Saturday, August 22, 2009

I've been missing for a few days...preparing my NEW BLOG!!


Times are changing...this blog will be officially CLOSED! So don't forget to subscribe to the NEW BLOG to get updates!! And leave a comment so I know you've found me!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

10 on Tuesday

1. I'm glad to be thinking about something other than the playroom. In case you missed it...scroll down or click HERE to see the finished results. THANKS for all the wonderful comments...I'm blushing...seriously. I totally love the space but it is nice to hear it from other people as well (I passed on all the praise to my hubby...gotta keep the positive comments coming so he is inspired to move on to the next project). I guess I need to talk more about decorating on the blog...that seems to be a favorite. And here I thought you were coming here to see pictures of me without any make-up?

2. Chunky thighs in Chucks make me happy.

3. Today in the car J said "Why didn't God make everyone the same?" I replied, "The world would be a boring place if everyone was the same" (I can think on my toes like the best of them, huh?) I was gearing up for a serious talk about diversity, equality, tolerance. Then she piped up, "Well, I wish God would have at least made us all smell the same". Yeah. Me too Jules. Tolerance is out the window on that one.

4. Guess what stinker bottom likes the playroom?

You are totally busted, dude.

5. We've got 2 days of school under our belt. So far so good. A's first comment in the door yesterday was "boy those Kindergartners sure are small!" Oh the wise words of a first grader.

6. It has been raining/dreary here forever. I'm thinking I am going to need one of those lights on a hat attached to my head soon. I need the sun. Sun, where are you? I can feel summer slipping away...

7. I have been having a serious urge to sew. I caught myself staring longingly at my fabric stash dreaming up apron dresses for the girls. I *could* unpack everything and carry it up to the dining room and work. Or just let the urge pass in a few days...

8. Two wet headed girlies just came down the stairs smelling of Baby Magic (I still use this on my 4 and 6 year old because it is HEAVEN IN A BOTTLE). Excuse me while I go give them a giant sniff and snuggle...

9. I was at a friend's house last night to pick up the cd of the photo session she so lovingly did for us. Her old house is so yummy and gorgeous that it re-kindled every notion in my body that I was BORN to live in an old house. I'm trying to be *over* the house we lost...I'm really trying. Why is it so hard? (By the way Sara...I can't WAIT to go through the cd...promise to share some soon!)

10. Little man loves his blankie.

I love watching him snuggle it. It used to be mine when I was a baby,

He carries it everywhere. Maybe I should start calling him "Linus". He walks around with it trailing between his legs. I was thinking of getting him a smaller version...but I think it is too late. The love affair is already too strong.

He carries it around so much he becomes wrapped up like a cocoon. Then he falls on the floor. But since he has his blankie he doesn't cry...he just rolls over...pounces is...and gives it a hug. Have I mentioned how much I love this little guy?

Happy Tuesday to you!

Monday, August 17, 2009

"the club" {the reveal}

We finished it up late yesterday afternoon and by last night the girls had sufficiently trashed it :) Aww...the joys of having their own space!

This project was an unbelievable amount of work...but so worth it in the end. The space turned out so magical. I find myself wandering through the house only to make my way upstairs to stand and soak up all the girly details.

We had this space framed out by an architectural engineer. The job required cutting out 8 roofing beams and we were more than a little worried about trying to cut them out ourselves. We figured that if we hired someone else to do would be on their hands if our roof came collapsing in. Fortunately, it didn't :) I owe a HUGE shout out to my Dad. My parents came for the weekend last month and my Dad helped Paul finish the framing, drywall the entire space, run electricity and install the bead board on the ceiling (I decided the room required that the night before they showed up...surprise, surprise).

Paul worked feverishly every night and throughout the weekends to mud, tape, paint trim, install trim, caulk, lay the flooring, paint, etc. I did my best to keep our brood out of his way. And I helped out where I could (I did lots of trim painting and touch-up work during nap times).

