Pinterest gets a lot of bad press: time suck, stealing the days and nights of many a lonely housewife.
But I just counted, and I have made, done, or implemented 35 projects, meals, or ideas since I started using it. (Mostly meals, let's be honest.)
I think that's pretty awesome.
Pinterest gets a lot of bad press: time suck, stealing the days and nights of many a lonely housewife.
I could go on and on, but David is out of town, and really all I want to do is curl up, watch a movie, and go to sleep. So...
5 things that were great today, short and simple.
1. I posted on Facebook, but it deserves to be noted everywhere I have the option to do so: haircut day! I got a little update, and it's so awesome. Not many happier ways to spend $35 that I can think of.
2. I cleaned out the girls' crayon rolls (thanks, Angie, we STILL love them!) and put in new crayons that are not an inch long and all brown. 5 minutes, no cost, and what a quality of life improvement!
3. I made a new dish for dinner, and everyone loved it. That never happens. Although I have to mention, where it says to cook the sausage etc and "drain if necessary"? Let me just spare you the wondering: it is necessary, unless you use some kind of magical sausage that doesn't leave a nice oily layer of fat floating on the top of your soup.
4. Iris's imagination. Behold:
(Uncle Jake, you told me to do videos in landscape, and just look! This is your fault. Fix it!)
5. Devlin made the Variety Show. Hooray!
Final weep-fest tally for today: 24
(Now, in fairness, I did have a night out with some friends, so I was not present for the final hour before bedtime, which in this brave new era of No Naps, was sure to hold at least a few humdingers.)
I only counted actual sobs, not the similar but less-disruptive voice breaking/trembling lip combo. And to count each new incident, there had to be either a complete cessation of crying from the time before, or a new and separate trigger event.
The number was actually much less than I thought it would be, and I rather perversely enjoyed each fresh burst of tears, because it was all part of my little project.
I thought I would be able to get a couple of funny pictures of the curly one in full meltdown mode, but at the end of the day, this was the only shot I had.
Smiling, lovely, a stolen yellow flower in each hand.
Shows you how much I know.
(That was supposed to be menacing theme music.)
I know she's three years old. It must be very, very, very hard to be three. I can deduce this from her behavior.
I also realize she isn't feeling her best this week. But this has been going on since before Christmas.
I'll just come out and say it: tomorrow, I am going to keep track of how many times Iris bursts into tears. I won't count whining, only full-on crying.
I am actually pretty excited about this, because she's going to cry anyway, and I think the number is going to be absolutely spectacularly impressive. I will amaze my friends and delight my enemies, if I have any!
Anyone care to place a bet on the final tally?
Remember the Hale Elementary variety show last year?
(I know I'm his mom and everything, but I think that is one awesome kid right there.)
Tomorrow Devlin is auditioning for this year's show, which is themed "The Wild West".
I was able to talk him out of a lasso demonstration (he prefers to practice with a shoelace he found on the ground at a bus stop in Santa Barbara around the neck of our outdoor chiminea fireplace), and some kind of epileptic style of line dance that he has developed, and steer him toward something in which he has proven, demonstrable skill: poetry recitation.
His biggest problem is the fact that he has lost three of his front top teeth since Christmas, resulting in a formidable lisp.
I've got my fingers crossed, but I don't think he'll need it.
I did a lot of good things today.
I had oatmeal raisin cookies ready for my kids when they got home from school.
I folded laundry.
I let Iris nap with her sweaty, dark-shadowed head on my lap.
I made my family a nice healthy dinner (using homemade vegetable broth!), even though I worked this evening.
I taught a room full of moms- and dads-to-be about breastfeeding.
But the thing that sticks out in my mind is that today was the day I broke my first New Year's resolution.
I lost control of my temper, and I yelled at Eve. It doesn't even matter why. She was being a stinker, and I was awoken from a catnap to referee a disagreement that was the exact same as one I had mediated the previous afternoon - but I am responsible for my own actions.
And I did bad.
Trying to put it behind me, and start fresh tomorrow.
I can do that, right?
Today, I am grateful for our health.
I have been thinking about this a lot over the last few months, actually, but haven't gotten around to actually composing a post about it until today.
(I actually think "composing" is much too grand a word for what I do here, lately. But we can revisit that another time.)
I have never been faced with serious health issues in my immediate family - myself, my husband, my kids - but I have seen enough, close enough, that I think as much as any healthy person can be, I am mindful of this very great blessing.
We leap for joy.
We eat what we like.
We sleep peacefully.
We do not have to plan our lives around what our physical bodies will, or will not, allow us to do. That is a very great luxury, and I know it.
Iris has been feeling "off" since Thursday night. She wasn't sleeping well, she was extra emotional and irritable (even for a 3-year-old), her nose was snotty. But I could write off all those things easily: she's just having a rough night, she's going through a difficult phase, it's just that snotty-nose time of year.
"Devlin, will you snuggle with me?"
