Bathroom Update #4

Ha ha!!! It’s been many, many months since our last bathroom check-in.

Okay, that sounds weird. Of course we’ve been using the bathroom all summer. Silly me. Let’s try that again.

It’s been awhile since I last checked in with our bathroom re-do progress. 🙂 Better.

Don’t be thinking I’ve been sitting eating bon-bons and watching Real Housewife re-runs…’cuz I don’t eat bon-bons and I’m not a Real Housewife fan. (Not to mention, we don’t have cable, so there’s that.) “Who Do You Think You Are?” online, however…

Back on track. I’ve been working little by little on putting down our laminate tile squares; up to the toilet, at least. Everything was on hold until I painted the quarter round (primer and three coats of semi-gloss white). I had been on a roll for awhile, laying flooring during nap times, painting a coat or two during nap times…until I wasn’t on a roll. It’s so easy to get one’s momentum halted, isn’t it?

So, this week, I finally finished the last coat, and with my stepdad’s help with toilet moving/reinstalling and cutting trim down, the last of the big ol’ projects was done. Finished. Complete.

I’m not 100% done. (Of course.) Here’s what we have left:

– Hang floating shelves
– Hang towel hooks
– Hang art
– Clean and fill built-ins
– Wash and change out shower curtain
– Accessorize!

See? The kinda fun stuff. Sure, a couple of those things are “need a hand from the ol’ mister” jobs, so God knows how we’ll do a noisy shelf installation with the baby sleeping in the nearby nursery, but we’ll figure it out. Seeing the light so close to the end of the tunnel, I’m hoping we’ll get to finish soon. Woohoo! The end of the race is coming.

Watch out, you naked wall-over-the-toilet! You’re about to get shelved. And yer gonna like it!

Oh, and if you’re interested in the process so far (and the “before” picture…ick), check here, here, and here. And here‘s a look at the art I’ll be using.

There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

Today is my big sister’s birthday. I won’t divulge her age…’cuz nobody’s happy to have that information out there for the world. (Well, maybe she is, but I won’t push it.) She’s an awesome mom and wife (um, I assume; I’m not married to her ;-)), but I know her better as an incredible sister and BIBF — built-in best friend.

I have two older brothers and Mary, and while I know I was always a bit of a nuisance to all of them growing up, and I’ve put them all on pedestals for years, Mary and I were automatically lumped together being a) closer in age to each other and b) girls. We shared EVERYTHING; a room (and bed when we were younger), friends, clothes, bath time (again, when we were younger), oftentimes presents, and the less concrete; tiny issues that seemed so big, giggles ’til one of us fell asleep (usually her), and secrets.

After Mary went away to college, leaving me an only child for the first time EVER, our relationship changed. I was suddenly less of an annoyance. We’d receive homesick calls and my mother would be so excited to hear her voice…only to grow disappointed and hand the phone over to me. I was suddenly an equal rather than a buzzing mosquito, and it was wonderful. Through bumps in the road and issues big and small, our friendship has remained. As other longtime friends fell out of our lives, we still found that we could call or shoot a lengthy email divulging whatever gripe or real concern we had with the world without fear of judgment or condemnation…or, worse, losing the friendship.

The funny thing? We’re not that much alike. Mary’s the sensible one; I’ve always been less than rational (compared to some, this might not be true, but in our family it’s simply how it is). She’s relatively reserved unless prodded; I’m generally boisterous to a fault. She’s business-minded; I’m scattered and lack a head for numbers. She’s level-headed; I romanticize things and get over-emotional. Yet, we work. It works.

Why am I telling you about her? Well…for one thing, to embarrass her. Betchya it’s working. 😉 But, more importantly, to not only celebrate Mary and her turning another year older, but to celebrate all that Mary has done for me. See, I wouldn’t have the life I have right now if it wasn’t for Mary. Not only did she help discipline me, teach me how to deal inter-personally with others, and keep an eye on me in my formative years (among about a million other little things), but I literally wouldn’t have the life that surrounds me at this very moment if not for a few key steps that SHE made. It brings tears to my eyes to consider it, and how fate works.

See, way back in what seems to be a different lifetime for all of us, Mary was looking for a new outlet for creativity. Something that she could enjoy as a hobby. Being a relatively quiet, shy person, what happened next astounds me still. Mary saw an ad in the paper mentioning an open dinner meeting at the Ilion Little Theater Club to welcome new members and anyone interested in becoming a member…and, all alone, knowing not a soul, she showed up. So. Not. Mary. Hell, I don’t think I could’ve done it.

She learned a bit about the place and started her foray by helping backstage…then taking a role in a musical (I still love that part…a young orphaned archaeologist with dirt on her face)…then in an awesome comedy that our grandmother would’ve been proud of (in which I distinctly remember her borrowing a pair of my “Katharine Hepburn pants” — she was an outgoing, modern American married to a traditional British vicar). I loved going to see her in the shows and enjoyed visiting the place. I was just downright proud and happy for her.

