Thursday, June 28, 2012


In order to keep the time moving quickly during Brandon's time in Alabama, I decided to take on a few projects.  (As if the "honey-do" list he left me wasn't long enough.)  Anyway, here are a few before and after shots for you.  :)
$7 chair

 This project was not originally planned, but a dear family friend has been sick and unable to leave her hospital room even for just a short walk in the sunshine.  So, after visiting her one afternoon, my mom and I decided we were going to bring some color and sunshine to her.  :)  We made this quilt for her, start to finish, in less than 48 hours and she told us that the first night she slept with it was the first night in 3 weeks that she had been able to sleep through the night.  Best reason to sew for 48 hours (almost) straight EVER.

 Free chair. 
You can't really tell in the before photo, but it was COVERED in cat hair.  So Gross.  But the green called to me, so I vacuumed and used my upholstery cleaner and scrubbed that baby cleaner than clean.  I also sanded down and stained the legs, fixed the torn piping, re-attatched the broken leg and added a small piece of wood to the bottom of one of the back legs cuz before it wasn't sitting evenly (probably the cause for it losing the front leg).  It is super comfy...and the color is more emerald green in real life.  Love it. 

 Had I taken a picture of these benches before, they would have been a pile of 2x4s at Home Depot.  That's right, I built these babies.  Allow me to rephrase, I made all the cuts (according to Ana White's free providence bench plans) with my Grandfather-in-law's miter saw (I want one SOOOO bad...thanks Frank for lending me your tools!). My amazing, talented, handy-man brother, Reed (for those who don't know, I have a brother named "Reed"...yes, just like my last name) helped me assemble them.  I am still not super confident doing things like that on my own, and he could do it blind folded!  After they were put together, I painted, distressed, glazed and polyurithaned the daylights out of them.  I couldn't be happier.  They are incredibly sturdy, they seat 3-4 bums across them comfortably, and the color makes me down-right happy.  Thanks again for your help, Reed!

$10 started out with only 5 glass panes - just so you know.  :)
I almost gave up on this project many, Many, MANY times.  I took this old door completely apart, washed all the boards and glass panes, broke a pane of glass in the process of trying to stencil it, had my son accidently break another pane of glass once I had it reassembled and liquid nails drying, then had the darndest time getting wood panes to fit in where the glass panes no longer were.  I had to walk away several times, and truthfully, I would have chucked it in the garbage altogether had it not been for two things: 1st, my Father-in-law said there was no way that rotted-out-door could be made into a headboard (Ya Ben, I know about what you said ;) ) and 2nd, when I was ready to give up, my mom asked me, and I am completely paraphrasing "would you feel better right now if you just threw it away, or if you gave it one more try and then if it didn't work, threw it away?" - so, I gave it one more try, and things worked out...but not before my brother Reed came over and helped me frame the backside and put the legs on.  What am I gonna do in Georgia when I can't call Reed over every time I need help on a project?  Sad.  :( 

I didn't paint the middle leg cuz I ran out of paint, and no one is going to see it anyway.  :)
I used the frosted glass spray paint to give it the etched look.  (Got the idea from the Idea Room!  Fancy that?)
I'm glad I gave it one more try, and think it will look darn cute in our new home in Georgia, especially since the master bedroom has gray walls!  :)

This last project I truly did NOTHING on, but I had to post about it cuz my siblings who do not live close by would like to see my mom's latest and greatest desire brought to fruition.
For some time now, Mom has wanted a chicken coope.  She asked for it for Christmas.  Didn't happen.  Then again for her birthday.  Didn't least not right away.  Then, earlier this month, Mom put Reed in charge of it all, sent Dad with him to Home Depot as the source of cash, and the project began.
Reed is crazy awesome.  He didn't draw up plans or use anyone elses...he just visualized it in his head and got crackin'.  My other brother Nathan worked along side Reed quite a bit and my brother Jacob and even Mom did some assisting so that it could get finished.
It is now complete with chickens inside.  We have affectionately been referring to the coope as the "Chicken Palace" - and it is just that.  These chickens have never had it so good.
 Above: The day mom brought the chickens home and a front view of the Chicken Palace.
 Side view of the Chicken Palace.
 Mom bought 5 chickens: 2 browm and 3 white.  I think the brown hens are quite pretty acutally.
 The grand staircase.  :)

Once the chickens were in their new home, we just couldn't stop watching them.  They are so cute!  And when the kids aren't watching them, they're digging in the dirt right next to the coope and getting completely filthy.  :)
Glad you finally got your chicken coope Mom!
And that's it for project-ing...for now.

