Monday, December 10, 2012

It’s Great To be EIGHT

One reason for doing a friend birthday every 4 years is it hits all the “big” ones – 8, 12, and 16.  In our church, 8 is the age you get baptized, and we wanted to make everything special.

It’s become tradition in our building that the family serves a dessert after the service.  Everyone always does a sheet cake from costco – yummy, but a little pricy and then someone needs to dish it up and you have to get all the supplies and the clean up and – I didn’t want that!

I was excited when I saw this:

but then bummed when I realized she didn’t offer it as a printable!  But it’s so cute! The doughnuts make an 8, it’s self contained, no one needs to dish it up. Perfect! I figured I could make my own.

I found the bags at Joanns – wilton brand, mini size, in a package of 100. The are about 4 inches wide.

Then, using this tutorial, I spent a ridiculous amount of time making chalkboard looking toppers:

And printed and cut them out at fedex   *TIP: it was cheaper to print them black and white, and the looked almost the same.
Then the assembling began – 1.5 movies later and I was done!  in all, I spent about 5 hours working on this.  Want to save yourself 3 hours of time? Download this picture and your toppers are ready!

The day was wonderful – and the treats adorable!



 *check out places I link up to tab on top.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Very Harry Party: Lunch and our ride

Whew – typing all this up is reminding me just how much thought went into this whole thing! But these last few things were really simple to do .


We ate lunch at the Leaky Cauldron:



Lunch was just simple with hot dogs and string cheese and apples.


I did do color changing drinks - you add a couple of drops of food coloring to the glasses before and so even though it’s all just sprite, they are all different colors.


We also had “Hagrid’s Cake”, which is a SUPER easy one, since it requires no skill to make it look like Hagrid decorated it!


We planned on going to a local children’s museum, so we of course had to travel by Knight Bus





(If you can’t read the writing, the first one says “Knight Bus” ; the second “just 11 sickles”; the third, “Just stick out your wand hand . . . .”;  and the last “Knight Bus *hot chocolate and toothbrushes extra.” The party was on a Saturday. We didn’t wash it off, and we had several kids at church the next day VERY excited about our car!)


Girly-Lou thought she had the COOLEST birthday ever!

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Very Harry Party: Spell Books


I was super excited when I found THIS link for these spell books. I  love it when the hard work is done for me!  But hers were formatted to be full page – I didn’t want to use that much paper. So I ended up reformatting them be half page size.
I had fun wandering around Joann’s looking for the perfect “book” fabric, and ended up with this fun stiff velvety stuff on clearance – so the whole lot only cost me $1.50 to make. The outside page I did with blank cardstock to add some structure, but the whole thing is just sewed together.  It’s a lot of sewing, but to make 8 books only took about an hour.

One trick that I learned back in my high school sewing class will help: don’t take the fabric out of the machine. Just backstitch, and shove the next book right up next to it. You’ll end up with a big string of books that you then cut apart later.

She also has a Magical Creature book, which I just added to the back of mine. I took my own pictures of “creatures” and just used descriptions from JK Rowling’s book “Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them.” and changed them a bit to fit.


We used these for our game later.
The day of the party, I gave the kids a few minutes to study the spell book for their favorite spells.


Then we headed outside to play the game.

Our Game: I hid the “creatures” from the book around all around – 1/2 in the front and 1/2 in the back.
The kids were split up into houses, and got to race to find their creatures first. To capture a creature, they had to locate it, read the description from the book, and cast a spell on it. Then they had to bring it back and put it in their bin.


Ravenclaw was the winner.  They had so much fun they decided to hide the creatures for each other while I got lunch ready.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Very Harry Party: Wands

What’s a wizard without a wand?


I found THIS sign for Olivander’s shop.


I mostly used THIS tutorial for the wands – they really are easier than they look. I also looked on pintrest for some different style ideas.  It takes a TON of hot glue, and it took me about 90 minutes to make my 10 wands. They look really stupid before you paint them. But once they are done, the ROCK. I just spray painted mine with some dark walnut spray that I had.

