Jun 25, 2009

Painting pictures

My mom said it best: Garry is a painting machine.

In one Saturday and three evenings, he completed a giant project I thought would last several Saturdays. And his work is excellent. Everything looks amazing (in my opinion)! He has my sincere gratitude for this great service. The color has brightened my house -- and my heart.

Without further ado: pictures. (OK, a little more ado. To see "before" shots, check out this post, which includes a video tour of the house after we moved in last year. The first few seconds take you through the rooms Garry painted this week. Please ignore my annoying commentary!)

View from the front door.
On the blank wall above the table, we are planning a flower-photo-collage thing. The art that hung there before fell off the wall one day and shattered.

View OF the front door. And the garage door, which Garry also painted recently. You might think the brown is weird, but I absolutely love it. And Grandma Dent, that red rug is what I bought with your b-day money. :)

Another shot of the front room (it needs a name...).

The kitchen. I finally made my curtains (well, two out of three).
Just ignore the pile of paint supplies above the dishwasher...

And the room off the kitchen (also needs a name, as well as another curtain).

So there you have it.
Garry rocks.

With the completion of this painting project, we have now painted every room in the house except for the master bedroom and bathroom and the boys' bathroom.

Jun 24, 2009

I need a nap

Rarely does a day go by when I don't wish I could stretch out in a quiet room with my head under the covers. If I try really hard, I can almost feel the cool sheets on my toes, feel my head sinking into the down pillow, feel the weight of the comforter around me, feel my heavy lids closing over bloodshot eyes...

And then someone chucks a ball across the room and jolts me back to my nap-free existence.

I'm mostly used to my rough-and-tumble life with little boys. I try to embrace the chaos, to expect adventure. Occasionally I can even laugh when ridiculous things happen.

This is me trying to laugh.

So today the kids and I took our ambitious selves on a walk/run/ride to Wedgewood Park. Some playgroup friends were meeting there and I didn't have time to exercise AND shower beforehand, so this was my compromise. It was a two-mile jaunt (one way), but our travels were safe and successful. Two other moms and their kids showed up. Good times for all.

Thirty minutes in, Zachary took off his socks and shoes, climbed a retaining wall made of railroad ties, and then fell about ten feet to the ground. During his descent, his foot caught on a sliver of wood and sliced open the skin. I was glad that this dime-sized skin flap on the ball of his foot was his only injury after such a fall.

One of the moms busted out a first aid kit from her car, so Zach had antibiotic gel and a Band-Aid on his wound in no time. His foot was tender, but he could gimp along just fine, and I was pretty sure his injury wouldn't require stitches. The greater problem, however, was getting home. A two-mile bike ride wasn't an option for Zach. No one had room enough for all of us (and our bikes and stroller) in their cars. So I started making phone calls to see who could come rescue us.

Garry was the first to respond. He picked up my keys at the park and loaded bikes into his trunk. At home, he got Lexi's car seat out of the house and then drove the van to the park. (Note: the driver's door to the van was wide open when he arrived at home. We were both glad that jumping a dead battery was not a chapter in this particular tale.) Once back at the park, we loaded up the double jogger and four hot and sweaty kids into the van. Garry drove us home, then took his car back to work.

Then we had lunch, which can only be compared to feeding a den of starving, wild lions. Except maybe with more screaming involved.

While cleaning Zach's wound in the tub later on, I was glad not to be a nurse who has to do such things for a living. He kicked and screamed and cried and moaned. The poor kid -- I'm sure it hurt as I was trying to scrape all the grit off his skin. Only after I threatened him with a trip to the hospital did he comply.

And now that Gavin is sleeping for a while, I want to crawl in bed myself. Little Miss isn't buying it, and the boys who are supposed to be having some quiet time keep bursting out of their bedroom without shouted demands, threats, and tears. I'm such a mean Mom!

On days like this, when my stamina wanes, I remember that we have survived worse.

Like the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day that ended in throwing away three pairs of pants.

Like the series of unfortunate events that DID include a dead van battery.

Like the ridiculous experience at the DMV.

These are the days of our lives, people. And they are tiring!

This boy

My son, my youngest one, is running me ragged.

Yesterday, he colored all over himself and his clothes with a marker. (It was washable.)

Also yesterday, he spilled a box of cereal down the stairs and, with his brothers, crunched it all in to the carpet. (Where was I? In the shower, I think.)

Also yesterday, the vacuum wasn't working, so cereal bits traveled throughout the house in our shoes. (Not exactly Gavin's fault, but still.)

Also yesterday, he inverted a bowl of spaghetti on his booster tray and the floor and the table and himself. (He didn't eat one bite.)

Also yesterday, he dumped a glass of water on himself. (This was just before his nap. He went to bed in a diaper.)

Also yesterday, he slept for one hour in the afternoon. Only one hour. (A month ago he took two naps daily, for a total of four hours of sleep.)

