Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Play ball...

Steve plays softball on a city league on Thursday nights. Sometimes I'm willing to fight the kids and go, other times the games are late enough that I don't have any desire to cheer on my husband.

When we do go, the kids seem to enjoy themselves. They get dirty. They get treats. They play on the playground. They smash fingers. They throw rocks. They fall off the bleachers. They cheer for daddy. They play with friends.

I spend my time cheering for Steve. Monitoring my children picking up the empty/semi empty beer cans. Apologizing to the other viewers as my kids run up and down the bleachers rather loudly. Covering my children's ears as the spectators use rather foul language and Hallie makes multiple comments, "Mom, they can't say that, that's a bad word!" Taking children to the bathrooms and to get drinks. Taking Pictures.
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

In order...

Like many children, mine like to line things up. Anything. It could be balls, silverware, shoes or in these two cases magnetic doll pieces and cars.
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I find groups of items lined up all throughout the house. I remember when Hallie was Hunter's age, she emptied out four boxes of capris suns and lined them up along the stairs. I love it.

Hunter tends to be a little more methodical about his work. If anyone moves an item, or something is out of place he freaks out a little bit, until he manages to get it back in order. His current obsession is lining up cars.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Visitors...

I feel like I've said this a million times, but it stills rings true: We have the best friends you could ask for. We really do. They're scattered across the United States. They each came into our lives at different times. And they all serve a special purpose in our lives. The Owens are no exception.
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Back in our college days, I worked with Sam at the school newspaper. We both married within months of eachother, only to have our spouses work together at the newspaper after we graduated. We get along with them so well. We visited them a few years back when they lived in D.C. and they made their way up to Milwaukee not too long ago.

We spent the majority of our time talking. Catching up. Talking about our days in college. Our children. Our dreams. We talked a lot and there was never a dull moment.

We ate lunch at TGIFridays at Miller Park, home of the Brew Crew.
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We took a tour of the Sprecher Brewery and had some great samples of gourmet sodas.
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We rented a large bike on the lakefront and flew some kites.
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We went to the beach ... and got rained out just minutes after we arrived. So the kids played obliviously in the rain.

We played card games.
The kids played so well together.
We laughed.
We hit some great yard sales and scored.
We ate. And ate.

Man we had a good time. We miss them. Alot. We never seem to get enough of them.
I hope we end up somewhere close to them. Someday.
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Just a little busy...

We've been all sorts of busy around here lately. I'm sure everyone is having similar summers, isn't that how summer always ends up?

Have you ever had those projects that start out simple, but end up as much more than you bargained for? I can't help but think of the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. That's the boat I'm in. I decided to build a bed. We've been married for almost seven years, and we still had a simple metal frame. So I built one. It's big and chunky, and I love it. I decided to paint it black.

But once I had a black bed, I couldn't use the old brown bedspread...so I bought a new comforter. And of course with a new comforter, you need new pillows. With a new bed and bedding, I couldn't keep the old wall color, that too needed to be updated. And then the brown lamps needed to go, so I got new lamps. And before I knew it, it was out with the old and in with the new. All because I built a new bed.

Steve claims I built the bed so I could get new bedding. I assured him, the bed was far too much work just to get new bedding!

There's still a little more work to do, and we've got a lot going on in the next couple weeks. Perhaps I'll get pictures posted towards the end of July!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bookshelf...

One project down, many to go!
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I made this bookshelf a while back and never got around to posting it. I told myself I needed to complete this smaller project before I tackled larger furniture pieces. It was some good practice and made me realize, with enough precision and patience I could probably make a lot of things!!

I found a bookshelf I really liked online - pottery barn kids - and using the dimensions they provided I made my own plans. I think I spent more time altering my own plans than I spent actually building!

The key to this project's success was very carefully hand selected pieces of wood. I used 3 1x4x6, 6 dowels and a thin sheet of luan plywood for the back. I made sure the boards were really straight without any knots and paid a little more for a nicer wood.

Here's how you make it:
I cut 4 pieces 35 3/4" (top and bottom and both sides) and two 34 1/4" (middle shelves) out of premium select pine from the Depot.

After cutting all the pieces, I drilled the holes for my dowels on both of the side pieces using a wood boring bit. (You can get them for pretty cheap at the depot.)

I then primed my whole project and painted the two middle shelves as well as all the inside boards.

I left the outside primed so I could fill my nail holes and sand it down. You can build it and then paint if you'd like, it was just easier for me to paint it not put together and then just touch up the little areas that needed it.

Originally I was going to use large screws to keep it together, but I changed my mind and used large nails in my nail gun. They made for smaller holes to fill! Photobucket

It went together fairly easy. I used a nail gun and used 4 nails on each shelf as well as the top and bottom boards. (You could also use screws, I just found the nailer easier to use) I used a smaller pin nailer for the dowels, but you could also just use wood glue. I filled my nail holes with a wood putty and sanded it down and put a coat of paint over it. You can attach it to the wall a number of ways. I used a little kit from the depot for a french cleat. Very easy to attach and hang on the wall.
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And there you have it.
I love it. I love that the books are no longer thrown across the floor. And I love that it holds a lot of books without looking messy. I think I might make a couple more. I love it that much!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Must Have...

