Thursday, July 30, 2015

Buy the Ugly Bedding

I read this post the other day: Buy the Ugly Crocs. It really resonated with me. I always want to steer Ben toward the more tasteful option. But being a 5 year old boy, he wants the hideous animal, superhero, or sports themed option.

I learned with Ben at a young age to pick my battles. I let him wear the mismatched outfit, buy the ugly character t-shirt, pile 80 stuffed animals on his bed and decorate his walls with stickers and his own "art."

It was no surprise then when it was time to transition from his Thomas the Train bedding to something less "babyish" that he requested animals. Jungle animals to be precise. There aren't many (read, any) tasteful options for full-sized bedding with jungle animals. Go figure.

But I scoured the web, and that is how we ended up with this "look." But you know what, he is smitten. And that is all that matters.

The kids LOVE to jump off Ben's bed on to a huge pile of blankets and stuffed animals.

And you can see a glimpse of Ben's new bed. His previous bed was an IKEA platform bed that had sharp edges that we were all always banging our legs and heads on. No idea what I was thinking with that choice--or why IKEA put it in their kid bed collection. This new one is soft and lovely. My pics are terrible but its a gray linen fabric with pintuck details.

I stumbled upon this pillow at Target. It was $20, which seemed ridiculous. But I knew Ben would adore it. So it made its way into my cart.

A close up of that snazzy bedding. We all wonder why a penguin is included with all the African animals???

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bicycle Ride

Livvie always wants to do whatever Ben is doing. So of course when he was riding his bike, she wanted to ride too. Unfortunately, small fry is way too short to reach the pedals...even on her own tricycle that is meant for 2 year olds! And she never wants to ride her own baby bike when Ben's big bike is out anyway.

But daddy found a fun way to let Livvie "ride" Ben's bike without reaching the pedals. And Ben was a nice brother and shared his bike with her.

That laugh. So infectious; it gets me ever time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New Favorite Restaurant

I've been eating at Noodles & Co. for years, but a long time ago (think before Ben was born) I brought it home for Mike and he said he didn't like it. So I go there on lunch breaks with friends but never with Mike. Their Pesto Cavatappi is delicious.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when we dropped by Brad and Denise's to see Theo and say hello. They had just gotten takeout from Noodle & Co. Mike was intrigued. He has no recollection of trying it or of telling me that he didn't like it. Hmmm.... 

From the looks on the kids' faces, they aren't buying his story either.

Anyway, last weekend we decided to give Noodles & Co. a try and it was a huge hit all around. Such a big hit that Ben requested it again the next weekend.

We got Liv mac n' cheese, which is a favorite. But because Ben had buttered noodles, she wanted those. She also ate 5 meatballs!

These two! I think this is really just Mike's ploy to get some of Liv's mac n' cheese. He'd long ago inhaled his thai dish and this was an easy way to convince Liv to share hers.

Feeding themselves:

Both feeding Daddy:

Both feeding Livvie:

Ben making another crazy face and protecting us with his fork, and me laughing. Ben must be going through a growth spurt because he ate his entire bowl of noodles, and then said he was still hungry. We got him a second bowl, and he gave some to Liv and then tore into it!

Good times at Noodle & Co.!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

At the Car Wash

Over the weekend we pulled out the kiddie pool again and also opened a car wash. :-)

The kids worked together very nicely to get all the cars spic and span. It looks like Ben was more the supervisor, and Liv was the worker bee. Sounds like those two.

And have I mentioned how much Liv loves Minnie Mouse. She's wearing her Minnie bathing suit and using her Minnie beach towel. 

And all is right with the world.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

4th of July Camping Trip

I'm a little late on this post, but here's how we spent our Fourth of July. 

We took the kids camping at Grandpa's campsite at the Wilmington Sportsman's Club. The nice thing about this place is that it is only about an hour drive. Which was great, since we were pretty loaded down. (Hope we didn't need to see behind us!)

There was no room for Dee's crate, so she rode on my lap. Digging her 32 lb weight into my legs, which actually left bruises. So that was fun for me.

Then when we arrived, Dee flipped out at Dad's female dog, Daisy. She wouldn't let up, and we had to put her in the truck with the windows down for the afternoon and periodically take her out for walks/potty breaks on her leash. Luckily it was a mild day and we had shade.

Once the sun set, we broke out the s'mores. Notice Ben's are black. After watching Mike's technique, I figured out why. LOL. I taught Ben how to cook them above the fire so they are soft but not torched. :-)

I gave Liv very strict instructions about staying back from the fire. She always points to our oven and grill and asks me "hot, hot, mama?", so we talked about how the fire is hot, hot too, and she needs to stay back. She was very good about it and kept a very intentional wide berth when walking by it.

Honestly, she is a good listener and I trusted her not to do anything dumb or crazy. The reason for the wide berth is more her clumsiness. There were lots of sticks and things on the ground, and she tripped on them several times while we were there. So I was more afraid she'd trip and fall in if she happened to be walking a little too close for my comfort. As you can see, when the fire first started, she was very interested but took our discussion very seriously too.

Once her fascination wore off, she settled into Mike's chair (not her own; she wanted the big girl chair) to relax. It was past her bedtime at this point, and she was fading.

But Liv can always rally! (Oh, the hair, by the way.)

We put the kids in their jammies and broke out the smores! Liv loves the chocolate, Ben loves everything but. It works out nicely. :-) Here you can see Liv with chocolate smeared on her face--this was the aftermath of just one square of Hershey's.

Liv went to bed shortly after, but Ben held out a little longer. I left with Dee around 9, and Mike told me that Ben asked to go to bed 5 minutes later.

