Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chalkboard table (thanks, Monica!)

If you know me, you know I love a good craft, and I've just recently started remembering to take before and after pictures.

I can't lie - I totally snagged this idea from my cousin Monica, who is a supermom for sure. I fell in love with the chalkboard table she made for her son Cason's room, and I've literally been thinking about it for a year. Enter this table, which perfectly met the criteria for what I had in mind. Already sanded down and ready for greatness.
Not sure what color this used to be...
I started by painting it turquoise, which I know is slightly overdone lately, but I've had my heart set on it for a while.
Gratuitous garage shot
Then I used chalkboard spraypaint, people (when I was young, we had to drag out the gallon and roll it ourselves...) on the top.
Again, garage shot - mower in the background
And then, since we're going to have this table in our living room, I decided to add some fancy touches, just for fun. I used the copper that also made the swirls on our bedroom wall to paint some of the table's details.
Copper details

Finally, Nate positioned it in just the right spot in the living room for when it's not being used.

I just realized that the towel we use to wipe our dogs made an appearance in my photography. How embarrassing.

It was impossible to get a shot without a blurry arm, as he was frantically coloring as soon as he could get his hands on the chalk.

Sweet, sweet little hands.
Milo is one happy customer, as evidenced by the tiny little handprints he left above. Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Water Park

Sunday was a big day for us (as previously mentioned - Zoo Train Day). Not only did Milo have his first ever train ride, but we took him to Kaylee's birthday party, which was at the water part of Chambers park. It was his first trip there, too, and Nate and I really wondered what he'd do about it.

Milo is an all or nothing kind of kid (okay, so he really does take after me in at least one aspect of his personality - other than that, he's pretty much all Nate), and the day before, he had decided he wanted nothing to do with the little kiddie pool we set up in the backyard. We were just holding onto the fact that he loves the hose (holding it, spraying things with it, being sprayed with it, etc.), and I guess he decided that the water park was enough like the hose to be pretty cool to him.

Milo ran around with his mouth and eyes wide open, laughing all the time. He also shook his poor little straw fedora until it almost didn't look like a hat anymore. It might be time to retire it, but we'll see.

He was just getting comfortable here.
Somehow I feel like "Singin' In the Rain" should be playing right now.
He splashed through the fountains without caring if the water got in his face.

After the hat was wet, Milo wore it around on the top of his head like a little old man.

A very happy end of the day.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Zoo Train Day

Today was THE day I've been waiting for. I've been plotting it for weeks, in fact, and have been disappointed on several days when I couldn't make it happen. But everything went my way today.
That's right - it was Zoo Train Day.
We took Milo for his first trip ever on it since he loves trains. I'll admit - he approached the whole experience with trepidation at first, which surprised me. Then again, Milo tends to prefer to appreciate things from a distance, so I should have expected a little hesitation. (He mooed and mooed at a little bull at Walmart that you pay fifty cents to let your kid ride, and as soon as I sat him on it, he cried.) We tried to get some cute little family photos while we were waiting to take off, but the look on his face says it all.


Perhaps a little nervous...

"Help me?"
 After we got started, though, Milo changed his mind. He thought the whole thing was pretty cool after all, and was so serious, taking it all in. At one point, we even rode over the lake with the alligators in it (which I find myself peering intently into every time I see it, wanting to see an alligator and terrified that I will at the same time), and Milo had to point and say, "Dat? Dat!"

In the end, I'm pretty sure the cute little Z&OO Railroad made a believer of Milo (although his rosy little cheeks attest to the fact that it's almost 100 degrees here today).

Just in case you didn't catch how Milo answered what the train says, I asked him again in the car...

So, all in all, a happy time was had by all (three of us) on Zoo Train Day. Here's to many more to come!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lil' hip-hop

I need you to watch this, because I'm pretty sure we're going to have Milo doing the same thing in no time. I don't know if I've ever seen such a talented and tiny dancer!

The new cutest picture ever

Milo's getting to the age where every picture is the new "cutest photo ever." Let me prove it to you.
The look of adoration reserved only for Daddy.

