Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Bought a Couch!

Eeeeeeee!  So excited.

We have very few seating options in our home.  We have one falling apart, but squishy and comfy couch in the family room and next to it, an equally falling apart and squishy chair.  In the playroom, there's an even older and squishier love seat that unfolds into an extremely uncomfortable bed.  And that's about it in the upholstered furniture category....

until a few days ago!

On President's Day, Lyle and I looked at seemingly every couch in our county.  I had something pretty specific in mind-- a comfy couch with durable fabric in the tan color family, something that had no skirt around the bottom and showed some leg, and a couch that maybe had some curves and looked a little formal.  We found a couple of couches that would work, but nothing really got us excited about forking out the cash required to bring them home.

Then on Tuesday, I had a few minutes to kill  before dropping the littles off at school and remembered  an small furniture store nearby that I hadn't checked in years.  By this point in my couch quest, I was a very impatient shopper and fast walked through the store while the kids jogged behind.  Then I saw it.

It was tan.  It was curvy.  It showed legs.

I was afraid to sit on it.  No matter how lovely, I would not buy an uncomfortable couch.

Guess what?  Totally comfy!

It's an antique that had recently been reupholstered and resprung (is that a word?) but had a couple of dings on the wood frame.  I pointed out the dings to the salesman and talked him down to a price less than any of the ho-hum couches we'd looked at.

In fact, we got such a good deal, we came home not only with the couch 
but with a leather recliner for Lyle.

Franklin will never be allowed in the music room.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

He Wears the Cone of Shame

Poor Franklin.

He woke up today completely unaware that by evening he'd be considerably less manly,

and considerably more sore.

On the upside, he can forever keep his place in the Vienna Boy's Choir.
Poor Franklin.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Honored Guests

Around our table last night we had 5 presidents and 2 first ladies.  I can only imagine the swarms of secret service agents outside in our bushes.

 XiXi, for his first President's Day dinner, was none other than Abraham Lincoln.   Using the witch hat from the dress up bin as a base, a little construction paper completed the stovepipe.  Cholita put him in the shirt and tie.

Cholita, who chooses dresses over pants any day of the week, opted to come once again as a first lady.  She felt like the earlier first ladies had more impressive dresses, so she came as a very pink (I believe it was the Glinda outfit--who knew The Wizard of Oz would be so helpful on President's Day?) Abigail Adams.

Lyle was sporting an "I like Ike" badge and told of his military prowess, popularity, and his wife, Mamie.

Lucy, one who always appreciates a good research project, came as Herbert Hoover.  It was unfortunate, she said, that he was so disliked because he'd done so much humanitarian work.  The Great Depression rather put a damper on his presidency.  He was also the last president to speak two languages fluently.  And would you have guessed his other language was Mandarin?

Rose looked very professional in a smart brown dress, perfect for first lady Hilary Clinton, and also an outfit worthy of the office of Secretary of State.

Bruder told us with a New England accent, "We choose to go to the moon!  Not because it is easy, but because it is hard!"   JFK commiserated with Herbert, that he too had some tough times.  The Cuban missile crisis was rather stressful.

I came as James Garfield, an impressive man who died just months into his presidency as an indirect result of a gunshot wound inflicted by an insane office seeker.  The doctors, sticking dirty fingers and other yucky probes into the wound finished him off with a rip roaring infection a good two months later.   If they'd left him alone, he probably would have been just fine.  Interestingly, he never ran for a political office.  He was giving a speech to introduce a candidate at the Republican National Convention when someone yelled, "We want Garfield!"  He waved it off and finished his speech, extolling the virtues of his candidate.  But over the next few days, momentum grew and despite his protestations, he was named the Republican candidate.  Stunned, he sent word to his quiet, home-loving wife.   She was not pleased.

We talked about the office of President of the United States and all agreed that we wouldn't want it for all the tea in China.  Like Lucretia Garfield, we appreciate the privacy and comfort of home.  We're thankful there are men (and certainly someday women) who are up to the task.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bye Bye Smurf

Hello Whispering Spring

I love it.  In the photo, you can see the new color that I'd cut in, the old green color on the left, and Smurf on the right.  The new color just feels perfect.  It's blue, but has a touch of green to it, so it doesn't feel too "little boy room".  It's calm, it's serene, it doesn't say Smurf.  I'm pleased.

I Did a Bad Thing

Yes, it involves paint, but no, I did not paint the fireplace bricks.  Upon further consideration, I think that waiting, and possibly holding off entirely,  is wise.

But I did paint the walls in a color that I'll call "Smurf".

People always say that paint is the easiest thing to change.......just buy another gallon.......just repaint the room.   Who are they kidding?  Paint is not free.  Benjamin Moore paint is especially not free.  And I spent the whole dang day turning our music room into Smurfdom.

These pictures are not capturing the aversiveness of the color.  It's even darker now that it's all dried.  It's bad.  It's really bad.  It's like a little boy's room.  A little boy's room with a Caribbean theme.  Why oh why did I not get the sample cans?  My decorating self esteem is shot.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Request for More XiXi


The kid's adorable.  

