Personal Blog

Superhero Photo Shoot

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in My Product, Personal Blog, Printables | 1 comment

Superhero Photo Shoot

Last week, in my attempt to side skirt another classic Halloween kit this season, I decided to go at it from a super hero angle – with little capes and masks lining the costume isles, and with a little Captain America of my own it just seemed like a given.

I had SO much fun making this kit – I probably could have kept adding things indefinitely, I ended up having to separate out some of the word art for a pack of its own (oh word art, how I love you!).  So with both the kit and the word art separate, I thought I’d make a full bundle by putting together some super hero photo props too. I totally had fun making these but I didn’t have time to make any samples before the store went live:

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Well this weekend after my work week wrapped up I couldn’t wait to print these puppies out. I then bribed my children with full sized candy bars to model them for me –  although in hindsight they had so much fun with them that I may have been able to get these particular poses for free… I hand NO idea how much fun these props would be until I saw them in action, the boys had a lot of fun playing with them, and then when I transferred the images on to the computer I was beyond thrilled. All those antics that usually make me crazy when I’m trying to photograph boys were like the perfect complement to these props. So. much. fun!!!

Calling all Heroes

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Hehehe! Good times!  I think it is awesome because sometimes I have trouble figuring out what to do with the boys when I want to get them in front of the camera, and photo props totally solved that problem.  I think I’m going to have to put my thinking cap on, because I think there are going to have to be more photo shoots (and prop packs) like this in my future :)

Here is the link too to the bundle in the shoppe with my kit and word art + the props:

Calling all Heroes - Bundle

And now I have a few heroes to go tuck in before I go about my own business of saving the world…

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Home Sweet Home

Posted by on Oct 20, 2013 in Personal Blog | 2 comments

Home Sweet Home

Wow, how time flies when life is happening! We have been very happily settling in around here adjusting to life starting again in the fall and getting used to a new home and a new school and the new routines that come with it!  It is long over due that I post some “where we are now” photos! I’ll be honest and say, a lot of these are from all the way back when we had g’s parents visiting at the end of august, but really we haven’t been able to make many changes since – outside of leaky toilets and lawn mowing and getting our ducks in a row we haven’t done any amazing home transformations… our to-do list is long but we are doing little bits here and there, and we are actually LIVING here in our new house, it is a good place to call home.

 

So, I’ll start with the Living areas – We got an awesome set of hand-me-down couches that actually randomly match the whole early nineties burgundy and forest green wall paper scheme that we’ll probably be sporting for a while:

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I love having lots of seating space!!! Such an awesome set up!

Here is our dining room with our HUGE table that we found on craigslist for practically nothing! Someday I’ll refinish or paint it, and we def. need to step up our chair situation – but once again, such an awesome big space, room for not just family, but friends too!

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This is my kitchen “command center” – having a desk space in the kitchen is AMAZING!!! SO awesome to have a place for bills and papers and homework that isn’t the same space I need to cut onions and mix ingredients in!

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(calendar is on that wall you can’t see, looove it!!! And my little square bulletin tiles are getting lots of use!)

Nextly – our main hall bathroom on the top floor needed some sprucing up – I randomly fell in love with this birdy shower curtain even though I had no idea I wanted birds! (just put a bird on it – right??)

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The shower curtain almost even makes me love those bright sky blue walls, it is so lovely in this bathroom that we don’t have to use of anyone:

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Here is our bedroom – this was exactly the bedding set I had conjured up in my mind, so I was super excited to find it at costco!

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Also upstairs we have our offices – G has his super cool guy office, he has had a lot of fun setting it up over the past month! I really need to do a more in depth post because he actually made his own desk and shelves – it’s a pretty awesome space.

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and we are quite the adorable couple with his and hers offices <3  I have the most incredible studio space next door -  I promise to share more studio pics too because I can’t even begin to capture it in just this one!!

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I have a desk, a sewing table, a closet full of craft supplies and a table just for dedicated crafting <3 It is seriously more than I have ever even dreamed of… sigh… cant wait to share more some time in the future because it is like Shawna wonderland in here.  You may also notice too, my glorious floor!! I painted the subflooring hot PINK and then stenciled it with a stencil I made and covered the whole thing in a clear polyurethane, it is fantastic….

Downstairs, with the new carpet and fresh paint plus all the scrubbing we poured into it, is like a whole new house!

