I found these in my files as I was searching for something the other day...Sadie (almost 4 at the time) and Blythe (2 1/2), on a hot August day in LA, waiting for their daddies to fill up enough water balloons to have a fight. We stopped to visit the Danquahs on the way home from visiting family up in northern California. And dominated at Chick-fil-A game night, among other things. (oh yes, we did! Get 4 adults from the 80s-2 mamas especially- and some Disney trivia, and we'll rule the resturant. Those little kids never stood a chance.)
 I think they're both pretty darn cute, personally...
...and between the two of them, there's enough fire and passion in this picture to move a mountian. Maybe two :)


Adventures of the Cupboard Dweller....there's a WHAT in the toilet??

A few weeks ago, my good friend Nicole and her youngest, Peyton, came over to play. Her 3 oldest were in school and we had mad plans to DIY princess dresses for our two almost-3-year-olds out of old bridesmaids' dresses (which, by the way, worked beautifully). Since we'd be sewing and there were only 3 of them, we gave them the run of the play areas while the baby took his morning nap, and got down to work. Sometime soon after we started, Pax came up and asked for the bananas. Not one banana; all of the bananas. I think I asked him if he wanted to eat them...and he said no, they wanted to play with them...and I assumed some sort of grocery-store game. Boy, was I wrong.
Fast-forward several hours. The littles have all eaten lunch, Nicole and Peyton are getting ready to leave, and      (because they are wonderful) are helping to clean up the house-chaos before they go. I venture into the bigs' room, and find.....bananas. Everywhere. Very bruised, very smooshy bananas. I have NO idea how they got so squashed, but since they're mostly usable for smoothies or babyfood at this stage (except littlest doesn't like bananas), I simply gather them up, freeze them, and tell Pax that next time, they're not allowed to play with real food. For some reason that is beyond me, I don't actually ever ask my older two what they were doing with the bananas.
Fast-forward a couple of days...and the toilet in the kids' bathroom is running slow. Like it's clogged, which of course has happened before, so I try to plunge it to no avail. No great surprise there; my husband is the Master Plunger. But HE can't get it unclogged either, so heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to Home Depot he goes for something...I think it's called a router? A long metal pipe with some kind of handle on the end. Obviously I was paying very close attention at the time.....but, that didn't work either. Back to the store for a new kit for the insides of the toilet-you know, the parts in the tank. It was running weird anyways, so he figured he'd fix that problem and maybe the clogged part would work itself out. Well....it fixed the running-weird part. But still clogged. So-you guessed it-back he went to the hardware store (he's getting quite good at plumbing, I have to say. Nice to have my own handyman ;) By this time, the littles were in bed. So he called me in to help him...he had removed the toilet from the floor and wanted to turn it upside down to see if he could see anything stuck in the pipe. Which we did, me holding onto the front of the bowl as he tipped the whole thing over....and started laughing.
"You gotta come look at this," he tells me.
"What," I say warily "Is it a giant cockroach?" (I don't know why that was the first thing that jumped into my head. I just knew that if it was some kind of huge, drain-mutated cockroach I could NOT handle it. Those things are gross!)
"Just come look," he said, still chuckling.
So I walked over next to him, looked down, and saw....
....you guessed it. A banana. Or rather, a banana peel, since the banana part had been, well, flushed. Ewwww.
I laughed, too, and then went to get him a plastic bag to remove the banana with (you know, instead of his bare hands). I tossed the gross banana pretty quickly, as it was, well, gross and stinky. Later Adam asked me why I hadn't taken a picture of it first....just wasn't the first thing on my mind, I gotta say! We decided, as I helped him reset the toilet into the new wax ring thingy on the floor, that it must have been Peyton who had flushed the banana. She's quiet, but she comes up with ALL kinds of things you would just never think of to do....and does them quietly, while her mama is busy with the 3 other kids. When she and Blythe are together, we've found them in some-um-interesting messes, both having a grand time...but B doesn't come up with stuff like that on her own. And Pax, of course, is 5 and knows better. Right.....
The next night at dinner, Adam told the kids what he'd found in the toilet. Blythe was shocked....but Pax immediately started sniggering.
"Wait. Did YOU flush the banana down the toilet?" my husband asked, as we both stared at our oldest, he-should-know-better son.
Pax grinned. "Yep!"
"You mean, you did it, or Peyton did it?" I asked, just to clarify.
"Nope. It was me!!" He proudly pointed to himself and nodded his head, chuckling again.
"Um. Ok....did you know that it's not a good idea to flush bananas down the toilet?" I questioned.
"Oh, yeah....I just wanted to see what would happen!" he replied airily.
and that, folks, is why we're in trenches of parenthood right now....my smart, ornery, stubborn, creative son knows EXACTLY what is ok and what's not....he just chooses to put the banana down the toilet anyway.
sigh. I believe that's what's called learning the hard way.


