Monday, September 30, 2013

Back to School 2013

I'm not going to lie.  By the time summer break was coming to an end, I was really ready to send the kids back to school.  Don't get me wrong, our summer break was great.  We had a lot of fun even though we didn't do something amazing every week.  But by the end, the kids (Maddie and Ian) had had enough of each other and I had had more than enough of their constant bickering/fighting.  So, when the first day of school came I felt like this:
This mom's kids seem to be sad about going to back to school, but not mine!  They were pretty excited.  Just not quite as excited as me. 
Alayna started preschool going to the same teacher Ian had when he was 3.  She goes twice a week for three hours each time.  I love her teacher and her little school.  I think their curriculum is fabulous and I expect Alayna will learn a lot this year.  I'm sure you're wondering how she is liking it.  I'd say she feels so-so about it.  Part of her loves to be a big girl who wears a back pack and goes to school, but she's also a real mama's girl and would love to be with me every minute of every day.  Plus, she has to follow rules at school and she's very determined to do what she wants to do when she wants to do it.  So she's got some adjusting to do, but I'm sure she'll do just fine.  In fact I know she's already improved over these past 5 weeks of being there.  Having her in school has given me the opportunity to volunteer at the older kids' school which I haven't really been able to do before now.

Maddie is in fourth grade now, which at her school equals big man on campus.  (Our elementary schools are K-4.)  One of her teachers from last year moved up to teach fourth grade this year and she was really hoping to be in that class, but she was disappointed on that one.  She's not too upset over it though.  She really likes her teacher and I just had a parent-teacher conference with her teacher who thinks "Maddie is just fantastic!"  A direct quote. Maddie is not a morning person so each day is met with grumbling about getting up and going to school, but all in all she likes it.  Soon she'll start volunteering in the library once a week and singing in the school choir as well.

Ian is rocking and rolling in first grade.  He also seems to like his teacher and he's made friends with the kids in his class, so school is going great for him too.  Last week I helped in his class doing reading with small groups of students.  Here I'll brag for a moment: Ian is so far ahead of the other kids in reading.  Even in his group made up of the top readers in class, he was obviously the strongest.  He is just quite a smarty pants so I'm interested to see how his teacher plans to keep him challenged throughout the year.  Ian is anxiously looking forward to his 7th birthday in just two weeks. :)   

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Alayna at 2 1/2

You know that feeling when your kids are off doing something for long enough that you know you  should be worried about what they're doing?  A part of you is really enjoying the momentary calm before the inevitable storm.  I can blame it on being a bit under the weather or even just regular Sunday evening laziness.  The fact is, I knew I should have checked on Alayna when she was upstairs being quiet for so long.  When she finally came down I was hoping for the best, i.e. a poopy diaper.  (She often retreats upstairs for a little privacy to do her business.)  This is what we got instead:

This picture is worth 1,000 words, but I'm going to write a bunch anyway.  I might as well make a little record of this girl right now.
Coloring is one of Alayna's favorite activities.  The trouble is her rebellion against the "paper only" rule.  I suppose I can see how there could be some confusion since white boards are ok to color on and so are the laminated checklists Maddie and Ian have.  But I don't think my make up looks like markers.  She's gotten up close and personal with my make up too, so I'm confident she knows the difference.
Like I said, I think she's rebelling.  What can I say?  I have another child intent on thinking for herself.  Aside from her love of coloring, lately she's been loving watching Dumbo on Netflix.  She calls it the baby elephant movie.  Though she's not usually captivated by any show for more than about 30 minutes.  She is such a loving little sister!  It's so fun to hear her giggling and chasing and playing with Madeleine and Ian.  It cracked me up yesterday that after I scolded her for doing something naughty (probably coloring on something inappropriate) she cried for Ian to be the one to comfort her.  Just adorable.  She has a good little friend she plays with once a week or so and the two of them just giggle with excitement when they first get together.  She can sing I Am a Child of God beautifully as well as a few other songs.  She's really good at acting excited about anything if you phrase it just right.  For instance, I was changing her and getting ready to put her to bed and excitedly said, "Guess what we're going to do next?"  Her eyes get wide and she takes a big excited breath in waiting for me to tell her what's coming.  And tonight she was tired enough that I think she really was excited for bedtime.  Oh, and she loves p.j.'s.  She'd rather be in pajamas than anything else.  She calls 'em puhjays.  I mistakenly asked her to take her clothes off for the bath when she was actually in p.j.'s.  Don't worry, she corrected me immediately.  Definitely not letting that slide.  Much like her sister, she loves clothes.  Picking clothes, changing clothes, dress-up clothes, etc.  On laundry day, her pile is always the largest thanks to her fascination with clothes and being able to dress herself.
Anyway, I know these are mostly phases she'll soon grow out of so I wanted to get it down.  She's hilarious and she sure keeps us smiling. :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Girls' Bedroom

I dropped the ball on having a before picture of our girls' bedroom, but take it from me, it was nothing all.  Though I had made cute matching bedding (pictured here and here), once it was on their beds in our house, I never really loved it.  Maddie's bed was black wrought iron with a tall headboard and footboad so her bedding was obscured.  The same is true with Alayna's bedding in our black crib that was fine for Ian, but not right for Alayna.  Besides, Alayna never slept a wink in that crib.  Oh well.  So the time came that I was ready for our baby to move into a big bed and rather than do a toddler bed that she would soon grow out of, we opted for a twin and then I could do the room all cute.  So I did!
I was envisioning upholstered headboards and found this tutorial to give me some guidance.  I found the fabric for super cheap, so between that, the batting, the wood and nailhead trim kit, I think I made these two headboards for less than $50. I love how they turned out!

This picture is a bit closer up on the trim.  The little bookshelves are $4 spice racks from Ikea.  (Idea found on Pinterest.)  Our Ikea in Houston doesn't sell them, but lucky for me I have a very sweet sister in Arizona who was willing to get some for me from her Ikea and bring them to me.  Thanks, Mag!

Their dresser before.  A craigslist special.  I didn't do much to it, just changed the knobs.  It's a lovely piece of furniture that didn't need much.  Or maybe what it did need was stuff I wasn't willing to do.  Either way, it's perfect for them.  Look at all those drawers!

The picture frames with wire was something I either saw on Pinterest or at a friend's baby shower.  Probably both.  The mirror was a gift from another sweet sister (Olivia).  It used to be gold, which wouldn't have matched so I sprayed it silver.  I'm not totally thrilled with how it turned out but it evidently doesn't bother me enough to do anything about it since it's up on the wall.  I'd like to put hooks on the wall below the mirror.  That will happen someday, when I find just the right thing.
Here's the vanity before.  I was over the moon about this vanity!  It was exactly what I was looking for: attractive, functional, well made and not too pricey.  Also from craigslist.  It's probably an antique that I really shouldn't have painted it, but I did anyway.  And I love it!
Sorry there's not a closer shot.  Getting handles for it was a bit of a nightmare.  The holes are spaced oddly so there was pretty much one place I found online to buy the pulls from.  Then I ordered wrong.  The wrong pulls were delivered to my neighbor by mistake but they had already sent a replacement order to me.  So I ended up with 8 pulls that don't work for this.  Eventually I found the ones pictured here and I think they are a perfect fit.  Luckily since there were very few options.  I also found the stool on craigslist.  For $10!  I am still planning to recover the cushion since leopard print doesn't really go.  Olivia is to be thanked for the curtains too.  After I texted her a picture of the decorative pillows she said she had some fabric that would go well.  She was right!  

Another look at the beds, one last time.  I'm dreaming up some projects for 2013.  (Maybe in 2014 I'll blog about them.)