yay summer!

Yesterday was Memorial Day and, in addition to the holiday landing on Alex's birthday weekend, it's the official start of summer in the Wheat household. Who can wait until June 22nd anyway? So we celebrated as any other young family that doesn't have a Country or Swim Club membership--at the YMCA kiddie waterpark. Actually, this was my first foray into something of this nature, and I have to admit that I handled it quite well. Kind of better than Alex, in fact, who pointed out the fact that he didn't want to think about "the e coli infesting the water," as he so eloquently put it. Thanks. But we were there for the kids, and the kids had a great time. Catcher ran around in circles and asked for Teddy Grahams every ten minutes while Scout repeatedly tried launching herself off the side of the pool. Our parenting tactic of wearing out the kids worked, however: on the ride home they both passed out within a matter of minutes.

When I picked the kids up from school this afternoon, Catcher said, "Maybe we can go to the waterpark."


i was just watching tv

I've never met a woman who isn't terrified by the shower scene in Psycho. To this day, I pull back the shower curtain when I get home--almost every day, but especially when it's dark outside--to make sure there isn't a psycho (for lack of a better word) lurking behind it. One time when we still lived in New York, Alex thought it would be funny if he hid behind the shower curtain to "scare" me when I got home. Here's how it went down: unbeknownst to me, he was several paces ahead of me on the sidewalk and saw me round the corner to our apartment as I was returning home from work. At that moment, he decided to sprint up the stairs (we lived in a walkup, of course) to beat me inside. I knew something was awry the moment I stepped into the apartment, because in his haste to secure his hiding spot Alex had forgotten to deadbolt the door. When I walked in, I headed straight for my go-to where-would-a-crazy-person-be-hiding-in-my-apartment spot, and you can imagine the fear that struck me when I pulled back the shower curtain to find a panting, sweaty Alex. My heart almost stopped and I began sobbing uncontrollably. 

The reason I bring up this story is to remind us all how [freaking!] scary it is for someone to sneak up on you in shower situations. Tonight, as is customary on the weekends, I got in the shower after putting the kids to bed. Everything was fine until I was toweling off and saw the discreet turn of the door knob on the bathroom door. My stomach dropped. A million things must have raced through my head at that moment (Did I lock the front door? Where are the kids? What's my most valuable weapon right now?) none of which was: "Oh, it's just Catcher. He must have gotten out of bed and heard me showering and wants to say hi." But of course it was just Catcher. And he had just gotten out of bed. And when I asked him what he was doing, he said "I was just watching TV." The actual scary part of this story, though, is that I had left the TV on the Women's College Softball Super-Regional that Alex is working tonight, and that's what Catcher was watching. Yikes!


sassy in minneapolis

I saw this house featured in the latest issue of Lonny magazine, and I'm slightly obsessed. Maybe it's because I've dreamt of incorporating an Eero Aarnio bubble chair into my future home's decor, or maybe it's the crazy wallpaper or the bright yellow accents. Whatever it is, the room lead me to Google the designer who, guess what, happens to live in Charlotte. Crazy! Here are some other shots of this home in Minneapolis from Lisa Sherry Interieurs:

Although I've never been a big fan of all white walls (or ceilings!), I have to admit that the designer has given me some ideas. White walls give you the freedom to go crazy with a bold, patterned wallpaper or wild with a striped island in the kitchen set below an equally striking medallion painted on the ceiling. I'm totally inspired...even if it does mean there's another round of wallpaper-hanging somewhere down the line (read about my first experience here). I'll just make sure to do it on one, flat wall the second time around.

Below is another home, located here in Charlotte, that Lisa Sherry decorated. I have to admit that I like the bold patterns she uses when they play off of white walls versus a darker color. However, I do love the chalkboard wall in the kid's room. If you could only keep it that quirky with transformer sketches.


35 and still alive

Happy Birthday, Alex! I'm staring down this plate of cookies I put together for you waiting for you to get home from work. I didn't make them, and I know it's not the donut cake that Catcher requested, but they smell good...and the roach that just crawled out of the fireplace must think the same thing. So here I am...watching Sex & The City on E! and smelling cookies. I was going to pour myself a glass of wine, but I thought it would be rude to start celebrating before the birthday boy got home. See you soon! XO

p.s. If you get home and find me passed out on the sofa in a bed of cookie crumbs, you know I had good intentions.


happy birthday to sassy!