Once we started dreaming up this space I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like. The doorway leading to the room connects to A's room so it had to coordinate with her space. I HEART the pink and green color scheme so I knew I wanted to head in that direction. I wanted it to be entirely girly and sweet.

And I thought very hard about how they would utilize the room. They LOVE to play babies. I know I've mentioned that a few times like here and here. So there needed to be space for them to spread out and do their thing. I also wanted ALL of the girly toys contained within this room so that I didn't have to worry so much about Sam getting a hold of smallish toys. That meant we needed storage for baby dolls, Groovy Girls, the princess castle, the dollhouse, My Little Pony collection, Littlest Pet shop collection, and Polly Pockets. Let's just say the owners of Mattel own a fair amount of our earnings.

The square cubbies by the windows and the pink fabric bins will work perfectly to contain some of the clutter. We got the cubbies on sale at Target for $39 each. The bins were on sale as well...2 for $10. For the time being I have placed their old toy caddy in the cubby to the right of the entrance. Notice how it is can't stay looks cute but I HATE that cubby system. It looked so cute and convenient when I bought it several years ago...but having all those tiny toys in open bins is a disaster waiting to happen. So I am on the prowl for another bookcase that will fit back into the spot. Something that will hold baskets and suitcases that CLOSE!

To the right of the entrance is another cubby that leads to attic storage. We have to have access to that hatch so I can't cover it with storage. Today I painted 2 long peg racks to hang on the wall for displaying J's dress up clothes. I have a collection of sweet vintage hangers that I can use to hang them all up (I'll share that little project in a few days when it is complete too!)

I absolutely ADORE the polka dots in the rug and chairs from Pottery Barn. They were my big splurge :) I wavered on getting the white polka dotted curtains as they were a bit pricey for sheers and I was worried that the cute dots wouldn't really show up well.

But they really do look adorable! I couldn't purchase the right size...they came in 64" and 84" and I needed 74". My Mom came to the rescue with a GREAT tip about hemming curtains...THANK YOU MOM! I cut off the top header leaving 1/4" of selvage. Then I cut out the unnecessary 12" in the body of the curtain. Once the excess fabric was removed I serged back on the header on the original seam...PERFECTO! And I didn't have to mess around with the nice professional hem at the bottom!

You can see that the entrance back into A's room is not that tall. I don't have to duck to get through the doorway but it's close! I still need to find shades for the little wall sconces. I had Paul wire those up when he installed the drywall so I had to put something up. Then I went shopping for cute wall sconces....yeah. Not so successful. So I purchased some ugly brass sconces from Home Depot ($6.88 each...score!) and spray painted them white. Now I need to find some small white shades to clip on the light bulbs.

The girls and I picked out these cute wall decals at Target. They were so excited to put them all on the walls...they talked about it for weeks. But once we got started they lost interest quickly. I think they thought I was going to let them put them ANYWHERE they wanted...uhmmm. Probably not. Especially since they wanted to stack ALL the animals on top of each other like a pyramid. These decals are SO CUTE but I must issue a bit of caution. They took FOREVER to peel off of the backing. Then once we got them up I was not satisfied with the "extra vinyl" on the animals, flowers, and mushrooms. The vinyl wasn't trimmed closely to the picture so they looked kind of cheap on the wall. So I spent the next afternoon peeling them back off and trimming them closer. Worth the effort. But be warned :)

Some of my favorite little details:
A cute little gingham suitcase from Home Goods that stores all the princesses. And my favorite tin tea set. The girls play with this regularly and it is broken and missing pieces. If I EVER see another one, I'd love to get them a replacement!

A tackle box I purchased on my last trip to Good JuJu and painted pink :)

It stores Polly, her friends, and her ever expanding wardrobe (good golly she likes to shop!)

Some sweet little fabric covered boxes that contain the Littlest Pet Shop Explosion (I mean collection). I stole these out of A's room because they fit so perfectly in the cubbies. I'd love to find more!

A home for the baby dolls. I took this out of J's room because it was a perfect match. Now she has a rather hideous pile of stuffies that require a new home...a project for another day.

