My little boyfriend

Oh Mr. Kole.  My little boyfriend.  Exactly two months from today you will turn three.  I don’t think you can turn three.  You are too good at being two.  In fact, you pretty much have the two year old thing mastered.  :)

I can’t look at these pictures without smiling.  They so perfectly capture your little expressions and personality.  You are so much fun right now.  And so much trouble.  Fun and trouble all mixed into one.  Your favorite thing to say is “not yet.”  It cracks us up.  Sometimes you say it so matter of fact.  “Kole – it’s time to brush your teeth” —  “not yet.”  Sometimes you say it when you are mad and throwing a fit.  “Kole it’s time for a nap.”  NOT! YETTTTT!!!!!!!”  You are still such a mommas boy.  We are together 24/7 and we both prefer it that way.  Sometimes if I’m away from you it feels nice to have a break.  For about 20 minutes.  Then I start to miss you and wonder what you are up to and I can’t wait to see you again.  You love your sisters so much Kole.  You call them “my Ellie” and “my Addie.”  When they are at school you run around upstairs calling “my Ellie!” “my Addie!”  “where are you!?”  Then when I tell you they are at school you get mad and yell “not yet!”  :)  You also adore your daddy and get so excited to see him.  I have a hard time getting you in bed at night because you don’t want to leave dad’s side.  You still love your pillows Kole.  You love to pile them all up on my bed and then tap all of us on the shoulder to “come play.”  So we do.  We all pile on the bed and play in the pillows with you.  Your favorite is when dad tosses you high in the air on top of them all.  You also love to cuddle.  Our favorite time together is right after you wake up from your nap.  I get you out of your crib and we come downstairs to the couch and we turn on Peppa Pig (your favorite) and then we cuddle.  We cuddle as long as we possibly can.  We are always bummed when our cuddle time is interrupted by life and the schedule.  You love swinging at the park, practicing your ABC’s, riding in the car, Eggo waffles, taking baths, and your choo choo trains.  You are working hard on your speech Kole.  I am so proud of how hard you try and of all of the progress you’ve made this year.  Your therapists adore you.  Even though they say you have “compliance issues.”  I have to suppress a smile sometimes when you are acting up in therapy.  You love to stir things up and get a reaction.  Like I said before, you are very good at being two.  :)  You are one big ball of energy Kole.  You love to run and climb and jump and play play play and mess up your sisters toys and mess up the house and mess up the laundry and mess up whatever you can find to mess up.  You make life messy.  And I never thought I’d say this, but because of you, I’m starting to like messy too.  I wouldn’t change one hair on your sweet smelling head little buddy.  
At least “not yet.”  :)
Love you so much Kole -
xoxo,
mommy

Paper control – a quick and easy solution

Once upon a time I had a kitchen drawer that looked like this….
but life got busy and before long it turned into this…

Yeah.  A nice example of one of my organized spaces that became really difficult to keep organized.  I took care of my recipes by re-organizing them in my aqua accordian file, but I still had mounds of paper I was trying to corral in this drawer.  We don’t have a home office in my house so I have to get creative when it comes to paper control!  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know I have paper organized in Kole’s room, the closet under the stairs, and in kitchen cupboards… just to name a few places.  :)

What has been working well for me when it comes to paper control is the system I use for my kids’ school work before I put it in their albums.  So I decided to copy the same system for the papers I was attempting to organize in my kitchen drawer.

 I picked up a $5 crate from Staples.  (The crates are my favorite because I don’t like lids on the top of my files.  I want to be able to access things quickly and easily.)
 Then I ordered my favorite hanging file folders on Amazon because they didn’t have them at Staples.  And they are my favorite.  Did you want to hear more about them?
Good!  Because I’m excited to tell you about them!
They are the Pendaflex Ready-Tab hanging folders and you can find them here.
I love them because of the built in tabs that easily lift up and down.  And the fun colors.  And because of the built in tabs that easily lift up and down.  Did I mention that yet?   They are my favorite!
Is my love affair with file folders scaring anyone?  They make me almost as giddy as sticky notes.  :)
K.  We can move on now.

