Sunday, August 30, 2009

House Tour Part One: my fave and least fave

My favorite thing about the new house is this little mossy brick courtyard to the side entrance. There is ivy crowding into the landscape, and little birds twitter from the trees. The little bistro set was here when we moved in, and I love to sit here and talk on the phone or read (when I rarely get that chance)! I also love the flower boxes, which I have always wanted on a house of mine. The boxes were here too, I just filled them with impatiens and ivy.

On the flip side, this is the kitchen, which has nasty ole' wallpaper that I detest, making it my least favorite thing about our new house. I have gotten permission from the landlord to strip it and paint it a fresh color, so I will have a before/after post as soon as I can get a chance to do it. The kitchen is small- if you stand looking at the first picture, you do a 180 and there is the other picture. The awkwardly hung shelf is now gone, and my dream would be to put a bar table and two bar chairs there where the white shelfy thing is, but, well, that is a dream that costs too much money for us right now!

The white door on the left is to the awesome laundry room which is not pretty, but so highly functional! It has a utility sink which is another of my favorite things- what a great place for cleaning poopie clothes, filling up and dumping mop water, and so many other useful tasks.
The house has an energy efficient front loading washer and dryer. It is different, but I like them alot. My favorite thing about them is the little happy chimey noises they make when they are done. I like that the washer tells me it is done, which my old one did not. I don't forget about loads like I used to. The dryer actually plays a little tune when the clothes are dry! A much better alert than that annoying buzz that normal dryers make- that would make me jump out of my skin.

I also love the extra storage in the laundry room. It is basically our "pantry." And I can leave a drying rack up, and an ironing board (if I ever ironed). Jen McShea has told me this is the true test of a good laundry room, so I guess I am blessed- no, I KNOW I am blessed. See the diaper changing pad on the drying rack? That is a story. I will tell you later.

Ok. If you go back to the kitchen picture facing the wall with the laundry room door, and go right instead, you find our Play Room! This is a wonderful new development for our family- especially because Ruth and Mac share a room and their beds take up their whole room. Their toys stay in this room, conveniently located off the kitchen so I can keep an eye on them while I'm cooking.

This picture below is the "reading nook" which I have yet to decorate fully. It is a project " in the works."

Here is the other end, with the bay window and gas burning fireplace, which I'm sure will be cozy in the winter. (This is the window with the window boxes on the outside.) We have the sleeper couch in here so moms can sit and talk when they're over for a play date and the kids are playing, or for extra guests so sleep on when they come to visit!

Paper adds Pizzazz to Plain Pictures


I purchased these two watercolors at the Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival in Fairhope, AL years ago from an artist out of Mississippi. I put them in some understated, basic frames with white mats, which makes for a nice clean look, but I've never felt satisfied about them. So this past week I bought some fun paper and wrapped the plain ole' mats, and voila! Zey are extraordinary! I think it is just what they needed. And if I get tired of that paper, I can redo it in a snap. I love quick, easy, cheap makeovers.

My little snuggler

Mac is a snuggly boy and I love it! I was sitting on the ottoman in this fuzzy blanket, and Mac couldn't resist. He said "I want to be cozy too, Mommy!" and he came and cozied up with me. Aaaah, those are the moments we keep tucked away in our hearts.

I like big brains and I cannot lie

Here are some cute pictures of Harris, and Mac decided he wanted to join in on the photo shoot. I love that picture of the brothers checking each other out.
Harris went to his 4 month check up on Friday and the doctor said he looks great. I didn't get a chance to get his percentiles, and they don't hand out cute cards like our pediatrician in Mobile. It is sort of sad to have to get used to a new pediatrician, but it is just another moving adjustment for the family. I did like the doctor-who is a General, with an Airborne patch. She was certainly a no nonsense lady, but very kind. She enjoyed talking to Harris and remarked on how social he is. I have written an account of our first visit to the Army Hospital which was actually several weeks ago, which I will post soon- it is a whole new ballgame.
Harris is 14 lbs. and 26 inches long, and his head is big- 75th percentile. The doctor asked if Ruth and Mac had big heads, and I didn't think so. She concluded Harris just must have lots of brains in there. That's my boy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The National Zoo

Profile, King of Beasts.

Fat little prairie dog. Seriously, is it prego? Not being a prairie dogologist, I don't know. But it is certainly showing some cleavage, prego or not.

I go to the zoo, but what I notice is the flora- look at this beautiful lily pad and bloom!

We had a fun time at the Zoo in DC, which is free due to the fact that it is part of the Smithsonian. It is really a beautiful zoo, with lots of trees for shady paths and pleasant views. It is built on a hill, which they call a gradual incline, but I'd say there was nothing gradual about it. It is quite a hike, especially pushing a stroller.
Ruthie really wanted to see some giraffes, but there weren't any. Maybe they were away on vacation. She also wanted to find this weird hairless mink looking thing that we saw on the brochure, but we didn't find it either. But she and Mac loved the invertebrate house, the butterfly house, and the other various and sundry one-time occupants of the Ark.
Jay and I saw some famous man, not sure who he was, but we had fun guessing. Prince of Spain is my guess. Or tennis player? We wouldn't have known he was famous except that Jay overheard someone else mention him, and then we tried to be sneaky and look and see who he was. Funny.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, JuJu!

