Friday, January 28, 2011

The artist

As you all know, I do not have an artistic bone in my whole body-well, maybe one little one that helps me pick fabrics that will look really good together-but other than that-not a one.

Gil, on the other hand, is really very artistic.  He still has an art portfolio from a high school class and the stuff is really good.  Around here, the boys benefit from this skill.  He will draw pictures for them to color and just to be silly-he is good.

I wanted to share a few things he has done for them beyond pencil and paper.

Around Ben's second birthday, Gil decided he wanted to paint a picture on Ben's wall.  He chose a scene from the book Click, Clack, Moo.  I was skeptical at first, even though I knew he would do a good job-there is just something scary about drawing and painting on the walls.  I offered to find him a projector to use, but he wanted to free hand. 

Here is the wall above Ben's bed.  This was taken a few years ago, before Batman decals covered the walls, and when he still had his twin bed, that you will see in a few pictures in Nate's room.

Next up, a little bookshelf in Ben's room.  It was an ugly little thing that used to live in my classroom.  We have a lot of books around here and I don't have a great place to put them.  I feel like putting them in a bookshelf like this makes it hard to see them, but any way you display the covers just takes up too much space. 

Ben's SC bookshelf.

And Gil's latest is for Nate.  His favorite books are the Maisy books by Lucy Cousins.  He doesn't want any other books, just Maisy-over and over.  We get new ones each week from the library, but there are only so many.  We are close to memorizing them. 

So, this is over Nate's bed right now and he loves it.

Nate just walked up and asked how his bed got on the computer.  Guess that's my cue to go!


The boys were in Charleston a few weekends ago and Gil and I celebrated our 10th anniversary.  Gil took off Friday and we marked a bunch of things off of our To Do list, including going over to Carolina to try and buy the books I needed for my classes this semester.  No luck on that front, Amazon saved the day, as usual-but we did get a really good lunch out of it.  We went to Doc Brown's for some barbecue.  You know it's a good place when you walk in and it's all guys!  I think I was one of maybe 3 women in the place-and there were some really big suckers in there, guys who know their food (or maybe will just eat anything that doesn't eat them first).  I am thinking that the buffet-all you can eat aspect truly won them over.  Wow-tangent, sorry.

We saw a movie, then decided, sort of spur of the moment-that the pink in our den was going DOWN!  Our house is in the Victorian style (the thing was built in the '80's so I won't dare call it a victorian-it just wants to be one).  Somewhere along the line-we are the third or fourth owners-the precious house got a huge dose of Victorian-peptobismol-pink.  One time the boys and I went to Virginia for a few days and Gil painted over the pink in the down stairs hallways, up the staircase and did the whole hallway area upstairs.  And made up his own color in the process.  The den was the last of the pink and it's time had come.

We got a few gallons of khaki-which I used to think was boring, but have come to love.  I think it took us about 3 hours total-for both coats-and we were done.  It looks 7 million times better.  It was kind of embarassing before really-and I like pink-for a nursery!  This before picture was before we bought it-thankfully it never looked quite that bad with our stuff in it-but you can get an idea of the pink-ness of the walls.

**Disclaimer**  I can't take a good picture indoors to save my life-even with my big mama camera, so forgive the quality.  Also, I am not posting these because I think we have any decorating sense-I just think we have come a long way!

Looking at that picture reminds me of how many window treatments we carted off to the Goodwill.  Some woman that loved some floral fabric hit the jackpot that day!

Here is another good before and after.  I appreciate a nice cocktail and all, but a wet bar-really?????????

And just for fun (or to depress me enough to get serious about painting the kitchen cabinets)

I think the kitchen looks a little better, but still has a long way to go (like cleaning off all those fingerprints!!)

The wallpaper doesn't show up well enough in this one, but trust me-it was purty.  (Thanks Mom and Charlene for helping us get it off)

And here, with stainless appliances, it helps a little bit, right???

Ok, that's it, as soon as it warms up, those cabinets are getting painted and glazed.  You heard it here first. 

Watch your back Batman

...because here come the Star Wars guys.  I think the Batman love is dying down a little around these parts.  The current favorite Wii game (sorry Mario Brothers) is Lego Star Wars.  Nate screams out random character names all day and carries around the little book that came in the Wii game, asking me if the guys are good guys or bad guys (he prefers the bad, of course).  My answer is always the same, "I have no clue, ask your brother".  I have no idea if what Ben is saying is true, Star Wars has never been my thing, but they are having a good time.

I checked at Target today to see if I could pick up a few guys, but those suckers were $8 each and I didn't see any guys I even recognized-which I guess would only be R2D2 and C3PO.  Everything said Clone Wars and I have no idea if that is good Star Wars or some new crappy stuff.  And I know $8 won't break the bank, but everything around here must be multiplied by 2-and that is almost $20 and you only walk away with 2 stinkin' guys.  I guess I need to head over to ebay!

I have been finding these guys all over the house-they'll have to do for now.

