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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Veggie Productivity

So yesterday Michael and I were talking about food and our current cooking situation as it has been a bit crazy since I've been so tired lately and out of energy by the time 5:00 rolls around.  We're trying to come up with ways to make dinner preparation a little easier since he's not as avid a cook as I am, plus he's been at work all day and usually wants dinner pretty quickly after he's gotten home.

One of his suggestions to ease the dinner burden was...get ready for it...canned vegetables.  I couldn't believe he would even suggest it to me knowing how I feel about them.  I told him that asking me to buy canned veggies is like asking him to shop for clothing and shoes at Walmart (if you know him, then you'd know that that will never happen).  Now before you start fuming inside because you love canned veggies, here's my big DISCLAIMER: we weren't eating veggies at all (mostly just fruit and some veggies occasionally), so you are definitely eating more healthfully than we were.  More power to you, seriously!  They are definitely better than no vegetables at all, which is pretty much the state in which we had found ourselves.  Plus, I just prefer the taste of fresh veggies (steamed or baked) to canned.

After this conversation and reading a study that Michael had emailed me a link of that says that canned food doesn't lose that many nutrients (funded by the Canning Alliance or something like that), I realized that he was right; eating canned veggies WAS more healthy than what we were currently doing (mostly PBJs and grilled cheese sandwiches).

So today, I sucked it up and transformed my outrage into energy.  I found energy to make zucchini bread out of 2 of the 3 zucchinis that hadn't gone bad yet.

(I changed the sugar and honey from original recipe.)
2 ½ C. whole wheat flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 eggs
½ C. vegetable oil
½ C. unsweetened applesauce
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C. grated zucchini

1.       Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a medium bowl, sift together first 5 ingredients (flour through cinnamon).  Set aside.
2.       In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar, honey, and vanilla. Beat well with an electric mixer.  Stir in zucchini.  Add flour mixture in batches and stir until just combined (do not over mix).
3.       Spray 2 regular size loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans with nonstick spray (bottom and sides). Bake in the center of the oven for approximately 50 minutes for 4 mini loafs or 65-75 minutes for 2 regular loaves.  Cool slightly, run a knife around the edge of the pan to release the bread from the sides, and remove from pan.  Cool on wire rack or seal in plastic wrap to lock in moisture.
Then I decided that while that was baking, I might as well put the butternut squash and sweet potatoes in the oven as well.  Then I could prepare and freeze them so that Michael and I would have fast veggies to prepare for dinner.

I split it in half, spoon out the seeds, rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper, poke with a fork all over the top, then bake at 400 until tender.  Then I let it cool just a little, spoon out the flesh, and mash with a little butter, turbinado sugar (to taste).  This is one of Levi's favorite.
While these don't look too tasty, they are Samuel's all-time favorite veggie.  I poke them and bake them at 400 until tender.  Then I spoon out the contents and mix (with an electric mixer) with a little milk, butter, turbinado sugar, salt, and pepper.   You only need just a little butter and sugar.  Saturating it ruins it.  
While the oven was on, I decided to toss in the seeds in from the butternut squash (and some acorn squash that I made a few days ago.  Delish!  Even my picky little Samuel loved them.
I used the recipe here, except it took longer to dry them out than I expected.  Also, next time I will use less salt.  Still delicious, though!
While I was at it, I decided to steam some baby carrots (that weren't getting eaten) to freeze and a head of cauliflower (that I didn't know if it would ever get used) to puree then freeze for one of mine and the boys' favorite Deceptively Delicious recipes (buttered noodles).  I didn't take a picture, but there are about 6 or more freezer bags with the 1/2 cup of puree already measured out in my freezer ready to go.

I did all of that PLUS the dining room table is finally free of folded laundry after almost two weeks!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Abortion Survivor

I keep seeing this video posted on Facebook, so I finally decided to watch it even though it was long, haha.  It makes the point that I was trying to make so much better than I could have put it (although not until a few minutes into the video).  I was so excited when she was saying everything that I was thinking when I posted these posts about babies' rights: Indonesian Breastfeeding Law, and Women's Rights vs. Babies' Rights.

This lady on the video, Gianna Jessen, is the survivor of a late-term abortion in the seventh month.  And her basic point is that although abortion is the quintessential issue of women's rights, where were her rights at that point?  She is, afterall, female, and yet no one was respecting her right to live.  It's worth a watch.  Pretty good points made.

