Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Seven Months {Marcelo's Monthly Photo}

Happy Birthday to My Mom!!

I interrupt this blogging silence to wish happy birthday very special lady...my mom!
If you are a regular reader here then you already know what an amazing generous mother Elaine Arnold is, but she is so much more to me.  A great friend, a teacher, inspiration [to be a domestic goddess], motivator [of projects], my master gardener, probably the most loyal reader of VivaCindy (although not a frequent commenter) AND the best grandma (or "mom" as Mateo says)!!

Unfortunately we were not able to get to Ohio last weekend to celebrate with everyone, but Mateo practiced singing happy birthday for days and Facetimed "mom" many many times to wish her a happy birthday.

Thanks mom for all you do for me and my family.  There is a day that goes by where I don't feel grateful to have you!  I only hope that I can be half the mother to my kids that you are to yours.  I also hope I can age gracefully and look as beautiful as you when I am your age.  You are doing something right Mom!  Maybe you can share your secret for keeping your energy up and defying your age?!  I know VivaCindy readers would love to know!
I love you!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Merry Christmas Cindy...Love, Craigslist

To say I like Craigslist is an understatement.  Its my never ending thrift store/yard sale.  My time killer/sucker.  Ok, my obsession, my addiction.  I am a frequent buyer and seller.  It's so easy, but there are some rules people.  I can [and will] do a whole post on this, but here are two rules relevant to recent experiences:

#1 Take down your ad after you sell what you are selling!

I have been searching Craigslist for "2 night stands" for a while now.   We need something with storage.  Although we have one long dresser and a [not too big] walk in closet, I would love a few extra drawers for socks and underwear etc.
Due to horrible Craigslist etiquette, I missed out on these two beauties.

I was so excited to find this set.  The seller was asking $300 which was more than I wanted to pay, but I could've been convinced if they were in good shape.  Even with one missing a piece of hardware, they were perfect. I contacted the seller and they were already sold.  Ugh! Take it down then!

#2 If you tell someone they are available and arrange for them to pick it up, do not tell another buying to come over and let them buy it before the first person gets there.

A couple weeks later I found a set of these for $75.

Not perfect like the others, but still very cool and functional. Solid wood (possibly burl?!) with cool brass hardware.  Here is how the seller screwed me.  (Pay attention CL sellers out there!)
She answered my email and said they were still available.  It was about 30 minutes away so I asked if we could meet at her work in midtown (5 minutes from my house).  She said that would work.  Thirty minutes later she calls and says someone else is interested them, so she wanted to call me since I spoke with her first.  I said I would pick them up that night and she gave me her address.  Great! This was going swell.
 I was about to leave my house when she called again and said "the other guy" was also on his way to see the nightstands and he will probably arrive before me because he lives closer.  What?!  She let the other guy buy them because he could get to her house sooner that night.  I was so annoyed.  Hello?

The correct CL etiquette?  (as if it's not common sense) You tell the 2nd person that someone is coming to buy them, but if that falls through I will call you.  So. Annoyed.

Oh well.  The search went on.

And right before Christmas, I got lucky.  (as any persistent CL stalkers does)

No, not 2 night stands.  You know when you find something that you didn't even know that you needed, but it turns out being perfect for you?!

Enter Campaign furniture set.

I think this came up under my search of "wood dresser"  (not exactly sure why I was searching that!?)

The seller made a mistake by not mentioning "campaign furniture" or "brass" in the ad, and Im so glad because this beautiful set was still listed after 2 months!!!  I can't believe my luck!
They also didn't mention that it was made by Drexel!  Score!
This was the ad:

Apparently the seller had received many emails about buying individual pieces, but he didn't want to split the set.  I didn't want the whole set either, but I did want the desk and 3 drawer dresser.  Bad.   I figured I could sell off what I didnt want and basically get those two pieces for free. 
Sorry for the bad pictures.
The sellers pictures made the wood seem red-ish which didn't bother me because I knew I would probably paint anyway.  But when Ernesto (and my neighbor Anthony-Thanks!) brought the set home, I was pleasantly surprised at the wood color and graining.  I may just keep some pieces the original wood. (shocker!)
It took both our cars to fit all the pieces.

 Unfortunately with all this new furniture, something had to go.  It was the queen mattress in our guest room.  I texted this picture to my dad.
I had been telling him for months that I was getting rid of it, but I don't think he believed me.
"Why would you get rid of that bed?"
#1 - It was old as hell.  That was the first bed I ever purchased... pre-Ernesto even.
#2 - I need that room to be more than a guest room.  Nothing else really fits in the room with a queen bed and I need somewhere to spread out jewelry and close it off from the boys.