I have a few items that I simply love. I find myself thinking about these items often and my admiration grows with each passing day. This item just happens to be one of them...
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Sprig Discover Rig (http://www.amazon.com/Sprig-Toys-A8001-Discover-Rig/dp/B001BERBL0)

When I worked at Pottery Barn Kids, we had one of these on display. It seemed every kid that would walk past it would start pushing it and they were caught off guard as it started talking to them. All the kids got a kick out of it. So, we gave one to Hunter for his first birthday and he's loved it. He walks around with this thing a lot. I find him trying to get it up the stairs, frustrated and crying with all his might. And he just throws it down the stairs when he's ready to play in the basement.

A few of things I love:
There are no batteries! However, if a child walks around with it it starts talking to you. It has an internal generator that starts when the wheels start moving. It's genius!
There is a little guy that plugs in through a USB port and he gives you a tour. You can purchase other guys to plug in and they each give a different tour. (Himalyan, African, Amazon)
You can play with the rig with the handle on or off.
It's very durable, it's not made of flimsy plastic.

I would highly recommend this toy. However, this is not a toy that helps a child learn to walk, it will tip over. It's for a more advanced walker who needs a little entertainment!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sweet Comment...

We were outside and Hallie said:

"Did you know that I had a bad dream last night. I did. I had a bad dream and I called for Jesus to help me. And when I closed my eyes I could see the white that is Jesus. He helped me."

I love that girl!    

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer time...

We could not be loving summer any more than we are.
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(This picture of Hallie captures just how much fun is going on!)
We spend 70% of our time outside. On bikes. On scooters. In the wagon. On the slide. On the trampoline. We love being outside. We love summer.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ohio (part 2)...

Just a few more pictures I came across on our little Ohio excursion!
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The traveling sticker - this last picture needs a little explanation...
While we were feeding the ducks someone put a large sticker on our stroller, "Sow only seeds of love". Thinking I would be funny, I carefully placed the sticker on Justin's back. We all got a good laugh as he had no clue the sticker was there. Steve decided it had been long enough, so he spilled our little secret. Justin then secretly placed the sticker on Stacey's back. She found it in a second and placed it back on Justin. He had no clue. He noticed it wasn't on her anymore and assumed it had fallen off. So he rode the carousel, walked around the festival, spent time at Sulfur Springs, and made it home before we finally broke down and told him. We got him good. What's great is the little dance he had done earlier that day saying we couldn't catch him with a sticker, as the sticker was securely stuck on his shirt. The joke was on him.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ohio...

We spent our Memorial Day weekend with our friends, the Heatons, in Cleveland. Stacey and I were roommates in college and we've been able to stay in touch over the years. Justin is starting his fourth year in dental school, so we knew we had to get there sooner than later. They live just minutes from several church history sites in Hiram and Kirtland. So not only did we get to spend some quality time with friends, they served as awesome tour guides!!
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Both Steve and I were dreading the drive. Live so far from family, we usually fly wherever we go. We've taken very few road trips since we've had kids, and they've been under the five hour mark. So the thought of a 7-8 hour drive made me nervous. But thanks to a dual DVD system, more food than you would ever comfortably eat in any setting and a leapster, we made it and it wasn't so bad.

Here are a few of our highlights:
Steve and Justin golfing early Saturday morning
John Johnson home in Hiram - In which Stacey and Justin watched our kids out on the lawn so we could enjoy the tour.
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Great food (Stacey is an excellent cook!)
Endless nights of a card game they taught us called ripple. Quite addicting.
The festival we happened upon in Chagrin Falls
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Kids feeding the ducks.
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Convincing Hunter the carousel was a good idea, and then prying his hands off to get him off!
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Sulfur Springs - a beautiful area with a stream that the kids were able to play in.
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Kirtland Temple - Steve and I switched off tours so we could fully enjoy our experience.
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Kirtland visitors area - including the Newel K Whitney store, John Johnson Inn, Whitney home and other little points of interest. (Once again a big kudos to Stacey and Justin for taking our children so we could really enjoy the experience!)
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Eating a crockpot pork roast in Kirtland that Stacey secretly stashed earlier at her ward building and let cook all afternoon while they were at church. Sneaky, sneaky!
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Haircuts for the boys. Stacey was the one who originally taught me to cut Steve's hair 7 years ago, she then taught me some great tips for cutting Hunter's hair.
Staying up way too late for how early our kids get out of bed!!

We had so much fun. The church history sites were great. It's not quite as large as Nauvoo, but still definitely worth the drive. The Kirtland temple was really cool. You get to walk through both the first and second level on a guided tour. Its hard to believe it is 150+ years old, yet still holds such a special spirit. I really enjoy the historical aspect of the church, and even more interested because Steve and I will be teaching Doctrine and Covenants in the fall to the seminary students.

Stacey and Justin were such great hosts and we loved our time with them. It's amazing how you can make friends with someone, not see them for a couple years, get back together, and it's as if nothing has changed. We reminisced about the good old days when we lived in Rexburg together and the crazy things we did. The second night we were there, we were up pretty late talking and our husbands had fallen asleep on the floor. I decided it was late, I was tired and it was time for bed, to which Stacey said, "We can't go to bed yet, we don't have that much time to talk." We stayed up for another hour and a half. We're lucky we both married people that also get along so well. Hopefully one day we'll live a little closer!
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