Thursday, April 30, 2009


I'm very tired from getting very little sleep lately, but wanted to update the blog quickly before heading to bed. These are some highlights from the last few days:

  • Ellie went to the doctor again today. Her ear infections are still present. She got a shot and another antibiotic to take for 7 days. Next Friday we return and if it's still bad, we go to an ENT for tubes. Poor thing is having lots of sleeping issues still and got up last night five times during the night.
  • Josh's baseball team continues to do well and won tonight and on Monday night.
  • Mee Mee and Dee Dee bought Ellie a new carseat and she is now facing forward. She thinks she is "some stuff" and crains her head over constantly to watch what Josh is doing. Pictures coming soon of her in her new "ride". And, in all fairness, they paid the same amount toward Josh's 4-H camp tuition!! Thank goodness!! He's excited.
  • Josh and Kevin went on a field trip with school this week.
  • I have lots of "happy/weird" photos from work to share -- maybe this weekend.
  • Ellie celebrated her 13 month birthday yesterday. She's growing up too quickly. We are concerned about her speech because with her hearing issues right now, she's pretty much stopped talking in words we can remotely understand.
  • We had Ellie's one year pix made. As you'll remember, Mee Mee was busy with prom during this time and couldn't do them until later. We went to JC*Penn*y and had some made of her and some of her and Josh. As soon as I get the pix, I'll post some. They are good, but I'm just a picky freak (wonder why?) and so I wasn't just "all that" about them. Don't get me wrong, my babies were beautiful!!
  • We are having Ellie's baby dedication at church on Mother's Day -- what a beautiful day to do it, huh? Ironically, it was also the day we joined our current church, my mother's birthday and only a few days shy of when we got Ellie's referral. I think it's very cool!!
  • Oh, and that repaired air conditioning?? -- went out again the next day again. Repairman tells me there was dirt on the coil that should have been cleaned after the repair -- then hands me a $59 bill. HA! Kevin called and talked to our friend, the owner and he said that we didn't have to pay that. Thank goodness!!

I'm off to try to sleep. I do NOT do well without sleep. We feel like the walking dead. I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining, I'm just stating facts. :-) We are tired and sleepy around here. Kevin asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day and I said simply, "Sleep, peace and quiet" -- sounds heavenly to me.

Harris Teeter Triples Coupons

Just when I said I wasn't buying anything else until triple coupon week at Harris Teeter came along, it came along. The triples are for coupons up to $.75 face value and you can redeem 20 per day (unless you go to two stores like I do since they are close). Today I got the following bargains:

(3) Bagel-fuls ($2.25 off)
(1) Eggo mini-waffles ($.74)
(2) Red Barron pizza singles ($1.54 each)
(2) cans Skintimate shave gel - Free
(2) tubes Colgate toothpaste - Free
(2) Speed Stick deodorants - Free
(2) jars Ortega salsa - $.87 ea
(2) Ortega taco seasoning - Free
(1) Dinty Moore beef stew - Free
(2) Warm delights desserts - $.49
(1) Welch's Light 64 oz. juice $1.74
(1) All 2x laudry detergent - $2.64
(1) box Betty Crocker muffin mix - $1.39
(1) Texas Toast croutons - Free
(1) box Banana Nut Cheerios - $1.74
(3) Viva papertowels - $.49 ea
(2) 4 pack Cottonelle toilet paper - $1.54 ea
(2) Knorr pasta sides - $.87 ea
(1) Box Electrasol dishwasher tablets - $1.00
(2) Boxes Capri Sunrise pouch drinks - $1.69 ea
(2) boxes Green Giant veggies - $1.24 ea
(1) carton Breyers ice cream - Free
(1) Land o Lakes spreadable butter - $.49
(2) bags Watermade rice - Free
(2) 6 packs Yoplait yogurt - $1.27 ea
(1) McCormick peppercorn medley grinder - Free
(1) French's honey mustard - Free
(2) jars Paces salsa - $1.40 ea
(1) pack of pencils (treat for Josh for helping)
(1) pack of bendie straws (treat for Ellie who loves straws)

All total I got $141.88 worth of groceries for $43.66 out of pocket. I'm pretty happy about it. I still have a few more triples I'll use before the deal is over.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Good Golly Miss Molly ...

What a day, what a day!!

