Sunday, December 15, 2013

Why bother unpacking when you can decorate for Christmas, instead!?

We are slowly but surely continuing to unpack the new house.  Unpacking is not that much fun.  So we took a break and busted out the Christmas decorations instead.  Here's a little glimpse of Christmas at the Schween's this year.  With all the money there is to be spent on things for a new house (who knew door knobs cost so much!?!), we didn't want to spend much extra money on new decorations this December.  We used what we had from our last house, and supplemented with a few new purchases, as cheaply as possible (think, split peas from the bulk section at the grocery store...).  Next year?  Outside lights!!!  I had to let that go this year with everything we have going on, but next out.
Can I just say that having banisters is AWESOME....until you realized how long it takes to hang, shape, and fluff garland!  81 feet of artificial greenery later, my hands and arms looked like I lost a fight with a cat.  Wounds aside, one of the first things I thought of when we looked at his house was how fun it would be to have banisters for decorating at Christmas :)

Finally got our stockings hung!  And we can't believe that next Christmas there will be 6 hanging from our mantle.

I wasn't kidding - you thought I was.  Split peas are filling up my candle holders.  I already had the candles and the variety of glass holders...add split peas and you've got the cheapest green d├ęcor you've ever seen.

Aaaand my one, token "Glassy Baby."  LOVE.  Why do they have to be so cute!?  I probably won't own any more at that price tag (in my mature state of motherhood, I would rather buy a few lattes...or 50 lattes, or whatever the cost equivalent would be)

And then of course there's our 9 ft tree.  Thank goodness for super high ceilings in the living room!  And thank goodness that I could reach down to decorate the top of the tree from the balcony, lol!  Otherwise this pregnant mama would have had a solid 2 feet at the top without any ornaments.
Hope all of your Christmas prep is fun-filled!  I finished most of our Christmas shopping a while ago.  Thank you,, I never even had to leave the house.  Very much looking forward to Christmas morning with 3 little ones tearing open presents this year!!!  I have always loved envisioning a house-full on Christmas morning with our family, and we're definitely getting there!  The big kids are enjoying our advent calendar and understanding the Christmas story a little bit better each year.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

And then one day...we bought a house.

This is not the post to explain the road we traveled to get here.  To buying a house.  That might come some other time, as it's a long story!  This post is because of the family and friends who have asked for pictures of our new house.  Well, technically, we haven't closed on it yet, so it's not 100% a done deal, but it's as close as we'll get until our closing date on November 14th! 

We didn't take any pictures of the outside of the house or the yard yet - oops!  We were focused on the inside of the house and measuring everything during the inspection since we won't get to go inside for another month when we close and move, and wanted to be able to look at our pics to plan our furniture, etc, so we didn't really worry about pictures of the outside.  It's an older house ('95) and the outside definitely needs some work as it looks a bit run down (long story, it's been vacant for 2 years as two daughters have been remodeling the inside after their parents suddenly passed away) and the landscaping has only been kept up to the bare minimum (basically, they mowed the lawn, and maybe pulled some weeds, but it's overgrown and untended).  The inside is looking much nicer than the outside, since that's what the sellers have been working on painting, new floors and carpet, new appliances, etc.  We will face the yard work in the spring when the time comes - nice not to have to worry about that too much at this point since we're moving as winter and snow are taking over Colorado!

Front door and entry way
Stair case in entry leads to bedrooms upstairs, and the family room is off to the right
This is the "living room" to the left of the entry way.  We will be using it for a "play room" of sorts, with our old couches, play kitchen, train table, etc
View from the "play room" into the "formal dining room."  We are turning the dining room into our homeschool room - I am SO EXCITED about it!!!  Can't wait to post pictures of it down the road.

View from standing inside the family room - kind of a great room feel with the kitchen and family room open to each other (hall on the left leads to the powder room, laundry room, and garage).
Family room - left
Family room - right

Kitchen, overlooks the family room

More kitchen.  Off to the left you can see into the "homeschool room" (dining room), and off to the right you can see the French doors into the office.

This is where our kitchen table will go - can't WAIT for our new table which will actually seat our family and extend to seat company :)  We have been so cramped in our little breakfast nook eating area and I cannot even tell you how excited I am for our new dining set up!

