Sunday, January 18, 2015

6 Things About Motherhood I Wish I Knew Back Then & Wish I Could Stop Re-Learning.

I've been mulling over mommyhood for months now. Well, I mull over it all the time (don't get me started on my Mother's Day issues), but even more so in the last little bit.
Let me 'splain. No, let me sum up:
I have several mommy friends and have heard of several other women who are struggling with depression and hard times as a mom. It makes me sad. It makes the wheels in my noggin start spinning, and I've got a list I've been compiling in the ole journal.
I love lists. Are you like oddly obsessed with lists like I am? If a post title begins with a number, I'll read it. I just have to. It's not the law, but it might as well be.
This is stuff I've learned the hard way. Stuff I'm still trying to learn, and stuff I constantly am relearning. People, I kind of suck as a parent. Anyone who knows me well probably has their own list of pet peeves for things I do wrong ("she's overprotective, she's a pushover, she lets her kids have too much screen time, and. . . ") and probably want to hand me a parenting book or at least smack me on the back of the head with it.
Maybe I deserve it. I've had pa-lenty of mommy meltdowns even here on thee ole blog, but I honestly can say that I freaking love my job here in this house. Love it. Sometimes I seriously screw it up, and I definitely complain too much, but I do truly love it. It's the only thing I've got going for me, okay?
This is crap I've learned from better, smarter women than me. Stuff I'm still trying to learn. Let's do this.
6 Things About Motherhood I Wish I Knew Back Then & Wish I Could Stop Re-Learning.
1. This May Not Be Your Season.
I'll never forget a bloggy buddy I had about five years ago who confided in me that she absolutely hated being a mom. She was miserable, she felt she'd made the wrong choice, and every day at home with her little teeny boys was drudgery and she was really struggling.
You know what my momma taught me?
This may not be your season.
I know people who adore babies and could not look more natural caring for a newborn. I have an aunt who loves and protects my toddlers and when they move out of toddler-hood, she jokes that I can have them back and stick a fork in her, she's done.
I, personally, look back at pictures of my life when I had children all under the age of six, and feel conflicting emotions:
1. That totally sucked
2. Oh my heck I totally miss my sweet little babies
But honestly, mostly it's "that totally sucked".  Guess what? I'm not really a toddler mom. I was trying to do my best, I thought they were super cute, and I thought it was really hard. And I'm a ton A TON happier now with the ages of my kids. Things are so much easier. I love my kids' ages right now. Love.
I'm just saying if you're struggling, do you your best right now, and I have it on good authority from wiser moms than me that you may totally rock your mom jeans with a different age group. Take heart.
2. Stop Feeling Guilty.
Hehehehe. Heh. You need to know right now that my whole life is motivated by guilt. I cleaned the entire house today. I feel guilty I didn't do _____.  I didn't clean much today. I feel guilty because I should've cleaned more. Too much time in the garage. Guilty. Too much time doing nothing. Guilty. Too little time with kids. Too much time with kids. Whatever I do, I somehow feel guilty.
I'm a mom, therefore, I feel guilty.
This is more for me than it is for you. Gosh I'm selfish. But I'm only one person. I am doing my best. Guilt isn't really helping me. It's just nagging and annoying and I'm sick of it. Let's be sick of it together.
3. Kids Are Just Little Adults.
I joke that the only thing I excel at is mediocrity. It's true. One gift I've been given from God, however, is that I love kids. I love my kids. I love your kids. Doggone it, I And I see all kids as little adults.
This doesn't mean I think kids should or are capable of making adult decisions. And it definitely doesn't mean I don't get annoyed with some kids sometimes. But I get annoyed with adults, too. In short, I get annoyed with people. Kids are people. They are small-sized adults. Just like adults, they are worthy of my respect, my attention, and my time.
Have you ever noticed how quick society is to judge children? How easily we criticize a child's shortcomings? I'm an adult, and I have a lot of issues. So if I have a lot of issues, why wouldn't a kid, who has far less life experience than me, have issues?
Start seeing kids as little adults. Give them the respect you'd give a stranger at the grocery store.
4. Sometimes You Need To Do The Opposite.
At the risk of sounding like a huge whiner, I'm gonna tell a whiny story.
The Jeffro was out of town a ton, I had 4 kids six and under, I couldn't go to the bathroom without interruption, getting even a gallon of milk at the store was major chaos, and in short, I was falling apart caring for the five of us by myself for days on end.
Guess what I did to try and compensate? I was trying to take "me" time. Me time is important. It is. That's not what #4 is about. But I went about it the wrong way. I wanted to be left alone as long and as much as I could. I tuned out my children. I snapped at them. I would try to be on a different floor of the house as them, I did everything I could to avoid doing anything involving my kids.
I needed to do the opposite. I needed to stop running away.
I felt a strong impression that I was making things worse. I thought by tuning out my kids and mentally running away that I was going to finally get my break. I was so, so wrong. The healing thing that gave me my second wind was tuning back into my children. Sitting with them. Being with them. Interacting.
5. Play On Your Strengths.
My mother and sister absolutely excel at teaching their children. My sister's kids are so motivated and confident in their learning-- they can read at a young age, they're little whippersnappers.
I have a friend who is amazing at planning and preparing meaningful family time: vacations filled with learning activities, trips that teach history, stay-cations at museums and parks. . .she rocks my world.
I have a friend who is so consistent and orderly, that everything seems to just fall right into place for her. She's on top of like, everything. She's got her shiz together.
These are not my forte. But I'm good at other stuff. I got some skills.
Play on your strengths. Own it.
My mom finds cooking to be a mundane and unfortunately necessary chore. Mom: #2. Also, lotsa people agree with you. No shame!
I had a friend who once expressed shame for not being crafty. Teehee.
Do you think I'll be judged in heaven for not being able to use my sewing machine?
6.  Priorities.
I've recently decided that nothing, no way, no how can interfere with family dinner. I don't care how worthwhile the activity is, if you want me to be gone during my dinner hour it's not going to happen.
I've already talked too much, so let me be brief. You be boxers:
My family is my top priority. For the most part, I put them at the top of the list. But only I can look at myself and see that I spent hours (plural) total over the course of a day, on my phone. This is my true, current problem I'm having. I go to bed at night saying, "Where did the day go??" feeling frustrated that I didn't do this or this, but I could have been found reading an hour's worth of celebrity gossip with my phone glued to my hand in the afternoon.
Only I can decide how to use my time. No more excuses for me. 
This sums up today's list. Stay strong, moms. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Every Self Respecting Girl Should Have One.

