Hallelujah It's Raining Men. 

Ok, it's not really so much a hallelujah situation as a "wow this is a really expensive kind of day" situation, but honestly I'm just glad these men are here.  Eight of them in fact.  Four are here to put in a new heat pump on my kids' side of the house because our previous one was original to the house, and very very old - and energy unefficient, and broken forever.  And four are here to finally fix the leak in the pool.  The one that I may or may not have mentioned once or thirty-nine times?  Yeah that one.  Turns out, the pipe that connects to one of the main jets was broken right where it hooks together - under the concrete.  The poor poor concrete.  The poor poor, now busted up with a jackhammer concrete.  Sad.

But all is not sad.  This day is actually happy in a way because I feel like we are finally getting some closure to all of our life's issues and woes, but it is a sad day because tonight we will have to decide which of our children we are going to sell so we can afford all of this.  We are now taking bids.  Only interested parties and serious offers please.
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This would be the entire pool full of water that is blowing out of the currently cut pipe. It feels a twinge painful to think of all that water leaving and having to be replaced. By more water. That we will be charged for. Sigh.
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This is an almost empty pool. It's totally empty now, but I was too embarrassed to keep going out and taking pictures of a hole in the ground in front of the repair guys. I could tell they were beginning to think I was a weirdo. And saying, "I'm going to blog about this" to a guy with a Harley Davidson do-rag on makes it even weirder.
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Dear Concrete, I'm sorry. But it had to happen. It was what's best for all of us in the long run. Cassie
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See all these vehicles? All full of repairmen and equipment. Destruct-o-girl is currently losing it because she needs to help someone desperately. Unfortunately she has not yet completed HVAC certification school so they are frowning upon it.
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Hard at work. And by the way, they are standing there talking to a full grown man standing inside that closet.
    This is in no way a plug for anything, but I have been wanting to tell y'all for a while about what got the whole "new heatpump" thing rolling.  Well actually the old one breaking got it rolling, but once it did - we had an energy audit by TVA and it prompted us to make several changes around here.  Nothing major besides today's work that had to be done anyway, but lots of cool info about how to insulate better and save money on energy costs.  And I need to be honest here - we are not green at all.  I did buy a composter, but two months into that I have no idea what I was thinking.  I'm like that sometimes.  I know you are shocked.  However, even disposable diaper and ziplock bag using earth murderers like us want to save money on their bills, and the cool thing is we got lots of helpful information as to what we could do to save money. Plus we will get a percentage back on all of the improvements we made.   So seriously, nobody paid me to say all this, but if you have an older house it really is a cool thing to check out.  Do it.  Do it right now.  

    Don't forget, there will be children for sale soon.  One is whiney, one is OCD, and one is just plain bad, but they're all extra cute and are good eaters.  So consider it.  I'm looking to get a new car and a vacation out of the deal too.

Shamelessly panhandeling,
Cassie
 
    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
 
    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
 
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Dear Ants,
    I wish you would leave forever and die.  Thanksomuch.

                                                             Loathingly,
                                                             C.  Foster
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    Laundraically speaking, I was a beast today.  A beast I tell you.  I washed, folded, hung up, unpacked and put away a volume of clothing that can only serve to reflect four things:

1) I am totally and completely awful at keeping our clothes clean in any type of wearable manner.  Whenever I see poor husband wearing the shiny black and silver, covered-in-red-hearts boxers that he won as a gag gift at a church valentine party, I know we are in a world a' hurt.  

2)  We have too many clothes.  As in, clothe a small army, Chinese village, starving kids in Ethopia, too many.  And yet I just got off of eBay looking for smocked fall outfits for one tiny ball of adorable destruction.  I have something wrong with me - mentally speaking I'm afraid.  (p.s. - by "we" I mean my children.  I have 4 items of clothing I can fit on my large jiggly body currently and two of those are long stretchy dresses) 

3)  There is something fundamentally wrong with our society  

4)  One day I am going to take my family to Disney with the money I will make selling off my kids clothes (when the day finally comes that I can decide to be for-sure finished bearing children - another post for another day).  Either that or I will repair the ceiling whenever the attic finally caves in.  Whichever comes first. 
 