She warm-heartedly allowed me to (just like the old days) tag along with her to a dinner meeting or two to learn more about the place, myself. I was fascinated by it, but never thought I’d get deeply involved. It was Mary’s thing and I didn’t want to take it from her.

But, then, the call came. A first-time director (and, at the time, the president of the club) knew that Mary wasn’t interested in a part, but wondered if I’d take a crack at it. It was a long-shot considering that I hadn’t acted since high school, but I took it and the rest is history.

I remember calling Mary immediately to find out if it was okay (I hadn’t said “yes” yet) and she seemed almost relieved that I was willing to take the role. Since then, I’ve come to feel the same way when I’ve helped a director find someone to fill a role I was unable to perform (usually due to time constraints…or just hating the part), but at the time I didn’t want her to feel like I was taking over HER hobby; once again nudging into her life just as I had tagged along on her dates in high school. (Yes, I did that. Thank God she married her high school sweetheart and we can still laugh about it today.)

Yet, Mary was gracious and almost grateful that we had a common bond to share. We even ended up doing a couple of shows together.

But here’s how this whole thing changed “the course of human events”: I met my husband at the theater. The first show we did together on Ilion’s stage (there was a prior show we worked on together, but didn’t have any lines or interactions with each other and it was an “on the road” production) was a musical called “1940s Radio Hour”. Dave was talked into joining our cast by a co-worker/friend. We were friendly, but far from friends or even “more than friends” back then. I was generally happiest that Mary and I finally got to joke off of each other and even sing together quite a lot (and in period ’40s costumes, at that!). 

A couple of shows later and I found myself doing a cockney accent as a hotel maid in “Perfect Wedding”. It was a much smaller cast, and Mary wasn’t in this one, so we found ourselves growing much friendlier during rehearsals. I think I appreciated the dedication Dave had to the role and his perfectionism about getting it right; I’m pretty sure he liked the same thing about me. (If you’re gonna do an accent, DO THE DAMN ACCENT! Am I right or am I right?) We just got along. By the end of the run, we both found ourselves single and the rest is, as they say, history.

The theater is our family history. From there, our first date was at a local Broadway-caliber show, we saw a few Broadway shows (and other area theater shows) over the years, and even got engaged in NYC. The evening we found out we were having Hadley was Halloween almost two years ago — and we had to immediately head to the theater to rehearse “Arsenic and Old Lace”. (Side note: It’s one of Dave’s FAVORITES, so now we can say that Hadley made his debut onstage with us. Although technically that would’ve been gross. Ew.) Now, THAT was a lesson in acting, keeping that little piece of news to ourselves. 
Whatchya hidin’ in there? A seeeecret?

Thank goodness for first trimesters…

Some of my favorite memories at the theater are of sharing moments with family. Mary, whom if not for a horrific bout of tendinitis might have a career as a musician or music teacher today, has performed the role of musical director many a time. When we did “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum” a few years back, it was the first huge musical role of its kind that Dave had had (although he did some kickass musical reviews in high school that I only wish had been videotaped), and her patience and kindness working with him was one of the things that gave him the confidence to get up there and put aside his misgivings; he proved that, yes, he had/has musical talent. 

When Dave made his directorial debut, he chose “Clue! The Musical” and ripped it to shreds; I should say, he made it GOOD. It wouldn’t have been high on many lists of favorites if Mary hadn’t led the way musically. That one was, by far, a family affair. I played Miss Scarlet, did choreography and picked up slack wherever Dave needed me to. I’d done stuff like this for other shows, but this time was different. We were doing it as a familial team. Oh, and I almost forgot — Dave had to make a cameo once or twice, and Mary’s husband, John, played a superb Paul McCartney (just kidding; he was a back-up dancer/one of many husbands to Mrs. Peacock).

At any given time, we three served on the theater’s board, too. That’s a lesson in itself!

And, in the process of it all and as time tends to allow, we’ve picked up a second family. Sure, it’s one that has its share of oddballs (I may be one of them) and moody personalities (again…me?), but for those who have fallen in love with theater in the tiny one-room dressing room and equally tiny stage (what scene change?!), through tripped power switches and square-headed screws vs. Philips head screws and paint parties with donuts…the ILT family is to thank for it. And maybe George, our resident ghost, has a little hand in it, too. (No, we’re not chatting with the ghost in this picture.)

So, quite literally, I owe the family that is currently dozing around me as I type this to Mary first, and the theater second. That’s huge. I’m humbly grateful. And, yes, we will return…some day. When Hadley’s old enough to play independently backstage without getting into the tools.And when he can get a walk-on and actually walk…on.

A very happy *mumble mumble* birthday to my sister, my best friend, my second mother, my unknowing matchmaker, Mary. Thank you for being such a huge part of my life, for giving me an awesome brother and niece, and for being the proudest aunt ever. Lots of love and I’m sorry if this post was too much about me than you; it got away from me! 😉


A couple of weeks ago, we made our first family overnight trip to Massachusetts. We had a couple of goals while there: visiting some friends, specifically for a baby shower/house warming party (and being so lucky that those friends let us stay over with them! With a one-year-old in tow, nonetheless!! That’s what I call lifelong friends, folks), hitting up the Eric Carle Museum and outlets in Lee on the way home.

