Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Now, if My Calculations are Correct......"

These are the words of my husband. And for anyone who knows my husband - we all know that, yes indeed his calculations are correct for he is a perfectionist. Not that there is anything wrong with being a perfectionist, especially if you are a surgeon, but Byron sometimes takes it to new levels. Say for instance, when using the level when being a carpenter. We all know how there are 3 spaces, and you really want the bubble to be in the middle for whatever it is to be level. Well, Byron and I have 2 different views of "level." I say "between the lines" is perfect. He just laughs, and for him it has to be EQUALLY between the lines to be perfect. So, when he asks (I still don't know why he even does) me if it is level, I will answer, "perfect, between the lines." But then, he will come to check and tell me otherwise! I guess this is a good thing though since he is the main one building, I just assist. This is why things aren't crooked in our house! :)

So, long introduction for this post. This week is Byron's vacation. He rarely takes a "vacation." His times off are ALWAYS filled with projects. This time it is the shed/Louisa's playhouse. I am super excited not only because I can put the majority of Louisa's stuff (which if you have children you know just how much "stuff" they accumulate) outside for her to play, but also since Byron is getting a shed - I in turn get a separate sewing room in the room off the garage that currently houses his tools. This is great since my sewing room quickly outgrew the guest bedroom and has now taken over my dining room which totally does not mesh well with my OCD and need for things to look "neat" at all times. It is my belief that "a clean sewing room is an inefficient sewing room."

Yesterday we started the work. Today was a very productive day - mostly thanks to Byron's new toy. A pneumatic framing nailer - and let me just say, I love it too when I am not scared to death of it. This saved us SOOOOOOO much time today nailing the frame together. Frankly, I don't know how he has held out this long. He has been wanting one for a while, and I am so glad he invested. It is great! We did a great job and it was fun working on a project together again. We used to ALWAYS work together on projects, until Louisa came along.............toddlers make it SUPER difficult to get anything done! Especially Lou, she is so curious and wants to be in the middle of everything, including the circulating saw, the mitre saw and the new nailer. Not such a good idea. Oh well, at the end of the day we have it framed and the floor on the second level which will be her playhouse. Let me just tell you how much fun it was to haul the 4 pieces of plywood that weighed like 1,000 lbs each from the front yard to the back, and then to heave 2 of them to the second level. Advil - we will see you later tonight, and possibly tomorrow morning! It is looking great, and we are super excited, so I will continue to post progress. So again, just like with the work on the backyard - if you don't care, you may want to ignore the blog for the next week! :)

PS - I added a picture of the ground. Looks exciting, right? It is very sad, since we had the yard leveled and we put down seed last Sunday - it decided to downpour for like 3 days in a row. So, we have a little bit of grass, but mostly slosh, brown slosh that is. So, back to the ton-plywood, it was very hard carrying the heavy stuff while you sank and slipped in mud. Ewwwww. Hope the grass grows and the yard dries before her birthday party! If not, moms.........pack the Wellies!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My "mush" for the next few months

Okay, so for anyone who knows me - I really am not a very "mushy" person. I don't like to be corny, I don't show my feelings very often, I won't sit down to watch a movie if I know it will make me cry and I really don't get sentimental very often. Becca - you don't bring this out in me from time to time when I guess I really need it. :) Miss you. Anyways, tonight - it got me, and Bec, you had nothing to do with it for once.

