Dec 20, 2009

May Your Holidays be Happy!

I am still experiencing technical difficulties with posting! I am testing this again. I also have quite a few finished projects and new furniture pieces I've painted and refinished so I'm trying to get this figured out so I can post them. We've just about finished our master bedroom makeover, we are just waiting on one piece if furniture ( or piece of electronics...) that was Morg's request as a the final touch.... We had to buy a new computer a coulpe weeks ago so the proper programs that normally enable us to upload pics need to be reinstalled so all of this might have to wait until after Christmas, but in the meantime, hope all of you are spending lots of time with family and friends and enjoying your holiday! Merry Christmas from the Kyles!

Nov 10, 2009


testing testing 123.... please disregard, I've been experiencing technical difficulties with my blog....

Nov 5, 2009

Wreath Fetish

I love Christmas decorating - but I am particularily excited about Christmas wreaths this year! There are so many styles, shapes and colours and I love them all. My new project this year is to vamp up our front porch with Christmas warmth and what better way to start than with a big welcoming wreath on our front door. As I was looking online for inspiration, these were some of my favorites: This one would probably cover the whole front of our house, but it reminds me of the Ottawa Parliament buildings at Christmas time!: So white and fresh: I love that it just hangs in a window, though we have blinds everywhere so that may not work too well....
I love the square shape - a little of the unexpected!
Who says a wreath has to be big?
I like this black door as a backdrop:
As much as I like different looking wreaths, the traditional green wreath is still my favorite:
Don't you just want to go inside this house? It looks so warm an cozy.
I found a couple of things yesterday (including a new wreath!) for some great deals and am excited to put something together on our front porch asap. Of course I'll be able to start as soon as Morg helps me retrieve some of the old decorations packed away, which might take me a week or two to convince him to do.

Oct 19, 2009

My Biggest Seasonal Weakness

I am having a hard time refraining from buying my children all of the holiday dress clothes out there! Well, some of it is not so hard to resist since it is way overpriced, but many things I am having to constantly remind myself that my children and one and three and don't need an extensive holiday wardrobe. Did you know you can buy a little girl's holiday dress at Gymboree for over $60-70 dollars? Wow.
This season, like always, ebay has been my most reliable friend in the money saving department for kid's clothes. I found a Gymboree black velvet dress for Elizabeth with tags still attached, brand new, for $7.00! The tags say $62.00 and that's Amercian prices. I also found a Children's Place black velvet, brand new with tags, blazer for Mason for $5.00, and I just saw them this week in stores for $44.00. I also found a brand new Children's Place holiday tie (from their line this year) at the consignment store, with original tags of $9.50 still attached, for $3.50. I've found a couple more scores on ebay - a couple other Gymboree holiday dresses for Elizabeth under $10 and a fall jacket as well. My biggest weakness seems to be black velvet though for some reason, I love little kids in black velvet!
Anyways, if anyone is looking for holiday wear for their kids, you can find some real gems on ebay and save at least 50% and most of the time more than that. Even with shipping included. The only down side is that it takes some patient searching (that is the fun part I think though!) and you usually have to wait about 3 weeks for the item to get to you, though that just means you have to start shopping early!

Oct 10, 2009

Princesses, Parties and Pink!