But today, she was sick. Really sick. I took a video of her breathing - and I use the term "breathing" loosely - while she was asleep, to show to the doctor. Her looked in her throat, looked at me, and looked in her throat again. Then he winced.
She's fine. She probably has strep, and possibly a secondary infection in her throat, which may or may not require surgery to drain if it develops an abcess, which he seemed to think it might. If that happens, I will be very, very sad, and a little scared, but she will be fine.
But the pit in my stomach today, and the feeling of dull panic as I rushed from one pharmacy to another, trying to get someone to fill our prescription before bedtime, making calls, checking and double-checking - making sure the seemingly dozens of indifferent people upon who my youngest daughter's care depended did what they said they would do -
I multiplied that feeling by the hundreds, thousands, infinite times that I would feel if she was really, really sick, the way some children - children of friends of mine - have been sick.
If she had cancer.
If she had Down Syndrome.
If she had autism.
If she had a hole in her heart.
To feel this, amplified, for months, years, or the rest of my child's life?
I'll take strep throat and bow my head, grateful.
Devlin lost his other front tooth today, just a couple of weeks after the first. Those teeth have been ground down to little nubs for years - I'm so glad to see them go!
We are going to have a BIG problem when the permanent teeth try to find their place - but until then, wheeeeeeeee!
Dev is such a champ. He has never made one peep of complaint about having a tooth pulled, and he actually got this one out himself! Then he put it in a Hexbug test tube because he is concerned it will get lost under his pillow.
That tooth fairy is a pretty smart broad. I bet she figures it out.
It used to look like this:
Now, it looks like this:
Which looks, in these two particular photos, almost exactly the same. But I promise it is not.
I'm so tired and ready for a break in the "project" momentum that I don't even feel like talking about what I did, but the short version is that I spray painted it Heirloom White, repainted the chalkboard side with Rustoleum chalkboard paint to make sure it was really, really chalkboard-y, and Mod Podged some cute paper down in the storage tray.
Can't have an ugly easel with a tacky red tray messing up my chi, now, can we?
The girls have already made some very nice artwork that is hanging from their display wire, and tomorrow I will show you.
Tonight, I am clocking out.
Well, actually, not quite. I went back to IKEA to return something this afternoon, and I found just the absolute perfect thing to go on the "empty" wall (you'll see it in a minute). So I'm painting this easel cream to go with, well, everything else, and it definitely won't be done tonight.
But unless I find some other way to make things complicated for myself, it is finished.
Do you want to see?
Okay, remember before? It was fun, but it was a lot going on.
This room began in my mind, at our old house, as a nursery for my first child, whose sex I did not yet know. We painted it yellow, because I thought that seemed nice and versatile and happy.
Then Devlin was born, and grew up a little, and he moved into another room to make way for Eve. She was The Baby, in the yellow nursery, and then she moved in with her brother so Iris could have the little yellow room when she invaded our lives.
Then when Iris was about a year old, Eve moved back in with her (because Devlin didn't like her chattering at bedtime. Now Eve doesn't like Iris's chattering at bedtime, but that's for another post.) So the yellow room was now the girls' room, and as soon as Eve could talk she made it very clear that her favorite color was yellow.
It was great.
I changed things up over the years, going from a soft yellow-and-sage scheme to a more vibrant yellow-orange-lime-sky blue one. A little of this, a little of that. Just whatever I had already, or found for cheap. No real plan. Just collecting.
Oh, and the tutus. Did I mention the tutus? Two girls in one room will create a tutu explosion that would rival nuclear fission. We could power the neighborhood!
Looking at this picture, it looks rather whimsical and charming. But I assure you, it was starting to feel oppressive. And seizure-inducing.
There were other issues, too. The sheets on Iris's bed were literally threadbare, and the quilt is an heirloom that I adore and was hoping to use, but is just too delicate.
It was time.
Basically, what I had to do was edit, edit, edit. Putting two people - with two different favorite colors, two times the interests, treasures, toys, books, and clothes - into one room, means a lot of editing. Devlin's room is like an explosion of Devlin. Everywhere you look, it's him. The girls' room has to be more subtle. They're still in there, I just turned down the volume a few notches.
Let me take you on a tour!
The view as you walk in the door:
Her letters - sweet little birdies with pink bellies, among other things:
That wall straight-on:
Incidentally, this nightstand was painted by a professional last summer, and it has nary a scratch, ding, or nick.
Iris's bed was painted by me last summer, and it looks heavily distressed. Not on purpose. If you need something painted, don't bring it to me. Call Natalie. Okay? Okay.
Above the nightstand are some photos we had taken this summer, framed in the famous IKEA Ribba frames:
Next is Eve's side of the room (see the yellow sheets?):
And her letters. Her favorite is the sassy French lady on the first "e":
The next wall has the window, and on the other side of it the dress-up area. I already had that trash can. Doesn't it go perfectly?