    My mother fusses at me.  My mother-in-law jokes about it.  My friend Angela makes fun of me.  I don't know exactly why we have so many, because I really don't feel like I spend that much on clothes, but they are here.  For one thing, we have been so, so, so fortunate with hand-me-downs.  We have had a lot of friends be wonderful and let us have or buy cheap a lot of their kids' stuff.  And then I went through a phase of going nuts with end-of-season clearance for the next year.  It's great except for that one year that Super G shot straight up and totally skipped a whole size of blue jeans.  Had five extra cute pairs of bootcut, darkwash ankle pants though.  But when you get down to it and I really investigate what we have, there are some fabulous little Gymboree sweater vests sprinkled among a whole bunch of hand-me-down Arkansas t-shirts, free VBS t-shirts, old t-ball and soccer jerseys, and t-shirts with the sleeves cut off.  How did we get so many t-shirts for pete's sake?

    Anyways, I'm not really trying to discuss the quantity of second and third hand childrens' apparel that stuffs my closets tonight.  I'm really trying to brag on myself for being a beast. 

Laundraically speaking of course......................

Love you like being able to see the floor of my bedroom,
The laundranator

 
1.  My son said two hilarious things and I laughed all day about them.
2.  My daughter acted in a way that I can only describe as demonic.  Twice.
3.  I finally broke my husband and his streak of kindness when it comes to remodeling the house.  I gave in.
     It was not worth the marital strife.
4.  My face imploded, then exploded, then oozed.

    Second things first - I tried to cut Destruct-o-girl's razor sharp fingernails today, and it was nothing short of a miracle that we both made it out alive.  There was so much screaming and writhing and kicking and hitting and screaming and screaming, that I literally took it way, way personal.  Way.  There was no way she was winning.  I ended up pinning her down on my bed and holding her hand out, pinned with my elbow.  The whole ridiculous process took a good 20 minutes.  Insane.  Then she pulled the same stunt when her daddy tried to get her to go to bed tonight.  Head spinning.  Pea soup.  The whole thing.  So just out of curiosity, anyone know any good exorcists?  Otherwise I don't know what I'm going to do.  We don't really have a plan B.  

    Next, I just need to admit it.......I am a bit of a remodel addict.  Just a bit.  Our house is nothing special, but we love it.  It has a great back yard and enough space for our family (even though I can't stop dreaming of the "bonus/play room addition" swirling in my head), but it was built in the 70's.  And when we bought it, it basically looked like 1978 had thrown up in here.  There was a lot of wallpaper and some linoleum and quite a bit of wallpaper.  And did I mention the miles and miles of wallpaper?  Think - giant blue and pink flowers with Eiffel towers embosses in them.  Textured vinyl with grapes.  Niiiiiice.  Anyway, so Aaron and I have become quite the DIY experts in the past 3 years.  We have slowly but surely redone almost every space of this house.  Tomorrow starts the carpet.  A local business is installing it, and they are letting me do it just a room or two at a time for two reasons.  1. I have nowhere to put all the cleared out furniture and stuff all at once and 2. While the rooms are empty I am wanting to scrape and repaint the hideous popcorn ceilings.  I just hate them so much and they are so low in this house I feel like I stare at them all the time.  Gross.  So today, to try and keep Aaron from having to do so much tonight, the boys and I moved all the furniture out of the living room (including a piano) and I began scraping the ceiling.  I get it just over half way done before church, so tonight Aaron and I had to finish scraping and then paint and then remove old carpet before they show up tomorrow to install the new.  And let me just say that it took longer than planned.  And let me just say that my wonderful husband had a small come apart and told me that "he better not come home and find out that I've scraped another ceiling.  Ever.".  And let me just say that for the sake of my marriage and as a thank-you for all that he does do without complaining -   Aaron wins.  He can have that one.  I have decided that it is not worth the trouble or the mess or the discord, and I hearby declare the living room to be the last ceiling I scrape for a long, long time.

