Thursday, December 29, 2011

Elf on the Shelf and Front Door Decor

I've taken a leave of absence from the blog lately. Well actually from the computer altogether and I must say, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I've been off of work since December 14th and haven't really felt like I've had much of a vacation until yesterday. Deuce and I went to VA to visit my dad for a few days and when we came back, we hit the Christmas shopping hard. I was up past 2am every night through Christmas night and up and on the move by 9am each day. There was no time for blogging, I checked my email through my phone and only rarely checked in on my facebook. So I have a lot of catching up to do. I haven't even loaded my pictures to my computer yet. So we'll see how much posting I get done. I don't go back to work until January 3rd so hopefully I can utilize the rest of my time wisely.

We started the Elf on the Shelf tradition this year. I decided not to "adopt" the real $40 book & elf that I knew would be torn up in our house and opted instead for the $12.99 stuffed elf that would be safe if some littles happened to get their hands on him. {I knew TJ would figure out a way to get his hands on him even if he wasn't allowed to}. Although I wanted to give him some sort of quirky, holiday name like "Wink" or "Snowy", I left the naming up to TJ and he decided on Alfie. Deuce was the first to get a hand on Alfie before he was given his name and you can see how attached he became. I let him hold the Elf until he was named and became "magic" and he was stuck to him like glue, snuggling him, giving him hugs and dragging him around by his legs. You can see how well it went over when I took him away. So on December 1st he made his first official appearance on top of the entertainment system. The boys really enjoyed looking for Alfie everyday and were really sad to say goodbye on Christmas Eve. I have a picture of Deuce waving goodbye, but it's not on the computer yet, of course. Alfie made appearances in the bathrooms, the boy's bedrooms, the kitchen, the plants, in the Christmas tree and even in the freezer. TJ found him in the freezer holding a chocolate bar. :) They are already talking about Alfie making his appearance next year.
The wreath pictured above was actually made with the intentions of hanging on the front door. I made it with a wire hanger and cheap dollar tree ornaments. I was really excited with how it turned out, until I realized that it wouldn't fit between the glass door and the main door to the house. The glass door wouldn't close. So I decided to hang it over the mantle with an old frame and I taped all of the Christmas cards to it as they came in. I decided to stick with the frame idea for the front door by creating an alternative to the wreath, using supplies that I already had or from the Dollar Tree {except for the frame that was from goodwill}.
I got the frame for $5 from goodwill. I removed the print and the glass to leave the frame open. I used a gray primer and then a coat of silver spray paint. I attached four ornaments from the Dollar Tree with my staple gun to the back of the frame and then tied a bow, using a roll of ribbon also from the Dollar Tree. Then I hot glued the "Peace" sign on to the lower left corner. I love the way it came out and for a total of $10? Heck yes!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hales Family Reunion

So I'm going back a few weeks to catch up. Back in November was my grandmother's family reunion in Micro, NC. And yes, it's called Micro for a reason. There is a stop light and a gas station. My grandma's house is literally right next to both. Plus there are train tracks that run on the other side of the stop light and the Amtrak comes through like every 15 minutes. I remember thinking as a kid that I would never get any sleep at grandma's house when I spent the night there because of that durn train.

The reunion is held every fall at the fire station and we haven't been able to make it for the past several years because it's always scheduled on the same day as a Carolina home football game. This year, it fell a little later and on a bye week so we were good to go. Deuce and I headed to Raleigh to pick up my sister and then went on down east to Micro. We all made side dishes (I made my super famous baked macaroni & cheese) and the meat was brought in from Smithfield's Chicken & BBQ. Oooh wee! My stomach is growling right now just thinking about it.

The fire station was plenty big for Deuce and his cousin Weslee to run around and play basketball and football. Weslee just turned 3 and he was so perfect with Deuce. They chased each other all over the fire station and played catch. My dad was in heaven.
After the reunion was over we headed back down the 100 foot section of road to Grandma's house. Deuce and Weslee continued their play fest running in circles at Grandma's house. They went into the kitchen and got really quiet and when I went to check on them, Weslee was showing Deuce how to eat those cheese and cracker things that come with the little red, plastic spreader. Deuce had stripped down to just his pants at this point and they were so cute together. Deuce was looking up at Weslee like "I'm going to do everything you do." It was hilarious.
sorry, i took this one with my phone but i had to get him flexing. you know....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


This video is a few weeks late but I still wanted to post it. The Saturday after Thanksgiving was the 2nd Chapel Hill HS Alumni 80s v. 90s basketball game. Ed and his brother played against each other again and I had a great time seeing old friends.