Part I

Part II

Monday, September 20, 2010

Planting Our First Tree

On Saturday we went to Arlington's second annual Ecofest.  It was way cool, although, Levi only let us stay for about thirty minutes before he started melting down (it was pretty hot out).  While we were there, however, we did manage to get a free tree, which I thought was pretty cool.  They were just giving away these little ones in pots, probably $15 if you bought it at Home Depot, but we wouldn't have bought it, so it worked great.

Tree planting has been a source of contention in our household for 5 years now.  Michael wanted to buy a more mature one and have it professionally planted, which would require us saving up a substantial amount of money for it (I've heard of it costing $1,000-$1,500).  The problem with that is that other household projects always took precedent over tree planting.  I always just wanted to buy a "stick-in-a-pot", as my mother-in-law and I call it, and plant it and see what happens.  The problem with that, however, is that I could never get Michael to agree to it.  I also didn't know they were so cheap!  If we would have done that when we first moved in, though, we would have had a bunch of 5 year old trees by now.

So when they gave us a free one, we thought, 'What the heck. Let's plant it in the back yard and see what happens.'  Planting your first tree is a little like having your first child.  You don't really know what you're doing or what to expect, but you just hope that everything will turn out alright.  You read the directions, plant it, train it up right, and hope that it all works out.



Alright, here's your warning, I'm going to get all of the negativity out of my system in hopes that it might make me feel a little better.  And let it be totally understood that I'm VERY grateful for my precious little Isaac, and I really can't wait to meet him.  

Okay, that said...I'm so tired of feeling like crap.  :(  This pregnancy has been so awful in comparison to my other two.  I don't do pregnancy well anyway, granted, but I don't know how I'm going to make it another 15 weeks.  I don't know how my KIDS are going to make it another 15 weeks!  I'm afraid they're going to turn into little TV zombies.  Anytime I don't feel good, which is quite often nowadays, I let them watch TV while I lay on the couch.  I feel so lazy!

I'm frustrated that I can't work out (too tired and achy) because it helped so much with Levi's pregnancy.  I'm frustrated that I can't play with my kids for very long before I get tired and achy.  I can't even sit on the floor and play with them because it hurts my back too much.  I'm totally not liking that this pregnancy has introduced me to sciatica - not fun at all!  I also hate that in the morning when I'm showering and doing my hair and makeup my heart starts beating really fast and it's hard to get my heart rate back down.  I'm also frustrated that most of the yoga classes at my gym are power yoga, which is too much for me right now.  And don't get me started on the things that people say about my belly.

I just can't wait until the baby is born and I can start getting back into shape and feeling like a normal person again.  I miss energy and good moods and flexibility.  I miss caffeine and wine and sleeping on my back.

Okay, that felt good.  I think I'm done.  I'm open to suggestions.  I do think I'm going to buy another pregnancy yoga DVD.  I loaned my other one out and never got it back.  That should help with my body aches and pains.  I could also be more proactive in doing things with my kids from the couch, like reading books.  I can't do that all day long, though.  Any other suggestions?

My Personal Rules for Buying and Selling on Craig's List

Yesterday I bought the kids’ big Christmas present from a Craig’s List posting.  I’ve been waiting and waiting for it to pop up on CL, and it finally did.  That may seem ghetto to you to buy a used Christmas present, but it’s a great present that I wouldn’t have otherwise wanted to fork over the cash for, so I’m very happy with my purchase.  I got them the activity table from Pottery Barn Kids that they’ll use as a train table.  It retails for $350 (plus tax and shipping), but I bought it for $100.  Can’t beat that!  

I have bought a LOT of things from people on Craig’s List, but I honestly can’t remember ever buying something that was worth less than I bought it for.  But when I’m browsing CL, I do see a lot of crap out there, so that makes me think that there’s a bit of skill in selecting a good potential purchase from a seller on CL. I’ve also sold a lot of stuff on CL, and I think that that helps me also to know what would make a good buy.  

