Uber Handy, Part 2

Uber handy husband has been at it again. And here his in in all his 'please don't make me shave on the weekend' glory. If all it takes is a little half-'stache on Saturday for projects to get done, I'm all for it.

Here's our hallway and laundry doors beforehand. Back when we moved in, we painted these white. Sort of white. There was a mural to cover up, but we got tired of coat after coat of primer and paint. The top doors cover a storage area, the bottom doors cover the washer and dryer on one side, and the water heater/cleaning supply cabinet on the other. Quite handy for an old house I must say. I'm really thankful my washer is not in the basement. If we had a basement.

Bifold doors were my original wish so I could open it more easily to do laundry, until I found out that we'd have to pay for a custom fit. No thanks. And then I figured out (smart girl that I am) that I didn't have to store the laundry detergent in the right side cleaning cabinet, but I could just put it on the floor next to the washer instead (see in middle picture). Duh. Now I only have to open one door to do laundry. I can't count the times I swung both of those semi-heavy doors back and forth trying to get one load of laundry done. But again, at least it wasn't trekking down to a basement.

So we started talking about what to do to spice them up. Enter chalkboard paint. Originally we were going to paint the entire space of both bottom doors in chalkboard. Thankfully we got nervous that it would darken up the hallway before we tried it. So after much dreaming, 2 trips to Lowes (which is actually pretty good for us), and uber handy husband's skillz, we now have two chalkboards for Grayson with one side dueling as an easel for crayon drawing and (future) painting. We also decided the yellow of the hallway would be much better as the main background color, and I'm still wondering why we never did this part sooner.

I must point out and brag on uber handy husband's skillz : two perfect coats of chalkboard paint, custom made moudling cut to size per wife's requests, two spare curtain holder ends and a wooden dowel spray painted white for the paper roll holder, perfectly cut slits in the top and bottom moudling on the paper side to feed the paper and tear off the masterpieces in a straight line, and then, even though you can't see it, screws and blocks to hold the doors in place to keep them from swinging while little Picasso is at work (they're not on a track so they used to swing freely). Impresivo if you ask me.

I think when she gets a little older we might add a tray with supplies underneath the paper roll side like a real easel. But right now she would just take everything out and eat it. And whenever we get to painting, it will be the perfect time for me to finally get around to sewing oil cloth into some splat mats to protect the floor.

The improvement has been a big hit. She's very much in love with the chalk. She knows the color "blue", says "ga-ga" (?) with enthusiam in response to "would you like to color?", and when she is trying to decide on a color, she says "uhhhh". Apparently I taught her that one. Who knew I even said that when trying to make a decision.
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Thanks Shu-Shu!

Welcome to our house Kitchen Helper! Gramashu ordered this fun little gadget so I can wash Gray's hands without breaking my back and so she can help with all things kitchen. Although it looks like it in the picture, I haven't trained her yet on washing dishes, but boy would that be a fun trick. I just gave her the plate and spoon so she'd stand still for the picture. It has 3 different heights so it can adjust as she grows, it pulls right up next to the counter, has a chalkboard on one side and a whiteboard on the other, and best of all, it folds up to only about 7 inches wide. What a fun gift!

It also doubles as a fort.

And also from Shu-Shu, her very own pair of bubblegum pink Converse One-Stars. I tell you, it doesn't get much cuter than these. We sure are thankful for grandparents that spoil us! (and yes, her feet really are that big. her right foot is a full half inch longer than her left, so she wears a size 6 in these and a 7 in her other shoes!)
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On the home front...

We're considering renovating our attic/second floor space, so it's made me want to jump on getting some spaces on the first floor cleaned out and reorganized. Project 1: Bookcase from the college years in the guest bedroom/office/craft room. I've always wondered if we could paint the fake wood MDF, so I pleaded with my uber handy husband and he acquiesced. He added spare trim from the tool shed to the top, painted two coats of primer and two coats of paint (on the porch, in the cold), and it was ready to load. We sorted our books, made $20 at the used bookstore for some trade-ins, spent $15 of that at Target for some new jars that I've had my eye on, and I reorganized it all until 11:30pm one night when uber handy husband was out of town (because who can sleep when your hubby is gone? not me). Everything else 'new' on the shelf was pulled from other rooms and seems to fit much better here. My gift wrap organizer (yes I have one, and yes I love it because I'm a dork like that) wasn't used as frequently as my ribbon stash, so the over-the-door ribbon roll holder (aka, former bath towel holder which was reconned for ribbon early on in our marriage) got a re-do. Top two pics from left to right were the 'before' shots, last four are the 'afters'.

Next up, re-do on the laundry doors. Stay tuned.

In other home news, I'm taking a cake decorating course at our AC Moore. If you're local, Heather rocks as a teacher and I highly recommend it. Below is my first "test" cake. And yes, don't be confused, Grayson did already turn 1 last September, this was for practice. Warning: cake decorating makes your kitchen blow up. And the really good icing has a certain ingredient (to not be disclosed because you can enjoy the taste more when you don't know what it is) that does not like to come clean very easily and will stop up the drains in your 100+ year old house and make you need to call the plumber.
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"Only a dad would think of doing that"

That's an exact quote when I told Mil to "come here and bring the video camera!"