I was taking a break from brownie-goose and starting on Louisa's birthday dress. I had an idea for a pattern in mind for when Louisa is the flower girl for my sister's wedding, so I decided to use the same pattern for her bday dress so that I can get all the kinks out first. Well, it just so happens that it is one of those classic patterns, one of the "good-ole" Children's Corners that believe it or not, are still sold today. I had dresses made from this pattern when I was about a classic style. Anyway, this is one time that I love that my mother has so much stuff because she brought me a box full of vintage patterns from when she would sew for us, and even some my grandmother sewed! Of course, the pattern that I found is the right one, but the wrong size.........and I just refused to spend another $13 to buy one the right size, and since I am the Queen of jerry-rigging things (right, Phoebe?) I thought for sure I could scale it down to Lou's size. Well, turns out I didn't have to because a cheapo named Janie Sandefur (my mom) had already done it for me, back in the day it looks as though she pirated another size and put it in the same envelope as the larger pattern. Score, this made my day!! After I got over laughing about how old the computer paper that the pattern was traced on (seriously, it had the perforated holes on the sides from the printers and various green colored lines) I got bitten by the sentimental bug. Not only was my mom's handwriting on the pattern, but so was my grandmother's. It dawned on me that I was about to be the 3rd generation to sew from this exact pattern. That in itself amazes me and brings me closer to my mom and grandmother who are/were amazing seamstresses. Louisa's birthday dress brought on a whole new meaning to me. It isn't just a dress anymore, it is almost a tradition. Mushy, I know - I have almost allotted an entire year's worth of mush in this blog.............but I couldn't help but to share this. I just hope that I can be a bit of a pack-rat and save this pattern and be able to have Louisa ask me for it one day. I finally know what it means to want to pass down talents, traditions and traits.

So, before I get any cornier or mushier, I will stop. I just wanted to share this with whoever decides to pass the time by reading my blog. I think it is cool, and cannot wait to see her in her dress. It will be a whole other kind of pride that I feel when I see her wearing it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"No Mama, I do It."

And this is what happens when you let your 2 year old dress themselves. I am wondering if I should even fight this battle, I think I will just let it go and plan to run scheduled errands another day, to avoid the looks that I am sure we would get.

This is how it all went down. I was getting ready to get on the treadmill and told Louisa that we needed to go into her room to get dressed, something we do almost every day. She knows this. Well, she refused to go into her room with me and said, "no mama, I do it. I dess Neisha." And with that she shooed me out of her room and shut the door. I fought my better instincts to go inside of her room and wear her out. I thought, you know what, maybe this is her independence emerging and I should celebrate it. Well, after listening at the door just to make sure she wasn't into anything she wasn't supposed to be (her fave) she opened the door, and kid you not said, "tada. See Mama, Neisha dessed." And, it was all I could do not to fall over laughing. She was serious. She walked straight past me and said, "okay mama, run" and headed to the garage where the treadmill is. I sat there in awe just shaking my head. What have I on my hands????? Seriously, bows and all.

Oh yeah, in case you were wondering who Neisha is...................that is what she calls herself. That is how she says Louisa. Hilarious, right. I mean, you just have to learn to take things as they are and let it all roll! One day at the fabric store, I heard another little girl ask Louisa what her name was and sassy as can be she said, "Neisha." Yep - I am sure you can imagine the looks I got from the other moms there. Lovely.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Grow grass, Grow!

So, we had another work hard in the back yard weekend. Actually, I should say that Byron had a work hard in the backyard weekend. I only helped for a little while on Sunday. :) He rented a tiller to help to get the yard ready to plant seed, since we couldn't afford the $12,300 that sod would probably have been! Today we planted seed and covered it with hay. Louisa, of course, was NO help. She was way to busy playing in her sandbox, and by playing I mean putting sand in her nose, ears and eyes. Yep. Once we got it all down (our back yard just grows when you try and do work, I didn't realize just how much space we had back there!) we set up the "hewacoppa" aka. sprinkler to help it all grow. Well, this is when Lou decided she wanted to help. She grabbed a flower watering can that is the same size as she is and was trying to fill it up with water by the sprinklers (hewacoppas). It took her a while to figure out that she was getting wet - and yep, she was fully clothed...........but I just couldn't stop her because it was too cute! She later had an absolute meltdown because I wouldn't let her put her "babe-in soup" on. Yes, her bathing suit. I let her wear it in the sandbox on Saturday just for fun, and now that is all she wants to wear. So, into hiding with many other things it must go!