Then I did a wash on them with either white, red, or green acrylic paint with water added.

My favorite were the green ones.


I also came up with the descriptions, such as “12 inches, rather springy, dragon heart-string core” for each one.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

a Very Harry Party: invites

Of course, the first thing you need is to invite everyone!


I used THIS template for the owls – but I didn’t like the orange background.
So I some quick photoshoping.  I opened the file, and then dragged it onto a new transparent background. Using the magic wand, I selected all the orange and deleted it.  Then I just put a brown digital scrapbook paper behind it.  I printed them out (they turn out to be 5 x 7 size) and assembled.

I loved THIS idea of a secret message hidden in the typical Hogwarts acceptance letter.  When you wrote down all the red letters it spelled out “It’s ____’s birthday party”  I cut out the papers, crumpled them up, and then lightly rubbed a brown ink pad over it to age the paper.

You can find McGonagal’s signature HERE on the side of the article.
To assemble – I needed a really little hole punch. I didn’t have one, so I instead I put the owl page on a pillow, and shoved a thick yarn needle through the paper. IMG_9800
A quick easy little hole for the cute baker’s twine to attach the scroll.

I also printed the addresses in emerald green on the envelopes. (The font is called abermarle swash, found HERE)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Very Harry Party

*this turned into WAY too long of a post, so I’m going to split it up over the next couple of days with all the links at the bottom of this post.

Friend birthday parties are kind of a big deal at our house. We only do them every 4 years – so we try to make them special when our kids get a friend party.

Girly-Lou is SUPER into Harry Potter right now, so she naturally wanted a Harry Potter Party (try saying that 5 times fast!) this year.

Now, there’s LOTS of stuff online for different Harry Potter stuff. I didn’t really do anything you  can’t find on your own, but I wanted to compile here all I did for ours.  Also keep in mind that you can make this as fancy as you want – but I did the whole thing for around $20! And Pintrest ROCKS for ideas (you can get most of the links on my board, here)

Every kid loves to get mail, so we sent our invites to their house:


Template link HERE.  How I changed it to come

When the kids showed up that day, first off we got our supplies: Wands and Spell books.


How I did them to come

Spell book idea HERE: The link is broken, but if you email her, she’ll get you the file with all the spells. 
Next we were sorted. 

*sorry about the picture. I didn’t have enough hands the day of the party!

I found THIS blog for the hat – it’s just a brown paper bag with the bottom cut off, and then twisted into a hat shape.  I held it over each kid’s head, said something about bravery or intelligence, and then sorted them into Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. 

We played a quick game

(details coming!)

Ate at the Leaky Cauldron too:


And took a ride on the Knight Bus to a local children’s museum to play.


Girly-Lou thought she had the COOLEST birthday ever!

Check out all the details:
spell books and game
lunch and ride

and linked up to the usual

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Idiopathic Short Stature and Needle Phobia

(Now that’s a title I never expected to write!)

This is Girly-Lou.


She’s short.


Really short. As in most kids 3 years younger than her are as tall or taller.

IMG_6546 copy

But she’s always been little. We brought her home from the hospital at 4 lbs 10 oz, and she’s just stayed small her whole life. We thought that was normal.

Back in June, I took her in for her regular check up. And we found out she had fallen clear off the growth chart.  What followed was 3 months of blood draws and x-rays and long scale tests. The results of all this? She was diagnosed as idiopathic short stature – a great big name meaning she’s really short but there’s no reason why. 

If we do nothing, she will probably grow to be about 4 foot 10.  Or we could do growth hormone replacement , which requires a shot once a day.  After lots of praying (and finding out our insurance would in fact pay for almost all of this up to $30,000 a year procedure!), the decision was made to go forward with the treatment.


IMG_9678 (2)

And here’s my moment of brilliance – my daughter is terrified of needles.


