Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bedroom Makeover: Part 1

Slowly but surely we're transforming our room into a true master bedroom. Our room is the one area in the house that we've completely neglected since we moved in. We bought new bedroom furniture when we bought this house and called it good. All other rooms were done with purpose and with a theme in mind - the guest room I knew I wanted to do in a black & white theme, our office (before it was a nursery) & other guest bedroom was a beach theme, etc.

With our tax return money this year, I earmarked some money to spend on redoing our room. The main chunk of that budget was for materials for the bed. My friend Jamie posted a link to the Knock Off Wood blog ages ago (and she's since changed the name of her blog) and got me all inspired, which in turn, inspired this post (there are some older before pictures there as well).

Our room is a work in progress, hence the reason for "Part 1" in the title. Right now we just have the bed finished, the wall it rests against painted, new curtain rods & curtains (and my first attempt at new-sew curtains - I may never buy curtains again) and some shelving up above the bed.

On with the pictures. Here are some befores (these are actually about a year old - the space changed slightly since then - the area to the right of the dresser held a small fold up table and all my crafting crap and we got rid of the bed skirt...but for the most part, all the same):

And now for some afters:

We chose Valspar's Martinique Morn in eggshell as the wall color and Valspar's Whitewashed Oak in semigloss as the bed color.

I found the most adorable green polka dot fabric at Joanne's (and used my 50% off coupon) for the material for my curtains. A bit of ironing and some hem tape called it good. I plan to make them a bit more substantial by adding a backing of a plain white flat twin sheet.

I didn't take pictures of above the bed yet. Right now we have a large framed print of the three of us from our October photo shoot with Ckg Photography and two shelves in graduated sizes (from the Hobby Lobby during a 50% off sale). I plan to get two more shelves in matching sizes to place on the other side. I ordered a canvas from The Canvas People (half off with free shipping! score!) that will be here on Tuesday-ish that I plan to display as well.

Next we need to find some bedroom furniture to replace what we took out. It's for sale on Craigslist right now (if you happen to know of any one that needs some... ha ha) so as soon as that gets sold, or when we get our tax return from Idaho, we'll get that furniture bought (or maybe I'll finally buy a new dryer so I don't have to hang my crap up to dry like I live in the 1800s...but that's a story for another day). I'm thinking I'd liked to score some either thrifted or Craigslist finds for the furniture, rather than buy brand new. Maybe we can upgrade our big old huge tube TV to one of those nice flat screen ones... maybe one day!! :)

So that's where we are for now! I have some extra material from the curtains and some pillow cases that came with the bedding (we buy king sized bedding for our queen sized bed because both Nick & I are cover hogs - the king bedding comes with HUGE king sized shams - I don't have any king sized pillows) that I plan to make into some toss pillows for the bed and I've decided to go ahead and paint the whole room, rather than just the wall the bed rests on.

I'm linking this post to the Weekend Wrapup Party at Tatertops & Jello:

Monday, March 21, 2011

15 Months.

Ben turned 15 months old on Friday. Can you believe it?!?


What a difference a year makes! 03/10/10

This month Ben is continuing to expand his vocabulary. He just this week started saying Sadie. He says cat (all time favorite word), meme (for milk), socks, shoes, what's that?, mama, dada and nana. When prompted he'll say GG and what can pass for grandpa.

His favorite song is the Itsy Bitsy Spider and will make the hand motions for the spider to encourage us to sing it to him. Recently he's been making sounds like "itsy bitsy" when we sing to him. He'll also say "e i e i o" kind of when prompted during Old McDonald.

He loooooooves to go outside and play. I take him to the park every opportunity I get and he's all about wandering from place to place or sliding head first down the slide. The swings hold zero appeal to him anymore and he cries if we try to make him swing. He's starting to run now and it's funny to watch him take off in a hurry.

He's recognizing sounds and knows the sound of the back door being opened when Nick gets home. Ben gets way excited and races off down the hall to wait for him. He also thinks it's fun to stand in the front window each morning and wave to Nick as he drives to work. :)

He's begun to come and fetch me to play. He's fairly independent and plays by himself most of the day, but recently he'll come and stand at my knees while I'm on the computer and grab my hands. Then he'll lead me off some where to do something with him. I love it.