Sunday, June 24, 2012



We had the opportunity to go to DISNEYLAND May 22nd - May 24th and I am only just blogging about it.  I. am. lame.
I have had a few good excuses to justify the delay, but I'll spare you all the nitty-gritty details of my life.  Let's just get to the good stuff!
Brandon's parent's were AWESOME and treated our family to this trip along with his sister and her family. So in essence, it was a Zamaroni, Reed, Soiseth family reunion!  Pretty darn good place to have such an important event if you ask me.  ;)
I took 495 pictures, to be exact, and have narrowed it down to 89 to post here on the blog.  Sorry, I just couldn't cut anymore out!
Our kids were never super cooperative when it came to snapping a family picture, so here's one of the best.  Most of us look happy.  :)

 Day 1:

Our first day we spent mostly traveling and getting settled into our hotel (the Paradise nice staying right there at the Disneyland Resort.)  But after getting all that squared away, we wasted no time and headed straight for the park.  From there, it was like a whirlwind playtime on steroids.  SO FUN.  I cannot even put it into words.
Brandon and Gavin

Carter and Papa Z.

Trey, Jade and Taylor

 We even got to meet up with my sister Natalie, bro-in-law Brian and their daughter, Kyrie.  They live about an hour from Disneyland and gave us the Down-Low of how to navigate the parks and squeeze the most fun into our 3 day stay. 

Brian and Natalie getting ready to rock Star Tours.


Kyrie and Jemma prepped for the ride.  :)


Toontown is by far my least favorite part of Disneyland...aside from the cool photo ops, it's down right lame for adults...the kids sure love it though, so I kept that secret to myself while there. 


It sure was fun for our kids to be able to interact with their cousins so much while we were there.
 Both Jemma and Kyrie and Carter and Trey and have semi "Best Frienemy" relationships with one another, so it was AWESOME for them to mostly get along during this trip.  :)

Gavin on Mr. Toads car and Jemma riding the train.

 Day 2:

On Wednesday, we headed straight for Fantasyland.  Jemma was dying to meet the princesses and Trey wanted to see Sleeping Beauty's Castle, so off we went.

Left: Nina and Jemma headed toward the castle and Right: Brandon with his mom and sister.

 The Princesses:

I waited in line for the princesses while the others went on It's a Small World, and it was totally worth the 50 minute wait.  Jemma was in heaven, and although Carter was too shy to get in the picture until we met Arielle, he was pretty impressed too.  If I could get a job as one of these gals, I would DIE.  I can't even imagine how fun that would be!  :)

Left:  Cinderella given Jemma a squeeze and Right: Tiana tellin' Jem about New Orleans.

Left:  Jemma with Merida, the newest of the Disney Princesses.  She was DARLING.  I was in love with her Scottish accent.  And Right:  Arielle, who, by the way, was quite taken with Jemma's hair bow.  :) 

 Teacups:  Gavin hated this ride.  He wanted off the moment we started spinning.  Poor kid!

I LOVE the carousel.  I just think it has such a charming appeal...I had planned to ride with Gavin, but he pushed me off his horse.  Apparently he's too big for a chaperon and when I tried to stand next to him just to make sure he didn't fall off, he leaned down and gave me the signal to back away; he could handle it, and he did (but not without me still hovering.;) 

 Left: Brandon and Jem on the carousel.  Right:  Brandon and Carter getting ready to ride on Peter Pan.

 Poor Carter was just a quarter of an inch shy of making it onto Thunder Mountain.  The top left photo was his facial expression when he realized he had to stay behind with me and Gavin while the others went to ride the train.  :(  Poor guy.  It wasn't until later that we realized if we switched shoes with his cousin Trey, he was tall enough!  AWESOME.  Thanks Trey for sharing your thick-soled-shoes.  :)
Gavin, on the other hand, didn't give a hoot when he didn't get to go on a ride.  He made his own fun.  :)

Couple of Random Photos:

The boys watching the steam boat and playing on some big rocks.

Brandon in front of the door to Club 33...maybe someday we'll get to go inside!  And, sporting a Grad hat.  Very becoming, don't you think?
 Jemma smooching her brother and trying to remove the sword, Excalibur from the stone.

Riding Jungle Safari:
It's pretty incredible how realistic the animals look, and I don't remember the Safari guide being so funny!  She was really quite witty (despite the fact I'm sure it's all scripted.)  :)

 Carter could not WAIT to drive the cars and still talks about how he drove a real car and how, if I want, he can drive the van for me.  LOL.  Not yet sweet boy. 

 We ended day two with the water/light show "World of Color".  Very cool.

