!



We did spread some of Dad's ashes in the federal park on the beach.  And no doubt, we broke some laws doing it. But I'm sure he wouldn't want it any other way.