Our air has been out since Friday. Kevin tried everything he knew to "fix" it, but it kept freezing over. It's only about 18 months old, so this morning we called our friends over at Haskins Heating and Cooling and they were able to get us worked in today.

IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when the guy who came out said that he thought something had gotten in our crawl space, made a nest in our duct work, torn the duct work up in one area and was likely still living there. And, oh, by the way, it could be our cat. HA! (Wonder if it's the same cat that I spent hours looking for on Sunday? Oh, no, wait, he came back home -- crazy Duke).
I called Kevin and let him talk to the technician who said we had to replace a 5' section of the duct work and that WE would HAVE to get the "critter" out before they would come back. Oh, yeah. Kevin came home; I called Shane to pick the kids up (because I certainly was NOT going to miss this opportunity for photos!!), and went down to the crawl space to take some pix. I had great plans that I was probably going to win a million dollars for my prize winning photo of some mad, rabid animal jumping out of our duct work directly at my camera while I snapped away getting mouth foam all over my lens. Here are some examples of what I had in mind:

I was so disappointed for Kevin to report that there were no nests, no animals and likely what the technician had seen were our kitties' footprints, and that some cat (maybe ours, maybe not) had been laying on the insulation and maybe they had scratched at it, torn the duct work and it sort of imploded back in and blocked the duct work. Nevertheless, there were no photos of wild animals, Kevin was not attacked and I got nothing. (Please, please, please understand that this is all offered in a joking manner!!) Kevin made it back to work in time to do his safety presentation (isn't that ironic? wonder if it was on how to safely remove wild animals from job sites??) -- but it was rescheduled. Another yay.

After the air conditioning was fixed, Josh had a ballgame to be at by 5:30. It was across town and I specifically asked Josh at 4:04 to go get his uniform on. This was all he had to do, mind you. I changed Ellie, cooked for and fed Ellie, charged my camera battery, got the camera together, paid the electric bill, and he still wasn't ready. When I went upstairs ... he was watching TV!!! He is grounded from TV, but regardless, he wasn't ready. I swear I thought my head was going to explode or implode one. We finally left the house at 5:00 and guess what? The gas tank was empty. HA!

We arrived at the ballpark late, but ahead of some others, so I suppose it wasn't too bad. Kevin met us there to pick up Ellie to take her to the g'parent's house while he went to a mandatory sports meeting. He took Ellie and the diaper bag (important -- remember this) and left. My head was still spinning from my frustration with Josh earlier so I just said goodbye and they left. Surprise, surprise -- they returned quite a while later when, upon trying to call me on my cell phone, Kevin heard it ringing in the diaper bag. Not such a big deal to find my phone in there -- I certainly could have lived without it. What I couldn't live without is what he found looking for the phone -- my car keys. So, some phone calls were made to people we knew were attending begging for help, calls to my parents to tell them E. wasn't coming and that was over.

The ballgame was ok,with Josh's team winning, but there was a lot of horseplay and mouthiness going on in the dugout with all the boys and the coach got upset with all of them. Now, I'm not all their parents so I don't care about their behavior. I care about Josh's and he was full force involved in it too. We spent a long time on the way home talking about why he was named Joshua -- after Joshua in the Bible because I felt like he would be a leader like Joshua. I told him that I was disappointed that he was choosing to be a follower and that those were the folks who usually got in trouble. We talked about how he was representing God, his family, his team, his park and himself when he went to another park (or anywhere for that matter) and how important it was to try to be a light to people who know that he is a Christian but see him acting like he was. Now, here I am, the pot calling the kettle black because Lord knows I'm lacking a whole lot in that role model department as of late, but I certainly don't want Josh to follow my example all the time. I want to see him beginning to make his own good choices.

As soon as we got in the car, Ellie began to wail (tired? hungry? wet? carseat? -- yes, all of the above). I didn't think we'd make it home because she wasn't slowing up, so we stopped at Bur*ger K*ing and ordered some (really healthy - not) food. I ordered her a chicken nugget meal with apple fries. What I got in her bag (after waiting -- no kidding 20 minutes) was a bag of french fries. Yay -- again. I had to go in and he said, "So, would you just like some apple fries?" Umm, no, I'd like the apple fries and chicken nuggets I paid for. But, I didn't say that, I just explained he left both things out. He ended up giving us extra nuggets, so that was nice.

It's been a long day and I'm tired and have one more job to enter and I'm headed to bed!

