This and that.

So basically this was one very busy summer, as they are for most folks.  I wish we were able to travel more, but we at least made it to down South to my parents a few times, and we might still try to sneak in an early September weekend to the beach.  But, our summer was really focused around keeping the kids entertained via local fun, growing the business, renovating the studio, and the general massive upkeep of daily life.  Trying to schedule client meetings and the necessary childcare for the last few months has been insane.  I like being able to work from home, and I am happy that I can mostly schedule things around the boys’ day, and while J. steps in a lot, nothing seems to happen in a super smooth fashion, and it’s damn exhausting.  I know I’m still lucky we have somewhat of a flexible schedule to make everything work.

L. is off to Preschool in the mornings, 4 days a week.  It’s not a long day for him, which is perfect, because he doesn’t come home over-tired and wiped out, but rather, he’s just invigorated and ready to squeeze more out of the rest of the day.  

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Last year, he went for a 2 days program, so this is going to be an adjustment for all, but oh how I love his school! Although it doesn’t help me in terms of fitting in a few hours of work, it is such a great place, and now, the extra time gives me the opportunity to take P. on a few solo adventures.  He’s used to just tagging along for L.’s older-kid stuff, so I’m excited to spend some quality time with him during those morning hours.  

I really enjoyed seeing all the kiddos first day back pictures up on the social media sites this week.  I have a handful of really close friends whose first born is off to Kindergarten this year.  My mama has been teaching in the same Kindergarten classroom, busting it, for 37 years, and I know how important that first day is for children, and how hard teachers work to make sure it’s extra special and inviting for all children.  My parents took a photo of us kids every year on the first day, and it’s not a new phenomenon that’s for sure.  Pinterest regurgitation is always fun to watch, but I did have to roll my eyes a little at a few jerk-os who made fun of the plethora of photos by posting a picture of their 30 something-selves with a chalkboard noting random daily acts (aka “on my third cup of coffee today, time to make a sign and post on fb!”).  What I think these folks don’t realize is that creating the “big deal” or “special picture” is positive energy around school, and no matter, that is always a good thing.  Kids need to feel like that first day IS a big accomplishment to be proud of, and that going to school is a milestone to be celebrated.  So pull out your signs and easels, chalkboards, and pomp and circumstance parents, and keep posting those pictures.  

Anyway, like many I’m sure, as the school season rolls around, I’m so ready for it.  At the end of the summer, I’m always looking forward to the changing season and excited by the Fall activities.  I’m already promising myself that we will pick plenty of apples, I’ll makes tons of comfort food and fill the house with the Autumn aroma, and NOT make the boys’ Halloween costume from scratch this year.  I’m going to leave a little extra time in there for all the other things I’ve over-committed myself to…!  I will however, be avoiding all of the news coverage of Princess Diana’s wedding dress being handed over to her sons.  Apparently, even though I am not a Royal fan-atic follower, the news report I read from FB earlier today made me ball my eyes out.  So random, I know.  

Also, if you get a chance, check out this Houzz article that features one of our Etch Projects (you guys over here know the project as L’s Toddler room!).  

Happy Wednesday!

Kate

What’s on my Bucket List

I used to make lists all the time.  Well, I kind of still make lists all the time, but they are of practical nature: grocery, to-do, honey-do, kid stuff, nothing reflective.  The lists I used to make before I had kids consisted of sappy stuff like “50 Things that I am Grateful for” or “Things to Never Ever Forget” as it related to various relationships, feelings, or milestones in my life.  It was like my secret exhaustive (embarrassing) therapy for my angsty younger self.  Looking back on them now, it was a pretty good way to document ideas or experiences since I was never the journaling type.  My sketchbook was always by my side, and those old books are filled with conversations and impractical lists of more wistful thoughts.  Each page was surprisingly indicative of whatever I happened to be tackling at the time.

Anyway, I turned 30 a few weeks ago, and while cleaning up the studio, I ran into a 11 year-old sketchbook that had a “Bucket List” on the first page.  It’s completely insane how you really are who you are, and although so much changes over time, I still secretly care about many of this stuff.  Even the stupid superficial ones!  Unfortunately, taking a a picture of myself on my 30th birthday in a bathroom stall at the Kennedy Center was not on my bucket list, or I’d have more than 12/30 things to cross off.

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30th birthday tipsy bathroom selfie

Oh and by the by, I used to have the most inappropriate language ever.  Mouth of a Sailor.  I’m much more tame now a days, thanks to many playdates with toddlers and a few years teaching middle school kids, but considering I am transcribing these exactly as my baby-self wrote them, forgive the many choice words.