After the game was over, all of the kids took to the basketball court to shoot around.
There was a DJ and Deuce couldn't decide if he wanted to play ball with Chanler and Jalen, or dance...
And I'm not sure who the kid in the skinny jeans are but I would have walked away from him too for having those pants on if I was Deuce. He ought to be ashamed of himself for cutting off his circulation like that!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We're Still Here!

I have been neglecting the blog for the past couple of weeks. Sorry about that. We have been so busy and things have really picked up at work so I haven't had the chance to sit down and punch out a post. We had a very busy Thanksgiving weekend. Every day we were going non-stop. Wednesday night my mom took me and Ed to see the Rockettes at the DPAC in Durham. It was really great. The girls were amazing, Ed really enjoyed the 50 foot LED board that made it hard to decipher whether or not the images were on the screen or were real, and the dancing and singing was phenomenal. Other than the obnoxious drunk coeds sitting behind us, we had a great time and Ed was a great sport about going to a theatre performance for me. Deuce stayed with my stepdad at the house until we got back. Night number 1 of falling asleep in the car.
the toy soldier part was amazing. it was Ed's favorite scene.

Thursday we spent lunch and early afternoon over at my mom's house. It was a very quiet meal with it being just me, Ed, Deuce and my parents. I think that is the first Thanksgiving ever that I have not spent with my sister. She went to Lincolnton with her boyfriend for the day. After we left mom's house we went to Ed's parents for dinner. His brother, niece and nephew came in from Knoxville so we spent a good amount of time there and didn't head back to Greensboro until about 11pm. Night number 2 of going to bed in the car.
Friday, Ed had to work. Boo. Deuce and I got up and got back in the car and headed 2 hours east to Clayton to visit some of my family. My cousin Jami was home from SJU for the break so I wanted to make sure that we had the chance to go see her. We picked up Laura in Raleigh on the way and spent the whole day in Clayton, eating leftovers and lounging around. It was awesome! Day number 3 of falling asleep in the car.
Saturday was extra busy! Deuce had his 8:30 swim lesson and Nana came up to go swimming with him. He really enjoyed having her in the pool and showing off his new "skills" which consist of trying to push off of me so he can "swim" by himself. We took Nana out for breakfast and then he went home with her for the afternoon. We went to the Carolina-Duke football game and had to leave early (which we NEVER do) because Ed was playing in the 2nd 80s vs. 90s alumni basketball game at CHHS. After Deuce took a 3.5 hour nap (HOLY COW!), Nana brought him to the high school to watch daddy & Uncle Schultz play basketball. Daddy's team won by double digits. Then we went back to Ed's parents house and watched the Carolina-UNLV basketball game, which didn't start until 10:30. And after that 3.5 hour nap, Deuce was still kicking at 12:30am. Day number 4 of going to bed in the car.

Sunday we didn't do anything. Deuce slept until 10:30am. I went grocery shopping and decorated the house for Christmas. Ed's brother stopped by on their way back to Knoxville and when it was time for bed... he was not having it. Night number 1 of screaming his way to sleep. In his crib. Flipping the lights on and off.

So we have spent the past 3 nights crying it out. All over again. I am not enjoying this. I am tired. My heart hurts to hear him scream. But I hope it's getting back to normal. Sunday night he screamed for and hour and a half before giving in. I went in after the first 30 minutes and repeated the bedtime routine. Still didn't work. So I let him go an hour before he finally gave in. Monday night he went an hour and I didn't give in. Last night he went 30 minutes before quitting. Hopefully we are working our way back to bed. The funny thing is, when he wakes up in the morning he doesn't want to get out of his crib. He just sits there and plays. He literally shakes his head "no" when I try to get him out. Darn kid.

We have a lot getting ready to happen in the next few weeks. Me and Ed's birthdays are next week. We leave for a 4 day stay in Knoxville next Thursday for my cousin Jordan's graduation from UT. The following week will be my last week at work for the year (wahoo!). Deuce and I are going to stay with my dad for a few days that Thursday and then the next weekend is Christmas! Wow...this year has gone by fast.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

print work. and a super awesome tutorial.

Just wanted to share with you some of the print work I have been doing lately. I've been working on birth prints, baby showers, invitations, wedding prints and all sorts of goodies! My mom threw a baby shower for one of her coworkers and asked me to do the invites. Below is one of the new mommy's maternity shots and looky there... she took along the little blue invite!!
photo courtesy of Kat Cole & Laddy Kortekaas Photography
The diaper flaps open up to reveal the shower information.