This is Jay's mom, known by her grandchildren as JuJu. Here she is loving her latest grandbaby, Harris. We love you, JuJu, and hope you have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Saturday we went to our local IKEA store- what an adventure! It was amazing and lots of fun. I have never seen anything like it, well, maybe some of the multi-floor mega stores I went to when I lived in Europe, but this was different in a lot of ways. You have to have a map to find out where everything is, and even then it can be confusing because the place is so massive.

IKEA is not just a store, it is a destination. There is a parking garage, to begin with, and a cafe where you can get a swedish meatball meal for only $4.99 (look at the tasty meatballs in the picture above!) plus other cheap meal choices. I had a buffalo chicken wrap that was pretty tasty and fresh. Our whole family ate lunch at IKEA for $10.00, which is unheard of! I did have a coupon for the kids to eat free, but even without that their meals would only have been about $5.00 total. IKEA also has a play-place for the kids. We didn't have time for that- maybe next time.

The concept of the store is to keep prices low by letting the customers find and assemble stuff on their own, shipping everything flat and using inexpensive materials. I had already shopped online and found what I wanted, and I had printed my shopping list which told me what aisle to find what I needed. We toured the "showroom" where you can see every product displayed, mostly in decorated rooms, then you proceed to the "marketplace" where you can find all the products. Then there is the big warehouse-like area where you find the pieces to the furniture you picked out. After you pay you go down to the loading area, where you pull up your car, load your own stuff, and head home for a nap.

My favorite purchase was a bed! We've had just a metal frame for the last several years, but I've been on the lookout for a pretty iron bed with a headboard and footboard. The price on this one from IKEA was too good for me to pass up- $99.99!! I guess we'll see how it holds up over the years and multiple moves, but I guess steel is better than wood. I think it is beautiful and I love how it really makes our room feel like a BEDroom. (The quilt is from Urban Outfitters. I love it too. It is so vibrant and fun.)

Our other purchases were two of these basic but fun blue end-tables for either side of the couch ($7.99 each). The green lamps ended up being the last two, and floor models so we got them at about half the regular price ($20.00 total). They are sort of funky-whimsical, and give off a mellow, glowy light. Not bad for a quick two room makeover! I enjoy finding bargains that I really like, not just settling for something because it's cheap. Most of our existing furniture is hand-me-downs or inherited, which is wonderful, but it's not always what you would pick if you could just go out and pick it. I'll post more pics of the house soon, it is still in progress. I feel like I have so many ideas for decorating that never see fruition, and I'm working on some of them now. I also feel like I've never been able to achieve my style- a kind of whimsical-bohemian- shabby-eurofleamarket-chic. Or something. So I'll keep trying.

So big! 4 months old

Tummy time=strong neck and back.

First cereal, yummy!

Reading with Sissy-starting early for a lifetime love of reading.

Time in the saucer.

Guy time with Daddy and Brother!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


look at these beautiful latte bowls!
they are so fun

Sunday, August 09, 2009

I think Harris is in here

Check this out. Also hilarious. First baby on the boom box, and the very last frame, baby on the right. It's my baby. He's got skills.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Straight up thug town

Check out Remy- a guy that Jay and I find hilarious-rapping about Arlington- a city not far from here with similarities to Alexandria. (He is clean.)...Yo I just moved to a new hood....

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Super Big Gulp anyone??

The convenience store du jour in these parts is known as the 7 Eleven. It is a fun place where you can get a hotdog, chips and a drink for under 3 bucks. Amazing. The 7 Eleven holds fond memories for me. When I lived in Virginia Beach, VA as a kid we used to go to one all the time for sodas and candy, especially during the summer. The cool thing to do was to mix all the soda flavors from the fountain together- it was known as a "Suicide." Sounds so daring and wild and dangerous (like Ice Man- "I am (pause) dangerous" your teeth together). My brother and Dad loved the Super Big Gulp which was a soda the size of a 5 gallon bucket for a buck or something. What a bargain, and you could get cheap refills too. I'm pretty sure that in the movie "Say Anything" with Jon Cusack and Ione Skye, they walk across the parking lot of a 7 Eleven and he moves her out of the way of some broken glass on their first date. This is how she KNOWS he is a gentleman. Anyway- farewell Tom Thumbs and Circle Ks, hello 7 Elevens!

Coast Guard Day Picnic

August 4th is the Coast Guard's birthday so there was a picnic at Jay's base on Saturday to celebrate. Here's the fam...Ruthie adding a new meaning to "blue tooth" with birthday cake...

Harris, Junior Coastie...

And the guy with the awesome socks. I love it.

We had fun despite the heat, and the fact that the helo didn't make it- we were looking forward to that. Maybe next year!