I'm just going to start right off asking the question I promised I wouldn't ask:
Can one have too many built-ins??
I know I said I wouldn't cut into my drywall again. I said and said and said those words- I said them, but I lied them. (Dr. Seuss).
I currently have four built-ins. Count 'em.
You can point out that the "EAT" is off-center. But I'd wear a cup first.
Number 2. In the master bath.

Also in the master bath. Yep, brass shower. You're jealous.
And finally, the "command center".
Okay. Hold that thought. Let us move on.
A great friend had a great idea of building a nail polish shelf for her daughter for Christmas. Have you seen this awesomeness around?! I'm probably the last person to know about such awesomeness, but check out how it turned out:
Total.Cuteness. Right? Every self respecting girl should have one.
I want one. I don't have that much nail polish because my nails are typically broken and covered in paint flecks, but I'm thinking spots for perfume, too. Possibly even jewelry? Maybe hair products? The possibilities are endless!
So this Christmas gift ended up being something that Jeffro and I got to help out with. And when I say Jeffro and I, I really mean I made all the cuts and Jeffro put it all together and kind of pushed me out of the way. Which is cool 'n all.  I just wish I could somehow harness this positive energy I never knew he had into our house projects, because he typically gives the impression he'd rather have his gums scraped.
It's like we're making a wooden flag, yes? That would be totes cute, too.
Here it is nearly done.
And just in case you want to make this adorable nail polish shelf too, I'm going to go ahead and give you a shopping and cut list. You're welcome.
Shopping List
(3) pieces of 1x2 MDF trim @ 8ft. long
(1) piece of beadboard cut to size (*optional*. This can be placed directly on the wall with no extra backing)
Optional pieces of moulding of your choice to go along the shelves to act as a lip that holds polish in.
Cut List
2 - 1x2 @ 23 3/4" (sides)
5 - 1x2 @ 36" (bottoms and three of the shelves)
1 - 1x2 @ 24"  (shorter shelf)
1 - 1x2 @ 8 5/8" (This is the one vertical piece inside)
30 minutes of assembly time, and a bajillion torturous hours of painting (or at least it feels like it unless you like torture),
And bam.
I want one!
Now let us revisit the question of built ins--
I would love to carve out a space in this vanity area and inset into the wall my polish and perfumes. I promise I could make room. Can I, huh huh? HUH?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

This Year Let's Resolve To Make Better Bad Decisions.