A little table and chairs set we have had since A was a baby. I bought this for $10 at a garage sale and have recovered the chairs 3 times already. It was plaid when I bought it...then roosters (It was in my kitchen)...then some funky fabrics in our basement re-do, and now a sweet polka dot from my stash.

A coordinating polka dot bucket for all of the dolly's clothes (these babies have extensive wardrobes).

A little vintage chandelier I bought off of ebay years ago. My Dad re-wired it and we spray painted it white. I love how it hangs from the A frame ceiling :)

Whew...what a long journey (and post). I still have a few little projects I would love to add to the space over the next few weeks...but it is definitely ready to be broken in by 2 sweet little girls!

Next stop...a new sewing studio! The framing starts soon!

Sunny days ahead in FIRST GRADE.

It is pouring buckets here. The rain is going to be relentless I guess. So much for our annual walk down to school to kick off the school year. So much for cute pictures of my school girl in our back yard before the first day (and truth be told...she didn't miss them a bit). A week ago she started begging me to make her a back to school outfit...probably one of the first times she has adamantly asked me to sew for her...and my machines, supplies, and fabric stash are packed up awaiting the arrival of their new studio. Murphy's law huh? Last year I made her an adorable outfit and a matching back pack which she never carried to school. Because the cheapo Target Littlest Pet Shop rendition that was made in China was so much cuter, right? (It tore the 2nd week of school by the way). J jumped in the shot with her sister (Periwinkle was also part of the morning festivities as well).

So pardon my "flashy" photos to commemorate A's first day. We got a tiny break from the rain just as I was unloading the stroller out of the car so I whipped out the camera between sprinkles and tried to snap at least a couple of shots. The inside of the school was so ridiculously dark :( Wish the sun would have cooperated. But here she is with her new back pack (don't worry...I didn't try to make another one this year) heading out the door. My OCD side is really hating that I had to use my giant flash straight at her to accommodate for the light...but I'm trying to look past it ;) She's still cute with that jack-o-lantern grin isn't she?

By her classroom :)

"Are we done yet? This is embarassing!"

My goal for the school year is to have A do some of her violin practicing before school. If you are a Suzuki parent, than you know that it can be so hard to find enough time every day to get in practicing and review. Today A ran through her review pieces while I was feeding Sam breakfast. He got some mood music and we got 20 minutes of her practice time under our belts before the day began. I'm hoping we can keep this up! Between soccer, church night, and lessons...time is at a premium! (By the way. I absolutely ADORE the face A makes while she is playing. She has such focus and determination. She's my little brainiac.)

Happy FIRST GRADE A. We hope your day is SUNNY and BRIGHT despite the rain!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

back to school eve.

Tonight...peering into their recently complete play room...just as the sun was going down.

Tomorrow...she enters The First Grade.

Friday was "meet the teacher"...otherwise known as "bring your school supplies in and be completely overwhelmed by the chaos of hundreds of little bodies flooding the halls". We started off the afternoon by checking the lists of homeroom teachers posted outside the school building.

A is part of a multi-age classroom at her school that combines Kindergarten and 1st grade. They call them "olders" and "youngers"....kind of a Montessori approach.

She has 2 teachers and would normally continue this school year with the same teachers. However, one has moved to a traditional classroom and a new teacher is taking her place. So, A has a brand new teacher to meet!

As soon as she turned the corner to her classroom, she was met by these excited friends...they came running at her full force...about knocked her off her socks. Good thing I had my camera poised and ready to capture their cheesy "where have you been all summer?" grins

She absolutely ADORES this teacher (she had her last year). When A came across the room she picked her up in a giant bear hug and twirled her around the room. It makes me feel so good that she loves her so much (and I think the feeling is pretty mutual!)

This is her new teacher. Like her "I'm not sure I'm ready to sit on your lap yet" look? I'm sure they will be doing hug spins by the end of the week too.

And this is her teacher who has moved to fourth grade. We are sad to see her move out of the classroom...she is such fun (J adores her just as much as A does). But she is just down the hall and will be ready with a hug too whenever A passes by.