Cute pix from tonight's game (assuming there are any) to follow tomorrow.

New Pix of Ellie

Check out the new pix Ms. Dee'Anna took of Addie and Ellie on Friday after she had done their hair. Too cute!!

Best Deals and Bargains I Found this Week

Yesterday I went out for a bit to get groceries and some of the deals to stock up for the week. Thanks to my friend Kelly who sent up a BAG full of coupons before I left allowing me to get some of the good deals I got. Here are some of the highlights for anyone who is interested or might want to stock up this week:


Zyrtec: $19 for 30 qty, $4 coupon in this week's paper. CVS had a deal where if you bought $20 worth of products advertised on the page with Zyrtec, you got $10 in ECB. I found Benadryl that had TWO tubes (bonus pack) and I had a $1 coupon. I got Zyrtec and two tubes of Benadryl for $20.39 and then also got $10 ECB, making the final cost for both $10.39. I'm going to start Josh on it intermittently to see if it helps with his ears/runny nose.

All detergent: BOGOF at $7.49 for two. I also had two $1.00 off coupons. I was sort of surprised since it was a BOGOF that they let me use both coupons, but they did so each bottle was only $2.75!! I printed the coupons off at by signing up to get deals there.

Fructis products were $2.99 with $2.00 in ECB, making them $.99. I have two CVS cards (one for me and one for hubs) so I got two shampoos.

Bounty, 8 pack paper towels on sale for $6.99 -- nothing special there, just needed some.


I had (2) $1 coupons for Pediasure bars for Ellie and they were on clearance for $1.69 so I got two boxes for $1.40 total. Not bad.

Northern bath tissue - 12 double rolls for $5.99 (in store coupon) and I had $1 off coupon, making 12 rolls, $4.99.

Oust air freshener - 2/$6, had (2) $2 coupons, so I got two cans for $2 total.

Weight Watchers bagged candy - 2/$3. I had multiple BOGOF coupons so I picked up 4 bags for $1.50.


Electrasol tablets, 12 count, $3.00, had three $2.50 coupons, so I got three boxes for $1.50.


Best deals of the day were here for me. The penny item (there is a penny item coupon in the Sunday paper), was a six pack of bottled water. Got that, of course.

Skippy Peanut Butter is BOGOF at $2.49. I had a $.40 off coupon (which they doubled), making each jar $.85.

Shout on sale, BOGOF at $2.89. I got three bottles with $.55 coupons, making my final cost per bottle $.90 a bottle. NOW, Josh plays baseball with WHITE pants -- does anyone think that I'll have any trouble using those up??? Nope.

Scrubbing Bubbles cleaner, BOGOF at $2.89. I got four cans and had (4) $.75 coupons, making each bottle cost $.70.

I also picked up Hunt's ketchup at BOGOF for $1.49, making each bottle $.75. I didn't have any coupons, but Joshua DRINKS the stuff, so I might go back and get more before the week is up just so I don't have to buy it regular price. This is actually cheaper than the Great Value brand we normally get.

Speaking of Great Value and Wal-mart. I stopped there to get one item I had coupons for, and, of course, they didn't have it (surprise), but as I walked through the aisles to get there, I noticed that everything I got elsewhere was less expensive even before the coupon somewhere else!!! What happened to "We sell for less???"


Mainly pet food here.

KITTEN CHOW: $2.19 off coupon. Got a bag that was $3.89 and paid $1.70 for it. No, we do not have a kitten. However, it was a small bag and I poured it in with the other cat food as "filler". It was too inexpensive not to.

PEDIGREE breath treats (Sunshine's breath will KNOCK YOU DOWN). The treats were on clearance for $2.39 and I had a $1.00 coupon. I got two. I'll let you know if it helps!! :-)

CHEF MICHAELS: Remember that deal I told you about last week? Well, several people passed along their coupons to me for this and I went back and got two for free and eight more at BOGOF. Ten cans were $3.00. Makes great topping for the dogs on their dry food.

J&J Baby Wash: On sale for $2.99. I had (1) $1 coupon and (1) $1.50 coupon. Needed to stock back up as we are finally (six months later) starting to run out of baby wash. Honestly, though, there might be some more in the back of her closet, I just haven't looked.