This tiny thing fills her with unbelievable anxiety.



A nurse came to our house to train me on the mixing of the meds and how to actually give the shot.  An agonizing screaming fest followed until I finally wrestled my girl down and poked her. I had to yell 4 times in her ear “It’s done. It’s done. It’s DONE. IT’S DONE!!!” before she stopped shrieking. 

After some brainstorming, I decided I’d sneak in to her room at night instead. The first night, she woke up just as I finished. I informed her what I did, and my daughter broke into a huge smile. She was so relieved it was already over. 

It’s working well so far – I get up at night with Jellybean anyway, so that’s not a problem.    Most nights she just scratches the area right after I remove the needle.  Once or twice she’s woken up before I did the shot and that’s been a trial to get through. But there’s my brilliant idea – just have your kid be asleep before you give them a nasty shot. So much easier than the screaming!

I just hope the treatment works. If we do all this work and screaming and expense for nothing, I will not be happy!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Sammy the Suicidal Fish

This is Sammy:


Yes, he’s a fish.  Why am I writing a story about a fish? Because it’s worth telling!

For the last three years, we’ve been raising children, not pets. Hubby and I have discussed at great lengths the idea of a pet.  But cats make me sneeze, and I just don’t like them. I love the idea of a dog, but #1- I already have 2 littles around the house that I have to stress about bodily functions with, and #2 – I’d much rather carve out space in my budget for diapers than for dog food. So, no, on a dog.  Birds are too noisy. The idea of keeping mice or other rodents just doesn’t work for me. And don’t even get me started on the idea of a snake.


So that left us with one good choice: fish.


We’ve had fish before. But we haven’t had any since we moved out of Euless.  So two months ago, we finally decided to buy a tank. Hubby came home with a nice 20 gallon set up and we filled it up.


And waited.


And waited.


And waited for that stupid thing to cycle. See, the thing is, if you just fill a tank up with water and dump in some fish, they will die. You have to wait until you have enough good bacteria for the water to be healthy.

After 6 weeks of waiting, the tank was finally ready. An last Saturday we headed as a family to the store to pick out our pets.

An hour later (after a 30 minute screaming fest, courtesy of ‘Lil), we had our selections in the tank. We picked out 2 neon tetras, 2 male guppies, and 1 glofish. All species we had experience with.  And all was well.


Until we realized that the glofish was a bully. He chased those guppies everywhere.  He wouldn’t let the other fish eat. And he just was a nuisance. We’ve never had that problem with fish before.  After thinking about it, we decided it was because the glofish wanted someone to school with, and we needed to buy more.  But those silly fish are $5 each! (they were on sale the week we bought them, but of course not now!) Slightly grumbling, we decided to go pick up one more that day.  After we made the decision, that dumb fish was just bugging everyone else so much (and the other fish were starting to appear sick), I decided to take it out of the tank until it had a friend to play with.

I grabbed a large bowl, filled it with tank water, and grabbed the net.  Anyone who has ever actually tried to catch a fish in one of those nets will be able to visualize the scene that occurred next. Eventually, I emerged victorious, dumped the stupid thing in the bowl, and went to tell Hubby what I had done.


I sat down to try and eat breakfast for the third time that day.  Hubby came into the room and looked in the bowl.

“Where did you put that fish?” he asked.

“In that bowl.”

“What bowl, there’s no fish in this one.”

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN there’s no fish. I put that glofish in there.”

“There is no fish in this bowl. Did you check the net?”

“Of COURSE I checked the net. I put the fish in the water, and he was swimming around like crazy, totally hyper.”

“Well, there’s no fish there now.”

“What did it do, jump out?”

We looked on the floor. We looked in the bowl. We looked back in the tank. Eventually we found a small puddle next to the bowl, and a track of water leading . . . back behind my awesome dresser!

Sammy the suicidal fish had jumped ship.

