Saturday, December 31, 2011


My new favorite quilt pattern! Made this for my brother's new baby Annika.

Favorite Little Chubby Toes

Seriously doesn't get much better than this for me! Paris had always had little fatty feet and toes. They are getting a little stretched out but still chubby. Loved this pic of her feet in dress up shoes!

Thank you notes with Will

Monday, December 26, 2011


Will is a hilarious little guy lately. He often hugs me tight and says he "will never let me go." Also the other night he said, "Mommy, you are a very attractive woman."

He makes me laugh!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to Shanda

So excited about this exciting present Austin gave me for Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to me!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I love this little nutball!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

20 Awesome Basketball Shots

We live in a time when your 10 year old son can devise crazy shots with his buddies, take video on the flip cam, add music, edit the film and have it uploaded to You Tube in a matter of minutes. 

For those of you who got a taste of Cooper McKeehan's first production (Awesome Ping Pong Shots), this is the sequel "Awesome Basketball Shots."

Coop was born in Michigan, and so he chose Eminem for background music (Clean version - don't worry). 

For those of you who know Coop well, some of these shots are classic Coop (like the one off the roof at the end). He will always have that knucklehead factor -- but sometimes you just gotta embrace it and laugh. And if you look close you may see some of your own kids also in the video.

My only disclaimer is that I was at work while all of this happened. 

Click on the link and enjoy if you have 90 seconds. 


Thursday, December 1, 2011


Will just came down in this get-up and told me he is "going to explore the coast of Egypt."

His outfit included a blanket, a hooded sweatshirt, hockey pads, a torn up pillowcase and a pair of my old leggings.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wood flooring is here!

Halle-freaking-llujah!!! Our flooring finally arrived! Installation coming soon!

Mirror re-do

So when you have one of these lovely construction mirrors, you can take some of these pieces of trim and make it awesome!

AND when you have concrete floors you can spray paint right on top of them!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Will just announced that when he grows up he is going to be a "bachelor", but later he "might change his mind." I didn't even know he knew what bachelor means!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Old pallet to new bedroom sign

An old crusty pallet, a few hours of nail pulling, some cheap paint and stencils and I have a signboard for my bedroom that I love!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hot mama

"Don't I look like such a hot mama?" Paris announced as she came downstairs displaying all her finery.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Marco Polo

Cooper has been working on an explorer project at school. His explorer is Marco Polo and he had to dress up today for their living museum. We did the best we could with the costume, since he was born in the 1200s, not many reliable photos exist!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stairs are coming along!

Unfortunately didn't get a picture of the carpet demo, but here is the first shot of the staircase revamp. Just have more coats of stain and lots of white painting to do.

In other news, the kids have been loving rollerblading and sidewalk chalking all over our lovely concrete floors! We had all the flooring on our first floor ripped out a few weeks ago in preparation for our new hardwood floor. Which is taking its sweet time getting shipped to us! Maybe after next week we won't live in a scud missile anymore!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thunder Road round 2

So happy to be done with my half-marathon this morning!

Monday, November 7, 2011


We are having new hardwood installed on our whole first level and here are some pics of the demolition. These guys are working their fannies off scraping the old wood that is glued down to the slab.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Grandpa Stauder this one is for you!

Just found out I can post from my iPhone! This is very exciting! Here are some pics of Austin and I off to a Halloween party. Just thought we would dress as our true selves! I have wanted to be a punk ever since I was in 3rd grade and my grandparents sent me a postcard from London of two mohawked punks on the street. The party was with our baseball friends. Austin said that they were going to be so surprised that "the grandma who knits at the games and never comes out past 9 is dressed like this!"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Words of Wisdom

I am running my fifth half-marathon in a couple of weeks and I am feeling a little burnt out with running, ready for some laying on the couch time! Anyway, this morning I just finished my 12 training run, which I was seriously dreading last night and didn't want to do.  So I told this to Will.  Here is how the conversation unfolded:

Me: Will, I just REALLY don't want to run anymore.
Will: Then don't Mommy, just don't show up for the race.
Me:  But I have already paid for it and I can't get a refund.
Will: It's ok Mommy, if you don't want to do something, just don't do it. That's what I always do.

Really? Wow, didn't notice that one.

Interesting perspective Willy! Maybe we have gotten to the root of your uncooperative attitude!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Epic Battle for State Championship Goes Down to the Wire!

