Sunday, March 18, 2012

What to Do....

with this space. 

As we actually start making this place home and fixing up what we were cramming when we were throwing our things in here 7 months ago (right-before-Alan-left-on-a-two-week-trip-to-China-and 4-weeks-before-Charlotte-was-born-and-life-went-all-great-and-scary-at-the-same-time), we're making plans.  SOME plans are simple fixes and we can do without a large outflow of cash, like rip out a counterOr a deck.  SOME other plans are going to be a while in the making due to finances and other pesky little details.  I AM glad (really, I am....even though I've had to live with those BLUE counters...) we didn't do the kitchen before we moved in because we've changed our ideas a few times since.  Okay - so we've changed ALL of our ideas.  We'll be working with the same 'footprint' but taking out portion of a wall...and eliminating an entry to the garage and putting our fridge there...and making 'windows' in other parts of the wall.

ANYWAY....back to THE SPACE.

I can't figure it out.  It's not really part of the kitchen because it's at the other end of the 'dining area' so it doesn't seem quite right for a pantry.  It won't really be near our entry spaces so a 'landing zone' doesn't make sense there either.  I feel like I want to incorporate it though somehow into the kitchen/eating area other than just empty space.  Mostly because it won't stay empty.  It becomes a dumping zone.  (gggggrrrrrr......)

This pic I took standing at the back of our hall looking through the pass way...THE SPACE is just forward two steps and to the right.  The door to the downstairs is two steps forward and to my left.

( I was jjjuuuussstttt on the other side of that door you can see through the curved opening for the above pic. )
 The problem though is that this isn't a very large space and there's a LOT of traffic that happens through here.  We're hoping that by eliminating that entry from the other end of the kitchen that will help some but still - you have to pass through here to get to the upstairs bedrooms and bath and to get to the downstairs.  Oh, and to the sunroom from the kitchen or living room.  ACK.

Danggit - maybe it does need to stay empty. 

If you have any ideas...I'd love to hear them.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Whimsy...or Just Weird?

Here's is my laundry room deco piece from THIS post.  I DID finish a project.  *Only a month after I started, but whatever.*

The background is an old table cloth of my grandmother's that was all frayed and stained in some spots.  Enter scissors, staple gun, and a caffeinated me.  I LOVE signs but am cheap, so I just used my printer and the stamping paper from waaaaayyyyyy back when I actually did crafts and voila, a sign.  I did beg Alan to actually hang it though because with my luck, I would've hit drywall and these puppies are a wee bit on the heavy side.  Real wood is you know.

I LOVE it, although there is a part of me that can't quite decide if it's whimsical, in a uber creative, edgy awesome way, or just weird.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hear No Evil, See No Evil.....

Hearing and Seeing.

Those are two areas we are working through as routine testing for Charlotte.  Sometimes children with Down Syndrome can have struggles in these areas so these tests are to rule out issues before they cause a domino effect of other delays.

So far we've seen an audiologist for hearing screenings and next month she will go in to visit a pediatric ophthalmologist.

Her hearing tests were good in the hospital right after birth but as she grows, they are re-testing.  She did great in one ear but it took several tries to get the left to pass.  She will be re-checked for that side later this month.  Frankly, it will be something we watch out for on a regular basis as these tests only rule out profound hearing loss.  We're thankful that she's doing well in that regard.

Sight - this one is a bit more concerning.  Charlotte has a fairly low tolerance for over-stimulation.    In our house, that means you have to tune out sometimes.  Early on, this was handled by going to sleep.  Now, she has some other tricks she's playing.  Worship music at church is an opportunity for a stiff body and that pouty lip followed by real tears so, we hang out in the hall.  The other biggie:  disengage visually.  "I'm looking at you....but not really."  She tracks sometimes and honestly, we are seeing improvements but it's not quite up to par so off we go to make sure there's not an underlying issue. 

I've worn thick glasses since the third grade, (then on to contacts) so she may have just come by this naturally, but I'm grateful there's proactive appointments happening.