I pulled all of the paper out of the drawer and separated everything into piles.  I quickly realized that aside from phone numbers, most of it was miscellaneous information for the kids.

So I gave each of my kids their own folders and within two minutes I had a much better system for my paper piles!  I think this system works so well for any paper you want to organize.  Much easier than digging through a drawer to find what you need.

I ended up with extra folders that I’m keeping in the back so that when random paper comes in that I need to hold onto I can easily create a new folder.  There was also enough room in the back to store my home decor files and my built-in binder.  Bonus.  :)

I safely tucked this crate on the side of my couch in the living room.  It’s my hidden little spot where I keep must haves for every day.

The corner basket holds my camera and video camera (a goal of mine is to film my kids more this year!).  Next to that are books the girls are reading for our D.E.A.R time each day (more about that in this post).

Then I have Kole’s diapers and our favorite throws in the other two baskets.
Our daily essentials for the living room.  :)
It’s not my ideal spot for paper control, but it will do for now!
At least it’s working better than the kitchen drawer.  :)

El the ice princess

Sharing a few pics from El’s 9th birthday party today!  I need to get them posted before I blink and it’s time to throw her another party.  Ellie loves ice skating so we thought it would be fun to have an ice skating party.  I was all for it because #1 – the people at the ice skating rink have the whole thing organized so there is little work for mom and #2 – her birthday is in January.  This would make it feel like a real winter birthday!  Something we don’t experience much around here.  It all sounded great until we woke up the morning of the party.  Kenny and I were like “what were we thinking!?  Are we seriously taking 15 3rd graders ice skating!?”  “Do you even know how to ice skate?”  “No.”  “Do you?”  “No.” “What were we thinking!?”  We had visions of party guests leaving with broken arms and legs for party favors.  Minor moment of panic.  :)  But I’m happy to say that aside from a few trips and falls, everyone left in one piece and had a great time.  Especially my 9 year old ice princess.

I had a cute winter-y outfit all laid out for her to wear but she told me that she wanted to wear sweats and could she please since it was after all, her birthday.  How do you argue with that?  I’m just glad she didn’t (in typical Ellie fashion) ask to wear her pajamas.  :)

The rink was a little crowded since it was a Saturday.  It was 75 degrees and beautiful outside so it seemed funny that so many people were bundling up and going indoors for ice skating.  I guess we weren’t the only ones who wanted to “feel” winter.  El had a great time skating with her friends.  They are a darling group of kids and I loved seeing them having so much fun together.

 After skating a while the party leader gathered the birthday group.  

And everyone sang to El.  
 Everyone cleared the ice and she got to play some games with the crowd cheering her on.

Then our party guy (who was darling with El) picked her up and skated her around the rink several times while everyone cheered.  It was so dang cute.  She had her arms outstretched and was grinning ear to ear and later said that was her favorite part of the day.  That and when they played Lose My Breath by Beyonce – requested by the birthday girl of course.

While El skated with her friends, Addie and I made our best attempt to stay on two feet.  

Yes.  The Olympics are in both of our futures.  
I’m too old and Addie’s too young, but together we make the perfect combo.   
You guys think I’m kidding but I’m not. 
Winter Olympics 2014 – Russia.  Watch for us.  

 After skating it was time for pizza of course.  

 Then El got to decorate her cake.  

