Tags: the love shack

June 2011 kids

Kitchen update

Remember a month ago when we had a minor house flood? We're STILL not all back to normal yet. Turns out house floods are the equivalent to house fires in terms of damage and personal items lost and clean up. True story.

The process could be going slightly faster, however, if I didn't feel paralyzed about making decisions. I SUCK at stuff like this because of my gigantic (and slightly out of control fear) that I might make the "wrong" choice. (Mama doesn't like to be wrong.) Be it flooring, paint samples, or even knobs on the cabinets. I struggle. Laid-back and easy is not my way. Oh no. I have to fret and paint sample colors on the wall and trust random strangers on the Internets for advice.

Thoughts on a cabinet color? I think the bottom color is too white. The middle matches the door and the top is whiter. I suck at these decisions.

We went with the top choice when we finally got down to painting the kitchen cabinets, by the way. I know it looks white in the picture but it's really not. The color is called Artist Canvas and it's a Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint. If it chips up and looks like shit, well too bad. It has taken us WEEKS to pull down all the cabinets, sand, de-gloss, prime, and paint three coats on everything.

Coat #1 is done. I am ready to have my kitchen back again. Top half is almost done. Disregard the bottom. Open cabinets are in style, right?

As for a kitchen wall color, we ended up painting everything the same color as the living room. I've never been very happy with the blue but too scared to make any change. I had a hard enough time deciding on a color in the first place. (If you recall, it took forever for us to even paint the living room. Here's a refresher of the living room color.) It's another Behr Premium Plus Ultra called Macchiato.

Walls painted, floor is in and ready to be installed. #vscocam

I know that is a terrible picture but it gives you an idea of how everything is coming along. If you're shocked by the state of my floors, well then WELCOME TO MY LIFE. We've been living on sub-floors for a month now. After a long and healthy debate and many (many!) trips around town, we ended up ordering this maple flooring in the maple syrup finish. Thank goodness my Dad was able to order it at the wholesale price. Dads are the best, eh? 

Here is what we have left to do: finish painting the cabinets, install the hardwood floor, install the tile in the bathroom/laundry room, replace/re-hang all the trim, fix the holes in the wall, apply felt protectors to the furniture, and order an area rug. I promise to take real pictures with my camera once the whole thing is said and done. It's going to be beautiful when it's finally finished. 

The bad news is that, unfortunately, none of this will be finished until the New Year has started. The good news, however, is that I only have one decision left to make. (Picking an area rug.) After that, if you ask me to make ANY housing decisions, the answer will be NO WAY. 

I'm done with house projects for 2012. 

June 2011 kids

Do a happy dance

18 (almost 19) months later and guess who is finally deciding to grow some hair? Oh the irony of the whole situation. Both my boys had hair. Not a ton of hair but definitely more than this little lady.

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Ok fine! It certainly looks more like a mullet than anything but still HAIR. We've got some! Or maybe we just call this a glorious rat tail? Whatever. Everything (well, almost everything) about her makes me happy. (Sleeping through the night would be AWESOME.)

I'm happy even though I fail at blogging. My kitchen is (literally) in pieces. My cabinets are half painted. We have no flooring (and nothing ordered yet). I haven't purchased a single Christmas present or ordered any Christmas cards. The weather has been awesome and we put up a Christmas tree despite the giant mess surrounding us. We've got insurance money on the way. I have a picture of how I want it all to look.

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Everything is going my way. 

Follow me on Instagram (@thepools) if you care to see more. I've got lots going on over there. 

June 2011 kids

No big deal, yo

Whoa! Nothing like a little blogging break, eh? I realize nobody cares but me but MAN...I miss this place when I am away. I feel like I have no time. No time to blog. No time to call my friends (KRUSTY HEAD- I'M TALKING TO YOU.) No time to do the things I enjoy.

So, Thanksgiving? It was good. I took zero pictures. I watched movies (not one but two!) with Matt while we lounged around Grandma's house. We went to Grandma's house for the holiday because, sadly, our house is totally out of commission.

