Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30: Big Block Bash

Last night, our church hosted their annual block party, Big Block Bash.   This used to be a summertime event, but it was moved to a fall event this year.  The weather was perfect, sunny with temps in the 70s.  It's a fun event with lots of bounce houses, games, prizes, food and live music.  Fun for everyone...except Isla.

This type of event is just not fun for Isla right now.  She's in a super shy phase where she just wants to bury her face any time anyone looks at her.  So being in a crowd of people where everyone wants to come and say hi is not much fun for her.  Then she was annoyed because the sun was in her eyes the whole time.  Also there were these obnoxious little black bugs all over the place, and they seemed especially fond of Isla.  Isla did enjoy playing in the toddler play area for a while with the sand and water tables, so at least she wasn't miserable the whole time.

Audrey was similar to Isla at that age.  She was often shy around strangers, and she was almost always afraid to try new things or go to new places.  She has grown out of most of that now though.  Last night, while Isla was whining the whole time, Audrey was having a blast!  She hung out with her friend Anna, and the two of them tackled every bounce house, got their faces painted and had so much fun!!

 These two are so cute together.  They are becoming the best of friends, and it is super cute!
 So, Isla and I didn't really have much fun, but I think for Audrey, Anna and most all other people there, it was a great time!  I love this event and the way that our church is able to reach out to the people in our surrounding neighborhood in a fun way.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September 28...Fall Monogram Wreath

Wow, I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted.  This week flew by!!  I have no idea what we did all week, except that it is over now.  And it's almost October!

I've been thinking about adding some fall decor to our front porch.  I don't normally do much decorating for holidays except for Christmas.  But I've seen a few cute fall ideas that I kind of want to try for myself.   Although after doing some shopping today, I'm realizing why I don't do much holiday can be expensive!

First on my list...a fall monogram wreath.  I made a Christmas monogram wreath last year, which I liked a lot.  So now I have two different monograms for our front door for the different seasons.

This was an easy project that only took me about 20 minutes to complete. My only complaint is that I kept burning my fingers on the hot glue.  This happens every time I try to hot glue anything...I just have no patience to wait for it to cool down before I touch it! 

Compared to the price of premade wreaths and floral arrangements, this was a pretty cheap project.   I just wrapped the burlap around the letter, hot gluing (and burning myself!) as I went.  Then I hot glued the flowers to the letter, and tied it to the door with the satin ribbon. 

Supplies I used (all purchased at Hobby Lobby)
Large wood letter:  $7.79 (with 40% off coupon)
Burlap Spool:  $2.99 (50% off sale)
Two large felt flowers:  $6.99 (one was on clearance, the other wasn't)
Brown Satin Ribbon:  $1.99 (50% off sale)
Hot glue gun:  already owned

Total cost:  $19.76

I could have made it more cheaply if I would have made my own felt flowers.  I was planning to do that based on all the felt flower tutorials popping up all over Pinterest.  But then I saw the premade flowers, and they looked so pretty and EASY that I went for those instead.

My next project is to make a pumpkin topiary, similar to this one.  I was going to make it with fake pumpkins so that I could use it year after year.  But the fake pumpkins were really expensive!  So now I'm re-thinking my plan.  I'd also like to add some real pumpkins and gourds into the mix.  Although in the past, we have always had problems with squirrels eating our porch pumpkins.

I'm excited for fall, it's one of my favorite seasons!  Now if only the weather would cooperate with the fall season.  It's been 85 degrees here for much of the past week!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 21: Family Photo Shoot Day!

So we had our family pictures taken tonight.  I was prepared for the worst.  It was not the worst, but it wasn't the greatest either.  It was windy, which was frustrating.  I spent so much time making sure my hair and the girls hair looked decent, only to have it blown around the second we stepped out of the car. 

Also, Isla was not cooperative.  At all.  She is pretty shy, and it takes her a while to warm up to new places and people.  As soon as the photographer tried to say hi to her, she buried her face in my shoulder, and she didn't want to look up the rest of the time.  The photographer tried her best to get Isla out of her shell, but that girl is a stubborn one!  With the help of some Skittles, some bubbles, and some crazy antics from Daddy and Audrey, we were able to get her to at least start looking in the direction of the camera.  But I have no idea if we ever got any smiles.  Here's a picture that I snapped with my phone, and I think it is safe to assume that Isla may have a face similar to this in most of the pictures:

Audrey did great.  She was perfectly cooperative, and I think she was just having fun posing for the camera.  She is in a stage right now where her camera smile is very awkward and unnatural, so I'm a little curious to see how the pictures turn out. 

