Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Westchester Gray / Rhinestone House Paint {Sherwin Williams 2849 & 7656}

For our paint color decision making blog post; click here.

Here are the pictures of our house before the new paint (taken last Fall when we looked at the house). I don't know what these colors are called.

Here is the big reveal!!!

this light/photo may make it seem blue, but it's totally not in person

our new patio furniture! sweet sale at Kohl's

the garage now matches the house! yah!

the best representation of the color (minus the shadows)

Monday, April 29, 2013

How to go crazy choosing Gray as your house exterior color

Google "gray house exterior paint." I dare you. Your mind will be overwhelmed with options.

My husband and I knew pretty much right away that we wanted to paint the house gray. Well, actually, we didn't want to have to paint the house, but when it became apparent that the house had some wood rot areas bigger than we he needed to tackle, an expert became our only option. And at that point, painting the whole house was the most practice thing to do. My husband said, "why don't we just leave it the same color." I politely declined that one because I never did like the drab brown exterior. "But you just posted about painting your master bedroom brown!" Oh. I know, and gray was my first choice there too (okay, actually I wanted lavender, green, and gray, but that was never gonna happen). The main colors inside our home are versions of brown or taupe, and so a brown master just made sense....and it looks pretty awesome. But for the exterior, we would have a blank canvas, so to speak. Once the original color was nixed, gray was up!

Painting the exterior of your home is, quite frankly, the opposite of easy. You can't just pick "gray." You've got blue grays, green grays, brown grays, gold/yellow grays, black grays, pale grays, neutral grays, purple grays, and finally, after much searching, gray grays.

If you want a gray gray house, you have found the right blog.

We searched high and low, and slopped SIX samples on the side and front of our house. That's after heavy deliberation online to keep from buying 25 $7 samples at Sherwin Williams. We also drove around many neighborhoods.

The later selection method was helpful, but mostly in deciding what we did NOT want. Which was a blue gray house. There are so many sadly disgusting gray houses out there because the color turned out to pull toward the yucky blue side of gray. I certainly hope it was a mistake, because if it wasn't, those homeowners have horrible taste. Then there's the green gray, that I actually kinda like, but we decided was less appealing to a future-buyer. I love purple gray, but again, that was never going to fly by my husband. Brown gray was a maybe-possibility, but it was too similar to our neighbor's color and also too similar to our old color (which I wanted to get away from drastically).

So what do you need to know??

Look at the actual composition of the paint formula that you are interested in. Sherwin Williams (and I'm sure other brands too) will list the make-up of the paint on their website, app (I utilized this a LOT and it's free), or in store if you ask them. If you want gray gray, avoid colors that list too much of any one RGB color. Our final decision has 121 R, 122 G, 121 B. Because those numbers are so similar (with negligible more green), our final outcome is definitely gray gray.

Another thing you'll want to do is compare the colors you are deciding between. Looking at 6 grays next to each other really shows you which direction a non-gray gray will pull. We thought we liked one gray, until we saw how green-gray it looked next to a true gray-gray.

Here are our samples.

Above, L-R; Ellie Gray 7650 (nixed automatically for being too light), Night Owl 7061, Gauntlet Gray 7019 painted over Special Gray 6277 (special gray 6277 below, plain, nixed automatically by my husband for being too purple even though the swatch didn't look that way at all), Grizzle Gray 7068, Gauntlet Gray 7019, Westchester Gray 2849 (with Grizzle below)
Grizzle Gray, Gauntlet Gray, Westchester Gray
same colors as above, different lighting

 Westchester Gray on top, Gauntlet Gray middle left, Night Owl middle right, Grizzle Gray on bottom

close up/different lighting of same colors above

As you can tell, different colors show differently in different light, so it is ultimately your job to look at your colors in varying lights and times of day.
We loved Night Owl, until we put it on the house and saw it in the bright mid day light. Too green.
night owl
We ultimately decided on Westchester Gray. Ironically, there is not a swatch of this you can go grab at Sherwin Williams. We discovered the color online, in the color visualizer program on Sherwin Williams website. When we went into the store to look at it in person, they said it had been discontinued. Insert panic face here. Luckily, though, that doesn't mean they can't make it, it just means they don't produce swatches. They had a tiny swatch on a color fan that we couldn't take out of the store...and that was good enough for us to know we wanted a sample (luckily we got some of our samples during the 40% off sale, so this one was only $4, not $7). I pretty much knew as soon as I saw it that it was the one. It was a long, tedious process of choosing from a million shades of gray, but we picked Westchester Gray SW2849 and it is currently drying on the outside of our home as I type this. I'll post final comparison shots later this week. Choosing the trim color was easy, we just went with the suggested coordinating color of Rhinestone 7656. Our front door is already a version of red, so we'll continue to have that since it looks awesome together.

