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January 2012
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March 2012

getting sidetracked again

maybe it isn't sidetracked, per se. maybe it's just that i'm desperate to do something to this house to make it feel more finished, but i know there won't be much of that happening until the other house sells.

(excuse me, for a moment. that house has been on the market for 10 months. we've dropped the price significantly. we're currently losing $60k in equity and $30k-plus in improvements. we have been stuck at our break-even point for the last six weeks. because we've been paying a double mortgage since october, the funds are not there to bring another $10k or more to the table to get that house off of our hands. we have lots of showings, feedback is always good, there is no one smoking gun that is preventing a sale. and yet, no bites. not even a nibble. not even an insulting low-ball offer. i think the universe is trying to tell us to rent it out.)

until the days of a single mortgage return, there are no major purchases in our future. however, there may be some projects, and i'm always on the lookout for a bargain that can be repurposed or repainted and come in handy.

current project: cover up some windows so

a) there's a little bit of privacy, and

b) i'm not blinded while working at the kitchen sink or sitting at the dining room table or sitting on the south-facing sofa at any point in the day between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

that sun is brutal. and it's always sunny in minnesota. like, every day. except today.

because i haven't been able to decide what to do with the main floor windows, i decided to start with the sliding doors in the basement. back in december i found a killer deal on some great curtain panels at west elm. we finally bought hardware last week and got them hung over the weekend, only to notice ...



do you see it? the left panel is fine. the panel on the right? totally crooked. and the pattern doesn't line up with the other panel. i could live with not-totally-aligned circles, especially since the curtains will be open most of the day, but i cannot live with crooked. luckily, west elm will give me my $34 dollars back (like i said, killer deal) and i'll be back to square one on these windows. other than hardware. we now have that. so now i'm considering ikea's grommet panels and maybe some paint and a stencil? or try my hand at sewing on a thick horizontal band on the bottom? no clue. but something.

then there's upstairs.

we have a double window over the kitchen sink, a sliding glass door to the right of that, and great room windows immediately to the right of the sliders. lots of window ... very little wall space.



i have gone back and forth over what will look right there - blinds, roman shades, bamboo shades, curtains, pattern for one window, plain for another, etc. i found a fabric with potential at calico corners, but when i got a ballpark estimate for having a roman shade and panels made, i decided that no, in fact, that fabric was not going to work.

(ahem ... $$$$$)

so then i went back to my first-love fabric, which i found at tonic living. i think it would make lovely curtains. however, when i did a mock-up, i realized that there is so little actual wall space between runs of windows that using busy fabrics may not be the way to go.


so, my conundrum.

the great room windows are flanked with not enough wall space to sustain the volume of curtains that would be needed to function as window coverings. so for that space, i think stationary decorative panels bookending bamboo shades are going to win. but what type of curtains? the fabric i love?


 i love that. but then what do i do with the sliders? a different fabric wouldn't look right. would it?


 so maybe i would be better off with plain white linen curtains covering that whole run of windows?



(and then i could bring in those chiang mai dragon fabric pillows that i covet so desirously ...)

 okay, but then, what about the kitchen?


 do i go with continuity and put up a bamboo shade?



 that seems safe and boring.

i could go with that tonic living fabric i love so much and just pretend it works with the chiang mai (like i could afford those pillows any time soon, anyway. on that note, like i would spend that much on pillows anyway. i won't even spent $7 on an adorable white milk bottle at target because it's a "want," not a "need." sigh.)


 then again, i could go light and barely-there pattern to bring in some color but not stand out like, "HEY! LOOK AT ME!! I'M A SHAAAAADDDEEEEE!!"


i kinda like that idea.

i guess i really don't need to worry about this right right now. but it's either obsess over window coverings or obsess over rugs for the great room.

and i don't have a friggin' clue what to do about that one.



her first dance

on saturday evening, harper attended her first dance.

she wore a beautiful new dress and shoes, had her hair styled into a braid, and wore her special-occasion-only dangly earrings.


her date wore a coordinating pink tie.


he surprised her with a lovely wrist corsage - her first flowers - of bright pink tea roses and shiny doodads ...


which matched her miss piggy excuse moi pink glitter nail polish perfectly.


she rewarded him with a happy hug and kiss,


and then off they went, to eat indian food and attend the father-daughter dance at the high school.


they had a lovely time, and harper returned home full of glee and giddiness.

i love that my daughter's first dance was with her daddy. i hope all of her future suitors are as good and decent and loving as he is.

while the boys played xbox ...

for five hours on saturday (and yes, it was as pathetic as it sounds), i took harper to buck hill to meet her girlfriend for an afternoon of tubing.




emma's mom works at the hill, so her father-in-law and i watched the girls until she got off work, then we all stood around for another hour, watching them go up ...




and down ...




and back up. and down again.




they'd go together, then they'd go solo, whooshing down the hill with big smiles on their faces, then giggling as they dragged their tubes back to the lift.






definitely a better way to spend a saturday than wrapped up in a virtual world.