The Great Wall Stenciling.

     So. As you may or may not know, we have a house. Like an actual, it's-ours-and-not-rented house which we bought last May. Aside from the craziness of packing and moving across the Valley with a10-week-old (we won't talk about that), owning our own home meant one thing in particular for me....I could paint!! And believe me, after living our whole married life (ok, all 6 years of it at that point...) in apartments where painting was a no-go, this color-lover was ready.to.paint.
   Conveniently, in one of our two living rooms there was a blank white wall, just waiting begging to be painted with some beautiful, fresh COLOR. Somehow, I began to think it would look really really good if I stenciled it. ALL of it. So I did what I always do....I looked up wall stencils on Pinterest :) I found this company and stencil which I fell in love with. And then I bought it. Somewhere along the way I mentioned to my friend Coley that I was going to stencil the wall, and since she loves diy-ing it as much as I do and is always up for a project-she offered to come over and help.

Picture this: two girls (ok, women), 2 4-year old boys, 2-2year olds (a boy and a girl), a 4 month old, a 2-month old, and an Arizona July day. Paint. Tape. And a ladder. A recipe for craziness, not to mention lots and lots of sweat? Actually, we had a lot of fun! You can see the stencil taped onto the wall at left. I read a few tutorials on how to go about it before I started. We started in the middle of the wall, and used a level for the first one to make sure it was, well, level. It took awhile to get the rhythm of the stencil, and often one or the other of us was nursing a baby. But the big kids played beautifully together, and we stenciled our hearts out! (You can see the stencil-and the mint-green paint color I adore-hanging on the ladder up above. I picked the paint color from the rock our giant fireplace is made out of...see the picture on the far right? The one with the cute baby yawning in the quilt? That's where the whole pallet for my house is coming from, actually. The fireplace, not the baby. Ignore the cute baby in the quilt if you can and just look at the rock ;)).

Here's the wall before....great room, beautiful light, boring white wall.

The wall after...warms up the room a TON. Plus the color is beautiful!!
a better view of the mint-green
I love the way the light at different times of the day changes the wall!
As we went along, we found that since a)the pattern is interlocking and b)no wall is perfectly straight we could just trust the interlocking pattern to guide us. Coley was awesome enough to stay the whole day, so we could get as much done as possible. My husband was awesome enough to take all 4 bigger kids swimming when he came home, right around stir-crazy time. And I LOVE my wall!! I had to finish the far left side and top on my own the next day, but seriously, I think I might STILL be working on it if Coley hadn't helped! The rest of the room is slowly evolving as we work to find just the right pieces to finish it off; but it's great. And I frequently use my wall as a backdrop now :) it's such a statement wall, along with our fireplace, that so far I don't have any plans to paint other walls in the main part of the house.
Ask me about my plans for the other side of this wall, though..I'm thinking big, horizontal, warm yellow stripes in what will soon be Blythe's room. I wonder if I can convince Coley to come over...