At this point we were both worried about the smell of a decomposing fish more than the idea of a rescue. After all, it had been about 5 minutes since he’d jumped out of the water.  Adding a 20 gallon tank to the top of a large dresser made it very hard to move. Eventually Hubby succeeded, and much to his surprise, Sammy was still flopping around. He quickly put the fish back in the water, and to everyone's surprise, Sammy started swimming around like nothing had happened.





He doesn’t bother the other fish anymore.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Just one wish

Right now I really just need someone to look me in the eyes and tell me "I promise. Someday you really will be able to use the bathroom again without the entire world going to pieces around you."

Really. Just 2 minutes without screaming would be really great!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Winner Winner!

Sorry this took me so long to get out, but I'm having too much fun gabbing with family to get online! (and I have a screaming baby on my lap so this will be short!) But the winner of the new Josi Kilpack book is . . . #7 (sorry, no picture - this computer is harder to use than mine!) And who is #7? My cute sister Launa! (and fyi: she also got the most brownie points for making me laugh!) Congrats (I guess you'll have to come over and see me again and hold little Jellybean. What a hardship, right!)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

*pssst! Wanna win a book?

'Cause it's that time again!

Yup, hot off the presses, I have an autographed copy of Josi Kilpack's newest book, Tres Leches.

Usually I give a little blurb about the book and how much I liked it. But I'm not this time. "Cause other than the recipes, I don't have a clue what happens to Sadie in New Mexico. In all honesty, my book came late last night, and I have to leave in just a couple of days to fly to Utah. Since most of my readers actually live in Utah, I want to bring the book with me to save $ on shipping, 'cause that's how I roll!

CONTEST: win a copy of Tres Leches.
TO ENTER: leave ONE comment on THIS post telling me something interesting. Say your favorite memory of me. Or a random fact. Or the thrilling tale of how you shaved your legs yesterday.  Just something more than "I want a free book".
DEADLINE: Sunday, Sept 23, 8:00 pm Central time.  Winner will be randomly drawn from all entries (though bonus brownie points to all comments that make me laugh!). I'll announce the winner on this blog . . . um sometime after I land in Utah!

Friday, September 14, 2012

A change of perspective

8:20. The kids are finally out the door and waiting for the bus (there are some GREAT advantages to having your driveway be the bus stop!)  Lil’ is watching a movie and Jellybean is content for a minute (yes I changed his nick name. This one fits him better!). I head downstairs to pay some bills.

8:24. I hear the door slam shut and someone crying.  I run upstairs to see what the problem is and if I can fix it QUICK because the bus should be here NOW.  Buddy is standing there - without shoes – crying. I turn and see the bus pull up. I ask him quick what the problem is, but of course he just turns around on the couch and starts crying.  The bus leaves without him.

At this point I’m just bugged. Why on earth did he come inside. And WHY ON EARTH did he take off his shoes?  I don’t have time to drive him to school, I’ve got too much to do today.  I finally get it out of him that he was cold and so he came inside. I don’t have a problem with that, but why the shoes?  He thought he had enough time to change out of his shorts into long pants.

He goofed off all morning long. I told him that he would have had time if he wouldn’t have played so much before going to wait for the bus!  VERY frustrated now, I told him to go change.

And I went downstairs to pay those bills (well, more to cool off than anything). I did NOT want to have load everyone up to drive him to school and then come home and get everyone dressed so I can do all my errands today.  As I cooled down, I remembered the rule I made last school year – a rule I threatened with a  lot but never had to use.  If you miss the bus, you have to walk to school.

Buddy is now dressed.  I go and talk to him about why he missed the bus.  And then I asked him if he remembered the rule.  “Yes. If I miss the bus I have to walk to school all by myself.”  I told him something I never said last year – that he had added the “by myself” part. Jellybean was crying, so I had Buddy give him a bottle while I got Lil and myself in shoes and the stroller ready.  I hoped that this encouraged Buddy to get ready faster next time, and at least I’d get a walk in this morning.

