What I am about to tell you is the most NOT groundbreaking piece of information ever.  It's amazing how obvious it's going to be.  Like...duh.  Duh haruh even.  (do you remember that?  did anyone else say that in the '80's or was it just me and my weirdo friends?  I digress)  I am about to tell you the very reason why my children and I had such a completely lovely and pretty-much stress free afternoon.  

    I just chilled out - remained calm - didn't let stuff get to me - drank whiskey.  

    (Ha!  I totally kid about that last one, but Aaron totally did acuse me of becoming an afternoon nipper when he heard about how relaxed I was all day.)

    Today was basically a typical day with Destruct-o-girl.  I woke her up this morning so we could take her brothers to school, she destroyed everything she touched until her nap time, she napped and my heart sang out praises for the blessed time of peace, she woke up earlier than I hoped and I cried a little, then she destroyed everything she touched until we went to pick up her brothers from art lessons.  Then we played outside and had a marvelous, lovely time (while I took a zillion pictures), I made her go in so brothers could do homework, she layed in the floor by the back door clawing and screaming "side! side!" for 47 minutes, she dumped half a box of cinnamon toast crunch in the floor, she spilled milk all in her hair, she got cheetos all over the iPad, she got a bath and 7 million kisses, and finally she and her pig went to bed.

    Same goes for the boys having a typical day.  I drug them out of bed for school, they complained the whole morning, I dropped them off, picked them up from their after school art lesson, Turnanator immediately started crying about having to do homework, Super-G disappeared the second we got home, we played outside and took photos a while, then we sat down for homework.  Neither wanted to do anything but they did it anyway, then Super-G had to practice for piano tomorrow.  He would rather have watched tv.  Turnanator didn't want to eat supper, no one wanted to bathe (wonder where they get that?), and even though they could barely hold their eyes open every time they got still, no one was tired.  All of this happened, btw, before Daddy got home tonight because he had to go out to eat with some Japanese visitors.

    And even thought all of that happened, and lots of people cried, and several fits were pitched - I remained calm.  And you know what?  It didn't take long and my offspring became calm too.  I'm sorry I'm even writing about this.  I know it seems so simple and dumb at the same time, but for me it feels like some kind of revelation.  I, as anyone who knows me knows, am not a calm person.  I'm not a germaphobe or a run-to-the-doctor-over-every-little-thing person, but I am a get stressed out and have a come-apart person.  I yell.  A lot actually.  And apparently I get some type of satisfaction from getting worked up over some of the most useless bits of life.  "Why do you have on tall socks with shorts son?!  How many times do I have to tell you to wear the ankle socks with shorts?!  Daughter!  Where is your hairbow?  Quit wiping your nose on your shirt kid!!  Husband!  How is it possible that you can dress yourself but are totally incapable of dressing our kids in things that match?!  Why are these shoes in my living room?!!!!!"  Do you see what I'm saying?  None of that matters one iota in real life, so you oughta' see me go when it's over stuff that matters.  Like my first grader's inability to read the word "does" over and over again in his take home reader.  I'm a psycho.  

    So today, for no particular reason at all, I decided I was going to work very extra super hard at controlling my emotions, not getting stressed out, and not raising my voice.  And guess what - homework went so much better than normal.  We had fun outside.  Everyone got to watch a few minutes of tv and was still in bed at a decent time.  And I didn't spend the rest of tonight feeling like I wanted to kill somone (and taking it out on poor Aaron who usually bears the brunt of my "crazy-lady").  Guess what else.  Super-G never did really master his piano this week, there are still dishes piled in my sink and laundry piled in my room, and I have yet to wipe the cheeto off the iPad.  Turns out, if all that doesn't happen tonight life will go on anyway.  

    While I'm sure that 98% of you make this a regular practice and aren't crazy nut-job mothers anyway, I just needed to put this on my blog tonight, even if it's boring.  I needed to have this written down so on the days that I am screaming about the fact that it's inappropriate to put food in your princess potty and shoes in your bed sheets, I can remember the day that I chilled out and it had such a profound affect.  So to the 2% of you that are wing-dings like me, let's hold each other accountable to be better moms that yell less and eat less junk food out of frustration and have less pounding headaches.  Let's be calm, and chilled, and hopefully not secretly drinking all afternoon.