I suspect I am now stocked enough to only have to buy produce, meat and milk for the next month or two. Unless there are incredible deals or triple coupons, I'm done for a little while. I have plenty of deodorant, shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, household cleaners, detergent, etc.

Josh's Fishing Tournament

Each year, one of the local churches holds a fishing tournament called "Get Kids Hooked on Fishing Not Drugs". For a small $2 entry fee, kids go out wherever they want, fish, bring in their catch, have it weighed and it's entered into a competition. Each kid gets a goody bag, a prize and is entered into a drawing for some really incredible door prizes. Josh won a rod last year. He was fishing this year with the rod and reel that Dee Dee bought him.

Josh fished last year with DeeDee. This year DeeDee had to work part of the day so Kevin and Josh went fishing. I had great plans to go "yard sale-ing" all day with Ellie as it was the community wide yard sale day. We did go to one community (where we finally met Melissa, Bryan, Camden and Rory -- whose blog we read all the time!! -- and where we got to visit with our friend Ms. Betty) and then to another area (where we got Ellie some cool baby sized Crocs and WHITE and pink Gymboree jeans -- can you say 70s??), but she because increasingly ticked off at getting in and out of her car seat. She has begun to HATE her car seat, screaming, thrashing and contorting her body into various crazy positions while you try to put her in. OY. So, after all that, I decided to go check on Josh and Kevin, who indicated by phone they were about to quit.

When I got there, DeeDee had called and was on his way to fish as well so we all stayed a while longer. We all caught a fish (except Ellie), but they were all pretty small catfish. We kept two, but when we got back to the church and Josh saw some of the sizes of the fish being brought in, he decided to not even weigh his. *smile* He still got a goody bag and a prize (a Frisbee this year), but we didn't win any of the fabulous door prizes. Maybe next year!!

We had a good time though and it was a great opportunity for pix and family time!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ellie's First Girl's Night Out

For years, my girlfriends and I try to go out the third Friday night of the month. Sometimes it's the second or the fourth Friday night; sometimes it's Sunday afternoon, but we try to do it once a month. Tonight was Ellie's first time to go to Girl's Night Out (more commonly referred to by us as GNO). I remember spending many Friday nights updating "the girls" on our adoption progress and us talking about when she came home how she'd come to GNO. The fact that it's a reality now, is nothing short of amazing.

Dawn came over beforehand and we painted Ellie's toenails. I don't think I have a picture of it, but if you want to know how it went, imagine trying to put paint on a nail head while someone waved it around in front of your face. Overall, I suppose it went ok. She was in her highchair and couldn't really see what I was doing; she just didn't want her foot held still. I got a tip from my friend Carlyona that she paints her daughter's toenails while they sleep - yay! I'll try that next.

After getting "blinged" up (Ms. Dee'Anna had "done" her hair earlier in the day), she was ready to go out on the town. Fast movers and shakers that we are, we headed to the local Mexican restaurant to eat dinner - haha!!
She was properly passed around all night long (interpretation: she was so wiggly it took all five of us to handle her) and had a great time.
Dawn's family followed us (ha!) so Emily got to spend some time holding Ellie too.
Afterwards, we went back to Jennifer's for dessert where she had lots of fun looking out the window at Casey, the dog.

I thought it was ironic that six months after returning home, she was out at GNO with Jennifer taking pictures of her all over again (since I forgot my camera).

All in all, I think she was sufficiently impressed with GNO and it exhausted her!

Six Month's Home

Six month's ago today, Jennifer, Ellie and I landed with very happy souls and bodies in Nashville to our friends and families and we were finally HOME!! with our sweet baby. I love looking at these reminder photos of our special time at the airport. Of course, there are no photos of me realizing I didn't have a clue how to put Ellie in the car seat or of her screaming her head off wanting a bottle and we had no milk, rushing to Arbys to get some for a bottle and of mine and Jennifer's sheer exhaustion and relief at being home where someone could help us and we could eat!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Hard One to Write

Today was one of those hard parenting moments, but I want to take the time to capture it before the day is gone (and it's close because I've been up 16.5 hours now and I'm fading fast) and to make sure that one day when Josh is grown and (maybe) has kids of his own, he'll understand where I was coming from today.

We've been struggling with Josh's behavior lately. He's got a bit of a smart mouth on him to his dad and I. It's more than just an age thing too, I've been thinking. Something has been bothering him. I look back at the events of today and I see what was the trigger now. It's clear in retrospect, but it hasn't been for a while.