Grayson has turned into quite the daredevil: full speed jumping on pillows, standing on "pusher" like it's a skateboard, laughing while I hang her upside down, riding my parents' spring loaded horse rocker, getting three bumps and brusies to the face on Monday, etc.

I love it.


Speed Blogging

Snow day. Loved: her thumb, frisky maggie, marching around on the snow. Didn't Love: touching the snow with her bare hands . . . but also putting her mittens back on - go figure.

MLK Day Off. Loved: reading in the fort, sitting in the fort, rolling around in the fort, chewing on crayons. Didn't Love: when I told her to stop chewing the crayons.

Bird Watching at the Park. Loved: seeing the Turducken (or whatever it is), chasing the "duh duh", throwing bread like a boy. Didn't Love: when I ran off and leftt her and Millie for dead when a goose tried to snatch some bread out of my hand.
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Christmas continued...in January

After Christmas we had a fun visit from my dad, who used to be Pop-Pop, but has now turned into to a sort of 'Pa-Pa' according to Grayson. He got to witness firsthand her wild side at the park as she continued to enjoy the slide head first instead of feet first. He brought her a new stuffed Mickey Mouse that she adores and calls "ma-ma". Apparently she felt like she was a bit short on words that sounded like "ma-ma" (Mama, MayMay, Maggie, etc.).

Then it was off to Raleigh for a weekend with Gramashu (now "sh-sh"), Mamaw (yet another "ma-ma" with a bit of awwww thrown in to spice it up), and Dampa George. Grayson also finally got to meet Eleanor, Adam, Henry, Max, Chris, and Heather (Dampa's crew) but somehow I didn't pick up my camera over brunch that day. Boo.

Please notice the dog in the picture below. Callie is staring at this stuffed chik-a-dee toy given to Grayson that's on the shelf behind mom. She was obsessed with it, and it was even before she knew it made a chirping sound. But she just stared at it, never tried to tear it apart or even give it a lick. Maggie still hasn't figured that one out at home either. Also notice Grayson staring in complete awe and wonder at "baby's new diaper bag", aka plastic wipes, powder, spoon, bowl, sippy cup, etc. etc. etc..all for her baby. Big hit Gramashu, big hit.
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Sugar, please

Since this is my 7th post of today, which entirely exceeds my daily limit here, I'll leave you with our sugar cookie toddler adventure. My mamaw's sugar cookie recipe won a gold star as usual. Avery was totally into it. Grayson wasn't so sure. And I loved it, because Justin never lets me put on too many sprinkles, but Avery loaded it on in every color. Nice and crunchy through the sprinkles, slightly chewy through the cookie. Yum. Yum. More later on my side of the family's Christmas celebrations!

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Matchy Matchy

The after-Christmas fun continued. If only picasa would let you post more than 4 pictures at a time...the outtakes of these shots are comical. Gramashu (my mom) gave Gray and Avery matching purses for Christmas. And aunt Mimi/Mama sewed them matching dresses. So it was cause for a photo-op to say the least.

One outtake for a laugh. This was one of the last shots of this series. Avery has a cube on her head and is off in a full tilt run. Grayson just threw her cube off her head and its hanging in mid-air. Jackson now has his paci, and a block halfway on his head and is fascinated by the remote on the floor.
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3 under three

Opening presents...

Playing outside...

Avery turns 3 in March. Grayson is 1. Jackson is 8 months. Whew. Ready for a Christmas nap!
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Breakfast at Toad Hall

These two were excited about the angel biscuits, hominy, pastry, sausage, eggs, and country ham.

And here we are at our annual in-front-of-the-stockings photo. Christmas 2008-

What a difference a year makes (and a new camera makes!). Christmas 2007-
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Apparently I took 150 pictures on Christmas Day alone. So here starts the attempt to capture the highlights...

We woke up at home on Christmas morning and showed Grayson her new play kitchen. What can I say, it was, and still is, a HUGE hit. The pictures caught some the excitement.

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Happy Christmas Eve!

Yippeee for cousins. The Norths arrived Christmas Eve day and it was time to party (and to take pictures. a. lot. of. pictures.) We headed off to church that afternoon and sat on the front row, kids in tow. Grayson tried to take off her dress in front of the entire congregation (or at least show everyone her be-bo) and we fed all 3 kids their weight in goldfish and cheerios to keep them content. It was a great service though and we all enjoyed it!

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First Things First

I was tagged forever ago by my friend Heather from high school (go cougars!) to post the 6th picture from the 6th folder. I'm not 100% sure if I went to the right folder, but we'll call it close enough. This was from a post about how Maggie enjoyed kissing Grayson. Since this post, the kissing frenzy has only increased. And they both love it, much to this germ-disliking mama's dismay. Quite often, things get quiet, then I hear a loud giggle, only to see Grayson standing in front of the dog with her mouth open wide and Maggie going in for a lick to see what Grayson had for lunch. And then of course I loudly scream, "ewe! stop you both!", to which more giggles erupt. They are quite a pair these days. Now come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I caught them in action on video about a month ago. More on that later. I've got Christmas photos to post!

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