My main priority was how the baby would do. Would we be pushing his limits by expecting him to ride three hours? Stroll through a museum? Nap in a strange place (it did take him awhile to settle down in his pack ‘n play setup)? Get down and dirty in *gasp* the grass to socialize with strangers at a BBQ? Spend almost an entire day at an outside outlet mall? Then take a last-minute ride to Utica to celebrate a family birthday?

Whew. I’m exhausted just thinking of it. But, honestly, he was a freakin’ trooper! He’s at the age where he gets squirmy (he’d much rather be getting into everything) so there were moments, but all of our goals (and then some) got checked off the list and he remained a happy little guy.

So, here’s a rundown. We left EARLY Saturday morning to stop as needed (and we did) and in hopes of getting to the museum before heading to the barbecue. Done and done! While we didn’t dillydally at the Carle (Dave would’ve, I’m sure; I had to drag him from the first exhibit (the Eric Carle one) to keep the momentum going; they had an awesome scavenger hunt that had him quite occupied), we got to experience it fully. It’s one of those places where you could spend an hour (a rushed hour, but an hour nonetheless) or an entire day, easily.

The best part for us is pretty much a given: the Mo Willems exhibit. *squeals like a Beatles fan…’cuz I am one* Hadley waved at EVERY character he saw. Pigeon, bam. Piggie, bam. Naked mole rat, bam. It was like seeing old friends…in the rough…before they had a final snaz-up for publication. Just incredible! And fun. And funny. All the things that Mo is and does. (Side note: No pictures in the exhibits. We’re rule-followers. Most of the time.)

Next best part? The library. You’d think that, as a librarian, that would be my favorite part, but I’m weird (I’m a museum NERD). I was, however, wicked impressed that the whole place was organized by illustrator (vs. author) and the importance they put on the Caldecott Award. There were also play areas and comfy colorful seats where you could read to your little ones…which I did, until his attention was diverted to the Legos. I tell ya, he does the same thing at Barnes and Noble. He had a blast, even when an older kid (ANTHONY!) stole his toys. (And since I’ll never see Anthony or his cohorts again, here they be…)

Kids in old man hats? Priceless. I think Hadley wanted to go live with them.
(I actually think Anthony is MIA from this picture. Whew.) 

The NEXT best part? The tiles in the bathroom!!! So damn cool. Eric Carle artwork as accent tiles throughout the bathroom. That, and the awesome stuff in the jam-packed gift shop. We grabbed at least one book and an “H” painted in Carle-style and a couple of postcards to use for art later on.

I’m pretty darn sure Dave was secretly wishing I’d come up with an idea for the bolts of Pigeon cloth they had. He had scoped it out online before going and sent me the link. Mhmm. I didn’t get any. 😛

Oh, and I’m sure we’ll be visiting when Hadley gets bigger. When we do, we’ll a) spend more time (and maybe meet up with the little boy on his way!), b) bring a picnic (they have a cafe area to eat but just organic snacky-type stuff, no real service) and c) take part in the arts and crafts option, which is free with admission. Just sayin’.

We were just in time for the BBQ, which was a nice casual take on a shower; not dressy, not fussy, go-with-the-flow. The baby napped inside in his pack ‘n play for awhile, and when he came out and finally warmed up, he played A LOT with one little girl in particular. Um, yeah, they “kissed.” Adorable…and terrifying. One of the best memories was when that little girl took a break for it into the neighbor’s yard (these yards are awesomely-sized!) and, of all the adults, Dave was the one who chased her down. Classic moment.

We got out of the way to run a few errands (baby painkiller much? Teething sucks) and stopped by the cafe where Dave used to work to say a quick ‘hi’ and catch up with more friends, who had Hadley S-M-I-T-T-E-N. What can I say? He loves the ladies. 😉 It was great to see them and meet some new friends, if only briefly.

Then, inside the cafe there was a great open mic happening, so while Dave got his plain coffee and I my smoothie, we listened to the live music. Hadley was hooked, big-time. We knew he loved music, but he was enamored — rocking out (with his whole-body swaying and his arms up, very serious) and clapping when the song was over, then waiting patiently for the next song. We didn’t stay long, but the audience was taking notice. For once it wasn’t because he was crying or otherwise distracting negatively! 🙂

When we returned to the house, we gave Hadley his first EVER bath tub bath, which he really seemed to have fun with. He didn’t know what to do with all the extra space around him! Then, we read to him and got him settled down for his bedtime. I hopped in the shower, then we got some awesome alone time with our friends. It felt so nice to chat and catch up, especially with all the good news swirling around our heads.

The next morning, the baby awoke QUITE early and we didn’t want to wake anyone up (we weren’t the only ones sleeping over) so we read more in bed until I finally brought the munchkin downstairs to eat his breakfast. We stayed a little while longer and chatted (and saw a horribly hysterical “adult” version of the Count from Sesame Street…I’m still disturbed and laughing heartily) before getting some gas and heading to Lee.