We stopped at the drugstore to pick up Josh's medicine and Mr. Ronnie (our pharmacist, Sunday School teacher and friend), took Ellie around (as he regularly does) to see everyone in the shop. He fussed over her for a while and then said Hi to Josh. Now, Mr. Ronnie would never never slight anyone and would be mortified if he knew he had. But, Josh got quiet and then got mouthy with me in the car while I was on the phone with his dad telling him about his doctor's appointment. It hit me the wrong way and I snapped at him. We got into a big argument in the car and (because we were really close to the house), when we got home, I told him we weren't leaving the car until we worked this out.

We spent a long time, digging deep about his feelings about us and why he was feeling the need to be so angry with us. It took a long time and persistence, but it finally paid off, I think, with him telling me it was the fact that, yes, he is still quite a bit jealous of Ellie. Well, not really Ellie, I don't think, but the attention that Ellie commands. He said everywhere we go people make over Ellie and no one gives him attention. He misses having all the attention that was lavished on him before she came. He was quick to point out that he is not unhappy that she is here because, in his words, "She makes things more exciting around here," but he is feeling a bit left out of the spotlight.

I asked him what it would look like in his perfect world if he could create a happy place. He told me that he wanted more time with his dad, playing in the yard. That was a big one for him. I asked what I could do differently, and apparently, he's getting plenty (haha) of my attention, because he couldn't think of much there. He did say he was a bit upset that I was taking Ellie with me on Friday's girl's night out, but when I explained that the only reason I was doing that was because I wanted him and Kevin to have some "just guys" time and not have to take care of Ellie, he was ok with it.

If he only knew how very, very hard I have tried to be sensitive to this issue for him. If he could just understand that my heart aches when people go on and on about Ellie but saying nothing about or to him. I work very hard to make sure I point out good things he does and what a great big brother he is when there are people who, unthinkingly, don't even speak to him when Ellie is around. I explained to him that things are different now that Ellie is here and that they will never be exactly the same again -- we will find a new normal. I told him it was ok to feel the way he does and that there are days I long for the times when I could sleep when and as much as I needed and that was something I really missed so I understood where he was coming from. I think at the end, he did feel better. He has been quite a bit more pleasant this afternoon and evening.

I hope one day, when he is older and reading this, he can fathom just how very, very, very much I love him and how I would do anything to make his life perfect, but that I know that it is a lesson that is hard to learn but has to be -- no one has a perfect life. Things change. Lives change. Sometimes change is good; sometimes bad and sometimes it's a little of both. But, regardless of what change does to your life, you have to adapt and find a way to be happy in that new circumstance. I know it's hard for him, but he has to adapt to it. I suppose it will continue to take all of us just a bit more time to seek out that "new normal" and continue trying it on for size until it fits like a glove. I suspect one day, after a lot of sleep and after Josh has enough attention to fill his "love tank", we will look back on all this and find it a bit humorous. I certainly hope so.

I want both my children to know, above everything, they are loved, appreciated, valued and that I had time for them.

Josh's Baseball Game

Josh's team won their ballgame tonight 5-4. Josh played consistently but there were no "WOW" moments. Ellie seemed to have a great time -- as usual.

I took Josh to the doctor today because he told me he "needed an appointment to see the doctor". On the way in, I asked him why we were going to the doctor. He never really explained why when he asked, but I figured if he asked we needed to go. He said his ear was popping and hurting some and that his upper right arm hurts a lot.

Turns out his ear is in the beginning stages of fluid build up and redness and so now, there is another child going to be on antibiotics at our house. However, due to the lovely new technology of "e-prescribing" we didn't get it today because someone messed up and didn't "e-send" it in. His arm, apparently, is a pulled muscle from going all out at baseball. We were told to ice it after each game and treat with Motrin until it's better.

I asked Josh's doctor to look in Ellie's ears and she did and said they appeared to be doing better (although since she didn't see them to begin with....) and clearing up. I got the impression they aren't all the way there yet. We follow up with Dr. H. on Tuesday after our 10 days of antibiotics are finished.
Tonight was a fairly good photography night at the park. I take photos throughout the year of Josh's team and the games and compile them into a book at the end of the season. I've struggled photographing for the first few games, but I was proud of tonight's pix; seems I found a bit of a groove. I hope the parents will be pleased too. Anyone who wants a gander at this week's pix can see them here. I'm sure the parents won't mind my sharing them.