ps. I just stepped outside to look it over, since they are done now...anddddddd ILOVEIT. if you want a dark gray-gray house. I highly recommend looking into Westchester Gray SW 2849

Fun in the sun!

Yesterday was a special day for G, and a beautiful day weather wise.

We spent the morning at a local park & had a picnic. (Went to mass at 5 pm)

Here's a photo description of what we did :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Good Job Booooooy" "It's fine" and other fun things

Recently I commented to a friend that I have generally good days, with bad moments mixed in. I really can't stress that enough to new parents of two. Focus on the little fun and happy things, move past the annoying, trying, and tough things. Keep telling yourself that this too shall pass. Honestly, before we all know it, we will be our parents' ages and potentially have own grand kids. I hope you all realize how truly blessed and happy I feel to have my two awesome kids AND get to stay home with them. I marvel at G a lot, and get frustrated with her a little. I snuggle, kiss, and praise J tons, and get annoyed with his lack of sleep only sometimes. Life is what you make it, and more often than not, I really try to make it stress-free, happy, and memorable.

So onto a few fun, adorable things I hope I never forget;

G has started saying "it's fine" or "they're fine" or "I'm fine." I'll tell her we need to wash her hands and she'll say, "they're fine!" HA or I'll ask how J is doing on his play mat while I clean up after breakfast and she'll say "he fine" cracks me up.

She's interested in the house maintenance we have going on. She kept asking what the "guys" (her word for the painters) were doing to the house, so I told her that they were making it pretty. So now she goes around saying, "guys....outside....house....pretty!" wish I could get it on video (I originally typed tape...hilarious) for you all.

Because she's had some MAJOR potty successes lately (thank you JESUS! literally, I have prayed about this tons), we've had lots of "GOOD JOBS!!" around here and some major dance parties (#2 in the potty!!)--so G has had lots of excitement bubble over to other parts of our day to day life. Recently J rolled over, as he has done about 500 times a day since it becoming a regular thing last week, and G said, "Good job boooooyyy!!!" and patted him on the back and then clapped very loudly. Too bad you can't read the excitement with which she said it, but suffice it to say, we had an awesome day yesterday and her squeals just make life so beautiful.

Church with G has been going really well lately. I think she's finally got it; she truly seems to understand that Jesus and God love her. She knows we pray at church (and before meals/bed/etc), so we have to be quiet and listen. She absolutely adores the music, so we always sit near the choir area, about 3 rows from the front. It's the way to go. J has be awesome too. He just loves to people watch. He doesn't nap in church. Or anywhere, just about, but he's just silly like that.
Mass as a family is so nice these days, and it's how it is supposed to be. I recently read a blog post somewhere about how parents who 'split' up going to mass at different times have it all wrong. I couldn't agree more. We have never done that and I don't ever plan to. Mass is for the family, splitting it up, using the nursery or cry room definitely sends the wrong message. Sure, it's stressful sometimes, and we've had our fair share of poor behavior...but muster through. It's worth it, even if at the time you think you're getting nothing out of it, you're showing your kids that church is non-negotiable and that in your family, we praise God together.

G loves strawberry jam, but who doesn't. So for lunch I put some jam and peanut butter on her plate with a multigrain tortilla. I told her she could use the pb&j as a dip for the tortilla. I look over and she's got the whole spoonful of peanut butter and is stuffing it into her mouth by itself. Don't worry, and she washed it down with some milk. I was cracking up on the inside.

