andiamo: March 2017



Our Sunday post lunch routine... homework time!
Dominic, age 2 years: Obviously he doesn't have homework these days but that doesn't stop him from wishing he did so he could be doing what his big siblings are doing. A little coloring book and crayons and he's none the wiser. For now. And he didn't even notice the camera. His new phrase of the week is doing something (whatever that may be, going down the slide, for example) and looking at Matt and I and saying, did you see dat!? Every time. Love hearing his vocab improve!

David, age 4 years: His homework comes home from his teacher with a "if he feels like it" sentiment but Matt and I don't let that on to David. In our eyes it is a must do. He wraps the page up super quick and stashes it back in his folder so he can then join Letty on her homework endeavors. Kindergarten for David can't come soon enough, intellectually speaking. He had his assessment this past week and we were told he has a sparkling personality and an impressive vocabulary. So, heart eyes for you, kid.

Letty, age 6 years: Three little books, fifteen minutes a day, three days over the weekend. So while she's "reading" I know it's actually more like she "memorized the pages" but hey, it's something! Dom has surprised us all with really loving these fifteen minute increments. He picks one of her books, she reads to him, pointing at each word along the way, and then he chooses another book. Meanwhile Matt and I get out of having to sit there right with her. Judge all you want but hearing I see a cake, I see a snake, I see Jake read three hundred times wears on a person.

Past weekly shots found here.


the great backyard pool caper. the plan.


I'm dreaming of all things spring and summer lately! Please and thank you! The biggest thing we are looking forward to this summer is that we will be putting in a pool! An above-ground pool, but a pool nonetheless. Permits have been gathered, the pool is in our possession, and we have a plan! See also, the longest list of to do items possibly to date.

As it stood on a warm October evening last fall this is what our backyard looks like from the point of view of the fence.
What needs to happen? Well I'll tell you!

We already moved the fire pit from the right side of the yard to the concrete slab where our old pool used to sit, behind those grasses there on the left, and we love it there! It just makes so much more sense. And no mowing around it either!

- Move the playset. As it stands now the slide would go riiight into the side of the pool so we will be moving it to the left closer to where I was taking the above photo and sort of on an angle.

- Remove mulch from around the river birch (which is to my left and off camera from where I'm taking this picture). Seed that area. 

- Remove the sandpit (there was a cat in our backyard over the winter, so... yuck!) and then seed that area as well.

- Plant things on either side of the yard still inside fenced in area, straight out from where pool will go to give us privacy. I'm thinking maybe river birches as of now because they are fast growers and will hide a lot of surface area.

- Excavate the backyard until it is level and bring in sand and whatever other technical things Matt will have to do to prep it for the pool.

- Install pool. Yeah I'm going to be on kid duty for that one.

- Turn the back railing of our deck into a sliding gate. Picture, barn door.

- Build steps and a small deck around the pool.

- Remove those five bushes there under the deck and scatter around the pool along with the grasses by the concrete slab area.

- Move the hydrangeas from the corner garden that will no longer exist to the right side of the pool.

- Mulch around the pool.

- Stain the deck. See also stain the playset.

- Install hooks for towels.

- Install outdoor speakers.

- Install ground lighting around outside of pool.

- Get all new chair cushions and beach towels.

- Get a nice tan and enjoy the pool all the summer long! 

And we cannot wait to get started! Anyone else have any big summer house plans?


diy inexpensive shiplap


In the fall we took to redoing our dining room, a redo that involved a little shiplap. I know this post has been waiting just months and months to see the light of day, so my apologies. You can see our full dining room redo here

Shiplap is Joanna's like, favorite thing. What's that quote from Chip? If you and French doors had a baby it'd be shiplap? Some such thing. Shiplap for those who don't watch the show, is a rough-sawn pine paneling used a lot in barns and older homes. She's always really excited when they pull off the drywall and find it there, similar to how one would feel if you removed carpet and found hard wood flooring. Just like that. Well it's sort of all the rage with those who love Fixer Upper or the farmhouse style. 
When redoing our dining room I initially considered just a chair rail. My mother (mothers always know best, don't they?) suggested we do our own diy shiplap instead. Not with pine of course because: budget.

So. What you need per Handy Matty's expertise:

- ¼” plywood (Lauan – the wood under a vinyl floor). Enough for the square feet of your project.  A 4 x 8’ sheet has 32 sq ft
- Table Saw or circular saw and a steady hand
- Finishing nailer or hammer and finish nails
- Primer and paint
- Level
- Pencil or chalk line

This is probably one of the easiest projects we have ever done.  Using the table saw or circular saw cut the pieces of ¼” plywood down to your desired width.  Next find the studs on the wall(s) that you are going to be installing the shiplap on and mark with a pencil.  You can mark top and bottom and snap a chalk line if you are doing entire walls.  Next start in one corner of the room and install a full length piece (8’ long or to the nearest stud length at the other end) and nail it to the wall where the studs are located.  Above that one we started a 4’ length (or nearest stud length) to stagger the joints.  And just start working up the wall that way.   Allow a little spacing in between the rows - approx 1/4" - you could use a scrap piece of the wood and but it between your top and bottom row when nailing it to the wall.  If you are going to a chair rail height like we did, I finished it off with a 1 x 2" molding, or you can use whatever chair rail/molding you like.  

The cost of course depends on your project size, but this is also very inexpensive as the wood per piece at our local blue or orange store is approximately $12.