Okay so the fundamental elements of being a big girl aren't exactly in place yet (big girl bed, potty trained etc) but Elizabeth is turning into a big little girl! She attended her very first big girl birthday party - meaning parents drop off their kids and take off! This whole idea was a bit foreign to me since we've only ever been to parented birthday parties, so when my friend Laura told me earlier that "you don't have to stay, non of the other moms are staying", I was kind of excited! Her daughter Jadyn was turning 4 and the other kids were at least that age, so Elizabeth being just shy of 3 was the youngest. It was a princess tea party theme so I was excited for Elizabeth to get to play princess games with a bunch of other older girls to whom I'm sure she looked up to, but I was also excited to have 2.5 hours to get some Calgary errands done with just Mason and I. Here is a picture of the birthday gang. Laura is due at the end of this month with her third girl - what the??? Where does she find the energy?! After I left Elizabeth in her princess glory, I went to my favorite children's consignment store in Calgary. I was able to find Mason a winter jacket for $12.00. I wasn't too picky, but I was hoping for a red one, and I found it! I also found Elizabeth a horse halloween costume which works well since she is obsessed with horses and since Mason can wear it down the line. Score! Morg gave me a call when he wasn't busy from his car while he was working and we were able to meet for a quick lunch. It's always fun following his police car on the road. Today I went through an "almost solid red" right behind him and I'm sure someone was thinking "is she stupid?". This is Morg eating lunch. While we ate together, a call came in about a husband who threw food on the floor during an argument with his wife. I had to laugh when the dispatcher said it was a last priority call. Obviously... Mason enjoying his bread.
When I picked Elizabeth up from the party she was in this state within 2 minutes. A sure sign of having had fun.
During my errand running in Calgary, I stopped by a woman's house who was selling all the Barbie furniture she had collected over the years that her daughter was no longer interested in (I saw the add on kijiji). She had 3 Rubbermaids to dig through, and I was able to narrow it down to this stuff (plus some not pictured) for $27.00! Not bad since I just saw a Barbie sold at walmart that came with one bathtub for $24.99. I was so excited since they don't really sell furniture like they used to, and the furniture they do sell is really expensive. I am planning to make Barbie house out of grocery store produce boxes and use carpet and lyno scraps for flooring and if I get really crafty I'll use some old wainscotting scraps for detailing and maybe make curtains and things. She seems so much more like a big girl to me as I watch her act out her imaginary Barbie scenes. It reminds me so much of my childhood!
My favorite are the bright pink lawn chairs. I think I used to have the same ones....?
I got this fold up Barbie house and the Barbie tour bus that plays Britany Spears also. All in cluded in the price! So fun!
This is Mason grinning in his high chair today. His plate is cleaned, no surprise.

Oct 6, 2009

The Final Phase of Summer

August in September are over. One went by fast and one went by painfully slow. We spent the last days of summer trying to pack in fun for the kids, as well as us. We hit Calaway park (a smaller version of Wonderland), the Zoo, the parks, beaches, and just enjoying the weather. In late August Morg and I took off to Vegas for three nights where we enjoyed some alone time without kids for the first time in almost three years. Not that three years is terribly long, though it had felt like it had been a while since we were able to just be us two. We dropped our kids off Monday evening at Morg's parnets house in Lethbridge and drove back to Calgary where we'de be leaving with our flight early the next morning. That was the hardest part of the whole trip, coming home and having to sleep in a house with two emplty bedrooms, especially since no one else has ever put them to bed before and I was feeling so sad that they might be feeling like we abandonned them! I just kept telling myself what someone told me "when you get home the kids will never remember that you left, though your husband will never forget it." Great advice for a mom feeling very guilty about leaving her kids to go enjoy some time without them! The first day was a little overwhelming (Vegas in general just plain crazy, not sure how else to describe it) and we missed the kdis horribly. I was surprised at how i got over that quickly though once we were there, since there was nothing I could do about, so I decided to forget about them and enjoy it. We had the best time ever. We enjoyed a full day of jam packed shopping. We covered so much ground on our own running from store to store! Morg and I shop well together - we both know what we want and are pretty fast to find it if it exists. There were a couple stores where we both needed to take our time (Nike and Addidas Outlet for Morg, Ann Taylor and kids clothing stores for me) though we are mostly pretty efficient shoppers. We enjoyed shows almost every night. We enjoyed pool time (actually I didn't enjoy it very much since it was so crowded and the pools were really greasy with sunscreen and pieces of hair and bandaids floating around....). We enjoyed food! Morgan kept saying the whole trip though that I had to slow down, I think I am so used to rushing with kids that as soon as we were finished our last bite of a meal I wanted to be off to the next thing. Oh yeah, and we won $1000, but everyone already knows that. That was a pretty nice highlight for us, especially since we were using the 15$ free dollars of slot machine money that the MGM Grand gave us. Vegas was a blast for us and I think we'll never forget it. I already posted lots of pictures on facebook so I just picked my favorite. This is Morg outside of New York New York at some time in the early hours of the morning. It reminds me of the freedom we had! The rest of these pictures are pretty random. Here are the kids on our front porch. I hope our kids get straighter teeth the second time around....
This was at Calaway Park. I was so proud of my little girl and how she loved all the rides, except ths one. I just had to laugh the whoel time since there was nothing I could do. She screamed the whole time. A rollercoaster at 2 years old....too soon?
Morg and Elizabeth on the "horsies"
These are some decorative shutters I bought at Homesense for Elizabeth's room. i thought they would be something different to hang in her room. I plan to paint them white and distresss them since I'm not a huge fan of the squigglies.
This is Morgan's new toy. It's kind of a big deal in our house. Anyone who has talked to Morg recently will understand this.
This is my favorite way to start fall - with new scents throughout my house. my favorite this year is Leaves at Bath and Body Works. My second fave is sweet cinnamon pumkin. We just got a Bath and Body Works store this summer so I was so excited to be able to refill my plug in that my sister-in-law Micki gave me for Christmas! Now I have about 12 oils to go through...I couldn't not have them all.....
This sums up my life in September - one of the longest months of my life! While we all had the stomach flu (except Morg, thank goodness) at some point, Mason's lasted for a five weeks. He got getter for about 5 days somewhere within the five weeks but started back up again, so he was pretty much throwing up almost every day for a full 4 weeks. He lost 3.5 pounds and all of his good cheer. He was a lifeless, skinny, depressed lump. He was either doing this:
Or if I wasn't holding him he was doing this: (photography courtesy fo Elizabeth)
Now out houre has been healthy for over two weeks and life is good again. We are looking forward to the fall festivities - including heritage Park with the Kyles on Monday - stay tuned!