Things I’ll Do | September 2003

1.  Travel to Taxila, Pakistan to see the damn good ceramics.

2. Own and maintain a Greenhouse.

3. Grow a bursting-ly delicious veggie garden and can the shit out of that shit, all Sally Homemaker style.

4.  Learn to speak German.

5. See the Nike of Samothrace- I know, so cliche but I’m so obsessed with Hellenistic Sculpture.

6. Spend time living in an Urban City. 

7.  Marry someone that I know will always be nice to me.  

8.  Have a fabulous studio in it’s own building in the back (or side) yard of my badass “dream” home.

9.  Have three kids.

10.  Travel with said future kids to Europe so they can get why I love paint.

11.  Live on a Farm, and have goats.  Thank you Lusa from Prodigal Summer.

12.  Own a Mary Heilmann chair because fuck yes.

13.  Learn to Snowboard.

14. Get the Tattoo I designed last year, on my wrist.

15. Own a business that focuses/condenses all of this shit I like to do.

16.  Go to Graduate School in NYC and get my MFA.

17. Maintain a well organized closet filled with an efficient and effortless wardrobe.

18.  Cut all my hair off, a la pixie.

19. Fly First Class.

20.  Make the paintings that I want to make.  Maybe I shouldn’t cross this off the list, it seems more of an “Always do this” entry

21.  Start using better oil paint without feeling guilty about it.

22.  Find an exercise routine that works and stick to it, bajezzzusssss.

23.  Karaoke some Backstreet Boys, because that shit isn’t done enough.  

24.  Become a Scotch drinker.

25.  Learn to swim, not just stay afloat.

26.  Travel to Italy (for the plethora of wine and art history).

27.  Show my paintings in real galleries, with real people who are interested in art.  

28.  Learn to cook less boring food.  

29.  Get a minor in Art History.

30.  Get my motorcycle license.  

And that concludes my tame exercise in reflection for this Monday evening.

Ciao!

Kate

 

Pillow Talk

Hi there!  It’s been a little too easy to put blogging aside for a few weeks.  Etch is wrapping up a project and I’ve got to get my act together for Teacher Appreciation week at L’s school (Hey Teachers!  I love y’all!), so I can’t stick around tonight, but I am over on Etch’s blog talking about the color combo coral and emerald green.  Check it out here.

Have a great one, friends.

 

Kate

 

Downton Abbey and Copious Amounts of Cheese

The season finale of Downton Abbey was last night.  I’m pretty sure that I was motivated more by cheese this season than by the goings on at Downton.  It’s not that it wasn’t great– the costuming, oh the costuming, simply amazing.  Lady Mary, eh, not so much.  Did she really question the morality of Bates’ likely vengeance, after announcing that she’s happy to lie to help some Prince avoid a scandal?  No thank you, ladypants.

Anyway, I’ll still wait with bated breath for next season, but it might secretly be for the cheese.  My darling friend and Downton-watching partner provided a baked brie every single week.  And seriously, we each have two kids to get to bed before airtime, and she never slacked off.  Not once.  I’m telling you, that’s brie dedication. In case you don’t believe me, or if we aren’t Facebook friends and you haven’t been annoyed each week by my Downton Sunday cheese shot, here is proof that I have had no self-control for the last 2 months. 20140224-152613.jpg 20140224-152628.jpg 20140224-152700.jpg 20140224-152720.jpg 20140224-152800.jpg 20140224-153334.jpg 20140224-153313.jpg

Happy Monday, folks.

Kate

Celebrating a few Birthdays

Around here, directly after the holiday season, we have birthday season.

L. turned three this past January, and we celebrated his actual birthday with my parents with Carvel ice cream cake, and various other family meals over the course of the weekend.

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A month later, P. turned one, and we made sure to let him smash some cake and FaceTime with his Grandparents.

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The following week was my Mom’s birthday, so I’m pretty sure L. thinks that we’re going to sing Happy Birthday and eat cake every other day.  I’d agree to it, if my waistline wasn’t already suffering!

We held a joint birthday party for the boys in early February.  It’s continued to be great fun to celebrate one more year of adventures as our little ones grow.  It’s also a great excuse to open up our house to our amazing family and friends to eat, drink, and be merry.

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I ordered an invitation design through Yellow Brick Graphics and had them printed locally.  I knew I wanted something very specific, considering it was a joint party, and Mickenzie was able to format one of her designs perfectly for the party.  If I wasn’t working against the clock, I would have just had them print the cards for me, but I needed something fast!  Using DIY printables is not something I shy away from, but if you account for the amount of time cutting, trip to the printers, getting envelopes (I always use Paper Source), etc. it may or may not be time well spent.  Either way, I loved the design she created for our party.

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L. thinks balloons are pretty rad, just like any kid, so we made sure to have plenty around the house.

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I had all my banners, decorations, props and graphics done by PaperBuilt and printed locally.   They are a great company based out of Baltimore/DC (support local small business, folks!).  They specialize in Printable Paper Parties and Crafts, and are simply fabulous!

