It’s Book Fair Time!

January 24th, 2017

Today, I spent most of the day volunteering at Olivia’s school for their annual book fair. I have to say, this is one of my favorite things to do. I mean, I get to see kids all day long, coming in and out, enjoying looking at books and having free time to explore new interests and subjects they might not have at home. And I LOVE helping them navigate the chapter books, the reference books, the activity books, and so much more.

It was really hard to choose what to buy and what to leave… I will admit… and there was an EXCELLENT selection of books for adults. So I thought I would share some of the books we bought today (on day 2 of book fair… which means there is a good chance I will be buying more).

The Usborne Art Activity Book would have to be one of my favorites I bought today. Through painting, doodling, puzzles, and stickers, Olivia (and I) will be able to explore artists such as Renoir, Paul Klee, Rousseau, and Titian. I am so excited about this. My week is not complete without teaching or learning more about art.

The Crayons’ Book  of Numbers is Stella’s new favorite book! We have read it twice already, and currently she is asking me to go to bed so we can read it again! I love the original of this book, so I am excited to teach her about numbers in such a creative way.

Lonely Planet’s Not for Parents: U.S.A. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know is such a fun book. Each page has facts about our nation such as “Alaska is three times the size of France.” Or, “Did you know that birds have the right of way in Nebraska?” We have vowed to read a new page each night.

 

When Olivia showed me this book, she asked me if it was simply “about sewing.” Oh, darling, there is so much more to this amazing woman, as described in this book by Ma Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Little People Big Dreams, Coco Chanel.

I did manage to get a couple of really awesome cookbooks, one in particular I purchased because I am a HUGE fan of local chefs. My own hometown has an amazing book titled The San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market Cookbook, so I was excited to see one for the LA area.

 

This book is simply gorgeous. The pictures, the food… I can’t wait to try out the Farmers’ Market Risotto, now that I have actually ventured into the risotto making area. Definitely buy The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook, even if it is just to impress your friends with a good coffee table book.

I bought a few other books, including a cookbook for kids, that I will be referencing in  some upcoming posts. I actually am hoping to post about an amazing opportunity for Olivia to go and use her new cookbook and tools at a Valentine’s Day cooking class!

Disclaimer: this post includes Amazon Affiliate links.

I did it. Part 1

April 12th, 2014

April 10th, 2014… here goes nothing

207lbs

It feels so good to have my surgery done. I actually was talking to mike about my surgery a little bit ago… what I remember and how I felt.

I remember being wheeled from SDS (same day surgery) waiting room into a holding area. My transporter said “hey, there’s your doc! Big Mac is what we call him!” Kind of ironic. A few nurses came over and introduced themselves to me, and I told them how scared I was. I had never had any surgery before- what was I doing? They assured me that once I got some medicine in me, my anxiety would be at a zero. So I told them a horrible joke. I told them about the time that I had Olivia, and she had to be vacuumed out, and it just happened to be the same day mom had gotten me a vacuum, so we both got vacuumed that day. That’s all I remember. The anesthesiologist told me that when I woke up, I would have a breathing tube in my mouth and it would be imperative that I stayed calm and didn’t fight it. I don’t remember any of that actually happening.

I remember being in my room with Mike, and being in immense pain. God awful pain. I cried a lot. And Mike was there the whole time. I remember him being on the phone and telling someone we were in my room… and then I remember my mom calling and telling him she was wiped and he had to head home- that was about 7. I woke up several times between 7 and midnight, but all I wanted to do was sleep the pain off. It seemed like every time I woke up, only 15 minutes passed by. At first, my nurse, Geraldine, annoyed me. I couldn’t understand her, and she kept calling me sweetie. But then, I realized how amazing she was at her job. She always alternated my pain meds when it was necessary to give them to me. She didn’t wait until I asked for them, since I was in so much pain. She told me it was because it was better to keep them in control than it was to let them go. She flushed my IV regularly. She always helped me in and out of bed, and made sure I took a bathroom trip while she was there. And she always fluffed my pillow and covered me with the covers and asked me if I was comfortable before she left. In my eyes, on that particular night, she was a saint.

By 6am, I had gotten my pain controllable. Although I was still in so much pain, I was able to control it with the pain killers, and function somewhat. I was able to visit with friends that day, and actually get up and walk around. I made a loop of my floor, and every time I got up to walk, I made sure to take that entire loop. I drank water constantly and was never hungry. Although let me tell you, that italian ice they gave me was pretty awesome. I was starting to feel like I was on the mend… and had an amazing new outlook…

 

Walk this way…

February 9th, 2014

mondayWoot! The hallway is coming along great! For the most part, it is done. But I really want to add some special touches to make it ours.