We had to keep up a pretty fast walk to try and make the one mile in the 14 minutes we now had.  And as we walked, something amazing happened. Buddy started talking. He started telling me about his class, about his friends. He talked about his teacher, about what he liked, about what he wanted to do later.  And I realized this burden, this stress in my day, was not a trial at all. It was the best conversation I’ve ever had with my 6 year old.  Listening to him articulate his hopes and fears helped me to know him in  a way I’ve never been able to do before.

Finding the joy in this day made all the difference in the world. I’m very ok with what happened now. And if he misses the bus again, I know it might be the best thing for our relationship that could happen.

I’m even thinking of picking him up from school for that walk next time.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nursing Thoughts

I can sum up my thoughts of breastfeeding in three little words: I loathe it!

It’s painful.  I have a very hard time finding way that doesn’t make my back ache.  My breasts ache all the time.  It’s boring. It takes forever.  I never think my kids are actually getting enough. I’ve never had a good milk supply with any of my kids. It just plain frustrates me all around.

I had zero interest in nursing my Little Fellow.  Absolutely none.  But, everywhere you turn in the baby world you are bombarded with the cry “breast is best!” And have you ever priced formula? That stuff is crazy expensive.  I knew I owed it to both the baby and the budget to at least attempt it.

The first two days went fine.  For all appearances, he was getting enough to eat.  Then, on day three, he went more than 18 hours without needing a diaper change!  And his jaundice numbers were getting higher and higher (that stuff only gets out one way!).  So that night I had them bottle feed him.  His bodily functions returned to normal, and his skin started to return to non-nacho colors.

“Great!” I exclaimed!  I’m DONE nursing.  He obviously isn’t getting what he needs from me, and I can say I tried!  For the next 36 hours I did no nursing at all.

Then we went to his pediatrician after we were home from the hospital.  Everything looked great (especially the jaundice which was almost completely gone now) . . . except for one thing. My Fellow was tongue tied! (anyone familiar with my stump will not wonder at all where he got those genes from!)  We talked it over and clipped it right there in the office.  The doctor encouraged me to try nursing again – that tongue couldn’t latch on properly before. I begrudgingly agreed . . . and it worked! (grumble grumble!)

But I didn’t have much yet to give him.  I was feeding him for 40 minutes, and then still giving him a bottle for another 20.  Let’s be practical here – I now have four kids, and I was spending an entire hour feeding my son!  It was hard enough during the day, but to do that all night long too was just too much. I told Hubby I’d give it a week, but if it didn’t get better, I was DONE!

Two days later it was only taking 30 minutes to feed him. DRAT!

I still hate it, but it isn’t as painful as it was.  And about half of the time I don’t need to follow up with a bottle after, so I know he’s actually getting enough from me.  I have no idea how long this will work, but for now we’ll keep going.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Unexpected 2: The Saga Continues

“So, I was telling the nurse . . .” I pause in mid sentence as both the doctor and I stare at my very pregnant belly.  Whatever is coming from that cool hear-the-baby thingy is NOT normal.  It sounds like a horse galloping over a cliff. A three legged horse that keeps stumbling, missing a beat. 

The doctor swishes over to the other side. No better. This heartbeat is just off.

“Yeeeaaaah, I’m sending you over to the hospital right now.” The doctor informs me. “AND, at 38 1/2 weeks, I don’t see a reason to not just keep you there. I think we just need to do this c-section today.”

Oh FLIP! my brain starts going off in  a million directions.  This IS NOT what I was planning on today!

First, I have to wait for my friend to finish her appointment. She’s due just 3 weeks after me, but because of a medical reason can’t drive, so we do our appointments together. 


And my sister, who has been my emergency backup, is in Utah for two weeks with her whole family.


And my next door neighbor, who is my secondary backup, is in Idaho for the next two weeks visiting family.


And the wonderful woman who is watching my kids right now . . .I don’t have her phone number in my cell, so I just hope that it’s listed in the phone book.


