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Nothin’ Worse Than A Toothache

This week has been one I’d rather not repeat. For those of you who have ever suffered a toothache, you know what I’m talking about. I’ve spent a good deal of time in the dentist’s chair over the years and as if that wasn’t enough of a reminder about how I want to instill good dental habits in my boys, this toothache, subsequent draining, and future root canal is most definitely confirming its importance. It was a completely miserable few days of icing my face and trying to survive (while barely eating or drinking).   I’m doing better now (PRAISE. THE. LORD.) and am trying to psych myself up for the upcoming root canal.

A few things I’ve learned this week:

1.  When you’re not able to eat or drink, you don’t have energy.  When you don’t have energy, your patience is very limited…and you’re cranky.  And it’s nearly impossible to focus and accomplish anything. And you’re cranky.

2.  Little boys don’t understand that you don’t have energy, they always have energy.

3.  A wonderful hubby is key to surviving absolutely debilitating tooth pain and little boys.

4.  Ice is awesome.

5. The importance of finding a dentist you like and trust.

6.  The importance of finding a dentist your kids like and trust in order to make dentist check ups more enjoyable, and much easier.

And on that note, the boys recently had their 6 month check up.  Three up, three down.  The boys have been going to the dentist ever since they had teeth, even if it’s just to sit in the chair and look around, and now the boys love going.  “Those are nice people that clean our teeth!” Diego said excitedly as we pulled into the parking lot.  Justus has gone to this dentist since he was an infant, accompanying me for my many visits.  And I’m very thankful for the receptionist who dropped everything in order to hold him and rock him and walk with him so I could get my teeth fixed, though I don’t think it was much of a sacrifice on her part.  One of the many perks of a visiting the dentist is Ibrushing the monkey and frog’s teeth.

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And yes, these stuffed animals are really creepy looking, but the boys absolutely love them. *shudder*

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Wearing some pretty snazzy accessories never hurt either.

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One thing I love about our dentist is how they talk to the kids and show them the different tools, and explain how they just want to brush their teeth or give their teeth extra vitamins to make them strong.  They also let them spray the water sometimes (how come I don’t get to do that?)  And did you know they now have cookie dough flavored everything? Sounds revolting and wrong to me, but whatever!  (My kids chose grape.)

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I’m determined that my kids will have a much better experience in the dentist’s chair than I did.  There are a lot of things going for them now, too, like fluoride in the water we drink and way cool toothbrushes that they love to use.  A lot of things have changed in the dental world since I was a kid.  There’s no more sink to spit in, just a tube to suction the water out, you wear sunglasses now to dim the bright overhead light, and little Elmo movies on the dentist’s computer teaching the boys about eating good food for your teeth (not to mention those creepy teethed stuffed animals!)  And it’s working — my boys’ teeth look great and Diego will often ask me if whatever he’s eating is good for his teeth (something I never would have thought to ask at his age.)

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One of the worst things about being in the military is having to find a new dentist every time we move…made even worse when you’ve found one you really like and trust (though who selfishly is unwilling to uproot his entire life and practice and move with you…yes, I asked!)  Be picky about your dentist–make sure your kids like him/her, make sure you like him/her, make sure he/she likes your kids– and get your kids to the dentist for frequent checkups!

 

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“My House is Me and I Am It.”

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The boys and I read a wonderful and fun book called, The Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. It’s about a man, Mr. Plumbean, who lives on a street where all the houses look the same, very neat and tidy, until one day a bird drops a can of orange paint on his house creating a big orange splot. When pressed to repaint it, he ends up painting his house an explosion of designs and colors, not at all what his neighbors expected or hoped. And when asked to explain himself, he says, “My house is me and I am it.  My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams.”

This pretty much sums up how I feel about my house.  While there are no orange splots and crazy painted explosions, I did choose colors (for the inside), and colorful flowers for the outside, and I absolutely understand and relate to Mr. Plumbean.  I love being  at home in my house, and it looks like my dreams.

Diego and Isaac had just turned 3 and 1 years old when we moved into our house.  I’ve watched those two little guys become big boys in this house.  It’s the first home we bought and could make changes to without permission.  It’s the only home Justus has ever known.  We chose the colors and painted the walls (my hubby did an excellent job,) we added shelving, I made (!) a roman shade for the kitchen window, we worked on our yard and truly invested in this house to make it our dream home. “My house is me and I am it.  My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams.”

But now, it’s time to think about creating new dreams.  We put our house on the market, and I’ll admit I’m sad.  We live on a Mayberry-type street. Our neighbors are wonderful, always there when we need them to fix a bike chain, borrow a cup of sugar, and hang out with while watching our kids play together.  I think I’m in denial that we have to leave them.  It’s going to be hard to leave a place I’ve grown to love, neighbors and friends that I cherish, and a house that is such a comfortable home for us.