Love you almost as much as my afternoon with my babies,
Cassie
 
    I am an idea thief.  It's true.  I have a real internet-stalker, etsy-peruser, creative-property theft issue.  So when I saw this idea on etsy by nursejeanneg and then just a day later my friend Anna Reid needed an idea for a wedding gift - I was sold.  I had to do it right then.  Especially since Mount Saint Laundry was piling up in my bedroom waiting for me to fold it, and I was for sure trying to avoid that.  Do you ever do that?  Look on the internet and think "I can totally make that" and then think "and I have to do that right this second so I can avoid dealing with this gross pot of old hamburger grease that's been sitting on the counter for two days"?  No?  Just me?  Oh, ok.  Well I do, and I did, and here's what I got.
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A super cool, stuffed burlap football, door-hanger, decorated with a Mississippi State pawprint. Go dawgs!!
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First thing you do is to go to the store with your pregnant friend and spend too much money on all kinds of junkola because you are in a crafting kind of mood.  Then make your pregnant friend draw and cut out the football shape from the burlap (whatever size you would like I assume) because you are busy cooking dinner for a load of college kids.  Our footballs are three layers of burlap each because we wanted the front to be good and thick, but I'm not sure it's necessary.  Then we painted our desired stuff on our footballs.  We pinned the top two layers and painted those because it bled through and we didn't want it on the back. (btw, don't be a ding-dong. put a garbage bag or something down under your project.)  You could paint on just the top one I assume.  I don't know why we do what we do.  We're bizzare.  She was making a wedding gift for an Alabama fan here in this pic.  She also finally took a decent picture in which she wasn't talking and making a completely weirdo face.  Good job A.R.

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After you paint your desired whatever and it dries (for several hours is best) sew the three layers together like you would if you were making a pillow case except we both chose to just sew about an inch in a leave a raw edge.  However, you do need to leave a hole for stuffing like you would with a pillow.  A.R. found that her's didn't hold so well so she sewed a ribbon inside of her seam.  I, on the other hand, felt like mine held pretty well (I don't know if it had to do with stitch width, length, etc.) but I did take a extra measure that I will show you in a second.

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Next thing I did was to let a small ball of adorable destruction make a weird face and shove bunched up plastic bags into the open hole between the second and third layers.  Make sure to evenly distribute them and get it however stuffed you want.  I will say that the person selling them on etsy says she stuffs hers with brown paper.  I'm sure that is a good option too, but I want to hang mine on my back door and don't want moisture to make the paper get all grody.  Plus I go to Walmart pretty much daily so I had about 7,483,295 plastic shopping bags at my disposal.

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I had a few spots when I was sewing around that had too much paint to really sew through, so I went back to those spots and just hot glued them together.  I holds really well, just be careful not to do so much that it comes through the fabric and looks ugly.  You could probably do a small bead all the way around the seam of the whole thing if you are worried about your stitches holding.  Just a note of caution - do not squirt burning hot glue into holey fabric and immediately squish it together with your fingers unless you don't mind needing skin grafts on all your fingetips in the near future.  Don't ask me how I know this.

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Next step is to just take some heavier guage wire that you have laying around the house (they sell it at any craft or home improvement store) and literally just poke it through all the layers of fabric from the back side.  You need to make sure you are down a few inches from the seam (towards the stuffing) so the wire won't be pulling on the seam or loose fabric.  Now this is really simple but I didn't take a picture of this exact step so follow me.  When you poke a couple of inches of wire through on both sides, you need to bend the ends and the long loop piece on the back so that they are pinched together and both pointing upward.  You will understand what I mean if you are doing it.  You want the loop in the back to be able to hang the football and you want the front pieces to be pointing straight up so that they hold the ball on the wire.  Next use a pair of needle nose pliers and your fingers to bend your front wire into swirlies or some other cute shape that won't stab you as you walk by.  The last thing I did before hanging it up was to use a bunch of different kinds of ribbon and make a bow on one side of the hanging wire.  I forgot to take a picture of this because I was talking too much. (imaging that)

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Anyhows....this is what I got.  A.R.'s ended up very cute too with an Alabama A on it but she was already gone to the wedding and I didn't get a picture of it.  I will say that our's are a little large in width so it took a lot of stuffing which makes it a really big door hanger, but I love it!  Just keep that in mind if you make one.  Also remember, once you stuff it and hang it and take a picture of it and post it on the internet it will look a little wonky in 2-D, but in real life it will be super cute and all your friends will be jealous.  (ok not really but you can tell yourself that part to make yourself feel good).  The painting part is a little time consuming, but otherwise this is a totally easy project that I forsee myself reapeating again soon.  The possibilities are endless - witches hats, Chrismas trees, basketballs, pumpkins, ornaments, turkeys, oh my!  So let your imagination run wild and get to the fabric store right this second.  I'm sure you have tons of housework you are looking to avoid!  No?  Really just me huh?

Love you like a lazy Saturday,
Cassie

 
    Since every single person on the the planet Earth has heard of Jeff Foxworthy and his "you might be a redneck" bit, you know where I am going with this.  When you read these, make sure to read the first part of each sentence slowly in a high pitched voice.  Then read the second half in a deeper voice with the words all running together.  You've heard him.  You know what I'm talking about.

1. If you have 99% of the laundry in your house washed and 98% of it has been laying in mountainous piles all over your bedroom for a week......................you might be like Cassie.

