Thursday, September 30, 2010

What a great welcome home!

My family and I just returned home from St. Louis on Tuesday.

The welcome home we received was not at all what we wanted!

We didn't notice the lovely gift until I saw a wet piece of paper in the corner of the living room. My initial thought was the potty trainer peed on the floor. Then I noticed the carpet was way to wet for it to have been a 2 year old. I looked up and saw it!


A wet ceiling sagging down ready to fall. I didn't get a picture of it before hubby started poking at it with the fireplace tools. Then it all just came down.
See that there in the bottom right corner. That's mold. Luckily for me I thought to put down a piece of plastic down first. It might explain why Mr. Destructo seems to be sick so often and have red eyes all the time. I'm not sure how much mold it takes to make one sick or if this is even the right kind of mold but it's a thought.

Lovely gift to come home to huh?

It was just plain nasty! Soaking wet! I knew from checking the weather on the drive home that we had a big storm coming and I knew we had to get this tarped up quick! I later found out the the big storm was actually tropical storm/depression Nicole. Figures we'd get a leak in our ceiling now!
This is the junk that hubby pulled off the ceiling. See the mold!!

$350 later, the roofers had come out and emergency tarped our roof just in time. The rain started that night and here it is Thursday and it's still raining. Expected to continue till tomorrow. 11 inches of rain in some areas. Crazy.
This is the bottom side of the texture that was on the ceiling. More mold.

Anyways, my phones been ringing like crazy as we try to get a hold of various roofers, the previous owner of our house, and our insurance lady. We've got our estimates and work might start as early as this weekend! It's crazy how the estimates are all over the place. The lowest estimate and the highest estimate have a difference of $1800! HOLY COW!

Unfortunately insurance doesn't cover our roof but they do cover the damage inside! Whoo hoo! The interior guy came by today and told me they are going to fix all the damage, re-texture the entire ceiling and repaint my whole living room! I just have to decide if I want to keep the color I chose and painted not even a year ago or if I want a new color. Decisions, decisions!

Until then, here's the newest addition to our living room.

We keep finding more and more water damage. I can't wait for the interior guy to come in and pull this icky stuff out!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Giant Hole

What we came home to. More about this to come! UPDATED: Here is the link to this story.

My Fall Mantle

It feels so good to be back in Virginia! We had a great trip to St. Louis. I had hoped to first blog about all of our adventures, then we came home to a leak in our ceiling. Then I was going to blog about that first. But now I think I can't look at that hole anymore right now so I want to share with you my first fall mantle!

We moved into our house in November of last year and didn't get to decorate for fall at all. This year is different! I'll show you my mantle and then I'll show you each project as well as a link to how to make one for yourself!

I'm pretty proud of my very first mantle! All with things I made all by myself!

I found the idea for these wooden pumpkins here. I used some scrap wood that I had left over. I should have used a saw to cut better lines but I didn't want to go back out to the skeeter house that is my back yard and I may have gotten so excited to finish that I may or may not have forgotten I was going to do that. Instead I used a steak knife. Shhh don't tell. I sanded the edges in my kitchen sink. Don't tell on me about that either. I like them, hubby is ok with them.

Next we have my 2 topiaries. Ehh. I'm not a huge fan of them but I guess they work. I think I need different textures in them. I saw them on Decorchick but her's are much prettier than mine. Make sure you check hers out here. The metal containers they are sitting in I found at the Dollar Tree and I spray painted them an antique white color.

The enter of my mantle is a fall version of something I made for the spring just with fall colors. I also used skewers for the sticks although some real sticks would be pretty too. Again I didn't want to go outside to find some stick. They are sitting in a hurricane that I made from various Dollar Tree items. And I filled them with some little plastic pumpkins and acorns that I also found at Dollar Tree.

Next we have the wire pumpkins. In the tutorial I read she said to use 20 gauge wire. All I could find at the only store I was stopping at that day was 14 gauge wire. Big mistake! It was much harder to work with than I imagined but doable. I used some floral wire to close it all up. I like them silver but I may end up spray painting them. We'll see.

The last thing on my mantle is my Harvest Banner.  I've seen these all over blog land. I used some scrapbook paper, twine and some big paint chip samples that I found at Wal-Mart. They are Better Home and Gardens colors. It was pretty easy and only took me a few minutes to make.

So that's my mantle! Hope you enjoyed!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 9/20

This week's plan is super short because we will only be home for 2 days!!!! YAY!!

Monday- Pot Roast leftovers that I made last week.
Tuesday- Ham and Pasta bake
Wednesday- Sunday- GONE!!!!

You can get more MPM ideas at .

Tot School- Letter I

Tot School

Mr. Destructo is 33 months and Blue Eyes is 18 months.

This is our 4th week of doing Tot School. Again, not much going on this week. We were busy planning and cleaning for our Fisher-Price House Party and getting ready for our trip! (If you have some travel advice I'd love to hear it on this post.)

But we did manage to squeeze in a few "I" related activities.

First we made an I ice cream. I saw this on No Time for Flashcards.