Also yesterday, he woke up from his nap and launched a ninety-minute scream-fest. (Probably because he didn't sleep long enough.)

This boy, this adorably chubby, delightfully affectionate, perfectly wonderful little one and a half years old. And this, too, shall pass.

Jun 23, 2009

Making it work

Lexi is five weeks old, and I have to say --
I thought my pants would fit better by now.

I also thought we'd have some semblance of order around here,
instead of perpetual randomnicity.

I also thought my ride on the hormonal roller coaster would be over.

Looks like I'm 0 for 3.

Since it's clear that my expectations were a bit optimistic,
and since I have four pairs of too-small-capris that would be nice to wear,
and since exercise makes me happy,
and since the morning weather is lovely,
and since my sister is an inspiration,
and since I have a double jogging stroller,
and since I don't really have anything better to do,

yesterday I inaugurated an exercise routine.

It is a group effort
(read the details here).

I've decided I have to throw out my notion that good exercise must be
a solitary effort or completed in the company of adult friends.
Or happen at a continuous fast pace.
Or be measured in miles or minutes.

While I have some fabulous memories associated with those elements of exercise,
and while I dearly miss the social aspects of walking or running with friends
(oh, how I long for you, Beaverton friends!),
my life can't handle any of that stuff right now.

But who's to say that the kids and I won't make some fun memories
-- and get great exercise --
while traversing the path together?

This morning, for instance, I laughed out loud at our little procession.
(We certainly garnered a few curious stares from passersby.)
Tyler, with his cracked helmet, scooter-sans-brake,
and socks pulled up practically to his knees,
weaved on and off the walking path like a drunken beetle.
Zachary bent over his rattletrap scooter,
intent onbreaking the land speed record.
Gavin pointed out dogs and cars and adjusted the sunshade every two minutes.
Lexi, bless her pink heart, slept.
And I attempted to jog, which, by itself, was a sight to see.

So once again, I'm feeling motivated.
Once again, I'm publicly declaring that I'm on the warpath against my waistline.
Once again, far more than fashion is at stake
-- my mental health is quite possibly on the line --
and exercise is very good therapy for me.

Last night I read a most excellent BYU devotional called
"Selective Attitudes and the Happy Life."
Check it out. It's worth a read.

It helped me realize that I need to make the most of what I've got.
I can choose to be happy in spite of {blank}.
And I can exercise with my children.

The end.

Jun 22, 2009

The intermediate photos

Today is Painting Day Two.

Garry got up early and finished rolling the second coat of the main color. Here's a sneak peek.

Up next (possibly tonight, if I can get my act together and prep the area): painting below the chair rail. Instead of flat and pale, it will become a richer, darker, olive green.

This is my job today. Party!

Jun 20, 2009

And so it begins

Today, Garry's best friends will be ice water and an i-Pod. They keep him going during a big project, after all.

This is the big project.

And this.

And this.

Happy painting, honey! Love you!

[Stay tuned for more pictures...]
Add Image

Having fun in spite of themselves

Yesterday the kids and I drove to the Air Force Academy to scope out the B-52 Campground, which is the venue for the ward camp-out in July. (Yep, I'm in charge. Heaven help me!) Although the site has been reserved since February, I had never laid eyes on it, and I didn't want the day of the event to be the first time. Plus I needed to add driving directions to a flier. So I packed up the kids and off we went.

Zachary and Tyler had other plans for their day and were oh-so-grumpy about this little excursion. They could not believe how mean I was for ruining a perfectly good summer morning. Bah, humbug!

Amazingly, when we arrived, the boys changed their tune. They thought driving on dirt roads was pretty cool. And so were the wildflowers and tall trees. They wanted to run and climb and use the port-a-potties. [Ick.]

But the best part of the outing was stopping to see the B-52 airplane for which the campground is named.

After a teeny tiny history lesson about this incredible aircraft (see below)...

... the boys got in the requisite running and climbing.

Lexi was there, too.

And so was this truck, which, for some reason, stole the show.

We know how to have a good time.

Jun 18, 2009

Conversation with a baby

"But Mo-om...I can't wear PINK every day!"


"Oh yes you can, my dear. Yes you can."

P.S. Baby Legs are so much fun!

Things I am learning

The pace of life has slowed considerably for me, although I'm still awfully tired at the end of each day. Perhaps that's because the pace of life for my children hasn't changed at all. In fact, I think they've revved up.

My sleep-deprived eyes are still trying to see the good, and to glean lessons from our everyday adventures. To that end, here are some things I am learning.

I am learning not to cry over spilled milk and other meal-related mishaps.

I am learning that having a scattered brain means we are often late.

I am learning that despite my best efforts, lots of crying happens -- for all of us.

I am learning that brotherly tenderness makes my heart melt.

I am learning that mopping the floor is a gift to myself.

I am learning that it's going to be a long time before the scale is my friend again.

I am learning that blooming flowers make me happy (oh, wait -- I already knew that).

