Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chicken Nuggets and Diapers

On Saturday, we took all five of our kids to Costco. It was crowded and rainy and just before lunch, but all we needed was two things: diapers and chicken nuggets. We figured we could be pretty quick and stop for lunch in the food court. We sat in the parking lot discussing whether or not this was really a good idea until finally we decided to just do it. I believe the last thing my husband said before he pushed the button to open our van door was, "It'll be an adventure."

We started out with a plan. I had Jane (3 months) in my wrap so my hands were free. We put Edison (1) up front in the cart's kid seat next to Eloise (3). Then we had Hazel (6) and Charlotte (5) walk with one hand on the side of the cart, leaving plenty of room for our diapers and chicken nuggets.

Our plan started to fail immediately. Edison wanted to sit in the big part of the cart which was still empty and welcoming. Hazel and Charlotte were fighting because they kept running into one another as they insisted on standing on the same side of the cart, within inches of each other.

Then my husband had to go to the bathroom.

After I asked if he really had to go right now at least two times we parted ways and agreed to meet in the produce section. I stopped in the toy isle because I was looking for a birthday gift, forgetting that doing so was equal to tossing my kids into a pool of candy and telling them, "Nope! You can only look! Then I remembered an idea I had heard and told my kids that if they saw a toy they liked, I could take a picture of it so they could save their money for it. I felt like a genius. As we got to the end of the aisle my six year old asked to take a picture of a basketball. I reached into my pocket and quickly realized there was no phone. I had left it at home.  Fail.

We found my husband in produce and quickly fell into what I refer to as the Costco trap. It starts with "Well, while we're here we might as well get...."and ends with you spending $500 on a six month supply of peanut butter and canned chicken, in addition to the diapers and chicken nuggets.

The sample tables are tricky with a big group such as ours. We quickly worked out a system where David would grab two for the kids who were whining the loudest for a sample. Then he'd move forward a bit and I'd come along and grab another two for the other kids who were just now realizing that they didn't get one. I'd deliver those and then go back a second later for one last sample for David and I to share, emphasizing out loud, "Oh, just one for me, thank you!"

We now had a full cart and had yet to get the diapers or the chicken nuggets. I sent David after diapers with the three girls and I took Edison with me and Jane to get lunch meat. This is where things got tricky. When you buy lunch meat at Costco, you get a few pounds of it, so that impaired one arm. I reached out my other arm and called for Edison.

And that's when I heard his little voice say, "No." I looked back at him and I knew this was going to be ugly. He was holding really still, ready to break into a run as soon as I reached for him. I called out to him in an extra sweet voice and he shook his head, taking a step backwards. I waited a second and then lunged forward and caught him with my free arm, swinging him onto my hip. He arched his back, nearly knocking me off balance so I held him on my hip in the barrel hold.

On the way back to the diaper isle, I saw that strawberries were on sale. "While we're here, we might as well get...." I grabbed the giant container of a thousand strawberries, which meant I now had both of my arms full, a baby strapped to my chest, and an angry tired hungry toddler who was free and he knew it.

He ducked behind a crate of pears and after some firm commands, a little bit of begging and an attempt to force him out with my feet, I tried the "walk away" approach where I pretended I was going to leave him there with the pears. He followed me part of the way and then stopped in the middle of a crowded isle and started to cry. People from all around swarmed to him, looking for the negligent mother who would leave her child unattended. There I was, fifteen feet away, with my lunch meat and strawberries, feeling deflated and unwilling to claim him quite yet.

My husband showed up with diapers and one child in tears. I pointed with my elbow in Edison's direction and we re-grouped, ready to locate chicken nuggets and flea to check out. We finally had the nuggets and found apple juice and canned diced tomatoes along the way, none of which we needed but "while we're here, we might as well get."

The check-out line was at least ten carts long. While my husband stood in line with the kids, two of which were crying loudly now, I grabbed Edison and sought out some Ritz crackers and granola bars. As I was making my way back to check-out, I see my two oldest running towards me shouting, "Mom, Eloise PEED!"

