Children’s Rooms

This week, I’m posting pictures of Jack and Casey’s room for Show Us Where You Live Friday.  I’ve just found some really cute decorating blogs and now I feel like I should spruce up their rooms and be a little more decorative.  I especially felt like I needed to do more after I saw this room.     

Jack’s Room…
Jack has a little bit of a Cars theme going on…toddler bed, sheets, toy box, and mural, with a little baseball and Elmo thrown in.  (Elmo looks a little dazed today.)  The sticker just above his bed used to be on the headboard but one day when he didn’t want to nap, he decided the sticker needed to be moved.  Now he leaves it alone, but Casey likes to climb up there and try to peel it off.  He used to have another Cars poster but it kept blowing down every time the windows were open and I got tired of putting it back up.  His blanket was made by his great-mom-mom.  Now that he’s almost 3, I’m finally pulling out all the nice blankets people made for him when he was born.
This is the other side of the room.  Pretty simple.  I have no idea what to put on the wall or where to put it so it has just remained blank.  Someday, he’ll get a bigger bed (maybe bunk beds because I always wanted them when I was a kid) and we’ll have to move the bookshelf over here.  The chair is from Nags Head Hammock.  Casey has the rocker in her room and so we brought this one inside for his room.  We don’t sit much in it anymore though since we read stories on the floor.
Casey’s Room…
I have a dark pink, light green and light pink theme with some dark brown thrown in too.  I love her crib and the furniture that goes with it.  I have a vinyl flower application with her name that I’m going to put on the wall some day (between the windows) and I just found some really cute pictures that I want to buy, frame and put behind her dresser.  The rocker was one of the best purchases we made before Jack was born.  It was a great place to feed and read to both Jack and Casey.  I spent many hours holding both of them in it and willing them to go to sleep.  Now I can get Casey to sit in it for about 5 minutes while I read a book to her and that’s about it.  
Casey’s dresser and changing table.  The hutch has another shelf that I can put in after she’s out of diapers…which might be before Jack is at this rate.
And finally, my photographer’s helper…
Thanks for looking!

Memorial Day Weekend

We had a great Memorial Day Weekend, but I am mad at myself for not having a camera with me every where we went.  They were many, many photo-worthy moments and sadly, I forgot the camera.  Luckily, I still have my words.

