What we did and when we did it. Sometimes.

What we did and when we did it. Sometimes. People, places and events to remember.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Look What I Made: A Mod Podge Dresser

More than a year ago, I saw a fun picture of a mod-podged dresser on Pinterest (of course).  I just knew that Corrie would love to have a dresser like that one!  

Unfortunately, at the time, we didn't really have any old dressers that I wanted to paint.  I started keeping an eye on craigslist, and finally found just the thing: a big, 9 drawer dresser with mirror for $25.  I dispatched Emmett and his dad to purchase the dresser and bring it home to the garage ... where it sat for about a year.

Emmett got excited about cleaning up the garage over Christmas, and after he did, I suddenly felt the urge to do something about that dresser.   I asked Emmett to remove all the hardware, then I waited.  By March, I had purchased some scrapbook paper and spray paint.  Finally, I started.

This is the only "before" picture that I took.

You'll notice the mirror on the right.  I separated the two pieces because I wanted to use the mirror in the living room for Ben.  I didn't take any close ups, but the dresser was kind of beaten up, someone had written on it with marker, and the drawers had some icky stains and spills on the inside.

My friend Robert has done a lot of work with furniture, and he recommended sanding it  first, then using the Valspar spray paint from Lowe's.  I had never spray painted anything before, so there was a bit of a learning curve.  

See the spots?  Thanks to my neighbor, I learned that I should spray with the garage door down, so that the wind wouldn't blow half the paint away.  (I would raise the door after spraying to get rid of all the fumes).  I also got better at gauging the distance - holding the can too close resulted in those little white spots.

I worked on the sanding and painting for a month - in 15 minute increments here and there.  Once I had all the drawers and edges painted, I was ready to break out my trusty Mod Podge.  

*** This is the part where any tutorial-ish writing breaks down - because I completely stopped taking pictures.  ***

Hobby Lobby had several books of scrapbook paper for sale, and I picked one with colors and images that Corrie would like.  Basically, it had lots of pink and butterflies.

I cut the 6*6 sheets into more of a 6*5 or so size - I just folded the paper and cut along the fold - and I didn't measure, so the pieces I used are not all sized the same.  I figured that any sizing imperfections would just give more of a "shabby chic" look - and I'm just not that into details.  Spread Mod Podge over the drawer, then put the paper on.  Then brush more Mod Podge on top.

I used 6*6 scrapbook sheets - overlapping a little - to cover the ends of the dresser.

At that point, things were just about finished - except for the dresser pulls.  

Here you can see what the original dresser pulls looked like.  I didn't want to put them back on - partly because they are so big - I wanted more of the paper to show.  Hobby Lobby had a great selection of fun knobs.  Because the scrapbook paper blocked the old holes, I wasn't limited to using a 3" pull for each drawer.  Instead, I opted for small glass knobs for the colored drawers, and I splurged on "seaside" spray paint for the drawers that I left white.

I found an old board in the garage and laid six dresser pulls on it (I only needed four, but I was counting on some mistakes).  I stuck a toothpick in the handle, so the handle would stand up, and I did my spraying.  This pictures shows the two extra handles - they didn't turn out as nice.  I didn't prime or sand the handles, so I'll let you know later if this paint job holds up.

 Here's a close up of the drawers with the glass knobs:

 And here are some shots of the finished product (and my delighted daughter):


Approximate cost (because I can't remember):
Old Dresser                                $ 25
4 cans of white spray paint           15
Mod Podge                                     8  (I finished my old bottle and had to buy a new one)
7 Glass Knobs                               14
book of scrapbook paper               10 (I can't remember)
blue spray paint                             4
                                Total          $76

I'm hoping to do one more art project with the rest of the scrapbook paper.  Canvases were on sale at Hobby Lobby ($8 for 2), and I think Corrie and I can make some fun Mod Podged art for the wall. 

This was a fun and easy project, once I got started.  I'm glad I finally followed through!

Monday, April 22, 2013

If You're Happy And You Know It

I have to admit, I am loving Ben's sad face lately.  How could anyone resist this face?

When he looks at me with those big eyes and that pouty lip, I just want to squeeze him and make it all right.  

Unfortunately, he usually gives me that look after I tell him "No."  Lately, I've had to say "no" a lot ... because (1) he's a toddler and (2) he's started biting me occasionally.

One of Ben's very favorite activities is doing the motions to songs.  He doesn't sing yet, but if he is ever fussy or sad or distracted and needs to re-focus, music will soothe this boy's heart.  At 20 months, he can do the motions to the following songs:

  She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain
  Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  The Wheels on the Bus
  Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  The Itsy Bitsy Spider
  Hallelu, Hallelu (Praise Ye the Lord)
If You're Happy and You Know It

These are not actual sign language motions, these are just the motions that our family uses for these songs - most are probably the ones that my mom taught me when I was little.