We traded his high chair for a booster seat and meal times are a lot nicer. Food rarely ends up all over the floor any more (unless it misses his mouth) and he eats more consistently. I think he likes feeling part of the family at the table, rather than in his high chair.

Ben's expressing himself through tantrums a lot more now, and man does he throw some whoppers. He has this shriek... wow. And he's perfected the melt. You know what i mean. Where he makes all the bones in his body sort of melt so that he doesn't have to do what you want him to do. Like come inside from playing. ;)

He's completely mastered opening doors. We ended up putting a child lock on the one to the guest bath, since that's the door he's most interested in opening (and, although he thinks it's awesome - I don't want him playing in the toilet water. ewwwww). He's pretty good about leaving the rest of them alone, but I can see the door to the laundry room (it goes out to our garage) becoming an issue soon.

He still just has the 3 teeth but 3 more are working on coming in. His incisors are both nearly broken through and his bottom tooth is finally coming in. Problem is, it's coming in almost completely sideways. I still haven't called the dentist for his first appointment yet, but now that I see that one tooth coming in all wonky, it makes me wonder if that's why they've been so slow to come in.

I think that's it! I love watching him grow - he'll sit and roll his cars back and forth... I went in his room the other day because he was being quiet (a sure sign for trouble, right??) and he was sitting quietly, building a tower with his legos. He loves music and likes to dance. He points out birds and airplanes and waves at the garbage truck. He tests my patience regularly but he also continually makes my heart burst with love. :) We sure are lucky to have him!

Menu Plan Monday

(Linking up at Tip Junkie)
What's cooking at our house this week?


We ate out - Panda Express

Tamale Casserole with corn bread


Spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic toast & green beans

Coconut Rice & Beans

Slow Cooker Applesauce Chicken, biscuits & steamed veggie

Lots of new recipes this week! I hope they all turn out tasty!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I've been thinking about my mom a lot recently (well, I haven't stopped thinking about her since she passed - not a day goes by that I don't think about her at least 10 times...but recently I've been thinking about her while I sleep as well).

Sigh. I think I'm kind of depressed. I haven't wanted to admit it, not to anyone, so maybe by putting it out here in writing... maybe it will help ease some of my sadness. I miss her so much. So much. It creeps up and hits me the hardest when I'm alone (like now when Ben is napping) or in the middle of the night when I'm in Ben's room - just the baby and my thoughts. The images and memories that hit me in the middle of the night aren't easy ones. They're hard and I don't want to see them any more.

I held my mom's hand as she passed away and it haunts me. It literally haunts me. The way she looked... I want that image out of my head. That's not how I want to remember her, and that's not how she'd want me to remember her. I didn't want to do it. She asked me if I would and I agreed, but when push came to shove... I really didn't want to be there. I'm glad I was there for my dad & my brother, but she was already gone. There was nothing of my mom there, other than her body, when she passed.

I just want her back. If only for a moment. I want to give her a hug and tell her how much I love her and how much I miss her. I want to see her like I'm trying to remember her - her hair in her beloved wedge cut, silver shining, her head thrown back in a laugh...that's how I'm trying to remember her.

I don't understand why this had to happen to our family. She'd already fought that battle once. We still need her. The kids still need their nana. I think about having more children and... well, some times I can't even get excited about it. I think of when my mom bribed her way into the hospital after Ben was born and I know I won't get to share that memory with my next baby. My next baby will never get to know her and it breaks my heart.

I want to share with her all the new and amazing things Ben is doing. Yesterday we were playing with his cars and he stops, looks behind me and points saying "socks" and sure enough, there were a pair of his socks on the couch. I nearly burst into tears. She would have loved to hear that story. She would have loved to see him walk and see his big old front teeth and all his jabbering. I'm so deeply saddened that I can't share any of this with him. I'm so grateful, so much more grateful that I can express that Ben got to share his 1st year with her. I wish I could make him hold on to those memories, but I know a time is coming soon when those memories of her will fade for him and he'll only know her through my stories.

Connor is about to start baseball season again and it will be so weird not sharing that with her. She was so proud of all he accomplished last year. She would have loved to see Emma tear it up on the basketball court or watch Hannah in her school programs.

They say everything happens for a reason but I haven't found the reason for this one yet. I wonder if I ever will.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday: Menu.