Saturday –
We went to a Strawberry Festival in Virginia Beach.  After parking in a field, we just kind of followed a large crowd of people and ended up walking down a street packed with vendors of every different kind.  If you wanted any kind of fried food, it was there.  Fried Snickers???  I’ve never heard of it, but they were there.  At one point, I was waiting in line for a lemonade and a lady came up behind me.  I then heard her tell someone that all they had was “fried” food.  I’m not really sure what she expected at the concession stand in the middle of a carnival.  
We ambled down the street trying to process all the wares being sold and pointing out things to Jack.  Pat packed the wagon into the van for the kids and Casey enjoyed her ride.  It also came in handy when we were eating lunch and needed somewhere to set all of our fried items.  Anyway, there were almost too many things to look at and I could never have made a decision on whether I wanted to buy something without looking at the hundred other vendors first.  So we (I) just glanced at things as we passed.
Finally, we found ourselves at the end, having passed all the entrepreneurs, the carnival rides and the grandstand.  On the left was the 4-H/livestock area.  But on the right…mecca.  It was a static display of tanks, trucks, Coast guard boats, fire trucks, army trucks and more.  Jack loved it.  He was climbing through the tanks like he drove one in the Gulf War.  His favorite though, was the Coast Guard boat.  He probably spent a good hour on there, pretending to be a pirate and handing out treasure.  He also had a great view of the parade going by so he just made himself at home.  Pat is ready to send him to Coast Guard boot camp.  He loved watching the bands go by and played his pretend trumpet a lot.  Pat however, is not sending him to music camp any time soon.  As for Casey, she enjoyed trying to run to the opposite side of the street no matter which side she was on, and trying to climb up the ramps into the assault vehicles.
We met up with a friend and her two sons and headed to the carnival rides.  I didn’t think Jack would want to go on them by himself, but he did it and he had a great time.  I rode the Dumbo ride with him and didn’t even get queasy.  That might be my limit though.
Overall, it was a great but long day.  Casey didn’t get her morning nap, but she was a trooper.  On the way home, I fed them fresh strawberries and Casey’s shirt will never be the same.  But she certainly enjoyed her strawberries.  
Sunday – 
I took the kids for a bike ride on Sunday morning thinking Jack would enjoy a playground near some water.  On the way there, he informed me he wanted to go the “field playground.”  It’s a playground in the next community and there is a little trail to an open field nearby.  I never cease to be amazed at what he remembers and how he classifies things.  Anyway, I’m glad we ended up going there because it was so quiet and peaceful under a huge canopy of trees and we had a great time playing.  Once again, I should have had my camera.  
On Sunday afternoon, we met friends at a Norfolk Tides baseball game.  The highlight of the game was when Pat caught a foul ball using a handful of soft pretzels as a glove.  It was a pretty impressive catch even though I didn’t see all of it because I was hunched over trying to protect myself from this ball.  Pat gave the ball to Jack and he said, “I have a new ball!” every 5 minutes or so.  He’s upstairs sleeping with this ball in his bed as I write.  Casey really enjoyed having a cupholder for her sippy cup and one for her french fries.  She was really good at the game, which impressed me, considering she remained in one place for about an hour and a half. 
Monday – 
Monday was not quite as exciting as the other two days and this post is getting long so I’ll condense a little.  Pat took the kids to Virginia Beach in the morning…Casey came home with sand in her ears.  Apparently she used her head to plow the sand.  We then went on a shopping excursion – a couple of furniture stores looking for a new headboard and Home Depot for flowers and tomato plants.  
Later, we went to dinner at Applebee’s.  As we were leaving, it started pouring.  We sprinted to the car with the kids and we were still soaked.  After Jack was in his carseat, he said, “Thank you for carrying me Daddy.  You rescued me!”  A great line from Jack to end the weekend.


It happened again…

We didn’t have anything planned Friday morning so I decided we should go for a walk.  Getting Jack back upstairs to change his clothes after breakfast is not an easy task.  I finally got him clothed, but he ran back downstairs while I was getting myself dressed.  
I heard him saying something about “my present” and I assumed he was talking about his big floor mat with all the roads on it.  I yelled down to him that it was in the closet.  
A few minutes later, as I was on my way downstairs, I heard him saying Tugger was running to someone’s house.  I thought he had his floor mat out and his tiny toy Tugger and was playing on it.
Seconds later, I saw the front door open.  
From what I could gather, Jack opened the door because he saw a bag on the front porch that I had left for a charity to pick up.  He apparently thought it was a present for him so he unlocked AND unbolted the door and went out.  Tugger took the opportunity to go out as well.
And the chase was on.
I put the kids in the stroller and armed myself with a leash and some treats.  We started to follow Tugger around.  She decided to go for a swim in the little pond near our house.  I went to grab a tennis ball in case I could get her to play a game of fetch in the water and get her to come back to me.  As soon as I got the ball, she was on to check out a new backyard.
People down the street were waiting for me to catch her.  There was a little boy out waiting for the bus and I think he was afraid of Tugger.  Tugger didn’t go anywhere near the boy but I was feeling like an idiot because I couldn’t get my dog.
Before we left the house to begin the chase, I told Jack that I was very, very unhappy and that he should never open the front door and let Tugger out again.  Every time Tugger came close to us, Jack asked, “Are you happy now, Mommy?”  And every time, I told him I wasn’t happy until Tugger was back on a leash or in our house.
The whole time I was trying to get her, we were getting further and further from our house.  
Giving her bacon treats to lure her to me no longer works.  She knows what will happen when she gets close enough to me.
She ended up heading down the street to our friends’ house.  Luckily Shannon was out watering her flowers.  After Tugger scared the crap out of Shannon, we were able to lure Tugger into her fenced backyard where she finally surrendered.  
And I told Jack that I was finally happy.  Except for the blisters on my feet from the extra walking I didn’t intend to do.  And this recurring problem of my dog escaping.  I wish I knew how to fix the fact that once she does get out, she won’t return.  Because I’m all out of tricks.