One of my favorite things as a stay at home mom is getting to give her choices throughout the day and see which she chooses. I think its super fun to watch her personality blossom. Her "favorites" change regularly, as kids are apt to do. "G, do you want eggs, oatmeal, or cereal for breakfast" This morning it was eggs, yesterday it was oatmeal, the day before it was cereal. She's got the rotation figured out I guess. Yesterday her favorite color was orange, but the day before it was purple. One thing that seems constant, though, is that when you ask what her favorite thing to do is, she'll usually say drawing.

I've been working with her for a while on a pencil grip. She's gotten pretty awesome at it, and yesterday I was watching her write/draw and she kept readjusting the pencil to get the grip right. SO PROUD!

For a 26 month old, her writing is fantastic! Everything pretty much looks like Ms or rough attempts at Ds or Gs--so mostly just scribbles--but she is totally getting there. She's really proud of herself too, because you can sure bet that I shower her with hugs and kisses when she attempts to do anything well.

As I mentioned above, J is a rolling fool. So happy about his milestone, but it's certainly affected his sleeping habits. Just a few nights ago he had to figure out how to sleep on his belly because he kept rolling--perhaps unintentionally? I feel bad for the kid, but I can't go in there every 5 seconds to roll him onto his back again. Just like his sister, he's got to learn to sleep on his belly if he's going to keep rolling. It was hard with G, but she eventually got it, and slept better than on her back. Hope that's what happens with J too. He took a two hour nap yesterday, on his belly, sooooo hooray!

He loves going to gymnastics almost as much as G does. G's class is on Saturday's because I didn't want to worry about what to do with J. But on Wednesday they have open gym, so we've been going to that too. I put J in the Gemini and walk around helping G practice her skills follow G around. This baby is a major, major people watcher. Can't get enough of the activity. Maybe it's because for the first 3 months of his life, we pretty much stayed in our house.

I'm doing better and better myself. Each day brings its own set of challenges, but when I look at how hard it was recovering from the traumatic surgery/birth, I'm so proud of where I am today. Sure, I'm not nearly where I planned to be weight / physical shape wise, but I had no clue J's birth would go down like that. I just want to be able to move right, take care of my kids without hurting, and feel generally positive about myself. I've got the first two down, but the last one is tough. I hate how I look in clothes that aren't the standard mom-uniform (you know, yoga pants and t-shirts), but then the other day I had a realization.

I have the entire rest of my life to get back into a size 8-10, but my kids will only be this age once
It was such a big break through for me. Yes, I hate having extra tummy weight hanging on, and I certainly don't like how I look in jeans anymore, let alone a swim suit, but as the kids grow, they'll require a bit less of my attention, and I can work out more regularly. I just gave birth 4 months ago. It took a while, but I've finally realized that I have to cut myself a little slack.

But I do love running, and it's beautiful outside today, so we are going for a job after nap time :-) and we went for a walk sans-stroller before nap time. I love spring!

On a final note, potty training has improved so much since I last wrote about it, but it is by no means perfect. G had an accident free day yesterday and initiated using the potty all by herself. Very proud of that, but had an accident right away this morning. Win some, lose some. She's gotten much more relaxed, and I'm not pulling my hair out any more. J's sleep training is also two steps forward, one step back...but like I said in the beginning.... this to shall pass.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Master Bedroom Paint Project

"Paint is cheap."

I think that is a required statement that real estate agents say while showing you homes.... I know they want you to look at the "bones" of the house, rather than let horrible paint deter you from what could be your dream the house you end up buying, but I wish they would clarify. Paint isn't actually cheap, it's quite pricey, in my opinion...but relative to the cost of your house, I suppose it's "cheap."

So this past weekend, Sherwin Williams had a paint sale, 40% off to be exact. So my husband and I bucked up and bought the paint needed to paint our master bedroom. When we looked at the house, I didn't "hate" the color of the master, I just didn't love it. I hated the kitchen color, and you may recall it got painted the day the keys became ours. Over the past 6 months, various rooms have gotten paint make overs and it was finally time for our master retreat, if you will, to receive a paint job.

Choosing the paint colors wasn't nearly as difficult as choosing our exterior color (future blog, don't worry, it'll be a doozy). In fact, we looked through a lot of swatches and picked the two colors right away. I had originally wanted to go gray, but our bedding and curtains were already brown, so we went with brown to be economical. I am getting gray on the outside of the house though :-)

It took us three nights--one of them very very long, to complete the project. All that I need to do is find us a nice piece of tan/brown based artwork.