Between needing some new sizes for the Hadman and shoes for Dave, grabbing a thing or two for our niece, and hoping to find stuff for myself before returning to school, I’d call it a success. We even had wraps from a local franchise, “That’s a Wrap!” (which is better than the other stuff they had in their food court), which had some delicious options. Nom nom.

After a stop or two on the way home (what, it was hot? We needed ice cream), we headed home to do a quick dump-and-run before hopping back in the car to head to Utica. While we were absolutely exhausted, we were happy to be able to visit with Dave’s dad and family for a little while and to wish him a happy, happy birthday.

So, I’d say we fit A LOT into that weekend. And that’s two or three more items crossed off my summer to-do list! When I wrote the list, I was hoping that we could hit up Concord and maybe Lexington (if not Boston) sometime this summer, but we had some shifting happen and it just wasn’t plausible this year. But, that’s okay! We had a blast and learned that we CAN travel with a baby! We’re already excited to test it out this autumn… Stay tuned!

Grandma’s Gold

I’ve been converted. Not in that way. (I’m sure we’re a lost cause. Ha! Kidding.) I’m talking metallics.

See, I’ve always been a silver-toned girl. What little jewelry I own is silver. My wedding band and ring are white gold. And I still love silver in its own classy way.

However, with the resurgence of gold in decor and fashion, I’ve found myself wearing some antiqued, brassy gold necklaces (with awesome bright color accents)…brass studs on my favorite sandals…and swooning over blogs featuring furniture “dipped” in gold. See? I’m a convert.

So, when we were divying up the contents of my grandfather and deceased grandmother‘s house last fall, I was ecstatic to receive their hand-me-down floor lamp. We had been using a wedding gift lamp from Target which we love…

…but with a toddler and an uneven carpeted floor, it wasn’t practical. We’re keeping it for a future house and more grown-up kids, but when this lamp came along, I fell in love.

She’s not perfect, but she’s twice my age, so what can I expect?

Besides, to think about all she’s seen in the Cunningham house over the years brings so much joy in my heart. It wasn’t put into storage or sold off or donated to someone who didn’t have an underlying appreciation for its history; it would’ve been just one more piece of junk that would get thrown to the curb when a better “new” model came along.

There’s a tiny amount of bittersweetness to the lamp, considering that Grandma was home 85% of the time. Grandpa’s money might have paid for the lamp, but it was hers. It lit her letter-writing, her smoke-filled card games, her lengthy gossipy phone calls. The birthday parties, the Fourth of July’s, the Father’s Days — all the special times, and the not-so-special times, that our family matriarch orchestrated.

But, as with most things in life, it’s easy to take a little sourness when the rest is so sweet. The fact that it’s in line with the direction of current trends makes it even sweeter.

Pinterest in the Dining Room

I’ve been feeling a tad “blah” the past few days, so how’s about indulging me in a little Pinspiration, m’kay? Thanks. I knew you’d understand.

Let me introduce you to Red Riding Hood. Er. Red Dining Room. Our dining room is a small-ish box of a space. We inherited the red walls. Wait, okay, actually we inherited purple-red walls. To see if we could live with them (in a slightly less Barney fashion), we purchased some crimson paint several years back and slapped it up there. It toned down the purple, but the red’s still there in all of its BAM, POW, SMACK glory.

That iPhone picture makes it look more purple, but it is actually burgundy red. The table set was something we purchased a year and a half ago (and put together last July 4th when we were trying to get the baby to make his arrival). We like it very much, along with the awesome vintage sidebar under the window (which we purchased on our honeymoon; how’s that for a story?) and the ladder-style bookshelf to the right. Can’t even see it, huh?

There’s also a set of windows to the right of this shot, and some large art in a rustic frame to the left. It’s a darn near impossible room to take pictures of thanks to a) its size and b) the weird built-ins (see the white on the left and right of the shot?) which go halfway up the wall and create a doorway into the room.

I know the first step will be to finally paint the walls a color that wasn’t all the rage in 1995. Not that there’s anything wrong with 1995. Okay, there was; colors, patterns, and some fashions were questionable. So, yeah, I’ve been considering greiges (beige + gray = the awesomest neutral at the moment). At the same time, it’s the first time in recollection that Dave disagrees. He likes the red, and encourages friends and family to agree when they visit. Ha. Not gonna work, buddy. There’s no way I’m going to ever sell this house with a red dining room, and if I’m going to paint it for some future owner to enjoy, why can’t I enjoy it while I’m here? Good reasoning, I think.

While we’re at it, the trim needs a coat or two of the bright semi-gloss white the rest of the house has. Why people paint their trim a dirty shade of cream, I’ll never know. I know I’ll be relieved when that procrastinated project is finished. I may be even more relieved when the rug is gone. It was a cheap, on-sale find, but just isn’t our style anymore…if it ever was.