The Dining Room

This week – a tour of my dining room.  Yesterday, Kelly reminded everyone that today was dining room day and joked that it was time to clear out the dining room of everything that doesn’t really live there.  So, in full disclosure, I removed 4 pop-up tunnels, an easel, some paint and a stool before I took the pictures.  We rarely use the dining room so it’s a good place to stash a few of the larger toys.  I started keeping Jack’s easel in there because he likes to paint fairly often and I just move it quickly into the kitchen for easier clean up of paint that “might” get on the floor.
So here it is.  I didn’t realize it would be so hard to take pictures in here, but the flash kept reflecting off things unless I took the pictures at an angle.

I love my table and china cabinet.  The cabinet just happened to fit perfectly into that cutout in the wall when we moved here.  Some day I might be able to keep wine in the wine rack, like after the toddler years.  For now, it does a decent job of collecting dust.

There are 3 pictures of an apple tree on the left hand side of the table.  I took them a few years ago when I went home to Maine in the fall.  I lived my whole life in the same house until college and I don’t ever remember the apples being that red until the year I took these pictures.  I wish I’d had a better camera at the time, but the pictures are still some of my favorite in the house.  On the right hand side is our “Saratoga Springs” picture from when Pat and I lived there.  It’s a painting of Travers, the big horse race, and reminds us of a great summer spent there, despite shift work throughout the whole time.  
This is just a view of the other side of the room, to include the curtains.  They came with the house when we bought it, but they couldn’t have matched any better.  And I probably would never have gotten such nice ones.  

This is my holiday china…pretty simple – white with a couple of platinum bands around it.  It’s probably been used about 10 times.  For a long time it sat in the boxes because we didn’t have the china cabinet to put them in.  I’m glad I can at least display it now and some day we’ll use it a little more often.  

Thanks for touring my dining room!

Of Cabbage and Ants

We went old-school with the book selection tonight during Jack’s story time.  First, we read an Elmo Christmas book.  Probably should have put it away with the Christmas stuff, but he never actually read it until after Christmas…it was kind of low priority after all the other cool gifts and books.  Anyway, it was Elmo’s 12 Days of Christmas.  I sang the whole thing and I think it is about the stupidest remake of the 12 Days of Christmas I’ve ever heard, even if it does have Elmo on every page.

Then we read his lift the flap farm book.  I can still tolerate this one even though it has been well-read.  There aren’t many words and Jack lifts the flaps pretty quickly.  We came to a page with some vegetables on it.  Jack lifted the flap of a purple cabbage to see the inside of a purple cabbage.  Then he told me, “Tugger used to live in there.”  I laughed and then I asked him why.  “When she was a puppy…no laughing.”  I tried not to laugh but not very successfully so he asked me not to laugh again.  I was able to comply this time and we went on with the book.  Who knows why he thinks Tugger used to live in a cabbage but it was pretty funny.
Totally new topic – Jack was kind of excited a few days ago when he saw some ants by the front door…inside the house.  I wasn’t.  I quickly determined that they were after a crumb on the floor here by the desk and vacuumed up the crumb.  Then, when the kids were napping, I got out the ant killer and went to work.  I sprayed along the trail they were taking from the door to the crumb and then I went outside to spray along the front of the house to prevent any more incursions.  
I haven’t mentioned any of this ant business to Pat yet because he thinks that I don’t deal well with bugs.  I don’t really think that’s true.  I may have called him a couple of times before we started dating to come over to my house and take care of some ants.  I probably could have taken care of them myself but how else was I going to get him to come over to my house?  (I did also provide home cooked meals, hem some pants for him and let him use my internet access too, but I’m sure he felt more manly when I called him over to deal with bugs.)  
Anyway, I think I’ve taken care of the ant problem all by myself and Pat is way off base about my ineptness when dealing with bugs.  Then yesterday, Jack says, “Look.  More ants.”  This time, he is at another window and I didn’t spray there because there were none there during the initial invasion.  
“How many ants are there, Jack?,” I ask.  He tells me there are 3 ants.  This may or may not be true because he answers 3 or 4 for just about anything involving numbers.  I check it out for myself and he did see 3 ants.  But I find more.  I just can’t figure out what they’re going after.  I kill all that I can see, just squishing them with my fingers.  See Pat…no fear!  Then I figure they’re just a few strays and they’ll go away.  After all, I vacuum a couple times a week and there was nothing food-like in that corner.
Tonight, however, I found the culprit.  I was putting blocks away and decided to sweep my hands under the piece of furniture that is near that window in case there are any strays.  (Yeah, I’m hosting playgroup tomorrow so I’m being a little more “thorough” than usual.)  What my hand found was not a Lego piece, but something sticky and rubbery.  It was a fruit snack, compliments of Casey.  As I pulled it out, ants climbed all over my hand.  I cringed and frantically got them off my hand.  Now, hopefully they’ll really leave.  And I had to call no men to fix this problem.  I will also renew the effort to keep snack time in the kitchen.   

