We Love a Contest: Epic Room Makeover

The Lovely's are wild about a contest...
Even the smallest Lovely.

Dear Mandy, 
Oscar here, I am one and a quarter years old. Some of my favorite things to do are read books, play in the sand and knock things over, I really like knocking things over.
My mom promised me my own playroom when I was born. A place just for me where I can get away from it all. I am tired of hearing the Real Housewives squeal about Sonja being a thug in a prom dress, I am tired of my Dad pulling me off the steps when I am climbing and I am sick and tired of my mom telling me "no no" when I touch her decorations, that frankly, look a lot like my toys. 

I need a place of my own, a place where I am free to touch what I want, climb on what I want and crap my pants when I want. Seriously Mand, here is 'my' playroom:
Awesome, huh? That play mat is so darn fun to play on and great padding for my knees?!? 
My mom is the sweetest?! Thanks for the snacks and bringing the outdoors in.

All the windows are great for the sunshine when it is 10 below outside, mom totally rules! Hey Mom,don't forget my sunscreen!
I bet I know exactly what you are thinking "ooh, where will I put all of Oscar's books?" My playroom does have shelves, obvious! 
Please, please, makeover my playroom for me.
I also want you to know that my mom has some great things for me to play with too. I know this because I overheard my dad complaining about how much space they are taking up in the garage. My mom said she needs to find the time to fix stuff up, we'll see, oh yes, we will see!

Mandy, my mom is great! She is super funny, she has an amazing singing voice, a flexible work schedule (wink wink), super hip dance moves and man alive is she pretty! I know that she would love to help you give me an Epic Playroom Makeover. Like the kind of love where she might kiss you all over your face until you have to push her head away and then she says "get use to it!" So annoying.

I'll be watching for you.

I will love your guts forever,

Oscar Lovely


Inspired by the White Walls

Considering I have matured considerably in the past year, I am approaching our newly painted white room (pics coming soon) with caution. Before I start pounding nails in the walls, hanging things from the ceiling and ordering new merchandise (Henry if you are reading this that very last statement is a joke). I want to sure that it's all part of the plan. So I clicked around the world wide web for a bit to get some inspiration.

I love Miss Mustard Seed's style. I especially like how she has pear colored pillows, because we have a pear couch to work around!

I am kind of sold on the jute rug. Henry is concerned that it won't be cozy enough to sit on while we snuggle up next to the fireplace. Really? Really? The truth is Henry isn't really sure what jute is so I tell him it reminds me of sticking my hand into a bag of cotton balls!

Love the organized clutter and get a load of that mirror wall...ahem, love!

I am kind of a sucker for patriotic/sailor colors, aka Red, White & Blue. Plus, I am pretty certain I am ready to trade in my big square leather tufted ottoman for something a little more woody. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that craigslist and garbage day are good to me in the next few weeks.

The painting is dunnzo and no regrets. If I was a good mom I would just move in gymnastics mats and monkey bars, but the above pics are so darn cute so I am going to go more that direction.


A for Effort

Although I am not always able to get as much done as I would like, I am always suffering from the itch. Here are some of my most recent efforts, report card style.

Pan of S'mores- D-
The idea had merit, but the outcome was B.A.D. Turns out you gotta keep a good eye on the broiler.
I mixed up a box of brownies and as you can see baked it with grahams on top. Brilliant, right? Here is where things got sticky:) I put on a layer of little marshmallows, threw them in the oven on broil and took them out when the smoke alarm went off. Failed dessert and blog post...try it, but keep an eye on those suckers.

Shelf Paper- C+
The Littlest Lovely and I were browsing the aisles of the Maxx and I found an assortment of designer shelf paper for 5.00, so cute. I thought it wood look good on the backs of our window kitchen cabinets.
And I would probably be right if I had more patience and paid closer attention to details. That shelf paper is clingy and hard to manage. Plus lining up the pattern was too tricky for me. So I bagged the idea and put it in our drawers,  like the packaging suggests.
 Cute, yeah?!
Super cute if you don't look to close. "Good enough for government work..." Henry and I are both government employees, so that's my excuse:) The paper is just so darn clingy.
Big Room White Out- In Progress
I decided to hire someone. Just kidding, that's Henry. Of course, I recruited his help, but since the whole room, ceiling included is getting a couple coats of Dover White, I was really helpful- no detail work or precise cutting in necessary. There were even moments when I was armed with a roller in one hand and a brush in the other, Kung Fu Painter-like. The progress below is 2 bedtimes and one Oscar nap later. It's a big room and we still have another coat to go.
I have a good feeling this project will get a big fat A+. 

Does anyone else own coveralls?



Every year I get together with my best girlfriend's from graduate school, Go Beavs! We met during orientation week, spent the next 2 years together hip to hip and now spend one wild weekend a year together. Not crazy beer drinking wild, more like eating, crafting and shopping wild:)

This year we met in Corvallis, OR, Home of the Oregon State Beavers on the heels of our family trip, actually BFF is the reason for the timing of the Oregon Family Vacay.