First off, I want this sweatshirt, and it pretty much sums up how I'm feeling.
I hope you are having a fan-freaking-tastic holiday vacay. The Jeffro's home, the kiddos are home, the fam dam is in town, and we're moving from one partay to the next. It's been awesome.  I actually feel like I'm attempting to gain weight these last two weeks. It's this insane combo of fun/totally out of control. Because as we all know, every pizza is a personal pizza if you put your mind to it. Also, want one of these donuts? Becase they aren't going to eat themselves.
(If you're a nerd you laughed)
Prior to 2013, I thought new year's resolutions were totally lame-o.  I don't know what happened post 2012, but suddenly, BAM--
I am obsessed with making (and occasionally breaking) goals. Seriously it's so awesome. I thrive off this crap lately. I love it.
Just in case we haven't been friends long,
I should explain that 2013 was the year of the great "SPENDING CLEANSE". It was awesome. Thanks to my tightening of the belt and reigning it in, we saved a sweet slice o money, I didn't buy any clothing for myself for the entire year, and no one really noticed because I dress so poorly on a daily basis anyway.
Then came 2014, and just for the record it's like I went on a binge and undid the "SPENDING CLEANSE" with kind of sort of at times it was like the great "SPENDING BINGE". Sort of. At times. Occasionally I had some problems wandering around at Target down the kitchen aisles.  
Plus I spent a small fortune on the backyard project. And I don't regret it, okay? Gosh.
So anyways.
I want to go on record saying that 2014 was a year of awesome. No one got hurt, no one got seriously ill, overall, it was a fantastic year. It really was. I can only hope and pray 2015 will be just as fun. The main 2014 goal was:
It didn't go well. It did, but it didn't. It did in that I reminded myself a ton of times that I was going to chill and live in the now. And several times I dropped what I was doing and went out and flew kites with my kids at the park and it was totally awesome or forgo that shower right then to push a kid around on their trike. But then I sucked it all up by being all uptight and control-freak ish and sometimes I want to punch myself in the face for the things I do. . .
So CHILL is definitely on my mind this year. Again.
Last year, just a small FYI that no one gives a poo about-- one of my goals was to read the scriptures 365 days of the year. Barring some crazy forgetfulness on my part tomorrow morning, I succeeded in reading every single day of the year. In fact, I read the Old Testament this year.  Every single word. From covereth to covereth. Go me.
But back to new stuff.
Can we talk money? Let's talk money. I don't think I need to get all crazy and spending cleanse ish, but I do want to save a serious amount of dinero this year.  My goal is to sock away $30,000. And I don't get to count what we get back from our tax return, so I'm going to have to put in a big ole effort. This means cutting back on a lot. No trips to Target. Gonna pretty much not step foot in Costco. Less patronizing of my local chinese joint.  It's gonna get rough at times. I'm up for it.
Other money related goal:
actually, this should just be considered a test. A scientific experiment, if you will. Every single dollar bill that gets put into my hand will be added to my dollar jar.
I just wanna see how much actual cash passes through my hands. And I cannot take it out for any reason. Not to hurry and pay someone, not for the ice cream man, nothing. What I'm saying is, if someone hands me over cash because they owe me or whatevs, it's not going in my wallet, it's going in the dang jar.
It's ridiculous things like these that keep me excited about life, folks.
Other random goals I've made and mostly promise to keep in 2015?
*I'll be embarrassing myself with a video of my violin playing before I hit my two year lessons mark
*I solemnly swear to finish up two major projects that are hanging over my head in this house, namely:
-The other arch in my living room (Oh my GOSH I do not want to do that)
-The really high windows in the family room will get trimmed out in the moulding that's been sitting in the garage for 4+ months (somebody come hold the ladder for me)
*I'm very excited to makeover my staircase and put down stair trim AND nice new fabulous stained stair treads
*The living room is getting this freaking awesome (can one overuse the word "awesome"? I think not, and yet I'm sure I have) crown moulding treatment extravaganza. Wait for it. It's down the road a ways because I have to kick my own A into doing the arch first, but wait for it.
*I'm shooting for 900 miles ran by moi in 2015. That's gonna be tough for me. But it's gonna happen.
So, that's some of 2015 excitement, right there. It's gonna be a good one, y'all.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Paint. (Houah.) What Is It Good For?