So, while keeping the aforementioned warm, medium-dark furniture (and books and art, at least to see if they work), we will then have a clean slate of greige + white trim. Here are some finds that inspire me enough to want to pick up a paintbrush (whether they’d work in our dining room or not):

My faves? The drum pendant lighting (we actually put in the chandy we currently have, but it’s a tad too traditional; although I have a feeling it would help sell the house down the line better than a drum…we live in a traditional area) and the geometric curtains rock my socks off. I like our current cheap-o white curtains, but the room is asking for a little suntin’ suntin’.

There are parts of this room that I’m not in love with, but for the most part it suits a small space wonderfully. The upholstered chairs flanking each end are pretty darn rad, and a mirror helps broaden the space (I need me some of that), plus the lighting fixture is purdy. Downright purdy. 

Okay, so this isn’t an entire dining room, but it gives me an idea. Check out the gold…and do you see the accent color? Yep, reddy pinky PURPLE. Like the purple monstrosity we began with! Anyone else think it would be a sweet homage — like saying “Let’s still be friends” and actually staying friends? — to the ugliness we started this project with to throw in a few accents of this pretty-in-its-own-way color? I guess I don’t mind it as a hit here and there, but to engulf the walls or rug…ick.

(Oh, and there’s some “Keep Calm and Carry On” art on the wall. Love that.)

Speaking of rugs…while I’d like to get one a tad more modern (since we’ll be using it in any future dwellings, too), this style would work for a few reasons. a) It’s just modern enough without going crazy, making it a good transitional piece that wouldn’t stick out in our 1925 home, b) the cats SHOULD leave it alone…should, and c) the deep tone (with walls exactly that color) grounds the room superbly. Side note: I SO want to DIY that fixture. I’m also flip-flopping — orchidy purple-ish or fun mustard yellow? Drats.

So, there are just a few ideas for our lovely little dining room. That Pinspiration almost makes me want to pick up some paint…almost. I foresee it being my just-around-Christmas project. (In the past, we tend to take on vast painting projects…you got it…just around that busy time of the year. We so crazy.)


We’ve had a couple little…okay, not so little upgrades happening at the ol’ homestead lately. Without further ado, here’s my old kitchen sink.

Fun, right? Just a cruddy old not-horrible-but-not-pretty sink. As a pre-baby/birthday present last year, my mom purchased and painted (and painted and painted and painted) the new base cabinet, so this year she and my stepdad insisted on getting a new sink to accompany it. Wasn’t that sweet?

Free strainer? Don’t mind if I do.

That last picture there (don’t worry; I strategically cropped) is the main reason we went with a nice, deep one versus the 6 incher we had before. #that’swhatshesaid Good, ol’-fashioned sink baths! Of course, he’s been getting bothersome during them lately, so I foresee a jump to big-boy-baths soon *tear wipe* but it’s just as good for shoving lots of dishes and pots and pans into. It’s all good.

Oh, and yes, we have a dishwasher. Two, actually. They’re called Meg and Dave. 😉

They also gave us some cash to go towards our new washer/dryer. I think that was mostly to calm Mom’s worrying mind (okay, and mine, too); the dryer took FOREVER to dry and got extremely hot, and the washer was starting to leave black (grease?) marks on clothes. Oh, and it also had gotten into the nasty habit of…y’know…STOPPING. Mid-cycle. Full of dirty, soapy water and our awesome, awesome clothes. (Our clothes aren’t awesome. I just felt like they were when I saw them sitting in the untouchable washer. And, okay, Hadley’s clothes are pretty darn awesome on their own.)

We originally wanted to include all appliances with our house when we leave one day (they were all hand-me-downs; we were very lucky), but since we’re not seeing that in our future anytime soon, we had to take the plunge…so to speak.

I don’t have a “before” shot of the washer and dryer that went to live with all the other well-used washers and dryers in the sky. They were both Hotpoint…which makes me wonder how they’d lasted as long as they had, anyway. Hotpoint?! I dunno. Maybe the brand’s okay, but it makes me think of a toaster or cooking implement; not a device for cleaning and drying highly-flammable stuff like clothes. Can’t wrap my head around it.

So, anyhoo, this is what we ended up selecting.

Chicka bow wow. I love ’em. While I’m sure a fancier kind would cut it down to just a one-trip thing, I now only need to take two glorious trips to the basement (our horrible, ugly basement; we’ve got problems down there, y’all, and I’m not even Southern) to do Hadman’s diapers. The washer has an extra rinse cycle that lets me work on other stuff sit on my butt a little longer. They also cut everything in half, time-wise, and get the job done wonderfully. #hoorayforwrinklecare I also had lived without an obnoxious buzzer reminding me that there’s work to be done and pants to be folded. In all seriousness, I appreciate the reminder.

They’re GE. #JackDonaghyFTW! They’re relatively energy efficient (we got a gas dryer, which my stepdad — master of all things handy — hooked up for us; and the washer is Energy Star rated) and, no, they’re not front-loading. I have enough fears when we one day move that my INTO EVERYTHING son will find a way to shove a younger sibling (or dare I say a cat?!) into the washer. Plus, I’ve heard and read a lot about the smells and stuff, and nobody got time for that. Maybe one day I’ll grow up and find an awesome deal on a fancy schmancy front-loader that smells like french lavender all day, everyday, but for the time being this suits our needs.