At least WE can see how cute she is.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Food: Prayer Reminder

This is a recipe I got from a girlfriend who I never met in real life but was a kindred spirit through the homeschooling forum I'm part of.

She died of breast cancer January 29 of this year.  I hate that.   

I've been thinking about her and praying for her husband and sons (9 and 11) often.  Last night I decided to make this dinner and pray for them AS I cooked.

Maybe you can as well...

Fried Cabbage and Potatoes

3 Tbs oil
1 onion chopped
1/4 tsp dried mustard
4 large potatoes diced small
8c. shredded cabbage
1/4 tsp. ginger grated (or powder)
1/2 tsp.  cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tomato, diced
juice of one lemon

Heat oil and saute onions w/ dry mustard.  Add potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.  Add all but the tomato and lemon stir/cook 'till tender and golden.  Add lemon and tomato and serve with tortillas.

I tweak this a bit as that's what I do with EVERYTHING, but she thought that was great.  :)

My tweakings:
I use half red potatoes half sweet.  Roast them with a dash of pepper and salt...oohhh - roasting them with the cayenne would be good too...hmmm.
I use half green cabbage half purple.  For looks.  :)
I've never bought turmeric so I used curry instead.
I also never measure oils or add that much salt.  
I also forgot to add the tomato and lemon last night because I was trying to cook AND do something else at the same time.

Oh well.  She'd forgive me, I'm sure.

So - basically you have an IDEA for a great dinner.  I DID write it down exactly as she made it so you'll have the original as well.  

Sandy - enjoy Jesus.  We're still down here praying for your hubby and boys.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Dark Side

I like the color black.  Wait - let me rephrase that.  I LOVE the color black.  I used to think that was sinful somehow.  I don't think so....

Black goes with everything. 

Black and denim.  :Swoon:  
Black and red.  :YUM:  
Black and white.  :Yep:  I hardly EVER wear white anymore but can appreciate the crispness and fabulous-ness of the combo.  
Black and brown.  :It used to make me twitch but now I *think* I can make it work.  Break it to me gently if I'm wrong.  

Black looks timeless.  Sophisticated a la Breakfast at Tiffany's.  It looks like you know what you're doing fashion wise.  (snort)  It only takes one extra funky goodie to make it fun and not funeral like.  I'm drawn to black.  Bizarre, eh? 

It's the first thing my eyes find when looking for clothes, picture frames, or pieces of furniture.  (On that note - I found THE BEST shirt dress at the thrift store the other day - yep, in black) I hope it's because I am like all those strong adjectives listed above, but honestly, I think it's because I'm cheap and don't want to have to reinvent the place or myself in 10 years if 'mauve' comes back into vogue. :shudder:  Of course, another explanation could be that it's due to the checkered-couch-gone-incredibly-wrong incident early on in our marriage that scared me off EVER trying to go with a COLOR as a theme and the fact that black spray paint can cover ANYTHING...except a checkered couch. 

I'm not morbid.  I'm classic.

Monday, March 12, 2012

If You Give Your Wife a Second Latte....

she's going to want to do a project with it.

She'll get all pumped up about organizing the garage and shoveling out the 'dump zone' it became as you moved in and she was 8 months pregnant and couldn't do anything about anything in an orderly fashion, so the response was, "Just put it here."

Then she's going to have her parents show up for a bit and get to chatting.

Then she's going to say, "Let's just tear down this wall."

Not. Kidding.


Can you see that dorky bar there????  There are no cupboards underneath there and frankly, this thing is a major cramp in the traffic flow of the kitchen/house so it's always been on the docket to take out.  Nothing like a Sunday afternoon at 4pm, hyped up on REALLY GOOD ESPRESSO w/ milk, and an idea to get a little project going.

My Sharpie and I got to drawing and I batted my eyelashes at my dear husband, who had that 'Really?'....'Now?' look on his face.  He's so cute - he even tried to lock me out of the house as I came back from his shop with power tools.