Do you know what the holidays are good for?
Well, lotsa things, but one un-obvious one is it's potential to shame you into fixing crap in your house.  Because people are coming over, hello.  Christmas dinner and what not. Fix the house! Unclog the toilet! Hide the bodies! People and their stupid social customs.
Remember thee ole "Gray Owl" fiasco that was so, so wrong in my home?
Actually, it's kinda growing on me as I'm staring at it. . . .
Well, I neglected to mention that I went nuts with that color on another wall. I don't know what I was thinking.  The day I picked up that sample bottle of paint was the day my brain was like oatmeal. Maybe I had an aneurysm. Moment of temporary insanity.
Why in H would I just go nuts on another wall?
It just sat like this all mostly painted (It's like "mostly dead" on Princess Bride.) One thing I just love about my personality, is how I swing back and forth between making crazy impulsive decisions, or being crippled by complete indecision.
Oh, my endearing quirks.
And don't let me forget to mention that the moulding on the bottom of this wall was NOT there until I painted that wall all fugly-like.  I was covering up the paint job, people. Because, I mean, if you gotta fix a wall, why wouldn't you cover it with more moulding? Am I right or am I right?
And why stop there? Just keep on going until the problem solves itself.
I totally love this wall now, totes serious.
(It matches the rest of the hallway moulding motif don't worry.) 
I also had this crazy impulsive idea that I should carry more of that black and white style I adore that I mentioned a while back that nobody gives a poop about but me, and just go nuts painting an entire wall in the kitchen a nice, dark, black.
Let's just cut right to the end and spare you the worry. It didn't happen. But I have seen it look soooo cool in other peep's houses. Just so you know.


What I did do, however, on a complete whim, was take this wall and experiment. I have black paint already. In the form of chalkboard paint. And what better place to put chalkboard paint than on a "command center" wall?
At least it's what I told myself at the time.
I actually really do like it. My kids think it's totally funsies. I think I'm used to it, but when I first did it, it felt like the wall was creeping up on me. Like totally closed my kitchen in.
Thank heavens I didn't paint an entire kitchen wall black. It would have felt like I turned my cooking area into a motor home kitchenette. And we can't have that. Kitchen morale is already so low.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

How Much Tree Could a Jeff Fluff Fluff if a Jeff Fluff Could Fluff Jeff?

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And thank heavens for that, because what else would we do during the cold 'n dark besides complain?
Our entire weekend was spent decorating, tree fluffing (Jeff is a tree fluffer. Only three hours this time! New family record. Good job, Jeffro), fixing (hate) and stringing a bajillion Christmas lights, and my new personal favorite tradition,
yelling "That's it, Christmas is cancelled!" if even the slightest thing ticks me off.
 It's sick. But it feels so right. Try it in a sentence.
We don't need to talk about my one open kitchen cabinet agaaaaain, except that I really wanna point out that I have these silver wine buckets, as you see up there, and although they'll hold nothing more than sparkling cider, I'm insanely excited about their decorative and hosting potential. Planning out my Christmas dinner tablescape now, people.
And it's exciting and compelling. Believe dat.
what I really wanna talk about this holiday season, is our ginormous tree again.  Remember? The one that was given to us with a "Hehehe suckers!" thrown our way as we drove off with two hee-uge boxes of 14 foot faux pine?
"Hey Griswold, where you going to put a tree that big?"
"Bend over and I'll show you."
I haven't watched that movie yet this season. I'll fix that today. How can it be Christmas without it?
So we haven't decorated the "tower of Babel", thus far.
And why can't a ginormous pre-lit 14 footer just be pretty on it's own? Gosh. People were all incredulous that I wouldn't stand on the very top rung of a ladder and spend $500 to decorate it. Well there's a few reasons for that:
1. lazy
2. cheap
3. lazy
So I have this fabulous friend.
She is like glitz and glamor and sparkly and frankly I don't know why we're friends because I'm so paint clothes frump and she's so scarf 'n heels. I'm jagged nails and dirty jeans and smelling faintly of paint thinner and Tonya is so diamonds and perfume.
Somehow she puts up with me, and she hooked me up with all her old tree decor when she redid hers (oh my stars you should see it-- black and white damask and sparkle. It is right up my alley. Actually I should go take a picture of it. I really should.)
And these ornaments are legit. They're so fancy-like and fabulous,
and it was so fun to decorate my tree with free awesomeness.
Ta da.
So I need a big fancy star on top. Thanks for noticing. Your noticing has been noted.
I owe her big time, don't I? Now no one will whisper "The Tremaynes have this Christmas tree in their house and they don't even decorate it!" (snicker) anymore.
Thanks for saving us from such a big social faux pas, fabulous friend. I'm sure it won't be the last time.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I'll Give You a Winter Prediction: It's Gonna Be Cold, It's Gonna Be Gray. . .