Here is downstairs Living room with the new paint, carpet and a really cool Ikea sofa we found for a steal on craigslist:

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progress on moving into the downstairs kitchen

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For the boy’s rooms we took them all shopping at ikea right before we moved in and let them spend a small set amount on something for their room, it is fun to see what they all did with their own spaces.

For Owen’s room he got some space invaders wall stickers at Ikea, and I love the way he arranged them on the walls :) He also picked out the black/white duvet cover, simple and classic.  He also has big time dreams of becoming architect some day so g found this little architect table for 5 dollars on craigslist too:

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Owen also saw this red chair at Ikea and fell in love with it – we just couldn’t bring ourselves to spend something like 70 dollars on it, but then a few weeks later, this super savvy mom found it at a yard sale for 5!

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Tennyson’s room has this fun duvet cover he picked out – and a car rug he can play on:

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He also has a little rocking chair in the corner that we found for him because that was on the top of his list when we went shopping, he is so cute.

Reece’s room is bright and fun and filled with green!! At Ikea he chose a big green body pillow and this fun bed spread (also you can see his little rug on the ground, he has another green one right at his door too) Please don’t judge the fact that he’s still using a box as a night stand LOL!

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We have also bought some used gungy old skateboards that we plan to hang on the walls as shelves, very reece-like, very cool :)

Gareth has been very “less is more” about his room and he has refused to upgrade to a bigger bed spread even though he is in a double bed now LOL I guess it saves us money though!  He did get a cool lamp and some black sheets at the store. His room is very teenager and he has already had people over to spend the night a handful of times.  I LOVE being able to give our kids a place to hang out with their friends, especially as they get older I feel like that is a really important priority.

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I can’t even tell you how much I’ve loved having a space away from our main living space for the kids to run around and play with toys.  We have a pet gerbil named cherry and his ginormous cage doesn’t have to take up any of my precious counter space (photo is pre-gerbil, but you get the idea) – playdough has a home downstairs in the kitchen, the horror that is a boys bathroom is separate from any of the bathrooms I have to use (don’t worry, I still make sure we go in there and scrub it down!)  Each of the kids having their own space has helped enormously with chores and clean up too.  The kids can’t blame their messy room on anyone else, everyone is actually responsible for their own laundry here and it is easy for them to do because it is all contained into one basket just for THEM – oh I could sing the praises of having SPACE forever!

That’s pretty much all I have to show off, there is SO much still to do and nothing is “perfect” but it is such an amazing place to live.  I just can’t even explain how very blessed I feel right now! God is so good to us, my family is so loving toward their princess (aka ME) – and my husband is beyond amazing: all the work he has done to get us into this house, and all the work he’s been doing since!  I just couldn’t ask for more.  I am very very loved, and very very fortunate to be where I am right now.

We have so many projects and plans stewing in our heads, I hope that over the next year I’ll have more and more to share about the fun things we’ve done to this place!! I’ll keep posting updates as I can, even if it does take me a month and a half to get it posted!!! Thank you everyone for all of your well wishes and your prayers through all of this, to think that a little over a year ago I was peeking through the front windows of this house… I could not have even dream of what was going to come… And not even a year later here I am posting on my blog in my pink-floored studio!!

Life is good…

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3 Weeks In…

Posted by on Jun 10, 2013 in Personal Blog | 4 comments

3 Weeks In…

Hard to believe we have had the new place for 3 weeks now! Not sure if it feels like “wow! three weeks already??” or “holy cow, has it only been 3 weeks!?!” if you ask my heart I think I would say the first but if you ask my aching scrubbing muscles they might lean toward the second LOL.

We have made a lot of progress around the house, it really is starting to feel like we could actually move in I dare say… so exciting! Even after working non stop, I still am just giddy over it all, it has been so so so awesome and worth every ounce of energy we’ve put in.  It was so in desperate need of love, that it is all the more rewarding because you can really see the difference after putting in a bit of elbow grease.  So I thought I’d share a few more pictures just for fun.