View from inside the office, where Robin will be able to work from home when he needs to, and it will also be our music room where we hang all of his guitars and put Ty's keyboard for his music class.
Top of the staircase, master bedroom door is to the right from the stairs, and the other 3 bedrooms are off to the left at the top of the stairs.
Master bath, and closet on the right
More master bath

Master bedroom

Kid bedroom - haven't decided which room will be for the boys and which room will be for the girls.

Another kid room.  The 3rd bedroom will be a guest room + napping room.  Right now we have a kid napping in our room in a pack n play every day, so I look forward to having our bedroom space back and using the guest room for nap time instead!

Kid's and guest bathroom.

Oh, and randomly, a picture of half of the basement.  The whole thing is unfinished, but it's huge and will be an awesome storage space.

So that's all for now!  Pictures of an empty house...and we are so excited to move in to it!  I can't sleep anymore because my poor brain can't stop thinking about where to put the couch, which wall to put the bed on, where our pictures frames will work, how to organize the kitchen cabinets...ahhh!  We are feeling totally overwhelmed and blessed at how doors have opened and things have worked out with this house.  It's more than we ever imaged...and cheaper than we ever imagined!  We look forward to turning this house into our home for our soon-to-be family of 6!!!  I will post more pics down the road when we move in so all you out-of-towners can see the place since we can't invite you over for dinner.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A gift of rocks

Hey, look at me!  Posting again before an entire year went by.  I'm on a roll. 
A couple of weeks ago was my mother-in-law's birthday.  I made some homemade vanilla extract for her as a gift (didn't try it here's hoping it's any good!).  I wanted the kids to make something for her since I know she would appreciate something handmade much more than something store bought.  And the kids have about $2 between the two of them, so that wouldn't have bought anything fabulous anyway ;-)  She loves to garden and has a lot of plants, planter boxes, etc, so I thought it might be fun to make some "pet rocks" to live in her garden!  The kids would love doing it (I would try not to have an anxiety attack, like I often do when I get out a bunch of painting supplies around my 2-year-old), and my MIL would have some things in her garden that would remind her of the kids on a daily basis.
I browsed around online and saw a few different ideas to pull from, and we also made some up on our own.  Here is our first venture into the world of pet rocks!
Armed with some "base" colors for our critters
Jersey girl painting her rocks.

While painting there were plenty expressions of her current favorite phrase: "Mommy, I do it MYSELF" - complete with big eyes, serious tone, and the most exaggerated emphasis on "myself" that you can imagine.  She must be two. 

Tyson choosing to pain a mouse grey.

The finished product of Stage 1!  We wrote next to them in the box what we thought they should become after observing their various shapes.  *Most* of what we originally thought of came to fruition.
 Stage 2 was just me and Ty.  I woke him up a little bit early from his nap so he could help me paint stripes and eyes and noses, etc.  I knew Jersey would get frustrated with me trying to show her what to paint, and she doesn't have the fine motor skills to do anything more than broad strokes yet.  So for this particular project, Tyson and I had some special time putting on the finishing touches.

Ty blowing on the "googly eyes" so they would dry.

My goof ball thought he was pretty "big time" waking up early to help with a special project.

Here is the finished product!  We decided to make: fish, tiger, ladybug, bee, mouse, dog, and 3 monsters (Tyson's favorite!).  After the rocks were dry we decided to spray the fish and two of the monsters with some glitter (I mean, who doesn't love a glittery pink monster!?).  Then we sprayed all of the rocks with a clear, UV resistant coating.  I'm hoping it will keep the colors from fading too much this summer!

Tyson's favorite monsters! He LOVED the googly eye effect.

A couple of my personal favorites.
There you have it!  A cheap, fun, relatively painless (probably completely painless if you don't have a 2-year-old!) project which turned out super cute.  My only regret is not making any for us, because the kids both carried the rocks around and talked to them like they were real pets, ha!  So cute.  We will have to make some more for our own yard at some point.

Monday, May 20, 2013

One year later...