There's a storm brewing outside. My normally overly bright house is nearly as dark as night, and it's just gonna get uglier as the day goes on. Or as Phil said on Groundhog Day:
"You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life."
So you know how I feel about winter. But serious, I'm trying really hard to embrace this entire season this go around. After all, it is nearly half my life, unless I want to move. And I ain't moving. Because nobody would buy this house after all the jacked up crap I've done to it, so we're in it for life.
So I'm embracing the word "snuggly". It's my new word. I've got some warm 'n fuzzy socks, the fireplace is firing, the hot chocolate mugs are accessible, blankets are everywhere, and I'm going to get over my totally strange aversion to long sleeve shirts.  It's all about tight things around my forearms.
It's strange. Seriously. Who else gives a poo if there's clothing around the forearms/wrists? Raise your hand. I'm the only one.  It just bugs me. It itches. Sleeves get wet when I do the dishes. And then I'm always pushing my shirt sleeves up and they get all stretched out and floppy and I have issues.
So anywho-- to the point at hand--
tell me these Snowman Kits from LL Bean aren't adorable. I dare ya.
Hello forced family fun! Total cuteness.  I wouldn't say $40 cute, but DIY cute, fo sho.
I was obsessed with making these for a few neighbs with little kids. I couldn't get it out of my head.
And I'm not going to pretend like these are profesh, or nearly as cute as the store bought ones, 'cause they ain't.
In fact, I suck at free-handing anything, and I should never try it again. Ever.
So I freely admit that I'm totally insecure about the quality of all these little pieces I made.
And then I remind myself that they're going to be out in freezing cold weather getting wet and hammered, so. . . ? Why am I so worried, ya know.
Man I hate it when I bare my insecurities.
Oh, it rhymes!  It's my first poem. Don't you judge me.
Now I just have to man up and actually deliver them. Maybe I could just attach a disclaimer to the little sacks:
-Likes to cut up lumber.
-Doesn't like to paint.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

There's Nothing Wrong with a Little Friendly Couples Competition.

There's a shake up going on in thee ole basement, also known as, the "Man Cave".

Basically, I'm just really sick of having embarrassing spaces down there, and I'm working hard on making everything down there a little less ghetto. There's a long story there, complete with more playroom makeover, the possibility of a small wet bar down there, and so on and so forth, but--

Enter in our computer sitch.

I'm ashamed to admit (but not ashamed enough to keep it a secret apparently) that we have 4 computers down there. Yeah. 4. And if we pull out the laptop, then there's 5. Instant family LAN party, people. You can find us once a weekend blowing each other away on Counter Strike. It brings us closer as a family.

Wow we are nerds, and I'm just now realizing just how much.

Anywho-- let's get to the point, here. Project! Two computers were sitting on a trashy folding table (hangs head in shame).

I says to the Jeffro, "Um, not loving this folding table here, hon."

Jeffro: "What did you expect from a folding table? Plus I'm not building another double computer desk. No way."

Did you. . . did you just hear that? Yeah. It was the sound of a challenge. Gauntlet thrown down.

Yeah. I will build this desk. It will happen. While the hubs is out of town so he can't say no. I'm sneaky that way. But I'm really just doing him a favor, aren't I? I mean, no to-do list for him, right?

Picked these plans from Ana White via Shanty 2 Chic. I am really digging the X legs, lately. This is my 3rd piece of furniture I've chosen/built with that look.

Now, I've said it a million times and I'm gonna say it once more: Jeffro and I. Peas and carrots. Carrots and peas. PB&J. BUT, we are complete opposites in thee quality workmanship perspective.

He, perfectionist. Me, sloppy.

 I actually tease about the competition of it all-- I actually just really wanted to impress him with trying my danged hardest to make this desk nice.

So, how'd I do? Eh. This is a pine desk. The base is made of 2x4. It definitely keeps the costs down which is a big bonus, but you can only expect so much.

I did run my 2x4s through the table saw to take off the rounded edge and sanded the shizzle out of them with a belt sander to smooth them out. I used pocket holes for all screws.

But that's the thing-- Jeffro would never use screws. He would spend the money on quality furniture hardware. And I wouldn't know the first thing about that.

Loving these fabulous legs, though.

One thing I do know well about Jeffro, is that he'd care about the quality of the top, and while I do like the look of a planked top (like the plans suggested), I just knew he wouldn't.

So I waited for him to come home and choose the material. See? Told you he'd know what he wanted. Nice, expensive piece of oak ply for the top with some oak moulding to finish off the edges.

A couple coats of Dark Walnut stain by moi, and 3 coats of poly by the both of us,

 and voila. No more folding table.

(Lights on, lights off. Neither is a good shot. This is the dark basement-- I do what I can. Plus, I should do something about those cords. But honestly it's not gonna happen.)

Doth it compare to Jeffro's double desk?

Pffft. Heck to the no. But why does everything have to be a competition, people?? Gosh.