Can you believe it? This blog is one year-old today, and today is my 251st post. While 251 is slightly less than my projected average of 5 posts per week (that would equal 260), I can't complain. 

Let's take a look over the past year, shall we? Here's a list of things that I thought would have happened over the past year but have not:

- our house sold
- we live in a box house
- we're elbow-deep in projects rehabbing a mid-centry gem (if said "box house" didn't work out)
- we packed and unpacked an entire house
- we moved boxes from room to room to room to avoid the inevitable unpacking
- catcher has his own room
- scout has her own room
- I have a bigger kitchen with newer appliances and I actually cook on occasion
- we have a great outdoor living space -- just in time for the warm weather
- we (and I mean the adults) have our own bathroom
- I finally got started on the many projects in my head: reupholstering, making a headboard, etc.
- we've painted all the rooms in the house and I'm thinking about repainting some of them as I type
- I tried out for HGTV's Design Star

The list could go on, but let me interject with some things that have happened over the past year that I thought would not:

- I almost had a baby on the front porch
- I had a baby without an epidural
- the baby came home from the hospital and slept in our room for 6? 8? months...I've lost track
- the baby and Catcher are now sharing a room
- our house is still on the market
- I'm completely over the box house
- I'm kind of into yard work
- I've started cooking dinner about 4 nights a week
- we're going to be on HGTV's My First Sale
- Boston Rob won Survivor

So there you have it: my year in a nutshell. While over the past year I expected to learn things about myself like how many boxes I could successfully Tetris (yes, I'm using the game Tetris as a verb) into the back of a U-Haul or how long it takes to pick out the perfect shade of white, I actually learned some other things. I learned that a family of four can live in 847 square feet. I learned that I can sometimes be a little psycho about keeping 847 square feet clean (sorry, babe). I learned that it doesn't matter if your "dream" house sells right in front of your eyes because you're going to change your mind in a couple months anyway. I learned that the term "dream house" is trite, and I'd like to remove it from my vocabulary (along with "pop of color"). I learned that life is ever-changing, so this blog has only just begun.


up on the rooftop

One of those "projects" that we [Alex] hadn't gotten around to yet was cleaning out the gutters. Did you know that if you don't clean out your gutters regularly they start to grow little mini trees in them? I've discovered that over the years. It sounds cute when I say "mini trees," but it's kind of gross.

Alex on the roof; surveying his territory. Notice the little trees sprouting in the gutters. Also notice the fronds of the walnut tree arching into the left-hand side of the frame. A couple hours after this photo was taken, I was standing on a ladder--the one pictured below, in fact--hacking away at stray limbs. Wearing a dress with my sunglasses slipping off the bridge of my perspiring nose, I wasn't quite the model tree trimmer. But I did enjoy myself and when I said, "this is fun," and Alex almost fell out. He married a woman who hates nature and yard work. This is true, but he also married a woman whose patience has never been her strong suit and when she wants something done, she wants something done now (and now means before she even thought she wanted it). So when our realtor advised that we cut back a few of the branches on the tree, and I found myself with a ladder and a hacksaw on a sunny afternoon...what's a girl to do?

But gutter cleaning and tree hacking weren't the only day's activities. Prior to my manic tree clipping episode, Catcher and I were drawing on the street. This is the birthday cake and birthday hat he wanted me to draw:


conversations with a 3 year-old

When I lived in New York City and would see crazy--and I mean crazy in an endearing, not threatening, way--people on the subway or walking down the street cursing to themselves, I would sometimes (sometimes) think that it might be nice to be crazy. I'm not talking crazy like storming into your former place of employment with a loaded firearm or thinking little people live inside your head, but crazy like talking nonsense. You could say the most outlandish things and no one would bat an eyelash--at least not in New York City.

Having a conversation tonight with Catcher reminded me of that sentiment. He's at the age--turning three in July--where he knows enough to speak in complete sentences and reference things from earlier conversations and memories, but sometimes you just have to wonder what is going on in that little head. Here's a snippet of our conversation:

C: Daddy's not at the hairport.

M: Yes he is.

C: No. Daddy told me he's going to Or-in-na.