(If you can't tell, this is Batman with space guy accessories)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Permanent Vacation

I have decided that being a boy mom affords me an opportunity to be on a permanent semi-vacation.  I am living in a foreign land here-one that the language is not my own, but that of Batman, Spiderman, Super Mario Brothers and Star Wars.  I listen to the boys playing together and they obviously understand each other, but at times I feel like I need a translator.  And we are not talking about how we can understand Nate but the outside world can not-I can understand the words, just have no idea what they are talking about. 

And the jokes around here are AWFUL!  They are all about hineys and potties-you know the kind I am talking about.  I'm just glad they can't burp on command yet.  That will be a sad day in this tourist's life.

(On a side note-Gil was putting Nate down last night while Ben and I were in Ben's room reading and Gil came in laughing. He was looking for a real translator for something Nate was saying over and over again that he had no idea what it was. Ben and I were of no help at all. I guess Nate forgot over night because I haven't heard the mystery word again).

I sure am glad that the natives around here are sweet most of the time.  I get big hugs and I love you's-luckily in a language we all share.

Then there is this guy-their leader (what, are you suprised that this picture didn't make it into my mushy anniversary post??)  This was actually his less offensive Halloween costume this year (can't believe I never got a picture of him dressed up like the project guy from Alabama-Hide yo' wife.)

So I walk around with a camera around my neck, having fogotten my guidebook, enjoying my visit to Boy Land.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ten Years! TEN!!!!!

Today marks the 10th anniversary of our wedding.  And I sure can't express how lucky that makes me feel.  I'm not too great with the touchy feely mushy love stuff, but here goes.

Thirteen years ago, on Valentine's Day, I went on a date with my best friend Emily's husband.  That sounds kind of bad, huh?  Emily was hanging out with her parents, I feel like in Rhode Island, but that's probably really wrong.  Anyway, Barry had tickets to a ballet with work people and I was woefully dateless on Valentine's-so we went together.  One of his co-workers (enter Gil) was also dateless on that romantic holiday-but he was probably happy about it-I'm not sure.  He would have happily skipped the ballet that night, had he not missed a meeting that morning due to a late night, so he felt he had to show his face.  We all sat together and Gil and I spent the next few hours discussing the extreme homeliness of the dancers playing Romeo and Juliet.  We had a very nice time laughing and not paying too much attention.  Hopefully Barry had fun, too.  We all went out for drinks afterwards, and Barry drove me home, while Gil spent the rest of the night wondering if Barry and I were indeed having an affair.  Kind of a funny start, huh?

Gil and I went on our first date a few days later-ate way too much garlic, and saw an absolutely awful movie.  It was really fun.  After dating for two years and taking a lot of trips and really just having a great time, he surprised me (which is very, very hard to do) with a big fat diamond ring.  We were engaged for one year and five days.

We had a rehearsal dinner at Capstone on Carolina's campus, and got married at Rutledge Chapel on the Horseshoe.  Gil's friend Mark's dad married us and gave us the funniest story of our wedding weekend.  He wasn't very familiar with the campus, and especially the Horseshoe.  The Rev was running a little late and a few of us were outside waiting for him, including Mark-who all of the sudden pointed and said, "That's my dad!"  He was pointing to a car driving ON the brick sidewalk of the Horseshoe-definitely not a road!  I get a little fuzzy here-but when the Rev and Revette came into the Chapel we questioned them and they said they met up with a very nice white haired man and his wife and they offered up a parking spot behind their home, not far away.  It was Dr. and Mrs. Palms, the President of the University who lived on the Horseshoe!  So funny.

We went to Jamaica for a week for our honeymoon, which was great-and would have been even better had the sun come out for a bit.

The wedding was great, the honeymoon was lovely, but none of that compares to the reality of getting to wake up with Gil Youmans each and every day.  In all seriousness, I can not believe that the stars and moon lined up to put Gil in my path.  And really, I know it was all God's plan-and what a plan it was-and continues to be.

I have never met anyone quite like Gil.  He is the kindest, most caring, considerate, and hilarious person I have ever known.  He goes out of his way for so many people and is willing to lend everyone a hand.  He is fiercely loyal to his friends.

Somehow, after 10 years, I can still catch a glimpse of him and get butterflies.  In many ways, I almost feel like we are still just dating-even though our dates now are playing Super Mario on the wii once the monsters are in bed!  I still get that new feeling about him, while being completely comfortable at the same time.  I try not to be too comfortable, and get some makeup on at least before he gets home from work-but that doesn't always happen.  I still feel like we are on a great adventure together-an us against the world kind of feeling.  Cheese alert-but he really is my best friend.  I am blessed to have so many amazing friends in my life-and am glad that when something good happens, he is the first one I want to tell.

I am thrilled, although not at all surprised, at the father that he is to our monsters.  They prefer him 100% over me and I can totally see why.  He plays with them non-stop, but doesn't hesitate to keep them in check.  He takes amazing care of them, most mornings getting them breakfast and giving them lots of attention to start their days.  They get so excited when he is coming home, knowing that his first priority will be to give them hugs and kisses and wrestle with them.  The three of them have so many little things that are just their own, like Crabby, Ugg Cafe, and the Bull. 