Well, I thought since my last blog post was Tessa's newborn photo shoot (you can read her BIRTH STORY) that it was only fitting for my next post to be about her 1st birthday (lame, I know).  We upgraded our windows software (I'm not a fan), bought a computer better suited to Robin working from home, and had some issues with .BlogSpot.  Technical difficulties, people.  Oh, and life was a little bit crazy there for a while after adding child #3, making three kids ages 4 and under.  I was too busy to devote time to figuring out why the blog wouldn't let me up load photos, etc.  And with the upgraded computer set up...I wasn't even sure where my photos WERE once I took them off of the camera and put them on the computer - ha!  Technology issues are making me feel old...  Anyway, it's been a fun and crazy year for our not-so-little-anymore family.  Tessa Grayce turned a year old last week and we had a low key afternoon celebrating with my in-laws and a couple of friends.  We kept it small on purpose so we could really just enjoy our family and our birthday girl without the utter chaos that inevitably accompanies big first birthday bashes.  I missed my family and wished they could be there, but tried to take lots of pictures so they could at least experience it in photos.  Now on to the party!

Latest project: birthday balloon wreath!  I wanted to make some gender neutral decorations that I can pull out every time there's a birthday in our family.  1) because I don't have time to make specific themed decorations for each kid every time they have a birthday, 2) I don't want to spend the $$ to make new decorations all the time!  More cost effective to have a few reusable ones.

Birthday gusts of wind at the beginning of the party.  It looked cuter before the weather got in the way!

My little birthday beauty.

My in-laws back yard - MUCH more conducive than our yard for a BBQ with plenty of room for the kids roam around and play.

Pretty pleased with how well these turned out!  I did not want to use artificial food coloring since that stuff is pretty bad for you (and I'm especially conscious of what I make for my kids to eat).  But I didn't want just plain white cupcakes for my girly girl on her bday.  The frosting is colored using only a homemade blackberry "sauce."  I made the sauce, strained the seeds, and added some to the (dairy free) frosting when I whipped it up.  Unexpected benefit: it tastes amazing!  Slightly fruity but not overpowering at all.  And of course since I'm obsessed with coconut flour these days, I had to attempt coconut flour vanilla cupcakes.  Grain free, and also delish!  I used to be gluten free, but once our whole family went off dairy I stopped having any issues with gluten (hallelujah!).  We just eat very few grains in general anymore, so coconut flour cupcakes were a divine discovery.

Jersey girl enjoying her cupcake.

The gang hangin out in the back yard.

Tyson and one of his best friends, Tori.

"Why is everybody singing and staring at me?"

Big brother to the rescue, helping blow out the candle.
As with all of our kids, she wasn't so sure about touching the cake.  Much less putting it in her mouth.
I LOVE this picture (good job, Robin!) of her chubby little baby fingers.  I know she will lose what little baby chub she has before we know it.  Tessa had a 2-layered coconut flour vanilla cake with whipped coconut cream "icing" since she, like the rest of our family, is dairy free.

"Okay, enough of this stuff.  I'm not so sure about this whole 'sugar thing.'"

A few presents for the birthday girl.

Much needed summer clothes from Grandmommy and Pappy!  You would think we would have enough girl stuff already, but since the girls are opposite seasons and it gets pretty darn hot and pretty darn cold here, I haven't been able to use a whole lot of Jersey's clothes for Tessa.  Hopefully in the next year or so all of the hand-me-downs will work for Tessa since she'll last longer in  her clothes.

A little play kitchen from Nana and Papa.

We still can't believe we have THREE kids, and the littlest one is already a year old.  We live a very rich life if you're counting your blessings in children.

The birthday girl in her PJ's, all tired out from the excitement,  snuggling with Grandmommy.

Still amazing to me that my baby girl is a year old!  Each of our three kids I have felt the same way, but with each child time seems to fly by a little bit faster than the last.  I'm in the process of weaning her which all of a sudden makes her feel even less like a baby.  She's literally seems to be growing up overnight!  I feel like I was given such an incredible gift that I was the center of her world for the last year.  Someday she won't need me like she does now, so I am treasuring every single day.  I am truly humbled that God chose me to be her mama.  We love our "Tessa-berry" (Robin's nickname for her that the whole family has adopted).  Happy first birthday, sweet girl!