And my Hubby is off flying somewhere and not scheduled to get home until Friday.


Just a couple of things going on here!

I find the wonderful woman’s phone number and let her know what’s going on.  Then I call my in-laws and ask if they can manage the 2.5 hour drive tonight to pick up the kids from her house.  And then I try to call my Hubby. (no answer).


I dash back home, throw my toothbrush and retainer into my hospital bag. I tear around the house grabbing socks and pants and blankets for the kids to have at Grandma and Grandpa's. I pull out the kids car seats so they can drive safely. And then I speed the 30 minute drive to the hospital.


I find my way to Labor and Delivery. They hook me up and ask 6 million questions.


AND . . . everything looks normal.  But I’m just not quite comfortable.  And I start having contractions.  Now, normally, I’ve been having one really good contraction a day, and a handful of “oh maybe that was one” along side it.  But in the 60 minutes I’m hooked up to that machine, I have 7 good contractions.  Not regular, not hard enough to say I’m in labor, but I just don’t normally have that many contractions.

I get 5 calls from my can’t-drive friend, 3 from the wonderful woman, 4 from my in-laws, and one from someone else from my church.

And I still can’t get ahold of Hubby.

Two marvelous  men from my church come to give me a blessing.  The one brings his wife so I have someone to stay with me. 

And still Hubby’s phone is turned off. (LAND THE FREAKIN PLANE ALREADY I NEED TO TALK TO YOU!!!)

The nurse calls my doctor. Because everything is looking so great, and I can’t get ahold of my hubby, he decides to send me home.  BUT because things were just so off in the office, he really doesn't want to wait until  my scheduled date of Aug 6 (which is two days AFTER my due date).  But he’ll talk to me later.

AND I’m still having contractions. What?!?!?! I really don’t get that!

I start to drive to get my kids.  And FINALLY I get through to my Hubby! They’re holding the plane for him to get back to Chicago, so he can then fly back to our place hopefully by tonight. Even though we aren’t doing the surgery tonight, I’m grateful he’ll be there soon.

It’s now  6:00. I’m STARVING. And I figure my kids will be too.  So I stop by Little Caesar's and grab two pizzas – now Hubby will have something to eat if I got back to the hospital.

I get to the wonderful woman’s house.  Someone has ordered pizza delivered to her house so she can feed my kids. (aww, aren’t people great!). So we sit and eat that pizza, and I save mine for Hubby. Just as we finish eating, the In-Laws call: “Hi, we’re here. We figured the kids would be hungry, want to meet us at McDonalds and we’ll get you all some food?” Aww, food is so nice even if you don’t need it.

We drive home. I now have time to actually FOLD all those clothes I threw into that bag for the kids so you can actually zip it shut! 30 minutes later I’ve kissed them goodbye on their way back with the In-Laws.

Doctor now calls. We both agree, while everything looks fine, we just don’t feel right about waiting. Hubby has requested (since he’s now not flying the rest of his scheduled trip) that we do this ether Thursday or Friday. Sounds good to the doctor, so he calls the hospital to schedule the surgery.  5 minutes later, I have an 11:30 slot scheduled for Thursday, July 26.

Which means, as I type this, that I have just over 12 hours until I need to be at the hospital.  Let’s see what else this kid can throw at me!  If my water breaks at 2 am, that will be the final CRAZY straw!


Well, my water did NOT break. I did however have the hardest contractions I’ve ever experienced when not being induced!  All night long, 3-10 minutes apart.  Not regular enough to actually do anything, but hard enough to continually wake me up.  I was so happy when morning came and we could go to the hospital!


The surgery went great.  And at 11:42 am on July 26, 2012, we got to meet this little guy!

Introducing . . . .Little Fellow


(this is my favorite shot from the hospital!)

He’s 7 pounds 7 ounces of joy.  And my little family is complete!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


“Oh, and by the way, you’re measuring a bit small today, so I’d like you to go in next week for an ultrasound to make sure everything is alright with your baby.” Without realizing just exactly how he has stressed me out, my doctor states this in a very calm tone.