It is always interesting to be on the other side of the camera.  I really don't enjoy posing for photos AT ALL.  Much less posing for photos while holding children and trying to make sure they are somewhat smiling and not looking awkward, all the while making sure that you are smiling and looking un-awkward.  

The nice thing about being in the photos is that now I don't have the pressure to make them look good.  It is all up to our photographer to take what we gave her and turn them into something amazing (and she may have her work cut out for her!).  One thing I don't like about being in the photos is that I don't have the pictures in my hand immediately after they are taken.  I didn't ask how long it will take for us to get our pictures, but I will be anxiously waiting for them!  I won't know until I seem them whether this whole venture (paying a photographer, buying some new clothes, driving two hours) was worth it!

As soon as we go in the car after the shoot tonight, Isla started talking, singing and smiling.  It was like she was just waiting for the picture taking to be over so she could start to be happy again.  Such a stinker!!    We then went to Famous Dave's for dinner, and both girls were so happy and pleasant.  This is not always the case when we eat at restaurants, so it was really enjoyable to have a nice happy meal out as a family to end our day!

Friday, September 20, 2013

September 20: Update on our Week

Sorry, this is another lame blog post.  I'm going to get better.  I've been promising improved blogging for like the past year, but so far it hasn't happened.  Someday, someday, maybe.

So after my post on Sunday about adjusting to a new schedule, I wanted to write a little update about our week.  It was better.  I felt like things were a little more balanced, and I didn't end each day feeling like a failure at everything.  Still room for lots of improvement though.

We are in the midst of a busy weekend now.  I hosted book club at our house tonight, and tomorrow I am doing a photo shoot for another family.  Then tomorrow evening OUR family will get OUR pictures taken!  So stressful to be on the other side of the camera!  I found a photographer that I really like, but she is located an hour away.  So along with getting everyone looking nice and in good moods and out the door on time, we have to work in a drive in the car too.  I'm expecting the whole photo shoot to go horribly and hoping that if I go in with low expectations then it might end up being not so bad after all.  But in the end, I'd really like to have a nice picture of our family and a few nice shots of Audrey to use for her five year pictures and maybe a couple of Isla too and definitely one with the two of them together and probably one of Daniel and me as well.'s probably going to be a disaster!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 15: Finding our Groove

It's Sunday night, which means tomorrow is Monday.  Another week is upon us!  After last week, I feel like we need to figure out some things to make life a little easier/smoother.  Not sure what we need to figure out yet, but I just felt a little out of sorts all last week.

Last week was Audrey's first full week of school.  She is just going three mornings per week, but it still is an adjustment for us.  We are used to having freedom to do whatever we want most days, so having to get up and out the door three days a week is sometimes a challenge.  And next year we will have to do it every day!  Yikes!

I also started my fall piano teaching schedule last week.  I have 15 students!  That is a lot for me, more than I have ever had before.  I had 9 last year.  I'm excited to have some new students, and I am really excited about the extra income generated by 15 students.  But...I'm not excited about my schedule.  I have lessons scheduled every day, Monday-Friday.  I used to try to cram all my lessons into two or three days, so I could have a few days off.  But that didn't work out this year. 

So I'm teaching in the after school/early evening hours, which is also the time when I would normally fix dinner.  In our old house, Daniel would sometimes fix dinner while I was teaching, which was very helpful.  In our new house, the piano room opens into the kitchen, and it is far too distracting to have someone in the kitchen cooking while I'm teaching.  If our family wants to eat at a decent hour on piano lesson nights, then I have to be really smart in my planning and get the food prepped and ready to go during the afternoon.  Then I can just stick it in the oven while I'm teaching, and we can eat shortly after I finish lessons.  I did that last week, but I'm not sure I will be able to stay on top of the meal planning and prep all year long.  I need to look into some crockpot recipes and freezer cooking ideas.

I also felt the need to have the house perfectly clean last week for all my piano students.  Which meant that I had to have it all clean every day!  I like having a clean house, but I don't always keep it perfectly clean on a daily basis.  (Ok, I never keep it clean on a daily basis!)  As a teacher, I like to have the house looking nice to maintain a professional appearance for my students and their families.  Sometimes I have siblings and other family members who hang out at our house during lessons.  In this house, our living room, dining room, kitchen and piano room are all visible to those who come for lessons.  Plus I feel like the bathroom needs to be clean for anyone who might need to use it.  So last week, I felt like I was spending WAY more time than normal cleaning my house every day. 

