Sunday, December 21, 2014

"Go Pack! GO!"

Between all of the painting and Christmas concerts we decided that an adventure was needed to stir up the boys curiosity a bit.  Nathaniel had been talking for weeks about Aaron Rodgers and how when he grows up he wants to be a Green Bay Packer!  This morning we had an opportunity to travel over to the 'Frozen Tundra' for a fun day trip!  Who on earth would travel to Lambeau Field on a day when the Packers are playing at an away game..?    US! 

I was surprised as every time I go there (not even to watch a game) there is something new to explore.  This time I was shocked to see how large the Packers Pro Shop has gotten! The boys were in heaven checking out all the little knick-knacks, toys, hats and footballs. With the boys both being so young (and FREE) we took advantage of taking a Lambeau Field Tour for $11.00 for each of us--for the hour long tour.  Knowing that the Packers were elsewhere today, I was pumped to be able to actually go out on the 'field' (more on that later). 

Once we rode up the escalator, the boys were able to shake out their giggles and wiggles in the large atrium.  Coincidentally, this is about the time kick-off was happening in Tampa Bay--we were able to watch the game as we hung out til tour time.  The boys enjoyed tackles and plays with the hash marks laid out within the flooring.  For almost an hour the boys were completely content--even though we weren't really doing anything other than looking around.... the atmosphere was full of energy. The atrium can be deceiving because it is so spaced out that it doesn't feel like there are a lot of people because everyone is tucked back in their own corners.  However, when the Packers made a great play, the ENTIRE atrium filled with shouts and cheers; it was pretty sweet! Even though we couldn't see all the fans, they were there.

When the tour started we were ushered up to the fourth floor and were allowed into an $83,000/year suite! (and that was the smallest size)  The boys were very excited to finally see the field (and I was excited to see the latest additional of 7,000 seats on the south end).  As per usual, I am in awe for about the first five minutes--it's just such a cool place.

This picture shows the green seating (the newest seating added on prior to the beginning of this season).  We received a significant amount of Green Bay Packers history while sitting in this box.  It was humbling to hear just how things came to be and how much tradition is carried through with this team.  I felt so proud to be a Packer Fan when the great story of the team's birth and legends was being told.  We had individuals from New Jersey and Upper Michigan on the tour; we were the only 'Wisconsinites.'  After the suite we were taken down to the basement (which is unlike any other basement in the NFL.... Two racquetball courts, a basketball court, a workout center, cafeterias, etc... it's more like an insane YMCA!  When we got off the elevator the boys got excited because they knew that we were about to go near the field--Carson wanted to get out there NOW...he was pulling on my coat the whole time!  We zipped up our coats and made our way through The Tunnel.  I didn't think it would be so awesome; but let me just say, I was again humbled by the awesomeness. To know of ALL of the players and greatness to come through there, it almost teared me up!  There is a bunch of tradition within the walk out to the field, I will save those trinkets as a surprise for those who haven't done the tour.  

Joel-Our Tour Guide

Our tour guide had awesome information, was great with my young boys, and had a True Packer Fan Spirit--it just felt good to hang out with him for an hour.  The boys were amazed that the field screens were so incredibly huge and as wide as two of our houses! 

As we were about to leave the field we called out to a major Green Bay Packer Legend by shouting out into the field--"Go PACK! GO!"  The boys later told me that this was their favorite part of the whole day (It was mine too).

Once we got back up to the atrium for the closing of the tour it was halftime and the boys were HUN-GRY (this means so incredibly cranky that mom is about to lose her mind).   We thanked Joel and went up to Curly's Pub (where the noisy folks were hiding out).  I was happy our hostess seated us in a booth looking right over the front of the stadium.  I 'went crazy' and ordered a soda, Nathaniel got a root beer in a glass bottle (living on the edge) and Carson stuck with his usual chocolate milk!  Jason and my burgers had this awesome branding when our dishes arrived.... it was picture worthy.  And... now I want a Green Bay Packer 'brander' for my kitchen.