Anyways, everyone do the dance for grass to grow on Cowan Place. We need it for her party! We also need the playhouse, which hopefully we can get done since Byron has next week off!

Byron planting some red maples, and the rest of the hay-covered yard, hopefully to soon be grass-covered!!

This is when she finally realized that she was getting soaked by the sprinkler!

Who cares that I am getting wet, now I will try and fill my shovel and bucket!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Step Aside Pink Cowboy Boots!

We have a new shoe obsession for the week............wellies. Which, I don't mind because I have had my eye out for the perfect pair of rain boots for her (that weren't $70, seriously) and we just happened upon these on the clearance rack at Old Navy. Luckily for me, they were her size because we would have had to have gotten them anyways! The squeal that came from her mouth when she saw them (I think she learned it from Ella :)) was so loud it practically echoed in the store. Not even kidding.

Now she doesn't want to take them off (imagine that), and so when I told her that we couldn't wear them because they didn't fit over her pants that she was wearing today, she looked at me like I had lost my mind and said, "otay. den pants off, mama." Duh - however did I not think of that!? So, she has been playing in her shirt, diaper, boots and apron today. Judge not my friends! :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

"oohh........i crawl-fish, um-hmm"

So, Byron has this huge test every year in March called the inservice (all residents have to take it) but for some reason the ENT department is psycho about from December on, I lose my husband to what Lou and I call "boring books" and happily gain him back after the test. Well, Saturday was the test and we were the hosts for the after test shin-dig. We had a crawfish boil which was fun and we all had a good time.

Let me just talk about crawfish for a while, and don't anyone "hate" I am just being honest. I just didn't grow up on these things. I remember in 4th grade we found what we called back in Savannah a cray-fish at school by a ditch. Is this really the same thing? If so, that is my only previous experience, until I married Byron, who's family is from Louisiana where the crawfish (otherwise known as the mudbug) is King. So, I have given them a shot........but I just don't get it. I have yet to learn to properly peel the things, and by the time I get to some sort of meat, I am kinda just grossed out by all the stuff oozing out from everywhere. Kinda like picking crabs, I love to do it......but will get grossed out faster than anything! So, after trying crawfish again and then making etouffee for a second time.....I have come to the conclusion that I love the IDEA of a crawfish boil. Beer drinking outside, which for my Facebook friends, we all know this is an all-time fave of mine, and good friends. I mean, it just doesn't get better than that! So, I will continue to honor my husband's cajun roots and have a good time.......but just don't know how many crawfish I will eat.

Anyway, Louisa had a blast. There were so many kids there that we all talked about how it looked like we were running a daycare. She loved playing with everyone, but I think she shares her Mommy's opinion on the crawfish, if you couldn't already tell from the picture!

To see all of the pictures from this crawish boil, click here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

And Now......It is OUR Turn!

Okay, the workers left today because they are super efficient and have already finished! Wahoo. Now, all that is left is for the grass to grow overnight, a landscaper to come and fix things up overnight, all of the boxwoods to be taken out, the lattice to be put around the bottom of the deck, the rest of the bricks to be mortared...............I can go on and on, but the point of the story is - whatever is left to be done is to be done at the mercy of Byron and I. So, here's to seeing how long it takes us - certainly more than 3 days!

I have to say, I am amazed. There are trees in the yard that I didn't even know were there..........more ground than I knew was there and the creek behind our house actually makes sound like a waterfall........who knew!

So, if anyone has sod they want to give away, or plants that they want to come and plant, etc., come on over. In fact, we are having a "family play in the dirt day" on Sunday - I am sure we could squeeze you in especially if you have free goods. :)

So for those of you who have been avoiding my blog for a few days to miss the pictures of the progress, it is safe to jump back on the wagon as I don't think I will be posting more pics until we have gotten more done. UNLESS people show up as spoken about before with sod and plants and such. :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Building of the Cowan Wall

Day 2 of progress, YAY! Today started out with some stump grinding, which to my suprise - was over in like 45 minutes. I know Byron has spent more than like 6 hours on one of the stumps from Katrina and then this machine that works like a remote control car just came and showed him up. Oh well, it is gone and that is all that matters!