My first major job, was to take down those awful curtains! Really, it is the very first thing I did, then I got a brush and a bucket and I cleaned every single baseboard in the house.  They were really really awful, years of dust plus pet hair and just the dirt and grime of being left to its own devices, I had to get out a good cleaner and a toothbrush! Right away though you could really see the difference!  We vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed too – thanks to a groupon for 99 dollar carpet cleaning we had to get those carpets all ready to be shampooed! I wish I would have taken better before and afters of those steps because it really did change things so much!  I just have been so determined and excited that it is hard to take a photo break sometimes!

Here is a grainy camera picture though that I got of those amazing windows after they had been de-lace-ified:

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After the walls and the windows were cleaned up a bit, I had to get in that kitchen make some magic!  It took me atleast 3 days, just to clean out the drawers and the cabinets – they were just FILTHY, old food and grease and other unknown substances… they needed a lot of muscle to come clean! I used a lot of bartenders friend under there – and 409 was also a winner.  I also dragged out my steam cleaner that I haven’t really used that much – it was a total life save though, there are cracks and crevices and grout that I’d probably still be scrubbing with out it!

Here is a shot I took with my phone of the insides of the cabinets – this picture is totally representative of what they all looked like – the worst part I think was when I would dump my dirty water out and the old cooking smells would be released in the water – ewwwww!

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After I scrubbed them (and trust me, there was no gross food stains left!) I covered them in beautiful shelf paper I found at the dollar tree – LOVE this stuff, I bought WAY more than a dollar’s worth for this job though!

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I also had to clean the nasty grout on the countertops – that was at least 3 days as well.  They were tricky to clean – not only was the grout old and dirty, it also had grease worked into each crack and I doubt they  had been sealed in a long time! I tried about 10 different methods on that stinking grout! Including a paste made up of oxiclean that somehow managed to turn into oxi-cement! I had to literally crack it off the counter tops in chunks. Finally with the help of pinterest, and hours of trial and error here is my own personal magical recipe for clean grout.  First, toilet bowl cleaner in each crack of the grout (I would squirt it on and then use a toothbrush to get it in every grout line.) Then, let it sit a few minutes, after that I could scrub it clean-ish, but the grease that was in the cracks would sorta gunk up into balls that I couldn’t get off the counter so instead of just rinsing the Lysol I made a mix of dawn dish soap, vinegar and baking soda, it would get kinda fizzy and I worked it into the cracks with a brush right over the first stuff.  Finally, the truly magic ingredient, my hand steamer – I steamed each crack clean and wiped it off with a wet rag… I’m sure you can imagine how time consuming it was to do an entire kitchen! But the results really were amazing:

Before:

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After:

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Turns out the grout was actually more pink than it was brown LOL! I never would have known!

Finally – there was one final issue with my kitchen, they crazy dirty floor!! I honestly thought the vinyl was just beyond ever being truly clean again – I know they were worse than my current floors and I’ve all but given up on these ones!  Anyway, enter pinterest and this FABULOUS tip from the graphics fairy blogger (omg I love you so much gf!).  I bought the store out of scrubbing bubbles (well, actually, I used almost 3 cans I think) – I did add the extra step of scrubbing super dooper hard and then letting it sit another minute before I rinsed.  Bit by bit I scrubbed that kitchen floor, and I convinced reece and owen to help some too.  It was amazing the difference, note the three scrubbed squares in the middle of the photo:

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After I finished scrubbing the heck out of it, it was totally clean, but needed a bit more of a shiny finish so I just mopped it a few times with mop and glow which added a shiny protective coat. Here’s a quick cell phone shot I got when I finished:

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amazing!

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Looks like the sorta kitchen you might want to feed  your family from now right??

In addition to all of my scrubbing and washing away, we have been working on the painting the boy’s bedrooms, our goal was to have a special space for each of them when we move in, so we gave each of them a say in what colors they wanted, and then took those intense choices and helped figure out how to tone them down to a reasonable choice LOL!

Gareth our wonderful first born has been very nonchalant and hesitant through this all, so when he told us he wanted a black wall and two black stripes around the room we totally jumped on it!

