Tuesday, March 29, 2011

we got the fever

That is spring fever!

The weather has been typical for Utah this time of year.  Filled with "oh boys" and "oh dangs."
Snowy and chilly one day followed closely by sunny and warm the next.  Or even crazier, both in the same day.

The crowd in our home favors the outdoors.  So when it warms up and becomes inviting outside, there is nowhere that we would rather be.

This year, our excursions into the backyard have been met with grins from ear to ear.  For one, mom is glad to not have to bundle up the kiddos and is more than willing to let them spend the majority of their day outside getting into trouble rather than inside.

Lily discovered grass.  Yep, she pretty much loves everything about it.

Chase rekindled his affection for, what else, DIRT!

Bayli got her swing on, or rather, spin.

Oh, and Lily discovered that swinging is fantabulous,  a true giggle inducer.

 Don't you just love the drama that plays out in our backyard?

When the swing would stop, Lily's little propellers kicked into motion.

I think that she is just about the cutest/funniest little package ever.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

mad scientist meets carpenter

we started with this
for a long time it looked like this
now it looks like this
Jed's Grandma Atherley (aka Nonna), gave us this table when we moved into our home.  It was one of her old tables.  It was something that we would never have picked out, but hey, it was a table and we were house broke so it worked.  It was your typical 1970s/80s oak table with lovely spindle legs and floral designs etched in the chairs.
Over the years we have looked for a new table, but never found anything that completely met our needs.  Sure we found things that we liked, but they were usually way too pricey, made out of cheap wood, and not very well built.  We also were hesitant to buy another table because as much as Grandma would tell us that she didn't mind if we ever got a new table, she always commented about her table whenever she came for a visit.
So with all of our dilemmas, Jed decided to build a table.  We went back and forth on what we wanted, with many disputes might I add.  Also, we knew that it was still going to cost us a pretty penny, because that is always how things go for us.
Then, Jed decided to check out Grandma's table and see if it were salvageable (by this point the legs were getting pretty wobbly and the chairs had all but fallen apart).
He invested in a few additions to his wood shop (aka the man cave)  he didn't complain about those purchases one bit.  And took to disassembling and stripping the table.  When he sanded down the tabletop, we were delighted to see that the wood was in pretty good shape, and it was solid oak.  Not our favorite type of wood, but yay for durability.   We weren't too worried about the type of wood, we had a plan to improve upon it.
We purchased some new wood for the legs and sides, the only really big dent to the pocket book.  And even that wasn't too bad all things considered.
Jed began cutting and rebuilding the old table top.  He cut off the rounded ends.  We were looking for a style that was more contemporary with a hint of country/rustic.  So pretty much like everything we like, it needed a Pottery Barn feel.
Our home has so much wood tones to it, especially in the great room.  The floor, the cabinets, and our couches are all tones of brown.  We knew that we were going to have to darken up the table to give us the look and feel that we wanted.
But, we didn't want to go for straight black.  We wanted the feel of a dark walnut stain, nearly black but with a lot of brown undertones.  We test stained multiple options and combinations.  But we weren't getting quite what we wanted.  Jed researched a bit on different staining techniques for oak and came across a very strange solution.  But honestly, the coolest of all.  And, a great talking piece.  You take a form of iron, mix it with vinegar to break it down and cause it to rust and oxidize, then wipe the liquid on the wood.  Apparently the tannins (compounds that bind to and precipitate proteins and various other organic compounds) in oak are unique in that they will react with the iron and turn darker, even different colors.  It is often referred to as Iron Oak, at least in the wood staining bizz.  It is totally us because we both go nuts over natural and unique methods, not to mention chemical reactions make us giddy.
In order to get the right combination, we were forced to make a testing area.  Pretty much our kitchen looked like a lab gone mad with how much fun we were having setting up different experiments. 
We decided on a combination of steel wool and vinegar. 
As fun as this all was, and even after all of our testing, we were super nervous to actually apply the mix onto the freshly completed table.
applying the mix to create Iron Oak
We had tried out other finishes on top of the iron oak to get the finished look.  Just applying the iron made the wood have a grayish look which got a little bit darker once you applied the poly finish coats.  But that wasn't quite what we wanted, it wasn't dark enough.  So we tried out other stains over the top of the iron.  We tried dark walnut, but that didn't get us the look we wanted, so we ended up with ebony.
A billion coats of poly later, and voila it was done.  Jed was seriously going crazy when I kept saying the phrase "you need another coat of poly."  For those who aren't privileged enough to have Cars playing in the background of your home, you may not appreciate that as much.
the finished product
Now, if we could only find some chairs.  And no, Jed will not be making those.  Unless he learns how to weave wicker or rattan.  In the meantime our Lifetime chairs will have to do.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

to catch a leprechaun...

You have to have a flashy sign to catch its attention. 

It has to be cozy and inviting inside. 

You need a yummy morsel.