I made my way to the front of the line where I spot my husband standing next to the cart holding Eloise who was staring down at a huge yellow puddle at her feet, giggling. We both looked up at each other, speechless. Directly below her dripping shoes in the bottom of the cart was the bag of frozen chicken nuggets.

The rest is a blur: Edison trying to wiggle out of my arms and weave in between carts, a Costco worker explaining to David that they can't mop up the pee because of sanitary purposes, the line of faces behind us, a roll of paper towels being handed to my husband and finally--the real kicker for me--seeing him stand there with at least thirty pee-soaked paper towels, asking if they had a trash can.

I fetched David's wallet, pinned Edison between myself and the check out counter and swiped our debit card.

EXPIRED. Yesterday.

I burst out laughing. I heard my husband who was still bent down on the floor say, "Are you kidding me??" They pulled our items which were now spread between two carts (because no one wanted to touch Eloise), to the side. We returned to the van, David holding Eloise over his shoulder and Edison on his hip and me with the baby and the two girls still talking about the pee puddle. I returned with my wallet, which was luckily in the car, and waited while they re-scanned every single item. I sighed with relief as I pushed my heavy cart out the doors.

Needless to say, we ate lunch at home. I made Orange Juliuses for everyone since they had all been looking forward to Costco's fruit smoothies. I changed Ellie's clothes and my husband crashed on the couch for a much deserved nap.

As I sanitized our bag of frozen chicken nuggets, I couldn't help but feel pride in the fact that we are NOT normal. Our life is crazy and messy and there are a lot of us. But years from now when I think back on this day, I'll be glad I was the mom with all the wild kids and expired debit card whose husband was mopping up urine on the floor. Because otherwise, I'd just be the person standing in line behind THAT family. We are THAT family, and we're awesome.

Peed-on chicken nuggets and all.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Homemade Ornaments

I had a baby! She was my biggest yet, weighing in at 8 lbs. 12 oz. It was a beautiful birth and we have some amazing pictures and video thanks to our dear friend and photographer, Camille Garrison. So grateful to have this little girl in our family. We named her Jane Louisa.


 The whole crew. We are so blessed. And crazy.

One of my favorite things about Christmas-time is home-made ornaments from my kids. Lately, they've been humoring me a lot as I've found some great ideas and the snow (and newborn) has kept us indoors. Cabin fever sets in at times, but at least we'll have some very cute tree ornaments to show for it.

I found this idea for noodle ornaments on Pinterest HERE and put our own twist on it.
I had some bowtie and penne pasta on hand, although my penne was whole wheat which made this a slightly more expensive craft... I put out a paper plate with paint colors and we painted the noodles first. 
 I had three different colors of glitter which we put into some mason jars.

While the noodles were still wet, we dropped them into the jars and shook them around to cover them in glitter. This was the best part.

Then we let them dry for a bit.

While you're waiting, feel free to paint your entire hand red.
I didn't get any shots of the actual assembly of the noodles because I was too busy burning my fingers with hot glue. But I simple glued them together one at a time, letting the hot glue cool in between until I formed a star. We glued a bowtie onto the middle.

I involved the kids with this last part by letting them choose which noodle I glued on next. Then we attached a pipe cleaner for a hook with more hot glue and they were ready to hang!

Today we will be attempting to make a GIANT gingerbread man. Wish us luck:)
12 days 'til Christmas!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Nesting Ninja Powers

By the end of spring, I was ready to set fire to my house. I really love old homes, but I was so tired of our endless list of pending projects. And the musty smell. And my textured walls, etc.