But, I know that God has a special home for us in the next place, a new adventure and I’m excited for it, too.  I’m looking forward to a new opportunity to find a new place and work to create a house where “My house is me and I am it.  My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams.”

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Simple Summer Fun

I’ve discovered that the best summer toys are the simplest ones. These tubs, for example, are awesome.

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I can’t even begin to tell you all of the different ways the boys have used them.  Last year, it was a baby pool, Justus to splash around in, a private pool for him where he could stay safe (away from the big boys’ crazy pool splashing) but still have some water fun.

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This year, those tubs have been boats in the bigger pool (as seen above,) surf boards,

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turtle shells,

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a water ride,

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a lounger,

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and generally a place to have one’s own space away from whatever is going on.  Brilliant.  I absolutely got my money’s worth out of these beauties. And the boys never seem to grow tired of them!

Another spectacular summer toy are these thrift store finds (or you can get them at the dollar store, too.) Three words for you: plastic condiments squirters! Not only do they work perfectly as water guns, but they are excellent tools for water art!

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Or just take them apart to see how they work, examine them, and fill them up with water before dumping it.

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I love seeing how simple objects transform into so any different things! Isn’t a child’s imagination the greatest? Watching them dream and explore the world around them…absolutely one of my favorite things about being a mom.

And don’t get me started on the fun that can be had with pillows…

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One Man’s Trash…

For all my DIY friends out there, this one’s for you.

One of my great loves in life is coffee, another is being creative.  I love to paint, draw, and imagine what junk could look like with some help.  I don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like, but I do get the chance and I should make the time for it.

I haven’t done much furniture redo, but what I have done, I’ve really enjoyed.  A lot.  Last fall, I needed a new dresser and so I started scouring the buy/sell/trade sites locally.  I didn’t want to pay a lot, I was hoping for a project, and it needed to be solid, since we move often, I can’t take chances with rickety things.  I was also planning a big house-wide furniture swap out too, and it needed to be done before Christmas in order to fit a couple of new, bigger Christmas gifts the big boys were going to receive.  Because of dresser shapes and sizes, the boys needed my old dresser, Justus needed theirs, leaving me with…a need for a dresser.  One day, I found this beauty and got it for $30.  Solid wood, read: very heavy, and in near perfect condition!

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Not my style, but it fit the space perfectly, was exactly what I was looking for, and had gobs of potential, so I nabbed it. And I knew exactly what I would do to it.  That was last fall.  A month ago, I got to work.  Knowing I’m moving in the fall is a great motivator for getting things done.  I hate bringing unfinished projects with me to a new assignment.  And speaking of unfinished projects, I needed to get a move on a new desk I found on the side of the road last spring.  This little guy was so sad with a “FREE” sign on him, that I had to bring him home and give him a new home.  Isn’t he cute?

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That’s right, a free desk, with vintage sewing machine and notions included (though unwanted.)  I picked a day, hired babysitters (a brother-sister team that the boys…and I…adore, win-win for all of us!) and I set to work on BOTH projects.  Why do one DIY project when you could do two at once?

Here are a couple of in-progress shots:

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I got both pieces painted that day…mostly.  I had a few spots to touch up, but it was the start I needed.  I worked on one project in my bedroom (the hubby was away for the week, so I could leave it completely messy and blocking everything without worrying about him tripping and breaking that cute neck of his) and I worked on the desk in my “studio.”  Then the desk sat there for about a week while I finished up the dresser.  The big problem was the hardware:

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Yuck.  Ugly.  Outdated.  Monstrosities.  I couldn’t’ put those on my drawers, so I went looking for hardware and found nothing I loved or wanted to fork over the big bucks for (hardware is expensive!)  So, I got my trusty black spray paint out and decided these would have to do.  And, I actually LOVE how they turned out.  Perfect, just what I wanted and didn’t realize!  Ta da…the finished product!

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Gotta say, I think it turned out rather fabulously.  I love it.  Just as I pictured it in my head.

But what about that desk, you ask? Well, I had seen something YEARS ago in a magazine of a drop leaf table with a vintage travel poster glued on leaf hanging down and have always loved the idea. But instead of a poster, I wanted maps.  After I got the desk, I sent out a mass plea for old maps and my friends came through for me!  I had tons of maps to choose from.  So thank you!  And with lots of prayer and mod podge, (this really should have been a 2 person job, it would have been much less panic inducing,) here is the finished product!

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Pretty sure this is my favorite piece I’ve ever redone.  I absolutely love it.  Free maps, free desk, and just the cost of paint has turned a boring old desk into fabulousness!  We absolutely love it.  The top flips open and eventually it’ll be hideaway storage once hubby helps with it.  And I’d like to add some more maps to the back of it but I can’t quite decide.  I can’t wait to see it in our new house.

