Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Decorating: You Can Go Your Own Way (Wordless Wednesday)

Click to enlarge.
Of course, in true Oy Vey That Boy fashion, he had to be in the picture, even if he was already in jammies.
The corner before (with the last owner's stuff)

I got hooked on Pinterest months before we moved.  So, I had more than enough time to collect decorating inspiration for the new place which existed only in our dreams.

I created an "Oy Vey That Boy" folder full of inspiration for my son's room.  After toying with super heros, monsters, dogs, and other animals, I found this inspiration.  That did it.  I LOVE that sentiment and I love the colors and shapes of maps.  I love the sentimentality of maps from our past just as much as I love the potential contained when we grip a map to a place we've never been.  I showed my son some of the map ideas I found and he loved them.  I knew I wanted to wallpaper one of his (dreary brown) walls with maps (I've actually wallpapered 3 walls).  I found a great collection of websites where I could request maps and I did.

During the actual move, whenever we stopped, I searched for maps.  If I found some freebies, I grabbed two or three.

When we arrived here at the new house, we found our map collection was woefully inadequate.  "What if we ask people to send us maps from where they live," my son asked.  And so we did.  Through Facebook, I asked friends to send maps from their home state, their current town, countries they visited, their favorite amusement park, etc.  Some did just that.

For those maps we didn't get, Tour Guide Google helped.  I found pdf files of maps from zoos that were near and dear to us.  I found links to tourism departments for states/countries where our friends and family live and requested those.  I was able to search through gorgeous vintage maps from places not so near, but very dear to us.

In this past month, my son has received more mail than he has in all his 5 and 1/2 years combined.  Friends and family addressed their maps to him.  I purposely requested maps in his name from the tourism departments.  He LOVED it.

Just last week, I found we had collected enough maps to begin the project.  Initially, I used wallpaper adhesive to attach the maps to the wall.  I started with some of the larger ones, and filled in with smaller ones.  I found many maps have smaller maps of various areas on the back of the large map.  So having two or three copies came in VERY handy.

I purposely tried to position important maps at what will be his eye level when in bed.  So there, you'll find a map of the state where he was born, a small map of the town where we last lived, a map of Israel, a map the kids used in a school project about our heritage (yes, it's the actual map from their display.  I found it during the move and took it apart) and a map of his favorite zoo.  Our change of address cards have a map background and one of those is up there too at eye level.

Great Grandpa's St. Louis map
He has the neatest collection of maps.  There are maps sent by friends from their home states.  There's a giant world map that used to hang in his grandmother's office.  There's an old St. Louis map that once belonged to his great grandfather.  There are gorgeous maps I found from the Graphics Fairy.  When I came across a map of the route of the British Royal Wedding, I had to grab that and put it up.  There are 21 year-old maps from DisneyLand (the last time I was there).  There are maps from all the places dh and I have lived.  I came across a few cool maps in magazines and saved them.  They're up there too.

Over the window sill

Oh yes, it's Hogwarts.

Royal Wedding procession map

Neat map I tore out of the last Woman's Day magazine.
You can tell I couldn't get it exactly right.  Note the great state of Tes. 

Before we moved, a friend gave us a whole host of toys for the ride (which helped save my sanity).  Among them was this puzzle along with that note attached.  I damn-near giggled with delight because I already knew I wanted to go with the map theme.  I purposely saved the note.  I figure we'll put this together, seal it, hang it up and keep the note with it on the wall.

The thrift store fairies worked their magic a few weeks ago.  I saw this super cool puzzle at the thrift store.  I adored the colors and the fact that, HELLLLLOOO, it's a MAP, but I worried it wouldn't all be there.  Opening it up revealed that it's still sealed in the bag.  This is actually a personalized puzzle someone purchased this past Xmas for a family member (the receipt was still in the box).  You can have a map made of any address.  Apparently, the recipient didn't like it, but I sure did.  By that point, though, I had a bunch of maps and figured I didn't need any more.  We left without buying it, but that entire weekend, I was mad at myself for doing that.  When we returned the following week, not only did I find it again, but it was half price, so I got this for a whopping 98 cents.  I will not ignore the thrift store fates when they damn-near toss this into my hands.  I bought it that time.