In an absolutely epic battle of two North Carolina All-Star Little League Powerhouses, the MARA MOJO (Cooper's team) faced the fearsome, Porter Ridge Pirates in the North Carolina State Championship. The Pirates were a hand picked "Super Team" (for those of you Friday Night Lights watchers). They essentially combined two All-Star teams and added a couple of other players from travel ball to build the equivalent of the NY Yankees of little league. These were all 120 pound, corn-fed, country strong 10-year olds. On different occasions, all but one of their players had hit one over the fence. This was in contrast to our team which had two players who had hit it over the fence in their lifetime.

We had played Porter Ridge 4 times up to this point, and were 2 - 2 against them. Without taking you through the long hard road to the state championship, we had played 12 games to get to this game. We were in the winners bracket which meant that our opponent had to beat us twice. We all knew Porter Ridge was capable of this, but wanted to beat them in the first game and celebrate early.

The coach decided to start Cooper in the State Championship. As his Dad, I was a wreck with nerves despite only watching. The state championship this year was on our home field, which made it even more special. Of all the places in North Carolina, we were playing in front of our home crowd (the same place Cooper and I had spent countless hours practicing the last few years).

We were the home team and the little league equivalent of Jeter, A-Rod, and Texiara were up to bat to start the game for Porter Ridge. First batter goes to a full count, fouls off 3 pitches before getting fooled on a change up by Cooper - 1 out. The next batter fastball, change up, cutter - 3 pitch strike out. The next batter fast ball, fast ball, cutter - 3 pitch out. Coop had just struck out the side! The place went nuts and was absolutely electric. Coop went on to pitch the game of his life in State Championship and pitched 4 shut out innings and gave up 2 hits. By rule, since he had pitched 2 innings in the previous game, he could only pitch 4 innings in this game. MARA went into the sixth with a 2-0 lead. They say the hardest three outs in baseball are the last three. That proved to be true this night. Porter Ridge scored 4 in the sixth and won 4-2. After a brilliant performance by our team in the first 5 innings, we were left crushed with disappointment. Did we just choke the state championship away?

We now had to play Porter Ridge again and this time they had all the momentum and we were pretty down. But the boys battled and we were once again  ahead with a precarious 2 run lead headed into the bottom of the last inning. But Porter Ridge would not go down easy. Hit, Walk, Hit, Hit, Walk. It was now 3-2, the bases were loaded, there was one out, and their best hitter at the plate. Was this really going to happen? Back to back crushing collapses? Why not just rip out my heart and stomp on it -- I think that might feel better.

Then the coach, seeing the nerves on our pitcher who had just thrown 4 straight balls to walk the bases loaded, decided to make a change. He saved one inning of eligibility with Cooper. But this was a heck of a time to come in. If Porter Ridge even makes contact, they probably tie, if they get a hit, they win the game.

At the risk of sounding like a biased, over-the-top dad-about-his-own-son, Coop was made for this moment. Coop can be frustrating because he is a knucklehead. He sometimes is still immature and wants to goof around and have fun at practice when coaches want to be all business. On the flip side, he blows bubbles when he pitches and doesn't get too rattled in the big moments. When I asked him what he thought when the coach asked him to come in the game at that time he said, " I was excited the coach wanted me to pitch." That was it. Almost like he was oblivious to the fact that it was the state championship, the bases were loaded and we had only a one run lead.

And while I wish I could write that he struck out the next two batters, that is not at all what happened.

Cooper's first pitch is fouled off and inches from being an easy pop up out but goes out of play. His second pitch is drilled hard to centerfield. The centerfield makes a good play and catches the hard hit liner. The runner from third tags up, the centerfielder puts everything he can on it and it bounces at the pitchers mound. But then it took a magical MARA MOJO bounce off the mound and right towards home plate. The 120 pound man- child is running lights out at our 85 pound catcher. I don't know how our catcher keeps focused on the ball knowing this kid is about to literally knock him upsidedown at home. The ball comes in a half second before the runner. The catcher grabs it and tags the runner. The runner blows up the catcher. The ump is looking everywhere for the ball. On his back I see the catcher with both hands around his mitt shaking and showing the ump he has the ball. Game Over! MARA MOJO wins on a fly out - throw - tag out at home.