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Owen asked for black too, but he was very clear, he just wanted a black stripe at the bottom, “no pizzaz” in his words LOL:

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Reece loves green, we knew he would request green, but when he started looking at paint chips, what he really really wanted was BRIGHT, so we decided to do 1/3ish of the wall in green, and then just to capture reece’s spark we added in some random little peaks… sorta like electricity meets mountain tops :)

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Our little Tennyson really loves blue – and for a while now, he has been very clear, DARK blue, not light.  So when we tried to sell him on some lighter shades he kept reaching for the dark ones – so we decided to roll with it, and when we painted his room g and I just made some random vertical stripes with tape around the room I love the way it turned out, it is bright and open and boyish, and totally tennyson in it’s crazy random feel:

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As if all of that is not enough to get me REALLY excited to move in.  We are REALLY blessed to have the opportunity to get new carpet in the downstairs space, that carpet is just really really ready to be replaced and I’m so excited for the boys to be able to move into a space that feels totally new!

With carpet coming I felt like we should just go for it and paint the whole downstairs – it is SO much easier to paint when you can drop your brush or splatter paint around with out having to stress about the floor.  Ever since we first saw the house I have been pinning home ideas and I was really in to the idea of grey walls in the basement.  So when we decided to go for it and paint the whole downstairs I went over to our local Re-Store and found a 5 gallon bucket of fabulous grey paint for 25 dollars – so I decided it was meant to be.

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A few friends from my MOMS Club came over and helped me roll it on and I spent the last few days cutting it in. Tomorrow I have to tackle the rest of the trim, but with a crisp white, and the grey carpet that is coming I can’t wait to see it all come together! Here is the white clean trim color with the grey:

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So, there you have it! We are making progress here! At this point, I am starting to feel like we could actually move in to this house, and you know, every second I spend painting and scrubbing just makes me love this place more.  I am so happy, excited and so so proud that we can soon call this place our home <3

Hopefully, in a few weeks, we actually will!

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Our Dream Home…

Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Personal Blog | 6 comments

Our Dream Home…

It seems fitting to post again on the bloggy after a while of quiet, because today officially starts a new chapter for the Clingerman family!  In November my always-in-the-know hubby randomly found a listing for a house on craigslist that was super close to us, and had 7 bedrooms! As a big family we are always sorta eyeing houses with more thank 5 bedrooms because they are pretty hard to find, especially in our price range.  We’ve always sort of dreamt of a home that has a full basement so there was extra room for romping around and for peace and quiet all at the same time – our cozy home right now is a 3 bedroom house with less than 1200 square feet, and with the boys inching closer and closer toward teen-hood we have really REALLY started to feel the squeeze this past year.  Anyway, the home we found was a short sale, but it was a HUGE house with a price of only 250,000 and so curiosity got the best of us, so g and I hopped in the van and drove the 3/4 mile to the house.

We were instantly in love with it, even just peeking through the windows, we had sort of wondered if there would be like gaping holes in the floor or something, but instead I looked through those windows and saw… well I guess I sorta saw my dreams (sniff, sniff… I’m such a sap!).  We ended up deciding to just call the realtor to see inside the very next day – the house has a full basement so we really did not know what we would find (g was crossing his fingers there was standing water or something in there, just to keep us from doing anything crazy I think) – but we found instead that it was an amazing space, really amazing, that needed a whole lot of cleaning, paint, and random little things. My brave husband decided to make the call to a lender…with in a few days we made an offer (actually under the list price since with short sales those tend to just be random numbers), and that is when we started counting days, and pennies! The house was a short sale, so we were mentally prepared to wait, not to mention that we needed to build a down payment, and QUICK! Anyway…. it is a VERY long story but lets just say it went like this “good news you get the house!”, “wait, roadblock, you totally can’t have the house”, “wait, we can totally handle that! you get the house again!”, “oh, bummer, it totally can’t happen…” And so on and so forth, for SIX MONTHS!  This was for me was such an emotional rollercoaster, but it was also a continuous lesson in faith.  It was just personally really growing for me to set my sights on something, something so special that I wanted with all my heart, and then just hope and pray for it, and trust that there is a plan for us – and with out a shadow of a doubt, I know there is.

I have been joking that this house is “our baby” because the time and energy and hopes and dreams we have poured into this home over the past six months we probably could have adopted a baby or heck even birthed one! LOL (not that we want a baby, we’re pretty set with the human babies we already have)!  So, yesterday after we were handed our key, I cried the tears of a mommy holding her baby for the first time, and then took a zillion pictures, because everyone has been so sweet and supportive and I’ve really felt the thoughts and prayers of all our friends as we waited this home out.

