I Am Resolved

For most of my life, I’ve never been much of a resolution kind of girl. At least not the New Year’s-exclusive type.  My opinion has often been, “Why wait ’til January 1st?  If you want to change something, do it now!”, and while I still somewhat subscribe to that theory, I now think there’s something unique, if not poetic, about turning over a new leaf with the turning of a calendar page.  Plus my cousin-in-law Heather (I’ve mentioned her before—the talented one who discovers and implements all kinds of things that I want to copycat) had a great blog about her resolutions for the year, and I once again am grabbing on to her coat tails. Thanks, Friend!!

1. Run a 5K.  Ryan and I have talked about doing this for a while, and I think that this year is THE year we finally check this off. Once upon a time we checked in to an Astros Fun Run that takes place right around Opening Day, and if that’s an annual thing, then it looks like we’ll be running in the spring.  Holy cow, that’s soon!

2. Pay off our car early, thus getting us to the glorious land of DEBT FREEEE (minus the house). Our current pay-it-off-early plan has us knocking this out in 14 months, but I’d love to write that final check before the end of the year. And then of course call Dave Ramsey.  ‘Cause I want to hear that he’s proud of me.

3. Have a weeknight at-home meal plan. Several years ago I stared my weekly dinner menu to help me with my grocery shopping, money saving, and sanity preserving. While I still currently make the menu (usually…), my execution has gotten pretty shabby, and the few nights that all four Kirkseys are home are too often marred with last-minute trips out for dinner.  No good.  So this resolution actually comes in two parts.  Part I is that I provide an actual, wholesome meal for my family on the nights when Ryan is in his grad school classes (and not lazily default to my typical peanut butter, macaroni, or fish stick offerings for my daughter.  And I wonder why she’s not more adventurous with her food??). Part II is that I follow-through on my menu planning, prepare some meals during some available off-time that can be frozen for later use, start taking advantage of the gazillions of crock-pot recipes that are at my disposal, and STOP eating out during the week.  The ultimate goal here is healthier nutrition for all of us and money saved…so we can pay off that car!

Alright, Internet world, the resolutions are out there.  Please feel free, in fact invited to question me on my progress and pull me back on track. Let 2012 begin!


Princess Jordan is 4!

Houston, we have a four year old!

Our precious Jordan celebrated her special day in royal style, and after the fun, the sugar, and the subsequent nap, I was able to pin her down for a brief interview, borrowing from the creative minds and talents of some of our loved ones.  I’ve so enjoyed the sweet responses I’ve heard from our very much adored friends, and I’m eager to join their brilliant planning and record my kids’ words.  What a treasure.

Favorite color: PINK! And red and purple.

Song: “I Love the Way You Hold Me” by Jamie Grace and “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO

Song to Sing: “Joy, Joy, Joy”

Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit, and cheese with holes in it (Swiss)

Treat: jelly beans

Fruit: strawberries

TV Show: Bubble Guppies (I found this interesting.  I think she’s maybe seen three episodes.)

Animal: giraffes (When I asked her why, she said, “Because they don’t make any sound.”)

Breakfast: oatmeal and pink donuts with sprinkles

Drink: milk and watermelon slushies from the “drink place” (Sonic)

Sleepy Friend: Drulie

Favorite Toys: princesses

Clothes: Cinderella dress and her red and white sundress

Favorite Thing to do at School:  Play with the Little People toys with Delaney and Kayla

Outside Activity: playing baseball

Place to go:  Restaurants and Gigi’s house

Places to eat: Red Lobster, aka “The Crab One” (surprising to me!)

Games to play: Sleeping Beauty (Pretty Pretty Princess)

Favorite store: Target

Movies:  Cinderella

Friends: Sophia, Kelton, Aubrey, Kate, Autumn, Addison, McKenna, Brock, and Andrew (Jordan has not quite adopted the idea that she needs a “best” friend.  I’m totally down with that.)

Books: Pinkalicious

What makes Jordan happy: “When somebody puts a microphone in their mouth.” (her favorite part in the movie Monsters, Inc.)

What makes Jordan sad: “When somebody puts me in timeout.”

When Jordan grows up she wants to be: “A teacher like Mrs. Katie.”

Happy Birthday, Precious Girl.  We love you so much.

My cousin-in-law (-in-law) and friend Heather recently introduced me to my new and absolute favorite waste of time, Pinterest.  Since this Internet goodie was completely foreign to me until a couple of weeks ago, I’m going to to venture a guess that it’s still somewhat unfamiliar to most of the Internet-ing and social media-ing world at large.  Not that I’m ever current on all things fun and trendy, but my friend Heather is completely with it (in every good sense of the term), and she was kind enough to not only acquaint both me and every other female member of our shared family to the site, but also host us at her place for a fun Pinteresting party.

She’s a gem.