As we left, the Packers clenched another win and we are one step closer to the NFC North Championship!  Only 6 days, 16 hours, 23 minutes and 42 seconds until their next kickoff!  GO PACK! GO! SUCH an amazing day!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sweat Equity

The beginning steps of a painting project are the most annoying -- but most important of the whole process.  90% of the project is in preparation and clean up.  Gathering all the supplies, prepping the room, planning the proper order of walls/trimming can be a bit tricky.  I take great pride in being very organized during a project. There is nothing more annoying than to stop mid-way and have to run across town covered in paint from head to toe to grab an extra drop cloth or Frogtape.

Having the boys away every other weekend allows me the time and ability to forge through an idea with gusto!  Today I will share some of my preparation for the boy's bedroom makeover.

First off, I start with removing ALL items from the walls (posters, pictures, screws/nails), ceilings and windows. I move the large and cumbersome furniture to the middle of the room and it gets a drop sheet on it for time and simplicity sake.

Next up is lighting.  Nothing bugs more more than getting all cleaned up, looking at a section/spot on the wall and seeing a neglected area or not enough coats of paint. I learned early on in my 'painting career' (three houses ago) that lighting can make or break your sanity when it comes to a beautiful result.  I take off every lamp shade, open all blinds (depending on the location of the sun--it can white out too much and throw the coloring off).  I get extension cords plugged in the walls ahead of time so that all I have to do while I am 'in process' is pick up any lamp in the room and walk with it.  It is important in evaluating your work after each section to scan for blotchy spots or major errors.

Once I have the good light beaming is when I patch up the walls with Spackle.  My home is 68 years old and sand paint is the texture I have to apply for the rooms, which is applied after the Spackle dries.

Purchasing the paint and supplies can become costly (the first time you do it).  Once you have a lot of the supplies, however, all you need is the paint.  I like to scope out paint colors online and I stick with what the websites say 'works' for having certain colors together. I usually have an idea of the color I want, then seek out the coordinating/accent colors from the professionals.  I have never been disappointed with my choices. I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS spend money on the higher quality paint and don't tolerate something from a  (no offense) 'Big-Box/Man Store.'

When I get the paint home I like to examine the paint before I start the job.  There have been times when I have had the paint mixed and the mixing person does not share the color with me... that drives me absolutely nuts!  If I am spending $50.00 a gallon on paint, I want to see what I am purchasing from you.  So, if they haven't done that for me before I purchased, I get my OCD self home and check it out.  I also do a 'drop' sample on each lid and side of can.  This way I can quick reference from the shelves when stored away or when I am standing in the room painting away and need to open something up quick. I am all about making my future self happy, this is a serious time-saver.

It is important to have a sturdy workstation while painting (covered with a drop cloth if the furniture is important).  When starting out a job I like to have a list (found on Pinterest or any DIY website) with a suggested list of items.  (Why NOT use it-again time-saver).  Added on to my list are garbage bags-which I use to cover the paint tray and brushes overnight, rather than cleaning, some good tunes, 'junk shoes' (for standing on the ladder), a small bowl of water (with lid) and paper towels for small slip-ups.

Here is what my workstation looks like before I get going:

Once I have everything in one place, the room is cleared, I am dressed for a mess and tunes are on.. Stage 4 of prep starts... taping.  I use Frogtape (shown above) and a straight edge to help push down for corners, woodwork and alternating between wall and ceiling.  Taping can be a tedious job but it is worth it.  I don't have a sturdy hand AND I am a huge klutz, so I appreciate this step big time.  Once that is done, I am ready to rock with the drop cloths getting laid out, I pour my paint for trim work and begin....