My parents do come visit a lot so I promised them I will have a suitable place for them to sleep when they come.  I really think they will love this new furniture because I will leave a drawer or two open for my dad.  He doesn't like to live out of his suitcase...even for a few days.  (of course we go to San Diego and live out of our suitcase for a month+. ha! different strokes for different folks.)

And now that I have the set in my house, I think I may just keep all 7 pieces! Even though the flash is horrible on the following pic, it shows the actual color a lot better than above.

So there is a 3 drawer dresser with shelves, a large book shelf and a beautiful desk.  All of which will go in our guest room/office.  (the chair that came with is nice, but I don't want it...anyone?) The other two pieces are in Mateo's room.  There is a twin bed frame (really like a tub that you drop the box spring into) and a chest that has 3 drawers on one side.  On the other side the top opens like a toy chest.  Somethin' different.
Mateo has been in his big boy bed for over a month now and it is working out great.  It was a MAJOR process and transition though.  (separate post coming on that!) And of course we had to go through it during our Christmas lighting season. Not fun. 

I have one more score to share!

After Christmas I finally found our double stroller too.  I had been looking for the BOB double stroller off and on since Marcelo was born, but man, these things go quick! I saw this ad up when I was still in Ohio for Christmas and never thought it would still be available, it had been a month since she posted it.  I wrote her anyway, and wouldn't you know, she still had it.  
 Of course I picked it up last week in freezing weather so it sat in my car, but I have been able to take it out the last couple days and it's awesome!  I didn't research double strollers at all.  I just love our single BOB so much that I knew we would stick with BOB for the double.  It is light, goes over curbs with ease and believe it or not I can steer this baby with one hand!
Mateo liked sitting next to his brother and Marcelo seems comfortable.  BOB for the win!!
Another good thing with these BOB's is that the resale value is high.  We still have our single, but eventually we will sell it for more than half of what we paid for it.  Thats a good investment in my book!

What about you guys...any good deals on Craigslist lately??  What are you searching for?  Let me know, maybe I can help:)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Not a Good Week...and Our Pipes Cracked!

Happy 2014!  Yes, with record temperatures in Atlanta of 6 degrees this week, our pipes did not hold up.  We had left all the faucets open and had a slight drizzle coming out.  Then Wednesday afternoon my brother Brrrian noticed that there was no drip out of the kitchen faucet and went into the crawl space to investigate. Sure enough there was a crack in one of the pipes. The good news is that Brrrian was able to fix the burst in 10 minutes with $12 of supplies at Lowes. (Thanks again tio Brrrian!)

Wait!  That sounded like it was the bad news didn't it?  It did add to my bad week no doubt, but there was a lot more to it.

Mateo had some serious cabin fever with the freezing weather, so we ventured out to Barnes & Noble Monday morning to play.  They have a big train set and Lego table.  There were lots of other kids there playing too.  Lots of kids with lots of germs.

Mateo got up from his nap that day and yelled down the stairs "uh-oh!"  I know when he says that, he is not playing, something happened that needed attending to.  Well, that "thing" this time was a couple piles of vomit! ugh! In the next 3 hours he got sick 3 more times but ran around like nothing was wrong.  I gave both boys a bath and as I was taking Marcelo out of the tub I got sick.  Luckily the john was right behind me, so no mess, but picture me holding a naked wet child and puking.  Or don't.

Ps. That was the first time in at least 12 years that I have gotten sick (other than a quick bout of food poisoning).  

Next was Marcelo. He vomited twice that night.  Mateo and I were fine the next day, but Marcelo continued vomiting.  Two more times in the morning. I thought he was done, but he did it one more time at 11 pm. Ugh!

Even through all of that, my ever-happy boy didn't cry once.  Does this look like a boy who is sick?

The fun didn't stop there.  With one load of vomit clothes in the washer [plus one more & and a load of dirty diapers waiting to be washed] a burning rubber smell hits me and the washer stops, just short of finishing the spin cycle.  This washer is OLD (Plus it was free - thanks Smita!) and it has served us well.   But we were planning to get a new front load stackable set after xmas anyway.  Why couldn't it last just a week longer?!

Marcelo got sick just once more and the puke clothes/sheets just piled in the laundry room until I begged my sweet neighbors to borrow there washer. (Thanks guys!)

How about a dishwasher problem? Ok.  While we didnt have running water for 24 hours our dishwasher sat with dirty dishes.  I washed the ones on the counter, but I was not about to wash all of the ones in the dishwasher by hand.  Ain't nobody got time for that!  

