Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bitchin' Kitchen Journey (parte tres)

We are well into the second month of the journey to having the most bitchen-est kitchen EVER!

My plan was to not have any updates until the big reveal, but ... I needed a blog topic for today.

For those who are new to the Bitchin' Kitchen project, please peruse through the links below so you can be 100% up-to-date!

The pictures are self explanatory so ... enjoy!

The ugly linoleum from 1980 was no match for "The Super Scaper"!  

Major props to the guy at Elliot's Hardware for sharpening the scraper!

Yes ... we did some of the work ourselves!

You can see where I went a little crazy with the Sharpie drawing out our new kitchen on the walls!
(There's a beautiful turkey roasting in the oven)

Shaun helping the electrician fish wires down the wall.

I am standing at our front door ... yes, that's a refrigerator in the entry way.

And, yes, that is our new oven, dishwasher and microwave in the living room.

Sissy checking out the new paint job and cabinets ... and my glass of wine.

Me posing in front of my super sweet new pantry!

Here's a good progression of the wet bar being turned into a closet ...

And here is the install schedule coming up:
1.  Carpenter Michael to install cabinets Monday-Wednesday-ish
2.  Granite guys to install the counter tops Thursday-Friday-ish
3.  Appliances to be installed (with the help of Plumber Larry) next weekend-ish
4.  Electrical to be finished by Electrician Andy next weekend-ish

Then we will move on to the tiled back splash and flooring!  Theoretically the job could be 100% done in 2 weeks but realistically, it will be closer to the beginning of March ... sigh.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Random thoughts (1/20/12)

1.  If you write the date today, it is 12012 ... I'm sure that is interesting to someone??
2.  My blog celebrated it's first birthday this week (1/15) and no one remembered!  I feel like Stephanie on Full House when she thought no one remembered her birthday but it ended up that they were all planning a surprise party.  ... so ... maybe someone is planning a surprise party for The Leverett Life's first birthday??
3.  Another birthday/anniversary happened this week.  I haven't had a cigarette since 1/18/10

4.  I have kitchen cabinets in my garage and appliances in my living room.  sigh.
5.  I like to eat, eat, eat Apples and Bananas!  I like to eat, eat, eat Apples and Bananas!

6.  Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
7.  It's a beaitiful day in Plano, Texas today!  But alas, I'm sitting at my desk unable to enjoy it.  #damnyoubillsformakingmework
8.  I STILL don't get the deal with mustaches!  I saw a car driving down the street the other day with a fuzzy, hot pink mustache attached to the grill.  Just.Don't.Get.It!
9.  So wacha, wacha, wacha WANT?!
10.  The word "ustacould" is an actual word according to The Urban Dictionary.  ("I ustacould eat a Sourdough Jack, Fries, 2 Tacos and a Large Dr. Pepper and not gain an ounce!")

If only it looked this good in real life!

Written on Friday, 1/21/12 at 12:25 in 10 minutes (minus the editing and images).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Fist ...

I am an incredibly nice and positive person ... usually.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet "The Fist". This is the gesture I give when I get encounter rude and salty people.

Normal people give the middle finger. But I'm not normal.  I prefer "The Fist" as those who receive this gesture are not deserving of me and my finger's effort.

So please make sure to always be nice when you are interact with me (and this includes phone calls, emails and texts) or else you will be the recipient of "The Fist"!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meet Merle ...

My friends, may I introduce to you ... Merle.

Merle is my new friend and will help me save my "mad mama money" for a much needed mamas only trip to Vegas!

Merle was rescued from the deep recesses of Katie's closet and fixed up (i.e. drawn on with a sharpie marker).

I like Merle.  I like making Merle fat with my spare change. 

I plan to leave Merle to her devices in my underwear drawer and continue to feed her as much as possible until  the big trip. 

