Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Water Play

The boys could not wait to get into the water and have some fun.  The same could not be said for our big yellow dog.

 Two-thirds of the boys loves squirting each other with water.  One-Third only liked being the one doing the squirting.

 Uncle Mark was more than willing to lend a helping hand in filling the squirt gun.

Replace the water gun with a hose and I'm pretty sure there is a picture somewhere of me looking like this.

 The boys tried to coax Fritz in, but whatever breed is mixed with the lab is dominant as far as water goes.  He did NOT want to get in.

 This is as far as he got and that is only because he was trying to follow the paddle boat.

 He quickly and happily returned when they went out too far.

 He made his way to the dock in order to keep a close eye on them.  Barking the whole time, of course.

The boys loved riding around in the paddle boat.  I'm pretty sure they would have stayed out there for hours if we would have let them.

 And when they were done Fritz braved the water to be there to greet them. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Anders is 3!

A little over a week ago, my little monster turned 3.  On the morning of his birthday we had an appointment for him to be evaluated for preschool.  Gus was evaluated on his third birthday too, but decided that "being evaluated" meant "I won't talk to anyone."  Anders talked to everyone, however, but kindly told them he would only answer to the name Birthday Boy.  The ladies were all cracking up...and secretly hoping that this kid was not in their school district.

 Fritz loves to photo-bomb.
I can't believe my baby is 3.

 The birthday boy was chomping at the bit to open his presents.

 After opening the first present from Uncle Jake and Aunt Ashley it took a long time to focus this kid's attention to open anything else.

 Fritz was even infatuated with Perry the Platypus.

 After we were able to get Anders to put down the platypus, he thoroughly enjoyed opening up all of his presents.  He also thoroughly enjoyed not having to share them with his brothers that day and reminding them every 5 seconds that it was his birthday.

 He wanted his cake to be too many things to make it into anything else.  He also quickly reminded me that I left off some stuff.

 But he loved the cake, so that is a success.

He actually got to have his cake at a friend's house.  I think he liked having so many people sing Happy Birthday to him.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


These guys are the best of friends and the worst of enemies.  They are quick to lash out at each other, but also quick to defend when needed.  

 They love to play with each other.

I love watching and listening to them play.

Well, I love watching and listening to them play when they are nice to each other.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Saying Goodbye

In just a few days the sale of my grandparents cottage will be final.  Practically speaking this is a wonderful event and a blessing for my grandparents.  Keeping up with the cottage and what I always called "the winter house" was just getting to be too much.  Emotionally speaking it is a little sad for everyone. This is where I spent my summers as a child.  BUT I have two things to be thankful for.  First and foremost is that I still have my grandparents around to continue making wonderful memories with.  The cottage was nice, but what made it perfect was spending all that time with my loved ones that I still have.  Second is that my children were able to spend a couple of summers there. All of us were actually able to be there this past summer.

This is the view when you drive up.  Lots of soft, green grass to play in.

Many, many years ago my Grandpa built this deck that looks out onto the water.  I couldn't imagine having lake front property and not having a beautiful deck to enjoy the view.

 The boys had a great time this summer running around and being loud.  They also discovered that little things can get lost in ground covering.  They looked for a small Toy Story action figure for a long time.  They even roped my mom, Hans, and I into looking.

Anders grew tired of our incompetence and decided to look for himself.  The boys did end up finding it.  Just shows you what determined little boys can accomplish.

The last time we went to New York Fritz was just 11 weeks old.

This year he was a beast.

More pictures to come from our time at the cottage.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Adding Some Color

The cabinet I painted and glazed was actually not the piece I intended to do first.  That just happened.  I figured as long as I was getting out all of the painting, sanding, and priming stuff I might as well make it worth my time.  The two pieces I wanted to start with were the coffee table and side table from our family room.

This is the only 'before' picture I have.  See that black coffee table?  And the corner of that side table...the one the lamp is sitting on?  Those were my projects.  I bought these two pieces at Target shortly after Hans and I got married.  They were just supposed to be filler pieces that would hold us over until we found, and had money, for what we really wanted.  I never though they would last this long.  But these cheap particle board pieces have managed to survive 4 moves, 3 kids, 1 dog, and Hans.  So I thought I'd give them a little facelift.