I honestly think if we tried to do this play 1,000 times again, we might only do it right a handful of times. So many things have to go right for this to happen in little league, but the baseball gods were with us on this magical night. Cooper's MARA MOJO were State Champs and now move on to regionals. I will write a report on Regionals next week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Can you stand a little more MARA?

Me and my not so small baby after the big win. Woo-hoo!

After a lot of blood, sweat, and tears...

Here they are, the 2011 10U North Carolina State Champs!
(long and detailed blog post by Austin to follow)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Southside Player of the Game

Cooper's baseball coach pours more love into these boys than I have ever seen before. He is also tough and doesn't accept excuses. One thing I really like is that he choses a "Southside Player of the Game" after each game. It is a great way to encourage the boys and he really makes sure that everyone gets this honor for something that they did that was better than they could have done before. Here are a couple of the times Cooper won this honor:

Swimming at the Y

On the days we don't have baseball, I struggle with what to do with the kids to keep everyone happy. Cooper just wants to search YouTube for useful tips like how to make a fireball you can hold in your hand with lighter fluid. Will would rather die than leave the house (and trust me his screams when I say we are leaving to go somewhere sound like he is dying). And Paris usually just goes with the flow.

So on Thursday we decided to go swimming at the YMCA pool that we have a membership to. It was a great time! Cooper and Will played games together and didn't scream at each other at all. And Paris even jumped up and down with joy and said, "This is the best day EVER!" She also enjoyed practicing her swimming skills without a life vest. We will definitely be back!

The Treehouse

Austin won a one-night stay at the Treehouse Vineyards in Monroe in an actual treehouse. It was a beautiful place, I never knew just a few miles off 74 is such beauty. We don't drink alcohol so we didn't have the wine there but we did taste some really yummy muscadine cider. We also ate at two really cute places, The Stone Table and Sweetea Cafe. The historic downtown in Monroe is great, I never knew.

The Treehouse was just what you would expect, a teeny little kitchen, bathroom and couch for the living area, then upstairs in the loft was basically a bed and dresser. It was so much fun doing something out of the ordinary.
View from the deck of the Treehouse

Another view, I was clearly hogging the hammock chair the whole time!

Ottoman Refreshed

Notice the classy duct tape. I promise I only put this on to hold it down when the slipcover is on it.
We desperately need new furniture, ours is beat up, has cracks from people's butts sitting in the same place, burned marks where I had to clean off hot-pink nail polish with acetone, and various rips. We can't decide whether it is better to get new furniture so we don't look like white trash, or just keep the other furniture for awhile because the kids can't really make it worse, right? I thought about making slipcovers for all the furniture for a few minutes but I think I would regret that right after I cut into the fabric and couldn't return it anymore. But I did do a slipcover for the ottoman and I really like how it turned out.

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Last Day of Preschool for the P

Paris loves having pictures taken, posing and smiling big. Then she loves to look at the pictures of herself!

My Big Project This Week

Recently we had our house painted inside. We've now lived here for over 7 years and the walls were looking pretty dingy. So along with the new paint, I have been trying to do a couple other updates. We have one big great room that has really tall two-story ceilings and I have always struggled with trying to fill the space. I had a bookshelf in the corner that I liked but it was really small and this week I found something that works!

I love hunting through the old furniture at Salvation Army and Goodwill to find things that I can repaint and redo to my liking. So I found this big ole piece of oak junk at Salvation Army for $35.55. I knew it would be a lot of work but I had a vision.  Here is what it looked like when I bought it:

Notice the sweet 1990s oak, the frosted glass in the doors and the lovely hardware.

I knew what I wanted to do - replace the hardware, take the bottom doors off, move the shelves around a bit and add a new shelf. Then take out the glass and add chicken wire, oh yeah, and add a back pice to hold it all together.  Here are a few pics of the process:

I painted a coat of primer, and then a coat of the bluish color I liked. After letting that dry for 24 hours (did I mention the weather was in the 90s this week and it was REALLY hot working on this in the garage.) I took out my new sander and a file and my antiquing stain and went at it. The thing I like about distressing furniture is that you can't mess it up. So I had to hit the whole thing a few times with a sledgehammer to get the nails in? Who cares, love the dents it makes.

So after all that work - here it is, and I love it! Though it did occur to me that I took an old piece of crap, and made it into . . . another old piece of crap!