The main things that I have purchased from CL have been baby items.  Off the top of my head, I’ve bought: 
-a Graco infant car seat for Samuel (We got rear-ended when he was 6 weeks old, so insurance ended up buying us a brand new one even though we only spent $20 on that one.)
-a Graco snap-n-go stroller thing (I loved it, but now that I’m older and wiser, I bought something different for Isaac.  I ended up foolishly selling it at a garage sale when I could have gotten much more for it on CL.)
-a crib 
-a changing table 
-a dresser (for Isaac’s room)
-a Chicco travel system (stroller and car seat for Isaac)
-a Pack-n-Play 
-a bread maker
-an exersaucer (great buy!  I used the heck out of that thing.)
-a toddler bed 
-and more...

I think when looking for an item on Craig’s List, there are a few rules that I personally go by: 
  1. If there’s no picture, I don’t waste my time.  If the picture is crappy, then I might email the person asking them questions about the quality.
  2. I don’t buy clothes or shoes.  For me, I’d rather try them on.  For the kids, they’re usually sold by the lot, and I’m too picky to like everything in the lot, so I don’t want to pay money for stuff I don’t like.  
  3. I don’t buy something that I think someone may have had sex on.  LOL!  It’s true, though.  I won’t buy a couch and definitely not a bed or a futon.  
  4. I also won’t buy kids’ mattresses because of pee.  I’ve considered arm chairs, but even then I just think that there’s too much risk involved (bed bugs or upholstery stains or something).  I’m pretty much leery if it’s upholstered at all.  I don’t want to be sitting on it wondering if someone else’s DNA is in it.  (I got around this rule with the car seats and stroller because they can be washed.)  
  5. I decide what I want to buy BEFORE I look on CL.  I do the research and read reviews online to determine what a good purchase would be.  Then I do a search for that particular item on CL and wait for a good one to show up.  If I have time, then I’ll wait weeks or even months for it.  
  6. I always talk to the person on the phone before I agree to pick something up, and I always take Michael with me when it’s possible.  It’s usually women that I’m buying from since it’s mostly baby stuff, so I feel more comfortable since we’re all moms .  (I did break this rule yesterday when picking up the train table, but I didn’t want to have the kids see their Christmas present, and I knew it was another mom.)
  7. I never agree to buy it over the phone or email.  I always just say that I’ll come and take a look at it.  That way I don’t feel pressured to take it home with me if I don’t like it.
  8. I look at it for a long time, making sure that it’s just what I want.  If it’s not, then I’m not going to feel pressured to take it home with me.  
  9. I try to go look at it as soon after seeing the post as possible, because it’s first come first served on Craig’s List.
  10. I only travel far distances (up to an hour) for large purchases.  If it’s under $50, I try to stay within 30 minutes driving time.  The gas money makes it not worth it.
That’s all I can think of for now.  Feel free to add your own rules in the comments! 

Off the top of my head, I’ve sold: 
-a crib (We never ended up using it with Samuel, so I sold it back on CL when I was pregnant with Levi.  I wish I would have hung onto it because it was pretty nice.)
-a changing table (I sold it during my “I’m not having anymore kids” phase, but I’m glad I did because it was too bulky.)
-a Pack-n-Play
-music recording equipment
-an electric bass guitar 
-a wall hanging
-2 home office desks
-2 or more dressers
-a toddler bed (I sold it back for the same price that I paid for it.)
-infant formula (This stuff goes fast!  I’ve also posted it for free when I get those samples in the mail.)
-a breast pump (I wouldn't buy one, though. :-/)
-a bed (more hypocrisy, I know, but I knew that it was clean)
-a gas fireplace that didn’t work (they knew that)
-and more...
I don’t have as many rules for selling, but they’re important and always make a huge difference.  About half of them are for getting someone to buy the item, and the other half are for safety:
  1. When selling something on CL, the picture is KEY.  I try to take a picture using nice, bright but soft, natural lighting from a window on a flattering background (wood table, carpet, something clean and nice) with a clean and tidy room behind it.  People want to think that the product was well taken care of and kept clean and not kicked around in some cluttered room in your house. 
  2. If I can find the online picture of it from the company’s website, then I like to put that beside the pictures I took.
  3. I like to also include the company’s product description in my text, that way all the measurements and other specifications are correct.  
  4. I try to never sell anything for more than half of retail unless it’s new, in the box.  
  5. I always look at comparable listings to get a good feel for the price range for that product.  I try to land somewhere in the middle of the price range, unless I want it gone fast, then I price it low.
  6. I don’t count on a sale until they’re gone and the money is in my hand.  Some people are very flaky and won’t show up, so I make them work around my schedule instead of the other way around.  
  7. I also try to have them come over when Michael is home, and I don’t let them inside my house.  Even if it’s a heavy item, I bring it to the front porch.  If Michael can’t be home, then I call him and tell him someone is coming over from CL and call him when they leave.    
  8. I don’t give them my address over email.  I always make them call me for it.  That way I can get a feel for the person to make sure they’re not a crazy.  I know nothing’s certain, but it makes me feel better.  
I think that’s about it.  Do you have any other rules I didn’t include?  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Used and Amused