It's just that we had a minor flood last week. No big deal.
1.Do you see the white lines in the picture? Yesterday it RAINED in my basement because of a broken pipe. I came home to standing water in the bathroom, kitchen, and to rain in the basement. Today the clean up and throw out continues. I am thankful for the  2 Goodbye oak!! My husband is bad ass.
3.upload 4.Welcome home! Project "oh shit" resumes. Goals for today: get rid of the fifteen dryers, pick a paint color for the cabinets, and (hopefully) pull up the carpet.

1. White lines = water pouring into the basement. POURING WATER INSIDE MY HOUSE. I read once that in an emergency, people don't respond because their brain is trying to make sense of what is happening. I totally stood still and watched the water stream down the walls before I was able to move.

2. Up goes the fake wood floor. Underneath we found more puddles.

3. We also found "organic growth" on the floor. When is organically grown not good? When it's referring to mold IN DA HOUSE.

4. 15 air dryers, 3 dehumidifiers, and 72 hours did the trick of (mostly) drying everything out.

So, now my house is currently a giant mess of dust, broken tile, holes, carpet remnants and, most regrettably, not a single Christmas decoration is in sight. THANK GOD for insurance and good insurance at that. We've got big plans for our little space- including solid maple flooring and finally tackling (aka painting) the kitchen cabinets.

Goal goodbye oak is in full force. I suppose I can thank Matt for accidentally forgeting to turn the valve off on the diaper sprayer.  It's like I am getting a brand new house out of the deal. And the next time I find a lake of water in my kitchen and see water pouring through a ceiling, I will have an appropriate response. HINT- DON'T STAND AND WATCH. DO SOMETHING.

If I disappear for two weeks again, assume it's because I am buried in paintbrushes, sand paper, dirty (un)helpful children, nail guns, and maybe a few Christmas decorations if I am lucky. Of course we're doing all the repairs ourselves. We made the mess, so we're cleaning it up too. I sure hope I don't disappear because I really do love this place. I love blogging our adventures and misadventures too.

Almost as much as I love my organically grown home.   

June 2011 kids

Like mother, like daughter

We (when I say "we" I really mean "he") (and when I say "he" I obviously mean "Matt") has been working a ton lately out in the yard. Yard work = hard work. The grass is growing, the trees need pruning, and we've started to landscape more around the house. Matt does most of the cutting and I do most of the planting.

While I aspire to have a green thumb, I have so much to learn. What I lack in knowledge, I make up with enthusiasm. I tend to shower my flowers with love and when I say "love" I really mean "water." I'm sorry in advance for all the plants that will lose their life under my care. Better flowers than my kids, right? 


Our 2nd spring in this house has been exceptional. We have grass that is actually growing and looking pretty darn good. (Reference: look how far the grass has grown!)  It still has a long way to go but is so much better. It's hard for me to even believe that is already spring again. Did we have a winter? UM, NOPE pretty sure winter missed us this year.

Hallelujah and amen.


On that same note, we also missed the 100+ tornadoes that landed in Kansas this past weekend. It's part of the deal of living in the midwest, I suppose. I am just thankful for our basement. My children, however, are full of panic attacks and tears of fear any time the wind blows or the sky darkens.


Except this girl. She's not afraid of anything and has been enjoying all the quality time spent outside. I have lost count on the number of sticks, dirt, mulch, and rocks that I have pulled from her mouth.

I guess we could say that she aspires to be very earthy and organic.

Just like her Mama.
June 2011 kids

Spring fling

Happy first day of Spring! Northeastern Kansas had the strangest winter of all- it only snowed ONE time- and now we are enjoying unseasonably warm weather. We've had plenty of 70 and 80 degree weather already. Today it is raining ever so softly and Simon is home on Spring Break. Go away rain, so that he may go outside.

