December 24, 2013

Twas the Night Before Christmas

After a long weekend of hosting relatives and the last several days full of family fun, not a creature is stirring this Christmas Eve with the kids in bed early and us relaxing. Today is a break in the extended family action before we start the Shirzad celebrations tomorrow. Merry Christmas everyone!

December 17, 2013

December Fun

Loving Santa at the Providence Festival of Trees

Preschool Christmas concert

Zara rolling out sugar cookie dough

Lexi decorating her sugar cookies

Zara went for multi-color cookies

Baby # 3 is a ....

December 8, 2013

Our Cozy Family Room is Finished

A year and a half later, our family room is finished. Well, I have a couple more minor things to do, but finished enough to call it done. When we bought our house, this huge empty brick fireplace was massive. The hearth stuck out really far into the middle of the room. It was a tripping hazard to say the least. We knew the long fireplace wall needed built-in bookcases. The lights were there pointing to blank walls. So weird. 

Among all the other major house projects that had to be done when we moved in, this one was not a high priority. We do spend the most time in this room since our TV lives here and its open to the kitchen so it's so great to have it done. I LOVE it! Now I just need to fill all those shelves. Time to go shopping. 

Right after we moved in last year, we demoed the front of the fireplace hearth so it didn't jut into the middle of the room so much. We got this done right away before we had the new carpet installed so the carpet would go over the old brick. Note that baby gate we had covering the open fireplace for a LONG time. Classy. 

We also replaced the windows in this room last year, along with several others in our house. We  chose to replace the three same-sized windows with a larger center window and two smaller ones on the side.Then we didn't do anything else to this room for another year while we tackled other projects.

Last month we bought a fireplace and had that installed. Now its so cozy when we all sit on the couch and watch football or movies. The biggest task was building those shelves. We lucked out that the IKEA Billy shelves were almost a perfect fit (width) for our space. We used 4 of the 79" x 31" x 15" white bookcases. Of course those were just the beginning. Marcus spent many hours building platforms for the shelves to sit up off the ground, re-working the electrical outlets that used to be on that wall, trimming out all the shelves and finally painting all the trim.

I'm so proud of my talented husband who takes my ideas and executes them about ten times better than I could even imagine, dealing with all my questions and opinions along the way. When he lets out a long sigh and answers my naive questions with "Natalie" instead of a nickname, I know I need to be quiet.

All that's left for this room is a little armchair for that space between the TV and the bookcase on the left. Plus some baskets and other decor for all those shelves. 

December 4, 2013

Three and a Half

Having kids has ruined all my perfect judgement. I used to roll my eyes at people celebrating their kids' half birthdays. Guess what? Today was the half-way birthday for A&Z and we celebrated. I also used to have this standard that every member of the family should be on the Christmas card and not just the kids. Well this week I ordered our cards and low and behold, only the kids are pictured. That's what happens when you realize its already December so you put the kids in front of the tree, bribe with chocolate, dance around and get the dang picture! Boy I used to know everything before I had kids.

The half birthday is a big deal in the three year old world. Lexi and Zara talk about their birthday all the time. They are very focused on when they will turn 4 and then 5 and then get to go to kindergarten like the older kids at preschool. I'm not sure if the half birthday celebration appeased them or added fuel to the obsession.

Like any logical three year olds, they chose to celebrate with frozen yogurt at Menchies. No problem that it is the coldest day of the year today. Yum for me too!
Zara (left) and Lexi (right)