M: California?

C: Yeah.

M: Well. He has to go to the airport to get on airplane to take him to California.

C: Coco and Moppy went to the hairport and Coco and Moppy got on a hairplane.

M: Oh yeah? Where are they going?

C: Mexico.

M: Cool. What are they going to do in Mexico?

C: Wear bathing suits.

M: Good idea. What do their bathing suits look like?

C: They have sharks!

M: Sharks?! Wow. Anything else?

C: Sharks. And robots. And cheese!

M: Cheese. That must be something else.

It should be noted that following this conversation, Catcher proceeded to the bathroom where I heard him telling himself there would be no gummies because his Pull-up was wet. He then began singing "Wheels on the Bus" and came back out to the living room with his pants down around his ankles to ask me, "Hey. Hey. Hey, Mommy. What comes after the horn?" Now tell me that's not crazy.


pack rat

Remember my closet? I just wanted to remind you how small it is and how little room there is in it. Keep this picture in mind while you read the rest of this post. Pardon me while I back up for a second...

Alex and I have this fancy event to go to on Wednesday, and I needed to find shoes to wear. When I say "find," I don't mean that I had to go out shopping for a new pair. I mean that I had to send Alex up to the attic in search of a box that may or may not contain the one pair of shoes that I want to wear. So Alex disappeared for a few minutes and came back down with the box pictured above.

Inside I found some old friends that I haven't seen in quite a while. Hello little silver, "Dancing with the Stars" shoes. I remember I wore you to a wedding in 2008, and I haven't seen you since. (These weren't the shoes I was looking for, by the way, but it was nice to welcome them back to the main level). Wait. Where was I? It's very easy to get sidetracked when you come across shoes that you miss that you didn't know you were missing (or not missing, phew!).

While I was digging through the attic box, I decided it would be a good time to go ahead and clear my closet floor and swap out the shoes I've been wearing for the past six months for some that I haven't seen in a while. Kind of like rotating your tires or a mattress or something. Pictured above is what I had strategically stacked on my closet floor.

Psyche! This is what I really had on the floor of that tiny closet--all of it! So in the middle of yet another manic cleaning spree, I put half of this--including my beloved purple shoes that I wear at least once a week--up in the attic and only kept three extra pairs of shoes from the box that Alex had brought down. The shoes I wanted for the event on Wednesday were in that box, but seeing the little silver guys reminded me of a pair of navy shoes...and some electric blue shoes...and some pink pumps (do I still have those?) that are all up in the attic somewhere. Looking through the box was kind of like Christmas, but more of a depressing Christmas where you unwrap all your presents and then have to give them back.


put me in the movies

...or take me out of the movies and sell me for cheap. What?! I'm talking about Film Biz Prop Shop, a not-for-profit establishment in New York City that takes donations from TV shows, film sets, Broadway shows and other commercial productions and then sells them to us for super-cheap (otherwise the stuff would end up in a landfill...ridiculous!). I just learned about this store so I haven't been; however, I'm eagerly awaiting its virtual debut (and let's be honest, I probably wouldn't venture out to Brooklyn to see the store in person anyway).

Until the site launches, I'm thinking of my favorite movie sets and dreaming about what I could do with all that Josef Frank fabric from Mama Mia!, for example. Do you think they have the Womb Chair that was used in one episode of Felicity? Or maybe Pat the Dog from Friends?



This past Sunday we had our last shoot with HGTV. Wait. Back it up: on Sunday I thought it was our last shoot, but there may be more in the works...we won't get into that now. So back to Sunday when I thought it was our last shoot, I had a momentary lapse of reason and thought I would actually miss the cameras. When you're in the middle of a 12-hour shoot and the kids are beyond the breaking point of sanity, you wonder why you got yourself into this in the first place (oh yeah...I was home on maternity leave and bored out of my mind and sleep deprived and desperate to sell my house and thought it was a great idea). But then there are things that you really will miss--like hanging out with the crew, a hot battery pack on the small of your back, the feeling of being miked up hours after the day has ended and the lingering flow of conversation that is not-quite-normal between you and your spouse. Yeah, I think I will miss it. But I'm not sure the whole family is on board with my sentiments. 

Judging by his expression, Catcher won't miss the cameras following us around; he's been there and done that and is jaded by the whole reality TV thing at this point.