    Now on to the oozing face.  My man gets up crazy early for work every morning (think - 4:45) and because of the ceiling situation, he didn't get to bed until after midnight.  (he loves me)  So to hurry him along, I told him I would rip out the old carpet myself.  So you know how some people have that one thing that they are righteously allergic to?  Mine is mice.  Yuck, right?  But so true.  I can tell if a mouse has touched something years after it's been there.  And apparenly mice have been here.  Actually I know they have because we caught several right after moving here since the house sat empty for months over the winter.  So when I pulled the carpet out of the back of the linen/water heater closet, it took about 13 seconds for me to sense the mice and feel my eyes swell, and my face tighten.  The 34 years of dust, mites, and general carpet funk did not help either, and the flood gates of my sinuses were literally blown open.  Snot, sneezing, my eyes swelling nearly inside out.  Nice thoughts huh?  So moral of that story is - I actually showered twice today (record book acomplishment) and old carpet is disgusting.   

    And lastly, back to the first thing.  Today Super G informed me , "I have asthma in both of my ears".  Fabulous.  I'm not quite sure what you do about that but it sounds complicated.  Then later when he and Turnanator were helping me move furniture, I was telling them to be careful.  And he looks at his brother and says "you have to be really careful because this stuff is really old.  It was made in the 90's".  Again - fabulous.  Thanks for the chuckles kid. 

Love you like someone that does not projectile vomit pea soup, 
Cassie

    
 
    Sing it with me now ------  Schooooooooooooooool's.OUT.FOR.SumMer.  Thank you Alice Cooper for giving me that song to think of every time May comes around.  You rock.  And thank you school for being over!!  It's our first official day to sleep in with not a care in the world, and it.is.AWESOME!  I have no responsibilities.  I don't have to worry about fitting in naptime between preschool pickup and kindergarten pick up.  No one has to get dressed or brush their hair or put on shoes.  Ahhhh.  This is my happy place.  This is the time of year I encourage my kids to stay up late because then they will sleep late in the morning.  This is the time of year that no one's clothes ever match and my boys never have on a shirt.  And - judge me all you want - but this is also the time of year that my kids may or may not only get a bath once a week on Saturday night.  (gotta be clean for church)  The swimming pool is clorinated water.  It counts.  Seriously, judge me.  I don't even care.  That's what makes me awesome. (p.s. don't be like me)  
    But this is also the time of year that I get itching to do outside projects.  Usually it starts earlier in spring, but we were still in recovery from the kitchen/dining room remodel then (my garage has yet to recover) so it has taken some time.  Now I'm ready.  I'm bubbling with anticipation.  I go out and sit on my driveway waiting on inspiration for boosting our curb appeal.  My mom is hopefully coming this week and we are going to rip out some bushes and whatnot out front.  And, without Aaron's knowledge at this point, I have a quote in the works for some shutters.  There's no need to stress the budget nazi out before I'm even sure if I want them, but right now my poor windows are just sitting there - staring at me - naked and pitiful.  Asking for my help.  Do any of you have any great ideas for a curb appeal boost that doesn't cost much money?  (again, I am married to the world's sexiest budget nazi)  Any suggestions are welcomed.  And what color goes with gray?  The house is a lighter gray with dark gray trim, and it's begging me for an accent color.  Seriously.  Every time I drive up the driveway I hear the pleas.  "Help me.  Accessorize me.  Decorate me."  So what goes with two toned gray?  Help me out.  Lay it on me.  Because I honestly cannot decide.  
    Thanks in advance for any help.  I've got to run because Destruct-o-girl is napping right now. (because we don't have school any more and I don't have to pick anyone up at 11:45.  woooo hoooo!)  I live for these few short hours.  The only time I can spend not following her, cleaning up after her, getting her off of furniture and tabletops.  So I've got to go.  Sit in my driveway and decide what color goes with gray.

