Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby Boy!

It's hard to believe that it was over two years ago now that I was in the hospital celebrating the birth of our first son.  Damn that was a hot summer being ____ pounds heavier with no air conditioning.  I know that most parents get sentimental on their children's birthdays, reminiscing about the past and how quickly time has gone by.  I am no different really but come on people, Evans is ONLY two and I had a train themed party to throw!  No time for the weepy stuff!

If anyone wants to relive the grand adventure of the giraffe birthday party last year, please feel free to do so here or here.  This year it was easy to choose a train theme since it is basically the only thing that Evans ever talks about.  Seriously, y'all don't want to know how many times I hear the word "choo-choo" a day.  It was only fitting.

Evans woke up on the morning of his birthday to a stash of loot comparable to a little prince.  Deaner and I stocked up on Thomas trains when we were home this summer because we knew we were going to give him a train table for his birthday.  Since everyone knows how I am with surprises, I'll just admit that we bought the train table and gave it to him weeks ago.
I did however manage to hold some of his toys back for him to enjoy on the morning of his birthday.
Here he is coming into the den for his birthday surprises.  I have to say, Evans makes it worth the time and money spent on gifts because he acts so thrilled about them that it is worth it.
I have never heard so many "oooohsss and whoaaaaaas" as I did that morning.  I swear he isn't spoiled.   I am trying to upload a couple videos too but it appears I have forgotten how, go figure.

We lucked out with our weather on the day of the party with sunny skies and a high of 72 degrees.  Not exactly the German norm.  Evans got to celebrate in train style.
  Here are the cupcakes I made for the party.  I ordered the cake toppers and they were worth it.  These cupcake stands I purchased awhile back for a baby shower have been used multiple times and were an AWESOME investment (ha, investment, of like $12).
Deaner and Old Dad manned the grill and served up a mean dinner of burgers, hot dogs, brats and all the fixins.  For appetizers I wowed the crowded (maybe an exaggeration) with Vidalia onion dip, bacon cheddar dip, spicy hot corn dip and a hot jalapeno popper dip.  Thank you Pinterest.  We had served wine from one of our favorite wineries in Hattenheim, raspberry beer cocktails and of course cold beers.

Please note the huge oak choo choo train that decorated the bar from Buddy and Susie (who Evans has taken to calling "Boozie", only appropriate).  We ordered this from a great vendor on Etsy and Evans has played non-stop with the "big choo choo".
One of my dear friends painted this canvas for the party.  It hung on the front door and greeted people and will now hang in the new playroom.  It was one of my favorite parts of the birthday party, thanks Melinda!  When Evans first saw it he said "pwease Mama" like I wasn't going to let him keep it or something.
The kids even had their own corner of the patio set up to play quietly while their parents enjoyed cocktails and adult conversation.  YEAH RIGHT.  This track was torn up in about 3 minutes and I have never seen children act so wild.
I have a new appreciation for Evans' calm nature.  I witnessed children karate chop each other in the stomachs, jump off the 3 ft ledge INSIDE my house, climb OVER the top of a baby gate I set up to keep children from leaving the first floor, one child attempt to overturn our 50 inch plasma television and the wildest child I have ever met in my life state that the other kids were "stressing him out".  Hmmmm.  Maybe next year Evans will have an all adult birthday party!  :)  Thankfully this year there was no crying during happy birthday and frankly I'm not sure Evans knew everyone was singing for him.
Though he still manages to look very mean in this picture.  Last year I caught a little guff for throwing a giraffe party and then dressing Evans in an elephant outfit.  What can I say?  I bought the outfit before I picked the theme.  I was not going to have a repeat of last year so my friend Emory sent this shirt for E to wear.  
Surprisingly enough, he also ate/licked a cupcake.
I think that everything turned out nicely and that everyone had a good time.  Thanks to that raspberry beer cocktail for sure!  Evans even got to hang out at his new beirgarten table with his two favorite German guys, Georg and Michael.  They attempted to teach Evans how to drink out of a cup stating that his bad American parents hadn't taught him that yet.  
I would just like to point out the puddle beneath him, the obvious change of costume and the proud look on his face after soaking himself.
The birthday party went a bit later than originally expected so after our last guests left we let Evans open up his presents before hitting the sack.  
You could tell he was losing steam at the end and actually put up zero fight when I finally put him in bed after 10pm.  This train has definitely been in the bed with him every night and accompanying us on all car rides.  It's not exactly the easiest thing to carry around! 
But he loves it!  Whew.  That is all I believe.  I'm sick of uploading pictures so if I decide I left out anything that can't be left, I'll update.  I have a good feeling about Evans' 2nd year and my 32nd year.  We certainly have enough toys to last us until Christmas!  :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Here It Is.....

Alrighty.  I finally have 5 minutes to breath so I can go ahead and get the kitchen blog post over and done with.  I want to move on from this portion of my life.  I've been told that I need to get a new hobby and I am seriously considering it.  I like having a project, I like having freshly painted walls and clean rooms but I'm afraid that this project might have been the one that actually breaks me of this past time.  "Hobbies" should be fun.  They should inspire happiness and have a calming effect on the psyche.  Yet somehow mine always seem to drive me to sleepless nights of angst.  This is why.  Here is a picture of my kitchen, pre-painting extravaganza.  It was taken shortly after I painted it the first time, right when we moved in.  And here is a picture of my "new" kitchen.
Does anyone else think that the before and after pictures of the kitchen look exactly the same??  Yeah, me too.  How have I been so dumb that I painted the walls the exact same color I didn't even like to begin with?  And I broke the light fixture to boot.  Considering it took Deaner almost a YEAR to fix our bathroom light when something happened to it (and it only got fixed when I asked our neighbor to help us) I'm not holding my breath on having my kitchen lights back anytime soon.