When Brrrian fixed the pipe and water was running again, I turned it on.  Sometime later I, again, smell something burning.  I go over to the dishwasher and open it up, seems it ran a cycle, but maybe with just one cup of water.  Great! Add new dishwasher to the list!
(Secretly, I was not upset about this at all because I don't like our dishwasher.  It very loud...and I want stainless instead of black.)

Our downstairs bathroom toilet was leaking so I called the contractors who did our renovations last year.  Ernesto suspected the toilet was not sealed properly after they laid the new floors.  Turns out it was the three screws inside the tank were not on tight enough which is something Ernesto could've fixed.  We ended up locking the downstairs bathroom for over a week and having to run upstairs to use bathroom...For. Nothing.  It added to the fun though.

Any one of these things may not have been so bad, but I have to say it was too much for me and I was stressed.  I get angry when Im stressed.  At one point I was angry at Ernesto for getting to go to work and "be free."  I know, silly.  Because I would be waaaaaay more angry to be working outside in the cold.  I get angry when Im cold too.

Anywho, it's a new week and things are working again in the house.  The boys are back to normal and Ernesto will be done taking down lights in just two. more. days.

Anybody up for a beach trip?  You better believe we are planning a winter getaway.   It's been a long season.

Update** When Ernesto was home yesterday (due to thunderstorms) he went ahead and put a load of dirty laundry in the washer and ran the dishwasher.  Both worked?!  Go figure.

Friday, January 03, 2014

A Very, Merry Christmas in Ohio

Christmas came too fast this year.  I didn't even have all of my decorations up, and before I knew it, we were getting ready to leave for Ohio.  I just never feel like I get to enjoy my Christmas tree or our outdoor lights long enough. So busy with Christmas that you don't get to enjoy Christmas.  Such is the life of a Christmas Light Pro.  Sigh.
Not the most flattering picture of me and Ernesto (#deerinheadlights), but damn our kids are cute.  Its all about the kids now. 

News Flash: I can sometimes be a procrastinator.  I know, hard to believe. This time though, I really dropped the ball. 
Here is the story:
Mateo turned two in September which means he is no longer able to fly as a lap-child.  Well, wouldn't you know, I forgot to send in his birth certificate...until the week before xmas.  A week before planning to fly to Ohio.  Delta was great and processed the paperwork quickly however Mateo would not have our flight benefits until January 1st. Ugh!  What to do??  I asked a couple friends for buddy passes.  The problem with that is Mateo would have a different boarding priority (flying stand-by) and it's not like we could spit up.  Plus flights are never really good around the holidays.  Friday morning (before xmas) we decided we would drive to Ohio! What?!  Yes, our first time driving [in our 13 years in Atlanta] to visit my family.  

Once we decided to drive , I kind of got excited. 
#1 - It was a great opportunity for a surprise
#2 - I could shop to my hearts content and not worry about packing rubbermaid tubs to check on the plane
#3 - We could leave whenever we wanted and not rely on availability of the flights.

All of these things, although great, will not convince me that driving is better than flying.  (Sorry dad)

We were out of our house by 420am. (I still can't believe that happened!)  We actually packed the car the night before so we were ready after a quick shower and some coffee.   The drive took us 12.5 hours  and we couldn't believe our luck with these boys.
 I was just amazed at how quickly the ride went and how little fussing there was.  I was actually able to relax and that was GOLD.  I searched Craigslist on my phone for all of the bigger cities that we were driving through.  That was fun!  Im such a junkie!
Besides two extra long naps during the rides, Mateo peeled some crayons, and sang some songs.  I waited until he was totally bored then he played a little while on the paddy pad. 

Marcelo?  Im not sure what else he did other than sleep, but next thing you know, we arrived.  

We caught my parents off guard (in the same fashion they did on my birthday) with our arrival.  Neto face timed my dad and started bullshitting sports (as usual) then he said the boys wanted to say hi and panned over to us standing in front of their house.  The garage door opened in a split second and they ran out.  Excited. To. Tears.  
My dad said, (and we knew) "never in a million years did we think that you would drive!" 

Normally on Christmas morning I am chomping at the bit for my siblings to arrive at my parents.  They unwrap presents early at their respective houses, and we wait for them before we open ours.  Well, not this year!  That's right!  Santa came with lots of gifts for Mateo and Marcelo, so I got my fix of [watching them] unwrapping gifts before everyone else arrived.  It was really cute how Mateo "helped" Marcelo with his gifts. 
And on a side note, we did not punch our child in the eye.  Poor baby fell down the 3 wooden steps leading into my parents' garage.  10 seconds of crying and a week of healing.
Back to presents.  It was really fun to watch Mateo tear through the paper and actually be excited with whats inside.  Last year the paper tearing was more exciting. 