2. If you have only two pairs of pants in your whole entire closet that fit and one of them has a weird stain on the butt but you keep wearing them anyway....................you might be like Cassie.

3. If your one-year-old is better at Angry Birds than you are.......................you might be like Cassie.

4. If it's been more than six days since you've seen the bottom of your kitchen sink..............................you might be like Cassie.

5. If your children's homework is bad for your religion..............................you might be like Cassie.

6. If you're a freakazoid that spends time worrying about if your child has anyone to play with on the playground.................................you might be like Cassie.

7. If you want to take a nap but can't get to your bed because of Mt. Saint Laundry............................you might be like Cassie.

8. If your bathroom is full of ants now.........................you might be like Cassie.

9. If your almost-two-year-old has started spitting at you everytime she doesn't get her way......................you might be like Cassie.

10. If you are scared you are going to beat your almost-two-year-old with a brick stick one day..................................you might be like Cassie.

11. If you single-handedly ate almost one whole pound of fudge by yourself in less than 48 hours........................you might be like Cassie.

12. If you drove past the football field today and got excited because they were painting the goalposts for the first game......................you might be like Cassie.

13. If your child has three tests tomorrow and yet you kept him up until 10:30 at night at said foodball game.................you might be like Cassie.

14. If you just got mad at your husband because he told you that you were acting stupid about something (that you really were acting stupid about but couldn't stop because you were on a rant and just could not control yourself)...........................you might be like Cassie.

15. If you have ever been told by an employee of Walmart that you do not actually know outside of the store, "if you wore khakis and a navy shirt, the manager would think you worked here you're here so much"...............................you might be like Cassie.

16. If you cannot stop wondering why there is a Lincoln towncar in your city painted like trix breakfast cereal................you might be like Cassie.

17. If you forgot to call your grandmother today on her birthday even though your aunt reminded you at 6:30 this morning...........................you might be like Cassie.

18. If you went to eat lunch with your kids at school today and was reminded again how thankful you are for good teachers and how glad you are that you're not one.........................you might be like Cassie.

19. If your almost-but-not-quite-two-year-old has a meltdown every time you go in the Walmart store and don't buy her a coke icee..............................you might be like Cassie.

20. If you made your kid eat a slice of pizza that he dropped face down on the ground at a football game becaue you told him more than once not to drop it........................you might be like Cassie.

    Thank you folks!  I'll be here all weekend.
 
    So I was playing around with my pictures a little today when I was laying on the couch feeling extra nauseated from some migrane medicine while still trying to make sure Destruct-o-girl doesn't kill herself.
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This is husband. He was preaching at church a few weeks ago for a big night we have for the local junior college. All the athletic teams from the school come and he preaches then we feed everyone. There was somewhere in the relm of 450 people there I think, and he did a great job. I thought this looked like a shot from a newspaper.
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This is Super-G riding his motorcycle. He is one bad mamma-jamma. Ok, so it took him two and a half years to get brave enough to ride it, but hey - he's tearing up the back yard now.
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This is a super cute kid jumping on a trampoline.
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This is a second super cute kid jumping on a trampoline. Doesn't she look like a big girl when her hair is in a ponytail?
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This is not a person. But I'm pretty sure you could already tell that. This is, however, a poor quality photograph of the things I bought on today's shoppping trip to CVS. It was a good one so I had to brag. Sorry. Two 12-roll packs of Bounty paper towels, four boxes of kleenex, one jug Lipton tea, one Mitchum deoderant, three Hershey bars, one Revelon lip gloss, and one Maybelline Falsies mascara. Out of pocket - $13.47 Extra Care Bucks - $7 So it's basically like I spent $6.47. BOO to the YEAH. Today I saved $56.64. I know that this fact alone may encourage you to want to be like me, but remember I'm not a big showerer. So really - you don't.
 
    I have a small magazine addiction.  Anything even remotely related to house stuff, This Old House, Southern Living.  I seriously live for the Better Homes and Gardens special interest publications.  And I keep them all in a giant basket.  It becomes unhandy at times to keep up with 187 pounds of print media, but I just love them so much that I can't bear to throw them away.  Any time I am in the mood to project I just go to the stacks for inspiration.  Today's project is one that I found literally three years ago and it took me until last week to accomplish.   