Today we finished up the last of our shopping for the new baby (well, all except for one thing that I need to exchange, but that doesn’t count).  Our last purchase was a Craig’s List find, and I have to say, with all of the Craig’s List purchases I’ve made (too many to count), I can’t remember a time that I ever regretted it.  (That gives me an idea for a new post: How to shop successfully on Craig’s List.)  

I LOVE that someone can buy something brand new, use it for a little while, and then sell it for half of retail or less!  It enables the buyer to not only save a lot of money but also to not let something go to waste!  And THEN the buyer can sell it again on Craig’s List when she’s done with it for very close to same price she bought it at because after the initial hit, things don’t depreciate too badly in the Craig’s List world, as long as it’s still in good shape.  For instance, I bought a Pack-n-Play from Craig’s List once for about $50 that was probably a year old.  I sold it a year later for $40 or $50.  It’s a great system.  

What I really love about it is that it prevents too many things from crowding our world.  Not everyone has to buy something new.  I guess if no one bought anything new, then we’d all be a lot more resourceful, and things would probably be better made.  But for now I’ll just take advantage of the easy access to like-new stuff.  And you know what, no one knows that you bought something used (unless you brag about it on your blog), because everything looks used shortly after it’s bought.

By the way, our purchase this morning was a new car seat and stroller travel system because we lost our old single stroller.  Truth be told, I didn’t like it that much anyway.  But if you know where it is (a green Chicco umbrella stroller), can you let me know so that I can sell it on Craig’s List?  :-P  I don’t know if we just lost it, loaned it out, or forgot it somewhere, but it’s driving me crazy trying to remember.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Therapy Videos

Michael and I started going to marriage counseling again recently, and although we've only gone once, I think it's going to be really good.  The guy that we're seeing is really blowing our minds.  He's got a website with all of these helpful video clips on it where he discusses different topics.  Do yourself a favor and check it out (unless you're not as screwed up as me ;) ).  They're really good.  Michael and I listened to the "Controllers and Appeasers" series and just started the "Empathy: Marital Glue" series, and he's reading our mail.  Very good stuff.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Colds, Potty Training, and Tummy Tucks

So I have a cold, and when I'm sick when I'm pregnant I'm pretty much out of service.  I have NO energy, even if it's just a small cold.  So Samsung has been babysitting the kids while I surf mindlessly on the internet all day long.  I do watch a few of my own shows, too, in between cartoons so that the kids can unplug for a little while.  I choose to not feel guilty about it, either, because the more I rest, the faster I'm back in business.

Surfing the internet all day long is boring, though!  There's only so much that you can research and whatnot.  I'm still mostly just lurking on Facebook because if I comment on too many things my inbox fills up, and that annoys me a little.  So after I finish lurking on Facebook, checking my blogs on Google Reader, RSVPing for playdates, and checking my breastfeeding forum, I'm bored, so I have to find things to obsess about and research to keep me un-bored.

The last thing I was researching a lot was potty-training.  I think I'm finally on the right track, but school is working against me.  They're STILL not finished with their remodel, which means that the kids are in temporary classrooms, which means that they don't have bathrooms in their classrooms, which means that they are just changing diapers rather than taking the 2 year olds to the potty regularly.  INFURIATING!!!  I've been working on Levi since MARCH (when he was showing obvious signs of readiness), and when I'm finally almost fully there with him, they undo all the work I've put into him.  I can't begin to express the frustration I feel about that.  Potty training this child has been a grueling marathon (it was a sprint with Samuel - although he did have poop issues for a while).  After I communicated my frustration to the teacher (in a tactful way), she did tell me that they'd take him to the potty.  But they ask him if he wants to go, and he says no, so they don't take him.  At home, I don't ask him; I just take him.  ANYWAY!  (Can you see the smoke coming out of my ears?)