Small? What do you mean SMALL? In four pregnancies I’ve NEVER measured small. And I’m not sure ANYONE in my family measures small – we always look like beached whales!

For the next 5 days, my brain goes into overtime. Ok, so there are two possibilities with me measuring small. First – the doctor only measures my uterus, so maybe my uterus is just small. Second, maybe the baby is small . . . but he’s been big at my other two ultrasounds, so that would mean there is probably something wrong, like maybe the placenta is having problems. And I’m officially 37 weeks, a this appointment is at the hospital, so I’d probably go in for an emergency c section.  Do I tell Hubby this? Umm, no. He’s flying and there’s nothing anyone can do, so I’ll just stress on my own.

And oh BOY do I stress! I count down the hours until the appointment. I pack my bag in case I’m staying at the hospital. I make a list of what Hubby would need to back so the kids can go to my sister’s house.   I make sure EVERYTHING is as ready as possible.  And everyone except for Hubby know that there’s a chance I’m having this kid TODAY.  But I don’t want to worry him, so I keep him in the dark still.

The drive goes fine.  I find a place to park. And then I proceed to get lost in the hospital.  What do you want from me – it’s like the third time I’ve ever been to this office!  I finally find my way, only 15 minutes late. But that’s ok, because they’re so far behind I still have to wait 30 minutes for my turn.

The tech calls me back.  “We’re checking baby size, right?" she asks.  “Yes, I’m measuring small.” I respond.

She squirts my belly and starts up the machine. My first thought – WOW that baby looks big. But I’ve never had an ultrasound this late, so what do I know.

“That’s a good sized head there,” the tech comments.  “And baby IS head down, which is always good to see.” She continues to take measurements – the femur, the abdomen.

“Well, this is NOT a small baby.”  Oh? “Right now, he’s measuring 90th percentile, which works out to be 8 pounds 2 ounces.”

WHAT!! I still have three more weeks to go, and he’s measuring a pound and half bigger than any other of my children? She tells me that there’s a margin of error of half a pound either way, but STILL!

A few minutes later, I’m in an exam room with my doctor. he informs me that I have the biggest baby he’s seen that day.  And then tells me, I’m still measuring only 34  weeks. I have NO clue where this baby is hiding!

So many things with this child have been unexpected. With my other three I gained right about exactly 30 pounds. So far, I’m only up 12 pounds with this one.  If this baby really is 8 pounds, once you figure in all the fluid and placenta and everything, that means I’ve actually LOST weight.
I was crazy dizzy the first few months too. And much more nauseous than usual.  I’m much more tired than with my others.  And I just feel huge (although apparently, I’m not!)
My feet are insanely puffy. Especially my right foot – it HURTS by the end of the day it’s so swollen. 


As of today, I have 16 more days until my surgery. . . which is only 3 days after my due date (won’t that be fun!). So for now, I have to take lots of breaks while I’m cleaning or playing.  I have to drink lots of water, which in turn means even more trips to the bathroom. I need a nap every day or I just can’t function.  These last couple of weeks will be  a test of wills, but I WILL make it!  And after this whole fiasco, at least I can say I really am ready now!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The most beautiful furniture I own

Also known as how to take two years to fix a dresser.

 Are you ready for a LONG story?  Good, ‘cause here we go!

Back in February 2011, I’m pretty sure the rental across the street was evicted. At least one day there was suddenly a bunch of stuff out on the lawn. I looked at it for more than a week, especially this great big dresser.  It had so much potential . . . but I  didn’t really need a big dresser.  So I thought I’d let someone else take it.


But no one did. That dresser just sat there for three weeks.  Finally, one day it began to snow, and I KNEW I HAD to rescue it!

Hubby was, of course, flying. So I made 2309472 trips back and forth with drawers. Then I backed my van onto the lawn and wrestled the dresser into the back.  From there I only had to lift it again into my house. and that baby was MINE!!