We are all so lucky to call him ours.

Monday, January 10, 2011

4 1/2

Dear Ben,

Today marks the day you have been on this earth for four and a half years.  I look at you and no longer see a baby, you are such a boy.  Today was the first day you have felt good in over a week and it has been so hard to see you sick.  Technically, you had an ear infection, but really, you just felt bad.  Coughing a lot-especially at night, a constant fever and runny nose, just generally pitiful.  Yesterday your fever had come down a lot but you were still dragging, and today you came back-just in time for a huge snowfall.

The thing that people realize immediately about you is that you are one smart cookie.  Your vocabulary is very good, but even better are your math skills.  You really seem to understand numbers, in a way that is tough to teach.  Your dad is a numbers guy and I'm sure you get it from him.  You are really interested in adding numbers and are even starting to understand hundreds and thousands-crazy for a 4 year old.  It's hard to explain, but you are just really aware of numbers and how they relate to each other.  Daddy threatens to call your teachers and make them stop teaching you-he says he doesn't want you getting too smart, but I'm pretty sure he is proud of everything you do.

You and Nate are really having such fun together these days.  Of course you fight with each other, but most of the time you are playing and talking, and sometimes plotting against your parents (which I think is pretty funny).  You get annoyed by him and call him a baby sometimes, which hurts my feelings more than Nate's-but you are also quick to introduce him to anyone you meet, and I can tell you are glad he is your brother.

(a letter you wrote to Nate at Sunday School)

You really like school and Miss Mary and Miss Julie are such wonderful teachers.  You get to bring home the show and tell and mystery bags a lot and you love that.  So far you have taken in Batman guys, dragons and something Gamecock (I can't remember what, but it was after your first USC football game).    It's hard to believe you will be in kindergarten next year-5 days a week, all day long.  Nate and I are really going to miss you during the day!  You might even get to ride the bus in the afternoons-that would be exciting.

(singing at your school Christmas party)

Happy half birthday Ben!  As of the day before, you couldn't decide what you wanted for your special dinner, but I know we'll have fun making half of a birthday cake together.

Lots and lots of love,

Snow Day

Wow!  I can not remember seeing snow like we had today.  I think it was 5 inches, but I'm not sure-I just know it was a lot and it was beautiful.  Besides the actual snow, I think the most amazing part was the accuracy of the forecast.  The predictions were for the snow to start about 1:00 am, and I was up around 1:15 and saw the beginning of the snow.  I think we had nice snow a little longer than the original forecast said, but it turned into freezing rain in the morning, just as predicted.

We got outside pretty early, by about 8:30 probably, hoping to stay ahead of the sleet and to play in the powder.  I am 100% sure that Gil and I enjoyed it more than the boys, but they liked it at least a little.  We were trying to find something to use as a sled and couldn't really think of anything good.  We were talking to our neighbors and all came up with the idea of pulling a big piece of plastic behind a ride on lawnmower.  It worked perfectly!

The boys made it about 45 minutes the first time before getting too cold.  I think Ben's feet did him in.  Rainboots do not equal snowboots.  Gil got them settled inside with some Playhouse Disney and the two of us stayed outside for probably an hour more.  We all made it back out after some lunch and naps, and Ben and Gil made a snowman.  There had been a good amount of freezing rain by that point and there was a thin layer of ice over all of the snow, making it a little less powdery, but still very cool.  Also, if rain boots are your only option, duct tape some plastic grocery bags over the socks and under the boots-worked like a charm.

And the best part, Gil was off today and knows he has a delayed start tomorrow!

January 10, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011


17-This is the number of times that I have tripped over my sweet, adorable, clingy 2 year old in the last 24 hours.  It's probably a much bigger number, but 17 will just have to do.  I have just been calling him BabyKoala for the past few days.  Nate climbs me like a tree and holds on for dear life.

We have the sickies, sneezies, and coughies over here-along with ear infections for both of the monsters.  So, we are as much fun as a bag o' glass.

The kids are actually getting tired of watching tv-never thought that would happen.

So we are off to have a snowball fight in Ben's room with all of the wrapping paper torn from our presents on Christmas morning.

Hope you are less snotty wherever you are!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 in Review

I know I won't possibly be able to truly paint a picture of the past year, but I thought I'd pick a few pictures from each month to sum it up.    We had a great year filled with travel (Canada to the Olympics, Minnesota to the Lake, and up and down the road to Charleston and Virginia)  going to the zoo, playing at the lake, hanging in our cul-de-sac-and wishing Daddy didn't have to go to work so he could hang out with us everyday-but someone has to finance our glamorous lifestyle!












So, if you made it this far-you must be related to me-or a glutton for punishment.  I learned that even though I probably average 150 pictures per month (which means I took 11,150)-I just don't have a camera around enough.  And in the winter, forget it-I hardly take any pictures.  I need to step it up (and probably share less!)

Bring it on 2011!  We are ready for you!