Posted by: heartfull | December 9, 2009

being best

Chip likes to tell me that he likes me best.  He says this when I’m trying to get him to stay with Grandma while I run an errand, or let daddy take him out of the car, or sometimes, even when we are just at home and snuggling.

The other day he even started telling me all the reasons why:  I’m nice, I’m fun, I smell good.  I told John this and he wondered what the heck he smelled like.  I just thought, well, like “dad”.

Sometimes being “mom” is a lot of work.  But this makes it worth it.

Posted by: heartfull | December 1, 2009


Nothing to slow down a project like the discovery of termites.  Well, past termites as they are actually long gone.  But the damage they did is incredible.  The two rows of  two-by-fours (including a supporting beam) are totally gone.  As in, the plaster in the girls’ room is holding up the roof.  Oh yeah – and the new addition because lucky!for!us! the addition rests on that point.

The good news is they are fixing it.  Since the damage goes behind a st0ne wall, they have to take out the girls’ bedroom wall since they can’t see how far down the little buggers went.  Hopefully not to the subfloor.  Because then they also have to tear into my finished basement’s ceiling.



Better news is that they have three of the kitchen cabinets up and they look lovely.  I’m very, very pleased.

Posted by: heartfull | November 25, 2009


John and I had a great time in Tennessee.  We went to a Vols game on Saturday and to the Smokey Mountains on Sunday.  Friday night and Monday morning we spent driving.

We met our friends Mark and Julia at the game and had a great time.  It didn’t seem like it had been 13 years since we last saw them.  And the Vols won.  And the the food at the Mellow Mushroom was fantastic.

I have to say, though, I had forgotten how incredibly uncomfortable it is to sit on bleachers for 3 hours.  I think I pinched a nerve – my lower back and lower legs ached all day Sunday and Monday and the backs of my thighs still feel like I ran another half marathon.

The Smokey Mountains were still beautiful – even in rainy, cold weather.  Tourists still drove drove incredibly slow (5 mph, people???) through Cades Cove.  The Little River Road is still very twisty turny.  Gatlinburg is still very gouche.  We had a great time though and started plannin a family trip over spring break.

It is always nice to get back to your home and kids.  Of course Chip was napping when we got home Monday afternoon and yelled “Go Away” and “I want Emmy” when he woke up and saw us.  John was stunned.  I told him it was par for the course and Em has told me in the past that he does the same thing to her when he wakes and expects to see me.  Small consolation, but I’ll take it.

Mare’s welcome home hug at school pick up more than made up for it.  And even though I had to force the extended hug, Bird was obviously pleased as well.

Posted by: heartfull | November 20, 2009

This is gonna be so cool.

Last night I started tackeling the wallpaper in the powder room.  The wood floors are going in at some point (they are delivered and waiting) and I’m having the guy install them in the powder room as well, even though that room isn’t officially a room to be rehabbed by the contractor.  The crew tore out the toilet and vanity and I paid the plumber to get the pipes ready for the pedestal sink.

My brother took a hammer drill to the floor yesterday and removed the two layers of tile that were in there. So at that point, technically, the floors could be installed.  But when I got home yesterday I saw that he didn’t take the tile off the wall (there was only one row at the base of the wall.)  So yesterday afternoon I took a tool I found in the crew’s arsenal and chipped off the tile.  Which, of course, took off chunks of plaster.  So I needed to fix that before the guy installed the floors, but before I could plaster the walls I needed to remove the wall paper.  And before I did that, I needed to remove the switch plates.  Enter Chip.

I was searching for a screwdriver when John got home from work.  I told Chip to go ask daddy to find me a flat head screwdriver.  John sent him back with one of those multi-tip doohickeys and Chip was upset that it wasn’t the right kind.  I showed him how it worked, though, and then you would have thought I showed him his first piece of sliced bread.

I asked him if he wanted to help me remove the the switchplate and he started jumping up and down frantically.  He was so excited.  Then I lifted him up and he exclaimed
“This is going to be sooooo cool!”.  And then I let him turn the screw all by himself and he was thrilled.  Amazingly thrilled.  The kid loves this stuff.