If you don't mind listening to me sing ... and you pay no attention to the fact that I cut off the end of the video, you can enjoy Ben being temporarily distracted from his woes by doing the motions to "If You're Happy and You Know It."  We sing "amen" instead of "hooray" because I learned the song at church when I was a kid. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Conversations with Corrie

Today in the car, Corrie was throwing a fit because she wanted to stop for a donut.  There's a Shipley's close to her preschool and occasionally we will stop for a treat.

Corrie: If you don't buy me a donut, I will move out as soon as I'm old enough.

Mom: OK.  I'll miss you.

Corrie: And I'm not ever getting married!

Mom:  I think that's fine.  But I think if you find a man as amazing as Daddy, and you want to marry him, that would be great, too.

Corrie:  There's no one like Daddy.

Of course, I emailed this exchange to Emmett as soon as I got home.  His response?

And now I want to buy her a donut.  You're responsible for controlling her, right?

Ha!  I can try.


Last night, at bedtime, we had this exchange:

Mom: OK.  Let's all pick someone to pray for who isn't in our family.  Maybe someone that we saw this weekend.
Corrie: Thank you God for the trees and the kitties and the cows and I can't think of all the animals.  Thank you for everyone except my family.

 She is a character!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes

Let me take you back to 2012.  March 21, 2012.  Ben was almost 8 months old, and he was adorable. 

Those first several months of Ben's life had been a blur - all the usual stuff like school, soccer practice, church, and MOPS, combined with a new baby, family visits, and LOTS of time spent with the breast pump, doctor visits, starting therapy ... and reading nonstop online about Down syndrome.

I was - and am - incredibly thankful for the blogs and forums that I found online, but I desperately wanted to connect with someone in real life.  

Ben's first case manager for Early Intervention heard my pleas for relationship, and she introduced me to another local mom.  She also gave us contact information for several more families.  Nellie and I had a playdate with our boys at a park, then talked to the other moms to set up a potluck for our first World Down Syndrome Day.  Seven families attended.  Most of us had a child under three years old, and I felt like I was clutching a lifeline.

After that initial meeting, we slowly gathered a group of families who met regularly to learn and to encourage each other.  We now meet the first Saturday of every month and alternate between family outings (park playdates, a Halloween party) and parents nights out.  We've gone to birthday parties for each other's children and called one another for advice and sympathy and doctor recommendations.  

Beyond relationships, many other connections have emerged.
  • We met a local mom who started a Down Syndrome Association for our area 
  • Our parents were asked to talk at a local school for Down syndrome awareness month.
  • Our families were invited to meet with a group of students in the university's Occupational Therapy program.
  • One of our moms happened to meet the mom of a teenager with Down syndrome (finally!).  We had been longing to meet parents and kids further along in the journey.

On March 21, 2013, we had our second annual World Down Syndrome Day event - this time, at Chuck E. Cheese.  I don't have the official numbers, but I think we had about 30 families attend - over 100 people!

It was amazing to see all the kids - ages 7 months to seventeen years old - and their families, laughing, playing, eating pizza together.  I saw moms of preschoolers sitting in booths with moms of teens, asking questions.  I saw older siblings talking to new parents.  I heard one mom ask another about swimming lessons because both of their boys love the water.  And I saw so many moms with tears in their eyes as they looked around and realized how many of us there are.

These families are a gift.  I cannot thank God enough for the friendships made, the information received, and the knowledge that my family is not alone.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Corrie and I attended our first ever quinceañera celebration on Saturday night.  It was beautiful!  Our 15 year old friend, Aly, was gorgeous in her pink dress, and Corrie loved Aly's tiara.  I told Corrie that it would be 10 years until she turns 15.  She started sobbing and said, "That's too long to wait!  Can we have this party when I am 10?"

I had never been to a quinceañera before, so I wasn't sure what to expect.   It was as elaborate as a wedding (and way fancier than my own wedding).  Beautiful dresses, fancy centerpieces, dancing (and dancing ... and more dancing!), and it all began with the blessing of the birthday girl.  I think that part was my favorite.  Her mom and stepdad spoke words of affirmation over her, and then the pastor read scripture and talked about how the Holy Spirit would guide her as she ventures into adulthood.

I'm not ready for any of my kids to be adults yet, but there was something really powerful and symbolic and sweet in the readings and dances and celebration.  For those girls who have a quinceañera, I wonder if they wake up feeling different - older - more responsible in the morning.

 Here I am with my precious girl, who thankfully has years to go before she reaches fifteen.