So, here is a run down.

  • Repaint the top of the hallway.
  • Hang all the frames to make a wall scrapbook.
  • Change out door knobs to rubbed bronze.
  • Hang mirror at end of hallway.
  • Replace door hinges with rubbed bronze hinges.
  • Repaint trim.
  • Lay rug/runner with carpet pad.
  • Find console table & add some vases, etc.
  • Hang kids artwork in artwork display frames.
  • Replace base boards.
  • Trim bottom of doors so that they glide over rugs.
  • Replace drawer pulls on linen closet.
  • Install shelf liner in linen closet.
  • Plan and organize linen closet.

I also want to do some organization and fun stuff with the hall closet, being that we only use it to store winter coats, games, and our guitar hero guitars, lol. I also have an old Atari in there, if you can believe it.

 

Here we have my system for placement of the photos. Now I didn’t end up with this exact placement, mainly because my Target didn’t have all of the 5×7 frames I needed, and I pretty much cleared them out of all other white frames. I bought a couple at Walmart, but they were way more expensive than Target, believe it or not. I cut pieces of paper to reflect the size of my frames, and then just taped them up with painters tape until I got the desired look. Then, I measured from the frame top to the hook, and then nailed it into the white paper. From then, I just peeled off the paper and hung the frame.

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Here is a shot of all the frames waiting to be hung.

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And here is the finished product. I LOVE the console at the end of the hall with the gorgeous round mirror. It is the perfect size as to not get in the way during night time potty trips.

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I hung some random art, a card I absolutely love, and our handmade ornaments that reflect each of the homes we have lived in.  All of our family photos are hung here, along with a few baby pictures and random things we have collected over the years.IMG_0984

 

The wall above pays homage to Mike and me as a couple. I’d like to add our wedding invite, and some other fun stuff that I know is somewhere safe. Don’t you hate it when you know you have it and don’t want to dig? That card with the skeletons is one of my favorites, from my in-laws. It says “til death do us part is for quitters”. The 3 way frame has a hankie from the wedding, some buttons that we collected, and had Mike’s boutonniere, but I have since decided that those are too fragile, and am going to replace it with a window box.

 

These two walls are strictly for the girls, plus a little of us as a family. I love the frames with their ID bracelets and newborn pictures. There are also two ornaments on this wall from our other houses, and their clay handprints. The portrait in the middle was made by a friend from Instagram and it is one of my favorite pieces. On the right, we have some fun photos of mainly Olivia, plus the girls sonogram pictures.

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Here is a very flattering view of our runner, but I wanted to show you how we used two small runners to line the hall. It gives it some flair, and I love the pattern, but unfortunately, as with many dhurrie rugs, they don’t line up exactly, so we were unable to join them. So we just made a break in them. Do you think this looks funny? Would love an opinion.

 

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I will definitely source out this week, and also give you a sneak peek of the hall linen closet. Transforming even the inside of our cabinets and drawers is high on my priority list!

Til tomorrow!

Her name is Lola, she was a show girl…

January 30th, 2014

Well we took the plunge. Dora the Explorer is no longer a family member of ours. We knew we had to get a new car soon. Dora’s miles were increasing rapidly every day, and were looking for something specific.

Here were our requirements:

1. Quad bucket seats. With the girls’ car seats, and sometimes hauling their friends or family around, we needed something that was easy for people to get in and out of- like a minivan without the van part.

2. We wanted leather (easier upkeep with the kidlets).

3. We needed a third row seat. See #1

4. Under 50,000. We plan on keeping this car as long as we had Dora, so miles were HUGE.

Here were definite perks:

1. Navigation/DVD player.

2. White. Dora is black, and when I go to work I park in a dirt lot. No bueno.

3. I wanted bells and whistles such as an electronic liftgate, heated seats. These were just extras that make long drives worth it.

So here are the cars that we found that would fit our bill and what we like dislike about each one.

Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer: keypad entry. If you haven’t had this yet, you are missing out. I’m so sad that I won’t have it anymore. However, not one lot that we went to could show us an Explorer with quad buckets, and they wanted us to commit to buying new and ordering one. $42,000? No thank you.

tahoe

Chevy Tahoe: We had said for years that we would be moving up to this when we bought our next car. Problem is, the price tag. I can’t justify paying more for my car than my child’s education, and these cars are expensive.