Then began the building of the wall...........the retention wall that will actually give us a yard and no more of this awkward sloping thing that you can't be too sure where you step because you may fall down, especially if you have had some Miller Lite in the backyard, which is a fave of mine. :) Not speaking from experience.......

It is getting close, now if I could just blink my eyes and have grass, because Lord knows we can't afford the sod! Maybe on the way home from robbing a bank we could stop by and rob a landscaping store, hmmmmmm - now that's a thought! We certainly have the trailers to haul it since we have 2 sitting in our driveway right now......blocking my car in the garage, so I am beginning to go a bit stir-crazy. I don't even have a bike to ride to the neighboring grocery store for trash bags. Not to mention the family history of bike riding with a child on the back! HAHAHA Kate, I still laugh my rear off about that one! Slow-motion into the sand on Cobb!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tearing Down the Jungle One Tree at a Time..........

So, I have referenced our jungle of a backyard before. Let me just set the background for the next few postings............

When Byron and I moved to Jackson, we decided that we wanted an older house, just like we had back in Georgia. We wanted a big backyard that the dogs could play in and we wanted to be in a fun area. Not too hard, right? Okay, scrap the "old" house (a 50's ranch DOES not qualify in my book) seeing as there were none in our price range. Big backyard...........ahhhh, we found it, along with one of the ONLY structurally sound homes in Jackson, MS, knock on wood. We love the Fondren area that we live in, and are slowly (I mean slowly) falling in love with our house. Back to the backyard, we LOVED it when we looked at the house, it was HUGE and a disaster, but we weren't scared. We did TONS of renovation projects in GA, including landscaping, so we could do this. What we didn't realize was that in GA we didn't have a child, Byron wasn't a resident and therefore owned by the hospital, we weren't poor, and did I mention we didn't have a child??? So, we are told that our backyard used to be beautiful, and had formal box-tree gardens and exotic plants before the sweet lady that owned our house fell ill and it fell to disrepair. Well, we are on the road to getting it back to wonderful Mrs. Mara, we may not have exotic plants (my thumbs are not exactly green) but, here goes nothing!

After a year and a half of talking and planning and dreaming, we finally came to the conclusion that we didn't have the energy, time or resources to do what we wanted to in the yard. Did I mention we had a child? We had a tree man come and give us quotes on cutting down trees that were just flirting with our roof and tornado season and it turns out he did grading work and all that jazz. Well, after many "talks" and sighs and wondering if we were doing the right thing.............we told Mr. Stanly to go ahead and do it all. Trees, grading, stump grinding, retention walls.......the whole sha-bang, which explains if you see Byron or I on the news being arrested for robbing a bank.

Today was work day #1 for the boys and so I got out there on their lunch break (too scared of falling branches to go out there while men were working) and took some pictures and will continue to do so until the project is done, so if you don't care about our backyard..........stay clear of the blog for a week or so. As Louisa and I were watching them take down trees from the safety of our own home (and hearing the roof sigh in relief) Louisa said, "Mista Tanley boke da tee." Translation, Mr. Stanley broke the tree. Too cute!

By the way..........did I mention that it wasn't in the budget to have them haul off some of the trees they "broke"? Anyway, I think we may have some free fire-wood (wait, I should charge for that, right?) on our hands as you can see in one of the pictures!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Shout-Out for a Talented Friend.........

Alright, I wanted to let everyone know about one of my friends who has a creative outlet that I think you should check out!

Her blog is and she does stationery, fun play trays and she just introduced hand-painted frames that are a perfect gift for a baby or really just anything!

She is also on Facebook, just search "Happy Chappy" in groups and join!