Posted by: heartfull | November 19, 2009

On the road again

John and I are headed to Tennessee for a weekend of Volunteers football and solitude.  My parents have a vacation home in Crossville, Tennessee which is in between Nashville and Knoxville.  I may or may not have mentioned that John and I lived in Knoxville for three years befor having kids.  I worked and John finished up his undergraduate degree at UT.  We haven’t been back since and have some friends there that we would like to see.  This would be only the second time we have left the kids for a weekend together.  The first was our trip to New York City when I was on the cover of Women’s World.  We had a blast that time.  I don’t expect this trip to be quite as exciting, but I’m still looking forward to it.

Of course, before I can leave I must get the kids and their grandparents ready for my absense.  I have to pack suitcases and give my mom an iternerary of where to take them and ideas on what to do.   I’m a little worried about my parents going crazy – dad has a short fuze these days when it comes to little kids and mom gets tired.  Hopefully the girls can keep the bickering to a minimum – we’ll have a talk before I leave.  Other than that, they are pretty self-sufficient.  Chip – well, he is four and very, very busy.  Nothing I can do about that.  I predict much TV in my kids’ future.  They will be thrilled.  My brother is going to take them to a family-oriented party on Saturday night, so that will be a nice break for the grandparents.

Anyways, Go Vols!

Posted by: heartfull | November 6, 2009

The show!

Here is a link to the segment they were on.

Isn’t Chip a ham?


Posted by: heartfull | November 6, 2009


September 081

Chip (Kinsgston), Emmy, Bird (Ava) and Mare (Suri)


Here are the kids and Emmy just before our segment.  Its a little hard to take pictures in these studios because they have innocuous looking things all over the place that end up reflecting the flash and messing up my camera’s ability to focus.

September 086Meeting Matt, one of the show’s hosts

September 101Waiting to go on

September 105They were asked to be in another segment, so an impromptu gig.

September 106Bird wasn’t happy about the fact that her shirt said “middle child” with a boy’s name around it.  But in the end, getting onto another segment was more important.

September 111They were invited to be on the last segment as well, so this is them waiting.  Mare has changed into her other clothes because she was not a fan of Suri Cruise’s look (too cutesy for her.  She doesn’t DO skirts anymore.)

So that is it.  While I felt like I was constantly taking pictures, their doesn’t seem to be many.  One of the problems, I think, with cameras.  If you want to enjoy the moment, you have to put down the camera.  And yet you want the pictures later.  I guess if my kids really were any of the kids they dressed as, they wouldn’t have that problem.  Not that I would want that life for any of them.

Posted by: heartfull | November 5, 2009

Move over Tyra!

Remember when the girls were in a wedding show?  Now Emmy has them scheduled for the big time – a local morning show on our CBS affiliate.    OK – maybe not quite the big time.  But TV!  Not many kids get to be on TV.  They are thrilled.

Emmy has been doing a show on Great Day St. Louis once a month – they call her the Savvy Shopper.  Her segments are fun and it doesn’t intimidate me in the slightest that I come home every day to St. Louis’s Savvy Shopper (wearing my three-year-old slacks and last season’s sweaters) because I am a confident woman who can dress herself in fashionable trendy classic clothes that last.  Yes, that is right.  Ahem.  Anywhoooo, so today she is doing a segment called “Dress Like the Stars’ Kids for Less”.  And my kids get to be the models.  Bird will be flaunting Ava Whitherspoon’s style, Mare will be strutting like Suri Cruze and Chip will be Chip, dressed up as Kingston Stephani.

I’m meeting them at the station so I can watch and take pictures at 10:00 am.  I’m just hoping that everything goes smoothly – Chip could decide at any moment that he is d-o-n-e.  Emmy, though, has done a good job of practicing with him (and the girls) so we should be ok.  Keep your fingers crossed!


Last night Bird remarked that Emmy’s family is really cool.  Bird noted that Emmy’s father plays in a jazz band.  Her brother Jason, who moved to L.A., is in a band and is apparently (I just learned) going to be in a movie.  Jill, her sister, puts together St. Louis Fashion Week and is a fashion editor at a local magazine and Emmy is The Savvy Shopper on TV.  And Sue, her mom, is one of the most awesome substitute nannies we know.

Yeah.  That is cool, Bird.

Posted by: heartfull | November 4, 2009


The walls are up, the drywall screwed on and tape is being applied as I type.  Quite honestly, I just walk around, gazing at it all and marvel that it is mine.

