A few of my favorite things

 

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Post nap hair

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The most adult looking space in the house

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Leaning about robots/recycling

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O’s fashion prediction for menswear this spring

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Preparedness for anything (in this case, going out for dinner)

 

Done with Wallpaper; Done with Diapers

Now that the twins are potty trained (THAT’S RIGHT!) (well mostly) and all the wallpaper is down in the house,I’ve been wondering about changing the name of the blog. Some front runners are:

There’s Jamison in my Mug

Padded Walls and Clorox wipes

Mystery Smells

How To Survive Toddlers (wait, that was my Google History)

Can Anybody Hear Me? ANYBODY?

What’s This Puddle?

Thank God For Grandmas

The Yard Post

You know how you completely hate part of your home but it would take a TON of work to change it so you just close your eyes when you’re near it? That’s how I felt about our front yard.  Which is quite dangerous because it’s not safe to have my eyes closed as I pull in the driveway or play in the front yard.  So we did something about it.

BEFORE: Jungle, overgrown, messy, over-designed.

AFTER: Clean. Simple.

That sums it up!  Pics? I suppose:

From 2 different angles- and this doesn’t even do the Jungle justice.  These were taken in October (2013) and a lot of the plants were already dying off.  Plus, this year we had a ton of rain and all the plants really took off.

Some progress:

We did all the removal ourselves.  It was really hard work.  I didn’t get many pictures.  Throughout the summer, I dug most of the bulbs and small plants (we had irises, hostas, peonies, lavender, and hydrangeas).  My brother in law came one day with his skid loader to pull out the trees and scoop as much of the rock as he could.  That was a HUGE help, but we still had to rake and shovel a lot of rocks.  Enough that it was hard to be alive the next few days.  When we had the landscaping company come over afterwards, he said we saved about $3K by doing the work ourselves- that was worth it!

We hired a company to lay the sod and do the edge work.  I would do that again in a heartbeat- they knocked it out in one day, did a great job, and cleaned up after themselves.

I mean, the kids helped.  Obviously.  

And the (almost) final:

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Who knew there was a house behind all that?!

See those orange flags? Those will be white hydrangeas.  I asked for 6 across the front and they brought me 2 plus some other kind of red-leafed edging bush.  I said no thanks.  They said they’ll order more hydrangeas today.  So sometime in the next few weeks those will be planted.  You know I love hydrangeas, and the kids do too!

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It was hard to tear this out, but it was kind of necessary.

I didn’t get any pictures of the sides- there’s about 2 1/2′ of landscaping along the east side of the house that was literally 100% weeds.  I had always left them alone because it’s really steep and I figured having weeds would prevent a little more washout than having it bare.  Now its clean and simple- we scattered cobblestones to help keep the foundation protected and filled in the same river rock as the front of the house.  No holes, no room for weeds.

The only thing that stayed is that tree- and we cut it way back too. It’s so nice to have this project (almost) done! After 4 years of cringing every time I come home I can finally admire our front yard.

One final before and after:

On to the next project.

My recent Google Search History:

How to remove crayon from marble

Not boring chicken

Halloween costumes

Halloween costumes for kids

Halloween costumes for kids NOT sexy

Easy chicken

How to bake chicken

How much coffee is too much?

5+ cups of Coffee daily is good for you (proof that you can find anything you Google)

 

Ch-Ch-Changes

There has been a HUGE development in our home. I have finally taken down the last of the wallpaper. That’s right friends, our house is officially wallpaper free.

 

Lovely detail work around the door frame because…who doesn’t looooove a good cut-out?!  And a close-up.  Unfortunately I was in such a hurry to get it out of my life I didn’t get a shot of the full wall beauty.  Use your imagination.

It makes me wonder if I need to change the name of the blog to Just Diapers. Which is even more true than ever these days as I have officially left the office and am a stay at home mom (SAHM to those in the biz).

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J started preschool! On the bus! At the school! My exclamation points are masking the tears and agony this has caused me!  

Having one at school has left me a lot of time with the twins.  And I’ve realized how weird they really are. 

Both developments have left me much happier than I was anticipating.

The Pictures Post

Apparently the last post didn’t include enough pictures. Here you go!

 

Let’s start with the old (so much oak!):


The 2 peninsulas came out from the wall that separates the kitchen from the sun room, creating 3 rooms: the dining area, the kitchen, and the room that we never used and didn’t really know what to do with so it filled with toys. 

Here are some progress shots of the cabinet install:

And then the countertop:

!!!!!

Then came the finishing of the appliances, final touches, etc.  That all happened on a Friday, and Seth and I stayed up practically all night (until like 12, which for us is the same thing) cleaning and moving everything back up from the basement!  We can’t really do this half-a’ed here with the 3 little ones so we needed things to be set and ready for the storm when they woke up. Which was not long after we finished.