Traverse

Chevy Traverse: we loved that this was a step down from the Tahoe. It had all of the requirements that we loved in the Tahoe, at almost HALF the price. I love that it drove like a car, but had all of the amenities of an SUV.

acadia

GMC Acadia: this is the GMC version of the Traverse. I absolutely loved this car as well, but it is a bite more expensive than the Traverse.

buick

Buick Enclave: this is also the same as the Traverse, but the Buick version. Comes with a hefty price tag, but was a good alternative to the Traverse considering there were more on the used car market than there were of the Chevy.

durango

Dodge Durango: I can’t even tell you because they didn’t even have the model on the lot. Geez.

santa fe

Hyundai Santa Fe: Again, didn’t have the model on the lot. WTH? I’m not ordering a car that I have never driven before.

Can you guess what we chose? We chose the Traverse!

Problem: we wanted to buy used and there are very few used ones on the market. We actually almost got suckered into buying brand-new but realized it was way out of our budget. We were acting strictly on emotions of having to search for this car. This is where our intentionality comes into play. We decided to sit on it and research and find the perfect car. We knew we were getting our tax return back soon and would be able to put a hefty down payment on it. Plus the idea that we could trade in the Explorer, we could get exactly what we wanted. This was very important to us because we really only want to have one car payment. I can definitely see us growing up a little bit.

So along came our car, the one we had been waiting for, a white Chevy Traverse… all the way down in Culver City. We knew we had to act on it because it was below bluebook and exactly what we wanted which we had failed to find even within 180 mile radius of our town.

So we are growing up. Hubby and I talked about it a lot and did our research. And in the end, I love my new car.

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Please meet Lola. She’s going to make her first showgirl appearance in Las Vegas this weekend when hubby takes her on his annual boys weekend. Eeek!

2014 word of the year

January 27th, 2014

monday

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I feel that I need to jump on the bandwagon. The idea of picking one word to theme my year around was kind of depressing. I really felt that focusing on just one word meant that every other word was insignificant. What do I choose?

Runner ups: balance, creativity, stability, fortune, still, present…

I picked JOY. Because, quite simply, it was the word I always came back to. It wasn’t depressing. It is what I need to focus on.

So, with that. I choose JOY. What is your “word of the year”?

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A week in review.

January 24th, 2014

friday sticky

I love spending time with other moms. It’s kind of ironic because when I met my husband, I had a thing against hanging out with other women. I think I felt intimidated by them. I was never the perfect size, the perfect hair, the perfect teeth, and I despised spending more than 30 minutes in the bathroom to get ready. In fact, as far as bathroom time, I still despise it, so much so that I have my hairdresser do my hair for special occasions- money well spent. I still feel all of the above feelings, just not as frequently, mostly because I am chasing after two kids, running errands, keeping a house clean (ok, well Lupe gets some of the credit), etc, etc. You know the drill. Chances are, you are one of my mom friends that is coming over here and reading this blog to get to know me better, or just out of pity. Anywho… I do. I love spending time with other moms. It is the best therapy there is. If with the right set of gals, you can get more inner peace than any therapy session. The opposite applies as well, but thankfully that doesn’t happen too often.

This week, I got to spend time with other moms almost every day. I made it a point to get out of the house. Even if only for a few hours. Does anyone else just think how crazy it is to get out with more than one child? I have friends who have more than two, and God Bless You. I don’t know how you do it. I’m still getting used to just the two. And I think that is part of it, and I think the other part of it is those baby blues. The ones that you can’t get rid for quite a while. A friend of mine recently posted a vlog entry about post partum depression, and I am definitely going to address that soon. It’s something that we don’t talk about openly.

I feel like I have re-entered the circle of moms. I exited it some time during my pregnancy with Stella. It feels good to be back, and it makes my life a little more joyful.

Choosing Joy.

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A surgery update.

January 20th, 2014

I have a surgery date! Yep! I won’t divulge the date, but suffice to say, it will be a busy spring. Since our last talk, I have had so much progress in this journey to acquire this tool. I say that, because that is just what this is. A tool in my weight loss journey. First off, I decided to get an opinion from a different doctor. The main reason was that I was traveling an hour and a half from home just to attend all of my appointments. This was so hard on the girls, and on those that were helping me out. My new surgeon is 20 minutes away, and I am so happy with his office! He is professional, diligent, and wants to make sure that I am prepared for the whole picture as to what this surgery will encompass.

