Tuesday, February 25, 2014

it's gotta get worse before it get's better: a backyard update

is it just me, or does Rhett's shadow look like an Egyptian hieroglyphic woman? ^^^

no beauty shots here people. 

just lots of dirrrrrrrty dirt. and mud. 

certain 3 year olds think it's the greatest thing ever and a certain mom is barely keeping their OCD in check as she madly swiffer and sweep the floors.

in order to save some $$$ we decided to dig out the trampoline pit ourselves rather than rent a bob cat or hire a professional. it was one of those, "don't worry honey, it won't be that bad." convos. #whattheheckwerewethinking

technically we did hire two stellar young men from our church congregation to help us dig which has been a huge help in getting it almost done. 

the hole itself is 13 feet X 31/2 feet and I don't do math, but the muscles in my armpits (which I had no idea existed) are telling me that's a mondo amount of dirt. 

arizona dirt is pretty much glorified cement, so we've been soaking it and using gypsum to help make it easier. that along with a pick ax has made it possible. thank you pick ax, you win for being more than worth your weight in dirt. 

once the hole is diggity dug, we'll build a retaining wall to hold the ground and trampoline securely in place. our goal is to have the tramp in place in the next 10 days. 

i shared the original plan for the overhaul HERE, but we've made a few changes that I thought I'd show you. this is super rough and not at all to scale, but you'll get the idea. 

so originally we planned on doing about a 1/3 of the yard in pavers. we've changed our mind and decided to just do a long raised bed, and a fire pit/patio combo and leave the rest grass. we changed our mind for mainly two reasons. one was the cost of the pavers. it would have been pretty much our whole budget just on the stones. we love our house, but we know we won't be here forever, so we don't want to pour money into projects that don't give us the most equity. a finished back yard in general will up our equity, but the grass/paver ratio doesn't make a huge difference in that equity boost. so that was reason number one. reason number two was simply that we have little boys. grass will allow for a lot more room for chase, sports and other shenanigans. 

so as you can maybe kind of see in my sketch, we'll have a much longer raised bed than we originally planned, and we'll still keep the fire pit and put a little patio around it. 

i think i'm most excited about the longer raised beds. planting a vegetable garden doesn't really excite me,  but I love growing flowers. personally, i don't think there's much more beautiful that and full, vibrant flower garden.

we ordered the pavers and rocks for the beds and patio and they should be delivered by the end of this week. once we get the trampoline and patio/beds in place we'll lay the sprinkler system and sod and start filling the beds and putting some bushes in. 

i'm hoping that all the money we're saving by DIYing will be put toward a massage at the end of all this. seriously, my armpit muscles are DYING. 

DIYing is just another way to spell dying. 

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Monday, February 24, 2014

so much to say, so little time 7

conversations with a 3 year old are fantastic.

getting him dressed in the morning:

these wonder-wears (underwear) make my bum EXTRA cozy!

as I sat on the floor enjoying a moment of self-pity accompanied by some head holding:

Rhett: mom. i know it's hard.
Rhett: but you just gotta close your eyes and think of something happy.
Rhett: like french fries.

when Rhett took a toy from Rad. forcefully.

Rhett: okay, here's the plan.
Rad: (lip trembling)
Rhett: you're just going to put on your big boy pants and move on.

looking over and seeing him running in place

Jake: everything ok Rhett?
Rhett: yeah, I just so psychic!
Jake: psychic...you mean excited?
Rhett: yeah I'm psychic!

at random moments throughout the day:

i pledge aweegiance to the flag,
of the United States of the America.
and to the repb-lick for which it stands.
one nation under dogs, invisible,
with me, and justice for all.

after several times of saying his name rather frustratedly:

Rhett: don't call me RRRRHETTT! just call me sweetheart.

at my podiatrist office, in front of the nurse:

Rhett: hey mom, do you have sex?
Rhett: i want some sex.
Julia: ummm...what?
Rhett: (turning to the nurse) do you like sex?

he meant snacks.

while Rad was in the middle of one of his epic whine/face plant on the floor fests:

Rhett: okay dude - that's enough.

"helping" dig out the hole for the indoor trampoline:

Rhett: guess what?
Julia: what?
Rhett: i haven't put any mud in my ears.
Rhett: are you proud of me?

an attempt at a sweet moment...

Julia: i love you Rhett.
Rhett: and I just love to watch avengers.

asking him the difference between boys and girls:
rhett: I'm a boy because I'm just a boy and mom's a girl because she's got crazy hair.

he found the "sex."

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Sunday, February 23, 2014


a portrait of my children, every week, in 2014

Rhett: digging out the trampoline hole is so much more enjoyable with Rhett running around like he belongs in Where the Wild Things Are. a 3 year old's (and occasional nudist's) dream.

