Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mission Unimpossible

I am on a mission. I am ready to do something with the Empty Room. You know, the room on the front of the house that realtors call the "formal living room". The one that (in our house) sat empty for six seven months (except that one time that Coop and I played rolling logs and rolled from one side to the other 16 times before we stopped to have a snack and push his cars across the foyer floor 22 times).
We have debated on what to do with this space since December. An office? A playroom? A man cave? A lounge with neon signs and a beer fridge? A time-out safe haven for post epic tantrum times? An in-home gym (ha. right.). What do you do with this space friends?

It over looks the rockin chairs on the front porch, so I started scheming about making it light and airy and relaxing and fabulous.

I had my eyes on a coastal summer breezy living room set called the "Hilton Head Collection" for MONTHS. The couch is boring. Tan/Khaki with a thin blue pin stripe, but the chair, oh the chair! Every time we circled the furniture store, I did the happy dance.
It's festive and frumpy and vivid and vivacious. I wanted it so. bad. Chris did not share my love for this little beauty. He said it looks like someone puked on it. We were circling the floor for the 4th time on our 3rd trip to the store when I crawled into the chair and begged him to let it come home with us. Childish, I know.

Coop had been opening dresser drawers and climbing on coffee tables and a grumpy old man had fallen out of a recliner and was in the middle of initiating a law suit when Chris said "OK! Box it up, let's go, it's YOURS!". I beamed. He schemed. His scheme involves a set of golf clubs and a new truck as a trade off for letting me have the chair.

Golf clubs and new truck aside, the heavens opened up and the coastal-decor Gods rained down on me.

So now the Empty Room has a boring tan/khaki pinstriped couch and a mighty marvelous Hilton Head chair/ottoman in it. Oh, I just love it. I really do.
I have created, in my head, the need to find an old rusty set of shutters. I want them to be weathered and rusty and painted blue. I want to hang them over the boring couch (with the not so boring printed throw pillows on it).

I also need some driftwood. And a pickled coffee table. And about 16 salvaged textured frames.

And someone who wants to paint the walls a lovely light shade of Bayside Blue. (Chris swore off painting after the playroom makeover).

I feel like I need to go antiquing to find these treasures. I mean, I could go peruse the aisles of Homegoods again, but I really want this room to look rustic and authentic. Can't find that in retail.

Anyone know of a good place I can head off to? (Ending sentences in prepositions is sometimes ok). I know nothing. Natalie, I just know you know where I can go. You could complete this project in your sleep, standing on your head. (If you haven't checked out Nat's GORGEOUS home at "Our Old Southern House", you simply must. She takes the cake for sweet southern decor in classic hues and funky patterns. Her double decker porches are to die for.

For now, the Empty Room is just an awkward not-so-empty room but not-so-finished, work in progress. And if I ever go missing, you can bet you'll find me curled up in the ugly chair, sippin' sweet tea, and reading trashy beach paperbacks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beyonce the 5 Foot Chicken

I can't stop giggling.

We just got home from splash-park-play-date (picture this: 8 moms, 10 babies). Coop's passed out in his crib with his feet wedged between the bumpers and the wall and I'm supposed to be cleaning our bathroom or folding the mountain of laundry piling itself down the stairs or scrubbing the gook off the floor under Cooper's highchair.

Instead I am laying in our bed, in my pajamas, at 2:35pm, laughing hysterically.

I just read this story about a 5 foot tall metal chicken named Beyonce and it's just got me all cracked up.

You should read it too. And then lay in your bed and ignore dirty sinks and crusty floors and wrinkled clothes :)

I heart Wednesdays.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Peace Like a River

Super Coop and I have been tooling around town all week rockin' out to the Veggie Tales. It's true. We picked up their top 25 Sunday School Songs album on Wednesday and haven't stopped car-dancing since. Yes, this is what happens when an itty bitty wee-one waltzes into your life and steals your heart.

You can't not smile (the double negative felt good there--I had to just go with it) when you hear a classic VBS tune (Give Me Oil in My Lamp) with insanely creative mixed in lyrics like:

Give me gas in my ford, keep me tracking for the Lord

Give me gas in my ford I pray
Give me gas in my ford, keep me tracking for the Lord
Keep me tracking till the break of day.

I don't even drive a Ford and I still adore this verse.