 Primed and ready to go.  I had just gotten done spraying these Peacock Feather blue and a storm blue in.  I'm sure all of my neighbors got a big laugh watching me try to get these into my garage without doing too much damage to the paint job.  Despite the drop cloth I also managed to paint part of my driveway.  

I learned some valuable lessons that day.  1. Always check the weather.  2. If your grassy area is too uneven to paint your furniture on, be sure to pre-schedule someone to come out and reseal your driveway.

 This is Peacock Feather blue.  I almost didn't glaze these pieces as I love this color.  But I'm not sure this would have worked as well in my house.

 After glazing.

Now my family room looks like this.  
Well, almost like this.  Throw in an outrageous number of mismatched shoes, dirty clothes, and 6 pounds of dog hair and that is what my family room looks like.

Monday, October 7, 2013

My Refurbished Cabinet

After re-working my dining room, I had an extra piece of furniture I didn't know what to do with.  I figured this would be a great piece to experiment on with painting and glazing.

I bought this piece off of Craigslist 2 1/2 years ago.  I figured some day I would re-do it.  I never thought it would take me this long.  Nevertheless, here it sits in what I hoped would be its new spot in the formal living room.

 After de-glossing it I primed it.

Then I decided to make use of my paint sprayer.  I found out this is not my favorite method of painting.  And, unless I did something really wrong it also isn't the most economical option.   I have to say I HATED the piece after this.  I called Hans and told him I thought it looked horrible.  How could I have been so wrong about the color?  But, I figured I would try glazing the piece before giving up completely.

 I'm glad I glazed before calling it a loss.  The glazing did wonders. 

 I thought something different for the bottom of the drawers would be fun.  I thought about wallpaper, but the quickest, cheapest and best option was actually wrapping paper.  I glued the paper to the bottom of the drawer and then put two coats of Polyurethane over the top.

Here it is all done and in its final home.  I purchased new knobs and drawer pulls.  I intended to buy new hinges, but after going to 3 stores and trying every hinge I saw I realized that wasn't going to be possible.  So I ended up just spraying the hinges to match the other hardware.

I was so pleased with this that I decided to do two other pieces.  Pictures will be posted shortly.

***After doing this piece I discovered that I glazed it all wrong.  The glaze should be more blended and less streaky.  Now I want to re-do it, but I fear my husband would wring my neck.  (Editor's note: I would never do such a thing and think it looks awesome and that my lovely wife needs to stop being so ridiculously self-critical.) Live and learn I guess.***

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Me and My Honey

Family time is always great.  Generally there are tons of people around that want to take care of, play with, and spoil our kids.  This means that sometimes Hans and I can have a conversation that doesn't involve food, poop, or discipline.

Sometimes we can just snooze at the same time!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Crazy, Fun-Filled 21 Hours

Hans' parents came to visit for John's last T-Ball game of the season.  It also happened to be the weekend of Channahon's Three Rivers Fest so things were a bit crazy.

 It didn't take the boys long to start showing off their costumes.

It was an evening filled with food, costumes, and conversation.

The next morning we decided to get in a park visit before heading to John's T-Ball game.

Gus and Anders are always trying to get someone to push them on the swings.  Grandpa was a good choice.

After the park I had to go to work and everyone else headed to the game.

 Anders had to make sure Grandpa was fully nourished.

 Somewhere along the way John forgot his t-ball hat and Gus was nice enough to let John use his.

 Of course that means that Gus took Grandpa's hat.

 Attempt #1 to get a picture.

 Attempt #2.  John and Solveig look good.  Fiene boys-FAIL.

 Attempt #3.  Just give up!

After the game.  1 out of 3 Fiene boys looking at the camera = success!

When the game and little award presentation were over they all walked to the festival to play some games and ride some rides.

The festival also had a nice little petting zoo.

21 hours after their arrival it was time to say goodbye.  I don't think we could have packed much more into our time with Grandma and Grandpa Fiene.