    For starters, I have a lot of trees in my front yard,  (I'm talking fall is a leafy nightmare around here) and my driveway runs across the front of my house and around to the garage on the backside.  As you drive around the curve there is a giant hickory tree with one huge, fat limb that previous owners had screwed giant eye hooks into.  Well, the second I saw that I had to get a porch swing.  I mean that day I drove to Lowes in the "big town" and got one.  I have contentment issues like that.  But that was still during the whole "two house" time and I literally didn't have extra money for it and had to buy the cheapest unfinished wooden one available.  So the boys and I primed it and painted it hot pink.  I put cute black and white damask pillows on it and loved it for a long time.  But you know, that's the thing about bright colors and trendy prints.  I adore them but tire of them easily.  Plus to be honest, the front of my house is so '70's traditional that it just stood out as crazy looking to me after a while.  So this past week I did this:
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This was the dirty hot pink swing.  This was also Destruct-o-girl wearing Christmas pajamas in August with a 104 degree heat index.  I do not try to hide the fact that I have a laundry problem. Do not judge me.  I cleaned the swing off with a stiff bristle brush and a light sanding (read - barely touched with sandpaper because I hate sanding so much), and then I painted it black.  I forgot to take a picture of this step because I'm a nincompoop.

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This is a solid green outdoor pillow.  Do you know how hard it is to find solid outdoor pillows?  Especially when the only store in the town where you live is Walmart.  Basically you get what you get.  This is the sole hold up on this project for the past 3 years.  I couldn't find any solid outdoor pillows and was way too lazy to make any of my own.  Plus I needed four and that gets a little expensive for front yard decor when your husband is a budget nazi.

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So once you have accidentally happened upon a big pile of solid outdoor pillows at your local Dirt Cheap or other hometown junk place for $4 apiece, buy however many you need to create your house numbers from your address.  Then stencil, freehand, or hire someone to paint one digit of your house number per pillow.  I  just freehanded and used black acrylic craft paint from the Walmart store.  I also forgot to take a picture of this, but luckily you are not an idiot and do not need to see a photo of this step to understand what I am talking about.

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Finally you should ask your friend's strapping 14-year-old son to help you hang the swing back up because your husband is currently working so many hours that you never see him in the daylight and you are too impatient to wait for the weekend (plus the swing is hogging the whole garage).  Then you arrange the pillows in the correct order of your address if you want to be logical, or in the wrong order if you just want to confuse people and be a weirdo.  Then you step back and admire your work and think "why didn't I do that three years ago?".

    Hope this inspires you to paint your address on something.  It would be cute on a swing or a bench by your front door (especially if you are a lucky one with an actual porch).  And I also hope that your address is less than four digits long because honestly, four is just too many.  If you don't believe me just ask my poor boys who have to memorized their address for kindergarten.  Four just doesn't flow.  And thirdly I hope that you have a great rest of the weekend.  I've been feeling really bloggy lately and written several days this week.  Don't get used to it.  I feel a lazy spell coming on.  Just wanted you to know.

Love you like the awesomeness of spray paint,
Cassie
 
    So this is one of those posts where I am strickly looking for your advice and opinions.  Coming up very soon, Super G will be having a birthday (man he is growing up fast!) and I find myself having the yearly birthday party discussion with him.  What kind of party do you want? Where do you want to have it?  Do you want a theme?  Who do you want to invite?  And of course his answers are as crazy as he is.  He wants a "Legends of the Guardian" party (seriously, who even knows what that is?  I think we are the only family on earth who has repeatedly watched a movie about owls) in his back yard with everyone he knows including his teacher from kindergarten. (shout out Courtney!  you made the cut!)  And then there is the whole question of a pool party since we do have a big ole' swimming pool in our back yard.  Y'all are welcomed to call us a bunch of fuddy duddies if you want, but swimming parties make me a nervous wreck.  I just never know who can swim at what level, whose parents are actually watching them and not talking, who would sue us if their kid drowned, etc., etc.  And it doesn't help that we had an incident already this summer where I had to jump in with all my clothes on and pull Destruct-o-girl out of the water.  Let's just say that will make you a little gunshy.

    So all that being said, I really began to do some hardcore thinking and internet searching last night.  The thing is, neither sets of grandparents and extended family live here in town and we always do a party with both sets at the grandma's houses - so that's two parties already.  When your mom is oldest of four and dad is second of five and you already have 9 first cousins, it doesn't take much to make a for-real party.  Then, when you add a party here in town, it's a lot of cake and presents.  At what point do you tell a kid "we're not going to have a party this year"?  You all know that once you get school age, there are birthday invites constantly, and even if you want to go, you just can't make them all.  Everyone is busy these days.  My first grader alone is now signed up to do piano, soccer, art lessons, scouts, and a junior leaders class at church, all this semester.  You just cannot do everything.  So every single party is not feasible for us or you.  Which then begs the question, what in the world would I do if we plan a party and then no one really shows up?  How devastating to my kid.  I know that is a tad bit extreme to worry about, but I actually have a friend whose son it happened to years ago.  How hard to explain to a little boy.  Anyway, I was just wandering, have you made a birthday decision?  Do you skip the party and just do something special?  And then is it fair if smaller siblings still get parties because they haven't had as many as the older kids?  It feels like a stupid thing to stress out over, but I'm the type that invites worry.  It's what I do. I figure lots of you don't do parties every year.  Have you never done them?  If not, when did you start/stop?