So, two weeks, two big DIY furniture redo projects, 3 boys, a hubby away and the help of two fabulous teenagers.  I can’t wait to find my next steal of a deal to turn into treasure!

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Fourth of July Fun!

Because it’s July 4th, we’ve been reading and learning a lot about America in my house.  There are so absolutely FABULOUS books out there on the subject for kids (which I’ll include in a list at the end.)  We read about different symbols of America like the bald eagle, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, and the American Flag and how they stand for freedom, hope, and independence.  We learned about George Washington and then we had made some fun stuff. Mostly Diego and I made most of the projects, but the whole gang got in on at least one of them.

Here’s Diego’s George Washington..

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Seriously, now cute is that?!  We had so much fun making GW, that we also made a bald eagle, which is quite possibly Diego’s favorite symbol of America.

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I love his expression–proud, excited, and trying not to smile.  That kid cracks me up.  Next up we made the American flag.  This was a project for the whole gang.  After they cut out the stripes (but not Justus, I’m not sure I’ll ever trust that boy with scissors,) we glued and glued the stripes to our paper. 13 stripes for 13 old states (or colonies) as Diego would say.

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Yes, I let Justus have the glue stick.  Yes, he’s trying out the glue on his finger.  Yes, I lost my mind. Which will be more evident in the next step: painting our “stars” using a q-tip.

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The boys worked so hard on their flags! The big boys got theirs in rows (following a guide I had done for them) and Justus sort of just free-handed it. They definitely had a blast and were so proud of their artwork.

We also watched the “America Rocks” series of songs by Schoolhouse Rock, which happens to be a big time favorite of mine (yes, I know the words by heart!) And we also watched the “First Fourth of July” episode on a series called, “Liberty’s Kids,” another great source to reinforce what we’d learned.  It was so much fun to see Diego recognize George Washington as one of the characters. And we did simple things too, like listened to Whitney Houston belt out “The Star Spangled Banner” (to which Diego said, “Hey, they play that at ball games!”) and versions of “America the Beautiful” and “My Country Tis of Thee.”

And for the first time, I’m planning on taking Diego to see fireworks (after all, you can’t watch School House Rock’s “Fireworks” and then not go see some!) Plus a few more fun activities like fireworks painting and making red white and blue choc covered strawberries.

Have some fun of your own this 4th of July.  Happy 4th of July!

 

Awesome Books and DVD’s About America (with links to Amazon)

A Picture Book of George Washington by David A. Adler, John Wallner, Alexandra Wallner

George Washington and the General’s Dog (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3) by Frank Murphy and Richard Walz (a favorite!)

The Story of the Statue of Liberty by Betsy Maestro, Giulio Maestro

The Bald Eagle (American Symbols) by Norman Pearl, Matthew Skeens

The Liberty Bell (American Symbols) by Mary Firestone, Matthew Skeens

America Is… by Louise Borden, Stacey Schuett

We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States by David Catrow

Stars and Stripes: The Story of the American Flag by Sarah L. Thomson

Liberty’s Kids – The Complete Series ~ Walter Cronkite

Schoolhouse Rock- 30th Anniversary by Schoolhouse Rock  (DVD)

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Tea Party Time!

Have you been to a tea party lately?

Our Bible study group ended our year with a very fancy tea party.  No paper cups for us!  No sweat pants allowed!  We got dressed up for each other, enjoyed a delicious potluck of mini sandwiches, cookies, fruit, and tea, and spent our time talking about God’s goodness.

After a year of drawing nearer to God, digging deeper in his Word, praying for one another, rejoicing together, and enjoying close fellowship with each other, don’t you think that’s reason to get all gussied up and celebrate?

To make this tea party extra special, I started my planning early and created quite the shopping list of decorations and accessories before heading to my local thrift store.  I found adorable teacups and saucers, a sweet embroidered tablecloth, some fake flowers, plus odds and ends for DIY projects including making these cute serving dishes (the before pictures)…

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 A yard sale hunt produced tissue paper poofs to hang, a crocheted table runner, and a plastic tablecloth to go with the thrift store find.  Slowly, I pieced together the dishes, decorations, and cuteness that would turn into a charming gathering.  Next, I turned to pinterest for some other cheap/free ideas…and found project gold. And lastly, I shopped my home for things I could repurpose for the fete and came up with some cute sophisticated finds.

Yes, this tea party was came together quite nicely.  And completely within budget proving you can get ultra fancy for pennies!

After I gathered my loot, I then had to sort, clean, and create until it looked like this:

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One of my favorite things I made (pinterest!) was the discussion bouquet. I found the paper roses idea on pinterest but then I took it a step further by writing discussion questions on the inside of the paper about our year.  Questions like “If you could invite a Bible woman to lunch, who would you choose and why?” and “What are your spiritual/personal goals for this coming year?”