So before I go any further, I feel it my duty to advise you to search for this site and request an invitation to join in on the fun.  I’d love to explain what it is, but I’ve learned that my descriptions of this site fail me, and that it’s more of a “check it out, and you’ll be convinced” kind of thing.  Basically it’s a site that collects gazillions of fantastic ideas from clever and talented people, and allows you to ooh and ahh over said ideas, and then copy and repurpose to your heart’s content.  My favorite “stolen” ideas are usually within the DIY/craft project arena, but I’ve also snagged some sensational concepts that have to do with cooking, holiday decor, and even teacher appreciation gifts.  It’s fun, and I believe that everyone should check it out.

I recently happened upon and was completely inspired by someone’s fantastic project on Pinterest, and after showing it off to Ryan, we decided it was something that we wanted to adapt for our own home.  After perusing the sales ads for Michaels and Hobby Lobby and slowly gathering my needed materials, this weekend I got to work on our new children’s art gallery for our family room.

For this project all I needed to collect were some open-back frames and binder clips. After covering the boring black of the binder clips with some Mod Podged covered scrapbook paper (Pinterest Idea #2), I was ready to once again recruit my able-bodied husband for the measuring and frame-hanging.

First I arranged the frames as I wanted them on the floor,

and then Ryan did his measuring magic (with the help of his lovely and bedazzled assistant).

Once he got all of his measurements just-so (see kids, you DO need math as adults!), he started the tedious task of hanging the frames.

Why, yes, that is toothpaste that you see.  Another amazing Pinterest jewel that I found recently suggested using toothpaste on the backs of your frames to help ease the arranging and hanging. Just figure out where you want the frame, dab some toothpaste on the hook or wire on the back of the frame, and then place it against the wall.

The toothpaste will leave a mark precisely at the spot where the nail will need to go.

I have this filed in my “Genius” category.

Not done yet.

The second part of the project used those pretty binder clips from before.  A little more measuring, and we quickly slid the clips on some nails within the frames.

For the last step I went through my collection of Jordan’s artwork and selected a few pieces that I wanted to display this season.

Ta-da!  Our new gallery.  We’re both looking forward to showcasing both of our kids’ projects on this wall of fame, and I’m giddy at the idea of changing out these pictures for the upcoming holidays.

So if you haven’t already, visit Pinterest and get inspired.  I already have a couple more projects in the works…

Nap Time Project

Last Sunday our family experienced a bizarre household rarity.  In the middle of the afternoon, I began to detect an eerie calm settling around me.  The princess toys had all but vanished, the gurgle-y giggles had been stilled, and the silence was near-deafening.  My brain began to race, and frantic, I ran to Ryan to confirm my confused suspicions.  Solemnly, he nodded, and I knew at that moment that my dreamlike assumptions were in fact reality.

Jordan and Jackson were napping at the same time.

After a few seconds of dumbfounded head-scratching (shouldn’t I be parenting somehow??), I snapped in to action realizing that I had before me the perfect opportunity to delve in to something I have always enjoyed, but since moving in to our new home, haven’t really indulged.  It was house project time!

Since I knew the clock was ticking, I decided to start with something small.   A few days before I’d taken advantage of a fantastic deal at Sherwin-Williams and picked up a few buckets of paint. Grabbing the lighter shade, I collected the rest of our paint supplies and headed to the tiny toilet room in our master bath.

Here we are before, in all of its stark glory.

This is the ceiling as I began cutting in with “Nomadic Desert”.  It wasn’t until I looked up that I realized that this room actually has FIVE itty bitty walls.

A few from the top.  This room is definitely a single!

Several acrobatic and less-than-graceful maneuvers later, the room was painted and then second coated.

Jackson and I waiting for the paint to dry.  I wrapped up the painting just in time to greet our favorite little man.  Now if I could only say the same for the clean-up…

As I worked on my long-awaited house project, I began dreaming of all the follow-up jobs that awaited me.  Since we found out that we were expecting our precious boy the week of our move-in, the majority of my home-making was put on hold until the arrival of the little one and the doctor’s permission to come within ten feet of a paint brush again.  Now that the tool was in my hand, it was as though someone threw open the floodgates.  It wasn’t enough now to merely paint.  I wanted more projects!  More!!

I headed upstairs to our guest bathroom and removed an over-the-potty shelving unit that had been a decorative thorn in my side.  It’s not like there was really anything wrong with it, necessarily, but it didn’t really match with what I had in mind for that room.  Plus it was a little bit rickety, and at that point was serving absolutely no function for us.  Time to repurpose!

I began by removing the chrome door knobs and spray painting them a darker finish to match the new bathroom hardware.  After my first unsuccessful attempt to cover the knobs completely without peeks of chrome shimmering through, I saw a great tip on HGTV. Thank you Sabrina Soto for your brilliant painting trick!

Attach the knobs to a piece of cardboard, and then spray away.  You’ll be able to reach all of the nooks and crannies with your desired color, and then the knobs will be able to dry without resting and smudging.  Genius!

Since I planned to use this cabinet for bathroom items, I thought that the see-through glass was definitely not the way to go.  Feeling like a warrior princess with my noisy and authoritative power tool, I removed the glass doors.