    The next question I have for you is, "if we do have a party, how do you feel about the movement of gift-less parties?".  I think it is a wonderful idea.  We have such a large family that Christmas and family birthdays alone cause our playroom to burst with stuff.  Our playroom looks like the bowels of the earth with stuff exploding in every direction.  But Aaron disagrees.  He thinks if we are going to have a party, then we shouldn't take away the childhood experience of getting to open gifts.  I don't know.  I love the idea of no gifts or donations to a charity in leiu of gifts.  Is there something to be said for having less and appreciating it more?  Is there something to be learned from graciously accepting gifts even if you don't love them?  Will it make more people show up if they don't have to buy a present or will it make people feel bad if they still allow gifts for their kids?  This is also not an earth shattering, world peace type issue, but I was reading some articles about it last night and thought it would be a question worth posing.

    So if you ever were a kid or have any kids now, please, share your experiences with me.  I didn't have a party every year growing up and neither did Aaron, and somehow we managed to grow into functional adults.  What do you do?  Have you heard of the "no gift/donation parties" before?  Have you done it?  How did it go over in your world?  Advice?  Suggestions?  Any birthday horror storie?  Lay 'em on me.

Love you like a back-yard, owl themed, night, swimming party with your kindergarten teacher,
Cassie
 
    Let me just start this whole post by saying that I adore my daughter and think she is wonderful, and adorable, and cute, and funny, and smart.  I mean I really, really, really love her.  Violently and hysterically and deeply.  I grew her inside of my body.  We're tight.  And let me also say that I realize my last post was about crazy stuff that happened the other day.  It was a little complainy in it's undertone, and I really do try not to be complainy too much right in a row, but I just feel like I have to get this out.

    Being Destruct-o-girl's mother is flat out exhausting.  She is just so...............busy.  I cannot take my eyes off of her for a second.  Just to give you a little taste I thought I would give you a run through of yesterday.  

    Yesterday I worked at the student center at our church all morning and while there she:
1. Went outside to the parking lot 3 times.
2. Tried to eat the metal circles that are the score keepers on the air hockey table.
3. Fell out of the chair she was standing in and busted it all down the wall to the floor.
4. Put a bottle of 409 cleaner in her mouth and was one nanosecond from pulling the trigger when I screamed
    and pounced on her.
5. Put her hand in a gallon of black paint.
6. Ate more garbage food.
7. Climbed up a case of bottled water and stood on the deep freezer to reach markers that I had put on top of
    the fridge.
8. Climbed onto and sat on the shelf of a rolling tv stand.
9. Ran through the kitchen with a butcher knife.

    After being out doing student center work for most of the day, when we got home my girl took a nap.  Then when she woke up she managed to do the following things before bedtime:
1. Climbed onto the very top/back of the piano to get the vase full of shells from our beach vacation.
2. Turned on the water and got in the shower with all of her clothes on.
3. Climbed up the barstool to sit on the island to get to the iPad.
4. Stood on the handle for the broiler and pulled open the (not on) oven, cracking herself in the head with the 
    handle.
5. Ate cheetos for dinner.
6. Stood on a barstool and turned on the cd player on the top shelf of my baking rack.
7. Ripped off her diaper and told me she had to pee-pee.  When I walked in I expected to find her sitting on her
    princess potty.  Instead, I found her standing in front of it like a boy, peeing on the floor.  Apparenty growing 
    up in a house with a daddy and two brothers and no privacy or boundaries has confused her.
8. Opened the back door and let herself out to the back yard twice.

    I know that many of y'all are thinking "wow, she must be the most negligent mother in the world!".  I promise you I am not.  She is just so fast, and sneaky, and smart, and nothing and entertains her for any length of time.  Apparently she has ADD already.  Plus I have two other kids and a home that occasionally require my attention.  I will leave her in her room playing with her toys and and think "ok, I'll go swap over the laundry" and when I get back she will be in the toilet in her brothers' room dipping their toothbrushes.  She has figured out how to climb up our barstools and since they are light she can push them anywhere.  To get anything.  Nothing is off limits anymore.  And there are more people in this house than just Destruct-o-girl and me so people don't always remember to leave all the safety measures in check.  My boys don't always remember to keep the back door locked when they are going in and out, and inevitably someone always leaves a bathroom or bedroom door opened that should be shut tight.  I know people think I am exaggerating her exhaustingness until they hang with her, and now that my mother really has this summer, she believes that I need Destruct-o-girl on some type of leash with a teather in every room.  It's a pretty good idea actually.  I'm looking into it.  