Oh, and we also purchased from a local store (Robinson Brothers in Mohawk; how shocked was I that they had a website, albeit a tad outdated); the price was comparable to Lowe’s, plus there was free set-up and removal, plus they service your appliances for years to come. It was the only stipulation my mom had throwing money into the pot, and I’m totally cool with it. Buy local! (And is it weird that it’s still eerie to drive and park and spend time so closely to where the shootings happened? Okay, I said it. That is all.)

So, what do you think? Are you pro-front loader? Or do you go against the flow of traffic and reside in the top-loader camp?

I Put a Bird On It – Chair Makeover

I’ve been sitting on this post for quite awhile…pun intended.

*crickets chirp*

Okay, on with the show. I purchased this chair so long ago that I’m not positive whether it was a Goodwill or a Salvation Army find. (My money’s on SA since our Goodwill rarely has good furniture and even more rarely has “older” pieces like this. It has great decor stuff and Target hand-me-downs, but its furniture is miss…with the infrequent hit here or there.) So, yeah, let’s go with SA, which means it was less than $20…and it may very well have been less than $10. I kid you not.

The cushion was either worn to the foam or just had really strange (also worn) fabric. Either way, there appeared to be holes, quite possibly from someone’s ciggy. This thing was C-L-A-S-S-I-C. I fought with myself whether to paint the wood or not, but it was so dinged here and there that I just had to go with it.

Sexy, amiright?

I won’t get into all the gory details. The “body” of the piece was just a sand, prime, paint deal. Folks often have a hard time with the seat, however, so here’s a quick visual on how I did it. Seriously, easy peasy. I mean, if I can do it, you can do it.

Figure out where the fabric will look best from the front, then flip it over.
(I also put a layer of batting under the fabric.)
Start by stapling the middle of each side – at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock – pulling taught but not too tight as you go.
(Too tight would mean bunching panty lines, if you know what I mean.)


Continue with the edges, then finally the corners.
Ah, the dreaded corners.
There are several ways to do this, but this time I stapled until there was a bunch of fabric leftover, then stapled that down…if that makes sense. You can also do it in a “gift” way or a 90-degree angle, stapling the other side over. Really, there’s no wrong way as long as you can’t tell from the front.

Here’s the finished look from underneath.
Hot mess, right?
That’s okay, no one will see it.
It’s just between us.

Tada! Nice and taught.

Sorry for such a harsh shot. Blame it on the atrocious red dining room. Or the blogger. Either works.

There, that’s a little better. Dappled sun and all.

Aaaand…a gratuitous cute shot. Winston couldn’t allow a camera to go off without his getting in the shot, and apparently Hadley thought Winston could use a kiss at that very moment. #summerblogging #winstondoeslikehim #noreally

Notice that purdy, purdy fabric? And the birds? See? I finally jumped on the birdie bandwagon (two years after it died, it seems). And to think, I finally got some chevron, and it’s on the baby’s sheets. He’s cooler than Mama.

Whatchya think? Does it work? Oh, and it now lives in our front porch. I’d love to put it in the living room, but I need a comfier “Mom needs a moment” armchair. Especially since the current one has a shredded-to-pieces slipcover (Thank. You. Cats.) which I’m pretty sure has gotten through to the chair underneath. Madness, I tell you.

***Linking up with That DIY Party, Furniture Feature Fridays @ Miss Mustard Seed & Thrifty Decor Chick’s August Before and After.***

Randomonium 1.0

Get it?? Random + pandemonium = a far-fetched blog title. Some things look far better in our heads.

Sooooooooo, welcome to the first (and possibly only) edition oooofffff Randomonium!!! The only game show host-y review of some random crap I’ve got floating around the ol’ noggin with no bearing on anything important or relevant to AAAANNNNYYYONE!!!

Random #1: If I had to take a course in Google+ I’d be failing. I just can’t wrap my head around the circles and the general mayhem goin’ on up in therrre. I’m sure it will probably be the replacement to Facebook, some day, so I’d better get a move-on, but seriously? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Random #2a: Two things that will never get old? “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” (See Rando #1.) and, of course, hashtags. #sarcasmrocks #almostasfunnyasanthonyweinerjokes #doyouevernoticethatitseemslikepeoplegooutoftheirwaytomakesuperdeeduperlonghashtagsimeanreallywhatsthepointwhydonttheyjustgettheirownblogandwritetheirlifestoryitdbewayeasiertoreadandlesstaxingontheeyesdoesanyoneelsethinkthatweregoingtohavemajorvisionissueswhenwegetolderthankstothesedangcomputersandphonescreensandsoforthbutidigresswherewasigoingwiththis