And my all time fave:

Give me umption in my gumption

Help me function, function, function
Give me umption in my gumption, I pray
Give me umption in my gumption
Help me function, function, function
Help me function till the break of day

Seriously. Umption in my gumption. Brilliant. Love it.

I digress. We were listening to Peace Like a River for the 14th time through when I became overwhelmed with a sense of peace and washed with abundant joy.

I paused my jazz hands mid air and got to thinking about my job. It's silly to me to call it a j-o-b. It's SO much more. I LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do. I really do. When I am doing it, I feel completely in the center of where I know God wants me to be. It's crazy. I crave knowledge about what I do and savor every second of every session with every child. Even when I get slimed with yogurt. And scratched by lions. And sprayed with lizard lisps.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have a career that makes my heart happy. No doubt, I miss my Coop like crazy while I am working.  I won't lie. I catch myself daydreaming about spending the day at the splash park and drinking Starbucks at 10am while strolling the aisles of Target, I really do. But I love that I can put my passion into practice and love on so many well deserving little people four days a week too.

When I am in the middle of it, up to my elbows in verbal apraxia and autism and language delays, I am overcome with a sense of humility. There is just absolutely nothing more humbling.

So tonight at Saturday night church (shameless 12 Stone plug AGAIN--guess who's gonna be chowing down at Dutch Monkey again in the mornin??) I praised God for allowing me the opportunity to work. To roll up my sleeves and to do what I love.

As I rocked Coop to sleepytown tonight, I sang (in my best Bob the Tomato voice, no doubt):
"I've got peace like a river, I've got love like an ocean, I've got joy like a fountain in my soul."
And for the fam, a montage of our day out on the lake...
Wawa! Wawa! Dada? Dada? Wawa. 
More? More?


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dutch Monkey

Today was full of faboosh things. We gave Saturday night church a go last night (and totally LOVED it) so we ended up with an entire day free today. We skipped around doing as we pleased and had so so so much fun doing so.

We slept until 9:30. Cooper too. It felt so incredibly indulgent. Heavenly.

Once we got over the giddiness of sleeping so late, we piled up in the car and took off for...wait for it....wait for it...DUTCH MONKEY DONUTS. Holy moly. Gracious goodness. Have you been?? Have you, have you? We had not.

Ohhh how we will SO go again and again. My top two reasons: 1. bottled Coca-Colas. 2. Buttermilk Cake Donuts.
Aaaaand, guess what? They have a Light the Night for Leukemia and Lymphoma Team. Even though we will be competing with them (Go CHOA, go!), we might just have to form a friendly bond with them to insure endless supplies of sugary goodness.

After Coop pushed the funky little kiddie table and stools around the shop 14 times, we piled back in the car and sped off to Ikea. Ikea: two floors of decorator delight. Today's mission: the playroom. And might I say, mission accomplished. Coop made out like a bandit. We got the funky little green table and stools mentioned above (he fell in love with this set twice in two days--once at Dutch Monkey and once at Froyolo--what were we to do?), one of those little bead/swirly wire thingamabobbers you find in waiting rooms of doctors offices, and a crocodile bath mat.

I'm not sure who's more excited about the bead thingamabbber, Coop or Babysitter Bill who has come to spend the night and have a play-day tomorrow.

After Ikea we might have stopped by Krystal. Shame. We are Krystal lovers. (Ryan, that was for you). I never ever ever even had a Krystal until college and whelp, since then, I might have become known for swinging through the drive thru and sneaking one of those Buffalo Krystal Chiks and a baby Dr. Pepper. Mmm.

We spent the rest of the day down on the lake with Aunt Lucy, Uncle Jay, the parents, and the Kusch's. We tooled around on the pontoon, ate yummo dinner, and had a dessert bar to boot.

So there we have it, a day chock full of faboosh things.

Did I mention you might love Dutch Monkey Donuts? Don't go tomorrow though. Closed on Mondays. You'll be sad.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

10 in 10

We put ourselves up to a mini challenge this past week. We are the champs of eating out. We have a list of favorite restaurants a mile long. Coop gets a strange confused look on his face when we scooch up our chairs to the kitchen table at home. It's terribly embarrassing. He prefers crayons and a maze menu over a casserole dish any day.
Mom, please don't be disheartened. There's still hope for me.

