Wednesday, May 29, 2013

home updates: the living room

Last summer, I suddenly decided I was sick of most of the d├ęcor in my house, so I slowly started purging, taking a large portion of it to our local consignment store since the nearest Goodwill is an hour away. I also spent this winter and spring repainting the majority of the rooms on our first floor. There are definitely a few things left to be done. We plan to replace most of the trim since it's foam core (which I didn't realize until after we moved in), and it's been slowly peeling away from the wall.

I always dreamed of having a library, so as we were looking at houses, this built in book shelf was definitely a selling point for me. While I've gotten better about donating books after I've read them, it still doesn't hold all of our books, but it's a start. I've wanted that map since the election and finally bought it with some of my consignment store proceeds a few months ago. I'm all set for 2016. Craig also has a really elaborate system where we color states we visit on our own one color and have various patterns for states we've both visited but not together, places we've visited as a couple, and places we've visited as a family. In the meantime, I'm just leaving it blank. My sister found that chair at a consignment store in our hometown. At first, I was sure I was going to have it recovered, but after adding those pillows, I think it's kind of granny chic. My dad gave us the chiming clock for Christmas the year after we bought the house, and the pink elephant was my Great Grandma's.

For years, my mom had that print with the globe hanging in her bedroom, and she eventually moved it into her classroom. I always loved it and spent a few days last summer sorting through her storage sheds trying to find it. I bought the big clock at a home goods store, where I used to work nights and weekends, shortly after we moved into the house.

I bought that typewriter at a garage sale the summer we bought the house. I love it, and I'm fairly certain that it's going to be one of those items that travels with us from house to house. I'm pretty sure I also bought that wooden globe at a consignment store in a nearby town around the same time. That desk was my Grandpa Jerry's. At first I was going to repaint it, but I realized it had several names scratched into the top, which I really like. I'm hoping to eventually turn this corner of the room into a little art nook for Liam.

P.S. You might notice that one major living room item is missing from these photos--our couch. That's because I hate it. It's a giant brown reclining sofa that Craig insisted on buying after he got tired of me resting my feet on his lap while I was pregnant. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Sun's Got Into My Veins

"I've got a date with the sky today
The sun's got into my veins."
-Badger Clark

This weekend was for painting and planting and projects, but Liam and I decided to take a couple of breaks from all of that to hit up a few of our tried and true hiking trails. I really love the Badger Hole trail because it's close to town and very baby-friendly. I also like that you can get a little glimpse of history along the way.

Although we've hiked the trail several times, I haven't been inside the cabin for several years. The volunteer who was staffing it that day was especially friendly and knowledgeable. We compared notes on our Canon cameras, his a T4i, mine a T3i; talked a little about my job and he told me he purchased an anniversary gift for his wife at the lodge where Craig works; and we talked a little about Badger Clark.

Badger Clark was South Dakota's Poet Laureate from 1937 until his death in 1957. He built the cabin himself with some assistance moving boulders for the foundation. It never had electricity or running water. In a lot of ways I think he was well ahead of his time, choosing to live a simple lifestyle, writing, reading, and spending time soaking up nature.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

welcome to the mud pie kitchen

Liam and I scored our first big garage sale find on Saturday morning--a three-dollar play kitchen.

I'm always a little worried about moving toys outside. I think it's my hoarder tendencies, like I want Liam to share the joy of this garage sale kitchen with future generations. At the same time, we don't have a dedicated play room in our house and Liam loves to play outside, so I am liking the idea of creating space for him outside. It survived its first major thunderstorm (hence the mud and muck around the oven), but in general, it held up fairly well. 

That mud pie sign was a two-minute project made with a piece of scrap wood and a Sharpie. I'm thinking of hanging it on the fence and adding a chalkboard if possible.

Between the water table from last summer, his new sand box, tractors, and this kitchen, I think we're going to be spending a lot of time outside this summer.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

We All Scream for Ice Cream

On Saturday morning, Liam woke up asking to "Go see, Dramma Taren," so I offered the next best thing I could think of. We decided to take advantage the last bit of sunshine before the rain set in for the rest of the weekend, put on Liam's ice cream shirt (because we're into themed outfits these days), and drove to a little drive-in off the highway to a nearby town. Let's be honest, that banana split was good, but not nearly as good as getting to see Grandma Karen.

Monday, May 20, 2013

date day

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned this on the blog, but Craig recently moved to a different lodge that's managed by the same company that he's been with for the past three years. It's a bigger lodge, which means more responsibilities and more time spent at work. It's been tough on all of us. Last week when Mae told me she'd be taking a few days off to go to her granddaughter's graduation from veterinary school, I was calm and cool on the outside, "Don't worry about us, Mae. You need to be at her graduation"(which I truly believe), but on the inside, I was thinking, "You couldn't have picked a worse time."