Let it be noted that I am not complaining. I promise not to complain when it is approximately 120 degrees in July either.

SPRING: I love you and the green that you bring. Please come in quietly and leave the tornados behind.

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What? Of course I decorated for Spring. Did you expect anything less? (Previous mantels this year: Christmas and Fall).
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I have had these Pottery Barn crocks for years. Matt finally drilled a hole in the bottom for me. Eggs from Hobby Lobby. Smelly green candle from Bath and Body. Pretty (real!) plant from Walmart. I am like the old lady with cats except for plants (and kids). I've got plants (and kids) everywhere.

And bunnies. The world needs more bunnies.

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Bunnies from? I don't remember. Fake green leaves from Pottery Barn.

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Cora Jane loves to stick her hand in this crock and pull out the dirt (kinda like this). I could move the plants out of her reach but what fun is that? I wouldn't have any dirt to sweep up ten times a day if I did.

Not that I am complaining or anything. :)

The Lettered Cottage
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June 2011 kids

Breaking the law

Well, this is awkward. How else do I start an entry about my neighbors without just straight up starting with the truth? I don't tend to hold much back here and I am very willing to embarrass myself but right now I am feeling ashamed. Very, very ashamed because it happened again. I am feeling a little bit angry too.

Our neighbors called the cops on us. AGAIN.

If you recall last spring, a certain neighbor (who shall remain nameless) *cough cough* was unhappy with our wonderful cul-da-sac chilling, wine drinking, children watching set-up. Details, details. If you need a refresher, you can check out the freaking fiasco here. The short story is that he lost. We sat and enjoyed our little bit whiskey tango yard all summer long.

Now another Nameless Neighbor is concerned about our cat. You remember, Tulip? Sweet, innocent tiny Tulip who isn't afraid to climb a tree, shit in the garden, and occasionally fetch a field mouse before retiring to her bowl on the coffee table?
Little shit

Said Nameless and Concerned neighbor called animal control and reported that we had an animal running at large. Concerned my ass. Concerned about his beautiful mulch garden, maybe but not at all concerned about our cat.

The whole thing is just unbelievable. Welcome to the land where here we have nothing better to do then call the cops about cats in gardens and furniture in the front lawn! There are real problems in the world. Children are starving in Africa! Women are being sold into slavery! Innocent cats are being held hostage in their homes!

The saddest part is that Nameless and Concerned Neighbor has never bothered to HAVE A FREAKIN' CONVERSATION about the whole thing. I'm sorry my cat is shitting in your garden. Would you like me to poop scoop that for you? CAUSE I WILL. I GLADLY WILL TAKE CARE OF THAT. But the truth is I am honestly no better. Since the call, we haven't walked across the circle to discuss the situation. Instead I tell the Internet my feelings in hopes of validation. 
As it is, Tulip is currently being held captive in the house until darkness descends upon the 'hood. She can't be caught again outside, lest we want to break her out of kitty juvie. When we see the neighbors, we smile and wave and pretend like everything is perfect. Kill 'em with kindness is still the law. While I am tempted to put a bag of flaming poo on their porch, I will refrain.

This is suburbia, after all. Some of us have appearances to keep up.

June 2011 kids

Christmas Home Tour 2011

Since it is the season to be jolly, after all, then let's not talk about Christmas cards or the lack thereof. It's Christmas, right? Forget fights with your husband! Let's talk decorating instead! It's much more fun!

Welcome to my humble abode. It looks pretty much the same as last year. Just know that I'm really creative like that. I guess technically I got the Jesus Subway poster and we finally decided on a paint color. But the mediocre pictures are the same! The rules are also still the same, please take off your shoes before coming inside.  


Christmas home tour

Wait! I did get one new decoration this year. It all started in 2002 when my Mom started buying Swarovski crystal snowflakes. I never really had a place to showcase them until now.  Enter this pretty tree from Crate and Barrel:

Christmas home tour


Christmas home tour

Here is a close-up of my mantel. The only difference this year is that I put one of the Restoration Hardware stockings away. I guess I have to have another baby now. Can't wait to design that Christmas card.