After being on the road for a week and eating the most incredible dinners out EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT., we decided to start eating dinner at home 4 out of 5 weeknights. For my domestic goddess friends out there--I know, I know this sounds like no big deal, no great feat. For us though, this was crazy insano out of the box.

My usual list of excuses as to why I cannot no-way, no-how fix supper goes something like this:

1. I remain in a constant state of idea-less-ness. I can't think of meals to cook (or lunches to pack) to save my life. I stare at the pantry. I gaze into the fridge. I peruse the grocery store aisles. Crickets. Nothin'. So much easier to order a combo #1 and call it a day.

2. Work. I take the workin' mom thing and run with it. Woe is me, I can't possibly cook dinner after working all day and chasing after Coop (loving every minute of it).

3. Eating out is our only hobby. Our only form of entertainment. Cough. Cough. Malarkey.

4. I am kitchen impaired. You mean crockpots, griddles, Kitchen Aid mixers and the like aren't just for kitchen decor?

5. I am addicted to Chick-fil-a. There are 2 on my way home from work. Why cook?

It's bad, y'all. But I digress. The challenge was (and still is): $10 meals that can be prepared in under 10 minutes (actual cooking time not included). We didn't think we could do it, but oh we did!

The week went something like this:

Monday: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia and Steamed Broc. The skinny on the tilapia...Go to Publix. Push buggy over to the seafood counter. Ring bell. Snack on cajun crab dip samples while waiting. Ask Seafood man to whip up a few parm-crusted filets (they do the nitty gritty slimy crusting work). Pay approximately $3.56 for 2 fillets, season and steam a bunch of broccoli and call it a day.

Tuesday: Fajita Chicken Nachos. Tortilla chips, bag of mexi-mix shredded cheese, tub of sour cream, can of jalapenos, and some cooked Tyson chicken strips. $7.29 and you've got a mound of nacho yummy goodness on a cookie sheet. 

Wednesday: RICOS WORLD KITCHEN. And the angels sang. Fairy dust blew as we skipped from the car to our usual table over in the corner, close to the windows where Coop can see the choo choo trains as they whir by. I might have blushed when the waiter asked us where we were last week.

Thursday: Peppercorn Pork Tenderloin and Cajun Potato Wedges. $9.61 and mighty tasty.

Friday: Peppercorn Pork Tenderloin (eeek. leftovers. I cringe.)-n-honey butter biscuits. Don't judge. It's HEAVENLY. Slice up the leftover pork and sneak it between the flaky biscuit layers. Dip in Horseradish if you dare. Yum yum yum. Coop ate two of these suckers. And never once even asked for his crayons and maze menu.

So there ya have it. We did it. And (gasp) we LOVED it. We got to spend oodles more time at home playing with Coop after work, we saved a ton ton ton of moolah, and we ate 97% less fried horrible (but oh so delicious) goodness.

Your turn. What's your favorite 10 in 10 meal idea? 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Beach Baby

Ocean air. Ooh wee!
Feet sinking. Wah.
Dada's hand.
So fast!
Catch me Mama!
Got ya!
Silly boy!
Beach baby!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mellow "Mush"

We love Mellow Mushroom. LOVE it.

Even at the beach, we find ourselves sneaking in a little trip to MM. "Small-cheese-please-with-little-to-no-sauce-and-two-sides-of-Esperanza." The little-to-no-sauce and two-sides-of-dressing part is absolutely crucial. Thankyouverymuch. Dipping that crust in the little dish of their homemade dressing is dynOmite. M. Mm. Mmm.  

Speaking of the Mushroom, Coop learned to say "mush" on this trip. And "wawa". And "splash". And "doo doo". NO clue where that last one came from. Seriously. We do not do the "doo doo" in our house. Ew.

Daycare? JK. We blame every single bad behavior on Coop's 4 week daycare rendezvous these days. :)

The only sure-fire way to top a solid trip to MM is to follow it with hours of basking in the sunshine.

We can do that.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Holiday Road: Day Two

We found the ocean today!
And the pool!
 And the cabana!
And the best seafood on HHI (Hellooo Black Marlin).

An absolutely perfect day.

Co-sleeping with a 14 month old in a hotel room is quite the experience. He is just so silly. Did I mention that he has to touch everything. Every. Single. Thing. Coffee tables and night stands and door knobs and curtains and plugs and mirrors. He ran from one end of the room to the other 31 times tonight. We just sat and giggled.

