Monday, August 31, 2009

Fundraising In The Digital Age

I was really shocked when Mr. Golden Curls returned home in his first full week of Kindergarten with his first ever fundraising packet. They really start them out this young?! I also groaned inside. I really enjoyed selling Girl Scout Cookies as a kid and earning my rewards, but in adulthood it feels a bit too much like telemarketing. It is however, for a good cause! It's to raise money for his fantastic school, a visual and performing arts magnet school. With a graphic designer for a mamma and a vocal performance major for a pappa our son was destined to go to this school!

Want to help support this cutie, or his school? You don't have to wait for him to catch you at your front door, this is the digital age! All you have to do is go to (click here), order all the fantastic things you want before Monday Sept. 7th so we have time to tally and turn in, and when you check out be sure to put his student ID number: 51156 so he and his school get credit for your purchases. Then, voila! It will be shipped right to your doorstep! Who knew I'd grow to love the digital age?!

A Mamma's Favorite Superhero

There are Saints for pretty much anything you need help with, maybe there's also a superhero for every need. If there were this would be mine! We'll call him "Captain Help Mamma With The Housework!" or "Super Choreman"...hmm, yea, not sure any of those are really cutting it. Any suggestions for my tiny superhero's new name?

Little Spitfire is such a big helper. I forget he's such a helpful sweetie in the mix of chaos, and sometimes it's just too chaotic to take time out to help him help me. Now that brother's in school I'm able to and I see a bright future of fewer chores for Mamma ahead!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Drowning In Baby Clothes

A few weeks before we sent Mr. Golden Curls to school for the first time ever I decided it would be a good time to clean out the baby clothes. Apparently I didn't think sending my first child off to Kindergarten would lead to enough crying, I had to add to that the purging of a 5 year old collection of baby wares. I'm just a person who can't stand to be wasting space with a bunch of stuff that's not being used, and this was a whole closet crammed from floor-to-ceiling, side-to-side with baby stuff that was no longer being used.

Turns out the deciding was more difficult than the doing. There was only a smidge 'o the misty-eyes. Of course there was also the fact that when I went through the "keep" pile for the second time, because there was still too much in it, I had to hug all of those things and say "good-bye" out loud. Oh yea, and I also did this with anything that was so trashed that it had to just be tossed. These clothes have now been through both of my boys and two of their cousins. Three of the boys were professional grade spit up machines, there are bound to be casualties. Ok, a farewell ritual to baby clothes is a little weird now that I'm about to be sharing it but I'm sure any Mamma reading this will understand, at least that's my hope. Otherwise I'm just a raving looney who happens to have two little boys and a newly emptied closet in her craft room!

Some things kids just don't throw away no matter how old they get. This is my 32 year old husband's dog from childhood, and no I'm not talking about the adorable Mr. Cash Pugface, I'm talking about that couch sized stuffed monstrosity he's cuddling named Shtebe.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Another Day Another Milestone

Day two of kindergarten brought glorious things Mr. Golden Curls' way. He got to ride in our '68 VW Beetle convertible! It's old, and not the safest for babies but he's a big kid now so what the heck! Not to mention the fact that I wanted to share the joy of pick up and drop off with my husband and this was the only way to do that.

Of course I have to share pics of Day Two's school clothes. Grammy has to see the results of us having way too much fun doing back to school shopping so there will probably be pictures of new clothes for two months. I'm lovin' the peace sign made out of band equipment!

Who's that spiffy armless guy on the right? Why it's Mr. Golden Curls in his peace sign shirt of course! He did come home from his second day with another gold star but also a note to please talk to him about paying attention during rug time. When I told him this he got choked up and teary and said "I told her I didn't want her to write that because I didn't want you to know I'd done something bad." He was also very disappointed that it had rained and he didn't get recess. Friday was the last day and brought no gold star and a slightly bad report that involved daydreaming and bar room brawling. They decline so quickly!

So we've finished off our first week of kindergarten. I think I survived and I even learned a few things:
1. Dropping him off at his class is a lot harder for me than just waving good bye from the driveway while my husband drives off with him.

2. There is such a thing as teacher crush at first sight.

3. Nothing takes some of the spit and fire out of my Lil' Spitfire quite as well as separating him from his big brother.

4. A pick up line is no longer something said to me at a bar but an obnoxiously long line of cars that moves at the speed of evolution.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Major Milestone: Kindergarten!

Mr. Golden Curls started kindergarten on Wednesday. He's my first baby, the one who made me a Mamma. He's the reason for my career shift, being a graphic designer seemed a whole lot less inspiring in comparison to watching him grow. For five years he's been my 24/7/365 gig and then the day comes where I have to send him out into the big big world and it's good, it's time, but so very hard to do.

By the time the day came my little man was ready, he was proud to be so big and very excited to be learning how to read and write. He had also met his teacher the evening before and became instantly infatuated. After the first day he was exhausted, like a zombie and getting information out of him was like interrogating a well trained spy. He offered up only one thing about his day without being asked "Miss Mabry had on a different shirt today and some pants, that was different. And she also had on a belt today." I spy with my little eye...a cute little teacher crush!