I was also asked to do some wedding prints for friends that got married on 11-11-11 in Charleston, SC. The wedding was very country-chic with lots of burlap & lace {& boots of course} so I dyed the paper and printed away. They were displayed in a vintage frame outside of the reception hall.
photo courtesy of Lisa Stevens

And I totally have to share this nail tutorial with you. I've seen the nail skins that are for sale in the beauty aisles but they are too expensive for my wallet. So I just stick to painting my nails like normal. But when I saw THIS I thought it was too good to be true. Nail skins for FREE? And yes it totally works. I did this in about 15 minutes last night. I must add, I was so skeptical that I didn't bother to take my time painting my nails and I basically just let the paint fall where it may - even if that meant on the outside of my nails. Whatever. And I didn't bother to tidy them up after I was done because I was so excited about how they turned out. So don't critique my painting skills. You are supposed to be like "wow that is awesome!" It's the little things that make me happy...
Yeah, I know. My cuticles need work. The tutorial says to use digital scrapbook paper but I was not about to purchase any of that stuff to put on my nails. I'll just go the the nail shop if I want to spend money. The point of this is to be free! Since the chevron pattern is all the rage right now I googled "chevron image" and found one that I liked. Then I used Publisher {I don't have Photoshop like the tut says} and I resized the image to .75 x .75 inches and copied and pasted it about 20 times {enough for some re-dos if need be, but I didn't need them}. Then I decided that I wanted a small heart on my ring finger as opposed to the pattern so it would stand out. I found an image that I like and resized it on to my publisher document. This is how my document looked.

See, plenty of extras in case I messed up. Then I just cut them out and followed the tutorial using rubbing alcohol. I used a clear coat that has a little glitter in it for a little extra shine and I was all done! Super easy...just think of all of the possibilities with this!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coloring with Harrison.

Last week I took Deuce over to Harrison's house after work since it had been awhile since the boys had seen each other. Val made us some yummy tortellini and we caught up while the boys played. Deuce was once again enamored with Harrison's dog Felton and he also found Harrison's Tickle Me Elmo {which he loved and might just have made it's way into Nana's Christmas shopping cart already}. After dinner the boys decided that they would color some.
They did a pretty good job of sharing their markers and they definitely mastered the art of taking the tops off of the markers and then putting the markers on the floor. They were not so good at putting the tops back on.
I am so thankful for a friend like Val and think it's even better that we had boys exactly 3 months apart. Val and I are so much alike. I don't know that I can really describe it but I feel like she's a blonde version of me. I think that alot of our parenting philosophies are very similar and we have traded lots of tips with each other. She doesn't stress about making sure that her house is magazine perfect all of the time, it's more about hanging out with her little man. This makes me not so paranoid about Deuce when we are over at their house. And she likes sports just as much as me so that's a big plus too. Maybe one day we won't live so far apart so we can hang out more.
Harrison kept trying to take his diaper off but was never completely successful so he kept walking around the house with his diaper sagging off his booty. It was hilarious. And not only did the boys color on paper...they colored on themselves. Thank goodness Harrison has the washable non-toxic markers!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Swim Lessons.

Deuce is 2 weeks in to his 6 week session of swim lessons. And he loves it! Class meets every Saturday morning at 8:30 (talk about refreshing wake-up for the day...) and there are about 7 babies in the class. Deuce is actually the second oldest in the class. I was surprised by that since this is the 3rd time I have tried to sign him up. I made sure I went to the Y the day registration opened to get in. There is a boy who looks to be about 3 in the class {in the below picture} and other than him and Deuce, none of the babies can even walk yet. Ed came to the first class to take some pictures for me of the first ever swim lesson. Beware: you will see me in a bathing suit. And it may be the only time you will see such a thing. Ever. :)
We start by pouring water all over ourselves with a cup. I direct him to pour it on a body part and he does it. He loves this and does it in the bath/shower all the time.
He jumped off the side of the pool from both a sitting and standing position. He only did it from a standing position a few times because none of the other babies were doing it since they can't walk yet. He seriously looked around and then sat down to do it. At least he was trying to following the group, I guess.
Then he kicked the beach ball with his feet. He really loves this part and giggles everytime it's his turn.
He also pushed the ball with his hands.
He floated on his back and practiced his flutter kicks.
Here we are blowing bubbles. He probably drank more pool water than he blew but he's getting the hang of it.
He got to select a toy from the bucket and throw it as far as he could and then "swim" to get it. Of course he selected the only ball in the bucket, a football. Some of the dad's were making comments about how far he could throw because it was obvious he wanted to play with somebody. He kept throwing it directly to the dad's in the pool {even hitting some in the back. my aplogies were frequent.} This week one of the dad's got the football for their little guy and Deuce was not pleased. I had a hard time getting him as excited about throwing a tiny purple boat as I did a football. Let's just say we had to move to another part of the pool to avoid swiping of the football.
And there's me. Obviously still only half awake at 8:30 in the morning sans make-up.
You're welcome.
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