And doing fantastic.  I find it truly miraculous that he's adjusted to his new life so beautifully.  He loves his family, loves school, and just basically loves life.  I'd planned to hold him back on the start of kindergarten in the fall, where he's a July birthday and only been speaking English for 10 months, but he's reading like a champ, so I'm not sure.  Yesterday he read the following story:  "A little fish sat on a fat fish.  The little fish is not sad.  That fat fish is mom."  He quickly told me, "That not like my mom!"  I was flattered until he said, "My mom not a fish."

My lack of blogging really has little to do with XiXi, but quite a lot to do with the other kiddos.  Thankfully it's because they're busy doing cool things which packs our schedule to the gills.

For example, I spent the day with these two lovely people who competed in their very first Solo and Ensemble.  Lucy is a freshman and has loved to sing since she was old enough to hum a tune.  Bruder, as a senior, shocked us this year by trying out and making it into two different performing choirs. 
For their solos today, Lucy sung an Italian aria that she's been working on for several months.  Bruder, in typical Bruder fashion,  just kind of ambled into a song, after a last-minute switch from tenor to baritone.  There are few things I'd rather do less than sing on a stage in front of an audience, so regardless of the outcome, I was one proud Mama. 

Scoring is on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being the highest.  Both were hoping for a score of 2.  Bruder was happy to get a 2+  on his solo and a 1- with his ensemble.   Lucy got a 2+ on her duet and was pretty darn stoked to score a 1 for her solo and be chosen as first alternate for state.  

And speaking of state, our author-in-residence has her own exciting news.  She wrote a poem the night before the Reflections deadline and won for school and district and we just received an email that she's going on to state!  

And our fashionista Cholita is rocking kindergarten and attempting to raise the level of fashion awareness in her home.  For the past month, as the sun begins to set, she'll ask, "Is it evening yet?"  When I tell her it is, she sprints upstairs, to return in her "evening" wear, which always includes a dress, a hairstyle, and numerous accessories.  The rest of us are typically barefooted and in jeans.  

I love these kids and am blessed to be their Mom.
And happy to not be a fish.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

I think that painting the fireplace was the right move.  I like the white, but that mouse just simply must have milk to go with that dang cookie....

Do you think now that the mantle is white, the brick looks wrong?  I asked Lyle yesterday what he thought about painting the brick and he very quickly said he'd prefer I not.

But looking at the blues, I'm just not sure about the brick.

On Layla's Lettered Cottage, she painted brick with a pretty fantastic result.

But I'm no Layla by a long stretch.

So I remembered that we had some black construction paper and I made a little mock-up. 
What do you think?

In the end, I want something that feels like this room.

Although I'll be the first to admit that I can't necessarily imagine 
this little man sitting on that lovely couch.  
Jumping off of it, maybe.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Eight Years in the Making

Our music room

It was the first room I painted in this house.  We hadn't even moved in yet, but as soon as the papers were signed,  I headed over to our new digs with paint cans in hand.  I feel rather badly that I'm thinking of changing paint colors before the room was ever really done, like I'm being unfaithful to sea-foam green.
 But what can I say?  The color blue is speaking to me.  

Soon after we moved in, Lyle installed the bead board and the painted pine ceiling, and after a night of extreme intestinal distress by our big dog Olaf, the blue carpet that once inhabited this room was replaced with white oak.  I love the trim and the ceiling and the floor,  but I never felt like the dark wood of the piano worked with the medium-toned wood of the fireplace.  Since painting the piano seemed like a bad idea, today I tackled the fireplace.

I've done a coat of primer and three coats of paint and it still needs at least 2 more.  If you adored the wood, now would not be a good time to tell me.  There was a wreath above the fireplace and then a mirror and both have felt a little bland. 

It's a tall room and needs something fairly big.  I know Lyle could pull this off, but it's a little more formal than my usual style.  Still in the running though.

I love this, but the ceiling is quite a bit lower than ours and I'm not sure if it would work.

This appeals to me, but again, not sure.

This tall built-in mirror might do the trick, but definitely not the lime walls.

Here's a fireplace with wallpaper above it.  I like it, but I've spent countless hours removing wallpaper from this house,  and have vowed to never use the stuff.

Above the fireplace is this ho-hum can light.  It's the only ceiling light in the room and I think maybe something more interesting would jazz things up a bit.  Would a little chandelier be weird above a fireplace?  If I use a mirror, shouldn't something cool be reflected in it?  What about a pendant light?  Would that be strange above a fireplace?

I'm also thinking about moving the ancestor wedding pictures from behind the piano to over the fireplace.  Maybe a mirror would look better over the piano.  Maybe a big oval?  And lighting at the piano is also an issue.  The floor lamp really isn't tall enough to do the job and it looks strange there.  I don't necessarily want to add something in the ceiling because that would mess up what Lyle's already done.....and even though 8 years have passed, he still remembers how long it took to put up that ceiling.

And I want to keep the wall clock that Lyle made, but the cheapy plasticky pull shades can definitely go.

But if the cheapy shades in the music room go bye-bye, then the cheapy shades in the library, across from the music room, should go bye-bye too so our windows look uniform from the porch.  I feel like the mouse in If You Give A Mouse a Cookie.....or is it a muffin?  Anyway, when you change one thing, obviously you need to change another.  Oh, and furniture.  A couch seems like a necessary item.

If any of you have design inspiration, I'd love to hear it......
except if it's to tell me not to paint the fireplace.
That type of advice would not be appreciated.