I see this face a lot - mouth faux goateed and eyes slightly squinted. It's like Milo knows a secret or something.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hats hats hats

Today Milo picked out his pants. I sent him to his room for shorts, and he came back with these, and he was so excited that I had to put them on anyway. Keep in mind, these are nine-month pants. Also keep in mind that my son is almost eighteen months old... Anyway, I chased him down and told him, "Show me your face, Milo!" Here's what I got.
Oh, silly me. Did I forget to mention that he wasn't wearing a shirt? I see ribs in the photo above. But check this out.
The one place Milo carries his weight - his little round tummy. He also pokes it out extra far when he's thinking about something or being stubborn. He had it poked out extra far in the photo above.

Milo also loves a hat. One of the first things he does every morning is raids his hat drawer and picks out the perfect accessory for the day, then tells me, "Ep, Mama." (Help, Mama, in case you couldn't figure that one out). Today it's the blue baseball cap that Auntie Jen passed down from the boys. It's still way too big (although Milo has a nice, big, round head like his mommy), but he loves to wear it anyway.

It's hard to get Milo to be still long enough for a picture because he's always on the go. Case and point, the pictures above. But I slowed him down for a second so we could get a picture together. Yes, I'm wearing a neck pillow (and a crazy eye), because I screwed up my neck again (for the third time in the last two weeks - it's like 31 is tackling me and wrestling me to the ground).

And yes, I do wipe my son's nose. Quite frequently, in fact. It's just a little extra drippy today, thus the "wet look" he's rocking for our morning photo shoot. So there you go. A few minutes in the life of Milo and me. We're pretty fun, right?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One happy morning

My heart is extra-full today. Maybe it's because Milo slept until 9:00 this morning... Or maybe it's just that most days I realize that I'm the luckiest woman alive.
Milo loves a hat. And he was wise enough to color-coordinate with his pjs.

Guess what Nate was doing in this picture? Not singing, although it looks like it...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stripes and suicide rolls

Oh, how I love a decade look. During the summer, I usually turn into a 60's hippie in flowing dresses and long waves (but no bra-burning for me). I've been pinning 20's style hats and headbands on Pinterest and dreaming of flapper dresses. And Mom bought me a dress for my birthday that has me all in a hair-rolling 40's tizzy. I had to immediately fix myself up and get Nate to take a few pictures.

It's a good thing my husband humors my dress-up days. It's an even better thing that he thinks it's fun when I try out new styles, even if the first thing out of his mouth as he gazes at my hair is, "Well, what have we here?" And I admit, when he got home from work today, there was a whole lot of scariness going on - frizzy waves in all directions and a "suicide roll" that just wasn't quite right. Add to that the fact that I was dressed in an extra-large t-shirt and shorts, and you can see how the look just wasn't working out. Once I figured it all out, though, he was on board, encouraging me as he took pictures with sweet words like, "Oh no, baby, don't sit like that. You look like a man!"

It was dusk when we took these, so there were only a few to choose from, which is fine by me because I turn into a total doofus (lovely 90's vocabulary - just going with the "decades" theme) when I try to pose for anything. Case and point...

What am I doing? Praying these turn out well? At least you can see the super-cute dress here...
Here I'm modeling my hair for you...
And my lipstick...

And the other side of my hair...
And the whole package (strange angle on my nose that makes it look unnaturally large...). Dress from Blithe Boutique (a tiny slice of heaven in downtown Lufkin).
So there you have it, friends. New dress. New hairdo. New reason for you to understand why my blog consists more of pictures of Nate and Milo than of myself. But kudos to me for at least trying, right? So how about we forget that even happened and you can look at some pictures of Milo instead. And thanks again for the fabulous dress, Mom!

This little round chair is perfect for Milo since he loves pulling his legs up and curling into a tiny ball (remind you of anyone else you know?). And he adores this fedora, which is slightly too small, but oh-so-cute.

He always looks slightly indignant after I take several pictures in a row.