We chose Sherwin Williams Dry Dock (7502) and Chateau Brown (7510) --if you know us, that last one is ironic, no?

Peace out 80s/90s blues and hello modern HGTV style brown!

it doesn't look that bad in this picture, but in person it was pretty icky

just not my style

quality paint job, quality paint, happy momma

hotel style master bath area - our w/c is navy

love it! :-)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Some fun things about G

I'm not doing monthly updates about #1 anymore, but I wanted to record a few things she's been up to lately.

First. She started saying please without being reminded last week. Yah!! Proud mom moment!! (but now she's kind of falling out of it again... hmmm)

She's had a few nights of dry bed (though that's been from us getting her up to pee, so it's not 100% her accomplishment, but still).

She's had a few days of 1 or less accidents...again, not 100% on her, because we've taken her...but still.

Her vocabulary is ginormous, and usually it just takes 1 time of hearing a word/associating it with an object, event, etc... and she's got it. She kind of talks in sentences, but it's usually broken up into one word, pause, wait for validation, one word, pause, validation, etc.... I think that's weird, but I suppose it's her way of making sure she's doing it right, or that we are listening? I've never seen another kid do it that way. For instance she'll say, "Cereal......Bowl........Orange........Spoon......Milk........Cheers!" instead of saying "My cereal bowl is orange, I use a spoon, here's my milk, Cheers!"

Yes, she loves Cheers-ing. It's adorable.

My husband said last night she has started calling him Dude. LOL

She also knows that he is my "man." That started when I asked her if she was my girl, and she said yes. Then she said, "J?" and I said, he's my boy. Then she said, Dadda? and I said, "he's my man!" sooo that's where she got that from ;-) She now has gender recognition, and in some of her books some girls have short hair cuts and she still calls them girls (or sometimes mommies), so that's pretty interesting. She knows J is a boy, and dad is a boy, I'm a girl, she's a girl, which of her friends are girls/boys, etc...

She's loving gymnastics and can pretty much do a somersault, but the form could use some help. She calls it her "fwip" (flip). I doubt we pay to continue past this month, for now, though, because it ain't cheap! I think we'll wait til the fall, or do dance, or something.

She can put her own clothes on, even shoes...but socks are pretty tough. She'll only do those by herself if she's in a hurry and I'm not moving at the pace she wants--LOL

She's still doing great with her letters, shapes, colors, numbers, etc... She's learned what several baby animals are called-- dog/puppy, cat/kitten, chicken/chick, bear/cub, etc... My dad taught her that a baby pigeon is a squab (sp?)...so that's fun. She knows a few opposites like hot/cold, wet/dry, etc... She knows under, on top, bottom, below, next to, near, beneath, over, etc...  My husband recently taught her some food categories, so that's our newest "game," if you will. Me, holding a strawberry, "G, is this a fruit or vegetable?" G, "fruit!" (only it comes out more like "fewt!") Me putting ham on her plate, "G, what is this?" G, "Meat!"
She's also working on bigger/smaller. The obvious ones she can get, but if they are too similar, it's hit or miss. Counting is going well too. "Un, two, tree, two" is about what she's got so far, although she can identify numbers 0-9.

Toddler time is so fun! But man potty training this one is tough. At least she sleeps well...but that's a double edge sword because she peed her bed before she even fell asleep last night, we are assuming, because it was soaked and freezing cold at midnight when my husband went to get her up to pee....but she didn't cry out, call for us, or anything. SO STRANGE!!

To close this little update, here are a few of my favorite words she says and their translations; (she's honestly trying to say the full word, but it comes out all adorable like)

mew-mew -- music, or somethings movie
blay-blay -- blanket 
chair -- share (also, chair, but she says share like chair)
Jesus -- Jesus ;-)
ah-mean -- amen
it's -- eats
papaw -- pah-pah! (sounds like a french accent lol)
puhpull -- purple
lohew -- love you :-)

J at 4 months

Just a quick little update about the cutest nosed member of our family,

J is 4 months old now, and very very alert. He's super into watching his big sister, or any kid for that matter. He has rolled both front to back (3/17) and back to front (4/8). He does mini-push ups. He grabs for toys. He loves gnawing on things, so much so that we wonder if he's teething.
J does not like to nap, or at least he's great a faking like he hates it. He sleeps pretty good at night--usually a 7-8 hour stretch, eat, sleep for another 2 hours or if I'm lucky, longer.