Then I decided to paint a chalkboard detail where the coffee/wine bar area was:

J has been obsessed with all the work we’ve been doing and all the “fixer men” we’ve had in the house. Obsessed.  He can’t sleep if he knows we’re working.  So sometimes we just throw him a bone and let him “help.”  I’m not a big tape user, but thought for this project it might be a good idea. I was wrong. It bled SO bad I had to go over all the edges with the chalkboard and white paint to even it out. So frustrating!! Maybe user error… it was getting pretty late. Anyway- it turned out great:

And yesterday when I ran home the Fixer Man was there putting up the shelves!

IMG_2855This is a preliminary layout. I’ll change it about 500 times. I think I’m already at change 362.

 

Hello.

Hey there. I’m Willow, what’s your name? It’s been a while. So long, in fact, that when I typed the web address in my browser it didn’t even pop up. I had to type all the way to the .com. It was all Wallpaper and huh?

Things have been happening here. I would love to say we are busier than we’ve ever been, but I feel like I’ve been saying that for the past (fill in the blank) years. So at some point that statement loses merit. Plus I’m trying not to be one of those people who throws my busi-ness in yo face. Which is hard, because apparently I am one of those people. But I digress.

Let’s catch up: winter. Ew. That sums it up! Shall we move on?

So we are currently DOING SOMETHING BIG at our house (this leans more towards Wallpaper and less towards Diapers). Our kitchen is GONE. Seriously. She gone. Sold on the Craigslist. To a very nice family might I add. On a farm. And no, this isn’t just a story my mom made up to keep me happy. My beautiful cabinets are on a farm in a beautiful house with really nice owners. And my stove is in another home with newlyweds. And my dishwasher is still pimping herself on CL.

Here’s what started it all. Our countertops were tile. Remember the 90’s? So does my house. I always hated them- unsanitary, hideous, and weird. So when they started falling apart, I very much encouraged them to continue. We agreed to have someone come in and talk with us about three levels of reno: 1- replace countertops, 2- replace countertops and paint cabinets (SO much oak) & 3- the whole shebang. I was satisfied with #2 (go ahead and giggle). But S said he’d rather spend the money to get exactly what we wanted than spend still a lot of money and want to scratch it all in a few years.

So we started to brainstorm. I almost blew Pinterest up. Side note- anyone watch Modern Family and see Claire’s bookmark for Pinterest? Hilarious. The folks who built our house did not cook. We do! So we were more than excited to come up with layouts that increased workspace and made the flow a little better. Plus we get to add some barstools, which is super cool for kiddos. I’ll save you the back and forths, but in the end I think we came up with a great plan.

We also decided to switch from electric to gas for the stove top and go with a convection/microwave combo instead of a microwave and/or double wall oven. Anyone have one of these? I would love to hear how you use it! I’m very intimidated by convection ovens.

Anyway, this post is long enough. I’m going to try and be a little better about staying up to date here. The cabinets are mostly set and I just finished priming the new drywall, so there will be a lot coming! And Seth is currently wiring the basement for surround sound, so I know we are all Super excited to hear more about that. Not!

I’ve been listening to 90’s mix on Pandora all night.

Talk soon!

The most wonderful time of the year.

No, this isn’t a post about getting excited too early for Christmas. Although I am.  Fall is my FAVORITE time of the year.  Next to summer and spring.  All 3 are tied.  Winter is dead last, except for Christmas.  I love everything that comes with fall- the colors, the clothes, the nail polish (helllllo dark and neutral, goodbye bright and neon!), the excitement of harvest, hot coffee, cool outdoor runs, appreciating every nice day because it could be our last one… The thing I do not love about fall is knowing what’s next. And the threat of frost.

Our garden was so rewarding this year.  Some things totally failed, but for the most part we got TONS of great stuff from it.  20140801_093619

This picture was taken early summer- by the end those zinnas were HUGE and lined the entire garden.  Now, however, the garden is much sadder. All that is left behind is the brussel sprouts, broccoli, and some garlic sprouts that came out of nowhere (I planted them in the spring, half grew and half didn’t. Now the other half is sprouting. Totally baffled). The only zinnias left are the ones around the sprouts, just to provide a little protection from cold winds.  And those are dead.

But, then there’s this stuff that makes my heart warm again:

 

 

The Real Mommy Brain

I always thought of myself as a fairly emotionally aware person (read- cries easily, gets feelings hurt a lot, was always “the sensitive one”) but having kids has made me realize that I had no idea what emotions were. I thought being pregnant was emotionally tough, but having these little animals out in the real world brings on so much more.  Here’s a look inside what I felt today.

FEAR None of us know what we’re doing. Is that fever serious? Do I let it run its course? Do my kids watch too much TV/eat too much processed food/ eat too many carbs/ have too much exposure to chemicals in cleaning products/ have too much exposure to GMOs/ not play outside enough… this one never ends.