Fortunately, thanks to some helpful friends and coworkers, we only had to take a few hours off from work between the two of us. Liam spent Friday morning shopping for a new dinosaur with Craig and going out for "pizza pizza," and that afternoon, we checked out Dinosaur Park.

It's kind of funny to look back at this post from just under a year ago and think about how much Liam has changed since then. He was really excited about visiting the dinosaurs this time around, climbing on tails, saying things like "Dat Buddy? Ride choo choo?" (we had just been discussing how the orange T-Rex he bought with his dad that morning kind of looked like Buddy from Dinosaur Train), and singing, "Baaaby din-saurs" to the tune of "Somebody that I Used to Know" when it came over the speaker system at Office Max later that afternoon. 

P.S. My thoughts go out to all of the mamas and papas in OKC tonight.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

on the farm

The night of Liam's birthday, my dad and mom called to wish him a happy birthday. When we were getting ready to hang up, my dad said, "I'll see you in a few days, buddy." As soon as we hung up, Liam started asking for his tractor jacket (a John Deere jacket my dad got him for Christmas), which we had to wash because it's one of his favorites and he wears it all the time.

When my dad offered to take Liam along to ride in his tractor the morning of Liam's birthday party, I had to let him ride along. Liam loves tractors, and he's been even more obsessed in the past week, saying things like "My John Deere!" and "Nothing runs like a Deere." As one of my coworkers said, I might just raise a farm boy yet.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

the Saturday before Mother's Day

On the Saturday before Mother's Day, we laid in the hammock and soaked up some sunshine and rode John Deere tractors and played in the sand (I think it's safe to say that 200 lbs. of sand was somewhat excessive for the Little Tikes sand box, but at least we've got extra to replace the 10 lbs. that have already been scattered around the lawn.)

We listened to this song and I thought a little about this post. (Does Ronnie James Dio count as great music? Because Liam's loved Rainbow in the Dark since he was 6 months old. He also loves Otis Redding. Maybe they cancel each other out.) I watched a few of these inspiring videos, and read a few more chapters in this book. My favorite quote so far is, "I get stumped by the easy test questions--like whether I should let Sam ride his two-wheeler for several blocks without me when I secretly want to run alongside him like a golden retriever."

Cathedral Spires

Then I combatted a nap strike with a drive in the park followed by movie night with popcorn and herbs.

air popped popcorn, basil, garlic butter, and parmesan

Saturday, May 11, 2013

a party for the king of all wild things

Last  weekend, Liam and I ventured back to my hometown for a little party to celebrate Liam's second birthday. I tried to keep the party pretty simple, using an old paperback copy of Where the Wild Things Are for decorations. I bought the cupcakes, but made homemade "wild"berry ice cream (it was super easy--just cream, sugar, and some fresh berries).

I had every intention of sending out invitations, but instead sent text messages and made phone calls (sorry family!) and ended up handing out copies of this photo at the party. I also made a few gold crowns, which made for some fun photo ops.

Liam came away from the party with a new summer wardrobe, more John Deere tractors than a boy could dream of, and a bouncing pig (which he loves, who knew?), but more than anything he had a blast spending the party with his grandmas, grandpas, and all of his cousins.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Last night your dad had a meeting in the town where you were born, so we went up and met him for pizza to celebrate your birthday. On the way home, I looked at the clock and realized we were passing the gas station where we had stopped almost exactly two years ago on our first trip to the hospital the night before you were born. Then, as the big wet snowflakes started falling, your dad and I started talking about the day that I took you for your two-week check-up, when the rain drops turned to snow flakes as you and I were leaving the clinic, and how worried I was when I thought your dad was going to get stuck at work when his food delivery truck slid into the ditch. 

This morning when I woke up, I wondered if I'll remember those little moments twenty or even ten years from now. Will I remember how we celebrated your birthday by eating pizza and letting you pick out a new engine to add to your train collection, and even though your dad was offering to buy you several, you just wanted one, James, and how you were so excited to get your James engine that you stayed up the whole way home? Will I remember how you and I celebrated your birthday tonight by getting frozen yogurt, and you insisted on getting "choclate with ceral," or how this weekend I caught you reading Good Night, Thomas to your teddy bear before giving him a kiss and putting him in your crib?

Liam, I know a lot of moms say this, but having you in my life has changed me. Having a two-year-old is a challenge for sure, but the spunk you've added to my life is something I always needed.