It's still a work in progress.  My mother recently grabbed a magnetic knife rack at Ikea which I'll put up in his room to hold his cars.  She also grabbed some spice racks that I'll paint and put up to hold his books (his baby sister will get some too).  His sister's old Finding Nemo desk will be covered in maps (just the Nemo portions.  I'm actually leaving the blue and orange because I think they'll work well with the map colors) and moved into his room.  You can see in that shot that he's still in a toddler bed.  We need to get him a new twin bed and pass that down to his baby sister.  I have an old scratched up dining room chair that I want to paint, recover and put in his room.  If you look through the Oy Vey That Boy folder, you'll see some of the other ideas I'm considering for his room.  Right now, one large wall is still brown.  I'm not going to cover that, but I'm strongly considering painting it turquoise.

Oh and did you notice the parachuting monkey between the windows?  That was $1.99 find at Michael's.  They have wall stickers on clearance and I had to grab that.  It was too stinking cute.  Nothing completes a travel-themed room like a parachuting monkey.  ;-)


Tuesday, June 28, 2011



It's that time of year again.  The sun (or complete lack thereof),  the hiking, swimming in the lake, the complete lack of parental supervision, the posing for pictures while flashing ridiculous-looking peace signs (in every single freaking picture even though your mother BEGGED you to resist the urge) or somehow managing to hide every time someone with a camera is near so that there's little to no evidence of your existence, the shabbat services in a pretty dress and muddy sneakers (because they won't let you wear your shower flip-flops and that's your only other option).

My homegoys (tm) may read that and scratch their head, but it is, in fact, Jewish overnight camp time.

Generations of Jewish mothers have sent their children away to Jewish-themed camps every summer only to sit back and freak the hell out their ever-loving minds worry too much while their kids are gone.  This year, I joined their ranks for the very first time.

Our move worked out just in time for the big two to head to camp for the first time.  So, this past Sunday, at an insane hour of the morning, we herded the goat rodeo to the synagogue parking lot where a huge bus picked up our teeny tiny girls and started off on its journey, SIX HOURS away from us.

We greeted friends, we took pictures, we loaded bags crammed full (of some things we'll probably never see again), we kissed them, hugged them, and the huge bus pulled away.  I immediately turned to my husband and asked, "What did we just do?"

Funny thing is, I remember asking that exact same question when we dropped our 3-year-old twins off at Sunday school for the first time.  Granted, Sunday school wasn't SIX HOURS away (yes, I must type that in all caps every time I write it.  It's required).

I'm left to ask, how the hell am I going to send them to college*?

*They're 9.  

**I tried and tried and tried to concoct a witty title for this entry.  This one is the best portrayal of my actual thoughts and feelings on the topic.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: File Under "Squee"

I snapped this picture of our youngest this past weekend (on our front porch) while we were on our way out furniture hunting. Oh the cuteness! It's almost enough to make the fact that we STILL don't have couches bearable. But, alas, cuteness doesn't provide you with a place to sit.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bargain Brag: Old Navy bathing suits

I got 3 brand new girls' bathing suits at Old Navy for a total of $10.22.  That's $3.41 cents per suit.

Was this just another one of those Jedi mind tricks?  Nope.

I caught the Old Navy Groupon for a $20 gift card for $10.  It was only good in store, but that's fine with me because I get much better deals in store, so I very rarely shop Old Navy online.  I had a $5 credit at Groupon, so it only cost me $5 for the $20 gift card.

My daughters tried on a number of suits and we went with three that fit & they liked.  They were all on sale, so my total came to $25.22.  After my Groupon, the bill was $5.22.  That's on top of the $5 I paid in the first place.  So three cute suits for a whopping total of $10.22.

I like Old Navy's bathing suits.  In our experience (which includes day camp and many hours spent in the pool) they hold up well and don't fade (I was royally pissed when a suit I splurged on for the girls faded within the first week of camp).  I wasn't pleased with the fit of the two pieces this year (My daughters wear the tankini type suits and those were much more revealing this year than last.  The bottoms were also MUCH bigger than usual, so the girls didn't have the option of going up a size for more coverage), but the one pieces are great and very cute.  They fit great--very true to size.

The only down-side we encountered was that many of the suits were already out of stock at the store.  Still, we were able to get cute suits and a great price.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Clear your calendar

We've been unpacking in fits and spurts.  Initially, we went at it at full force, barreling through boxes at break-necking speeds*.  Lately, though, we'll empty a box here or we'll open two or three in an attempt to find something specific.

The other night, I was on a  quest for the husband's military medical records (which were in his black "Police" bag in the sitting room of the old house.  Why the movers didn't actually put all the things from the sitting room in boxes labeled, "Sitting Room," is beyond me.  Instead, they did that with a few boxes and then shoved things from other rooms in other boxes so that we have to play detective to find damn-near anything).  I never did find those records, but I did find an unopened roll of wall paper, swords (my husband collects them), a library book FROM OKLAHOMA (thanks, kids), tons and tons and tons of hangers, four phone books (For a state 2000 miles away.  Thanks, movers), and my calendar.