I knew I wanted to paint it. I also knew that would bug my Hubby, who has declared that all paint feels “yucky”, and only tolerates it on walls.  (Some people just don’t know potential when they see it!)  But one of the drawers was very damaged – I couldn’t just stain this thing and have it look decent.


And look at that detail – do YOU want to sand that down?


But I wasn’t sure the best way to go about fixing this baby up.  So it sat in my kitchen until November.  Yes, for nine months it just sat there waiting for both inspiration and the funds to fix it!
I finally bought some Orange Stripper – ‘cause I’d heard great stuff about it.  But I learned something about stripping furniture in this process. First of all, DON’T put it on with a sponge brush – stripper will eat right through it.  Use a bristle brush.  And DON’T try to use a curved trowel to scrape it off – it’s a mess! Just buy a real scrapper (like a 5 in 1 tool).  And WHATEVER you do, DON’T start it until you have all the stuff you need!


I gunked up the entire dresser, drawers and all before I figured out these steps.  And then the stripper dried on those drawers before I could scrape them off.  And instead of cleaning it up right away . . . I shoved the whole mess into the back of the garage for the next 8 months.
NOT a good idea! When I finally decided to work on it again, this is what I found:


Ugg – look a that crusty stuff. I had to scrub hard on every part of this thing THREE times to get that off.  It was awful, especially all those details.  And even after three crazy scrubbings, there were still crevices where the stripper was still there. But at that point, I just didn’t care any more.
Honestly, it was now June, and hot, and I had drug this dresser into the middle of the garage so I couldn’t park there until I finished it. So it was time to get serious.  I borrowed my sisters awesome sander and got to work. 
(and now is where I become a bad blogger and didn’t take any process pictures!)
My plan was to paint/glaze the bottom and stain the top. So I started by turning the whole thing upside down so it was easier to get to the bottom.  The sander worked great on the flat surfaces . . . not so much on the rest. But I was tired and knew I was painting, and just didn’t care.  Because of all the detail, I knew spray paint would be the easiest method.  So I started with some spray primer.
Something was wrong with it – where I had sanded down to bare wood the primer bounced off instead of sticking. Seriously, it was weird. After three coats on everything (aka, 3 full CANS of spray primer), you could still see bare wood.  Well, that won’t work!  So I grabbed some regular Zinsser brush primer and use that on the actual dresser.  MUCH better. 
Then I started with the paint. I was worried the spray would be bad again – but this time I was using Rustoleum 2x coverage, and it worked like a charm.  After the first coat it was looking so much better!  I used just over 3 cans of paint to get a beautiful coverage. 

Then flipped it over and sanded down the top.  Some wood conditioner and stain later, and it was a BEAUTIFUL color.  Then I mixed the same stain with some glaze to take the dresser from ok to AMAZING (it really is awesome what glaze can do for a piece!) I finished the whole thing off with 3 coats of wipe on polly, sanding VERY lightly the flat surfaces between coats.

Ok, enough blabbing, here’s some pictures of the gorgeousness that is now finished!


(Sigh). I love this thing!
The outside pictures are bit more accurate for the color – it’s a cream not a true white.


Look at that detail!


The luscious stained top:


And what’s that behind the door?


Another surprise – I like the two tone of it, do you?


Here’s the cost breakdown for you – please keep in mind, that I think I could have saved a good $20 if I would have done this thing right from the first!

Stripper: $6
5 in1 tool: $6
Scrub Brushes: $3
Primer (3 cans at $3 each): $9
Spray Paint (Rustoleum Heirloom White, 4 cans at $4 each) $16
New Handles: $15
Stain (rosewood water based) $0.97 (on clearance!)
Sand paper: $7.50
Brush on primer: on hand
Wood conditioner: on hand
Glaze: on hand
Wipe on Poly: on hand
Grand Total: $63.47


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