Random #2b: You know when commercials catch onto the hashtag thang, it’s only a matter of time before the funeral. Which is a little sad because they can actually be funny…on occasion…when done right. #herelieshashtag #weknewhimwhen #oncegoodforfindingthemainidea #alsogoodforaddinghumortoacomment #lostallrelevence #overusefail

Random #3a: I am enamored with all things British royalty. Who knew? I think my husband wanted to disown me while I was eagerly awaiting (unlike 98% of the rest of the world; I really think about 2% of us were thrilled beyond words; the rest wanted the “Great Kate Wait” to just not be covered, which I get) the birth of Prince George. C’mon, Wills and Kate are just the cutest little couple EVER, they’re my age (which makes me think that we could all be BFFs and hang out at a local pub…not really), and it’s just good to focus on something positive, for once. Given the unseemly history of the royals over the years (and I don’t even mean the whole Charles’ affair thing), it’s better than massive beheadings and poisoning your brother for the throne, amiright?! Side note: Louis…Lewis? Or Lewy? I should’ve placed bets; I got it right. (It’s Lewy.)

Random #3b: My iPhone case is the red “Keep Calm and Carry On” graphic. That is all.

Random #4: Groundhog…or woodchuck? Split the difference: ground chuck. I did this completely accidentally when I was about 12. While driving with my mother, I spotted a groundhog and blurted out, “Oh, look!! A ground chuck!” She laughed heartily and never let it go. Of course, this was also the day that we went to a movie and saw one of those pre-movie images of an old movie — and read “African Queen” as “A Fricken Queen”. I’ve since seen the movie and loved it. One of maybe two or three films featuring Bogart that I can stand to sit through.

Random #5: Speaking of woodchuck…I love me some Woodchuck. No, not roadkill. (I don’t hunt, either.) Woodchuck Hard Cider, of course! It happens to be made in our favorite home-away-from-home, Middlebury, VT. One day, when the little one’s older, we’re SO going to do a brewery visit. I mean, if we did Magic Hat during our honeymoon, the least we could do is visit my favorite cidery. Wait, is that a word?

Random #6: What’s more random than Jasper…admiring my clam chowder…and taking to Instagram with it…and my hubby responded. (Side note: Marry someone who can make you laugh. Consequently, marry someone who is hard to make laugh. Early on, when we were first dating and I made him laugh uncontrollably, it gave me the best feeling in the world to think, “This guy never laughs…and I’m making him cry-laugh. Either he really likes me or I’m just that good.” Either way, win-win.)

And I’ll leave you with sweet Jasper for today.

Perfect Party

FINALLY! Yes, I’m finally going to chat about the Hadman’s first birthday party. It was almost a month away, so you’d think it was about time, right? You’re invited…to the recap! Here we go.

The day was perfect. Seriously. There were no major glitches (and only a couple of minor ones). The rain, all but for a gentle mist, even stayed at bay. Lucky, lucky, lucky. The only thing, after the fact, that saddens me is that I didn’t get pictures of the decor (well, a couple)…or food (nada)…or activities (zilch). I know folks took some pictures of other stuff, but I should have taken a bunch of the decorations (y’know, the ones that took me hours of nap times to craft) and all that before folks arrived. Here’s what we’ve got….


Bad blogger. Horrible blogger, actually. *slaps wrist* I made three different sizes of poufs totaling about 12 altogether, in various sizes…several strings of pendants…a sign for the front yard. Here were a few “before” shots from home…

But, I digress. It wasn’t a day about me. It was totally a day about the Hadman. And it was awesome!

The celebration was at my mother’s house (thanks, Mom! Not that I’m sure you’re reading…?) since she has the most useable space for such a shindig. My sister was sweet enough to come out the night before to help with decorating and setup, and man was there food. Like, at least twice what we actually needed. Yeah, ’twas nuts…and a blast.

We had some awesome family and friends come to celebrate, which made the day so fun and special. To give us some more space (with some shade), we erected a screen house/tent in the lawn for extra people to sit under, in addition to the carport area that my parents use as a nice, private patio.

So, folks arrived around 1pm and we directed them towards the food. (Not sure how many times I said, “There’s food! Please eat, or it’s going home with you!!” It didn’t. It went home with us. Full disclosure: I just found a half-eaten pizza at the bottom of the piles on my dining room table. There was mold, people.) The funny thing was that they lingered quite a bit before finally digging in. I don’t know if it was because of our set-up or what, but we ended up grabbing the snacky stuff and throwing them in bowls, and plating up a variety of the pizza, and putting them at the tables. Somehow, it worked.

That said, a quick shout-out to our buddies. The few pictures we did get make it look like we had, seriously, 8 people there. We didn’t. It was upwards of 25, give or take. Just lots of playing and in-and-out of the house and playing in the yard going on.

I can’t remember the order, but after awhile of eating and bringing the birthday boy around to see folks, we did cake. I think. Yeah, cake then presents. Here’s a little snippet of what it was like. Our often very serious, cautious, (over-thinking) boy was pretty…dainty. Hee hee.

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First. Sugar. Ever. I also shared a cupcake or two with him in the days following. Oh, and I did use a variation of this recipe. I tasted it. ‘Twas good, but not “birthday cake-like” (spongey) as we might hope. But, it got the job done, and he liked it.