And then we all sang to her and showered her with love.  She told me it was her best birthday yet and her huge smile throughout the party confirmed it.  
Age nine is off to a great start.  :)  

A quick hello

I wanted to quickly share a little something with all of you.  A sweet blog reader of mine named Cathy  (who has become a good friend!) has a close friend going through a very difficult time right now.  She is pregnant and is carrying her precious baby to term despite the fact that he has anencephaly (the formation of the brain is limited or does not occur).  This couple is raising money to cover the cost of a memorial bench to have made in their baby’s honor.  I am sharing this with you today for two reasons.  Reason one is because Cathy has become a dear friend of mine so when she asked me to share this with my readers I didn’t hesitate.  If it is important to her it is important to me.  Reason two is because I have been blessed to be pregnant four times in my life.  My first pregnancy was a miscarriage and it was incredibly difficult even though I lost the baby early on.  I can’t imagine carrying a baby full term knowing that your time on earth with your sweet angel will be so short.  My heart aches for what this couple will go through.  My friend Cathy blogged about their story here and you can see the family’s facebook page here if you would like to learn more or consider donating.  Thank you!
This has been a slow blogging week for me!  Kenny and I are very much still in recovery mode.  Moms don’t get sick days.  I almost laughed when the doctor told me to “get lots of rest.”  I wanted to say “have you met my two year old!?”  :)  Hopefully things will turn around and we will start to feel better this weekend.  My girls are feeling better and have been doing their best to help entertain Kole.   
Of course we all know what that means.
Poor kid doesn’t stand a chance.  
:)
Enjoy your weekend everyone!

New house update (exterior)

Well.  This has been quite the week!  We are all sick at my house.  El had her b-day party Saturday and we were all feeling great.  By Monday Kenny and El were sick and by last night the whole crew (minus Kole) had a cough, stuffy nose, headache, sore throat and fever.  Dr. visits for all today!  And plenty of Z packs to go around.  Kenny has also been up to his own home remedies.  Ever heard of a pie cleanse?  I didn’t think so.  You eat nothing but pie.  He came up with that little trick over Thanksgiving and decided another pie cleanse is in order to cure his cold as well.  Even in his sickest state (and he is really sick!) his sense of humor remains in tact.  What a relief.  ;)

Quick picture dump today.  Things have been really moving along at the new house and we are having so much fun seeing everything on the exterior come together.  A lot of planning is happening for the inside as well (almost finished designing the bathrooms!) but I think it will be more fun to share inside stuff when everything is actually being installed.  Here are a few things that have been happening with the exterior the past two months…

My corbels were added to the front balcony.  I love corbels.  :)

Here they are working on the framing for the standing seam copper roofs.  I will be so sad to see our framers go.  We have loved getting to know these guys.  
 Roof is finished and chimneys are framed!

Then the paper was added to the roof to keep out the elements.  
 Roof tiles are loaded and windows are almost completely installed.  YEA!
Fireplaces have been installed.  I chose a grey herringbone pattern for the inside.  LOVE.  I’m probably not going to add wood and light fires in them.  Just admire the grey herringbone.  ;)  
 And here are a few pictures of the pool in progress – 

So cool.  It was fascinating to see the process and how quickly they had that baby knocked out!

Of course as soon as the hole was dug we had a huge rain storm.  Several huge rain storms actually so for a while everything was a muddy mess!  Fun to tromp around in though.

My favorite thing so far has definitely been seeing the windows/doors installed.  Like so many of you commented on – it makes it feel more like a real house instead of a construction site.  :)

 My favorite windows are the three on the front of the house.
And the two little square ones on the front of the garage.  :) 

Progress!  I have to say that one of my favorite things about the building process so far has been meeting so many wonderful people.  From the framers to the plumbers to the electricians to the landscapers – they have all been the best.  So much fun to work with.  I love taking them up some muffins/bagels and juice and chatting with them all.  I usually can’t stay long because my little man is waiting for me in the car and the two of us don’t handle separation well.  :)  It is still way too dangerous to let Kole loose on the scene!  But I love popping in when my schedule allows it to see what has been done each day.  We are getting an inspection next week and then it’s time for drywall!  We will also be starting the siding and rock on the exterior very soon.  Bring it!  I’m ready to move in.  :)

Enjoy your day everyone!  Fingers crossed you are all well!  It is no fun being sick.  Oh and thanks for the sweet comments on El’s birthday post.  I know all moms can relate to the happy/sad feelings that come when your child turns another year older.  (sniff)  I can’t think about it or I need more tissues.

And we are already knee deep in tissues around here.  :)