Friday, July 30, 2010

My Sister, the Art Teacher

When I agreed to teach the crafts lessons for our church's VBS, I had no idea that I would end op needing sinus surgery the same week. Fortunately, my sister was willing to step in and fill my shoes. We tried out a few of the craft projects when we had our cousins in town, but we definitely didn't cover everything. Once my surgery was underway, I was no help to her whatsoever, but she did a GREAT job.
These are some beautiful Japanese flowers that the kids created using PAPER TOWELS! First, they folded and dip dyed paper towels. We found directions on the blog wendolonia. They just made the tie dye decorations and used them as window decorations.
We found directions for transforming paper towels into Japanese Kanzashi flowers on the filth wizard blog. Our group of kids ended up being a little young, so Jen took it upon herself to sew the flowers together so that each kid got one. They turned out SO PRETTY! Thanks Jen for stepping in and doing such a great job in my place!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sinus Surgery

I never had sinus problems and then, suddenly in January I developed a sinus infection on the left side of my face that just wouldn't go away. I was on antibiotics a few times this winter and it would help, but then the pain and pressure would return. I could usually breath through my nose, but had constant reminders that all was not well. I kept putting it off and finally decided that summer, when I was off from school, would be a good time to get it checked out. Even though I could breath fine, the doctor saw a total blockage and put me on a 3 week course of antibiotics. Two weeks into the treatment, a CT scan still showed a complete blockage, so we scheduled a surgery to open it all up and clean it all out. The surgery was Tuesday and the doctor said it was a LOT worse than he expected. He said that the lining of the sinuses is normally the thickness of a piece of paper. Mine was 100 times larger. I keep thinking about what 100 xerox copies looks like, YUCK. Even worse was the volcanic (doc's description) eruption of infection when he cut into the sinuses. Sorry about the visual, but it is stuck in my head, so now you have it too! I came through it all fine, only had to take one pain pill yesterday. I LOVE my anesthesiologist, who ever he was, because I told him how I usually vomit after surgery and he found a good dosage that kept me from getting nauseous. So, now my nose is bandaged and I feel headachy and foggy like when you have the flu. Lydia is going to daycare all week and Jen has been babysitting me. Hopefully soon I will be back to my old self, minus the Groucho Glasses!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday in Iowa

Sunday was our last day visiting in Iowa. Lydia took a bath with her cousins, then a LONG nap. Everyone else went to the pool while she was asleep. When she woke up, she and I had some quiet time and a pack of Oreos.

Lydia now insists on prying the two halves apart and only wants to eat the half with the frosting.

When she finally gets them separated and shoves the entire frosted side into her mouth, this is the face she makes! So cute, I just had to grab my camera and share!

Iowa Cousins

Jennifer and I drove the Iowa cousin's home on Thursday. We are now enjoying a weekend of catching up with the rest of the family. Last year we took a picture of all the kids playing in the yard. We were able to take another picture this year and are enjoying seeing how much everyone has grown.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cousins at the Condo

This is what you get when Jen and I watch Lydia and the Iowa cousins at the condo.
We invited four more kids to have a slumber party at the condo.
In 24 hours they watched an entire season of the Simpsons.
They swam in the neighborhood pool, but also enjoyed swimming in the large jacuzzi bath tub. All the kids had a great time, and the 3 girls who had to ride to Iowa the next day slept REALLY well in the car!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Iowa Cousins in Tennessee

Last weekend, Jen and I drove to Indianapolis to meet up with our cousins from Iowa and bring their two girls back to TN with us for a few days. Next weekend we will go all the way to Iowa to take them home and visit for the weekend.

We wanted to take the girls tubing and hiking, but it poured rain all morning on Monday. Fortunately, the sky cleared for a few hours and we took advantage of the temporarily blue skies by heading to a local splash pad. Iowa has amazing public pools, but I don't think they have splash pads, so the girls seemed to enjoy themselves. Lydia had a great time running around with the older girls. After splashing, and before dinner, we went to Chill on North shore. Have you been to a Chill custom creamery? Its like a Coldstone or Marble Slab, only instead of them mixing in toppings and charging for each, you get a cup of liquid and add as much or as little of an assortment of toppings to the liquid. Then the fun begins. They have all these Kitchen Aid mixers that mix the liquid while blasting it with something super cold, so there is all this foggy smoky action. The kids LOVED watching their ice cream get "chilled!"