Christmas home tour

Lastly, the most popular Nativity scene known to man. Jesus is the reason for the season, amen? Unless you believe Christmas is the time of year when we celebrate the baby of two fathers born by a surrogate Mother. I mean, not that my very liberal viewpoints would ever allow for something like that. We love Jesus around here (and other viewpoints too) and it just wouldn't be Christmas without a little Jesus loving going on.

Christmas home tour

Just like it wouldn't be Christmas without a little arguing among family members. Right, Matt?

A few last details:
1.) If you are coming over from The Nester or Kelly's Korner..Welcome! Wasn't this a lot of fun? Stay awhile! Won't you please join me?

2.) Or if you like lots of baby talk, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, and attachment parenting banter then come hang out too. I'll be talking about it for the next nine million months, give or take.

3.) Also, the Livejournal commenting system sometimes sucks balls. If you can't get Open ID to work correctly, please leave your Blog URL as the subject line OR some place in your message. I promise to come visit you too! ♥

June 2011 kids

Raise your hand if you like fall fun

A few weeks ago (okay, fine on September 1st) I pulled out my tubs of fall decorations. (Yes, I have more than one tub.) It makes the transition from summer to fall easier. If I can't sit at the swimming pool all day, then I can at least stare at fake pumpkins and flying crows. It makes me feel better.

You know what else makes me feel better? Playing games. Let's play I Spy. Do you remember playing it as a child?  I spy something white and creepy and partially hidden.

No, it's not Cora's pudgy legs in the swing. Those are cute, not creepy. GUESS AGAIN.


No, it's not the white pumpkin on top of the TV. It is creepy how it looks like the pumpkin has a white mustache but that isn't it. Forgive me for not paying better attention to detail. I should have moved that out of the way. Also forgive me for using a flash. Sometimes I don't always consult rule #62 of NEVER USE A FLASH when taking pictures. 

Anyways. Do you give up? Want a closer look at the thing that is white, creepy, and partially hidden?

Fall mantel


No wonder Simon is obsessed with zombies. Actually, I blame you Aunt Liza.  I believe you were the one who first shared with him about zombies. I just follow-up the fun by putting a pretend fake hand on my fireplace mantel. If it freaks you out, think of the hand as waving goodbye to summer. Goodbye summer, we'll miss you. See you real soon.

Okay, let's play again. Here's another view of my living room. I spy something new on the wall. 

If you guessed paint, WRONG. We did finally pick a color when Matt was home for 8 weeks this summer. It's Behr Premium Plus Ultra Macchiato. AKA: brown. Alright, guess again. What else is new on my wall?

Living room

Raise your hand (har, har), if you guessed The Rules artwork. You are the winner! Let's be honest for a second, I struggle with hanging things. I can (obviously) arrange fireplace mantels but never know what to hang up on the actual wall. (I don't believe pictures of my beautiful children count as art.) So when I saw this cheap print floating around on the Internets, I decided that I would try it out.

Here's a close-up:

Family rules

It says: "Love Jesus. Encourage your siblings...share in their joy. Always tell the truth. Obey your parents. Use kind words. Have fun. Sing silly. Dance crazy. Ask first. Be a giver. Share everything...except bad ideas. Say what you're sorry for. Forgiveness is mandatory. Hands are for hugging not hitting. No fussing, no whining, no bad attitudes. Never stay angry. Be considerate. Be respectful. Be grateful."

We've been using The Rules a lot lately in our family. It's so handy (I'm sorry. I can't stop) to have them posted up for all to see and as reference. I'm sorry? You weren't kind to Bennett? GO READ THE RULES, SIMON.  What's that? Did you ask before you ate the last brownie, Bennett? ASK FIRST, remember?   

On one hand, (no more, I swear) I totally think Jesus would be into zombies. If He isn't into zombies, then at least I know that I'll be forgiven. Seriously who else rose from the dead?