Last night we also made Homemade Ice Cream with some ice, rock salt, sugar and milk. I don't have any photos because Mr. Destructo did not want to touch the cold bag at all and we were dealing with cheap-o bags that were leaking. Ugh.

Blue Eyes had his normal Occupational Therapy this week where he played Mr. Potato head, puzzles, shapes and did some pouring with the noodles in the sensory tub. No pictures of that either.

Mr. Destructo and I made spIders. His new thing is spiders and since I wasn't going to buy something for him to break I thought we would make our own. If you want a tutorial on how we made ours I can show you. Just let me know. Here is his:

Mr. Destructo also got to play with a butterfly this week. Another new favorite thing is butterflies. He was so relaxed and calm with it. You can see more butterfly photos here.

He also had an unexpected life lesson. Try explaining this in the spur of the moment with a hysterical toddler.

Yes that would be a Mickey Mouse tied to a garbage truck. I guess those guys thought that would be funny. It was not funny to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fan. He cried and cried. When I told my mom about it later on she said I should have told him Mickey was helping the trash man today. Yea, I didn't think of that then. I think I was just as shocked as he was.

Last but not least there were some loving moments with the boys this week. I caught this:

and this:
And I don't think it was an apology! I love seeing these loving moments!

So that was our week. It was busy and hectic and not always "school" related but it all works!

You can get more Tot School ideas at 1+1+1=1.

Muffin Tin Monday- Shapes

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

This weeks theme on Muffin Tin Monday was Shapes.

Well... I made a tin, but it's awful! It was spur of the moment and just plain awful. So instead I'm going to re-post the shape tin we made 2 weeks ago.

So here is the boys Muffin Tin. 

We did Star shaped cheese, square PB&J pieces, and oval/circle grapes.

You can find better tins at Muffin Tin Mom!

Also we are heading out of town for a little bit. There won't be any muffin tin making for me! So if you have any travel advice for driving with two toddlers, read this post!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Travel Advice Wanted!

In less than 1 week my husband and I will be driving 1000 miles to Missouri with an 18 month old who doesn't really like long car rides an a 33 month old potty trainer along for the ride.

So I would like any tips you have to make the car ride more... sane enjoyable.

We are already leaving in the wee hours of the morning in hopes of getting 7 hours in before the kids wake up.

I also checked out "The first 100 episodes!" of  Spongebob from the library. I later found out that is 36 hours! Umm no! So we do have a DVD player with the kids favorite movies.

Other than that is there anything I can take with us to keep the kids happy or make the trip smoother?

Any crafts or activities I can make? Something you took on a trip with you that you were so glad you had? I'm all ears!


Wordless Wednesday- butterflies

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 9/13

This is our last full week of eating at home before we go on VACATION!!!! YAY!

Here's what's on my menu this week:
Monday- Taco Bar (inspired by Taco Bell's new take out buffet)
Tuesday- Smothered Pork Chops
Wednesday- Pea Soup (childhood recipe)
Thursday- Ravioli (already made and from the freezer)
Friday- Salsbury Steaks
Saturday- Fisher Price House Party in the morning, will be too tired to cook. Probably order out.
Sunday- Cheesesteaks

Head on over to Org Junkie for more ideas!

Tot School- Week 3

Tot School

There was no organized tot school this week. :(

Instead lots of life lessons happened.

A lesson in apologies:
Mr. Destructo learned when you tell a nice woman at the store "MOVE, you in my way.", you get a stern talking to and have to apologize to the woman. He was then banished to the shopping cart where he sulked until we left.

A lesson in body parts:
We visited our new pediatrician this week. Turns out we love him! I was so nervous to switch to a new doctor, but I wish we had done this sooner! The boys were smiling and laughing instead of the normal crying and screaming.
Dr. S. introduced Mr. Destructo to "boy shins". (Bruised up shins commonly found on rough and tumble boys.) Not sure why that was so funny but he hasn't stopped laughing about it sense! He also learned "both cars are in the garage!" when Dr. S did a quick look see in the pull-up area. The boys new doctor is so funny! But Mr. D isn't quite sure where the cars are. He didn't see any of his Hot Wheels but he still thought that was funny.

A lesson in animals:
We took the boys to the zoo this weekend. We actually got to see a lot of the animals this time! Usually it is so hot that the animals don't even want to move. These photos will be printed and I will be making an animal book out of them.

A lesson in Mommy's other job:
Occasionally I work as a photographer and this weekend was one of those occasions.  Mr. Destructo got to watch Mommy do her other job.
This beautiful young lady has a children's book coming out soon! I am proud to say that my photos of her have been used in the book! I'll keep you updated on that! Here are some more photos of that shoot.

Mr. Destructo asked me when we got home if he could take pictures of butterflies too. So I taught him how to use my camera. I may have to get him his own camera for Christmas this year. This Fisher Price Kid Tough camera looks pretty awesome!

Blue Eyes did get his Speech Therapy this week. He learned how to sign "all done". He also has started saying "book" this week. We are also working on signing and saying "open". He's getting it! Occupational and Speech therapy will both be here next week.