 Merle rocks!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Random Thoughts ... 1/13/12


  1. Ok.  So it's been a super de-duper long time since I've written Random Thoughts.  Don't get me wrong, I've had random thoughts ... just didn't create a "Random Thoughts" post.
  2. I received a Top Banana Award at work this week!  #imatopbanana  
  3. My 2012 calendar is a vintage Barbie calendar.  It's so classy!  And I have every intention of hanging the pictures up in Katie's room when I update the space from "Baby" to "Toddler".
  4.  I know I live in Texas and am surrounded by lots of college football, but I seriously do not know what SEC stands for ... Slimy Electric Croutons?  Sugary Eating Cats?  Smelly Ear Canals? 
  5. Why do I have 2 tape dispensers on my desk?  I hope I didn't accidently steal someone's tape.
  6. If you don't intentionally steal and it's an accident, then are you really stealing?  Or is it more of a borrow?
  7. I went to a Holiday White Elephant party today (even though the holidays are so "last-year") and made a work-made gift bag for my wine out of a pillowcase.  #thankyoupinterest
  8. Who wears short shorts?  We wear short shorts!  If you dare wear short shorts, Nair for short shorts!
  9. I am registered for a 5K tomorrow morning.  The reason I picked this particular race was not for the charity but because I get a "free" long sleeved t-shirt and "free" pancakes after the race!  #carboverload
  10. I've fallen in love with hash tags.  I don't even have a twitter account but still insist on using them.  It's like Cliff Notes for your thoughts and sentences. #imobnoxious
  11. I am ready for the kitchen remodel to move on to the next phase.  Especially since we've received the cabinets and they are just sitting all alone on the floor in the empty shell of a kitchen.  #sadcabinets
P.S. I hope y'all enjoyed my long over-due Random Thoughts!  Feel free to visit my Facebook page!!  And if you "like" it, I will give you a Yankee Dime
Written on Friday, 1/13/12 at 2:58 PM in 10 minutes (the pictures were added after the clock stopped)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What a piece ...

My car is at the "car doctor" getting a "brake-something-or-other" replaced so it was a big Leverett Family carpool this morning.

This is the conversation I witnessed in the garage as Shaun and I loaded the kids up in his car:

Nathan: Where's Ma's car?
Shaun: It's getting fixed right now.
Nathan: At the Car Doctor?
Shaun: Yep!
Nathan:  What a piece!
Shaun:  (looking slightly embarassed)  What's that buddy?
Nathan: WHAT A PIECE!  (as in "What a piece of ____")
I give Shaun the "You're-the-only-one-who-says-that" eye and we finish piling in the car and head out for the day.

My "evil-eye"

So, as I sit at my desk and finish up my soggy lunch, I think back to this morning and am reminded that parents are role models.

As a parent, you truly have to practice what you preach!  If you say "Don't talk with food in your mouth", then you can't talk with food in your mouth.  If you have to remind your child to use their manners, you better be putting Miss Manners to shame with all of your "please's" and "thank-you's"! 

I strive to make a good habit of leading by example as a mom and a co-worker.

For example, if you have a problem co-worker who gets under your skin so bad... you know, the co-worker who throws your back into spasms whenevery you hear their voice?  The one that makes you want to wash 5 Xanax down with straight whiskey? We all have "that" co-worker ... right?!

(sorry about the tangent)

To return to the point at hand ...

When you have a problem co-worker who is always negative, try to be positive.  For the co-worker who takes work way to seriously, remind them they are not curing cancer (unless their job IS to cure cancer).  And for the overly anxious, super-duper, boss sucker-upper ... umm ... well ... always be polite to them because the butt-kissing will probably pay off and they will be your boss someday!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Being a mama is natural ...

There are so many women in the world who promote "the natural side of motherhood" who had unmedicated births, exclusively breast fed for as long as possible, used only cloth diapers, co-slept for months, etc.

For those women who had babies "the natural way", I stand up and applaud you!
For the "boobie baby mamas", great job on being self-less and nourishing your baby!
For the "eco-friendly tushes", I say "thank you" for being green!
And to the co-sleepers ... well ... you must have the extra-California king size mattress or sleep perfectly still!!

But for every yin, there is a yang.

I am here today to represent the "un-natural" mother.