Scout, on the other hand, was more or less asleep during the first few months of filming, so she's still new to the TV world and was all smiles on Sunday. Or maybe the big light just put her in a trance.


i did it!

I love to paint and repurpose old furniture, but I've never been the crafty Martha Stewart type who can make a garden grow or create innovative place settings for dinner parties. That's why I was particularly pleased with myself when I came up with this little DIY centerpiece for our showings this past Saturday. The empty dining room table was looking a little sad, and I'm not the type to set a table for "staging" purposes, so I had to come up with something. My little one-trick pony is buying a bunch of tulips in the same color and arranging them tightly in a short vase, but I forgot to get flowers at the Trader Joe's that morning, so I had to work with what I had. And what I had were a few colorful glass tumblers (courtesy of Calypso for Target) and an herb garden (courtesy of my mom). I snipped a little cilantro, a little rosemary and a little unidentified purple blossom thing, and voila! Instant centerpiece.

But my creativity didn't stop there...I put some rosemary by the kitchen sink for a touch--notice I avoided the word pop--of color, and then because I was so pleased with myself and on a roll, I moved the bamboo into the bathroom to create a little zen-like vibe in there.

These are all tricks that the realtors would have you believe will sell a house in an instant, but our feedback from Saturday (once again) was "no comment." But I can't complain (yet) because at least people are looking at the place. I'm just wondering how many "no comments" it takes to get an offer. Anyone?

Oh yeah. I forgot to tell you the best part of my herb geniusness. Tonight when I was making dinner (and by making, I mean heating up a bag of frozen pasta in a skillet) I reached behind me and tossed in a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. I like that word "sprigs." Let's take one last look at my genius work...



Does this car look like it belongs to a homeless person? I kind of wish it did belong to a homeless person, in a way, because that would mean that we've sold our house. But this isn't the car of a homeless person. This is a car of a family that is trying to sell its house and has a showing at 10:30am on a Saturday like we did last weekend. Believe it or not, sandwiched between all the bags and boxes and stroller and Lord knows what else, are two kids and two parents out for a Saturday drive. You've already heard the feedback ("no comment") from this one, but I thought this picture accurately describes the life you live when you're trying to sell a house. Speak of the devil...we just got a call for two showings tomorrow afternoon. At least they gave us some notice this time.

The two bags of chips in the forefront of this picture, by the way, are in no way representative of our grocery shopping habits. Not pictured is a bottle of vodka, which more accurately describes our grocery shopping habits [wink!].

dipped in color

The other day I received a catalog from Serena & Lily in the mail, and my eye was immediately drawn to a sheer, white curtain that had been dip-dyed a shocking hot pink. Of course it was the only thing I really liked in the catalog, and of course it wasn't for sale. I find myself doing that a lot--loving the props the set stylist used for a catalog photo shoot and then discovering that they're only props. Once I find out that the something I love isn't immediately for sale it makes me want it even more (of course!), so now I'm obsessed with finding hot pink ombre curtains. I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for--to decorate a room that I don't even have, by the way--but there are a couple contenders...and a lot of websites offering "do-it-yourself" tips on dip dying (no thank you).


Urban Outfitters


band aid

Instead of replacing our HVAC unit (I still contend, by the way, that it is in perfect running condition) Alex decided to put a band aid on it. A big, black band aid. Actually, I didn't realize just how scary the HVAC unit was until I took this before and after shot. Thumbs up to the new look. I think it compliments that designer black mulch perfectly. I dare someone to tell me they're worried about the HVAC now.


sunshine showing

This past Saturday was the perfect day for a showing, and we had one. The sun was shining, neighbors--the cute kind, not the scary kind--were milling about their yards and the birds were singing. Here is what our house looked like before we left it (note the sunshine pouring in through the windows and the tree perched right in line with the view from the master bedroom):

Regardless of our efforts, however, the feedback we received was "no comment," and we all know what that means. We also got feedback from another one of our showings and the realtor said her client thought the house was cute but just needs to [sic] much work. Could you be a little more specific on work? Work meaning you would like a third bedroom and would have to add on to get one? Or work meaning you want a fence? Or work meaning there's a cracked tile on the fireplace you would have to fix? The feedback was vague and negative; however, it did provide us with a new joke: this house just needs T - O much work!