My handsome boy in his brand new back-to-school clothes, spiffy new Vans and Lightening McQueen backpack.

The obligatory silly picture. Eat your heart out John Travolta!

The first school paper. He told me that's him as a robot and the red spot on his head is his button. I love the way his people now have necks that extend into the head. He was also sure to let me know that Miss Mabry helped him draw the curly hair and the green part of his eyes but the rest was all him.

I had a rare moment of brilliance while shopping for school supplies and had Lil' Spitfire pick out a brand new game for just he and I to play on big brother's first day of school. It gave him something to look forward to. He also got to go to Starbucks with Mamma and Pappa for chocolate milk and mochas, which he thought was big kid heaven. Yep, we're training them up right, Starbucks is just as recognizable to them as Chik-Fil-A! As it turns out the coffee and game gave me a good distraction so I wouldn't be a bawl baby all day long. It was a rough morning for me. It was strange having my baby in someone else's care for such a long day. At the same time it was blissfully quiet and I realized my Lil' Spitfire and I are going to get to have some wonderful times while brother's at school.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Confessions Of A Landlord

Yep, I'm a landlord. It's not a part of life I'm pleased with and I can say that with even more vigor since last week's "vacation". We're only renting out our old house because we couldn't sell and you can read all about that saga here. Anyway, as you can probably tell from my last post I was pretty excited about this vacation and it started as planned. We ditched the kids and dogs with Grandma and then headed to our old homestead to clean out the pond, spray for bugs...a nice way of saying "check up on the renters who'd been living in our house for the past year." A quick check up to get our chores over with before kicking back for two weeks of vacation.

Then on our way to the house the renter calls to say they'd be moving out. Turns out they'd moved out 2 weeks before and it seems they just weren't going to tell us or pay us this months rent. It got better. When we arrived at the house we could see immediately it hadn't been cared for. The yard had never been mowed and as soon as I saw the backyard I started crying. Nature had taken it back. The inside was the same, dirty, never been cleaned, hole in the wall, nasty couches left behind, filthy walls, never cleaned toilets. We were shocked. I could go on and on but in an attempt to keep this short I can sum it up like this: I cried, we stressed, we opened a Lowes credit card so we could spend way more money than we actually have, and for 10 non-stop hours a day for the entire next week of our "vacation" we cleaned and painted and repaired. Now the inside of the house looks better than ever and I never want to see another paint brush for as long as I live. The rest is probably best left to before and after pictures. If you feel the need you can click any image to enlarge though it's not for the faint of heart on some of these.

Backyard Before. This is actually greatly improved from what we saw initially. When we saw it the entire yard was like that spot in the back corner with the fenced in pond area. The renter did knock most of it down with a weed eater but it still took a few days to fill the pond (it wasn't worth saving), cut down weeds and mow.

The Backyard After with mowing and edging and freshly filled pond. Even after all that work it still didn't look like the nice lush green yard we left behind.

We had new french doors put in after we moved in and now they're dog scratched and filthy. They looked the same before and after. Boo hissy.

Living Room before, complete with carpet stains and disgusting furniture and milk crates. I did get a cool giant emerald green 70's lamp out of the deal that's now on my piano. I suppose that's something of a plus.

Living Room after a fresh coat of neutral paint and carpet shampooing.

Laundry Room before. Ok, this room always needed some help. Other than my obnoxious bright orange paint it was already in need of a new floor.

Laundry Room After the fresh paint, new parquet linoleum floors and closets to make it a 3rd bedroom.
Dining Room Before. Yes that's yet another gross couch.

Dining Room After. Clearly I don't prefer neutrals for my own house but this house is looking clean and cute and good enough to rent (or sell!) The major house-wide scrub down didn't hurt either.
I don't have a before of the kitchen but wish I had one of the fridge, eck! But the after is nice.

Every light switch in the house was grimy as were almost all parts of every wall. This one just happened to be in the master bath, along with the gross shower below it. The shower was also leaking so badly we could here it as soon as we walked in the house. It was more like a gush than a leak.
Master Bath After. Hey, I'd actually use this bathroom again!

Man hand sized hole in the wall that used to be the boys room.

Boys Room after with patched wall and the closet doors we'd never gotten around to putting up the 4 years we lived there.

The nasty that was the Boys' Bathroom. I can't believe they had kids in this house!

A good scrub and a coat of paint to cover up my granny turquoise and the bathroom is back to spiffy.

I wish I had the pictures that we took right before we moved when we were trying to sell but they're MIA since my last computer crash. All of those bright colors actually looked cute instead of trashed out and the pond was surrounded by rocks and had a functioning fountain that was so nice to sit out next to. Not to mention my beautiful duckies that had to find a new home when we moved. Guess these people didn't share the same ideas on pond relaxation! In spite of it all my husband and I enjoyed each other. The building of the pergola must have been practice for this because we did good. There wasn't even one tiny little cat fight!