Three bedrooms and a bathroom went upstairs.  The “common area” (used to be called a hallway when they made them narrower) isn’t quite big enough for much, but it definitely feels open and airy.  I like the recessed lighting in it.  The bathroom is very small.  Just enough room for a 60″ double sink, toilet and tub/shower.  The girls’ bedrooms are about 11×12, Chip’s maybe 10×11.  Perfect size for kids.

The kitchen is going to be wonderful.  The new cabinets arrive next week some time, not that we are ready to install them yet, but we are getting close.  The new range is in and I’m hoping to order the new refrigerator before the kitchen is complete, though I’m trying to stay within budget and that might be one area where I have to wait.  We are using our old dishwasher and disposal.  The base cabinets that form the bar overlooking the breakfast room is going to be very nice – it’s where the sink and dishwasher are and has a raised area to eat at.  I wish I had made the breakfast room two feet longer, but whatever.  I’m picking a narrow table for the breakfast room and going with backless chairs for the bar.  Problem solved.  The windows were installed last week and they are stunning.  They make the 2′ shortfall not feel so obvious.

I’m going to gut the powder room myself and then pay the contractors to carry the wood floors going into the kitchen on into the powder room and then install the pedestal sink and toilet I’m buying from Home Depot.

I’m planning to make the kids’ old bedroom into my craft/sewing/scrapbooking/computer room.  Yay!  That moves me out of the downstairs office which John plans to make into his Mancave.

When I’m not thinking about my new mortgage, all I can think is:  Life is good.

Posted by: heartfull | November 3, 2009

mini-Michael in spirit

Mare had her first basketball practice last night.  She didn’t know about it until I picked her up from school because I almost dropped the ball and didn’t get her registered in time I hadn’t told her about it.

Not that it matters at this age, but Mare is on the short side.  While she looks like me feature-wise, she seems to have gotten her height from the paternal gene pool.  When I see her in a group of girls at soccer practice, I’m stunned that I have created this child who is, well, little. For someone who was never little, in fact often thought of herself as the Jolly Green Giant when hanging out with her friends, I’m secretly thrilled for her.  Not feeling like you stand out all the time can be so liberating – I imagine, because lord knows I would not know how that feels.  But, I have to say that there were times when my height came in handy – like when I played basketball.  I was never great, but modestly good and tall enough that I could block a shot pretty effectively.  Back in the day, though, a kid didn’t start basketball until fourth grade.  That seems sane.  Appropriate.  Not so these days.

So, ever since last winter when some of her classmates played basketball, and she didn’t because her mom thought basketball in 1st grade was kind of crazy and Mare had just started taking dance and geeze – I already drive kids around non stop, I just didn’t want one more place to go, she has talked about wanting to play.  And talked.  And laid the guilt on THICK.  So I signed that kid up right away.  Well, erm, as soon as the coach contacted me and let me know that while I had missed the official sign up time (I blame my disorganization on the construction chaos at my home right now) they had extended it and there was ONE spot left.  I drove the check over ASAP.

She was thrilled when I told her on the way home from school that tonight was the night of her first practice.  Ecstatic.  We went to my mom’s for dinner and she was too nervous and excited to eat anything but cereal.  The french onion soup and salad apparently had the potential to give her a headache because of her nerves.  Ditto the slice of impossible pie (gotta love eating at Grandma’s.)  Finally 6:40 arrived and we left for the gymnasium.  I dropped her off and went back to help my mom clean up ran a bunch of errands and stopped by home to make sure my oldest was reading, which she wasn’t.  Got her started on a new book and drove back to the gym and sat to watch the practice.  And laughed my butt off.  Well, not really because then I would be able to fit in my skinny jeans.  But I laughed.  A lot.

These second grade girls were brutal!  And my daughter might have been the most aggressive.  I don’t know what happened, but she wanted that ball.  She wanted that basket, really, so badly that sometimes she forgot to dribble after managing to yank the ball from another girl.  Mind you, she was lacking, well, skill.  But the determination was oozing out of her.

After practice she was talking about all the at home practice she plans to do, per her coach’s instructions.  And, you know, I’m looking forward to shooting hoops with the kid.

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