Friday, August 27, 2010

Look what I made!

You might remember a post from a few months ago about a certain baby shower I hosted for a certain friend of mine and a certain handmade growth chart I planned as a baby gift...Well, after the party fun ended, I stopped working on the growth chart, and the longer it went untouched, the more scared I was to touch it. This summer I've made a real effort to finish some projects and clear out my craft room. I must say, it wasn't easy. After working on it a bit, I got excited to finish it and in a rush, I grabbed some old varnish to protect it. I didn't have quite enough to do a complete coat, so I started scraping the bottle out and smearing the thicker, half-dried varnish on. Next thing I know, the top section of the chart was covered in a white, streaky film! Yikes! I tried a few things to fix it, but in the end, I had to repaint the top portion. But finally, after 9 months of, well, thinking about working on it and probably only a month and a half of actually working on it, it's time for the big reveal!~And here are a few close-ups, since I don't have a fancy camera and its difficult to get a good picture of the whole thing...If you're interested in trying something like this yourself, here's what I did:
I started with an inexpensive piece of MDF and had the friendly guy at the store cut it down to 3 approximately 1x4 sections. I lightly primed it, then used a blue spray paint as a base coat. The images are loosely based on a childrens book, and I spent hours looking online, through my kids' stash, and even through Barnes and Noble for images I liked. I didn't copy anything exactly--I was just looking for inspiration, and besides, its all for personal use. I painted with craft paint, but if you are comfortable mixing and using real acrylic paint, it might work better (craft paint doesn't have great coverage). I think I'll try that next time. I outlined loosely with a black sharpie, which is optional, but I think it works nicely. The numbers are spray-painted wood numbers for the craft store, and just glued on. I covered the whole thing with a clear varnish found near the craft paints at the craft store. Since this is for kids, its good to have the added protection, but it also enhances the color nicely.
So there you go! I'd love to hear if anyone out there tries this on their own!
Visit thecsiproject.com

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not so summer blues-y

In that last post, I forgot to mention that this summer we also...

...visited the animals and rides at the local county fair...
...found a new beach...
...kept up with piano lessons despite the constant whining (When can I quit, Mom?)...

...attending and ocassionally taught a weekly ASL kids' class...

...visited the YMCA on a mostly weekly basis for Mom's workout and a family swim (and Aaron is getting more comfortable swimming on his own with a floaty)...

...and we're down to less than 2 weeks of summer break, trying to enjoy every day we have left. I'm feeling better, because I'm pretty sure we've had a great summer!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Blues

I have a bad case of the summer blues.

My kids love school, and as much as I fight routine, we all really do need it. The monsters are getting restless. This summer we've stayed close to home but have packed in a lot of activities, such as....

the GR zoo ...
(Did I mention I lost Nathan at the zoo? It was bad. So bad, in fact, that I actually found him at the lost child station after getting a whole bunch of zookeepers involved. I didn't realize that we picked the busiest day of the year to head to the zoo...Super-bad Mom moment.)
the beach (again and again and again...)...a visit to Ohio...
a surgery...

some stressful decision making (which I will post about once this particular stressful decision has been made)...

said good-bye to some good friends...
an attempt at daily chore charts and school time...

almost daily playdates with neighbor kids and weekly-ish playdates with farther-away friends...
lots of trip to the library (Hannah is on a big Harry Potter-kick, but she prefers to listen to the books on my Ipod than actually read them...She'll start book 4 soon.)...

Christian's usual work travel...
watched a ton of tv...

the necessary back-to-school shopping...

crafting and home decorating (also a necessity!)...
...and with two weeks left, I still have a long wish list, including at least 2 more trips to the beach, a family bike ride, some home repair stuff, maybe host a party or two. I actually feel like we've reached that point no amount of activity can please the monsters....desperation has set in!

However, the countdown has begun and whatever I do or don't do over the next 14 days,I'm so thankful for back to school!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cheap crafts

Last week I had another burst of interest in finishing some projects from my pile of "I'll do it later" crafts.
Most of them aren't fancy, but I'm still pleased!