I had an epidural with both of my births.
I didn't breast-feed (by choice).
I was induced with Katie.
I let both babies sleep on their bellies.
Neither of the kids have ever slept in mine and Shaun's bed.
I am not a stay at home mom.
I introduced solids at 5 months with both babies.
I turned Nathan's carseat around on his first birthday.
I buy disposable diapers.

And as a result, both of my children are thriving and happy.

I am a good mama.

There is no right or wrong way in the "natural vs. un-natural" motherhood route.  Both sides strive for the same outcome: A healthy and happy child.

Some analogies to support this:
"Methodist vs. Baptist" ... both teach about Jesus and Christianity and will hopefully end in St. Peter letting you through the Pearly Gates.
"Beer vs. Wine" ... if you drink enough of either, you will get drunk.
"Bottled vs. Tap" ... it's all water.

Bottom line is this:

Each and every loving mother in this world has the exact same goal.  Instead of judging mama's on their choices, we should fist-bump each other on the fact that our babies are alive and well!

To the "un-natural mama", the next time you see a woman nursing her baby in public, smile and wave ...
To the "natural mama", when you are at dinner and see a woman shaking a bottle, nod and wink ...

Thank you ... I will now give the soap box back to the "Occupy Whatever" hippies ...

Friday, January 6, 2012

An innocent mind ...

As I made my usual post-Christmas returns the other day, I heard a song that I hadn't heard in years!  Cecilia ... not the Simon and Garfunkel version ... but the version by Times Two released in 1988.  My cousin (Joey) and I would belt out every word to this song while playing Barbie's in my Gram's bedroom.

As I strolled through Academy Sports with the she-monkey on my hip, I caught myself singing along with the lyrics and taking a trip down memory lane.

And the evolution of my thought process is as follows.

I loved singing this song with Joey ...  "I got up to wash my face, when I come back to bed, someone's taken my place" 
We also loved the song "Sign Your Name" by Terrence Trent D'Arby ...  "Sign your name across my heart, I want you to be my lady ..." 

OH.EM.GEE!  How did Mama not intervene and keep me from listening to and singing this song about having S-E-X in the afternoon and a cheating girlfriend?!  Better yet, why, on God's green earth, did my super Catholic Gram not slap me and Joey across the face for belting out such indiscretions?!  

As a girl, the lyrics were just words. Nothing more. There were no racy thoughts going through my head.  It didn't turn my 8 year old body into a sin-machine.  I just enjoyed the melody, the singing and being silly with Joey.  And this had me thinking ...

Are the things which are considered "bad" influences really "bad" when viewed through innocent eyes and ears?

I see The Boy running through the house with his hockey stick pretending it's a gun.  He stops in front of Katie, points the "gun" towards her and screams "Bang!  Now Die Katie!".  Katie looks at him and giggles hysterically which causes Nathan to break out into laughter as well.

As much as Nathan's pretend disturbs me and creates irrational fears of him turning into a serial killer, it's innocent play to him.  Nathan doesn't know what death is.  In his mind, dying is temporary and the victim always comes back to life.

As a parent, it is my job to nurture, raise and teach my babies.

I have choices on how to respond to his pretend Katie killing:
  1. Freak out and yell "No! No! NO!  Nathan!  We do not shoot guns!  Guns are BAD!  Guns kill people!"
  2. Take this as an opportunity to sit down with Nathan and start teaching him the principles of gun safety and educate him that guns are very serious and should be treated with respect.
  3. Run into the room with a bottle of ketchup and help he and Katie act out a super dramatic, ever-so-bloody death scene that would rival Scarface (the movie).
  4. Ignore his actions.  
My instinct is to yell "NO!" but that only teaches him that what he's doing is wrong.  But, in his mind, it's not wrong.  How can I scold him for being ignorant and not knowing?

So I move on to option 2.  During some quiet time, Shaun and I explain to Nathan (in 3 year old terms) that it is fun to pretend, but real guns are only for adults and are used to protect people ... that's why soldiers and police men have guns.