Here are a couple of cuties from tonight of my two beauties:
Josh batting ...

Josh fielding ...

Josh "baseball ready" ...
After the game ... a ride on Bubba's shoulders ...

Almost Piggies

Ellie's hair is growing ,and I was spurred to just try by Dee'Anna's comment that she could make piggies from Ellie's hair. Here are the amazingly cute results. Can't wait for a little more thickness and length to help out. Mama certainly could use some practice and tips too!!

Thanks to Michelle who gave us the clippies long before Miss Ellie came home!!

Posing ...
Tiny piggies ...
Umm... mom, there something weird in my hair!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ummm.... what happened?

Ok, so I have a counter on the blog and I normally run between 100-140 hits a day -- big doopity deal; I don't write for the hits. While we were in Kyrg picking up Ellie, obviously, we got a lot of hits, but since then, a pretty regular readership (although WHY anyone wants to read about our lives is BEYOND ME!!!). Then, today, I have 320 hits so far???? Huh?

If you are a first time blog visitor, leave a comment. I'm trying to figure out what just happened to cause me to get three times the visitors as normal.

Regardless, thanks for visiting -- stop back by whenever you want. I'm certain my life is right up there with those folks on The Young and the Restless -- except mine would be more like The Old and the Exhausted with a subtitle of Man, You Make My Life Look Good! *smile* Have a great evening.

Baseball and Sleep

What a title, huh? Josh had another baseball game last night against Coopertown. What an intense game it was! It was back and forth and we thought we had it wrapped up with a one run lead with a mere three minutes to go, but the referees decided there was time to play another inning and the opposition scored three runs. We lost by two runs as we just couldn't come back in the last inning. Oh well.... Josh had a great night with grounder to third and made it on base his first time up to bat, the second time up he hit a pop up and got out; the third time he hit an awesome grounder right past the short into the outfield bringing home two runs and making it onto first. He scored 2 of our 7 runs and played some fairly good defense as well. He is doing very well this year at baseball! Oh, and for those interested, we lost 9-7.

Bundled up against the cold and still not feeling so well, Ellie and Kevin both share the same expression ...
Notice Josh just appears to be jogging toward home. Apparently, the ball was hit pretty far out for him to be so non-chalant about scoring.

Ellie slept last night from 9:30 -5:30. I was in the bed shortly after her at 10:00 and got up with her from 5:30 - 6:15 when I passed her off to Kevin who got her ready and took Josh to school and dropped Ellie at Dee'Anna's. I'm embarrassed to report that I slept until 10:00 -- well, I shouldn't be embarassed, I suppose, I'm exhausted. I have felt better today and hope that she is feeling well enough to sleep through tonight as well. She was very tired this evening as she only napped an hour today and played hard with Kirstin, Braiden, Emily and Josh this afternoon.

Thanks to all who sent kind words of encouragement about her ear infections, tubes, sleep and general care. It means a lot to know you aren't alone!!

Here are some photos from last night's game and of our BARGAIN today at Dunkin' Donuts where we all enjoyed $.50 iced coffees (I got them for the kids, but they weren't very impressed and didn't drink very much of theirs) and 2 for 1 donuts! We came home and "doctored up" our iced coffees as I don't think they were quite what any of us were expecting. I think the lady working the counter was a) new, b) overwhelmed with the volume, c) tired d) all of the above, as she handed us our coffees and said, "Would you mind stirring them up yourselves?" Um... ok. Ellie, however, was particularly fond of her donut hole.

Josh was "punished" yesterday and told he had to clean his room. Because Braiden was either a) feeling sorry for him, b) a glutton for punishment, or c) conned, he offered to help him clean his room. I left them for a while and then went upstairs to see how they were coming. I found this:

I almost had a heart attack. I took a photo and went back downstairs. When he said he was "finished", he called me back and I found this:

Better -- especially for a boy's room I guess. Note Emily (Braiden's sister) is supervising!! While there is still some room for improvement (and decluttering!! but I've given him some autonomy over the contents of his room), I've given him a reprieve until tomorrow when he is to take everything out of the closet floor and clean it along with dusting all his furniture. I wonder if he'll try to con Braiden into coming over to help with that. *sigh* *smile* I love that silly boy -- even when he drives me nuts!