He's gone for several chariot rides, and as long as he's fed, changed, and cozy...drifts right to sleep. Same for the car.

He's had a few play dates, now that we're out of flu season...though they've really just been for big sister, G.

He still nurses like a champ, and I'd say he does that about 5 times during the day, 2-3 times at night.

J had his 4 month well child check yesterday and weighed in at 14 pounds, 13 ounces. He was 25.5 inches tall, and his head is 17.5" inches around. That puts him around 39% for weight, 60% for height, and 99% for head. These are incredible stats for someone with CDPX1. We are so blessed that he's growing and hitting milestones. We haven't heard back on his bloodwork that's supposed to identify where exactly his genetic mutation/deletion is...I'm getting a bit antsy on that. I plan to call by the end of the week, though I know our counselor will call as soon as she hears something...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Recipe: Noosa Wheat Bread in the breadmaker


Have I mentioned the bread maker I got for Christmas? I think I did. Anyways. I love it. Tons.

About two months after we got it, we bought some whole wheat bread and tried a few recipes. Then I altered one to include the most delectable thing one could ever eat. Noosa Yoghurt. I have told lots of people about Noosa, because it is Heaven on earth. Go buy some right now and get a spoon at the grocery store food court, plop yourself down in your car, and scarf the whole thing down. I dare you not to. It's not Greek yogurt, though we love that, and maybe you're a Chobani fan...that's cool, we like that too. But Noosa is creamier, richer, and just in a whole different ball park. It is dessert that you can get away with eating any time and attempting to call it healthy. I mean. It's not unhealthy, persay, but it isn't something you could eat all the time and not feel a teensy bit bad about. It isn't light at all, but it is real food. It's simple and good. Yum.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Potty Post, vol 1

Yes, here comes the mom-blog-right-of-passage potty post I know you are all dreading/anticipating.

excited with her potty treat-gummies!
First, some background. I bought G's first potty around the time she hit 14 months old. She peed on the potty for the first (And only, I'd come to realize) time on Mother's Day. I got so excited, but didn't want to push anything. I took a pretty casual approach to potty time until July or so. My mother and mother-in-law had me and my husband potty trained around 18 months or so, and since G is a genius combination of both of us, I just knew G could do that. I tried a bare-bottom day, that turned into a morning, because I couldn't handle the constant cleaning up. Mistake one, I know. Lack of commitment. I caught a few poops on the potty, and we'd sit. Oh Lord, we'd sit. But no pee. Ever. Even after an hour of Elmo videos on my phone. There started my frustration, and her learning to hold it. Out of contempt, perhaps, or out of trying to please me, I don't know. Mistake two is right there...trying to find reason.

So potty training didn't happen before the move. I thought about doing it before J arrived, but meh. I was too worn out and trying to manage a new home with a "high(er) risk" pregnancy, it didn't happen. Then there was talk about training her in the 3 weeks my husband was planning to take off work after the baby was born. But then that crazy traumatic birth sitch happened, and the potty/new baby/recovering momma combo was completely ludicris.

First April Weekend

Highlights of the weekend;
G went to her first gymnastics class. She did pretty well for her first time. She's a bit timid, so hopefully this will help her gain confidence and become for adventurous or outgoing. She had an accident a few minutes before the end, because she had been holding it since the night before!! (More on the potty later. Suffice to say its going miserably) after the accident she was in a much better mood and wanted to keep going, even though class was over. They have free open gym in Wednesday so I might try to add that in addition to Saturday class.
I think she looked adorbs in her leo that I got for $5!!

Mister man (J) had a fairly good weekend. Slept great at night, not so great during the day. That's his thing I guess. He got to go out side, which is good, but he doesn't like the brightness, even with his cute hat. He played really well and was sweet as always.

We got out for one run with the chariot. I'm loving being active again. Praise God for that.

We ate food off the grill, yummo!

