Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Demolition Crew

Yesterday began the month that I will likely want to forget. As much as I'm excited to have my kitchen redone, I'm quite sure I'll be very ready for it all to be over sooner than later. We began with the idea to replace our cabinet doors because I simply cannot live with the knotty pine for one second longer!
I know some people love the rusticity of it, but I am not a person who falls into that category. However, that seemingly small project soon turned into coutertops and flooring as well. But why stop there right? (Can you here the sarcasm dripping from that sentence?) As of this morning when I got out of the shower to find Roman and Scott discussing the fireplace and what to do with it, we are also going to very likely be removing a closet which brings the construction into my living room too. The end result will definitely open up and brighten our space, but now I will have dust EVERYWHERE. No longer will it be contained in the kitchen as would have been expected with kitchen renovation version 2. Remember version 1 that was only cabinet doors and wouldn't have created dust at all? It's laughable really to think that it could have been that easy. I'm not upset about it all, just fearful of the dust factor. I really, really despise sheet rock dust.

Anyway, back to yesterday. Roman had some very willing and happy helpers as the demolition began. We didn't really know what to expect behind the first wall that was taken down. We were so ready to take the pine board paneling (again knotty pine - yuck) down and the boys did a great job with the crowbar and pulling nails. We are preserving the boards to be recycled into wooden signs. Nice right?
 The demo begins!

 Jason pulled lots of nails

 The supervisor

 Junior nail pullers

 The Crew

The supervisor back on the job helping Scott figure out the new mantle

I know the next month to six weeks is going to be crazy and dirty and out of sorts for our family, but I am keeping my eye on the prize. I can't wait to see it when it's all done!

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Marshmallow Kind of Day

Evan and I were making applesauce today, as we have done several times this week, and all of a sudden  he was holding a bag of marshmallows and said to me:

 "it's a marshmallow kind of day. Let's invite the people". 
(I'm pretty sure that was code for "i'd like to make s'mores with my friends") 

He is the cutest little man. You just never know what will come out of his mouth. He says the funniest things and half the time they are out of nowhere which makes me wonder what is going on in that little brain of his. Today might be rainy and chilly outside, but it's a marshmallow kind of day in our kitchen. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Apple Picking

Is there anything that says fall more than venturing out into an orchard and picking apples off of the trees? There are so many wonderful reasons to love fall, especially in New England, but I must say fresh off the tree apples are my favorite. Yesterday, we took a quick trip to a local orchard to let the kids pick some apples. It had already been a VERY busy weekend, but apple season may soon end and we definitely didn't want to miss out on the annual experience.
On the way to the orchard in the wagon

Evan returning with his finds



 ...still eating

Eating as much as he's picking!

Checking out the ducks

We came home and made our first patch of applesauce of the season. It was so good. Cinnamon spice and oh so nice! I absolutely love the fall. There is so much to look forward to this time of year. Apples and pumpkins and football and changing leaves...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Toby Keith Y'all!

You may not be able to tell from the picture below (or maybe you can..) just how excited I was to be at the final tour stop for Toby Keith's Live In Overdrive. 

I have been waiting for this concert for months. Not only was it a chance to see Toby Keith in concert, but it was also the first time Roman and I have stayed in a hotel by ourselves since our first anniversary in 2005! Can you say sleeping in?!? Does 8:30 count as sleeping in? It sure did feel like it. And... we got to eat breakfast alone. And... we hit the outlets on the way home without kids in tow. I will admit I was thrilled to see them when we got home, but it certainly was nice to be carefree for the 22 hours that we were gone. 

Now back to Toby Keith. If you've never seen him live and you're a country fan, it is almost a must-see show. He is incredible in concert and he finished off with a patriotic tribute to the troops that made everyone cry. At least everyone I saw was teary afterwards. It's so moving to have thousands of people screaming and clapping for the military personnel that were present. And then he had the flag of a fallen soldier on stage. Heartbreaking for sure, but it's really wonderful that he uses his huge spotlight to remember and honor those who make it possible for the rest of us to live with the peace of mind and sense of safety that we do. Up until that point however, it was one BIG party! 

It was a pretty awesome way to spend a Saturday night. I can't wait to see him again next year!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Craft Fair Success

This past weekend Jen and I set up The Little Giraffe at our very first craft fair. The whole experience of making and selling is still very new to us as we only decided to try and do this about 3 months ago. We both have made gifts for friends and family in the past, but neither of us have ever tried to produce large quantities to sell. And then, because we don't know when to say uncle, we added a few more items that we had never even tried to make before! But I must say, after several different attempts, we figured out how to make beautiful wooden signs. I'm pretty proud of this particular endeavor because it is something we completely figured out and created in the last month. 
I know it's not a great picture, but it was under a tent

We had to be on site at 7:30 Saturday morning. I know this is normal, but it's still early for me. But I was there on time with Dunkin Donuts in hand for the rest of the ladies. Really, can a long day be started without a DD beverage? Not around here I assure you. Anyway... we started with one tent that didn't have all of the pieces (oops), but fortunately Jen's husband Brad ran home and brought back their screen house which became our home for the next two days. 

We were very happy to see that our request to be assigned a spot next to Stacy was granted. We set up our two booths so that people could walk through from one to the other and I think that helped us a lot. At this craft fair in particular, there are people who come specifically to buy Stacy's bags, so it was great for us to be able to be connected to her to gain some exposure. 