While the root beer floats were being served (somehow, I even had time to taste one), we got the gift-opening underway. Holy crap, we lucked out. It is, however, where I got this post (and subsequent “shopping trips” from our ottoman in months to come). Love it!

As far as the nitty gritty, here was our menu:


Except my “H” cookies were as hard as a rock. And seeing “sandwiches” sitting all innocent and tiny like that makes me laugh. For real. I ordered bread. I stocked up, then stocked up again on piles of roast beef, turkey and the makings of an “Italian mixed sub” sort of thing. (Time to vote: What the heck do YOU put on a mixed sub?? The girl behind the counter and I were racking our brains, and a woman nearby who mentioned bologna lost all of our respect. Seriously, bologna??) Yeah. Add on homemade horseradish sauce (in addition to the usual condiments) and a variety of cheeses AND lettuces (arugula, anyone? Spinach?), and I spent hours planning and assembling those puppies. They were epic.

There was a bit of fun to be had, too, like…

We also printed off some facts about July 13th (it’s a holiday now, y’know) for the tables, and put party hats around for folks to wear. (And those that didn’t get worn did double-duty as decor.)

A few interesting facts: Hadley shares his special day with Julius Caesar, Patrick Stewart, Harrison Ford, and Cameron Crowe. Some pretty strong men, oof! Also, it’s the day that JFK was nominated by the Democratic party, the day of the Live Aid rock festival, the day of a big power-outage in NYC (in 1977) that wreaked havoc, and (my favorite) the day the “Hollywoodland” sign was dedicated. So cool!

Anyhoo, after the cake and gifting, we shoved everyone into the living room for a viewing of the sweet, tearjerker video that Dave made. I may or may not be able to persuade him to share it on his blog. 😉 There were laughs. There were tears (many, many tears). There was gratuitous thievery of popular songs (ones that we had sung or heard a lot before he was born, except for “Beautiful Boy”, but since our wedding song was “Real Love”, we had to include it). No harm meant. 🙂

After the movie viewing, folks were free to leave (sounds like jail) or to hang out. The birthday boy got a nap followed by a ton of backyard playing with the cousins, while we got to chat with folks more casually (and clean up…and clean up…and clean up). All in all, it was a very “Hadley” day: fun, yummy, silly, a bit scheduled (it kind of had to be to avoid meltdowns) yet casual and laid-back.

Nothin’ But a Five Thang, Baby

Side Note A: I was totally going to finally pump out Hadley’s birthday post for today. You can stop holding your breath for now; I’m hoping to get it done for Monday.

Side Note B: Gotta say I’m into the white girl gangsta blogger thing lately. It’s a 90s kid thing.

Anyhoo, I noticed over on the blog, Nekaro, that there’s a meme going around the blogosphere: five questions with five answers. This could, for all I know, be an old wives’ tale. (Ha. A meme? Old wives’ tale? Right, Meg.) I haven’t seen it. But, who am I to look down my nose at a fun, MySpace-style list answering bonanza?

I’m supposed to tag folks to do this, but I hate that kind of pressure. “Will they actually do it? Will they hate me for shanghai-ing them into doing it? Do they know who I am??” So, if you want to do it, go ahead. If not, don’t tell me. Oh, the self-loathing.
Five Things I Have a Passion For:

  1. My Boys (furry and non)
  3. Louisa May Alcott & the Transcendentalists
  4. History & Antiques
  5. Interior Design (not necessarily good at it; just have a passion)

Five Things I’d Like to Do Before I Die:

  1. Complete our family and see the kids happy to adulthood.
  2. Get back on stage.
  3. Find a forever home where we feel accepted and safe, and where there’s enough room for big holiday get-togethers.
  4. Get a dog.
  5. Publish a book. Or ten.

Five Things I Say A Lot:

  1. “Gonna change your dipey ’cause ya pooped your pants…pooped your pants….” (there’s a whole song and since he’s in the wriggly phase, it’s necessary)
  2. “WINSTON!!! G****** it, Wee Wee!”
  3. “How was your day?” (Important to check in with the outside world and find out what good and bad made up the hubby’s day)
  4. Probably any number of weird things that make Dave laugh that I don’t realize are “funny.”
  5. S*it and f*ck. I’m classy.

Five Favorite Movies: (in no particular order…man, seriously, only five?!)

  1. The Philadelphia Story
  2. Since You Went Away
  3. It’s a Wonderful Life
  4. Holiday Inn
  5. A League of Their Own

Five Places I Want to Travel:

  1. Ireland
  2. England (yes, again; Dave needs to get there)
  3. Canada — specifically, PEI
  4. Across the U.S. — ROAD TRIP!!!
  5. Australia

See? Pretty painless! If you’ve got a blog, link to me so folks can see my boring answers. 😉 And let me know below so that I can read your awesome, way-better-than-mine answers…or if you have any questions, such as the rest of the diaper song. We could totally record it for you.