Strawberry Sunday

Today we’re having a lazy Sunday morning.  It’s raining, or about to, and Jack asked to watch a movie.  Actually, he said, “I want to watch a couple of movies.”  And thankfully, he asked to watch Nemo instead of Cars.  I just have to fast forward through commercials since we recorded it on the DVR.  If he can get through one movie, I’ll be impressed.

But last Sunday on Mother’s Day, I took a few pictures of the festivities and then never got a post written.  So, here it is, just a week late.
I wanted to go strawberry picking sometime this month but knew that I couldn’t go by myself with both of the kids.  I thought maybe we could all go as a family.  And then I thought about it a little more…Jack would be ripping anything even slightly red off the strawberry bushes and Casey would be running down the rows and stepping on strawberries.  We would need one person to pick and two more to chase Jack and Casey.  
Before Mother’s Day came, Pat asked me about 5 times what I wanted to do.  Finally I figured that Sunday would be a good time to go strawberry picking…by myself.  Actually, with my mom who was in town.  
So, just before naptime last Sunday, Mum and I headed over to pick strawberries.  Apparently this was a pretty popular Mother’s Day event and there were a lot of people in the field.  There weren’t too many berries to be picked without a bit of searching, but we finally picked through a row and called it good.  They opened early for Mother’s Day and we probably should have been there when they opened to get the good ones.
~Oh, I understand now how we are going to watch a “couple” movies.  Jack’s plan is just to watch about 20 minutes and then ask for a new movie.  We’ve moved on to the Lion King.  Hakuna Matata.~
Now to make strawberry pie and strawberry jam…
These are my strawberries all chopped up to make jam.  It made 2 cups of refrigerator jam.  I thought Jack would go through it in a couple of weeks.  However, after about a year of eating PB&J almost every day for lunch, he’s decided it’s time to take a break.  Figures.
At one point, I actually said, “I’m surrounded by delicious, fresh fruit.”  And then I had to take a picture of it.  This picture reminds me that I haven’t done anything with those key limes.  They’re just hanging out in the fridge.

The pie crust that Mum made for the strawberry pie.  And then we forgot to take a picture of the finished product.  Rest assured, it was delicious. 
Add a little shopping trip to Marshalls, some takeout from Smokey Bones and it was a pretty good Mother’s Day.  Oh, and my Mother’s Day gift was a trailer that I can pull behind my bike with both kids in it.  Now I can take them to the playground if it ever stops raining.