To top it off, you need a cute personal message from the heart.  
And a little company doesn't hurt (plastic cat).

Now what leprechaun wouldn't want to stay for a bit?

This years trap was over the top.  Although I must say that I still love last years Paiute dead-fall. 

I love Bayli and her creative little mind!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

her happiness

Oh how I love this happy little cutie!

And she loves this bigger happy little cutie!

Dang I have cute kids!

Friday, March 11, 2011


*Warning this post contains too much information about going potty.*

To go from this  in less than a weeks time? No, seriously?
Yes, seriously!

Coincidentally the day that I posted about Chase being testy with potty training, Jed brought a book home.  (Big shout out to the Haight's! Thanks!!!)
It was a 1970's dream.
We speed read the book and got the gist of the concept and theory and planned to attack the following week. We planned on Jed being the main teacher, Chase responds a little bit better to new things when dad is involved.

Saturday night we decided to make our attack for Sunday morning, being that Jed and the kids were sick and would be home all day.  So I raced to Target to stock up on drinks, snacks, and a dolly that pees.  Seriously, do they not make the cheap dolly that you give water to and it comes out the bottom?  Instead we were confronted with an array of very expensive and technical dolls that I was not going to purchase.
The book basically has you teach your kid to be responsible for their pottying needs from the get go.  From hurry and run to the potty to dumping the potty by yourself.  You first have them teach their doll how to go potty. Chase loved helping our doll to pee.  Since we didn't have the dolly that pees, Jed sneakily got a bath toy that squirts water and helped the dolly do its business.

You teach your kiddo to check themselves and their dolly very often to see if they are dry or wet.  Then, the dolly gets wet and you have to make the dolly practice 10 times (run fast from various spots in the house to the potty and practice getting your underwear down fast).
Chase did not like that the dolly was naughty and wet.  "Dawee noddee! Dawee go podee in pats!"
Chase hated to practice when he himself was naughty and wet.

But after only about 4 hours, he was taking the initiative and getting to the potty in time.  He even took his nap in undies (with lovely plastic bloomers over the top-we aren't that crazy).  And when he woke up, he went to the bathroom by himself-so proud.
The following day, he pooped by himself and had only one accident and practice session.  Such a big guy!!!

Who would have thought that we would ever be able to potty train Chase before he was three.  And in pretty much half a day.  We probably would have been able to a couple of months ago even.  We just needed a program that was geared towards him and his independence.

We are so proud of you Chase and your big-boy-ness!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

cupcake goodness

I know that it is clear from Christmas, but this has to be the funniest video of Chase savoring chowing down on a cupcake.
We should have him enter a food eating contest.  He may not win, but he will sure be cute trying.

Friday, March 4, 2011

i got tricks up my sleeves

Lily is now 7 months old!

She has been rolling for a long time, but has discovered the last few weeks that it can take her anywhere.  She is pretty much a champion roller. 

She is also getting better at sitting up on her own.  Although she finds her feet to be a very big distraction, they are usually the culprit that leads to a topple over. 

Her little personality is showing more every day.  She can have a bit of a temper on her if things don't go just right.  But most of the time she is a happy little thing.

She is so much fun to have around!  We love her so much! We can't wait to see what she does next.

How Sweet Our Lily Grows!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

illness equates to...

falling asleep in your highchair

band-aids on "owee" ears

We are so sick of ill babies!  This has been the roughest go so far.  It kind of made me rethink my "I don't want to get my kids flu shots" dilemma.  Not that we had any confirmed diagnosis of said flu.  But all the symptoms point in that direction, topped off with ear infections.

Most of all I am sick of stuck in doors during nice weather watching too much TV and Carsness!  I thought that we were done watching that darn movie when Bayli FINALLY grew out of it.  It was her pick on movie days EVERY time for months and months.  Now Chase has claimed it as his FAVE.  And when you don't want him screaming for fear that he might start a vomit inducing cough fit, you give in and let him watch it every day, sometimes twice a day. 

At least he has a shut down mode right now, that being his fever induced delirium.  Not really delirium, more like meditation with your eyes open, all keen senses turned off, leading to slow responses.  I guess that temps of 104 are kind of a blessing. (I was being sarcastic, don't think of me as someone who prays that her little guy will get horrible fevers that make you wonder if a seizure is going to be induced.)

no potty!

I wish that this little guy was willing to do more of this:

Not that we want him freely walking around in his underwear. Or do we?

It would just be nice if he chose to try out the potty and fancy pants more than just once a month (if that).
He is just so stubborn and likes to decide for himself his routine. 

Not that we are complaining about his independence, we love that about him.
It's just that we know he could get the job done if he wasn't so stubborn!

Diapers are so convenient for him.
We totally understand that he is a boy (slower with this business) and he isn't even three yet.
But come on, if he only understood how cute his little undies are on his flat behind, I am sure he would understand.
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