Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Oh yes.  I said it.  Snow.

After the fight to get the kids to school with heads covered and hands protected, it started coming down mid-morning.  I'm a summer, beach, sunshine, bring-on-the-hot kind of girl.  Perfect for Canada.  So my gut reaction was...umm...less than excited.

Of course, until I remembered, it's George's first snowfall.

Here's how it went:

What is...


(Not my favorite)

He loved it.  So I got over it.  And then it all melted.  :)

Here are some other shots of George today...because I can't resist.

ma ma ma ma ma ma



Love me some George.  And a good sale on a beach getaway in February...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Signs the Renovation is Over

For years, I've been wanting to replace our storm doors.  We have one on our front door and one on our back door.  They came with the house when we bought it - both old, loud and impossible to clean.  They had seen better days.  But since we planned to undergo a major dirty, dusty renovation with lots of big guys wearing big boots coming and going through our doors, we decided to wait until the project was done.

When I came home from our Thanksgiving trip, I saw this.


I don't have a before picture of the storm door closed.  So you can't get the full "yuck" effect.  But trust me.  It was yuck.

Instead, I have other before and after pictures you've seen in my previous post on the mudroom.  Here are some comparisons:

Before: From the inside

Yuck: bar in the middle of the glass, always visible screen, big bottom panel...

After: let there be light there's so much light streaming in, the flash on my camera wouldn't go off.  The slide away screen is magic and the lower panel is gone.

Before: from the outside

Yuck: hate that handle and oh, where's the closer?  It fell off at the peak of subcontractor traffic.  Nice.

After: I can use my foot?

Heavy duty handle (that has it's own lock) and a handsfree closer.

Can I be a little bit in love with a door?

Yes, that is unpainted trim at the top...which will probably stay that way until Spring when the temps go back up.  But that's ok.  I'm still in love.

Credit: This post wouldn't have happened without my amazing step-father-in-law's hard work and DIY skills.  Thank you soooo much.  Your case of beer is waiting for you in our front hall.

Home Sweet Home

Phew!  Two weeks on the road with three little boys sure makes for lots of work.  But it was all worth it.  Spending Thanksgiving with family is the best.  Here's a little snapshot of the weeks in review...

The highlight of the holiday was definitely Ithaca.  But before we left Naperville, there was one other little highlight.  Nothing like some free babysitting while the moms get away to play...

Thanks Mimi & Bubba Soldier Field!

Not real Bears fans
As hard as it was to fake cheering for my most hated NFL team, it was fun.  The freezing cold, the crazy drunks and the NFL atmosphere is hard to dislike when you're from the midwest.

Once we thawed out from the game and packed everything we own in our cars, we woke up at 5am the next morning and headed out on our 10 hour drive to Ithaca, NY.

Happy Henry
Sick Jake
But the trip got even longer when Jake announced he felt sick about 1/2 hour into the drive.  Poor guy had motion sickness and couldn't shake it.  Thank God for Ziplocs and a 5 1/2 year old that has good aim.

Fast forward through the fun and finally it was Thanksgiving!

My placecard from Jake
Henry, Dad, Jake & George
Stop taking pictures

Even George got into the meal...with cheerios on the side.

Do I like green beans?
I'll eat you, too

After we ate as much turkey, wine, mashed potatoes, yams, wine, cranberries, corn, beans, wine, stuffing, gravy and wine as we could, we heard a knock at the door.

What the?

My latest behavior tool.

Santa's Spy
Jake: "You better tell him I'm good."

Meet Jolly.  He's our man.

Wow, these kids are crazy
If he can't help me, no one can.

Please help me.

A few last pictures before we left....

Silly Henry
Silly Uncle Joe
Cutest nephew ever
This year's Thanksgiving was so much fun, only 360 sleeps until next year's.  Can't wait.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fireplace Perfection

Since we're on the road, in the middle of a two-week Thanksgiving tour of the family, I haven't been home working on or dreaming of any new projects.  But I did find something to love at my brother's house...his brand new fireplace.


I love it.  It's gorgeous.  And warm.  And remote controlled. 

When we decided to remove our mantle (and fake wrought iron panel insert) last summer, I was happy to see it go.  Since it wasn't part of the original construction, it didn't go with the rest of the house.  And because it didn't work, it lacked function.

But now I miss the focal point.  And the pictures, candles and Christmas decorations that went with it. 

Steve likes the new fireplace, too.  Enough to think about putting a fireplace and mantle back in the living room.  Well, enough to say "maybe" when I asked if we might put one back in.  That's enough for me!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On the Road

The dual citizens hopped a ride south of the border a week early to celebrate an extended Thanksgiving holiday.