ANYWAY....never underestimate the power of love and strong coffee.


See that big ol' counter top standing vertically in front of the dishwasher?  That used to be attached.  Horizontally.  :)

"What's the big deal?", she says.

This is your wife on caffeine.   

"Mr. Hayes, tear down this wall."


"Hmmm...that's a little scarier looking than I thought it'd be.", she says under her breath hoping that no one gets hurt. 

Floor vent.  Ummmm......will fix that later.

Anger Management class for a 14 (and a HALF) year old.

Clean up.  I <3 Shop Vacs.


And...if you give your wife a new kitchen/eating area - she's going to work on rearranging the rest of the house to go with it.

My Alan loves me.  So much in fact, that he made me more coffee today.  I wonder what else I'll get done before he gets home from work. 

*For the record - no marriages were endangered in the making of this mess.  No children were harmed.  No yelling commenced, my hubby only suffered a few smashed digits, and no $ was spent.


Friday, March 9, 2012

World Down Syndrome Day

March 21.  3/21 - get it?  Chromosome 21 - 3 of them.  Took me a while...I blame postpartum brain suck. 

Before this year, I'd never even heard of this.  Obviously, there's new information that we're gathering on a regular basis.  Some moments I feel really guilty over the fact that I've been so ignorant over these things and other times, I'm able to give myself grace that there were other things on the radar at that season.

ANYWAY....There is a great group that supports families who have Down Syndrome in their midst (IDSC for life) and they had mentioned that they were going to be putting together a video for WDSD again this year.  Theme:  What would you tell yourself if you could go back to right before your little was born.  I wanted in on it because frankly, I WISH I'd been able to see 'now' back on day one with Charlotte when e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. looked so freak out scary.   I'm so grateful for those friends and family who stood in that gap and prayed sanity and encouragement for us when we were standing on the cusp of a really frightening looking path.  Now that we're a bit down that path and are still breathing, loving, enjoying, and beginning to thrive....I hope that we can look back and encourage others who are at the starting line.

Here you go.  ENJOY and share at will. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

A New Passion

*Passion* may be too strong a word.  More like habit...but more fun.  :)


I used to do it.  In fact, I was cramming to get a blanket done for our first baby 'till about THE day before he was born.  Crammed so much in fact that I gave myself tendonitis in my wrists.  That caused the 'passion' to wane more than a bit.

Life, littles, and then moving to countries where I was mostly sweating didn't encourage much of a desire to knit something to layer.

I feel somewhat differently about that these days.  :)  I've gone from just surviving to actually wanting to create something tangible with my hands.  I've watched my DAUGHTER make her sister a blanket, seen friends create lovelies for Charlotte, and friends who make new friends through their craft, not to mention the fact that my GIRLS are desperate for crafts. 

Jen, my awesome girlfriend who happens to live in MAINE (can you GET much further away???), with the awesome husband who bought her a plane ticket to come and see me in January, knits and brought along a project that she was working on.  I was inspired.  With the beauty of a little girlfriend time, YouTube, and discovering a knit shop, I am once again clicking needles. 

I've finished a few projects - mostly scarves - and last night finished up the first thing for ME.  :)  LOVE it.  Charlotte spit up on it within the first 5 minutes so it's been duly christened. 

I already have a list of goodies to make in the future.  No cramming allowed.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

This *Might* Make Me Like the Color Blue

Most people know that I have a rather passionate dislike to the color blue.  Honestly, I have no reasoning - it just strikes me wrong.  I'm more of a red girl.

The following may change my feelings about it....

 Yes, that is a eensey, weensey hair do-dah in her famous hair.  Be still my cuteness. 
 Why thank you, Charlotte, for sharing your butterfly with me. 
 Therapy chair....this thing is bluer than all get out and frankly, she wants out.  Maybe she doesn't like blue either.  :)

Muslin type fabric, smocking, white with blue thread and itsy bitsy flowers.  :big sigh:

Blue might grow on me.