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Now, I am very proud to show you the BEFORE pictures of our new house, the biggest project EVER, but our dream come true:

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The house is surrounded by huge trees, nestled in the back corner of a cul-de-sac, that is off of a dead end, this house really feels tucked away from the world.

After you step through those beautiful front doors – here is what you see:

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The living room is sunken down a step, I love the banisters and Those AMAZING windows, just begging to be freed from all that lace!

Here is what the little entry area looks like, on the other side of that door is where the door to the stairs is:

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Off the side of the living room is a room that I think is intended to be called the “dining room” but for us it will be a room with instruments (can NOT wait to have a piano to play!), and some cozy chairs by the window to curl up with a book:

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On the other side of the dining room and right down a little hall from the door is a “great room” that will probably hold a big table and some bookshelves:

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notice fireplace number 2:

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An incredible sliding glass door to the back yard, the windows/doors in this room are super nice and were purchased using one of the three mortgages on this house! Lucky us, we get to keep them with out a loan ourselves Smile

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The view from the eating area into the dining and living room:

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There is a chair-height counter bar off the kitchen

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(notice the patchwork floor repair, one of the repairs we had to make to the house ourselves in order to get the loan)

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I LOVE that there is a desk built into this kitchen, I’ve always dreamt of having one!

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And off the kitchen there is a little laundry room with it’s own window:

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Here is the half bath that is to the right of the entry:

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And here is the hallway from to the upstairs bedrooms:

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Since this house is massive – there is space for both g and I to have our own office spaces! Since I’m a crafter and he’s a computer geek we can actually use the space:

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This lovely room will be the space I now have dubbed my studio – I’m SOOOOO excited to have this space, cant wait to tear down those bears and paint this room a bright clean white that I can just fill to the brim with creative energy and inspiration!

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The master bedroom is pretty simple, It is not a huge room but it will be the first time we will have had a master bedroom that didn’t need to be another space at the same time – no bookshelves, no computer desk, no random storage – just a lovely space to sleep in peace :)

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The master bedroom has a bathroom off of it –

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The master bathroom is not huge, but this is more counter space than I have ever had! Also, the best part of the master bath is what is on the other side of it:

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This pretty wood room has a hot tub (it may need a little tlc, we will have to see) but it also has a sauna! I never would have ever imagined having a sauna in my home – it works too!

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The other fabulous thing upstairs, is our 3rd bathroom – this lovely room has no one living out of it – there are other bathrooms that we will use for personal stuff, which means I have all these pretty little cupboards to store things that would otherwise be shoved somewhere inconvenient – I’m thinking first aid supplies, medicines, hair clippers… lovely organization, I really can not wait to have a home for everything in my new house!

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Ok, whew – that is a lot, but guess what – we are only half done!!!  Now we go down the stairs to the basement:

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If you come down the stairs and turn right, this is the hallway to 2 of the bedrooms and a few other fun surprises:

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First off, is this huge room with nothing but shelving and the water heater/furnace (lovely storage space!!):

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Then on the right side of the hallway there is this little alcove with book shelves and a desk:

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And the boys bathroom, that I can not wait to paint some color other than disgusting pee-colored-yellow!!!

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In the back there is also a washer/drier hook up, can you imagine how lovely it would be to have a separate washer/drier down here??

Next is Gareth’s bedroom!!  This is the biggest room in the whole house actually, and we picked it out for him right away because he has been such a trouper sharing bedrooms with younger brothers for so long – he is currently rooming with a spunky little preschooler and let’s just say I really feel for him!! I don’t think he has yet quite grasped what it will be like to have his own room!

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Reece’s room is right next to Gareth’s interesting paint techniques huh??

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Now if you go back down the hallway this is what you’ll see:

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First off there is a KITCHEN!! Seriously.

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And then there is a big cozy family room :) (hello fireplace number 3!)

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off of the familyroom/kitchen is Tennyson’s bedroom (yes this is perhaps the brightest pink ever):

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and Owen’s:

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There is another random surprise down stairs, a small 8th room that has no windows or closets – I think we are going to set it up as a room for guests :)

As if this house isn’t already awesome enough – it also has an amazing yard – the house is built on a double lot, and there are trees everywhere, it really is amazing.