June 2011 kids

I can craft!

Follow up to my lame post earlier this week, remember how I said that one project ALWAYS leads to another? Well, it's totally true. 

See it all started when I had a baby. You all knew I had the WORLD'S CUTEST BABY, right?
September 026
Unfortunately and against my wishes, this baby does nothing but grow. In fact, CJ is growing so much and so fast that I felt an unexplainable NEED to start a project that fully embraced Cora's presence in our family. Completely ignoring the fact that the baby crap is over taking my living room and the washing machine is constantly going with her diapers and the carseat is always haphazardly thrown in the garage. Cora is a part of our family and deserves her own space at the table.

And when I say table, I really mean counter.

So, OF COURSE it makes sense that Cora needed her own stool at the counter. I mean, DUH.  Doesn't every baby need a stool to rest her weary feet upon? For the record, I am NO crafty blogger. If you are thinking this is going to be a tutorial on stool making, you are wrong. I don't do 'tutes. (I don't toot either. For real, ask Matt.) But I do take convientently cropped pictures that HIDE my dirty counters and excellently show case my cheap Wal-mart stools.

I could have purchased an already black stool but, really, what fun is that? I am cheap and I am proud.  Before I go any further, if you want a refresher on my kitchen, here are some more pictures.
Stamped stools- before
A little bit of black paint, a Hobby Lobby foam stamp, a little bit of white paint, a WHOLE LOT OF PATIENCE, and BAM! A new, improved, not completely perfect stool that has Cora's name (or initial) all over it:
Stamped stools
When I look at this picture, all I can think about is Words with Friends. How many words can you make with the letters S, C, and B? None because you (obviously) need some vowels. Clearly I need to have another baby who must have a first initial vowel. Allison, anyone? Or how about Eugene? Ursula? Oscar? Cause then I could spell SUB or CUBS or BOAS or COBS or... SCAB.

Um, so now that I've spent too much time thinking about Words with Friends, it's time to move on. Since I had the black paint out, I touched up each kitchen chair and the other stools too.

Kitchen update
Now I just need to find another black frame and add Cora's picture to the wall. It's only fair, right?

Like I said, one project ALWAYS leads to another.  

June 2011 kids

With enthusiasm

I am here to interrupt my regular scheduling blogging of babies, boobs, and boys to bring you breaking news at PPo5, Inc.. (That's Pool, Party of Five Incorporated for the slower ones in the group.) Remember how my boobs were on the local news a few weeks ago? Right now PPo5, Inc is being featured on the Better Homes and Gardens website for my decorating skills.

BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS. Sweet little, 'ole me with my 300 daily hits.


Here is a screen shot:  

 Here is the live link: PARTY OF FIVE IS FAMOUS.
Call me crazy but is that not excellent?

I mean, seriously.

Months and months ago, I received an email from Better Homes and Gardens asking for my permission to use one of my pictures. I was asked to also enter a short description for them to use. I will note that this was all prior to the name change, which is just a minor detail if you ask me. Naturally, you are going to assume that BGH reads my blog, but please don't. I was only asked because I entered a link-up party at The Nester of my living room.



Honored, I tell you. Regardless of how they found me or why. I am HONORED to be included in their lineup of fall mantels. I also have an INCREDIBLE URGE TO BREAK OUT MY FALL DECORATIONS. AND PIE PLATES. AND FAUX PUMPKINS. AND WEAR SWEATERS. AND DRIVE WITH THE WINDOWS DOWN.

(Wait. I already am doing that. Thanks, mini-van a/c for crapping out on me. Too bad I didn't get paid to share my picture, cause I totally could use some money right now to fix the van.)

Anyways, feel free to go 'like' the page. Or please go like the page. It's your choice, of course.

And that's all I have to say about that currently.  It wasn't much, I know. 

It's just that now I have to go eat some HUMBLE PIE.