(though my boys told me that was just *my* opinion. i then refrained from telling them that i was actually right. silly boys ... never learn.)

seems like just yesterday ...

i was recovering from 35 weeks of nausea, vomitting, heart burn; two weeks of inexplicable water retention and weight gain (23 pounds in 10 days ... yikes); 20 hours of relentless contractions; and one hour of pushing. and i was holding my perfect little nine-pound newborn son.




i thought time had sped up. in a blink, he was six months, a year, 18 months ...




and before i knew it, he was in preschool. then real school. then his sister was born.

and suddenly ... he's 12.

and my 9 lb, 21.5" baby is now 5'7", 114 lbs, and the next time i take him shoe shopping i know we'll be buying size 11s.

where did the time go?

to be fair, he's still my baby. he came over to me yesterday afternoon and said, "mom, i have something for you." then he wrapped those long, skinny arms around me and melted into a snuggle.

oh. my.

best birthday present ever, my boy giving ME a hug and then staying for more.

he's such a good kid.

to celebrate his big day, we watched him swim in a meet in wisconsin. (i know ... party! woot!) he did a good job, considering it was his first REAL meet against REAL other teams in a REAL setting, not his home pool. his first two races, he was in the final heats and did a great job. his last race ... well ... he lost his goggles during the start and sort of whiffed the rest of the race.

oh well.





 you win some, you lose some.

we headed home after lunch, everyone got a little rest, then henry opened his gifts: hoodies, books, a bible, and, from, us, portal bookends. oh yeah.









then a sitter came over to be with harper, and marc and i took henry to stella's fish cafe in uptown for a steak, then to comedy sportz for a show. henry has really gotten into comedy lately - funny shows, comedians, silly things floating around the internet - so i knew this show would be perfect. and i would much rather give my kids experiences than stuff. we all loved the show, and can't wait to go again. henry even threw out a suggestion that was selected by the referee for an improv challenge (the actletes were to imagine themselves in a situation where they would be surrounded by people, and what they would say to put their foot in their mouth. henry's suggested situation? health class. so funny.), which pleased him greatly.

today, apparently, the birthday celebration continues ... he and marc are on the couch, headsets on, controllers in hand, linked up with uncle matt in indiana, playing call of duty. for the rest of the day.


because, now that he's twelve, he does what the big boys do.

but he still gives his mom a hug.

and that's as it should be.


what is up with winter?!

this time last year, we had, like, 47 feet of snow on the ground. this year? nothing. zip. brown, bare ground.

so depressing.

yesterday, i took a walk. it was 38 degrees outside and lovely.

today? wind chill of -9.

minnesota has bipolar disorder.

however, the chill in the air (i can call -9 a "chill." i'm a minnesotan; it's legit.) today reminded me of photos i haven't yet shared.

the new house is just up the hill from a lovely lake. there are houses all around it - some modest ranches, some tiny little shabby fishing shacks, some two-story homes that were obviously built after a shack was torn down. and in the winter, when the lake freezes, it becomes covered in a village of ice fishing houses. which is fascinating to me. there is a whole new neighborhood ... one with codes of conduct, of first rights, of traffic patterns. because all of those fishing houses have to get there somehow, and usually the pick-up truck or small rv that pushed it out there is parked right beside it for the evening commute home. yes, parked. on the ice.

if you don't live up north, you don't understand.

have you seen "grumpy old men"? it's like that.

well, this year, because the weather has been so, shall we say, capricious, it took a lot longer for the ice to become solid and thick enough for ice houses. then it took even longer to become safe for cars to drive on. where last year there stood a veritable city of fishing houses and f150s, this year there is a smattering of ice tents and intrepid shanties, pulled out with snowmobiles and atvs.

we decided one saturday to wander down there and meet the neighbors. the kids had never walked on a frozen lake, as far as we knew (so much for the minnesotan thing. we're apparently really bad at it.), so they were thrilled, and bundled up to the gills for the adventure.



(for the record: my husband is 6'4". our son is not quite 12 and is in nearly a size 11 shoe. i fear for our grocery bill.)

the kids started to run out on the ice, and quickly discovered whose boots have good traction and whose don't. (henry's? great traction. harper's? adequate. mine? not so much.) then they started to count all of the abandoned holes, and quickly found chunks of ice and sticks to try to poke through the ice and measure the thickness of the hole.



(the thing i love about the above photo? see henry's feet? the way they are crossed and under his bum? he has sat like that since he was a toddler. and his dad sits the exact same way. makes me happy.)

we marveled at who on earth would find contentment sitting out on a frozen lake in a camp chair. then we speculated that perhaps it was the better alternative than what was at home, and we wished the chair much happiness and good fishing.



 then marc and harper got their robot dance groove on. turns out slippery surfaces make for the best robot moves.



 wonder if they'll bust out those moves at the father/daughter dance next weekend? something tells me no.

then henry and harper stayed with the 80s theme and tried breakdancing, spinning themselves around on their backsides.



 pretty soon we were back to wandering. see those three little dots just left of center?



 three guys, on camp chairs, fishing.

they DO exist.

about this time harper started to complain that her legs were tired ...



 and i may have rediscovered my ability to do the splits while trying to recreate this look ...



 and then marc struck up a conversation with a fisherman inside a camper trailer, parked on the ice. now i'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of that.

all too soon, marc's cheeks and my legs were frozen, so we made the journey back home. but soon enough the wind chill will be out of the air enough that we can wander down there again.

there may or may not have been a challenge thrown to walk clear across the lake.

someone needs to tell harper's legs that they'll have to make it there AND back.