Jillian’s Remedy for McDonald’s

In the past few weeks, I’ve read about many bloggers who have embarked upon Jillian Michael’s 30-day Shred challenge.  I wanted a challenge, but secretly I thought it shouldn’t be so tough for me.  I’ve been going to the gym most days, getting cardio 3 days a week and weights on 2.  I finally bought the DVD after one of my best friends said she had it too.  Ummm…it was a little tougher than I was.  I was even so wimpy that I put my weights down and did the exercises without weights.  They were only 5 lb weights.  She combines upper and lower body moves at the same time and I hate that, like squats at the same time you’re doing bicep curls.  I’d like to blame it on being slightly un-coordinated, but I probably just need to suck it up, like Jillian says, and feel the burn.  In the meantime, I’m finding that the techno-y background music from the DVD that is still running is making me type faster.  
I should also add that it’s 80 degrees in my living room and humid.  I really hate turning the air conditioner on so I suffer through a few warm days if I know that the temps are going to go back down enough to not need the AC.  The kids were a little sweaty while playing, my hair was a little frizzy and the dog was panting all day.  I kind of feel bad for her, but I’m not putting the air conditioner on to make the dog more comfortable.  I’ve already made far too many big decisions (like buying a new SUV a few years ago) based on the dog.  
Pat went up to see a Phillies/Nationals game with his brother tonight, so I’m on my own.  I spent entirely too much time trying to figure out a good dinner plan.  I couldn’t figure out anywhere to get good, healthy, cheap food with entertainment for the kids so we went to the mall and went to McDonald’s at the food court.  It fulfilled 3 of the 4 criteria.  There was a play area for the kids to work off the fries.  (And I just worked mine off with Jillian.)  
Jack impressed me by eating 1 1/2 chicken nuggets.  I can’t remember the last time he ate chicken.  I suppose there was some healthiness involved for him because he loves the fruit and walnut salad there.  
Casey wasn’t very happy that she couldn’t wear her shoes in the play area.  The girl seriously has issues with shoes.  She saw someone’s crocs sitting on the bench and made a beeline for them.  I had to distract her by plopping her on the slide.  After which I had to continue to put her at the top of the slide because she couldn’t climb up it herself.  
As soon as we were outside after leaving the play area, Jack said, “It’s really quiet out here.”  And it was.  Because there weren’t 15 screaming kids around us anymore.  I just thought it was funny that he noticed it. 
Mission accomplished – kids fed, energy burned off, good french fries consumed, time killed between naptime and bedtime.  Of course, had I not left my dinner plans to the last minute, I could have called a couple of my friends whose husbands are at sea and had some company and made a decent meal.  Next time, next time.  Now I’m going to try to get to sleep early.  I’m already past my self-imposed time to get off the computer…and I haven’t even done any online shopping yet.

Guest Room

Now that I’ve recovered my dog and double check the front door locks every night, let’s move on to something else…

Kelly at Kelly’s Korner started this a couple of weeks ago.  If you click on the house, it will take you to her site which will show you her guest room and have links to over a hundred other blogs who are posting their home “tours.”  She’s already done kitchens and living rooms and has moved on to guest rooms this week.  
I didn’t realize I had so much to say about my guest room until I started taking pictures.  For some reason, I feel like I need to justify everything in there and why it is where it is.
Our guest room is the FROG (finished room above the garage) and it is the guest room along with the playroom.  It is pretty neutral and doesn’t really have a theme.  There are some sports pictures on the walls that Pat really likes.  He really wanted them up somewhere in the house but he spends very little time in the room.  I’m wondering if I should just embrace that theme and do a little more with it, or try to add some more feminine touches.   
The dramatic entrance – 
These are the “back” stairs from the kitchen and they lead directly up to the guest room…all 19 steps.

This is the view from the hallway that also leads to the guest room.  Although it is not very decorated, I love the spaciousness of this room.  I like that the little couch and coffee table fit in there perfectly and that there is plenty of space around the bed.  Tugger usually sleeps in here after she gets kicked out of our bed.  She also likes it because she likes to look out the windows at everything going on in the street.  I would like to always have nice linens on the bed and pretty pillows, but they would just get covered in dog hair.  As it is, I try to put a cover over everything and she usually ends up pushing it off.  Apparently the micro-suede duvet cover is softer for her.  And at the head of the bed, you will also find the dog’s body pillow.  What can I say – she likes pillows and I don’t really care if she has that one.  At the foot of the bed is our old tv stand.  We moved it upstairs after Christmas for Jack’s train set.  Sometimes he uses it and sometimes the tracks are spread all over the floor.  

This is the opposite side of the room from the bed.  There is even room in the drawers for guests’ clothes.  The chest used to be in front of the bed until the trains arrived.  Tugger hangs out in the crate when we are out of the house.