happy mother's day

Catcher made this necklace for me at school today. It's my Mother's Day gift, but he took it out of the bag and tissue it was wrapped in and wore it around the house tonight. He's not wearing any clothes, by the way, because he spilled apple sauce on his pants and wanted to put them in the laundry. He had a bagel for dinner with cream cheese on the side ("in a bowl, please") and gave Scout "a couple puffs" while I made her bottle. I'm sorry, her "sippy cup." He sang a song about a moose kissing a goose and laughed himself silly when Scout tried to pull herself up in the bathtub. He picked out his Santa Claus pajamas and reminded me that he's "not Santa Claus" when I said "get over here and put on your pajamas, Santa Claus." He kissed me goodnight ("on the lips") and told me he'd go "poo poo in the potty tomorrow." Now that would be a real Mother's Day gift.


oh what a night

You wouldn't know it by looking at this picture, but this morning it was pouring down rain in Charlotte. It was so dreary that just prior to leaving the house, I thought about my closet door that I left wide open and the dirty dishes in the sink telling myself, "no one is looking at houses on a day like today." "No one" called at 10:41am requesting a showing between 11:30 - 12:30. Thank goodness Alex decided to skip the gym this morning and give the house a little spit shine, if you will, before leaving for work. I hope they liked the new and improved HVAC "garden" (at least that's how I like to think of it).

But forget about the showing. Today turned out to be a beautiful day and we were able to take advantage of it on an evening stroll through the neighborhood. Catcher and Alex were looking for owls in trees, Scout was savoring her sippy cup and I was the team photographer.

By the way, if anyone is counting, the feedback we received from last week's two showings was "no comment," so I guess they didn't like it.


give me an "s"

I know that I have come late to the etsy train, but I am really enjoying the time I've spent (or wasted?) clicking around on the site as I search for new things to decorate a new house (someday). The great thing about not having an actual new house and decorating one in your head is that today your "house" can be totally modern while tomorrow it might have a little mid-century flair, and yesterday it was a farm house. Whatever my house of the future--or house of the past--may be, I'm certain I can find room for this to decorate Scout's room (unless our new house is smaller than our current 847 square feet, but that would be weird):

If Catcher wants a giant "C" we can do that too, because this company will make whatever letter you want, upper or lowercase, in your choice of finishes and ship it to you in a couple of weeks. The only potential problem I see is that I could go a little letter crazy--remember the time "Laverne-esque" monogramming was in back in the early 2000s...I had at least a week's worth of clothes with the letter S on them--and turn the house into some kind of jumbled alphabet exhibit. Or else I'll be over it by then.


weekend warrior

Yesterday at the Target--before our car wouldn't start in the parking lot--Catcher and I were given the task of picking up some Claritan for Alex since he is suffering from seasonal nasal allergies. Never having been an allergy sufferer myself, I was perplexed in the allergy analgesic drug aisle and didn't know whether I should go with the Claritan gel caps or the regular Claritan or maybe try Zyrtec, so I went with what made the most sense: the Claritan D that you have to ask for because they keep it behind the pharmacy counter. There must be a reason they hide it back there, right? I figured out that reason yesterday afternoon. Call me naive, but there must be uppers in those things or something, because I have never seen Alex so...motivated. The focus of the day became that unsightly HVAC unit, and Alex was determined to make it shine. Unfortunately, these pictures don't really do the job justice. It looks much better (albeit still a bit sketchy) in person.

Here's a look at the HVAC unit "before" (with a little Catcher in the background raking some stray leaves).

A work in progress: Alex plots out the planting of the plants (or "Christmas trees" as Catcher referred to them). And then the boys hard at work (below).

The end result. The trees are cute, and I hope they distract potential homebuyers from the atrocity that lurks behind. I wish I was able to capture Alex's heightened work ethic from the day, which caused him to not eat a thing until 8:30pm when I poked my head outside the front door and asked him if he was going to eat dinner ("Oh, yeah," he replied with the wild-eyed look of child who just drank a 2-liter of Coke, "I'll be right in!"). Actually, I think I can show you Alex's energy from the day as personified through this two year-old (*disclaimer: Catcher was not given a 2-liter of Coke prior to these pictures).