My latest research obsession has been tummy tucks (the link is for before and after pics, if you dare).  Judge me if you will, but it's happening; oh yes, it's most definitely happening.  :)  (By then we'll have the house paid off and will be in a better place financially as far as our goals go.)  As you may know, my boys were pretty big (10lbs 13oz and 9lbs 8oz); I'm only 5'2" and usually not overweight; and I will have had 3 C-sections after this little guy.  My next baby, Isaac, is going to be a biggun', too; I can feel it.  My tummy stretched a LOT with my pregnancies, especially with Levi because even though he was smaller, I had excess fluid with him so I measured like I was having twins (those of you that know me personally are so tired of hearing me say that).  Plus, they're only 20 months apart.  My diastis recti was pretty significant, although I was able to get the muscles a lot closer together after a lot of yoga and Pilates.  Thankfully I haven't had any stretch marks (that’s all hereditary, btw), but my skin and muscles are really thin and loose (when I'm not pregnant - hereditary, too).  So once I get in shape after Isaac weans, I'm going under the knife.  You really want to lose all the weight you can before getting the procedure so that they're able to tighten it as much as possible and the results are more significant, so I will be hitting the gym hard (and no more daily sugary treats)!  The scar is bad, yeah, but I already have the C-section scar, which, yeah, is smaller, but it won't be that much of a change.  The C-section hangover scar sucks. You know what I mean if you have it.

Anyway, Toy Story 2 is almost over, so I’ll close for now. ;)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Another Insomnia-Induced Post

So I guess it is already 6:30AM, but I've been up for two hours now.  Samuel came into my room at 4:30 and said he didn't want to sleep in his bed anymore, and I thought that if I walked him back to his bed that I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep myself.  So I let him climb in with me.  Well, little stinker's tossing and turning and legs draped over my torso did the trick of keeping me up.  I tried to Solitaire myself to sleep (playing Solitaire on my phone until I bore myself to sleep), which usually works at night when I'm trying to fall asleep but rarely works in the middle of the night.  So after an hour I just decided to get up.

So (trying not to start every sentence with "So") I decided to work on my Baby To-Do list.  With Levi I hardly had anything to do since I knew that he'd be sleeping in our bed and we weren't setting up a nursery.  With this one, though, I have to revive the nursery because I let too much time slip between babies and I love having a kidless bed (tonight being an exception as there is a large four-year old snuggled up on my pillow while I'm sitting in the dark living room on the couch).   But there's still not as much to do as with Samuel because, while I did get rid of just about everything for babies in my house, I'm older and wiser now and know what I can live without.  Oh, and did I mention that I'm a whole lot cheaper now?  You could have guessed that, I'm sure.

So here's what I've done:

  • I'm using a hand-me-down crib from my sister (sold ours on Craig's List when I was pregnant with Levi.  The lady that bought it was very confused).  I honestly don't know how many kids it has been used for (she has five, but one is still in his crib).  But it fits in the room well because it's all kind of rustic/retro/hand-me-down feel.  (Get used to it, Isaac!)
  • I bought this cute, little, retro, bamboo-trimmed dresser off of Craig's List for $30.  It has three drawers and goes to about waist level.  I painted it off-white, so in total I spent $40 on it after painting supplies.  (I didn't have to buy paint since I already had some, but I bought a mask and rubber gloves in case it had lead paint on it since it was so old because I sanded it down first.)  
  • I bought some new, white curtains for the windows and closet.  I used to have matching curtains to the bedding, but I didn't want it to be all matchy-matchy this time.  I'm feeling more of an eclectic vibe this time.  I did have to hem the bottom of them up because they were a tad too long, and they were also all different lengths (thanks Target).  But they look a lot better.  Oh, and I have to still buy one more because they only had 5 in stock and I needed 6.
  • I put the tree/bird paintings above the dresser, and they look a lot better in there than they did in our room.  
And this is what I still need to do:
  • I want to make a mobile to hang from the ceiling above the crib.  I've been seeing these really natural types of mobiles everywhere that are so precious.  I was thinking that I could use the mobile to link the two designs that are in there so far (circles on the bedding and trees/birds on the painting). 
  • I'm going to put the changing pad on top of the dresser.  I didn't want to be stuck with a changing table after he's out of diapers since it's our last kid.
  • I'm going to look for a rocking chair or glider for the nursery.  Since we don't have as much bulky furniture in there now as we did when it was Samuel's room, one will fit.  I'm thinking of getting a basic, wooden rocking chair from Craig's List (saw one for $20 today).  I do really like this one from Ikea, but we'll have to see if it's in the budget.  I really like the brown one, but it's $60 more for some reason.  I also hate to spend so much money for something I'll only use for a few months and then will likely sell on Craig's List.  
  • I still have a little more shopping to do, too.  Here's my shopping list:
    • Onesies and footsies 
    • Car seat
    • Pump (decided to go with the Ameda this time)
    • Breastfeeding pillow - I can't decide if I'm going to buy that one Blessed Nest pillow that I won in that blog contest or not.  I loved it, but with shipping and tax it would be a little over $100, so I think that answers my question.  :-/  Maybe I'll try My Breast Friend this time.  I like the idea of being able to get up and walk around with it, especially with 2 other kids around.  
    • Sound machine - We have this one for the boys, and I decided to get a new one since I'll want to try to drown out all of the middle of the night goings-on when the baby gets here.
    • Rug - I'm looking for a shaggy rug that's round for the nursery.  I'm hoping even to find one that is speckly (don't know the correct term for what I'm thinking) so that it hides stains better than the last one that was in there (light blue with a huge white circle in the middle that attracted every piece of dirt in the house - rookie mistake).  
    • Linens 
      • changing pad covers
      • burp cloths
      • receiving blankets (Mimi is going to make a few Hedgie-size blankets for us) :) 
I'm pretty satisfied with the amount of things that I'm doing and buying.  I don't feel like I'm going overboard, but I feel like I'm doing enough to enjoy this last baby phase I'll be going through and to have plenty of stuff with which to take care of him.

A common question I keep getting is if I'm going to have a baby shower.  I've thought about it a lot, and while it's not really my decision (it'd be a little tacky to throw one for myself), I did get the idea from my friend Misti to have a "sip 'n see" after the baby is born.  I've never heard it called that before, but I thought it was a good idea.  That way anyone that wants to bring a gift can if they want to, but they don't have to feel obligated.  They could even just bring a frozen casserole!  Haha!  Seriously, though.  :-P  So anyway...just puttin' it out there...if anyone wants to throw me a sip 'n see*...I'll be here...But seriously, I think that's a good idea because then if people wanted to bring a gift, then they could bring things like clothes (since I got rid of them all) and diapers (Michael refuses to let me try cloth again, and I think I'm okay with that).  

Well, the Tiger is up and he's "hungy", so I'll stop rambling.

*ETA: My sweet friends Misti and Megan offered to throw me one.  Shout out: Love you, girls!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just in Case

Okay, so just in case you saw the last post that is no longer here, I deleted it.  Someone seems to have taken it seriously, so I'm afraid that the humor didn't come across in it.  Oops, my bad (not surprising).  I wasn't really serious, just so you know.  I should use more discretion in the future.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Two New Paintings

While I don't consider myself an artist, I do enjoy what I call "craft painting" a whole lot.  It's very therapeutic and gets some of my pent up creativity out.   I really wish I would have taken a "before" picture of this, but it was the old Garden Ridge knock-off painting that I had above my couch with the three panels of trees on it.  I primered over the painting, which took a great deal of primer and paint to cover, and then drew this out and painted it.  I was going to do another rip-off painting (where I copy someone else's work but put my own spin on it), but I decided to do an AMH original instead.  It's my first original, and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.  I decided to put it back above the couch because the red looks really good on the blue-green wall.  The flash always distorts the way it really looks, but oh well.  It's about the same red as my dining room (cinnamon-ish).  And the white is kind of antique-y.  