Traveling by Train

On Saturday, PJ got tickets for us to ride the Three River's Rambler. The train leaves Volunteer landing and travels up the river for about an hour and then returns. We went with some friends and their kids. Everyone was very excited by all the train sounds and the beautiful river views.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Volunteer Landing Visit

On Friday, I took Lydia to Volunteer Landing to play in the fountains and see the sights. After visiting all of the fun downtown locations on a recent trip to Chattanooga, I decided to make more of an effort to seek out interesting places in Knoxville to visit. So far, I have thought of 3, UT Gardens, Market Square, and now Volunteer Landing. Not much of a list, so leave a comment if you have a favorite (ideally free) Knoxville location to visit with kids!
This is Lydia's new puckered lip, fish face....only she isn't imitating a fish. She just does this on her own and for no apparent reason. All. The. Time! So also leave a comment if you know if this is normal or abnormal or if her face will freeze like that!
Anyway, there are these great bench swings that look out over the TN river. You can see one of our bridges in the background. You can also see Lydia's adorable new (thrifted) pink loafers! Super cute, but super SMALL. They should fit through fall based on the size, but might not be able to be worn much longer. At least I didn't pay much for them!
Oh, yeah. There were fountains....and a waterfall that kids can run behind. Lydia wanted no part in the waterfall. Too loud equals too scary right now. Feel free to leave a comment telling me if that is normal or not if you are so inclined!
This is what Lydia did a lot of.....climbed on benches, rocks, etc. once she was wet.
Malibu Barbie also got in on the action at some point. And the aqua doodle, which makes sense since it works with water, I guess! Mommy managed to keep herself and the camera relatively dry and was even able to bring home Daddy's favorite dinner from a local restaurant right next to Volunteer landing. A great outing, but now I am all out of Knoxville locations to visit. Of course I am also almost out of time in the summer, so I suppose it works out!

Playing in Fountains

Lydia has been asleep for almost 3 hours. Should she choose to wake up before dinner time, I plan on taking her to Volunteer Landing to play in the fountains. While we are away on our adventure, enjoy these pictures of Lydia playing with Sophie at the Fountains in Market Square.

She is always timid at first, but once she gets wet, she really loves it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lydia's Kitchen and My Felt Food

This is Lydia's new (used) kitchen. I have been searching craigslist for one that isn't too pricey. I was prepared to drive 6 hours round trip to get one in Kentucky, and then I walked into our local thrift store and there was this kitchen. Well, not exactly this kitchen. It was in perfect condition, but those primary plastic colors that they make many kids top...yellow door. none of it was damaged, but it just wasn't what i had in mind. So I bought a can of spray paint made to bond with plastic and went to town. Word of warning! They say it bonds to any plastic, but I can already scratch at it and get the paint to come off. Hrrrumphhhhh! It looks good for the moment, but time will tell if Lydia is harder on the new paint than my fingernail was.
I also picked up these cute small canisters at the thrift store. They were a really dirty looking dark wood, but I sprayed them too. I decided they would make great storage for the felt food I have been sewing for Lydia. That's bacon on the left. I used elastic to create the fatty parts and to make it curl and ripple. On the right is an orange wedge and some strawberries.
The corn and carrot started basically the same way, as fat rectangles. I sewed a tube for the corn and a cone for the carrot. Both were gathered at the top. The carrot got some green leaves added and it was finished. I gathered the yellow in several strips to create the texture of kernels and then finished up with some long leaves.
I have also made a fried eggs, two pieces of toast, some lettuce and a slice of tomato. The felt is so easy to work with and I have been enjoying thinking about how to sculpt various food shapes, that Lydia will actually recognize, and want to pretend with. She is having fun and I am having fun. It's a win/win.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Swimming in the River

One of the best things about our camping trip was swimming. We told Lydia we were going swimming and she wasn't really sure about it. A few times she said she was "ready go pool now"!
Once we got her into the water she was OK, until she saw the bugs.
Fortunately, the really fun lazy river that someone created by re-arranging the rocks in the river out weighed the bugs and we got Lydia to play in the water for a while.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Camping Trip

We took Lydia camping in the "Daddy-Wagon" as Lydia calls it. We had a really good time, but at the moment, I am tired and muddy and smokey. So enjoy a picture of out overloaded Impala, full of all the gear we took to the Great Smokey mountains for our short wilderness adventure!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Misc. Pics.