The next morning, I fed and walked Dee, then headed back to the campsite. It's about an hour drive but I missed the exit somehow and so it took me 1.5 hours. Sigh. I arrived around 10:30 to find Liv napping and Ben and Mike just returned from a fishing trip on a raft Dad had bought. They caught one fish and a huge one apparently got away, bending Mike's hook and causing big excitement for Ben!

When I stopped for gas and ice on my way down, I picked up slurpees for the kids (and myself--what?). Liv woke up from her very short nap right after I arrived, so we hung out while Mike and Ben fished a little longer.

This is one of my new favorite pics of Liv. That crazy hair, the smile, wearing her "poypal" bathing suit, sitting in a big chair instead of her kid chair, and holding onto that big drink--so Liv!

She's just so cute I could eat her up! Once the boys returned, we headed over to the camp ground's "beach" on the lake. It is a nice little area with clean sand and a nice gentle slope from shallow to deep and lifeguards on duty. Not that we let the kids out of our sight, but still...

I only got this one photo because honestly we were just having too good a time to take photos. Hands down, this was the best part of our weekend. The kids had a total blast and the four of us spent several hours together just splashing, building sand castles, and hanging out. It was fabulous. Liv LOVED being swung up in the air and then being dipped half way under the water. She was shivering and blue lipped and insisting she was "no cold, mama. more wawa." :-)

Around 3, we packed up and headed into town for ice, and then returned to the campsite. Ben and Liv went "exploring" for a bit.

And Glenn and Patti joined us for dinner and hung out for a few hours. They rode down on their Harley. The kids were intrigued. Glenn and Patti were kind enough to let them sit on it--check out Liv's face when Glenn turned it on. She wasn't expecting that!

Then Glenn offered to give rides. With no helmets, I was not loving this plan. But he just rode them around very slowly in the grass in a small circle around our site. I wasn't worried about Ben...

But Liv was another issue. I wasn't trusting her to hold on, so Patti kindly climbed on behind her and held onto her just in case. But there was nothing to worry about. Liv LOVED it. After her ride, she kept asking for more. :-)

After that, we had another fire, set of some small fireworks, and then packed up and headed home when it was the kids' bedtime. We couldn't spend another night since Dee was home by herself. And Mike wasn't too disappointed to be spending the night in our bed. :-)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


We were having dinner at BWW when one of the waitresses asked Ben and Liv if they would like some fake mustaches. Um, random but sure! I mean, how cute are they...or not?

Sunday I threw a quick coat of polish on my toes because I wanted to wear flip flops and my polish was looking BAD. I think I hadn't painted them for 3 months. Anyway, I usually don't paint them when the kids are around but we were leaving in 15 minutes, so I had no choice.

And as expected, Liv was intrigued. She watched me quickly paint mine and then asked for hers to be done. But of course! I mean, this is why I had a girl, right? :-)

Notice above that she is wearing two bandaids. She has a very old healed up scrape on her knee that she insisted on a bandaid for. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with her arm, but Ben needed a bandaid so she had to have a second one. And that piece of artwork--scribbles in her two favorite colors, purple and yellow. Or, "poypal" and "wello"

I suggested pink or purple (her fave) which she initially said yes to, but then she insisted on having the same color as I did. Which is just so sweet. So here we are:

Her little toenails are so tiny that I had a hard time getting the polish on, but eventually we did it. And she sat so nice and still for it. Such a good girl!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Keeping Up with the Clutter

Just because you do a big purge doesn't mean the work is done. I'm pretty good about keeping our newly purged spaces organized and clutter free, but it is amazing how quickly the clutter can start to take over. 

This counter area in our kitchen is a magnet for clutter. We never use it for food prep, and our junk drawers, medicine, tools, phone chargers, etc, are all stored in the drawers and cabinets over here. So it is a natural spot for random stuff to land.

Saturday I walked in to the kitchen and did a double take. How did a counter that was clear a few days ago get to look like that!!! Let's see, kids' water cups from Bens tball game, paper work from Dee's latest vet visit, a toy bucket, a purchase from IKEA, Liv's binkie, Dee's leash, Ben's latest issue of Nat Geo Kids, and touch up paint for the office. See what I mean about randomness gathering here.

The funny thing is, all that stuff has a home. So 10 minutes later it was looking like this. I even went through the papers hanging on the fridge and narrowed those down to the must-haves. Ah, much better. All we usually keep here are the kids M&Ms and jellie beans, which are reward candy that we honestly forget about most times (which is weird since it is right in front of our faces).

And what was in that IKEA box on the counter? The IKEA cart!!! I was visiting IKEA for some frames (more on that later) and noticed it was now $30 instead of $50. Sold. We had a book situation and this cart is the answer.

I was worried that it would take a long time to assemble, but it was 20 minutes start to finish, including opening the box and unpacking it. Easy peasy. And now all the books that somehow make it downstairs have a place to land. And since it rolls, I can easily move it. For now it is tucked away in the office, but I may roll it into the playroom. But likely it will end up in Liv's room. I prefer the books be up there, and the blue color will go great with her color scheme.

So that is how I'm keeping up with the clutter lately. It is certainly a never-ending battle.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Lamp Swap

I got this ugly, cheap floor lamp for free years before Ben was even born. Since we have no ceiling lighting in the playroom, I put it in there as a temporary solution so they have some light when they read or color at the table.

While shopping at Ikea, I came across this lovely floor lamp. So I donated the old one and brought in the new!

Much better. The plan is to hire an electrician to run wires for a ceiling light in here, but until we get around to doing that, at least this looks much better. And it is versatile enough that I can move it to another room when we do get the ceiling light put in.