 Day 3:


We got into the park an hour earlier than the general public on Thursday, so we did our best to get there early so we could beat the crowds.  Although we didn't get there as early as we'd hoped, we did get to meet a slew of characters before the general public came swarming in.
 Gavin was mesmerized by the giant Mickey and Minnie Mouse, but was terrified when up close, so this is the only picture I got of him up close on his own.

While waiting in line to meet a lame chipmunk, I noticed Mary Poppins and Bert standing off to the side with NO ONE in line to meet them!!!  Golden opportunity.  I ushered Jemma on over and she got to chit-chat with them all by herself without the pressure of a line behind her!  Bert even guessed her favorite color; pink.  Don't think the sweater was a clue, do ya?
 This is primarily where Gavin chilled while Jemma and Carter met the different characters.  So funny.

 Our family with Goofy.  Gavin still looks wary.

Jedi Academy:

I had been really looking forward to this particular show, and was hopeful that Carter would get chosen to participate since he LOVES Darth Vader.  I even bought him a bright green hat (don't worry, it was on clearance for $0.50) so he'd stand out.  Didn't work.  And of course, Jemma got picked instead.  He was a tough cookie about it though.

 There he is in his green hat.  :(  Still makes me sad just thinking about it.  Maybe next time.

 The most AWESOME part was when the storm troopers, Darth Vader and Darth Maul show up and the little Jedi who have been training get to try out their new skills against those who use the dark side of the force. 

Jemma battled Darth Vader.  His description of her was "The Force is strong with this one".  :)
 When the show was over, we took Carter over to build his own Light saber.  (We let each of the kids choose a souvenir, and that's what he picked.)

 California Adventure:

I love this park.  And it is going to be so much cooler when they open the Cars portion. We were a smige bummed that it wasn't open yet, but, that just gives us a reason to come back!  :)

Bumper Bugs...when we were waiting in line, these didn't look that fun, but once we got goin' it proved to be quite an entertaining ride!  Brandon was especially serious about it all - silly boy. 

 That's Carter next to me...little guy couldn't even see over the steering wheel!

 Gavin loved this caterpillar ride.

These pictures crack me up.  Jemma loved California Screamin' and Splash Mountain, but her facial expression on Splash Mountain doesn't look like she's having fun.  Carter looks less nervous, but after it was over, he told me Splash Mountain was a dumb ride.  He was also not a fan of Space Mountain and Soarin' over California.  Perhaps we should have never switched shoes with Trey?

 We got to meet up with my sister Natalie and her daughter Kyrie again on Thursday and Kyrie was super sweet and brought Jemma a costume to wear.  They were in heaven!  Everywhere they went, they got comments on how pretty they were and people were calling them by the name of the character they were dressed as.  Several times, I heard them telling each other what good acters they were. :)  I think they thought they were legit Disneyland Characters now that they had costumes on.  SO CUTE.


Brandon was AWESOME and went and saved two benches right next to the street so we could comfortably watch Mickey's Parade.  Best parade I've ever watched, and I attribute 90% of that to our stellar viewing conditions.  THANKS HONEY!

 Gavin has recently discovered his nose, and I caught him double-digit-style while waiting for the parade to begin.  Super attractive.

Again, Jemma and Kyrie were so cute all dressed up.  While waiting for the parade to start, they gathered up all these little children (complete strangers mind you) and hosted a dance/ring around the rosies/story time primarily centered on a Tinkerbell/Rupunzel theme. 

 Left:  Sa-weet drum line.  
 Left:  This costume gets the award for being the ugliest, weirdest, most "intriguing".  Right:  Those costumes win the "cute award".  Gotta love a good flapper costume.  :) 
 More princesses!

 Left:  Stilts walker with the Lion King float.  Right:  Captain Hook - Carter is diggin' on pirates these days.  He likes the villans.  Should I be concerned?

Again, it was SO GOOD to see and hang out with my sister Natalie.  She is fabulous. I miss living close to her cuz she is so darn fun!  I love you Natalie!  Thanks for taking the time to drive out TWICE to play with us!
 Wow, even after 89 photos, I feel like I totally skimped on covering this trip.  How is that possible?
I think our family's favorite thing about this vacation was EVERYTHING.
Our number one regret is not getting a picture of all of us together (Nina, Papa, our family, and Jade, Taylor and Trey.)  I'm kicking myself for not making that happen.
Thank you Ben and Tina for making this trip a reality and for treating our children (and Brandon and me) to 3 days of PURE AWESOMENESS!  Oh, how we love, who wants to come visit us in Georgia and take a trip down to Disneyworld???

Disclaimer:  Spell check stopped working halfway through this post and I am 2 hours past my bedtime right now, so pardon all the misspellings, typos, etc.  Thanks!