Besides teaching, I have a couple of other small part time jobs.  I do some work for my dad, and I take some portraits for people.  Last week, I also had work for both of those jobs on my to do list, and I was not able to get it all done.  That was frustrating to me!

And most importantly, I have two little girls to take care of every day!  =)

None of these things are really that big of a deal; they probably just go along with being a responsible adult and parent.  I'm sure there are many people who can juggle all those things much more easily than me.  But for me, it is all just putting me on edge.  I need to figure out how to balance parenting/teaching/meal planning/cleaning/working/having fun and how to do it all without feeling like a mess most of the time. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 10: Flea Market Chair Makeover

Several months ago, I went to a big flea market with some friends and came home with this chair.  I was looking for something that I could use to sit in when I teach piano lessons.  I wanted something that was sturdy and comfortable and cheap.  This $9 chair fit that bill.  It just wasn't very pretty!

However, after a little paint, this chair is looking significantly better!

This was my first time to paint a piece of furniture, and the paint job is not perfect (or anywhere close to it!).  But I'm happy with the final result and excited to use the chair this week while teaching all 15 of my piano students (that's a record number of students for me!).  Also, have I mentioned how much I love the new paint color on the walls???

This room is coming together!  Once I get a few more things finished, I'll post some pictures of our piano/living room progress.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Audrey's First Day of Preschool

Audrey started back to school on Wednesday.  She was super excited about getting to go back to school, and I think she had a great morning!  My mom just happened to be in town, so she got to be a part of our morning and go see Audrey's school and classroom.

Here she is standing in front of the flowers at her school.
And in her classroom, getting to work on a project with her best buddy Anna.

Isla was pretty sad that she didn't get to stay at school with Audrey.  She didn't throw a fit, but she was just really sad and crabby all morning.  Every once in a while she would remember and then say, "Coo.  Oo.  Me too" (which in Isla speak means, "School.  Audrey.  Me too.").  Nana and I tried to keep her distracted by doing some shopping.

After her second day of school today, Audrey still seems to be enjoying it.  When I ask her if she cried at school, she says, "No way, Jose!  I don't do that anymore."  I love hearing about all the things she does at school, and I can't wait to hear more about all the fun she will have this year!

And I almost forgot!!  Here is the all important comparison shot showing Audrey's first day of school last year vs. Audrey's first day of school this year.  She is so grown up now!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2: Last day at the pool...and a parade!

Well, we accomplished the two things on our list for this Labor Day weekend:  we went to the pool several times and we painted our piano/living room.

Last night, we went to the pool for Family Night, which offered food and swimming and an outdoor movie.
 The girls were most excited about the sno cones that were served during Family Night. 

After eating and swimming, Audrey and I stayed to watch Despicable Me poolside.  It was not the most comfortable way to watch a  movie:  Audrey was on my lap, and we were both wet, and it was chilly, and the pool chairs were not comfortable.  But more and more lately, I'm noticing how quickly Audrey is growing up.  Someday too soon she is not going to want to sit on my lap and snuggle and watch a movie during Family Night at the pool.  She is going to want to sit with her friends and will most likely ignore me for most of the evening.  So I didn't mind one bit sitting uncomfortably with her snuggled in my lap for a couple of hours and enjoying this moment while it lasts!

Today was officially the last day at the pool.  We gave the girls a choice this morning as to whether they wanted to go to the pool one last time or go to the Labor Day parade.  They picked the parade.  So Daniel took the girls to the parade, while I stayed home to work on painting the piano room. 

When they came back from the parade, Isla walked in the door first and said to me, in her most excited voice:  "A lot.  A lot.  A lot.  Candy!!"  And she was not exaggerating.  They come home with a RIDICULOUS amount of candy!
Seriously, our family is not going to consume all that candy or anywhere close to all of it.  I'm not sure what we are going to do with it.  I think it will probably end up being saved for Halloween or go in the trash!  Or we may just pass it out by the handful to anyone that comes to our house over the next few weeks!!

The girls also ended up with a bunch of these plastic bead necklaces.  Because we needed a few more of those around our house!  =)

So that brings us to the end of our summer!  The pool is now closed, and Audrey starts school on Wednesday.  It's been fun...but I'm starting to feel ready for fall!

Oh, and here's a sneak peek at the room that we finished painting today.  More to come later!