Some highlights: a green garbage truck, a "Cars" racetrack, Hungry Hungry Hippos, a Take-apart Truck with working drill (his first power tool!)more Thomas the Train, a rocket alarm clock that projects on the ceiling and lots of cute clothes! 

The number one gift on Mateo's wish list?  "Doh peas" he told Santa.  
He can't get enough of it. He even watches videos about it on youtube.  One he likes is an ice cream Play-Doh Playset.  Santa must have been paying attention to what he was watching, because wouldn't you know he got that set for Christmas. 
Although Marcelo had quite a few presents to open too, he was happy gumming away at his wooden penguin.  Of course Marcelo would be happy with anything. 
Mateo helped me open my presents too.  
Good things come in small packages.  And this one had a mini paddy pad! (thanks mi amor!)
Not something I asked for, but something I definitely like!  We facetime frequently and our current paddy pad doesn't even have a camera (first version- oh the horror!) It will be nice to FT on something a little bigger than my phone.  Plus, it is just so darn cute!  

A lot of fun gifts opened that day...
...and a lot of laughs.  Kelli just started her first "real " office job out of college so Bill got her a red stapler! Come on movie buffs, you know this one right?? (100 points for the answer in the comments)
Since we are talking movies, let me throw out another bit of trivia. For some reason when I saw this picture of my brother, I immediately thought:
Name that movie/character for 1000 points! My whole family knows this one, but don't worry they won't win the points because THEY NEVER COMMENT!  (Oh, Im sorry, did I just scream that?!) 

We had a little white elephant where everyone brings a present and you can steal from each other.  It was fun...and funny.  Brrrian got the last pick of all the opened gifts.  He chose this cozy white throw and a big bottle of Canadian Club.  Meet Brrrian Hefner:
Shots all around he declared! (As he poured from my dad's bottle instead of his brand new one-ha!)
Bruno even got in on the fun!

I love this pic of my parents with the youngest grandkids

I always count on having a white Christmas in Ohio and although it was just a dusting, it was white! 

We had to get outside and pretend there was enough snow for sled riding.
I think we convinced Mateo!

It was fun, but unfortunately, it just can't compare to last years winter wonderland.  Even with less snow though, Mateo was able to enjoy the ride.  Last year he was scared stiff...this year laughing.  What a difference a year makes, right? 
Yes, we are now a family of four.  unbelievable.  Look at Mateo in that shot.  He looks like a big butterball.  We bundled him up good.  And of course Marcelo was warm in the carrier under a fur coat.  People thought I was nuts buying a fur coat in May in Georgia, but I knew it would be put to good use.  Well worth the $25 I paid for it! Vintage and in mint condition!

Of course, New Years Eve morning (the day we left) the snow started coming down and then they got a ton more after we left.  #shouldhavestayedlongerforserioussledriding
I tried to convince Ernesto to stay...I mean look at our car, we were practically snowed in! Ha!

Ernesto wasn't convinced.  He was anxious to get on the road.
Lighting removal started the 2nd and he is ready to be DONE!!!
As you can see, we jam packed the car.  Presents, clothes, and some thrifted items.
I wonder how many rubbermaid tubs that would've been to check on the airplane.  I know one thing...I wouldn't have been able to bring back two new exciting pieces for my house. 
Can you spot my new table and awesome painting for my art wall?

Officially the most boring New Year's Eve I can remember.  Definitely the quietest one. The boys fell asleep in the car around 8p and slept the rest of the ride. Ernesto  handed me the wheel at 830p, which is about the time I get horribly tired every night.  I lasted one hour. ha!  Glad I could help!
Anywho, that was just enough time for him to have a little snooze and finish off the trip! We walked in the house right at midnight.  Here we are at 12:04 am ... ready to PARTY...or maybe just kiss!

Home sweet home!  Ernesto lit a fire, plugged in the tree and the boys and I drifted off to sleep.

New Years Day included football, friends and my mom's delicious pigs in the blanket (pork and cabbage/sauerkraut).  Incidentally, I searched my blog for a past post where I shared the recipe the whole thing made me laugh.  Good memories.  Check it out here!

Hope your Christmas and New Years was full of fun, family and friends! As you can see, ours was, and I am so grateful!


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