    Anyway, the moral of today's story is, if you come to my house and it is a complete hot mess disaster, I have had no shower in 3 days, and I have bags under my eyes - it's because I am tired and I have not taken my eyes off of my daughter in at least 10 months.  It's the only way to keep her alive.  It's also because I spend a lot of time worrying about the fact that if she is this difficult at 22 months old, what in the world will she be like when she is 17?  I shudder to think of it...............................
 
Today Destruct-o-girl:
    1. wrote all over herself, the wall, and a chair with a dry erase marker
    2. soaked herself in a mop bucket filled with water that poured from an old hot water heater in a utility room
    3. dug through the garbage and helped herself to the air conditioner repair man's leftover lunch and drink from yesterday
    4. ripped off her diaper, turned on the water in my tub, and put herself in the bath before I ever realized she was missing
    5. fell and hit her head on the floor so hard that I have checked on her aliveness 3 times already since she went to bed
    6. begged me to paint her toe nails blue
    7. was awful but so stinkin' cute I couldn't stay mad

Today Turnanator:
    1. admitted that he was the culprit who hid the remote that has been missing since last week.  Apparently he didn't want his brother to change the channel while he was getting a snack so he hid it in the bottom drawer of the island where I keep all my cake decorating stuff.  Then he accidentally forgot about it.  For a week. 

Today Super-G:
    1. was diagnosed with chicken pox even though he had the vaccine as a baby.  Of course this was only after we naively took it to school and piano lessons and exposed everyone we know to it.

Today I:
    1. had a slight mental breakdown about the markers, garbage lunch, and dirty mop water
    2. grew a weird, pusstulated, ulcerated, boil type nastiness on my lip that hurts with some intensity
    3. ate a poptart for breakfast, cheetos for lunch, and nilla wafers for a mid afternoon snack
    4. had no energy (see above)
    5. had a slight meltdown over the fact that we've exposed my pregnant bestie to vericilla zoster virus
    6. had a medium sized meltdown over homework tonight
    7. found the missing remote in the drawer where I store all my cake decorating stuff. Of course.
    8. was totally grouchy with my husband when he got home because he obviously does not understand what I go through as a mother to these children.
    9. apologized for being grouchy because at the end of the day I'm just really glad to have the life I've got and the remote back

Love ya' like a day with no weird diseases or garbage lunch,
Cassie
 
    I know I have talked about my house on here before, but I can't exactly remember what I said and I'm too lazy to go back and read through all my old entries so sorry.  You'll just have to hear some stuff again I'm afraid.  I really love our house.  It's not fancy or new with high ceilings and an open floor plan, and it's not huge by any stretch, but I really do love it.  There is something about the cozy rooms and the low ceilings and overstuffed furniture and the toys all over the place and the dirty dishes in the sink that make it just feel so homey (the more I looked at that word the more I realized I have no idea how to spell it correctly).  And the yard is really great for kids.  Probably would be great for a dog too if I was the kind of person who did animals.  However I'm not.  I do not need one more thing around here that eats, poops, and needs attention.  But I digress.   

    The thing is, my cute little house has needed a ton of cosmetic work.  A ton.  We're talking wallpaper covered in blue and pink flowers with Eiffel towers embossed in it.  Um...no.  And there was hunter green wallpaper with mallard ducks flying around, and textured vinyl wallpaper with grapes, and bright red wallpaper with humongeous gold and green toile on it.  Are you sensing a theme here?  Yeah there have been lots and lots of hours of wallpaper removal.  But besides the wallpaper, hands down the worst room was the kitchen.  There were oak cabinets with a very heavy grain and not a pretty color, and the textured grape wallpaper was everywhere (with two layers of wallpaper underneath).  The countertops were off white laminate that was yellowing badly.  All the hardware was burnished gold and the two huge flourescent lights were horrible.  The stovetop was in the center of the island right on the edge where the chairs pulled up to the counter, so my kids were supposed to sit with their faces 12 inches from boiling pots of dinner.  Uncool.  There was one tiny wall oven, and all the doors and woodwork were stained, not painted.  The ceilings, like the rest of the house, were popcorn (gag).  And, as much as I love brick, my kitchen floors were smooth 6 inch brick squares that were dark red and faded to a purple color on the sides.  Very expensive '70's stuff we are talking about here, but I really did hate it.  Also, there was a doorway with two little skinny double doors from the kitchen to the adjacent dining room that we never, ever used.

    All that being said, I am rarely content when it comes to my home.  I think it's because I don't work outside of it, so I'm here all the time and I obsess about what it looks like.  Plus I watch too much HGTV and really like to piddle with decorating.  But it was all I could do to not rip out the whole kitchen on the second day we lived here.  The thing is, through a bad series of circumstances including a new job, a lease-to-purchase agreement that fell through, and a near divorce (someone else - not us) we ended up owning our new house and our old house at the same time for six months.   Now I seriously hope you are the kind of family that has the dough to own houses all over the place, your house where you live full time, your little cabanna on your private island, your ski lodge in Colorado........but we so are not.  We're just a couple of kids that got married young and started having babies early.  Daddy works a day job and Mama holds down the fort and cooks dinner, and two houses for six months was a tough little stretch for us.  So a total remodel was out of the question. 