Aug 11, 2009

Dresser Makeover

I tried my hand in refinishing furniture this week and now I'm hooked. I found this dresser below for FREE (I didn't think of taking a BEFORE picture until I'd already started priming it). It wasn't the nicest looking piece but I knew it had loads of potential. Here is the dresser as I finished it.
I have been feeling very inspired lately to refinish some furniture pieces. Our bedroom is the last room in our house that hasn't really been touched as far as decorating goes, so I decided it was time to turn our neglected bedroom into a peaceful retreat on a budget. I wanted to start by refinishing an old dresser and building the rest of the room around this.
I had been looking on Kijiji for a while for either a really cheap or free old dresser that could be transformed. I saw this one and had to have it! Although when I called I was so disapointed to find out it had already been claimed (the add had only been posted 5 hours earlier, you have to be fast when it's free!), so I eagerly left my name and number and asked them to please call me if the guy didn't show up. He said he would let me know after 7pm if it was never picked up. He never called that night. The next morning I couldn't stop thinking about the dresser so I put my dignitiy aside and called him again just to check if it had been picked up and to my surprise it hadn't!!! I asked him to hold it for me until we got there to pick it up and that we'de be right over (and by "we" I mean Morgan....). Morgan willingly (meaning I dind't have to beg too much) drove to the most Southern point in Calgary to pick it up for me. He had to drive 30 minutes home with his seat tilted forward so much that his chest was an inch away from the horn (of this he made certain that I know and understand and appreciate). He had a pretty sore back after the drive home athough it was worth it to him now that I was able to concentrate on my project instead of talking to him about my plans for it for another week.
The dresser is solid wood, a very nice size and the drawers are still functioning perfectly. I just sprayed two coats of primer and two coats of "blossom white" spray paint. I was debating whether or not to distress it and give it more of a cottagy feel, but decided to go with the advice of my sister and keep it the way it is - I can always do it later if I want to change it up a bit. I decided next time though I will rent a large paint sprayer (aparently they are really cheap for an afternoon) and get it done much faster and it would probaly do a better job. My spray paint job left some blotchy areas which bug me, but for now it'll do.
I replaced the harware which turned out to be a bit of a headache. I guess the dresser is so old that it doesn't match the standard hardware sizes anymore, so I had to fill the old holes and redrill new ones. The exciting thing about this though was that it left me the option of whatever handles I wanted!!! I had my heart set on the upside down cup shaped ones but found that they were so expensive (about $10 a handle) so I was almost ready to settle on a cheaper style when I found the ones on the dresser at a local hardware store for $3 each! Yay! With a savings of $7 for 6 drawers, that's a total savings of over $42! Though I did splurge on the crystal knobs, which were $8 each - but it was only for 3 drawers, I would never have spent that on all 9 drawers.
The before dresser also had a very interesing flower carving on the top three drawers. I originally was just going to leave it and paint it out white so it would be more subtle. I actually think it would still have been pretty, but I guess I didn't want our bedroom to start going in such a french country direction, so I bought a sheet of wainscoting at Home Depot and they cut it for free to the size of the drawer faces. I grabbed some "no nails" glue and slapped them on - pretty easy!
The dresser isn't perfect but i sure learned a lot along the way. I spent:
$30 on spray primer and paint (if I was using a real paint sprayer and bought a gallon of paint it would have been half the price)
$42 on hardware
$10 on the wainscoting detail
So my dresser in the end cost $82 dollars, not bad since the originaly dresser I wanted for our bedroom (Ikea Hemnes long dresser) was $400.