Jack’s train piggy bank – the love seat – the pillows that are supposed to be on the bed  

These windows used to have Roman shades (like behind the love seat) but they were falling apart and didn’t look nice in the window anymore.  Pat bought these faux wood blinds and installed them.  He has a thing for wooden blinds.  I don’t really think men should care about any type of window decor.
There are closets on each side of the bed.  One has all my crafty stuff in it and the other has toys.  
And that concludes the tour of the guest room.  Somehow there was still way too much about the dog in it.

Early Dog Morning

Oh. My. Gosh.

I just saw my dog, my real dog, running down the street chasing the newspaper person on his bike.  It is 4:50am.  
At 4:12am, I heard barking and realized it was my dog.  Wondering why she was barking in the backyard at such an hour, I headed downstairs to find out.  Turns out, she was in the front yard, having let herself out the front door which was standing wide open, due to some wind that was blowing as I fell asleep.  And due to the fact that I didn’t dead bolt it.  
She was barking at a frog or some small animal that was in the bushes.  I got her to stop barking, but then her running free-for-all started and she took off.  There is no point in chasing her.  Eventually she gets tired and comes back to the house and I offer a little trail of treats, a la Hansel and Gretel, and she comes back into the house.
But, chasing the newspaper guy???  How far is she going to chase him?  I’m not worried that she will hurt him, but it would certainly be scary seeing an 65-lb Boxer dog bearing down on you at full speed.  I don’t think she has the stamina she used to have, but how far away from the house will she be when she realizes this?  Here I was, thinking at least there were no people around at 4 am for her to be bothering.  So wrong was I.  
I had decided to come into the house and lay on the couch for a while until she barked again.  Then I realized I wasn’t going to sleep and got up and it was at that moment that I saw her sprinting after the bike.  I wish I hadn’t seen it so I could think that she is running around behind our neighbors’ houses and not in the more general area of the city of Chesapeake.  Which is only one of the largest land mass cities in the US.
Last night she took a piece of pizza right off the counter while I was standing there.  Suffice it to say, I am not so happy with this dog right now.  Hopefully I can post an update soon that doesn’t involve a trip to the pound on Mother’s Day.  Did I mention she doesn’t have a collar on and that I have the paperwork to register her sitting right here on my desk?  How often do you think the paper boy has dogs chasing him? 
Okay, it’s now 5:36am and Tugger has returned to the neighborhood.  I have spent the last 20 minutes trying to lure her into the house and she’s not taking as well to the little trail of Beggin’ Strips as I might have liked.  I’ve had her in the house but as soon as she gets her treat she backtracks outside.  I just tried to grab her and she got away.  But, at least I know she’s here and I can hopefully get her inside soon.  Probably not soon enough to salvage some sleep though.

Dog Days

The dog has been barking all day.  If I had a nickel for every Woof! that came out of his mouth today, I would be able to send him to a kennel and not have to listen to it anymore.  

Except for the fact that the dog is actually Jack and I don’t think I can send him to a kennel.  He says, “Woof woof” and I have to say, “Be quiet, dog.”  But the dog does not become quiet.  He just continues to “bark” and I have to repeat myself.  If you ask Jack what makes the dog stop barking, he says you have to yell “Be quiet, dog!”  Even that doesn’t always work.  
Yesterday, I bought some Scooby snacks at the grocery store because I thought Casey would like them.  She was at a birthday party about a month ago and she “woofed” them down.  Now she won’t touch them.  Instead the dog keeps doing tricks to get more treats.  The dog asks to be put in the crate and asks for treats.  The dog pretends to play fetch and then asks for treats.  We can’t even put the treats in the cupboard for fear that the dog might “need” one.
It was cute at first.  Now I prefer my real dog, who doesn’t really bark all that much.  She is happy with table scraps (compliments of Casey) and doesn’t know how to ask for treats.
During some of his off-time from being a dog, Jack was playing hockey.  Pat went out to the store to get something and asked Jack if he needed anything at the store.  In a very matter of fact voice, Jack said, “I do need some new pillows.”  His little high pitched voice makes it even funnier but that’s hard to capture in print.  It’s a lot of fun to ask Jack what he needs at the store.  Sometimes it’s toys…sometimes it’s pillows.