As he gets older, I will foster his creative spirit as much as possible so that is when I will allow the ketchup to be used as a prop!  (only after they are stripped down to undies and the living room is protected in plastic)

And ignoring him teaches him that I don't care ... which is worse than option 1!

So maybe maybe Mama and Gram weren't ignoring us after all.  Maybe they had the same views as I do and were merely letting me and Joey explore our vocal capabilities and creativity.  After all, Joey and I are both Grammy Award winning singers (in our own minds at least)!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bitchin' Kitchen Journey - part 2

I really hoped to have a more visible update in the journey to the most awesomest kitchen EVER! ... but ... alas, all good things come to those who wait!  (hmph)

So at last update, the demo was well underway.  As of today, the rough plumbing and carpentry are complete.  Next up ... electrical.  This is definitely not our forte so we happily handed this part of the job (AND most everything else) over to the trained and licensed professionals.

While the pros tackle the heavy lifting, I will wet your home improvement appetite with the grand plan!


It all started when we bought this house 2 years ago.  We definitely did not buy it for the layout or decor as it was built in 1979 and had minimal updating in 30 years.

We purchased our house based on 3 things:
  1. Location, location, LO-KA-SHUN (smack dab in between my family and Shaun's, 15 minutes from both of our paying jobs and in a great school district)
  2. It is in a cul-de-sac (I used to dream of living in a cul-de-sac)
  3. It backed up to a jogging trail/field (which meant no neighbors behind us and lots of space for the kids to run amuck)
As soon as we signed the contract, we were drafting up the list of everything we planned to do to make this house spectacular!

Then we moved in ...

Then we got comfortable ...

And then we forgot about the list.

Every few months, Shaun and I would say "remember the list ... It would be great if ..."

Current Kitchen

Included in that list was updating renovating relocating the kitchen.  The current kitchen is located in the far north-east corner of the house and is decorated in faux terra-cotta vinyl tiles and harvest gold laminate counter tops.  The house has a large, unused formal living room adjacent to the current kitchen which just happens to open up to the family room we live 80% of our lives in.

So Shaun and I asked each other: Why not switch the two rooms?

It couldn't be that hard ... could it?  The formal living room already had a wet bar (so we could easily tie into the plumbing) and backed up to the laundry room (so we could easily tie into the gas line for our stove).   We convinced ourselves it would be easy, simple and cheap.


Anyway ... I'm getting off on a tangent.  The ball started rolling after we got sick of saying "It would be great if ..." and said "It will be great when ...".

Current layout of the house (not scaled correctly though)
New layout (the kitchen will be the unnamed room above the garage)

Cabinetry:  The cabinets will be shaker style in an Auburn glaze with simple brushed nickel hardware.

Flooring:  We want the look of large Travertine rectangular tiles in a brick pattern but the simplicity and easy care of ceramic (please message me if you know of something that will work).

Counters: Paradise Beach granite with demi bull-nose edge

Back splash:  3"x6" Travertine tiles laid in brick pattern.

A look back ...

Today is 1/1/12.  It is the first day of the new year.  The slate is wiped clean and everything starts over.  Today is the day to write your resolutions down and swear to all that is sacred you will keep them.

For me, 2011 was a year filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. 

It was, by far, the best 365 day roller coaster I've been on thus far.

And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Please enjoy the below pictorial recap of 2011 ...

January ...Snow!

February ... Dinosaurs!
March ... Fashion!
April ... Kisses!
May ... Katie Beth!
June ... Love!
July ... Rodeo!
August ... 3rd Birthday!
September ... Streaking!
October ... Halloween!
November ... Another Rodeo! Yee-haw!

December ... Christmas!

One year ago today, I decided to start this blog as a way to chronicle the lives of my Turkey and Tootie.  Little did I know, it would become so much more than that.  I cherish the compliments I receive on my ramblings and feel loved everytime someone says they enjoy reading about the craziness.  And yes, Nathan is really this crazy in real life!

Here's to a fruitful, happy and prosperous 2012!