At the end we painted it all – using a small paint brush to get into the cracks.    
You can fill in the nail holes or leave them as they are, I've seen it done both ways.

So what do you think? What else should we shiplap?? I had a crazy idea of Matt shiplapping our gallery wall in our living room but...Wink wink.

Past projects of the Handy Matty here!


our final (hopefully) snow day of the year


Stelllllllla!! She affected quite a lot of us now didn't she? Thankfully we knew she was coming and we were prepared. We had our wine, is what I mean. Our day started slowly, all hanging around by the fire, watching daddy snow blow for hours upon hours... Eventually we were brave enough to start the task of getting dressed to go outside and go outside we did. Let me tell you it is really hard to be two and walk in a foot of snow. The struggle was real!
After lunch while waiting for their wet snow things to dry I set the bigger kids up with a tupperware of snow and some water colors. Which! So much easier than prepping them to go outside, am I right? Letty is just at the cusp of being able to handle getting herself dressed for the snow and that's pretty amazing if I don't focus on what that really means (i.e. that she is getting older and more independent and doesn't need her mama anymore and she's just slipping through my fingers and is probably going to want to go to college in like, Oregon and she will never move home after she graduates and I'll only see her once a year and then her children will think I'm practically a stranger!). Now that's a dead end conversation on a road to nowhere...

Moooving on.
The bigger kids headed outside then once more and played in the backyard, discovering exciting things like the fire pit and the like before I used my executive powers to call the outside play done for the day. They kids had more of the same the next day when the schools closed once more. I love not having to be tied to a school schedule! I loved being able to turn off all the school alarms set on my phone and just go at our own pace you know? I know these days will have to be made up and I know they will cut into our summer and that part stinks, yeah, but days at home staying warm and getting a break from school are just the best. But I do hope that we are done with them for the year because SPRING! My spring wreath on the front door looked mighty odd surrounded by piles and piles of snow. So how about it Mother Nature? Let's move on shall we?? We have a pool to install!


this weekend past


This weekend past Letty had to do 45 minutes worth of reading. They started a new program at school and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Fifteen minutes a day when only two very short books come home for the whole weekend well, she read them about 9 times each. 

This weekend past we had dinner with our lovely Fitzs and the kids got to watch Sing and cuddled in sleeping bags between laps around poor Steph's house.
This weekend past my mom and Letty and I went to see Beauty and the Beast and my goodness I can't tell you how much I loved that movie! The sets! The costumes! The casting! The song they gave the Beast that I have on repeat! Le Fou! Loved loved loved!
This weekend past we really made a conscious effort to eat less carbs/more veggies. I'm not going to go out and say we are going full Whole 30/clean eating but. Maybe a toe dip.

This weekend past we watched the first two episodes of The OA and while we have noooo idea what is going on we love it!

This weekend past Letty and Dom had a bit of a nasal situation happening so it was just David and I for church. Which I didn't actually even go in and hear the sermon I had to have training about being a mandated reporter because I volunteer there with child care. Heavy stuff to discuss on a Sunday morning, for sure.
This weekend past my mother suggested that Matt and I go and see Beauty and the Beast on Sunday night and I mean YES! Matt was so jealous that he didn't get to see it when we went earlier as he too is a huge fan of the original movie.... so we were thrilled my mom suggested this! Thanks be to Nonna for coming over for dinner and watching the kids and putting the kids to bed for us! Matt also loved the movie, of course!
So how was everyone else's weekend?

Linking up with Biana on this lovely Tuesday.




Or the best one out of three... Two under the weather, one feeling just fine but with his fair share of sensitives...

Dominic, age 2 years: I had to cancel his ear check last week because it was scheduled at the height of Stelllaaaaa and now I'm thinking I definitely need to reschedule it. Dude is cranky, more so than the norm. This is his typical reaction to my big camera, and I have no idea why. I find it slightly funny, Matt finds it highly annoying, and Dom finds it all quite traumatic. Let's hope he doesn't have yet another ear infection this week please!

David, age 4 years: He was the only one feeling up to church yesterday. He told me tall tales on the way home of him having witnessed an accident with a green truck and a black truck on a trip he took with Poppop on the way to New York. This trip occurred on the first day of March, or maybe last February, he can't be sure. But he is quite convincing. We are having a hard time these days with what's a true story or a false story. Oh I bet his teachers hear all kinds of things...

Letty, age 6 years: She's got congestion for days lately and I just feel so bad for her until I ask her to blow her nose and she just daintily wipes it... I can only bring a horse to water, you know? She stayed home from church and helped daddy deep clean the basement which had seen better days in the toy disarray department. So she got rewarded with a few little Reese's peanut butter cups. I'm definitely okay with rewarding the kids when they clean up a mess they didn't make just to help us out. And it suuuuure was nice to come home to a house not strewn with toys.

Past weekly shots found here.


happy saint patrick's day!


Today is the day where everyone can be Irish right? I think I heard that in a movie somewhere... But you know me... If I have clothes (some that still fit from last year strangely!) that are in a general theme for each of my kids I have to take photos of them and hey! Thanks to the Fitzs, we have our festive Saint Patrick's Day garb! And yes, I absolutely 100% bribed Dominic with chocolate for these photos. No shame in my game.
Happy day to all! Green beer and leprechauns and all that! Or however it is you celebrate the day! Happy weekend too!

Past year's festive photos here, here (baby dom!), and here!


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