Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Barrett!!

Beep, beep! 

Choo, choo!!

Barrett just turned TWO!

 We celebrated with a party themed around two of Barrett's favorite things -- trucks and trains!
Side note: My talented friend, Lauren, created all of the design printables, and she can make some for you too!!  In addition to designing invitations and announcements, her party pack includes also door signs, 2" cupcake toppers, 8" cake toppers, favor tags, water bottle wrappers, and more.  Check out her etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/laurenloulolly

In a moment of delusion, I decided I wanted to try to make Barrett's cake.  A truck seemed too hard, so I decided to try a train.
This was a risky move, considering I've never made a cake like this before and I made it the morning of the party.  I ordered 30 cupcakes as emergency back-up....
But the cake was a hit! 
I think the kids likes that it had cake AND icing AND candy.  Remember that: you can almost always impress kids by adding more sugar.  I'm sure their parents appreciated that when the sugar-high set in....sorry about that.

Three train cars, complete with a red caboose carrying pumpkins

Birthday banner and presents from sweet friends and family
The birthday boy was in constant action between the jumpy house, bubble station, and friends

Now time for his favorite part!!!  Singing the Birthday Song~~

Happy Birthday, Barrett!!  We love you so much!

Before and After: Master Bathroom Remodel

Remember when I mentioned that we were remodeling our master bathroom?
Walls in the middle of the room, making it feel claustrophobic; ugly blue shower; closed in tub; toilet inexplicably placed in the middle of the room
Well, we finished! 
Goodbye, ugly blue shower!

Actually, we finished about a month ago, but I'm just now getting around to the blog post.  I know you were probably on the edge of your seat.

Here's some before pictures:
Please notice the lovely shell-shaped sinks

Lots of choppy walls

This is how it turned out:

Vanity: slab granite with rectangle sinks and new lighting/faucets/hardware.  We painted the existing cabinets and replaced the carpet (yes, carpet in a bathroom...) with travertine

Jacuzzi tub with granite tub deck/backsplash and curved marble mosaic tub surround

Travertine shower with two heads, marble accent tiles at eye level and granite seat, shelves, and threshold
 We did not add any square feet to the bathroom, but knocked down existing walls and moved plumbing so the bathroom had a more open layout. 

Even though the space is still a little tight, it is so much better!!  I love the tub and shower; they are such a huge improvement on the original bathroom and I really appreciate them.  I can't decide which I like more, they both make me feel so happy and relaxed.  Love.  It. 

Our smartest move: adding a ceiling fan.  Not a costly addition to the budget and makes a HUGE difference to diffuse heat and humidity after a steamy shower.  No one likes to be "dewy" when you're trying to straighten your hair, put on make-up, and get dressed.  Or at least that's what Kristopher tells me.  (kidding).
See the fan over the vanity area?
Our not-so-smart move: Heavy sigh.  As I mentioned, space (and budget) were tight, and we were trying to maximize every inch and dollar.  We planned to re-use the same cabinet over to the toilet when we built the separate water closet.  Although the dimensions of the water closet were wide enough to accommodate the cabinet once it was inside the doorway, it wasn't wide enough to fit it through the doorway sideways and turn it to hang on the wall.  Whoops.  Long story short, we had to buy a new cabinet.  Not the end of the world, but definitely an "aw shucks" moment.

My favorite individual features:
1.  Waterfall tub faucet, with handles placed on the side near your head so you don't have to lean forward to turn the water on and off when you are soaking

2.  Rubbed bronze square shower drain.  This was all Kristopher's idea.  Really adds a little something extra, don't you think??

3.  Chandelier over the tub, on a dimmer switch.  Everyone knows how much I love a bargain, and I got this for a STEAL because it was a display that needed some TLC.  Now, it is all shined up and I love it.  Adds ambiance.

Attempt at Family Beach Portraits

We tried over and over to get a good family picture, but it is nearly impossible between the blinding sun and our squirmy babies, who are understandably preoccupied with the sand and seagulls. 

These are the few pics where we don't have our eyes closed, although we don't have a single one where everyone is simultaneouly looking at the camera. 

 I really don't mind that we don't have a "perfect" picture, because these brief glimpses remind me of the spontaneous fun...
and sweet baby faces...


By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea

We went to Turquoise Place in Gulf Shores with my family and had a BLAST!  If you haven't been, you should definitely go.  The beaches are pristine, the rooms are gorgeous, plus they have a playground AND lazy river, for goodness sake!  Perfect for busy kiddos, who have a love/hate relationship with sand. It was a wonderful~

Pretty little Buttercup in her eyelet bathing suit

Barrett, checking his morning email with Grandpa. 

Matching bathing suits

Charlotte wore her ittsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini.  I don't have a matching one.  Obviously.
On the playground
I love this picture.  It was spur of the moment, and they didn't even know I took it.  I think that's why it is one of my favorites.

It was so great to have a block of time to relax together as a family.  The kids loved having Kristopher around for almost a week ~ we all feel refreshed!

School Days, School Days, Dear Old Golden Rule Days

**In attempt to catch up on our happenings, I'm starting from the farthest and working up to present.  Excuse the time warp.**

Barrett started school this fall...  Agh!  Growing up too fast!!!

 He attends a mothers day out preschool program two mornings a week.  Although the beginning was a little traumatic for all parties involved, he loves it now.  The first day, he cried so hard when Charlotte and I droppped him off, that I had to drive around the corner from the school and cry in the drugstore parking lot until I could compose myself~~  sheesh!
Visiting his classroom before school started
Now, I think it is his favorite part of the week, which I try not to take too personally.  He has a really sweet teacher (who happens to have three redheaded children of her own, and loves my little redhead!), he made friends with his 7 classmates, and gets to have music time, craft time, and playground time.  So fun, right?

Plus, it is nice to have bonding time with Charlotte when Barrett is in school.  We've never had that before, and I think she really likes her special lady time.

My favorite part is when I'm in the carpool line to pick him up and I get to see him playing on the playground and interacting with the other kids before he notices I'm there.  It is so heartwarming to see him acting as his own little person, doing his own thing, with his own little friends.  But....I not-so-secretly relish the fact that he yells "MAMA" as soon as he sees my car, and runs towards me smiling.

I love that he loves school so much, and I love that he loves coming home even more :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Okay, okay, I know....this is probably the longest blog hiatus I've ever taken.  Ever.  Many apologies to both of my readers.  There's really no reasoning behind it, aside from being so busy with real life stuff that I've fallen behind on blog stuff.  So, I've got a whole slew of new posts coming up.  Here's what's on the docket:
1.  Barrett's 2nd birthday!!!
2.  Our beach trip
3.  General updates on both kids
4.  Sewing stuff (I made draperies, can you believe?  Plus monogrammed and appliqued shirts/burp cloths for the 22 children that attended BCK's bday bash.  I've been sewing like a mad woman.)
5.  Before-and-after master bathroom remodel
6.  A series of posts showing before-and-after pics of every room in the house that we've remodeled, if I can get around to that and find enough "before" shots