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I love the way the house looks from the back yard:

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Lastly, this house has something else totally amazing -

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An in ground pool!!! It doesn’t have a heater, and it currently houses tons of over grown goldfish LOL – but being there working in the sun last week we realized that we are going to want to get that pool ready for swimmers sooner rather than later… G has always dreamed of having a pool of his own, and the boys are old enough now that I think it will not give me a total heart attack (it’s totally fenced as well).  It is seriously like the icing on the cake – we are in awe that we can call this place our own.

I’m sure you noticed that this house is going to be a total project, there are lots and lots of things that need cleaned or fixed or upgraded. But we will just go at it one bit at a time, when we move in a lot of it will still be out dated and imperfect, but it really does not matter to me, this is our home, it is our dream home and when I look around inside all I can think of is just how wonderful. Honestly after 6 months of waiting and biting our nails, we are all really excited to dig in and make it our own.

I’m really hoping to post some of my diy make over pics here as we go, so hopefully I will be back with more to share soon!  We would like to be totally moved with in a month, so it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get ready to get things done!

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My BABY is in Preschool!!!

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012 in Personal Blog | 0 comments

My BABY is in Preschool!!!

It’s hard to believe that that time has come, but my little T is now officially a preschooler.  I wasn’t sure if he even needed preschool (Gareth and Owen were never in preschool and i think it was right for them), but toward the end of spring last year it just became super obvious that Tennyson needed something more to do with his time than just talking to me non-stop!

He has been SO excited about starting his school, and so when the big day he was here his energy was contagious:

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When we got into his class room, he looked nervous for a total of about 5 seconds before he got all excited again :)

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I had to snap a picture of this, he’s just one of the adorable little students now :)

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When I picked him up, he was happy as can be, asking right away when his next class was.  So I used bribery in the form of fruit snacks AND a danimal to convince him to make this little video for me:

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Oh the sweet sweet sound of silence!

Posted by on Sep 5, 2012 in Personal Blog | 0 comments

Oh the sweet sweet sound of silence!

Today was much anticipated for me this year! Summer has been long, and loud, and I’ll be honest and say that I was REALLY ready for some space from the boys, so the first day of school could not have been more welcome!

Gareth is going into 7th grade this year, it really is crazy to try to comprehend – but its been pretty clear that that kooky middle schooler stage has set in, so I guess I can wrap my brain around it!

He was certainly the LEAST enthusiastic about the whole back to school thing, and 5 minutes before we had to head out, he was in this position sneaking in some z’s on the couch:

 

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I really did try to get some enthusiastic back to school shots when he was headed to the bus, but this is as much as my moody middle schooler was ready to give:

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In all seriousness though, Gareth is an amazing kid – he just keeps making me proud, and I am so looking forward to seeing what grade 7 brings for him!

Owen and Reece leave almost a full hour later than Gareth, so here they are together ready to start 3rd and 4th grade:

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Owen was trying to withhold a smile from me, but with some serious effort, I managed to wrestle this one from him:

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Last year Owen tested into our district’s gifted program, so he is going to be involved in a pull out program one day a week where he goes to a different school where they do some cool “enriching” things. I’m super excited for him and can’t wait to see how it goes! (also, super proud of him!!)

Reece was SO excited about going back to school, he has really been missing the routine of it all and he is a social little creature so I think some good social interaction will do him well!

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To me, Reece has gone through the biggest change physically this past year, just look at a comparison of him from this year to last year’s back to school photo:

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This past year has been full of struggles for Reece, from an ADHD diagnosis to school struggles and issues with some peers. He has worked REALLY hard to work through it all, and I really do feel like we are starting out on a really positive foot this year. S I’m hopeful that we will be able to help him have a little less stress for 3rd grade. Whatever way it goes though, Reece always continues to be a really amazing kid with an emotional IQ that you wouldn’t believe.  Plus, Reece is just cool there’s no way around it – I’m excited about watching him grow through his 3rd grade year!

After the school bus came and went, I sat down on my couch in an amazingly QUIET house, Tennyson was still sleeping, and I just reveled in having some SPACE to be alone! I have had a hard summer and I’ve really needed some peace (peace of mind and peace of house LOL).

Next week T is going to be starting preschool (eek! can you believe it?!) and then I’m actually going to have several hours a week where it really just is ME, and I don’t think I’ve really had that situation on a regular basis since before Gareth was born!  I’m excited, and nervous, but mostly just super excited. Can’t wait to see what this school year is bringing for the boys, and for their momma too!

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