We had a grandparent swap over Thanksgiving with my parents traveling back to Minnesota and Mark's parents coming here from Minnesota. The week was filled with projects because Mark's dad loves filling up his time by being useful, and you can't imagine how much I appreciate that trait. From the minute he arrived he had some sort of tool in his hand. Since hearing of their travel plans, I had this dream of him putting up long floating shelves on one side of our living room based off of this Pinterest board. I would stare at the large blank space and see these boards filled with prints of photos and art. When Richard showed up, he took one look at the Pinterest picture (he didn't even need the directions) and said "Oh yes, we can do that."
Right away he got to putting down some blue tape so I could decide the spacing. This was a bit agonizing for me. First I had them at 17 inches apart, then 20, then I finally landed on 18.5. Richard patiently, and without any judgement or opinions of his own, put the blue tape up so I could see what it would look like. I appreciate this part of his project work so much - if it's for someone else, he allows it to truly be their idea coming into fruition. I never felt any sort of push in terms of board length, or spacing, or amount of pipes. Everyone should have a handyman like this in their lives. How wonderful that my husband is learning from one of the greats.
My main goal of this project was to hide a surround sound speaker that's smack dab in the middle of the wall. We don't use it and I don't think we'll ever get it hooked up, so I wanted a way to cover it that added more texture to the wall than a flat painting. Now, once the boards are stained, which will probably be a project for our other family project warrior - a.k.a. My Mom - I can cover that speaker and the rest of the wall with the prints and pictures like I imagined in the beginning.
Isn't it convenient that I'm trying to accomplish these projects while I'm 35 weeks pregnant and unable to get off the couch?
Our next Pinterest project was a sweet potato dish for Thanksgiving at Aunt Barbara's house. We made Salted Caramel Sweet Potato Casserole. The minute I saw this, I knew my taste buds would not allow me to deny myself that salty sweet flavor. I am all about Salted Caramel these days. My favorite dessert throughout this pregnancy has been Breyer's Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Planter's Salted Caramel Peanuts liberally sprinkled on top. I've even been known to add extra sea salt and caramel sauce to that already sweet and salty delicacy, but I'm pregnant with twins, so I can do that, right? Right.
These sweet potatoes were every bit as wonderful as I imagined them to to be. As much as Richard is master of all things tools and household projects, ReJean commands the kitchen with just as much ease and confidence. She was excited to try something new, and even though she admitted it looked more like a dessert than a "side-dish", she was willing to give it a go. I wish I could say I did more, but again, I have that excuse of gestating two Schulte boys who seem to weigh at least 25 pounds each, so I took a back seat and did the minimal work of putting the potatoes in the oven. Mark worked with his mom to finish up the dish and they did a spectacular job. It was the hit of the Thanksgiving feast. This is definitely going on our Christmas dinner menu.
Another Pinterest project that I completed before my belly got in the way was this String Wall Art piece below. It sat for a while in our garage because it was done on a piece of particle board from the Habitat for Humanity Restore (that I got for $4!), and we didn't get around to finding a way to mount it. Mark has been busy in his new job and getting prepared for the twins, so it was amazing having Richard come into town and do things that we just haven't had time for. He placed this in our bedroom and I plan to surround it with prints of our family that we had taken this past summer by Whispering Willow Photography in Park Rapids, MN, and hopefully some twin photos from the hospital. AAAAAHHHH! They're coming!!
Beyond the Pinteresting, we did a lot of sitting around the table and enjoying each other's company while waiting for numbers 3 and 4 to make their debut (still waiting). Here is Levi after Grandpa Richard fed him more cookies than mommy approved of.
Here is a Monte Cristo made by Mark. He is one heck of a breakfast cook and always up for a culinary challenge. He used turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving for this deliciousness below. I plan to dedicate a blog to his Monte Cristo recipe someday soon. Sweet and salty...my favorite!
After church on Sunday, it was such a beautiful day that I took advantage of the spot in our yard that I've been using for photo shoots. I couldn't do it for more than about 5 minutes thanks to the belly so the shots of Grandma and Grandpa with the kids aren't ideal (Levi would not smile for anything but he did want to look at a bouncy ball in his hand).
I like how they turned out though. Levi has a little scratch on his nose from a scooter fall and even though I would normally edit that sort of thing out, personally it's another memory of my son and his little tumbles.
The kiddos with Grandpa Richard and Grandma ReJean.
Richard and ReJean - What a handsome couple and just last summer they celebrated 50 years of marriage! We are so thankful they could take time to come and visit all of us. For me in my condition, it was a special blessing to have their help, from laundry to meals to shelves to raking leaves, they served us so well. We really can't thank them enough.
Lastly, my bumpdate at 35 weeks. The twins keep teasing me and acting like they want to come out. I've been up throughout a number of nights with strong contractions but they never turn into the real deal. I guess I'm making progress though...docs say I'm dilated to 3 and 80% effaced. They tell me to "hurry up and wait." For those moms who have carried multiples, you know this sounds WAY easier than it is. The discomfort is real, but I know it's best for them inside. I will do what I can to keep watching other people complete projects and make yummy food while I suffer on the couch. (Seriously though, just couch sitting does involve some suffering at this point!).
I was testing out the light for a belly shot so Mark was my stand-in. Then we swapped and he took a couple pictures of the belly. Evy wanted to give them kisses and talk to them, which she does once in a while, and I love it so much. She is more than ready to be an excellent big sister.