I made some switcheroo's to last week's menu with this week's. I realized about half way through the week that I'd planned three ground beef recipes for last week but none during this week. In an effort to break it up, I switched a few things around. That's what I love about meal planning and shopping ahead for two weeks -if we don't feel like Wednesday's meal, we can swap it out for something else! :)

Monday: Rigatoni Bake
Tuesday: Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup
Wednesday: Tuna Casserole
Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie
Friday: Spaghetti
Sunday: Leftovers

Friday, March 4, 2011


I have been exhausted for 14 and a half months. Seriously. My kid has slept all through the night, with no interruptions a handful of times since he was born. I decided this week that enough was enough. We were going to revisit the same sleep training we used to get him to fall asleep on his own.

The night before last was beautiful. He woke up only once and that was oh-so briefly before he settled himself back to bed. He slept 11 & 1/2 hours that night and it was blissful. Last night, however... Well, it was too good to hope for two in a row, I guess. He woke at about 1:30 but it was very briefly, more like a cry in his sleep... but he kept doing them and they got steadily louder and more upset. I got up finally at 1:50, poked my head in and said that it's night-night time and blather blather blah blah to go to sleep.

Queue the tantrum. Like the screeching at the top of his lungs-I-can't-believe-you-just-did-that kind of tantruming. He did that through the next check in. Then he was quiet. Until just after what would have been the 3rd check in (he's way good at that - staying quiet long enough to lull me into a false sense that he's gone to sleep and allows me just enough time to start to drift back off).

I got up 7 or 8 more times and finally at 4:30ish I gave up. Nick went in, cuddled him to sleep and now he's sleeping away. I had the most disturbing dream during that 1:50 to 4:30 yuckfest that led to me giving up. I had a dream that something was terribly wrong with Ben, something that could not be fixed and we had to put him to sleep (like you would an animal). It's literally haunted me ever since.

In the last 14 or so months I've gone back and forth, back and forth. I don't want to let him cry. It breaks my heart. I don't mind cuddling him to sleep - he's a baby, this won't last forever and it's my job as a parent to make him comfortable, right? However... I DO mind when I drag my tired self out of bed, stumble down the hall, hold him long enough for him to fall asleep and I attempt to set him back in his bed and he wakes up and sobs. That I HATE. Plus, am I helping him figure out how to do it on his own? Surely he knows how. He puts himself to sleep at bedtime every night and for every nap. He's hit & miss on putting himself back to sleep when he wakes in the middle of the night.

Ugh. This has been my biggest challenge with being a parent. To you parents that have babies that slept through the night right away or those that are finally there and have ones that do sleep through the night, I'm supremely jealous. Mine goes to bed okay. He starts out fine. If I could just convince him to go back to sleep without me....

I don't know. Is it worth it? Is letting him get all worked up for HOURS in the middle of the night worth it? We're both exhausted today (well, he's still sleeping but I know he will be) and we'll struggle to make it to nap time. He'll be cranky, I'll be cranky and it's just no fun. On the other hand, getting up four or five times or being held hostage in his room because he'd rather sleep on my shoulder than in his bed makes me cranky, too.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cider Glazed Chicken & Vegetables

Tonight we were supposed to have spaghetti but I feel like we just ate that (even though we didn't) so I swapped it with tomorrow's dinner, which was chicken stirfry. I knew I wanted to use up a package of stir fry veggies that I'd had in the freezer for awhile but that's really as far as I knew what I was making. As I was steaming the rice, I got to looking at the back of the veggie package and the recipe looked good, so we gave it a try.

It was pretty good! I'd totally make it again - only I'd make it with fresh veggies instead of frozen, which is why I'm copying the recipe down here so I can remember it later. :)

From the back of the Flav-R-Pac package:
  • 2 tsp Vegetable oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp dijon-style mustard
  • Flav-R-Pac Yellow Carrot Stir Fry
In a large skillet, heat oil over hight heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cooked 3 minutes per side.
In a small jar combine cider, butter, brown sugar, cornstarch and mustard; shake to blend. Add to pan and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes while stirring.
Add vegetables and cook an additional 5 minutes stirring gently halfway through cooking time.
Makes 4 servings.

I wasn't too sure how it was going to taste but I loved it! Even Ben gobbled it up, and I was sure I was going to have to figure out something else for him to make.