    You know it funny, though.  What I thought was such an awful thing at the time turned out to be one of the best learning experiences and confidence boosters we could have ever had.  We did a lot of bargain shopping and learned how to do a lot - and I do mean a lot - of stuff ourselves, and today after three years and a lot of different "phases" of work, we have a kitchen that I love.  So even though I do not have a lot of "before" pictures because I had not even heard of blogging at that point much less thought I would have one, I wanted to share with you a little bit of where we started and where we are now.

    
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Take a look at the grape wallpaper, the gold switch plate covers, the yellowing countertops, and the very oak-y cabinets. Not to mention those awesome cabinet pulls.
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This was the before sink, complete with dirty dishes for your viewing pleasure, and the window above it with it's stained trim. You can see just a tiny bit of the original floor in the bottom left corner. (we did re-use this sink. It's outside in our outdoor kitchen)
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And this is Aaron jackhammering the kitchen floor. It was mortared directly to the slab, and no matter how hard we beat the brick squares with a hammer, they wouldn't even crack. So he had to bust it up with an air hammer then we had to shovel it up in to a wheelbarrow and take it out. That was a completely terrible awful mess. It took weeks and a hysterically crying phone call to my mother to clean all the dust out of my house after that.
    When we finished the demo of the floor, we laid tile, and I stained all the cabinets a dark, almost black color.We put up beadboard backsplash and installed granite tile countertops.  I painted the island a distressed turquoise with red underneath and we got a new stove/oven range that you can see in the photo above.  We painted all the doors and trim white and got all new hardware.  We lucked out on a free white cast iron/porceline sink and added a new faucet.  We took down all the awful grape wallpaper, but the two layers underneath had been primed and were not quite so cooperative.  No matter what paint I put over it, the flowers showed through, so I did the only thing I could think of on my budget then.  I glued up big chunks of brown paper that I got on rolls from the dollar tree.  Then when it was all dry I painted over it for a textured look.  We did a ton of work with not a whole lot of money but days and weeks and months of time.  It was not so fun to live here during that mess for sure, but we were happy with the change.

    Then, earlier this spring, we again had a burning desire to redo stuff in our kitchen.  (Plus my Daddy built me a beautiful farm-house table for Chrismas and it didn't look right in our current dining room.)  The kitchen is just small and we are the kind of people to have informal company over quite a bit.  Plus, the wall covering fix was getting uglier every time we looked at it, and the beadboard backsplash never did look quite right.  I love beadboard normally, but I think because my installers were new at it at the time (Aaron and Johnny) the seams never really quite met up correctly and it always looked like a homemade fix.  So we, with the help of two professionals this time, tore out all the sheetrock in the kitchen and got all new (paid someone to do that. we aren't sheetrockers yet) and tore down the wall between the kitchen and dining room (also paid someone.  it was a load bearing wall and I wasn't too keen on the house falling down).  We painted all the walls the same, ripped out all the old and put up new, much larger trim all around, and scraped and painted the popcorn ceilings.  Now it looks more like a knock-down texture.  The dining room had hardwood flooring in it that was pretty but it popped and cracked and wasn't something I loved.  So we ripped it out and tiled with the same tile from the kitchen since it was essentially all one big room now.  But us and our floors - the wood was held down with what was basically an awful black asphalt with glue in it that was thick and nearly impossible to remove.  We tried elbow grease, solvents (p.s. deadly - like I couldn't move my extremities or feel my hands after two minutes of exposure to the fumes), mini blowtorches and scrapers, and finally had some success with a rented power scraper that Aaron ran the better part of a day. Then to finish the kitchen off, we took down the beadboard and put up marble subway tile and a marble and glass mix.

    So now I can say that we really and truely love our kitchen.  It makes us happy just to walk in there everyday.  It's funny too because honestly I know a lot of people who have much nicer kitchens than mine, not to mention all the beautiful things I see on tv and in magazines, but there is something about having done it all ourselves that gives such a sense of pride and accomplishment.  