Love you like a week with no baths,
Cassie

p.s. again - you know when you're not sure how to spell a word so you stare at it until it doesn't even look like a word anymore?  Yeah, that's what happened to me and the word "gray".  I'm not sure if it's an "a" or an "e" and now I've looked at it so long that it no longer seems like the english language.  So whatever - you know what I mean.
 
    I almost died today.  Actually, I'm pretty sure for a split second I did die but then came back because I had to take a second look at the horror.  Oh.the.horror.
    First things first and starting at the beginning - I hate frogs.  I think little frog drawings and appliques and childrens' decor are adorable.  But real, live amphibians cause my heart to beat out of my chest to the point past an episode and nearly to an infarction.  I'm pretty sure the fear grew out of an experience at church when I was about four years old.  I was wearing sandals playing under a willow tree with all the other kids after services, and a treefrog jumped on my foot.  (infarction)  It was worsened by all the times my baby brother Austin chased me all over creation holding frogs in his hands.  Jerk.  (jk I love you big baby!)
    Secondly, when we bought our house current house almost three years ago, through a bad series of terrible circumstances, we still owned our house in Madison.  Two mortages, two electic bills, two insurances, two water bills.  Good times.  Anyhow, there was no extra money.  And our new house has a pool.  An awesome, large, weirdly shaped pool with no fancy custom cover.  Do you know how much fancy custom covers cost?  More than we had to spare for sure.  So the point of this is - we ended up with basically the world's most gigantismic tarp on our pool for winter that gets full of water and leaves and algae and funk.  In spring all the water and funk have to be removed so we can remove the tarp. (insert a small gag)  
    This year the funk has been infested with.......tadpoles.  Heinous, awful, disgusting tadpoles.  No less than 100 million of them.  Seriously...100 million.  So when I walked out to the pool today to verify that Aaron was telling me the truth, I saw the millions and I died for a split second.  I don't know how much delving into Exodus you have done, but if my pool cover was Egypt, it would be experiencing the second plague right now.  (prize to the first person who can name all ten plagues in order.  I definitely could not without looking)
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Look at 'em. Swimming around like they own the place. All different levels of froghood development. Right now, as I look at this, my heart rate quickens, my hands become sweaty, and I feel the urge to drop the computer and run.
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A whole canal full of tiny, baby ones. Just think if every one of those were to grow into a frog and live in my back yard. HOUSE FOR SALE - CHEAP MUST GO IMMEDIATELY
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This is not such a clear photo, but believe me when I tell you that each one of those globby things is a teenage tadpole - just waiting to hop out of there and touch me and watch me drop cold.
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Last horrific photo, I promise. Same thing with all the globs. I have to stop now. My hind end is cringed so tight that I'm about to pull something I might need later.
    So I am just gonna go ahead and put this out there.  Removing the gigantismic tarp is at least a two person job.  If I have to be part of the removal this year, then it was nice knowing all of you.  The end.  I'm a goner.

Please talk my brother Austin into coming and doing this for me so I'm not gone forever.  He owes me.

Thanks,
Cassie
 
    So packing for Lads to Leaders is no small feat.  It seems a bit like moving in fact.  You have to take all manner of clothes, food, toys, easter goods, books, tape, camera equipment, puppets, backdrops, props, strollers, sippy cups, computer, stuffed animals, pack-and-play, blankets.  Do you get the picture?  It's a nightmare.  Basically before we ever leave the house the place is a dump from all the running around and gathering up, and whatnot.  But then when you add the mess of coming home - for.get.it.  Literally when you get home you're so exhausted from the weekend that you take all the aforementioned junk and just dump it in the floor.  To live forever.  (or it least we do that because that's just the kind of people we are)  
    So to give you just a little tast of what it is like around here, I am going to give you a tiny peek into my bedroom.  Please don't judge me for the akward furniture arrangement and mismatched dressers.  They were a phase I was going through and am now over.  thank you.  amen.
    If you are the person that can't turn your eyes from the trainwreck then continue with caution.  If you have a weak stomach at the sight of mayhem and destruction then turn around now.  NOW I TELL YOU!!!!!!!!!
    