One of my goals for this year is to figure out the crazy lighting at the school. I am usually fine with setting my white balance to auto when indoors...but not there! I'm on a mission to figure it out though before the end of the year...that means I need lots of time in the classroom with my camera in tow...oh darn!

I have so many fun posts lined up for this week! I'd love to devote a LONG post to the playroom now that it is COMPLETE! And of course there will be more back to school pics too (it is supposed to rain like crazy here tomorrow...such a downer...we were all set to walk down to the school together and get pictures outside!) Plus I will be revealing my NEW BLOG soon!!

Hope your weekend was great! Stop back soon!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hi, my name is Jenn.

Time to share the real deal.

I'd like to pretend I have hours every morning to get all gussied up for my job as laundry do-er and short order chef. I'd like to pretend that I wear blingin' jeans and carry a designer clutch. I'd like to pretend that I was all that and a cup of tea. But this is the real me. 5:00 in my backyard between pushes on the swing...this is where you'll find me most days. No make-up, pony tail, signature glasses on my head, and wearing cut offs and a tee. I'd like to pretend that I am ultra hip and fashion forward. But I'd just be pretending.

And that's ok. I'm "mom".

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

10 on Tuesday

1. My Mom called this afternoon to inform me that I had forgotten to post my "10 on Tuesday"...whoa there is officially Tuesday until 12:00 am...PLENTY of time for a few fun facts at the Cooper house :) (but thanks for the reminder because...yes...I had actually forgotten).

2. This past weekend my super NIFTY niece and her BFF came to visit me. Ok. So they didn't really come just to visit me. They came to Kansas City to have one last hurray before heading off to college. I was a free place to stay, a few free meals, and some photos to boot. But, I think they came to see me too. At least I'm telling myself that. And we had such a BLAST with them. And in honor of their visit I will be sprinkling this post with photos of them...because posts are WAY more fun with photos, right?

3. "The Club" is nearing completion. My goal is to have it completed before A heads back to school on Monday. Right now Mr. P is slaving away upstairs working on framing the doorway and laying the baseboards. Then we just have to touch up some paint and move in!

4. I tried coloring with Sam for the first time last night. He was OBSESSED with the red crayon. Wouldn't have anything to do with blue. He is such a boy. He would hold the crayon high above his head....grunt loudly...then bang the crayon as hard as possible on the paper with a huge smile. I think he might go into fencing or sword fighting....or maybe be a gladiator.

5. Today I did the following: took all 3 kids to the dentist, went grocery shopping (with all 3 kids), made lunch, refereed TWO play dates, edited a session, loaded 2 galleries, made dinner, practiced violin with both girls, did the bedtime ritual with 3 kids, and ate a bagful of M&Ms. I knew there was a reason I was tired.

6. Did I mention I almost have a 1st grader? It is still sinking in.

7. A overheard me having a conversation with her violin teacher about my stomach condition. Her teacher asked the name of the condition and I was explaining the symptoms and treatment, etc. We were talking about how it is kind of an obscure condition that a lot of people don't know about...but that it can be pretty devastating for people who have it. A piped in "I think we should organize a walk for that." little philanthropist :)

8. My girls have the funniest names for things. Like "spaghetti" is "scabetty"..."asparagus" is "asquareabus"...and "hospital" is "hostibal". I can barely say the words myself after hearing them say them wrong so many times :) I would correct them but it is so cute.

9. If you haven't booked a FALL SESSION calendar if filling up quickly! Not trying to scare anyone...but I've had lots of requests to meet Charlotte and I have to limit her call now to reserve your session with her!

10. I just bought A THESE shoes for school. When she saw them last night she literally grabbed them off the shelf and started kissing them. She never picks out anything really funky so I was completely floored that she wanted them so badly. So of course we had to pick out a few fun outfits to coordinate with the super cool shoes...I can't wait to see them on her :)

HAPPY TUESDAY (or what's left of it!)