I decided it was probably time to get to work since I was starting to burst into tears every time I walked into the kitchen. And luckily for me, I was entering the NINJA phase of my pregnancy when nesting instincts come alive! Here's what we managed to accomplish in the past few months:

After years of having a huge patch of drywall mud on our living room wall that I had hidden with frames (it had covered water damage, we didn't have the matching paint, excuse, excuse, excuse), we hired a cheap crew to come in and smooth out our walls and repaint the front room. It isn't perfect because that texture was tough to smooth out, but it is SO much better.
 Long story behind this picture, but I'll cut to the chase: I can be a pill. The date for our crew to come in and smooth out our walls had been delayed twice. TWICE. I was going insane. I finally let the kids paint wherever they wanted in that room to give my husband a subtle kick in the behind to get this project moving. He responded with a kind but brutally honest email that I should be patient and chill out. He sent this email right before leaving for an evening church meeting, leaving me alone at bedtime with all the kids. That's when I broke out the non-washable paint, and added some quotes from his email to our walls. Just to let him know that his words had really sunk in.
I know, I know.
 There's the drywall patch. Outlined with sarcasm. When David came home that night, I thought he'd be mad. Instead, he thought it was funny. He thought it was even funnier that I had almost cut off my thumb as I angrily pried open the black acrylic paint with a butter knife. But he did say that if I had done this earlier, he would have invited all of our friends over for dinner.
Luckily the crew did show up just a few days later and in between their work, we decided to chip away at the fireplace. We are so happy we took the risk! The brick underneath is beautiful.
 With walls smoothed and painted in BM's Linen White.
And after!
It's not quite finished yet, but to me it feels like a new room. I'm so grateful for those smooth walls.
We also traded in our fabric sofa and loveseat for a leather couch. 
We'll see how well it wears with our little ones. I'm thrilled that it's wipe-able!

Next I attacked my office space, which is just off the kitchen. It had become a catch-all for our mail and papers and junk, and I knew if I fixed it up, I would WANT to be more organized and pay our bills on time (right?).
 I forgot to take a before picture of this space. The chair was all white with silver legs and the fabric in the desk was a rusty red fabric with flowers. And there was nothing on the walls.
 I hung pictures of my kids' art and family pics and spray painted a magnet board and clip board I've had forever. I spray painted black and white stripes on my office chair and gutted my desk. Yes, yes, and yes.

 I love my DIY Les Touches peg board. Inspiration from Little Green Notebook HERE.

I love how much this chair stands out now! Taping it was a BEAST of a project, but after that it was easy. Inspiration from LGN of course.  Check out here tutorial HERE.

I fell in love with this fabric from L&S Fabrics. It almost has a marbled look with those bright colors.

And it doesn't end there folks. I talked my mother into coming to help, and she is equal to at least three of me. She gets things done. During the 2 1/2 days she was here, we painted my side entry hallway and three walls in my dining room. And then we wall-papered the fourth wall.
This was a first for both of us.
This time I did get a before shot! Belly and all.
 Halfway done, sometime around midnight, with my beautiful mother.
I bought the removable wall paper from Anthropologie that is literally like one giant sticker. It went on beautifully, but you have to be careful because it stretches easily and then the pattern is off. We had to peel it off and restart quite a few times. It took a lot of pep talks and chocolate to get us through the entire experience.
 I painted an old console that we've been using as our art cabinet in the dining room a bright cherry red. The color is actually called Safety Red from Home Depot, a favorite of Jenny's over at LGN.

 Before I painted it, I added some trim pieces on the front and sides to dress it up a bit.
(My first time using a miter box.)
 I added some brass pulls and voila!
 I had this lovely mirror that came with the girls' antique bedroom furniture, but we weren't using it. I spray painted it gold and hung it above the art cabinet.

 I still need to hunt down some curtains and decor (I'm thinking peacock blue Chinese vases?).  
I really want to recover my dining room chairs with a turquoise leather, but it's PRICEY.

And then the guest bathroom! I just decided last week to go ahead and use all of my leftover wall paper in this room and paint the linoleum floors.  Did I mention my pregnant ninja powers? They get stronger as I get further along...