We got a teensy bit of alone time when the kids napped at the same time. And we picked colors for the house, since its getting painted next week or the week after. Will post pics.

J went grocery shopping with me. Without G. That's the first time that's happened and it was so peaceful and lovely. He slept the whole time in the Beco. Before having two kids, I thought taking a baby to the grocery store was stressful. Not anymore. He even had a poop-tific diaper and needed to nurse... Managed it all easily. Too bad I can't go back and re-do the first year with G. It'd be a breeze.

We didn't make it to church. Meltdowns were ensuing with the potty situation. I prayed God would solve the problems on time for mass, but that didn't happen... Looked at it as though He was telling us we needed to stay home. Judge not.

Can't believe it's already Monday. Hopefully we have a potty miracle this week. Nothing else is really on the docket.

Love to all

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

J and the Ortho, general spine outlook

Yesterday we went to the orthopedic doctor, who specializes in spines, at our children's clinic.

I had taken J to get some cervical spine x rays early in March, so the good news there was our appointment was much less painful than if we had had to do that too.

I knew going in that his spine wasn't in horrible shape because the radiologist report came back super fast and the genetic counselor called me that day to let me know that it didn't look bad, not great, but good considering his condition.

And that was pretty much the word yesterday. "Considering he has a skeletal dysplasia, his spine looks really really good!"
I feel kinda of blah about that because there's another * to his life, "good, but..."
I know it could be way worse, so no complaints, just meh.

His neck bones have some misshapen pieces and some good pieces. His spine has a good deal of speckling on it, and I finally understand what that means enough to explain it to you. There are spots on several of J's bones that never hardened into bone from cartilage, which is what all babies start out as before the bones harden en utero. So his genetic make up has a faulty piece that forgot to tell certain pieces of his cartilage to turn into bone. Most visibly, his nasal bridge.

The doctor said that if we could pull J's spine from his body and look at it, we wouldn't think it looked different from any other skeleton. It's on x ray and other imaging reports that we see the difference because that's where you see cartilage look different than bone. I think. Haha...bare with me as I try to explain a super rare condition in plain English.

So the prognosis is that there seems to be good enough space for his spinal cord to continue having freedom from compression as J grows. That's vital to continued use of his limbs and trunk, and also important for feeling, no tingling, no pain, etc... It also is a "wait and see" situation to see if he'll develop scoliosis. Which some CDPx1 kids do. The doctor also said his height situation (little person or not) will remain to be seen. For now he is hovering average length, but I guess that could drop off at any time, so more waiting there.

For now, we just support his head and neck--don't let it flop around. The doctor was very impressed with J's improved head control, and that he's meeting normal milestones.

J won't get to play contact sports or do much dare devil things...if he knows what's good for him... Which still leaves some athletics, but not the dangerous ones, like soccer or water skiing or football. Just running, swimming, bowling, fishing, etc. Which those are super fun anyways...just gonna be tough explaining to a little boy why he can't do those other ones. Especially coming from a paternal family of water skiers.

Anyways, so the appointment was shorter than expected, so my husband and I utilized the babysitter time to go get a treat. Not that our guts need it, but it was a nice little date courtesy of groupon. Before, taking a baby out with us wouldn't have been considered a date...but with two kids, having the baby at a frozen custard place, definitely seems easy enough to call it a date. Oh how things change ;)

Monday, April 01, 2013

Chariot and this momma are back

Thanks to my amazing friend, I finally have a cougar 2--a chariot double stroller. She found it at a consignment sale and even though its an 04 model... I've been looking on Craigslist and eBay for the right one and never found the right fit...she really came through!
It's like buying a used car...makes more sense to buy used when we don't have the money to pay 900 for a jogging stroller plus bike cart. They hold their value, and while a new model would have been lovely to have, a used chariot is still better than the fanciest BOB. The suspension on these things is amazing and it rolls so nice while jogging. It is the Aston Martin of strollers. Just go to chariotcarriers.com to see what I am talking about.
J has an infant sling attachment that turns the chariot into a cozy bouncy seat and G loves having him in there with her.
I had a great first jog with it, probably ran about 10-15 min out of 30. Felt really awesome to get back into it. I know in no time I'll be up to 5k's.
Man I missed running