We could live here. We really could!

More later...gotta run (literally!)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Holiday Road: Day One

We hit the road for Davis Family Vaca 2011 this morning. We were so excited we could hardly stand it. We stopped for lunch with Grammie in downtown Mac-town and were on the road by noontime.

We decided to swing by Savannah for a quick overnight at the Mansion at Forsyth Park on our way to the beach, and boy were we glad we did. Within 30 seconds of arriving here, you feel completely rejuvenated and relaxed. The absolute perfect place to re-cooperate (even with said Coop in tow)...
LOVE this place!
I had to stop to wipe a tear away when I realized how much this little fella has grown in just one year.

My, oh my. Super Coop was SO busy this time around. He opened every single cabinet and drawer, dumped every ice bucket over, and touched every single thing he could possibly find. He found it quite grand.

How does one keep a 14 month old happy and quiet in a hotel? Bubbles.

And elevator buttons.

We ate down on Riverstreet at One Eyed Lizzies. We love them because 1) they have enormous glasses of sweet tea-I'm talking ginormous, 2) they have the best crushed ice in town 3) they have the best best best grouper po boy sandwiches and homemade tartar sauce 4) they allow for hours of window people watchin'--view onto Riverstreet straight from your booth.

So, a girl sitting at the booth across from us had a total outburst during dinner. It started with a lot of angst, pouting, eye rolling, and hair flicking. I tried not to stare, but I couldn't help myself. She screamed and hollared at her mom, reminding her how much she hated her, and then (get ready for this...) grabbed a knife and threatened to cut herself. You read that right.

Her mom clinched her teeth and did that talking/growling thing without moving your lips thing that only moms can do and I thought surely NOT. Under the table the knife went and S-L-I-C-E. Then she punched the booth. 

My jaw was literally on the floor. I was totally convinced that we were on the show "What Would You Do?" and kept waiting for John Quinones to pop out from behind the plastic palm tree. When he didn't, I wanted to call to have an inpatient intake completed on her but Hubs reminded me we were to mind our own business. Still, GASP. Her escapade ended with an 10 minute evil eye stare down at her mom (dad sitting silently) followed by "Just give me your car and I will pack my stuff and move out." Good idea, right? I worried about her (and her parents) all night long. Can you believe it?? Cooper is officially unallowed to ever be a teenager. Ever.

We came back to the room and went down to the pool for a night swim. Thanks sweet friends Abby, Andy, Liam, and Macy for the fancy pants swim trunks and flops!!

Have I mentioned Cooper's Propel Fitness Water addiction? Shrug.

The night ended with Coop making a big old splash in the big old bathtub. I might have snuck a 30 minute soak in there before bed too. Complete with a Cherry Coke on ice. Fizz. 

Oh how we love this place--HIGHLY recommend it if you are planning a weekender in Savannah. Tomorrow's agenda: sun, sand, sea, and silliness! Hilton Head here we come!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


The best way to recover from Ridiculous-Big-Boy-School-Experience 2011?

1. Initiate playroom re-model (still a work in progress but we are having so much fun transforming this space. I always tell Chris that we can move into a trailer and I will still be as happy as a lark, as long as we can keep Coop's playroom.)

Hubs whipped up this fantastic artwork hanging piece and I just absolutely love it! So simple and I love walking into the room and seeing all of Coop's "projects". Next up, book hanging unit for opposite wall (same concept, just taking favorite little people paperbacks and displaying them to add color to the room).
Look at those itty bitty footprints. Who's are those?

2. Spend an evening with our besties from Australia. LOVE them! Oxford and Coop were instant buds! Learn to say things like "Time to change your nappie" and "Uh oh, come to mum love, you bumped your noggie" and "Give Oxie cuddles" and "Let's go pram shopping today!". SO cute!

3. Stay home with Dada. Lose your pants. Learn to vacuum. Love every second of it.
4. Spend a day down at the farm. "Ride" Spot and Sleeper, pull Woody Wagon, rock on the front porch and REPEAT. Oh, and eat yummy Fresh Air Barbecue for supper and ride home in our jammies.
Coopie says "A cowboy life is the life for me."
So there ya have it. All recovered from the trauma of daycare. Thank you all so much for your wonderful suggestions and words of encouragement. We are sure that something fabulous is just around the corner...Happy 4th of July y'all!