So all in all, I am estimating about 40 hours of work put into painting the kitchen (and ceiling, too!) to achieve basically nothing.  Nothing but the exact same looking kitchen, only cleaner.  I'm trying to concentrate on the positives here!  At least I am not living in the hell that would have been this color!
I just need to let it go.  I did manage to do something right though and finally purchased the new mirror I have been wanting for the recently repainted downstairs bathroom.  Thankfully it did not turn out to be a disaster.  I'm just hoping that nail in the wall is strong enough!
In other news, Evans turned two last friday and I turned 32 on Sunday.  We had a big birthday party this past weekend and I will be posting pictures of it shortly.  I'm not sure if it surpassed my giraffe theme from last year, but you have to consider my limited resources in Germany!  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DIY Disaster 2012

If you had told me before the beginning of the week that your job profession was that of a Benjamin Moore "color specialist" I might not have laughed in your face, but I probably would have made fun of you behind your back.  I mean, who needs to employ someone to tell them what colors to paint on their walls?  Can't everyone close their eyes and use their imagination to  come up with the perfect color combinations?  Ummm, to answer those questions quite frankly, ME and NO.

I realize now that while I have always had excellently chosen colors wherever I've lived (minus that one time on Park Circle, but really that was my roommates fault) it is solely because I typically walk into my parent's home, write down all their paints colors and completely rip them off.  Right down to the name and brands that they have used.  I've always thought my Mom had the most exquisite taste and everything in her house is always perfect.  As I was relaying this firmly held belief to her today on the phone I almost dropped dead when she said "oh yeah, my colors do look always look awesome, my COLOR SPECIALIST tells me what will and won't work".  Wait a second, what??  Am I the only person in the world that didn't realize that this a real profession and a true talent?

Talk about a reality check.  Here is what happened when I didn't use a color specialist and didn't use my mom's color specialist (with or without knowing he/she existed).  I'm almost embarrassed to show this.  I would look up an example of what I was trying to achieve but to be honest, I'm too sick of looking at paint colors to do it.  Here it goes.

The hideous color on the right was a blinding neon picked out clearly in total disregard of all the red flags.  To think that I was actually relieved to see the color on the left is utterly embarrassing. When I woke up the next morning and finally came to my senses I realized that I could not, in fact, live inside of an Easter egg.  Here are the remaining problems:

1. I have no idea what I am going to do.

2. I am such an idiot that I actually painted these large chunks on the wall so I have to do something.  I cannot pretend like it didn't happen.

3. My father-in-law is coming to visit next week so I can't act like I don't see it (this is not the only spastic splotch).

4. I'm having a party for Evans' 2nd birthday next weekend so again, I can't pretend like it isn't there.

Why do I always do this to myself?  The scary part is, I'm not very highly motivated to fix it either.  So, as I go to bed tonight, I should probably ponder on some of the lessons to be learned in this "situation". I know one thing, I will never laugh at "color specialists" again and I probably have a better chance of going back to school and becoming a doctor than achieving that profession!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Another DIY Project

Sometimes I really wonder what my problem is.  When I decide to do one small thing it always seems to turn into some huge ordeal that I end up losing sleep over.  I'm the type of person who will fret over a $23 beach towel on Landsend for hours as if our entire financial future depends on that one decision. Normally the item in question is not even something that I cannot live without.  Therefore, I'm always a bit hesitant to start any project that I have to complete from start to finish myself.  I can't start until I have everything I need, or I cannot sleep at night, and trust me, this is problem living in Germany.  Last week one evening I asked Deaner if he thought I should paint our downstairs half bathroom.  I got a typical response of him not really giving a hoot so I'm not sure why I woke up the next morning knowing I couldn't live one more day with the paint color on the walls.  When we moved in the bathroom was a really awful yellow wallpaper, seen here, before I painted it (the first time). 

For the first paint job I settled for something very neutral.  I didn't have much time to paint all four million square feet of our house (ok, maybe it's not that big) before our furniture arrived all those years ago in 2009.  This is the color I slapped on the walls at the time.
I did this bathroom in one afternoon and was happy to have it done.  I found that mirror somewhere cheap like Ikea and while I have never really liked it, it was like 12 euro (if I am recalling correctly) and I knew I would eventually get rid of it.  The bathroom has been completely functional for the past three years.  And then I woke up hating it.  So it only figures that 12 hours later, it looked different.  I'm not exactly sure how I feel about the new color BUT it is much lighter and I do like that better.  The one question I have asked myself over and over is how the hell did I not paint the ceiling the first time around?  It was nasty!  So here is the new look.
I still hate the mirror.  And sorry about the trash in the trash can.  I probably should have emptied that first.  Here is the mirror I'll be picking up at some point this week. 
I still wish the color was a bit more muted but really, I can't paint it again.  And that is because I woke up this morning knowing that I couldn't live another day without painting my kitchen.  You see my problem?  I spent the morning picking out a new color for the kitchen and the afternoon painting a fresh coat of ceiling paint.  Y'all will die when you see how gross the ceiling was.  I'm not sure I'm even prepared to show it to the public.  

Anyways, stay tuned for more updates.  I probably should have finished the playroom first but I stalled out because I couldn't find a run I liked.  One day.  Probably soon.  When I wake up and realize I can't live without finishing it that moment, it'll get done.  Until then, I'll have to stay busy with the kitchen because I'm not so sure about the color I picked out!