Taken with my camera and its flash at night
Taken with my iPhone and natural lighting during the day - I like this picture better because it shows the blue wall, which btw is the same color as my blog background.  Haha, I didn't realize that my blog was the subconscious inspiration for my wall color. 
So I finished that last week, and I really wanted to do some painting on my birthday, so I started this next one on Tuesday and finished today.  It's in my bedroom above my bed.  I still kind of think it might need frames, but I'm going to think about it a little more.  I feel like it's too blue for my bedroom, but Michael really likes it.  BTW, that's me and Michael on the left panel and our three little birds on the right.  

Taken with my camera and a flash at night - It looks bluer than it really is, and the leaves are red, orange, and yellow.  And our walls are more peachy-tan than white like this pic depicts.  
Taken with my iPhone and incandescent light - a little more what it looks like, but the tree is brown, not black
This was the inspiration, but it's more crafty than I wanted.  The leaves are clippings from magazines which I don't like, and the birdhouse is not really my thing.
So anyway, it's kind of a vulnerable thing to put your creations up on the walls for everyone to look at and critique in their heads.  I guess art school got me used to that, but it's still a little unnerving.  Oh well, I hope you like them, but if you don't, then that's okay, too.  ;)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

SOOOO Blessed!!

I had a GREAT birthday today.  I'm so extremely blessed.  Turning 31 doesn't phase me at all because life just keeps getting better and better.  I have so many things to be grateful for, starting with my amazing husband and precious kids.  And I've grown as a person more in the last few years than all of 20 before that combined!

So here's a breakdown of my awesome day:

The night before..Samuel used his "reward money" to go in on flowers with Michael for my birthday.  He wanted me to have red ones since that's his favorite color, and he knows that I like them.  He's such a sweet boy, and looking at my flowers reminds me of how special of a kid he is.
6:42AM I'm awakened by my mother who called me because she always wants to be the first one to wish me a happy birthday.  Little does she know that my dad (they're divorced) always calls me every year the day before my birthday because he wants to be the first one to wish me a happy birthday.  I think it's pretty hilarious, so I don't tell my mom.  And she doesn't read my blog, so that's what she gets.  :-P

6:50ishAM  Michael brings me my delicious breakfast in bed - cherry-cheese Danish with scrambled eggs and orange juice.  Loved it; love him.  :)

7:00AM  Samuel wakes up SO incredibly excited about his first day of school.  The very first thing he said when he walked in my room was, "It's the first day of school!!!" And then he wished me a happy birthday.  I can't get enough of his cuteness!  

8:45AM  We took the boys to their first day of school.  It was such a happy time because they were so excited about it.  No tears were shed, and I felt great about that!

9:30ishAM  I went to Queen Nails and got a "Lavender Pedicure".  OMG, soooo worth it.  I nearly fell asleep several times.  It was just what I needed and so long overdue.  If you haven't been to Queen Nails over on Park Row, you must.  They're so good, and the atmosphere is great.

11:00AM  I went shopping for some maternity clothes and makeup SANS kids!!!  So that means that I actually got to think about what I was purchasing and try them on with a clear mind without fighting kids in the double-stroller.  AND it was a trip to the mall that I didn't have to stop at the play area for at least 30 minutes followed by Mrs. Field's Cookies for "hush treats".

12:30ishPM  I came home, ate lunch in a *quiet*, clean house, and then began working on my latest painting for my bedroom.

2:15PM  Michael came home so that we could pick the boys up from their first day of school together (he's so thoughtful).  So I spent the afternoon at home with the boys (while Michael worked from home) listening to kids' songs, dancing around the living room, painting here and there, cuddling with Levi, looking through their artwork from school, and loving my family.

5:00PM  The four of us Hedgies (five really) went to the Italian Market for dinner thanks to my dad for buying me a gift certificate for there.  We had a good time minus one small meltdown from the little Tiger.  It was a great way to spend my birthday, though.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Note the "Caution Wet Floor" sign and papers all over the floor next to MY children.  There was a minor milk incident, but other than that, we had a great time.  We have wised up and only go out to eat with kids in tow before the dinner rush, so hardly anyone was there.  We came home; I painted some more; Michael did the kids' nighttime routine; and here I am!

Oh, and let me tell you, all of the Facebook posts today were amazing!  I loved getting those throughout the day.  It was such sunshine on my already great day.  I felt so loved!  So thanks if you were one of those friends.  :)

What a great day.  I sure am a blessed girl, and I certainly don't take any of it for granted.  Love and peace to all of you today!


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