We met at our old stomping grounds and spent some time reminiscing on campus. 
We spent most of our time together doing what we did. Sam's Station was an old gas station turned BFF's favorite breakfast joint. Nothing brings a bunch of girls together like breakfast, beer, pedicures, shopping and a unicycler juggling basketballs! 
Another reason to love Oregon, there is a winery around every corner and that is not an exaggeration.
Jill was rolling in from Alaska with baby on board, so we threw together a baby shower cake. From idea to completion...50 minutes! You need something done...this is the crew! 
Did I mention we wear matching shirts? We are super wild and super cool!
Finally, a big fat secret from my past is I lived in a fraternity, I was a House Mom, and they called me Mom...One day I met one of the new Delta Chi recruits in the entry way and as they were walking away I heard one of the members say "gross that's our mom!" I took it as a compliment:) 
Of course we pulled up to my old pad and I jumped out for the photo op! I get cooler and cooler.

Cheers to another great BFF! 

BFF I: Camping in Oregon
BFF II: Newport News, VA
BFF III: Chicago
BFF IV: Twin Cities, MN
BFF V: Las Vegas, NV


Photos by a Pro

I get a local daily deal in my inbox and most days I press delete, but sometimes I press purchase. The Seize the Deal site takes the money right out of my checking account. Poof, Magic!

Right before Oscar's Birthday, BabyB Photography offered a half off deal. For 50 bucks I get the photo shoot and a disc of all the photos. Considering my last photography deal, turned out to not be such a great deal. The pics were great but we had to sell one of Henry's kidneys to purchase the prints, I knew that this was a for real deal.

Here are some of my faves of Oscar and his cousins, Caraline and Victoria.

BabyB  certainly captured our little people's spirits. The photographer was sweet and attentive and best of all chill, which we always appreciate. Although the deal is over, she still offers really reasonable prices and is willing to fork over the pics without a fat stack of cash.

Sometimes it's best to leave it the professionals!

P.S. The cute props belong to me, I'd hate to give her all of the credit! 


Oregon Favorites

We love living in Duluth. We love Lake Superior, the beautiful autumn colors, the historical homes, and all the outdoor opportunities. Those are the things that we would miss the most if we didn't live here, oh and our friends.

Here are some of the things that we miss the most about Oregon (umm, besides family:).

The coast! We love the coast! Even when the weather is crap, which is often, we love the coast!
The abundance of fresh food and flowers. Oh the freshness.
Favorite Food Stops. I love the food carts with all of my heart. Good quality, affordable and easy access. If it were legal to marry a food cart, I would, and Voodoo Donuts would be my bridesmaids.

For those of you who have never traveled to Oregon, you should! Here are three things every tourist should know...
1. You can't pump your own gas. That's right, it's illegal. Just stick your plastic card out the window and rest your eyes.
2. No sales tax! Thinking about buying an RV? Do it in Oregon.
3. You can pick blackberries by the wheelbarrow full for free on the side of the roads. They are everywhere and they are delicious!

Safe travels!


To Oregon and Back!

Call off the search party, I'm baaaack! 

The Lovely's went on a long vacation to Oregon, Henry's homeland and the magical place where Mr. and Mrs. Lovely fell in love! Smoochy Smoochy! 

For 14 glorious days of Oregon sunshine we packed in loads of family, food and fun!!!

Surprise! I brought the camera on this trip and I just picked through over 400 snapshots of memories *tear*. I am dying to share some of my faves and have decided to break it down in category form, I have been inspired by my Oregon girlfriend, Nicole, who color coordinates the clothes in her closet, it's a lovely sight.

First category, Introductions. You might burn out your down arrow, but just keep scrolling, there is a surprise at the bottom!

Henry's Mom, Oma to Oscar
Henry's Dad, Papa Eichman
Henry's Stepmom, Dina, Nana to Oscar
Grandpa Don, straight up- nothing fancy. Just two guys sharing a drink!
Great Grandfather Bill made an appearance from Denver
Great Grandma Sue entertaining Oscar with a picture of Oscar, of course!
This is Marylee. She is an appointed Auntie to Henry and now Great Auntie to Oscar.

You can imagine the hugs and smooches this little guy got in a two week time period. We are still trying to get the lipstick off of his cheeks! One lucky little dude.

Did I mention Oscar has a gaggle of step cousins on Henry's side? 

Introducing Oscar's Cousins:
Theo and Zach
Here is something you should know about Alexander...it took him years to save all of his pennies so he could purchase the Death Star Lego Kit complete with a 300 page instruction manual. Gulp, I was in disbelief and apparently still am!
A couple of these kiddos are from Denmark and the other two are from Seattle, so we squeezed them all together for a rare and good old fashion family photo.
All Dina and Michael's grandkiddos in one place- and on their best behavior:)

In between all the X's and O's we went on some adventures, took in the Oregon fare, picked up an old pal off the street and I ditched the fam for an annual gals reunion weekend. 

Stay tuned for more Oregon categories, introducing all the rellies gave me fingertip blisters. I'll be back tomorrow or the next day!

Here is a little present for staying focused through all the introductions. (Imagine how I feel)

Oscar's new trick, caught on camera!