I always have a Jewish calendar (the Jewish calendar isn't anchored to the secular one, so I need it to know when holidays fall on the secular one).  This year, however, my mother bought went a wee bit crazy and bought us all (secular) calendars for Chanukah.  So now I have one of those fancy "Busy mom" type calendars.  What it lacks in Hebrew, it makes up for in a nifty pen attached to the top of the calendar (which the movers appear to have lost).

According to the calendar, our life ceased to exist after May 16th, moving day.  We've only been here a few weeks, but it's already a whole other world.  I stared at that calendar as though it was frozen in another time.  There are doctor appointments on there from doctors we will never see again.  The last Girl Scout meeting is there.  Oh how I miss those girls and their moms!  The very last birthday we ever celebrated in that house is there.  We moved into that house just 2 weeks before our girls were born.  So it was fitting that we left just after their birthday.  There was that last minute trip with friends to a local attraction that I always wanted to visit, but never did until that day (and had a blast).  I completely forgot that our family was reunited on Friday the 13th.  See the early family services labeled there that day?  Well, we came home from services and found my husband home after 8 months apart during this move.  After years of deployments and training and combat zones and civilian job training, it's over.  On that day, we celebrated shabbat with friends and we got our family back.

I looked at the calendar for a while.  It was late.  The kids were in bed.  The husband was at work.  The house was quiet.  I stared at May and remembered.  Then, with some reluctance, I flipped the page to June, completely blank and hung it up.   Moving right along.

*Either an exaggeration or wishful thinking.  Take your pick.


Monday, June 6, 2011

"Strangers are exciting. Their mystery never ends, but there's nothing like looking at your own history in the faces of your friends."-Ani DiFranco

152:365 friendship lost {explored}

Our move has gone very well.  We made the drive quicker than expected without any loss of life or limb (or sanity).  We moved into the house without a hitch.  The movers delivered all our items in one piece (for the most part).  Our neighbors are very nice.  The kids made instant friends.  I'm finding my way around the area a bit.  I like the house.  Painting is taking longer than I'd like, but we're getting there.

My only problem has been friends.  We've met some wonderful people out here including a few I'm sure will become great friends in time.  Still, everyone is busy with their own lives, so I haven't been able to spend real time with any of them.

Everything around here reminds me of the friends I left behind.  I unpack boxes given to me by friends.  I unpack the dragonfly yard ornament one friend gave me before she moved.  My husband sees a huge box from the attic and asks, "How the hell did you get that down," to which I reply, "I didn't.  I, however, have awesome friends who did."  I miss them.  I get the urge to call someone up to go thrift store shopping or to ask who wants to go to the zoo with us.  Then I remember that, #1.  I don't know where the thrift stores are, #2.  I have no one to go with me, #3.  We don't have a zoo here.  #4. The friends who would have gone with me live in another state.

Pardon me while I pout.  (foot stomp, hands on hips) I miss my friends.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An open letter to the former owners: WTF?

Dear Former Owners,

Why?  Please explain to me the thought process that went into your color choices for the humble abode which is now ours?  Cranberry red?  Really?  Why?  And why in the world is one wall in the front room that monstrosity of red while the other two are puke green (I swear that really must be the official name of the paint)?

What is the name of the demon who possessed you to paint the ENTIRE DINING ROOM in that awful dark red?  I would like to send him a firmly worded letter (full of expletives).  Nothing says, "Let's enjoy this delicious dinner together with our lovely family" quite like walls that look as though they're drenched in blood.

SIX FREAKING COATS OF PAINT is what it took to cover just one of those red walls (including 2 coats of primer).

This entire house has me wandering around asking, "What were they thinking?"  So please, do tell, what WERE you thinking?

Moose?  Really?  Why?

I want a 2 page essay explaining the motivation behind these firmly attached horrors.

Please explain your love affair of the ugliest shades of green and peach.  It is not 1987.  CUT THAT OUT.

the New Owners
who will be painting for the next three months to cover these horrid colors

P.S.  Our sincerest thanks for taking that awful ceiling fan with antlers with you.

The infamous antler fan (at least a portion of it) at the top of this photograph.

Please note: don't blame me for the furniture or colors.  Those are all the fault of the former owners.

It was actually far worse than it appears in this shot.  There were even MORE antlers than you can see in this shot and there was a large log replica at the base against the ceiling.!