I am learning that starting something hard is often easier than just thinking about it.

I am learning that girls aren't the only ones who like to dress up.

I am learning that dressing up my girl isn't likely to get old any time soon.

I am learning that my primary connection to rational adults is electronic, and that I couldn't survive without it.

I am learning that relaxing my rules sometimes keeps the peace.

I am learning...still learning...and hopefully getting a little smarter.

Jun 16, 2009

One month already!

Miss Alexis is one month old. Can you believe it?
I'm struggling a bit....the last few weeks are sort of blurry in my mind.
But here were are at the one-month milestone.

At her check-up this morning, she weighed in at 8 pounds, 6 oz. and measured 21 1/4" long. There has been some concern that she wasn't gaining quickly enough, but today's measurements seem to indicate that she'll be a 50th percentile girl instead of the 95th percentile boys we are used to!

Following the tradition we established with Gavin, we commenced taking monthly growth photos today. Lexi is a petite little bird compared to her brother, but she sure is a cutie! I was thrilled to capture this half-smile....

...but truth be told, most of the photo session turned out like this.

There were moments like this, too...

...and a few like this, where Lexi was simply tolerating her mother's obsession.

She was a little more cooperative on Sunday.
Thanks to all of the generous benefactors who contributed to her church ensemble. You know who you are!

Jun 15, 2009

Day One

I'm flying solo with my four today. I think I might puke.

This isn't because I'm nervous...I just think that Tyler passed on his stomach flu from the weekend. Do I have a fever? I can't tell.

Garry let me sleep in a little after Lexi woke up, since my milk supply wasn't needed just then. I floated in and out of consciousness while Garry managed breakfast. Gavin had several bouts of hysteria over random things. I'm not the only one who is off today.

When I finally got up, I went downstairs to check on Zachary and Tyler. Zach had made a sign that said, "TOYS FOR SALE --->" Next to the sign was a big pile of toys that the boys no longer want. They were planning to earn a wad of cash to buy something new and fabulous. I'm not sure what to think about that.

Then I overheard this conversation:
Z: Ewww....don't pick your nose and eat it!
T: I didn't! I picked my nose and wiped it.

The carpet cleaner guy is coming in 45 minutes. Have I showered? Nope. Is my bed made? Nope. But as I am nursing the babe and typing this one-handed, I am smiling to myself. I have a feeling this will be a day to remember!

Jun 14, 2009

Second game of the season

Tuesday and Thursday baseball games this month involve two Bartle boys: Zachary and Garry. We hadn't planned on Garry coaching this season (I need help on the sidelines!), but no one else volunteered. So with a tiny bit of training and a bag of Parks & Rec equipment, Dad has once again become Coach Garry.

First- and second-graders are somewhat more coordinated and capable than the kids on Tyler's team. Players get four chances to hit a pitched ball before using a tee. Zach hit pitches during both of his at-bats. Once he smacked the ball right into Garry's knee!

No matter what the stage, baseball involves lots of this -- sitting around. Gavin, for one, didn't appreciate it.

The players really enjoyed their first game together and look forward to many more!

Way to go, Coach!

Jun 13, 2009

It's always fun when Grandma comes

Garry's mom, known as Grandma (or "Gaga") to our kids, spent the week at our house after our other family members went home. She was delightful company and led the boys on many adventures.

One such adventure was the Western Museum of Mining and Industry. We all learned about mining and machinery and rocks and minerals. The boys completed treasure hunts for objects and information around the museum, panned for gold, and dressed up in mining gear. Gavin participated where he could, and Lexi was quite literally along for the ride (all cozy in her wrap). My favorite part was exploring the grounds around the museum, where we saw giant machines and mills and played in the tall grass and trees. The boys toured an under-construction haunted house and met some donkeys, too. I plotted to have our next family pictures taken by a rustic barn. {Click pictures to enlarge.}

On another day, Becky took Zachary and Tyler swimming at the local rec center. What fun they had! Zach told me about surfing in the wave pool and going down the slide. Tyler just told me about going down the slide once, getting in trouble for being too short, and not going down the slide again. I'm sure other fun was had.

Certain things weren't pictured, like attending t-ball games, going out to dinner (while Garry and I enjoyed an anniversary date), a very lengthy visit to the library, long bedtime stories, pancake and waffle breakfasts (which I rarely provide), and special treats. Grandma really outdid herself in providing entertainment for her grandsons!

On her last day in Colorado, Garry, Gavin, and Zachary took Grandma to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I stayed home with Lexi and Tyler because Tyler was puking. With Garry as photographer, there are more pictures of Grandma in action! I was especially amused by the crazy poses, and the token skunk photo in my honor. (I'm sure you've all heard my ridiculous skunk story...)

After their fun museum visit, the boys dropped Grandma at the airport. It was sad to see her go! We all look forward to Grandma's return this fall when Zachary is baptized.

pass it on!

Bookmark and Share