 Here's the before. The wainescoting needed a good scrubbing and new paint. The walls were an olive green as was the antique mirror I hung in here long ago...Bleh.
 The mirror got a coat of Benjamin Moore's Galapagos Turquoise, which is a deep greenish blue (peacock blue) that I really love.
I literally used every last inch of my wall paper, so there are lots of imperfections and one tiny corner above that door that needs some improvisation (off-white paint and a gold paint pen is my plan), but it looks so much brighter in this little bathroom! There's something about those gold peonies that feels so fancy when you walk in.
 I was curious to see how painting over linoleum worked out, and so far it's holding up well. I found some tutorials on Pinterest if you're wanting more details, but the most important part was the sanding and de-glossing, both of which my stud of a husband did for me. Then I rolled on two coats of primer and two coats of Glidden's porch and floor paint in another Benjamin Moore color that is a beautiful dark moody gray.

    I should seal the floors, but I believe this is officially my last project and I'm DONE. We're planning on painting the linoleum in the kitchen as well, so I figure I can seal both floors when that time comes.
I've been wanting to sew a sink skirt for this old sink for so so long, but I tend to avoid anything that involves my sewing machine. I finally grit my teeth and went for it, using this burlap which is a breeze to work with. I think it turned out okay and I'm way too proud of that ruffle at the bottom. I simply hot-glued this baby right onto the sink! We'll see how well it holds.

We still need some more decor in here, but all in good time.

I'm grateful for our home, even if it still gets a musty old-house smell and the oven timer goes off randomly in the middle of the night. It's feeling a little too small for our growing family, but I love that my kids share their rooms and I can hear everything on both floors. Our old stairs creak loudly, but those creaks would easily wake me up if we ever had an intruder in the middle of the night and there's certain spots I can step on that are silent when babies are sleeping. I love how my kitchen window looks out on our back yard so I can watch the kids play in the yard. You have to body slam our front door to lock it, which means that our kids can't open it and go near the street on their own. Every now and then, a breeze comes in through our fireplace, bringing in the scent of firewood and wintery goodness. I have painted nearly every room in the house myself (pregnant every time), which means it's more mine than any other house I've lived in.

I know now that whenever I want to set fire to something, it is simply time to roll up my sleeves and pull out the paint. (No butter knives next time). I am sad to know that this is the last time I will be able to tap into my nesting ninja powers, but I'd say it was a great last hurrah.

Come any time now baby #5!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Top Ten Halloween Books

I really love children's literature. I'm slowly compiling a little library of my favorites thanks to the Weber County Library sale every August, but I thought I'd share my top choices for this time of year:

 I love this book. And if you search, you can find so many fun crafts and activities that go along with it. My kids love reciting it with me and we've read it over and over again. 

This is a cute book about finding your place. 
I just love that last line, "Oh my Gosh, I'm a Squash!"

This is probably my number one. Maybe it's because I have two daughters who are a bit like this. Angela copies her sister's costume every year, until finally one year she gets creative and comes up with something all on her own. The ending is awesome, with an act of sisterly love. 
Read it, you'll love it. (Name that movie.)

This book builds a monster face page by page and then it all goes away slowly as you tell it to "go away" piece by piece. This is another one my daughter wanted to read over and over again.
This one is entertaining. Some pages have things that are hard enough to keep my six year old searching, but most are easy enough for my four year old as well.

I love a good book about witches and this one has a nice moral. This little witch has two older sisters who know everything and tell her that she has no powers. So she goes out and figures out what makes her a unique and powerful witch. It's a good one.

These books are adorable. I love the illustrations and the names of each bug they come up with. Always a fun read. This is one that you'll want to read with your kids and not leave alone with them.  Those bugs are fragile.

 Haven't we all learned life's most important lessons from the Berenstein Bears?
This one is no exception. Remember it from my childhood.

Here's one that's new to me and I've never read the ending. It kept popping up when I was searching out my favorite books on Amazon and has great reviews. Anyone read it?
I'm going to find it at our library and try it out. Love those witches.

And your Halloween favorites? Please do share.
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