Junior high

Right now, as we speak, my son is walking around in blue striped pajamas, clunky brown dress shoes, and a straw fedora that’s just a hint too small. He’s singing to himself and trying to open a plastic band-aid container, feeling grown-up and completely awesome.  And you know what? He is. If anybody tried to tell him any differently, I’d have to beat them to the ground and make them cry (Don’t ever cross a mama cow. That’s right. I said it. Nate told me last night that cows with calves can be even more aggressive than bulls, and I’m thinking a cow might possess similar fighting skills to what I might… That paired with unbridled rage. You don’t want any of this, that’s for sure). It doesn’t matter what Milo is wearing (even if it’s nothing but a pair of tennis shoes and he’s peeing all over the floor…), he knows who he is and that he’s loved.

Do you know that? Or do I, for that matter? Because it seems like every time I get dressed to go out lately, I get concerned that I don’t have anything new to wear, my hair’s a mess, or I haven’t had time for a bit of make-up. Somebody might see me looking a hot mess and think I’ve just let myself go, and I can’t have anyone assuming anything’s wrong. Wait a minute. Why do I care again? Last I checked, Milo and Nate love me, fancied up or not.

Jen and I used to talk about this feeling where we were positive everyone was looking at us whenever we went somewhere. “Junior high mentality,” we called it. It’s embarrassing that I still fall into this even though I’m officially in my thirties now (see how I just embraced it like that?)? Because honestly, everyone around me is probably just as concerned that somebody is looking at them, and none of us have time to really notice what anyone else looks like.  There’s something comforting in that fact, don’t you think?

Anyway, here’s to striped pjs and lessons learned from my 18-month old son, who just stole the computer mouse and ran off giggling. That’s my cue. 51615617 (That, my friends, is what Milo has to say about it.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Birth/Father's Day

Do you ever have a startling moment where you pause and think, "Wow, when did I get so old?"

It happened to me on Saturday, the day before I was to turn 31. And 30 felt great, by the way. I was in shape, and had a new baby and glowing skin. Things were perfect. 31 was another story. I reached down to pick Milo up from his crib in the morning, and as I did, my neck popped, pain washed over my body, and I felt... old. How was I supposed to turn 31 the next day with a stiff neck, pubescent-style breakout, and a few stubborn pounds around the middle?

And yet, Sunday morning dawned bright as ever, and it was my birthday, like it or not. And it was also Father's Day. My mom reminded me that when I was little, I didn't like sharing my birthday with Father's Day (no one ever said I wasn't a little bratty). And then after my dad passed away, I absolutely hated sharing my birthday with Father's Day. This year wasn't so bad, though, considering I was sharing with Nate, who is at least somewhat responsible for making Milo, so I could let the sharing slide.

We had an amazing and low-key day, even though I'm now officially in my thirties (no more dancing around it). I got to spend time with most of my family (and I need you to come home now, Danty-pants) and be treated like a princess, even though I'm far too old for all that.

Anyway, here's my little man in his Father's Day outfit. Just wanted to remind Nate that he has quite the fan club around our house.

Milo spent the day in his SuperDad shirt.

Yes, it has a cape.

He was so serious every time I tried to take a picture!
Birthday girl and her babyson.

Daddy and Milo, both giggling about something unknown to me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Blue Cushion Makeover

It's been Project Central around here lately! I've been covering chair cushions (for the first time ever), fixing up a table for Milo, and working on top-secret Father's Day stuff for the world's greatest daddy. Imagine how little time I've had for posting!

Here's a before and after picture of the cushion covers I did for Stacy and Dede's brand new house.

Very old, awkwardly blue, and strangely shiny. These needed a facelift for sure.

Fabulously striped (and hanging out on my old chair).
Anyway, this reinforces my idea that I can learn to do practically anything with the magic of YouTube (like crochet, cook a lasagna, learn to booty dance, etc.). I watched several videos and then just hit the living room with my cushions, tape measure, and handy-dandy staple gun. Now I have four newly covered cushions to deliver, and a nice big blister in the crook of my thumb, just for me... Yay.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fire Ant Incident #1

I really try to take Milo outside, even though the Texan outdoors make me uncomfortable. It's too hot, too infested, too sunny... But I made us a little outdoor bucket and I take that child out there, whether we like it or not (Who am I kidding? Milo is a little boy. He loves it!).