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I served crab cake balls, fruit, a cheese and cracker spread, hummus and tabbouleh, and small feta and caramelized onion pastries, keeping things pretty light, so everyone would have room for cake.

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I made a few cakes this year, since it was a joint party, and I like to bake (only once or twice a year!).

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L. played it pretty cool all day, but he’s still talking about his birthday, three weeks later, so I know he had a blast.

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I can’t believe P. is a year old already!

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I made the same rainbow cake again this year.

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The second cake was an orange infused vanilla layer cake with orange whip buttercream frosting.

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I threw a few PaperBuilt props around for the kids to play with.  I kept it pretty low key/hands off in terms of “kids activities,” so these little things added to the free play fun.

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We sent everyone home with airplane sugar cookies and lollipops (aka sugar overload!), and an apology for such to all the parents involved!  I had little suitcase favor bags for the kids, I just forgot to snap a pic.  Hopefully these wooden airplane kits that we sent home with the kids served as a fun activity to pass the time on a cold day.

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Love these two boys to pieces, and can’t believe another year has passed so quickly!

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Check out the rest of the party pics on Facebook.

Kate

One step at a time

I keep meaning to snap a picture of how the bathroom is coming along.

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We’ve got the floor tile in! I think grouting will happen tomorrow- possibly.

It’s been a lot of work to get here. After completely demolishing the room and replumbing the house, J. came back to the bathroom and leveled, straightened and reframed walls, moved light fixtures and switches, framed in the medicine cabinet, configured and installed all the new plumbing (more on our final decision for the shower configuration later!), then he rebuilt the walls with cement backer board and dry wall. After he put a new ceiling up, he leveled and set the new tub, and took care of all the paper tape and mudding that goes with all the drywall areas. He leveled the floor and adhered the cement backer board down to the subfloor, and filled all of the backer board seams with cement.

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Long list, eh? I’m probably missing a handful of things, and oh, all the details- so much goes into a project like this. Needless to say, seeing that tile down was very exciting, considering it was looking like this in there just a few short weeks ago!

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Cheers to marble!

Kate

The days are long

You know how the rest goes…. something like “but the years are short.”  I know, I know.  This mom thing is tough.  We’ve all had colds this week, I’ve got too much to do, and still, we run out of hours.

But the boys are such good little characters.  L. loves his baby bro, and I couldn’t ask for more patience from a three year old.  I take it for granted, that part I’m sure.

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I shared these photos on Facebook today.  I’ve been so impatient this week.  And this morning, the quiet play just made me take a step back.  Far too often, I have to remind myself that they are only going to be young for a tiny little while.  And I’ll miss it when it’s over.  I will really miss it.  So I need to stop resenting the dinner, the toys, the general fact that I’m constantly cleaning up something that smells bad, and just take a breath.

Anyway, our living room is where the boys do the majority of their playing, and we store the bulk of their toys in there, so it’s just a mess, and it’s been really getting under my skin.  Like, I don’t think I’m getting enough sleep because everything feels like it’s in disarray, seriously (Taurus, earth sign, order in home, you know the drill).  Obviously, the Playmobil Pirates need to take Thomas the Train to visit the Lego Firestation, so by the end of the day, every single toy is out, and some elaborate train track or lego town has been meticulously constructed. I am mildly a type-a personality, so if I didn’t know any better, I’d have stifled his creativity a long time ago by insisting he only play with one set of toys at a time (Although I think I’m completely reasonable to expect that if he wants to do a puzzle, he needs to put away the 235 race cars that are ALL over this house first!).  He’s getting pretty good at cleaning up after himself, granted, but I still need to figure out how to effectively store all of this stuff so I can enjoy my glass of wine on the couch at the end of the day, without a monster truck jabbing me in the side.

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Ok, that’s all for tonight.  I think this means I have a project on the horizon, no?

Have a great weekend, ya’ll.

Kate

A quick hello!

Hi there.  Just popping in to wave my hands around and let you know I’m still here.  Kinda.  I’ve been swamped, and I keep getting behind, which I hate hate hate.

I finally got around to developing a much more user friendly and happy space on the web to organize my paintings.  Still same domain, but now a lot nicer looking.  Check it out, I’d love to hear what you think!

In other news, Etch will be launching it’s www soon, too!  We’re in the site testing phase, and it’s very involved, in a good way.  Part of the hustle to get my personal website’s cobwebs dusted was to have things ready when Etch’s dot com goes live.  I’ve spent too much time staring at this computer screen!

I will share the process in more depth later, but for now, it serves as an excuse for my blogity neglect.  That and the fact that my 3 year old (yes, L turned three!!!) wants to go outside and play in the snow 35 times a day.  I know I could come up with many excuses as to why I will not put that glove back on his hand, but I just can’t help it, he love playing outside in the freezing cold snow day fun.

Happy Wednesday.

Kate