The first visit was surreal. His office is located in the Mission Hope Cancer Center, and I’m guessing he is the only non-cancer-type-doctor in the building. His wait room is shared with a breast surgeon, which is even more surreal, and something I am sure I will be talking with you about more in the future. Anyways, back to my visit, I rode up the elevator to my surgeons office with a woman who was headed to the “3rd floor”, which is where the chemotherapy treatments are given. I actually mentioned this to my nurse, about how this surgery has opened my eyes to others, and how God is so good to me. I will remember this each and every time I go to this office, and embrace it. It was just another reassurance that I am doing this surgery for my health, and not just to “look better.” I think God was testing me a little to see if I knew the true reasons to go through this surgery.

Well, I passed all of my doctor’s tests, and he said I am an excellent candidate for this surgery. Although I kinda knew this, it is always so nice to talk to an actual doctor who believes in me and knows I can be successful.

What’s next?

I have a few more hurdles to pass through… a bone density scan (remember that crazy contraption from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness”?), a primary physician statement, and a few other record sent over. After that, we can start pursuing insurance and getting me approved (which I have been assured won’t be a problem). In the mean time, I have lots to get ready for, and things I hope to share with you here! Stella’s 1st birthday, her baptism, a special trip for Olivia coming up, the pursuit of a new-used car, and many changes to my diet, recipes, and crafts.

I hope you will keep reading, and we can start this new year together.

 

Missed me?

January 20th, 2014

Well, I have been taking a break… especially during the holidays. But I’m back! In what capacity? Who knows.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to share on this blog, and where I see it going, and what I have decided is… who knows. I’m sure I will share some of my favorite things, my weight loss journey, and my spiritual growth. So I figure if it is at all interesting, you will read. I’m not going to be concerned too much about traffic, etc., but more so about what makes us tic. What interests others to peer into our lives? What about someone else’s life is so interesting? I figure if I lay it all out and you like it, welcome! And its good to be back.

 

A Sparkly Family Photo Shoot

November 5th, 2013

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In a few weeks, we will be having our Christmas photo shoot. I am so excited to have our pictures taken as a family of 4! I really like to theme our outfits, having colors consistent throughout each family member.

For Mom:

For Dad:
For Big Sister:
For Little Sister:

22 minutes is all I get.

November 4th, 2013

So apparently we only have 22 minutes of focus a day on one specific task. That is what studies are showing (what studies? I don’t know, this is second hand information). But this sounds about right to me. I can sit for about twenty minutes on a project, get easily bored or distracted (after all, I have a 7 month old) and therefore I have a million and one unfinished projects throughout the house and my life. I have decided to do something about those.

You know me, I love lists. So here is another one for you. This one hones in on the inside of this house. I haven’t added the bedrooms to this list, well, because this list is overwhelming as it is. Problem with this list is that it requires a lot of dough, so it will be slow going, but hopefully over the next year we will see it slowly diminish. Ok, let’s be realistic. It will never diminish, there is always something to do for someone like me. It’s my nature do so.

So instead of saying that I’m going to give up on a certain project because it is unattainable, I am just simply going to simplify it. This list may not look simplified, but when broken up, can definitely be conquered. So stay tuned!

The Master House List (aka Listy-McListerson via YoungHouseLove)

Living Room

  • Paint fireplace
  • Repaint living room
  • Replace ceiling fan
  • Install lighting above dining room table
  • Touch up trim/finish painting trim
  • Install curtains and sheers
  • New fireplace screen
  • New rug for dining room
  • New benches/chairs for living room
  • Replace/renovate current furniture
  • Decorate as needed

Hallway

  • Finish painting trim
  • Repaint yellow that is on upper part of hallway to match LR
  • Repaint cabinets and add new hardware
  • Clean out hall closet & install closet organizer
  • New light fixtures in hall
  • New carpet in hall (and bedrooms)

Kitchen

  • Finish trim on bench & paint
  • Install new sink & counters
  • Install organizers in all drawers
  • New rug in kitchen nook
  • New floors (maybe cork or laminate tiles?)
  • Install backsplash (maybe penny tile?)

Laundry Room

  • Clean pantry out & repaint & add new hardware
  • Repaint back door & install new dog door
  • Repaint utility closet, add shelves & make more user friendly
  • Install new floors (to match kitchen)
  • Make built ins to house washer & dryer
  • Make pet station
  • Paint cabinets white & install new hardware
  • Sew curtain for back window

Guest bathroom

  • Touch up paint
  • Install new floors (maybe hex tile?)
  • Find storage solutions for guests
  • Install new shower head
  • Install new toilet (currently has handicapped toilet)

Hall Bathroom

  • Paint
  • What to do with floor? Paint? (since bathroom will eventually be redone)
  • Install new toilet
  • New light fixture
  • Storage solutions – maybe frame out mirror?
  • Decorate