Rad: our little boy got his first big boy hair cut. i'm missing his little wisps and curls. but isn't he just the most adorable almost 1 year old??
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

the line

the line: "soak up every moment!"

oh I do. this moment was super soaked up.

the line: "time goes by so fast!"

you bet it does. as fast (read, long) as this whine-fest lasted. and I have 20ish pictures to prove it.

the line: "big kids are harder ... I miss when they were little." 

cricket cricket...  

rad is going through the terrible twos a year early and rhett is going through them a year late, so if you do the math that means they are both buckets of joy and boyish charm. it also means around 2PM I'm about start experiencing premature female pattern baldness. 

so, if anyone has any  babies with emotional issues you can go ahead and send them my way because we've got that locked up nice and tight around these parts.

in the mean time I'll just be brave and hide and eat all the Lucky Charms marshmallows with the best of them.

come on little man, be rad, not sad.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

new art for bare walls

Did you see our new dark walls? A week into having them and we are still loving them which is an extremely good sign. There's not much worse than finishing your last wall and realizing the color isn't what you wanted. 

In our 5 years of marriage we haven't bought any art. Most of that reason was because we really didn't have a budget for it and partly because we didn't really have a grasp on our style.

But after living in our house for a year (we're slow movers) and getting a birthday credit to get some art work we we're super excited to hang up some stuff on our horribly blank walls.

Since we had legitimately never bought art before and were/are still a little unsure of what we were looking for we thought that a website that had all genres of art organized would be more helpful then just googling "art."  We'd heard of art.com so we checked it out. (This is not a sponsored post.)

We browsed for a couple of weeks, making folders of what we liked and didn't like and we ended up with 5 of the 6 prints above. (All of their prints go one sale at 30% off regularly so if you're in the market keep you're eye out for that sale. It really helped lower our total bill.) The picture of Christ is from another website.  Since we didn't have anything, we chose a variety of prints that we liked that could we use in multiple different rooms. Some prints will be paired to make a gallery wall, but most will hang independently.

As you can probably see, we go for the slightly more abstract art. I don't know why, I mean I don't think I've ever sat down and critiqued art, but I personally love the openness of these pieces. There is no clear reality in them and I love that they can stand independent of a definite definition. How's that for Art 101? Now I just need a beret.

The picture of Christ is by Minerva Teichert. She has been one of my favorites for a long time. This was a compromise (the green cat was too, but isn't it awesome! Who doesn't want a green cat?!) between Jake and I. He's not the biggest fan but I really appreciate him letting me get it. If I think back, I fell in love with this particular print during my post partum depression with Rhett. Without going into too much personal detail it really means more to me than any other art we could hang in our home. It has a very special place in my heart.

We're getting ready to get them framed and then hung. I'll share more when we get to that point. :)

Links to the prints here:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

And again this is not a sponsored or affiliate post. 

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Sunday, February 16, 2014


a portrait of my children, every week, in 2014

Rhett: the toys of the week: a hot pink unicorn and a dalmatian. the adventures they
been on include several trips to target, a narrow escape being shoved down the shower drain, and a merry-go-round-esq ride in the washer and dryer. #goodtimes

Rad: those blue eyes. he'll be one in 10 days. 

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Monday, February 10, 2014

The most awesome thing I've been apart off: Through a Child's Ears

I am SO beyond excited and thrilled to finally be introducing something that a friend and I have been working on for months. It is a campaign and website to promote speaking kindly to children called Through a Child's Ears. And it's SUCH an awesome cause.

As moms, we found ourselves telling our kids to be patient and use nice words, but were often quick to lose our temper. It seemed like a huge paradox; we were not practicing what we preached. We also saw this when we were out doing day to day things; that it is sadly so much easier to dismiss speaking poorly to children then it is to an adult. It really breaks my heart when in a moment of anger of frustration, I misuse my role as a parent and become someone who demeans or frightens my children in order to try and change behavior and it breaks my heart when I see it happing to other children.

I looked around and did research to see if an organization or group existed that promoted adults speaking kindly to children and I couldn't find one. I know right? It seems like such an important issue and yet I couldn't find anything. So I decided to do something about it.

