Library Lessons

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The local library has such wonderful events and classes for local children. I have been taking my kids there for years, starting with the amazing summer reading program. Throughout the year though, the library offers Saturday events for children and weekly classes. Every week, Miss F and I go to one class on Wednesday. This early literacy program includes, singing,fine motor skill development, reading books and making crafts. Every week centers around a theme and she loves it.

If our week days are not as jam packed, we stop by to play with the puzzles or say hi to the librarian who Miss F adores. A few weeks ago, she read pirate stories and made a pirate hat.

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We also read books on colors and how sunflowers grow. She made her own sunflower and showed everyone in town after we left the library.

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She learned that when you pick colors together you create new colors. This was awesome because my home remained clean for this activity!

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And on another day, her Poppy joined us for a walk to the library to play with the puzzles and then a stop at the park afterwards.

I cherish all these moments with her. They are very special to me.

Lower Level Lounging

After the photo ledges were put up, I put some more finishing touches on the room. It is far from complete. Some additional lighting needs to be added, the fireplace needs to be covered with stone, the wall above the couch needs something on it. All in time and there is no rush to finish it.

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I snapped these pictures on a cloudy day, but if the sun is shining, the rays stream right through the windows and doors.

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The Coldplay lyrics are covering up the fireplace. I put some of the kids’ artwork up there until we finish that area.

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Alex’s room and the kids’ play closet as well as a few storage rooms are on the other side of the lower level. There is plenty of space for all of us and now that the room is a bit more finished, it is nice to just chill down there.

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Take a Picture

The lower level of our home is a space that we hope to live in more during the cold winter months. It is definitely cozy down there and sometimes I sit down there and hide. But, I am always found rather quickly.

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This is what the space looked like after we moved in and put the floors down. The floors are actually tile designed to look like wood planks.

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This is the far wall that leads you out to the lower level patio and the other wall that has the fireplace and tv room area.

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The fireplace is still not covered in stone. That might be a winter weekend project or early fall. We have plenty of stones left over from the walls that we saved. The floors have radiant heating and are so toasty when the cold temperatures hit.

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This is what the area looked like after the floors were finished and cleaned. I do not think I have many shots of that area since that time was a blur. The walls are painted BM Gray Owl. I was a bit concerned that it would look too dark in the area, but a flood of sunlight comes through the windows for the first half of the day.

When I moved in, I decided to not put anything on the walls for the first 6 months. I really wanted to live in the space and see what, if anything, I would put on them. I put a mirror or two up, but that was it. I had the same approach with the lower level. Only a few weeks ago did I decide what the space needed. The far wall alongside the garage area was massive. I decided that a wall of photo ledges was what it needed. I debated three large scale frames for a bit, but the photo ledges won out and all the frames in 6 storage boxes could be emptied out too.

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We went to Home Depot and bought two 12 foot long poplar pieces. After sanding them down and putting an edge band on them, they were painted white. I previously bought shelving from IKEA for a previous project, but wanted the shelves to be not too wide, so custom was the route to go.

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After one shelf was up, I knew immediately that the wall would need three shelves instead of two.  Live and learn, and another lesson in listening to my instinct.

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So the wall sat like this for a few days before the last shelf was made and photos put up. I liked the idea of layering the ledges, and it wasn’t a difficult thing to do since I had hundreds of frames in storage.

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I really like how it encompasses the entire wall. The kids love to look at the photographs and I can change them out throughout the year.

Grandma

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When you think of your grandma, how would you describe her? My Dad’s mom, who we all call Grandma, could be described as the quintessential Grandmother. Always smiling, eager for her great-grandchildren to dance, act silly and just be kids. Visiting her at her home is never a quiet visit. She loves her Price is Right on the loudest setting, and would think nothing of my kids hooting and hollering, laughing and jumping around. The rowdier the better time we all would have.

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Growing up, my Dad and I would visit her and Grandpa almost every week. She taught me how to play Gin Rummy, make paper airplanes and hats. We would walk to the local drug store and buy candy or get ice cream at the local diner. Every now and then I would go to Saturday Mass with her, always sitting in the same pew. I cannot think of ever a time when she didn’t make me feel special or for that matter loved.

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When I resigned from teaching, I was able to reconnect more with my family. Looking back now, it was a blessing and I would not change leaving my job for a second. I was able to bring Mr.S and Miss F and visit her more often and watch them make her smile and laugh. I now can look at all those pictures I snapped on those visits and see that every single one had her laughing and my kids rolling on the floor. Those are priceless moments forever captured. Moments in time.

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I never fully appreciated or recognized how amazingly strong and loving my Grandma was until I became a mother. Life has a way of handing you devastation unexpectedly , and how you learn to process a new life through grief and try to find joy in a new way of living can be unbearable or impossible for many. A feat that no one ever wants to imagine facing. She did exactly that for most of her life after the loss of her beloved daughter. Every holiday, special family event, or any normal day, she showed us all love and happiness despite how deeply she missed and grieved her daughter. A lesson we can all follow in our lives when we sweat the small stuff.

Her love of her family showed in her requests for a quick picture at every visit. Her walls adorned with photos of her family.

Our Grandma passed away on August 16th at 91 years young. Exactly one month ago. I find myself putting on Price is Right at 11 weekdays, because I know that that is what she would have on if she were still here. As we celebrated her life on a warm beautiful cloudless sky a few weeks ago, I could not help but feel comforted knowing that she was with her daughter and Grandpa. I decided to make a conscious effort from then on to SMILE, LAUGH and CHERISH what I have just the way she lived every single day of her life.

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I love you Grandma.

Patio Perfection

Paradise Valley Custom Built Tuscan Home - Paradise Valley AZ Custom Luxury Home - Desert Star Construction
I have outdoor patios on my mind. Now that we are enjoying Phase One of our outdoor area, I have started to think about what I would want the finished area to look like. Because our area is sunken in, we almost feel like we are hidden from the world. Tuscany comes to mind, even though I have never been there. Here are some shots of patios that I liked.
How to Plant Evergreens in Containers--> http://www.hgtv.com/gardening/how-to-plant-evergreens-in-containers/index.html?soc=pinterest
like an imported tuscan villa...
Italian patio furniture from Vittorio Bonacina
Italian Vacation Home by designers Ludovica and Roberto Palomba | Featured on Sharedesign.com
can this please be our backyard? Garden Studio: A Modern Farmhouse

So many ideas. I cannot wait for Phase Two!