Jen and I actually made some profit which is very fortunate for our first craft fair, so we will now push forward and be participating in a few more before the end of the year. We really wanted to feel out the reception for our items to see if we would continue. It was really heartening to have so many people come by and even have a few people talk to us about custom orders! Now we will have until the end of October to get our supplies replenished and add some items to our stock. I'm honestly surprised how easily it all went, but I am very, very grateful to all of the other people who have helped and supported us as we decided to walk into such a time-consuming endeavor. We even have a  The Little Giraffe Facebook page now. That must mean we're official right?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Our First Craft Fair

Jen and I decided a few months ago that we would try setting up a booth at a local craft fair, The Gill Arts and Crafts Festival. Progress was a bit slow in the beginning, but over the last few weeks we have been in overdrive getting ready for our big debut weekend. I can't believe it's already here! I'm excited and nervous. I know that we have created some beautiful items, but will people buy them? Will our personal tastes translate to what potential buyers like? We have both been working like crazy to take care of all of the details of getting our tent (thanks Matt and Melanie for the loaner), putting together a display, and having enough inventory to not look bare, but not too much out at once so that it looks messy. We're very hopeful that the people in charge assign us a spot directly next to Stacy and her Quinn Bags booth.

Our focus was originally on baby items, but as so many projects do, we've morphed into a few other areas as well. We will definitely have baby quilts, bibs and changing pads, but we've also added wooden signs, magnets, cards and vinyl crafts. My pictures aren't great, but here's a few of our favorite items that will be for sale.

If you're local, we'd love to see you there! It is supposed to be a beautiful weekend and the Festival features lots of great local artisans plus great food. It's a win no matter how you look at it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Friday Night at the Fair

Roman and I have never taken our kids to the local fair. They've been to the EMS parade to see Grampa march with the Fire Department, but we usually call it good after that. This year we were invited to go on Friday night with our friends so we took the plunge and headed for the midway and most importantly, the fried dough!
 How does this poor guy sleep with all of those horns?



 Maneuvering the midway

 Excited for the rides

 Riding the rides!

 Waiting for everyone else to ride the Ferris Wheel

The big dragons!

The crowd was huge and it was also truck pull night (holy loudness), but we still had lots of fun watching the kids excitement and they bounced from ride to ride. After dinner, fried dough and ice-cream, we called it a successful night and went home to get some well-deserved sleep. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What I learned In The First Two Days

Kindergarten in only two days old, but I learned a few quick lessons in that short period of time.
  1. Kids must be told to throw things away. I assumed (I know.. my own fault) that Braeden would eat his lunch, gather his trash and throw it away. However, what I learned quickly is that EVERYTHING goes back into the lunchbox unless I direct him otherwise. On Friday he came home with a half eaten container of applesauce mixed with some crackers sloshing around inside his lunchbox. Yuck! 
  2. It is important to also pack a napkin. I'm not sure what I was thinking on that one. It seems obvious but for some reason I never thought about it. The poor kid spilled some applesauce on himself and didn't have a way to clean it up. I'm quite sure he could have gotten one in the cafeteria but it was only his second day and he didn't know he could ask. Bad mommy moment there. 
  3. Braeden is far more independent that I give him credit for. This is a good lesson! He has impressed me with his willingness to go to school, interact with kids he's never met and try new things. I know some kids come by this naturally, but I assure you Braeden did not. He's grown up so much in the last couple of years. It has been a joy to watch.
It's definitely a new adventure, but if spilled applesauce is the worst problem we have, then I guess we'll be just fine. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Braeden's First Day of Kindergarten

The day has finally arrived. I feel as though we've been waiting for Kindergarten to start forever. Evan started two weeks ago and the first through sixth graders in Braeden's school started last week so it seems like the poor kindergartners have had to wait a very long time for their turn.

Yesterday was Open House and today was THE day. We gathered all of the necessary supplies last night and prepared his back pack and as much of his lunch as we could ahead of time. Braeden couldn't sit still as we talked about what the day would bring and how excited/nervous he was. Before bed we read "The Night Before Kindergarten" (thank you Turner Family) and he assured me that he would be just fine.

This morning started bright and early with Braeden asking to eat and get dressed at 6:45. I'm not exactly a morning person so that was still a tad early for me so he kindly waited until 7:15. I love that boy so much. When everyone was ready (much earlier than we needed to be) we headed outside for some pictures.
First Day 2012

After dropping Evan off at his school we headed over to the Elementary School for the obligatory pictures and to send Braeden on his way into the big world of full day school.
 The same school where I had my first day in 1983

 Waiting in Erin's room for it to be time to go to their classrooms

 Ready to go!

Braeden's cubby in his classroom

He's so lucky to have two of his best friends in his class

There were no tears for either of us. Clearly he is ready as he basically said good-bye and kept playing. I'm so proud of the little boy that he is and I am eager to see what he learns and how he develops as the year goes on. I hope that he makes lots of friends, feels comfortable with the people, finds security in his surroundings and is openly willing and able to learn and absorb the many lessons he will be taught. The time has come to accept that he will now be spending as much time with someone else as he does with me during the week. It will be good for both of us. 
What? I'm the only one home in the mornings now?!?