Aug 6, 2009

A Week and a Half of Pure Summer Fun

We had a really great time visiting my parents in Victoria, BC. As I was going through the pictures, I wanted to pick the ones that evoked the best memories for me , or at least the most emotion. Here's Elizabeth jumping into the pool. She's such a dare-devil. I wonder who she gets it from.... This was a lunch with my parents at the White Spot. The kids were pretty good and Mason swalloed a 2 inch piece of bacon whole. Who has time for chewing?
I love this picture. We spent lots of time wading around in lakes/beachy areas. We got some waterguns from the dollar store and had a few duels.
We spent a gorgeous afternoon on the boat with the kids. I don't remember much of the scenery....since we were trying to keep our kids happy and safe, but I loved watching them get to experience a sail on the ocean. I think there will be so many more fun memoreis to come on this boat!
We spent a good portion of our time in my parents pool in their community. Our kids love the water. I think this is more of a Kyle trait.
This picture makes me think of how much my little girl is growing up!
This picture makes me think of how nice it was to have so many "hands free" moments while we visited my parents.
My mom took this shot. This was such a pretty place. The water level was so low we were basically sitting on a river floor. Behind Elizabeth somewhere is rope hanging from a tree to jump into the water with (when the water level is much higher!). It just seemed like the perfect little summer scene. This is my Dad with Mason and some extra clothes on his head.
He knew something was up there, but wasn't sure what. This is some more relaxing and wading around Shawnigan Lake. Mom told me that something like 5 generations have enjoyed this very spot.
We had a wonderful time and are already looking forward to next summer.

Jul 14, 2009

Summer Thus Far

So summer has been pretty busy for us thus far! We've done a bunch of things I can't even remember anymore. Since our camera battery was dead for a while and the charger was in the car and so the problem didn't get fixed for a while since I kept we've only got a few pictures of the summer so far (Morgan usually takes care us such things....and he's been working around the clock for a couple weeks it seems!). Here are some of them so far: This was a Sunday afternoon at our friends' Carrie and Tyler's house down the street. Morgan is trying to crack all of the kids' eggs: The kids trying to crack Morgan's egg:
The men: Josh, Tyler, Derek, and Grant. Oh and little Emerson too:
Some of the ladies - Valene and Carrie:
Arm wrestling competitions. Angela has her game face on - I don't. Angela whooped me. No surprise though....I've never won an arm wrestle in my life...excpet for with my whimpy sister.
And this one!!! The first ever arm wrestle I've ever won (other than Leigh). Sorry Carrie, but that says A LOT about your strength....
This was at Morg's work Stampede Breakfast. This picture shows off Mason's dimple chin, which could have been inhereted from both sides of the family. I think Mason looks like an old man in this picture - he was born looking like an old man!
The fam at Morg's Stampede Breakfast. That big bouncey castle was the greatest thing ever. There is an obstacle course for two people to race through. Elizabeth and I raced probably 20 times - we felt like American Gladiators.
This is typical Elizabeth at dinner time. She talks and plays and does everything but eat. We have a big painting of a Tuscan house above our table and every night she points out the house to me as a way of distraction from eating. At some point every night you will usually hear me say "YES Elizabeth, I see the house, that's nice, now get over it and eat. "
Here is Mason pictured on the same night. By the time I scoop out his meal on his tray and turn around for 30 seconds, it's all gone. He is going to eat us out of house and home I swear.
I'm kind of sad that we missed so many summer memories so far due to my lack of charging the camera battery. That's it for now. More to come.