So not much "schooling" but we had a fun week. Maybe this week we will get something in before we leave for a few weeks for St. Louis!

Don't forget to check out 1+1+1=1 for more tot school stuff.

Muffin Tin Monday- Movies

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

This week's theme on Muffin Tin Mom was Movies.

This was a no brainer (I thought) because my boys are in LOVE with Toy Story.

So how was I going to make Woody or Buzz? I had no clue. More like lost. So I thought maybe a different movie. Wasn't happening and I already told Mr. Destructo we were having a Buzz Lightyear muffin tin so he kept reminding me over and over and over again.

Then it came to me and here is our muffin tin!

Row 1: Hot dog cut to look like Slinky Dog, deli ham rolled up to represent Ham the piggy bank.
Row 2: Sweet potato fries for Mr. Potato head, cheese cut into a cowboy hat for Woody, and a grapeship/spaceship for Buzz Lightyear.

If you look close you can see the little Toy Story toothpick. I picked up a pack of 24 toothpicks and 24 cupcake liners at Walmart for $2. I bought them for his birthday party in December. I figured I could spare 2 toothpicks for MTM.

I thought it was pretty cool. Hope you liked out muffin tin!

You can find more Muffin Tin Monday ideas at Muffin Tin Mom!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fisher Price House Party!

A few weeks ago I found out that we were selected to host a Fisher Price House Party!

Whoo hoo!

**Insert excited scream here.**

I knew what we were getting but I didn't tell or show the boys. I wanted them to be super surprised when it came.

So today the big big box came today!

(I have a funny story about waiting for the box, but I will share that another day, like Tuesday.)

When I say big, I mean big! 79 pounds big! Thankfully the UPS man pushed it in the door for me.
I originally had the boys sitting and leaning on the box to show you size. But toddlers don't cooperate well.

Mr. Destructo was very excited to open it right away. Blue Eyes didn't realize what fun the box contained. (Turns out he thought climbing on to the kitchen table was more fun.) Here is a picture of Mr. Destructo when I first opened it up.

See how big the box is compared to his head!?

5 brand new Fisher Price toys! Talk about Christmas in September! I'll be blogging more about what was inside. But here is your sneak peek.

I set out all the toys on the table so I could get a good picture. My table is almost too small. I had to climb up onto the counters to get a photo of it all!

I can't wait for our House Party! It's going to be sooo much fun!

All Done!

Blue Eyes had speech therapy today and learned a new sign. We had been showing him "all done" for awhile but he doesn't do it well. I think maybe it was a little hard for him. The action for the sign "all done" is to touch your chest with both hands and then brush them out. (Really hard to explain) But today his therapist did it like when you are brushing the dirt off your hands. She wasn't teaching him the sign, just doing it as she talked. Well wouldn't you know he picked it right up! Great right? NOT! For the rest of the session he kept signing "All done" and would walk off. He wouldn't do anything!!!! Now everytime I try to get him to do something he keeps telling me "all done".


And please ignore the messy boy face. He's eating a PB&J.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's been 8 months!

Today my baby is 8 months post op. Now most people don't count the months and do comparison photos after their surgery, but since Blue Eyes surgery is and will drastically change what he looks like, I like to do a comparison just to see how far we've come.

Let me remind you what he looked like 8 months ago today.
He had a very tall head and if you could see from above you would see that it is shaped like a football. It was VERY narrow oval shaped.

Some background: When Nathan was born he had a ridge on his skull but the doctors assured us it was normal. They said it was from his fast birth and made me feel it was my fault. As if I did it to his head. At every doctors appointment, the pediatrician continued to assure us the ridge would go away. As his mom, I never noticed that he looked different. Maybe because he was my baby or maybe because I saw him everyday and didn't notice. Finally at 9 months old, his pediatrician sent us for a CT scan. After that was when he was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis. Basically the sutures and soft spots that normal babies have, Blue Eyes didn't. The only fix was major reconstructive surgery. Without the surgery his brain would have no where to go. He could have brain damage, vision loss, and death.

On January 8th he had a Cranial Vault Reconstructive surgery to re-open those sutures and create new soft spots. Doing this surgery drastically changed what he looked like instantly. We almost didn't recognize him (the gauze and bandages didn't help). You can learn more about his recovery in his video here.

Fast forward 8 months to today. Here is what he looks like now.
Notice how round his face is. From above his head is still a little oval but not nearly as narrow. Sometimes you can still see his scars and if you feel his head you can feel the plates and screws. We will still have our ups and downs on the Cranio roller coaster, and possibly more surgeries to come. From his personality you would never know what he had already been through before his first birthday. He is the happiest, funniest, peek-a-boo playing boy around and I am proud to say he is MY cranio baby!

Happy 8 months Blue Eyes! We love you and are so very proud of you!

Wordless Wednesday- 8 months post-op

In honor of National Craniofacial Acceptance Month, my littlest boy is 8 months post-op from his Cranial Vault Reconstruction surgery! Happy 8 months Blue Eyes!

You can check out more awesome photos from our trip to the arboretum here.
You can also read the latest 8 month update that I just wrote here.


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