I love roadtrips!

Wait, all smiles at 6am?  We must be heading to....Uncle Joe's house!

My brother and his wife are the bestest hosts ever.  Not to mention, their son is the cutest.  Ever.  He even goes along with our crazy photo op ideas.

3x Gardner + Wysocki = Super Fun

What else would you use a laundry basket for?

With any luck, I'll post a shot of a gorgeous new fireplace soon.  Not mine.  But one I'll be drooling over, I'm sure!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kid fix

Thanksgiving is coming up.  I'm so bad at sending pictures of my kids to my family, I'm posting these shots so they know who we are when we show up at their door.

mini-me, jokester and get-me-outta-here

I have a picture of Jake and Henry with this same pose.  Can't let George down.

Remember us?  Let's party!!

Mudroom Makeover

That's what's been on my mind lately.  I got totally inspired by this picture:

I joined pinterest after hearing so much about it.  It's a collection of people (members of the website) who create boards (like bulletin boards) that hold pictures from the internet (like push pins).  That explanation is for you, mom.  So, if you're looking for inspiration, go here.  There's nothing but. 

After looking around, I found my dear friend Sue.  Art director extraordinaire.  She "pinned" that picture (from  I fell in love, so i "re-pinned" it onto one of my boards.  Now I can't get it out of my head. 

Why you ask?  Here's my mudroom:

Help me
I know, it's sad.  But I swear it has personality...on the outside.   

Do I look orange?
So I just need to invite it inside.

I'm actually red
I'm a little bit scared, cause I'm the furthest thing from a DIY'er.  But with a little bit of paint and a showstopping rug, I think I can do it.  Well, I can at least try.

But first, I'll have to address this...

Family of five between seasons = mess
Patch jobs left from installing overhead light
I think I can...I think I can...I think I can....!!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Rug Love.

During the late stages of finishing our basement, Steve's friend & co-worker stopped by to have a look around.  He's an amazing interior designer trapped in a sound engineer's body.  His ideas were fantastic and since putting them into place, I truly believe he has a second calling.

So when he recommended the Jute Boucle Rug at West Elm in Platinum, I didn't hesitate a bit.  Except, West Elm did.  When I called to purchase it, they told me the 8x10 was on backorder.  And not expected to arrive until end of November.  :(

Imagine my excitement when I got a call late last week saying it arrived and was waiting for me...

We moved the 5x7 (same rug, same color) from its temporary home in the living area over to the play area.

George has rug love
At first I thought maybe the same rug twice would be overkill?  Too much?  Too same-y same-y?  But I learned not to question the wise designer.

View from bar
It looks amazing.  They connect the space perfectly while designating two separate areas.  And the Platinum color couldn't possibly compliment the grout better. 

View from the living area
So, yes.  Rug love. 

But those stairs look pretty good, too, don't they?  Well worth the 72 hour wait.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Stairs. Done. Almost.

Only 1% of the basement renovation is left.  And the stairs make up about 99% of that 1%.  So how excited was I to see the paper come up, the sanding begin and the stain being applied this week?  When the last coat of stain went on yesterday morning followed by the first layer of clear coat in the evening, I breathed a relaxed sigh.


Until I touched the top step before I went to bed 7 hours later.  Tacky.  Sticky.  Gummy.  Not good descriptors for stairs.  Still not good the next morning, either. 

The dehumidifier we parked at the top of the steps has been running all day.  With any luck, it will suck those descriptors right up.  I wonder if it could suck the water out of the wet load of laundry stuck in the washer?

Update: Stairs finally dried (mostly) by Sunday night.  That's 72 hours later...  I removed all the plastic covers from the TV, console and furniture...and moved all the small furniture pieces back down.  Nope, no footprints on the steps.  And no mold on the wet clothes in the washer.  Phew!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Too Much Candy

I didn't think this would happen.

Candy management was getting out of control.  So I asked the "Treat Fairy" to visit our house last night.  She's the one who picks up the mountains of Halloween candy and "gives it to kids who didn't get any."  Not wanting to deny my children their own candy-gorging memories, I let them go buckwild yesterday before she got here.

Cut to today:

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween Fun x3

Halloween swept through the house yesterday.  It was George's first.

the penguin

It lasted all day.  From the kindergarten parade in the morning to trick-or-treating at night.  Plus the required photo shoot in between.

ironman, penguin & spiderman
someone's over it.

I wore my annual black cat costume.  Steve wore his annual Steve.  But do you think we took a picture with the kids?