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Dear Aaron, I wish I was a good housekeeper, but I am not. You married the wrong girl. I am so sorry.
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It is so horrible that the camera refused to focus. It just couldn't bear the carnage.
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We are talking bowels of the beast here people. The depths of the netherworld. The hadean relm.
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Why is there an old TV just sitting in the middle of my floor? And what in the name of all things hobby lobby is that urn number with feathers sticking out? When did I decide that was ok?!
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Apparently my room got so full that it vomitted into my bathroom.
    This is about to get a little too personal, so if that makes you uncomfortable then you better head back on over to facebook now, but honestly - it is really hard for a girl to want any um.....romantic thoughts in a place that looks like this.  I mean really...  Plus if it gets much worse around here I am going to see no way out and resort to arson as the only way to get rid of the mess.  So that being said, I'm going in.  If no one hears from me by tonight then send in a search party.  Or the MerriMaids.  Whichever can get here first.

Wish me luck,
Cassie
 
    So this weekend I finally finished up a project that I've been working on for several weeks now a bit at a time.  Since the new dining room renovation (knocking out walls, ripping out floors, scraping popcorn ceilings) I have a whole, long wall that is blank.  Just sitting there.  Staring at me.  Wishing I do something about its sad nakedness.  I want something that will make a statement but will not annoy me in less than a month.  I want people to think whatever is up there is cool, not dumb.  And mostly I want to have yet more photos of my kids up because I gave birth to them and it's my house and I'll slap their cute little faces on every single surface of the place if I want.  I earned that right.  I've got the 3-time C-section scar with fat hanging over it to prove it.  Too much?  Sorry.  Try to get that visual out of your mind before supper tonight.  
    Anyways - I decided on silhouettes.  They are cool. They are old.  They are mod.  And they are of my babies.  So here is a little tutorial of the steps I went through to create my cheapo masterpieces.  (Disclaimer- I did not come up with this idea entirely on my own.  I saw it on a random website and tweaked it to my likin'.  But if you want to give me full creative genius credit, I'll let ya')
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Take a pic of the kids facing sideways against a plain background. Try to get the best angle possible for the most facial detail. Trick destruct-o-girl into sitting still for a whole 3 seconds by getting her brother to play peek-a-boo and wave cookies in the air.
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Print photo out to the size of your choice. I did these at Walmart 1 hour in a 11x14. Just make sure if you are doing more than one, that all the pictures are zoomed or cropped about the same so their actual head sizes will be close to the same. (experience talking)
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With a really sharp little pair of scissors (I totally had to just look up how to spell that word. How sad) cut around the face and head getting as much detail as possible.
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Turn the photo over and paint a thick coat of basic black acrylic paint
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While the paint is drying, run to all the junk stores in town and buy a bunch of cute, junky frames for $8 or less apiece. Then spray paint them to your desired color of awesomeness.
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Cover the cardboard backing, piece of mirror, or whatever came in the frame with the paper or fabric of your choice. I used wrapping paper. With a subtle striped pattern. If you buy an old frame and it has nothing in it to wrap paper around, cut a piece of foam board to size.
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Attach that adorable little head
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Love, love, lurve me some mod podge - glossy!!
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Apply a healthy, swirly layer of the goo over the whole thing and allow to dry for several hours (up to a day).
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Pop them in the frames, love how cute they turned out, and then lean them against the wall for two weeks until you decide exactly where and how you want them to go.
So I think my little weirdo's silhouettes turned out adorable, but in real life those guys are even cuter.  Check out this little rare gem of everyone looking kind-of at me at our church easter egg hunt yesterday.
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I could totally smooch their little faces off.
Hope this makes ya'll think I'm awesome.

Cassie