I have several pictures from events that probably won't get their own post and unfortunately sometimes that means they just get set aside. We are going camping tomorrow, so I should have some wilderness pictures and stories to share soon and I didn't want all of these to go without being shared. First is a rare mommy and Liddy picture, taken at Conner's birthday. A friend of mine took this one and I don't even remember her taking it. I am amazed that Lydia and I are both looking in the right direction. Here is Lydia showing how BIG she is now. Conner's birthday is the same as Lydia's, same day/same year, so why shouldn't she show off a little?
Here is Lydia reading a book to her dolly. My mom made her dress and the dolly, and the dolly's dress....and the book ....Just kidding about the book. She bought that! Check out that expression. I think she is up to something!

Lydia is enjoying her new play dough that she got for her birthday. I don't know why I hadn't bought her play dough yet. I LOVE play dough. And I am LOVING this monkey contraption. We had a play dough barber shop toy when I was little and the hair did the same thing. The problem was the small holes. They made GREAT hair, but always got clogged. Looks like the monkey has thicker dreads, so the problem seems to be solved.

I also have unpublished photos of a few crazy meals I cooked up, but for now I will stick with cute Lydia over my weird culinary creations!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Big Ideas for the Little Girl's Room

So, all of the rooms in our upstairs have sloped ceilings. Lydia's nursery is a complete triangle, not a vertical wall in sight! It definitely posed a decorating challenge.
One day, when we were only thinking about a baby (and I was thinking where we would PUT a baby, and how I could decorate that space) it hit me like a ton of bricks.....CIRCUS TENT! I suddenly remembered the circus train crib my dad made for us kids when we were babies. I started dreaming of ways to drape fabric to cover the ceiling, create a "wall", and create storage space hidden behind the "wall".
I was so happy with the way the room turned out. You will have to excuse me for being a little nostalgic, but with Lydia's move to a big bed, she has moved out of her circus room. I am not ready to put the crib away, partly because we would like to have more kids and partly because it is big and solid and some work to take apart. So today I packed up the crib sheets with the realization that no one will sleep in there for a while.
So farewell to the super cute circus room and hello new design challenge. The guest room that is becoming Lydia's bedroom does have a few more walls, but it is also in the roof line of the house, so picture a triangle with the two ends cut off. Since we aren't buying new furniture right now, I have been dreaming about new paint schemes, but keep getting stuck at what to do with the ceiling when it makes up part of the walls. Much like the nursery, it hit me like a ton of bricks the other day. A GARDEN FENCE set against the blue sky!
This doesn't have the blue sky, but it has the right feel and I love the tiny piece of fence.
How SWEET is this! PJ would have to help with the construction, but something like this actually IS possible in our weird attic rooms.
OK, so this is CRAZY detailed. I am not even going to try to do this much, but it is a lovely inspiration image to pull ideas from.

So here is my idea. I want to paint the whole room blue. Then I think i will stencil in a wrought iron fence. I have been up in the air about a real fence or a stenciled fence and then about a white fence picket fence, a natural wood fence, or wrought iron. Today I found these hanging planters CHEAP at Hammers. (Do you know Hammers? It was my first trip. Kind of trashy, but a few good finds.) The planters are wrought iron, so I think I am leaning in that direction. My idea is to paint the fence, then hang the planters and use them for toy storage. I really want to paint one corner of the room to look like a little cottage. It will be REALLY small, but should give enough of an idea that a little table and a few home-ish touches should provide a play house feel. So, what do you think. Is it cute or does it look like I just put Lydia in toddler jail?

UPDATE!! After going through NUMEROUS different ideas (here, here, and here) we FINALLY finished Lydia's "big girl" bedroom as a Christmas gift in late December 2010/ Early January 2011.  You can see the painted murals, bedding, tea table, dollhouse, and kitchen area by clicking HERE!  I am really proud of how the room turned out.