First up, the girls' room. I bought a table for their room last summer from a garage sale for $5 and wanted to turn it into a desk. The original idea flopped, but this summer we built a small shelf for the table top, using only leftover pieces from other projects and pieces of their old chest of drawers, and painted it white. Its just the right size for books, and the shelf gives them a place to put all the cutesy crafts they make. Its one of those "don't look too close" type of projects, but it gave us an opportunity to try out the saw we bought for Father's Day.
Also in their room, I found some $1 clips, extra large size, from Michael's. With a little mod podge, craft paper, and Command sticky strips, they are now a cute way to hang the kids art.
One last thing in their room---Target's dollar spot had some cute plastic turn-style organizers in blue and red. I spray painted it dark pink to match the girl's room and its great for containing all their art stuff.
Have you seen those cute Scrabble-tile necklaces that are all-over blogland? I wanted to give them a try. Rather than tear apart my Scrabble game (which we rarely use), I found wood pieces at the craft store, mod-podged with craft paper, and covered with Paper-glaze (a thick, clear glue that dries with a glass-like finish). I made a bunch, and they are interchangable on the chain.
Oh, and see how the picture is completely off center? I fixed that, too.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Worker-man

No, its not Halloween...this is how Christian came home yesterday from an actual day of work. (He's an engineer, but usually he wears normal dress pants and steel-toe loafers)
They must really like him--See? They got his this BYU hard hat, especially made for him!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Inquiring minds want to know...

Rachel's surgery is a success!

The whole day took 5 hours longer than expected, but she is healthy, doing well, feeling well, and the cysts/cholesteatoma-both of them--were removed AND the drs did an extra electrical hearing test on her right hear (the one without an implant) and for the first time, we learned that she does in fact have the ability to hear on that side. This leaves open the possibility of a second implant, and a 6th surgery, but its complicated so we'll get back to you on that later...
But for now, here's a recap.

When we last checked in, Rachel was more excited than a child waiting for surgery ought to be. After making crowns, coloring, and taking pictures of assorted items in the pre-op room, and meeting hordes of doctors, nurses, and child-life helpers, Rachel was given a nasal shot to help her fall asleep before general anesthesia. She wasn't a fan, but minutes later she was dozing on Daddy's shoulder. Christian got to wear the fancy scrubs and take her into the operating room. Its tradition.(Surgery #1, age 2 1/2, with Daddy, different hospital, same bear...)

We then played the waiting game. An hour or so into it, we met with the Otolaryngologist about the hearing test--yay for good news! The actual cutting part took about 2 hours, during which we took part in a clinical survey and earned $5 to help offset the cost of lunch. When the surgeon came out afterward, he said that her inner ear looked good--no infection--and that one cyst came out very easily, but the other was larger than anticipated and broke apart as he removed it. Still, good all around. We were-and are- thrilled.
Rachel took her time waking up, and when she did, she immediately began asking to go home.(close-up of the Princess Leia head-dress)

Thus began the careful ritual of trying to get her to eat, so she could take pain medication, without having her eat too much and get sick. One round of vomitting kept us in the recovery room an extra hour and a half, but at least she could pick out a free teddy bear and book.

She was a good kid on the way home, took very little pain medication (the doctor mentioned that she may not have very many active nerves left in the left ear due to surgeries...), and slept well that night. The next day she was up and playing, eating normally, but wanted to hide her scar, so I rigged up this cute little headband for her....(Rachel didn't take her pullover off for days, regardless of the summer weather...she didn't want anything touching her ear, even a shirt! I finally convinced her she couldn't wear it to church...)

Thanks so much for the thoughts and prayers directed our way. I always get so nervous when Rachel has surgery--um, understandably, I think. This might be the first time everything has gone as planned, surgically speaking. I'm just so grateful that Rachel is so resilient--she honestly enjoyed the attention, and takes the pain and discomfort in stride. I think the hardest part for her was going without her implant (and without hearing anything) for a few days and not being able to swim for a few weeks. She's a good kid! Oh, and I'm so thankful for good doctors. Have I mentioned that we have coincidentally moved and used the top 3 implant centers in the country? Its almost like Someone is watching over my kid and guiding our family... :) and I'm grateful.