    
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Aaron scraping the ceiling. Between the mess of that and the sheetrock (notice the soffits over the cabinets with nothing on them) there was another crying phone call to my mother for help.
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These are my black countertops on my island. The white is the dusty mess. I had stuff laying there so those black spots didn't get covered in the dusty mess. It was disgusting and everywhere. See the spot where the outlet cover was?
    And here are some finished pictures of the whole thing.  I was taking these in the middle of the night with a brand new camera lense so the lighting is a little wonky on some of these.  Forgive me.  I'm a girl who is technologically challenged.
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The new dark-brown dirt-hiding floors
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My marble and glass backsplash.
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The new sink and faucet and the white window. My mother-in-law has way better sewing skills than I do so I drew these curtains out and she made them for me. This is a pillowcase from Freds (2 for $5) and 1/4 yard from Hobby Lobby of striped material and some trim.
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Weird lighting in this pic so it's hard to tell the taupe/gray color, but this is the view when you walk in the back door. It's obvious where the beam was put up when we knocked down the wall between the kitchen and dining room. Love all the space of it open! I also love my mix-matched dining chairs and damask drum shade that you can't really see. I'm weird and mixed up like that.
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This is the view from the exact same spot just turned to the right to see the kitchen stuff.
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This is looking from the dining room into the kitchen. Why do I carry such a gigantic purse?! That thing looks huge hanging on the laundry room door!
    Thanks for letting my take a second to show off all of our hard work.  It is really fun to feel that accomplished.  In my next life I am going to have a lot more money and the economy is going to be great and I am going to flip houses for a living because I really do love this kind of stuff.  In my next life.  In this life I am going to focus on keeping Destruct-o-girl out of the pantry and bathing regularly.  You gotta have goals, ya' know?

Love like my miter saw,
Cassie
 
    So.........sorry again about it being so long since I've written. again.  but I have a really, for reals reason this time that is not just laziness.  Apparently lightening struck our home phone the other day (I know.  We still have a home phone.  Craziness, huh?  What is this?  1999?) and the poor modem got fried.  Kaputs.  Deadski.  So today (finally!!) the new one arrived and husband swooped in to save the day and set it up.  Because I do.not do electronics of any capacity besides the microwave.  It's a code I live by.  Keeps me from ever being too marketable in the career world.  It's been a long time since I've had to live without internet for an extended period, and I am obviously not in touch with how much I love the world wide web.  Dear online shopping, I've missed you.

    But the real point of what I was wanting to tell you is that yesterday we had someone take a few pics of my boys and they turned out so cute.  Look how sweet they were.  Yesterday
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     And then this morning I decided to take a few more and.......................wait a minute. 
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       What in the world?!  What is going on here?!  When did both of my boys get old enough to go to school?  Big school!  The kind where they go all day, and have homework, and learn about math and science and girls and funny songs about flushing your teacher down the potty, and meet girlfriends that they will want to kiss while their parents sit at home nervous, and make friends that they will go riding around with in cars at all hours of the night making their mothers want to faint with worry.  The kind where they learn to be independant and big and use a computer better than their mother.  The kind where they go to grow up until the day they move away.............................................................................I'm sorry.  Apparently I just dropped with a coronary infarction for a second there.  I'm back.  

    And I'm not sure if I have made this apparent yet, but I am sooooo that mama.  The one that cries about everything.  Seriously, snot running down my face inside of the school building, someone get that woman a sedative crying.  I cannot deal.  I will have to watch my children's high school graduation on video for fear of ruining the ceremonies with my wailing.  My own mother cried/cries about everything and I used to hate it so much because I didn't know how to deal with it, and now, I am Candy.  (love you mama!)  And my poor, poor Super G is me made over so he doesn't know how to deal with me crying except to cry too.  I have to work really hard to hold it together around him so he doesn't have to sympathy cry with me.  Turnanator on the other hand, my big strong, smart, awesome kindergartener, just looks at me like "what is your problem crazy lady?!".  He is so his father's child.  

    So all that being said, I hated today.  I hated getting up early and I hated dropping my boys off for the whole day and I hated that Destruct-o-girl missed them the whole time.  But like anything else, give me a week and I'll adjust.  I'll be pumped about all that time that I can spend cruising the aisles of Lowes dreaming up new projects with only one kid in tow.  I'll be pumped about the awesome nap I can get while destruction lies to recharge it's batteries.  And I will for sure be pumped about not having to share the big tv with anyone fighting over Super Mario Brothers.  It's the little things I guess.  

    I just need to put this out there before I can go tonight - I know that the pick up carpool line at our school is weird and crazy and reflicted, but if you were one of the nummyheads that skipped to the front of that line today and you think that behavior is going to continue....................You got another thing coming.  Us carpool moms are crazy.  Psycho, crying, harmonal, tired, hungry nutbags just waiting on a poor soul like you to cut in front of us and bear our wrath.  So if you did that today - be scared.  We are after you.  (OK, I may not take you down but I will totally get mad and think bad thoughts about you.  I might even tell on you to a teacher.  How you like that you dirty skipper?!)

    I know this is go time for most schools in the area so I want to wish everyone good luck and hope all of ya'lls experiences go really well.  And I hope you don't get snot on your shirt.  Because nobody thinks that cute.  Even kind-of.  I wouldn't know that from personal experience or anything, though.