We have created a campaign to promote speaking kindly to children. It really is SO easy in a moment of frustration to say something we don't mean, use words that hurt, or to use a tone of anger rather than instruction and our reason for this campaign is simply to help all of us who interact with children in big or small ways, to remember that the way we speak matters. So to do this we've created a website and a pledge that you can take and then print, just to be a reminder to think before we react and to remember that children believe what they hear and the we need to help them believe they are GOOD. It's so simple. But I really believe this has the opportunity to bless a lot of children's and families lives.
On a more personal note, I really can't express enough how much this means to me. This is not just a 6 month "cause" or project. I want this to get as big as possible and reach as many people as it can because I really believe that so many issues, like low self-esteem, bullying, problems at home, could be mitigated by simply making an effort to think before we respond. I had a full on mini panic attack before launching all this last night because I was, and still kind of am, so afraid of no one caring. And I really believe this is something we have to make and effort to care about and work on.

But, my gosh, that's so hard. In no way to I want to come across as being the mega mom who always talks kindly. I'm not. My 3 year old is wearing me down to the ground the past few weeks and I've lost my cool. Many times. But I am trying. And we're learning with our 3 yr old how much he would shuts down when we get angry and on the flip side how much better he acts and communicates when we speak patiently with him.

Whether you are a parent or not, chances are you have some interaction with children or know someone who does. PLEASE come take the pledge and share it with your friends and family. We are going to be pumping this message out as much as we can because we believe so strongly in the power of nice words and uplifting rather than bringing down, even in moments of discipline or teaching.

Please, please, please, check us out on our website with the link below, find us on FB with Through a Child's Ears, and also on Pinterest and Instagram with Through a Child's Ears!

Now go take the pledge and spread the word!! Please. :)


Through a Child's Ear on 

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Sunday, February 9, 2014


a portrait of my children, every week, in 2014

Rhett: the other morning i woke up to him in his spider man mask staring at me. "mom. today my name is blue lightning.  i a super hero."

Rad: the terrible two's have come a year early. he wanted a cookie. i gave him a cookie. i got a cookie for myself. he wanted my cookie. i said no...he screamed.
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Monday, February 3, 2014

chimney smoke paint and a gallery wall

Over the weekend our front room got a little...sexier. Dang. Dark walls are just so fine.

This is the third time we've painted this room (but we're still happily married! hey!) since we bought the house a little over a year ago and I am so thrilled to say that the third time was a charm. 

When we moved in the room was light gray and it just looked washed out. Like blah to infinity. So we tried a soft, clean white and again it just looked blah. We tried some neutral samples like oatmeal tones, but again we just didn't love it enough to repaint the whole dang room again. 

The room just doesn't get a lot of natural light, so any lighter color just didn't get any help. 

So then we started looking into the dark, charcoal, almost black options. Jake thought I was crazy, heck I thought I was crazy for thinking the darkest color on the spectrum would work for this room, but we (meaning I got in the car and didn't tell Jake where exactly I was going) decided to give it a go.  Lowes was having a sale on their sample sizes a few months ago, buy one sample get one free, so we (I) bought 10 samples of essentially the same color. Because you can never be too sure.

Theses are the ones we chose. 

I was positive we would go with Inkwell, Black of Night or the Off Black, but all of them looked really greenish-gray on our walls. Domino and Raccoon Fur where too purple and Caviar was just too black.

Although we wanted to go dark, we still wanted it to be warm and Chimney Smoke was our absolute favorite. It has just a touch of navy in it so that it looks rich and like it has a lot of depth. The pictures above make it look a lot bluer than it is in real life. The picture at the bottom of the post is the most accurate depiction of the color.  When you look at the room as a whole, the blueish undertones don't stand out. 

And now let's talk about the gallery wall. Pretty much I consider it the 8th wonder of the world because it was not as easy as I thought to get arranged and up all the wall. That is mostly because our children were trying to crawl, sit and play dinosaurs (naked) on the frames. We tried to sedate them with french fries while we were to laying out and hanging the frames, but turns out sedation by french fries doesn't work. Sorry if you were planning on trying it. Hate to break the bad news.

Anyway, thanks to Christmas and my birthday we had a nice stock pile of gift cards to Target, and a lot of the frames we used were on clearance a few weeks ago so we ended up spending about $40 out of pocket. Not too bad! Hanging all the pictures equaled more pictures than we have ever hung in are whole marriage because we are literally that classy and own nothing. Minimalists by meager bank accounts. 

And of course there is turkey lurkey doing what he does best. Lurking. 

I think he likes the color too. Or just the smell of the paint. I'm a horrible mother for letting him be in here. 

So what do you think of the color?? And the 8th wonder of the world??

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Sunday, February 2, 2014


a portrait of my children, every week, in 2014

Rhett: Rhett loves to go "mountain biking." He is brave. He is adventurous. He is so fast. He is happy when he is outside. 

Rad: Toilet paper is not safe in our house. 1 week...4 rolls destroyed. 

Barely posting this in time, but better late than never. :)
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