But it finally happened. And I suppose I'm glad it happened to me and not Milo. Let's just entitle today Fire Ant Incident #1. Now I've had fire ant bites here and there, and they're annoying. They itch, they sting, they're full of pus, and they hang on for days and days. But until today, I've never looked down and realized that my entire foot was crawling with ants (insert shudder). Today was the day I lived out my own little horror movie, on a minor scale.

So yes, I stepped in fire ants, and I'm still not sure where or how. But I found myself shouting a little, dragging my foot across the ground, frantically swishing them off with my hands, and then desperately checking Milo to be sure he wasn't covered (Why wasn't this my first reaction? I guess because he wasn't howling like I was... And he had one, but it seemed to respect the laws of God that say small children should never be covered in anything crawly...). But by the time these 10 seconds were up, it was too late. Tiny little welts were already forming across my left foot, and I was stinging from toes to calf. I snatched Milo up and headed straight for my phone (to complain to Nate) and my camera (to document the indecency of it all).

Nate told me to put some peroxide and anti-itch cream on it, and he even had the sweetness of spirit to say, "I'm sorry, baby." A little goes a long way, because Nate is rarely impressed with my Texan outdoor complaints. I guess growing up in the country gave him a certain indifference to anything short of loss of limbs.

And I will say, I did take a picture to show you how the individual little bites have swelled into one large blistery-looking mass on the arch of my foot, but my own vanity stopped me from posting it. I'm a runner in desperate need of a pedicure. Enough said, right? (Except that my birthday is coming up...)

Perhaps someday I will forget that on June 13, 2012, Fire Ant Incident #1 occurred, leaving me itchy and irritable. For now, let me just say that I like Texas considerably less than I did yesterday. And that's not saying much.

Sweet Potato Muffins

Let's be honest. Most mornings, I don't feel inspired (or required) to do any more than simply get up. I hear Milo rustling around in his room, talking, laughing, mooing (if he's slept with his little stuffed cow), or yelling, "Maaaa-maaaaa!" and I roll out, get a quick shower, and get on with my day.

I know I mentioned the other day that I hadn't even been running much lately, simply because sickness and exhaustion have been hanging around our house for a month or two. But this week, I decided to climb back on the proverbial horse (although riding a horse would be much less strenuous, I suspect) and get out there in the mornings, and it's felt amazing (minus the sore muscles and overall frustration that goes something like, "I used to run 15 miles with no problem. Why is 3 such a struggle today?").

All this to say, let's talk about muffins. Sweet Potato Muffins, to be exact, so don't get concerned (I mentioned to Milo, "Mommy's going to write a blog about her muffins," and I swear he raised an eyebrow at me.). I had extra time this morning, and instead of crawling back into bed after my shower and reading, I decided to try out a recipe that I found in Runner's World, and I know, it would be much more impressive had I come up with it myself. However, I'll cut you a deal. After I give you the recipe, I'll tell you what I would do to make it even better.

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup pureed or mashed cooked sweet potato
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 375.
Grease 12 muffin cups or add paper liners.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, and salt.
In a bowl, whisk butter, oil, sweet potato, egg, and buttermilk.
Fold wet mixture into the dry; stir until just combined.
Fill muffin cups three-quarters full.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Simple and delicious, right? Okay, here's what I would change. I would add a full cup of sugar, double the ground ginger, and do 1 1/2 cups sweet potato. I don't think any of these are drastic enough to change the rest of the directions, but it's your call. OH, and the most important part. I mixed cinnamon and sugar and sprinkled it all over the uncooked muffins so they would have a little crunch on top. YUM. If you make these, leave a little comment and let me know what you would change. I need to figure out a good streusel topping. I think that would make them superb.

All in all, Milo and I were both happy campers, and the dogs licked up every crumb we dropped. Seems like a success to me. And all of this before 9:00 on a Hump Day morning.