I start with the ceiling. Every time. I start with the trim (any straight line is followed), corners and outlets/switches or areas that can't fit a roller between.  When I have trimming (coat 1) complete I roll out the first big area.  This is usually when I get excited because I know I am finally underway with the project and there is no turning back!  A sturdy ladder or step stool is important to have nearby so that every area of the room is accessible.  Note: it is important to roll out the entire wall/ceiling in one full coat completing it in its entirety. Reason being, if you have one area of the wall wet/the other dry and it isn't done together, you may mistake an area for not having a deep enough hue/shade.  Can you tell I have made this mistake?  Here is what the boy's room looked like when I started out:

Lots of work to be done!  More to come... 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Best Parts of Each Season

When I thought of doing this post, I was simply planning on picking one or two photos for each season and that would be it.  However, when I started looking through my photo app. I started racking up quite a few--46 to be exact.  Observing the fantastic-ness and beauty of each season is really hard for me to narrow down.  My boys and I are SO lucky to live in Wisconsin; where we live and breathe each season for an average of 14 weeks.. (Winter came WAY early this year--it will be more like 21 or 22 this time around). True-to-form, my favorite season (summer) had the most pictures and my least favorite (winter) had the least.

 Watching the crops begin their journey and BLUE Skies!
After six months of gray and white--this is a welcome view.

 The daffodils and tulips are the first to announce we are close to warmer temperatures
--again, I love the color!

Our first trip up north to the cabin happens once the driveway snow melts (around 2nd week of April)
enough so we can let the vehicles in. 
I love watching the new little lives of ducks, deer and others grace the shore.

 Easter is probably my most favorite holiday. I love why we celebrate, I love the traditions surrounding it, I love the Easter egg hunts, I love the Peeps (yep, I am one of those people), I love the pastel colors, I love the jellybeans.   "Christ is Risen, Indeed!"  :-)

Lilacs and their scent.  I don't like the allergies they push on me--oh, but it's worth it.

The first trip to the garden center has to be one of my most favorite days of the year. 
The smell of dirt and seeds. 
Flowers and fertilizer. 
Coming home with the first potted plant of the year always makes me smile. 
Seeing the green grass NEXT to the potted plant; that calls for a grill out!
The FIRST grill out of the year!

 Playing outside can resume comfortably!
The days are getting longer.

Hydrangeas bloom near the end of May/beginning of June; they are absolutely my most FAVORITE
'flower' (bush) that exists in my region.

The trees begin to bud their flowers, and leaves are becoming abundant.  This is also another week where my allergies amplify--but I LOVE the beauty of the colors and life that comes out in nature. 

 The cabin. No filter, every sunset is different and just as beautiful.

Wildlife is everywhere.

Being on the water is best!  Water sports, swimming, fishing... all of it.

Sparkles on the water.

Watching the summer rain scatter across the lake from the deck.

Fun with family in the brilliant sunshine.

Again....Grilling out. An excellent brat with some Secret Stadium Sauce is BEST!

THE. Milwaukee Brewers! The games. Tailgating. Brats. Beer. Baseball cookies.

My Birthday is in the summer -- and I always try to take the day off from work, be with family, do something I enjoy and thank God for another year lived. 


Leaves changing.  'Peak week' is usually the second week of October in these parts. 
That week is also celebrated now because of Carson's Birthday being then.... I am so thankful for the best part of autumn occurs the same week he was born.  
(Picture below) was taken 6 days before his birth; I was contracting irregularly from this day forward until he was born.  I believed that the delivery would never come... but he did! And was it ever worth the hard work!

The smell of wet leaves.  
Hiking in the woods in autumn.  Peaceful. Open.  Cool. 

Best part of Autumn???   The cabin... again.

Caramel apples. Sweatshirts. Fire in the fireplace.

The Canadian Geese come for a visit as they travel south... they spend many weeks in town.

Below is showing the best part of autumn: The last fishing day with Papa before the lake freezes.


Frost on the trees upon waking up has to be the best part of winter.

Sparkles in the snow.

Drinks in the snow: Major benefit of living in cold temperatures

Opportunities for snow forts

Snuggling with babies while watching Christmas Parades is a 'Best!'

Walking 'the hill' at (guess where?) THE CABIN... and SLEDDING!!!!!

Watchin' Da Packers (with these two cuties--my BFF)!

That's all I got for now....
A little bit random of a post, but hopefully you can feel the beauty that I see and experience throughout my year!  

Blessed to enjoy the best of the FOUR SEASONS where I live and love!