HAPPINESS I can’t even begin this one. The smiles, laughs, ornery looks. Watching them play together (and even watching them fight, sometimes). Seeing them share food. Seeing them steal each other’s food.  Hearing the hilarious things my 3 year old says. Seeing the personalities coming out in the babies. All of the things.

ANGER Just. Follow. Directions.  Stop pushing your brother down.  Stop pulling your sister’s hair! Why did you do that?

FRUSTRATION See above.

GUILT Guilt guilt guilt guilt. Sometimes I go to bed and think I am a total jerk mom.  I think about what ticked me off, how I reacted, and am so sad.

CRAZINESS 3 kids in under 2 years.  ‘Nuff said.

GRATEFUL 3 healthy, beautiful kids. Who usually get along.

LOVE beyond love. Love so strong sometimes I just want to squeeze them so hard their heads pop off.

PAIN Goodbye former idea of what pain is. Hello childbirth.

EXHAUSTION I’m too tired to elaborate.

DISCOMFORT Carrying twins.  That’s 2 babies, twice the hormones, twice the size (I felt like it at least).  Heart burn.  Sciatic pain. Morning sickness alllll day long for 7 months. Waking up a million times each night because you have to readjust (which is like a semi turning around in an alley), because you have to pee, because you have heart burn, because you’re starving, because your toddler woke you up, because… you don’t know why but you’re wide awake!

FEAR Every time I leave the kids I am certain I’m never going to see them again.  Every. Time.

EMBARRASSMENT Oh your kid can identify letters of the alphabet and give an example of a word that starts with that letter? Yeah, my kid just said “eleventeen” and then picked his nose.

PRIDE Uh yeah, my kid said “eleventeen!” That’s awesome!

J! 3!

We celebrated J turing THREE a few weeks ago!  It’s still hard to believe.  Proof that the days may be long but the times goes so. fast.

We hung balloons on streamers the night before so this is what he woke up to (we didn’t get pics in the morning because he got up at 5, ran to our room, and proclaimed that he was just “so suscited!!!!!!!” so these are after his nap):

There was some brotherly reading:

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And of course the Special Day plate with a BDay cinnamon roll:DSC_0073Now you know I love me a good big party. But this summer has been SO busy! And we’ve been traveling a lot more than normal, so I knew I just didn’t have it in me to try and make the garage look not like a garage. So we did the easy thing. We took the family out to eat.  I have to say, it was nice to have the party at the restaurant and not have a bunch of set-up or clean up to deal with! We went to Jethro’s in Ankeny and got part of the little party room. As soon as he had the cupcake J bolted outside with the rest of the kids to play. L wore a dress for the occasion.

We really try to limit the “stuff” J has as far as toys, etc.  The first 2 years we didn’t get him gifts at all- beyond having the party and everyone over to celebrate, I didn’t think it was necessary.  But three is such a fun age for gifts. Seriously- he’d open one, pull out the card and exclaim “A CARD!!!” like it’s all he’d ever wanted.  So I knew we wanted to get him something, but wanted to make it special.  I’ve had these 2 IKEA bedside tables kicking around the house for a few months, and decided to make them into a play kitchen for him. I’m terrible at “before” pictures, so just imagine this, but several years and other paint colors later (mine was slightly different and didn’t have the top drawer- they were just open):

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So I got to work a few weeks early (shocker!) and tore it apart.  Like I said- ours had been painted several times so I had to re-prime and re-paint white.  I used a jig saw to cut out the center of the door, took out the existing hardware, filled those holes and reattached the door to the bottom (instead of the side) so it would open like an oven.  I painted the inside black and toyed with making a rack, but didn’t do it (yet). The one on the left is lined with fabric I had laying around and some scrapbook paper also laying around from a previous project. I painted cork coasters black to be burners, craft door handles red to be like the Wolf knobs (and connected them loosely with screws so they’ll stay in but will turn), and added a handle to the “door.” I was going to make the second stand have a sink, but decided to just have workspace for him instead. He needed somewhere for his Keurig… For the top, I just used a piece of pre-cut plywood and covered it with paint samples to create a tiled backsplash look. The shelf was a Hobby Lobby purchase- it was a naked oak that I stained to match our house’s woodwork, added some pretty paper and a family photo.  I am still looking for some fun vintagey accessories that are kid-safe and something to put in the open area on the left.  But so far all 3 kids have had a great time playing with it! I bought him fruits & veggies and my MIL bought a TON of other things, including a personalized chef coat & hat.

 

 

And yes, that is painter’s tape holding the door up.  Big mistake on my part… I went for the pretty gold hinges instead of going for the hinges that would actually hold the door up when it was closed.  Oops.  We’ve found some that will work, and until then I just have them keep it closed. DSC_0070