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I love how the bouquet looks and I love that the total cost was something like 50 cents (I already had the pot!) And even better than how it looked, I loved our discussion!  It’s amazing to hear how God is moving in our lives and to remember how much God has done for us by looking over our prayer journal and seeing so many answers to prayer.

As for what I found at the cute little shop called home, I found this candelabra and paired it with one of my necklaces for some extra glamour.   Doesn’t it look fab sitting next to my new DIY cake stand!

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My big splurge was a teapot shaped chalkboard from Michael’s. A whole $3!  But it was so perfect and adorable and I had a blast drawing on it.  And there, to the left is my super inexpensive new DIY 3 tiered server!

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As a little party favor, I thought a new bookmark for everyone’s Bible would be sweet. So I printed a list of the women we studied on scrapbook paper I already owned and put it in this sweet little presentation, which I also saw on pinterest. Adorable!

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The night before the party, everything was set up and looking charming, when I decided I wasn’t finished.  I created a cute little sign for my front door with the help of pinterest, my printer, scrapbook paper, and a frame I already owned to set the mood for a fun, sweet, darling celebration and to welcome all the ladies.  Here’s what it looked like…

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When you put it all together (including the amazing food everyone brought,) I think even Fancy Nancy would be proud. I sure did feel like Fancy Nancy that morning!

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We had such a blast at our tea party, I wonder why we don’t do this more often?  God is an extraordinary God and we are His beautiful creations. We should celebrate His goodness more often!

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Bedtime Baloney

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Last night, I let the boys stay up for 30 extra minutes because we have family visiting. I was trying to be nice, giving them extra time with family we don’t see too often.

BAD. IDEA.

The usually smooth bedtime for Diego and Isaac was a hot mess of tears, whining, attitudes, and acrobatics.

“I don’t have to go to the bathroom.  I’m not going to.”

“I don’t want that one.  I want what he has.”

The interruptions started before we finished “Dear Jesus” during our prayer time.

“I don’t want this here.”

“Mommy, I need your help.”

I have to say, I was starting to lose my cool.  My afternoon hadn’t gone as planned and I was not in the mood for nonsense.  One of the reasons my brother and his wife are visiting is because my husband and I had hoped to get away for one night this weekend.  It would be the first time we’d both be away from the boys for a night. It was a big deal, and I was really looking forward to a time with just my hubby…and I was really looking forward to sleeping in past 7am and lazily rolling out of bed.

This afternoon, I got a call that changed my plans.  Something came up at work and my husband told me to pack his bag, he was coming home to change, pick it up and leave.  When he got home, he said things changed and he’d actually be leaving the next day.  Our night away turned into dinner and a movie, assuming all goes well and he comes back on time.

While disappointed, I was pretty ok about the whole thing.  I feel incredibly blessed with all the great experiences we’ve had recently.  Plus he did the dishes and clean up so I could sit down and put my feet up.  Have I mentioned I love this guy?

So I sat down to write a “Get Real” post.  I hit “save” and lost everything I’d written.  Are you kidding me?!   To say I was annoyed is putting it mildly.  But I couldn’t do anything about it, not to mention, it was time for the boys to go to bed.  So now you know my mindset heading into this bedtime nightmare.

After making it through the crying and the meltdowns about this and that, I finally finished up their bedtime routine, kissed each, and left.  Then I made the mistake of going to the bathroom.  That’s when the wailing started, “Maaaaaaama. Maaaaama.”

Seriously?  I’m just looking for two minutes peace!  When I get to the bedroom, I see Isaac hanging precariously and purposefully out of his bottom bunk bed.  I mean, his entire upper body is hanging off the mattress while his lower body is laying on the bed perpendicular.  If only I had the ab strength to do such a stunt.

“I fell.”

WHAT?! You don’t just suddenly halfway fall out of your bed into that position!  

Annoyed, and not hiding it well, I put him back in the bed and go to the living room and sit down.

“Mama? Mama?”  Lord, please help me, I’m about to lose it.  “Look,” he says and points to his blanket which was no longer tucked in how he likes it.

Blanket fixed, I kiss each of them and start to leave when Diego complains, “Isaac keeps scaring me and…” but before he finishes, I cut him off. I’d had enough of their bedtime shenanigans.

I sweetly warned them that if either of them makes another peep again, they’d go to go to bed before Justus tomorrow.  I left their room and reheated my tea before I heard Isaac start whining for me again.  My wonderful hubby took one look at me (the smoke coming from my ears and the horns growing out of my head) and told me he’d take care of it.

Sometimes bedtime just STINKS.