I then gathered my “concealing” supplies.

I traced along the side of the glass on the back of my chosen fabric with a sharpie, then cut out the fabric and used some Fray Check to protect the edges.

I then covered the front of the fabric with a mounting spray and attached the glass.  There’s probably a more technical tool I should have used at this step, but the not-so technical me chose a rolling pin to knock out the bubbles. 🙂

(Please forgive my blurry picture.  This was totally posed and taken unskillfully with one hand!)

Today I enlisted the help of my talented and precise husband to finish up my mini-project assembly.  Since this shelving piece was so terribly flimsy, I wanted to somehow mount this to the wall so we wouldn’t have a commode catastrophe.

The only shot I got of Ryan’s assistance.  Couldn’t have wrapped this up without him!

Our wall mount.

After attaching the unit to the wall, Ryan then affixed our new toilet paper holder. Oh, how I enjoy those dark finishes!

And the finished product!  It’s so fun to see all of “our” stuff come together, and I can’t wait to jump to something else. I wonder which room will be next…

4. Jordan is THREE!

Later in October we celebrated Jordan’s third birthday, Sesame Street style.  It has been so wonderful to watch her personality develop, and we are so thankful to God for allowing us to parent her sweet-tempered soul. She has a very kind and generous nature, she knows and loves both the concept of family as well as the people that are hers, and she loves to take care of others and “help”. Jordan loves princesses, pink, purple, and red, fruit and Swiss cheese (“cheese with holes”), shopping, and books, and she enjoys pretending, puzzles (her patience with them AMAZES me!), and going to school.  She likes to talk about her people (both friends and family), and she loves to remember everyone’s favorite things.  She has really become interested in matching her accessories to her clothes (her father’s daughter), as well as picking our her outfits for big events, like which dress she’ll wear to see her prince, Kelton. Her spirit is absolutely beautiful, and her overflowing love for others humbles me and teaches me every day. I’m so very thankful for the relationship I get to have with her.

2. The Happiest Place on Earth

A few days after we closed on our new house, Ryan, Jordan, and I joined both my parents and his to Orlando to visit with Mickey Mouse and all of his friends.  This was Jordan’s first trip to “The Castle”, as she called it, and all of her grandparents were kind enough to accompany her and witness her take on Disney World. What a great week!! Ryan and I have both been blessed with loving and gracious parents, and our time spent with both them and our daughter filled our hearts with joy and appreciation.  If only it hadn’t been so stinkin’ hot…

LOVE her face in this one!!

That's my girl!

Many thanks to Gigi for sharing her beautiful pictures!!

3. Another New Adventure

In October we did a “first ever” for our family.  We went camping! Granted we only stayed one night, my brother-in-law set up our tent, and our kind friends made the bulk of our meals, but we did it!! All of us enjoyed the scenery, Jordan got delightfully dirty, and Ryan and Jordan had a great night’s rest, so I would definitely call this trip a success. My only complaint was the fact that the outside of our campgrounds warned of alligators in the area, so my restless night was spent longing for the bathroom but fearing a Captain Hook moment should I try to make the long trek to the facilities. All was forgiven as soon as the sun came up, though; it was absolutely gorgeous!

I’m having a reflective morning.

And I’m smiling.

I guess it’s the school teacher in me (or the fact that my life has always been booked on an academic calendar), but I always think of summertime as the end of a year.  The relaxing reward for the previous months’ hard work in the form of rejuvenation, adventure, and family. And since my season of fall is still marked with all things new (new classes, new lessons, and new pretty pens*), it’s probably understandable as to why I see summer as the close to my previous routine.

And at any good closing, it’s appropriate and edifying to reflect.

Blissful siiiiiiiigh… 

This past year in the Kirksey home has been filled, nay flooded with new and joyous things.  I decided to compose a Year in Review that highlights some of our finer moments. Appropriately I’ve titled my Review “Count Your Many Blessings”. Since this will most likely turn in to a lengthy report (thank you, Father, for the abundance of blessings!), I’ll probably make this a multi-post project.

1. Our Very, Very, Very Fine House

In August we closed on our new home in League City.  We were able to move in at the beginning of September and were wonderfully surprised at how quickly our new house felt like home.  In just a short time we were greeted by our new, kind neighbors (which includes a wonderful couple from our church family), and in these past few months have enjoyed friendly exchanges and the beginnings of some new friendships.  I was invited to join the the neighborhood Bunco group, I’ve attended the neighborhood women meetings, and we were even greeted with some “Welcome Home, Baby” presents after our newest little one arrived.  The absolute best neighborhood perk, however, came last month in the form of my very favorite neighbors ever: my sister and brother-in-law bought the house next door.  Already we’ve seen just how fantastic it is to live so closely to those that you love.  As my sister put it, this is like a foretaste of heaven.

*Note: All teachers should reward themselves with new school supplies at the beginning of every school year.  If you currently work in education and do not treat yourself in such a manner, it’s time that you start!