Look, he wants to share with you!
Update: As I post, Milo has snagged the last of my muffin from the edge of the table where I left it (will I ever learn?). He is now being chased around the house by the dogs, who are desperate for more of it, and he's yelling, "Uh-uhhhhhhh!" as he goes. In other words, time for this mommy to go.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Ahhh, my child. My funny, funny child. I honestly think that God gives people children so they can be amused at least ninety-five percent of the time. Milo has learned to say, "Uh-uh." I catch him saying it all the time - to a beach ball that got away while he was trying to pick it up, to the dogs when they don't stand still, to a piece of food on his tray, and of course, to Nate and I (which is less comical to Nate than it is to me). And while I haven't caught him on film saying it, yet, I did get quite a funny video of him signaling to Nate that he was done eating at dinner. Gotta love the hand wave.

Nate was on vacation all last week, so we were busy going here and there, and then not so busy with him feeling sick and me throwing my neck out. We're getting old, people, but that's for another post. All that to say, today is Monday and it's time to get back into a routine. Easier said than done, right? My running has been so sporadic the last month or so, and I'm looking forward to getting back on track with that. Nate's picked up running, too, so he can't wait to build up his stamina. And we need to stop watching our silly tv so much! Time to get out and about and live some life!

So happy Monday. Hope you're having a lovely day to start a fantastic week.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Completely unposed Milo goodness

Well, it's time for some completely unposed Milo goodness. My child entertains me non-stop, and were I to pose him, I could never get such wonderful shots.

While we were in Houston, we took an adventure to Luke's Locker to have our strides analyzed. Nate had been having some knee trouble that undoubtedly came from the Nike Shocks he'd been running in (my fault completely), and I told him that it was his shoes, but I didn't know how to help. Well, our new friend John got Nate hooked up right away, and just for fun, we had him check my stride, too. If you're not a runner, you probably won't care about this - just skip to the picture of Milo. If you are, though, here goes...

Nate's arch was partially collapsing when he walked/ran/etc., which was causing him a lot of pain on the inside of his knee. The shoes he was wearing were causing his leg to come down sideways, putting more pressure on his knee joint. John put him in a neutral cushioned shoe with just a bit of stability, and his knee is feeling better after just walking around in his new Nike Zoom Elites for a day.

I, on the other hand, have been wearing a bulky, motion-control pair of Asics since I had trouble with my outer knee last summer. I couldn't figure out why I feel exhausted after every run. Well, it turns out that even though I have really high arches, they're really strong, so I can wear a minimalist shoe with no sweat. I've been lugging around a shoe that feels like a brick, so my runs aren't quite the same. My new shoes weigh practically nothing, and I have a feeling I'm going to feel like I'm flying the next time I head out in them. I had a heck of a time choosing between the Brooks PureConnects that I ended up with and the Nike FreeRuns, but now I know I love both shoes. And even though I wasn't having any knee trouble, my fabulous husband bought me the shoes I'd fallen in love with anyway.

So what have we learned here? Nike Shocks = BAD. All runners are different, and it pays to ask someone who knows what they're talking about. And Milo is going to be a runner for sure.
I let Milo look at my new shoes in the box this morning. I turned around to wash some dishes, and before I knew it, he had them out and was clomping around in them.

Milo also figured out how to climb onto the couch, so I let him stay up there (as long as he was sitting), and even gave him some books to read.

No, I didn't pose him. He was literally sitting like this on his own.

Nate loves to make himself a comfy area (like the corner of our L-shaped couch, which is filled with pillows, remote controls, a blanket, and a coaster, and is now molded to the shape of his body). Looks like Milo is going to be the same way. He and Nate got Milo all set up with a little nest in the laundry basket, complete with a couch cushion, blanket, books, and a drink.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Forgot to mention...

CONGRATULATIONS, IRA!!! Can't wait to meet your beautiful baby girl.

Vacation Wednesday

We took a few days and got out of town to Houston. Here's a shot or two to hold you over until the next post.