Friday, April 22, 2011

The new and improved basement

I love my handy husband. He has recently transformed our large, junk filled basement into a glorious playroom/workout room with oodles of storage. Here are some early project pictures. He converted the front part of the basement into two rooms on either side of the stairs. To the left would become the boys new play area. As you can see, Paul was anxious to have some space away from his brother and we allowed him to play with Legos and other small toys in the back corner. Please excuse the pile of food - the pantry was in progress when I snapped this photo. To the right of the stairs would be a workout space and would close off CJ's wood shop in the back corner. Under the stairs he planned to incorporate storage - yipee! At the bottom of the stairs he built a giant pantry. Behind the playroom he put in a cedar closet and extra shelves for storing the kids' clothes. (I didn't include an after picture because I am still working on the organization as we switch over to summer wear.) On the other side of the cedar is the cat box - no more stinky smell in the basement!! Here are some shots of the final product. Paul now spends hours down there building elaborate battle scenes and John enjoys the extra space to use his ride on toys while we wait for the weather to improve.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Our days in court

Paul: At 18 months old he became an official member of our family and entertained the courtroom with his, as daddy calls them, parlor tricks. We taught him to say "YES!" while pulling his arm down (you know the move I am talking about) when asked if he wanted to join our family forever. He did it right on cue. Everyone laughed. He high-fived the bailiff. It was classic Paul.John: At 22 months old he behaved much differently in court. He nervously chewed his cheek while waiting. He was completely mute in front of the judge, despite being taught "AWESOME" and practicing many times. When she tried to high-five him, he buried his face in my shirt. John is an incredibly friendly little boy once he trusts someone, but until then he is very wary. Not Paul. He is not afraid of anything. I'll never forget the time he offered some of his granola bites to a random man sitting on a park bench. It amazes me every day how different my boys are. And how perfectly they fit into our family.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cake: Version 5.0

For anyone who has been waiting on pins and needles to see pictures of this year's cake, I sincerely apologize. Here is the story, with slightly less drama than last year. After being told by my husband that I care more about impressing friends and family than making my son happy, I tried to reel it in a bit. Fortunately this year we did not hit 85 degrees the day of the party and I was able to comfortably bake the cakes required to make dueling light sabers. And because I actually listened to my mother's advice this year and used waxed paper at the bottom of the pan, the cakes came out beautifully. They were so pretty that I had to take a picture. Sadly the icing was not as pretty. I didn't measure as exactly as I should have (okay, I didn't measure AT ALL) and just went by feel. A strategy that works well when cooking - not so much when baking. The icing was lumpy and runny and did not look as fabulous as last year's batch. I kept having to scrape it off the tray and reapply. And then there was the licorice. Our local grocery store ran out of the skinny black licorice that I used in last year's drum set, and I had to settle for giant Twizlers. The problem with the bigger licorice is that it does not conform as nicely and kept popping out of the sides of the cake. CJ tried to fix the problem by shoving them into the sides but just ended up creating giant holes. Overall though, I think this year's cake was a success. Judge for yourself. The boy was pleased. In the end, that is what truly matters; although I do enjoy the accolades.