And on the next wall, the reason we can have such a tidy-looking room. An entire wall of deep closets. I just adore the way the gray walls look with the dark woodwork! I wouldn't love it nearly as much without that:
Then back around, the wall to your right as you come in the door now looks like this:
The silver wire is to hang artwork, which Eve especially produces in mass quantities. The easel I bought today folds and will lean against the wall under the intercom box (which no, sadly, does not work). It luckily fits under the wire (literally!) which is a miracle because this morning, when I hung that wire using 6!!! drywall anchors, I had no idea I would be putting an easel there too.
I'm taking a big risk putting art supplies in their room, because Eve has a tendency to write and draw on walls and furniture (I painted over a few of her masterpieces this weekend) and Iris has a tendency to destroy things just for the sheer joy of it.
If you're interested, here's a breakdown of everything I did:
Took everything off the walls, filled holes, sanded, painted new color (Martha Stewart Cobblestone from Home Depot): $24
Painted ceiling white (it was just unpainted drywall texture from when we had the popcorn taken down, oh, a year ago or so): free - we already had the paint
Sanded and repainted wall letters and shelves using 3 cans of spray paint, one of which was black and I quickly painted over with Heirloom White: $12 for the paint - I already had the letters
Papered letters using Mod Podge and papers from the always-awesome Scrapbooks Etc: $9
Replaced all 30-year-old almond outlet and light switch covers with fresh white ones: $2
Framed and hung family pictures: $6
Box spring for Iris, so she's not sleeping 4 inches off the ground anymore: free from a friend (thanks Em!)
Completely new bedding for both girls: $95
Two feather pillows (yes, a luxury maybe, but I could tell the difference and loved my feather pillow when I was a very young child): $20
Fixed broken closet door: free
Fixed broken doll cradle: free
Fixed Eve's "100 things" artwork (Iris picked off all the embellishments): free
Art display wire and clips: $15
Easel (not finished, hence not pictured), including spray paint, chalkboard paint, and roll of paper: $35
Total: $218 (and 3 days)
Absolutely worth it. I want to move into this room now!
I worked really, really hard to have the girls' room ready for unveiling in time for tonight's post.
But it isn't.
It's sooooooo close, and I could put the girls to sleep in my bed again tonight, finish hanging and organizing everything, and take terrible flash photos at 11:59, just for technicality's sake.
But I think instead, I'll just post a few things I have learned during this project, a "before" picture, and you can see the fruits of my labors on the morrow.
(This is just one narrow angle of the crazy explosion that was my previous decor scheme. I know I have a more recent, more comprehensive shot, but I'm having a hard time laying my hands on it.)
1. Any room that children use needs to be painted about once a year, even if you don't change colors. As I painted my way around the room (which I originally did less than 2 years ago, and have touched up since then) I couldn't believe how filthy and dinged up the walls were. No wonder I was feeling twitchy!
2. Neutrals are actually kind of awesome. (On the walls, not in my wardrobe.) I literally can hardly believe I'm saying this, but I am totally loving the very quiet color I chose for their room. It almost makes me want to go back through my insane rainbow house and tone it down a little - or a lot.
3. It really helps to have a goal in mind from the beginning. I usually don't get the opportunity to do a room "all at once" - I have to do it piecemeal, over the course of years, due to budget constraints and whatever else.
Mostly budget constraints, let's be honest.
But boy howdy, it sure does come together better when you have a vision from the get-go, and choose everything to support to that vision, instead of just using whatever you happen across and hoping it all adds up to something awesome.
4. I do a lot of work around the house. And I haven't done any of it for 4 days. It's looking pretty scary around here.
5. I hate drywall anchors. Like, I would rather throw myself into the Colorado River than ever, ever, EVER try to use one again. At least not in this house, where the drywall is made with powdered dragon scales mixed with the blood of 1975's World's Strongest Man finalists. It breaks 60% of what I try to hammer into it, yet allows the remainder to randomly fall out of the wall and onto my children's heads.
I am so excited to show you guys all the changes! Until tomorrow...
You know, I had quite enough items on my self-assigned "wifey-do" list already.
Then yesterday, I was in IKEA and I suddenly decided that my girls' room was due for a redesign.
(It totally is. Two girls in one room is a lot going on, especially when one of them dresses like this. Every day. Before she even comes in to tell us she is awake in the morning, she is dressed like a ballerina. Or a warrior princess. Or both.
Tutus, stuffed animals, dolls, doll clothes, pillows, pillow pets, blankets upon blankets, priceless treasures like rocks and shells and sticks and dried leaves, you get the idea. Combined with trying to incorporate both girls' respective favorite colors of yellow and pink, it was way too much even for me.)
So now I'm neck deep in the redecoration. I'm keeping furniture, flooring, and curtains. Everything else is changing. If I'm extremely lucky, I will have pictures on Monday.
Do you feel lucky? Do ya?
Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 7:07 PM
...because I seem to keep gravitating toward that narrative framework! In chronological order:
I'd say, without question, that I needed a pedicure more than I needed yoga today. Alas!
I went to more than one store, spent more than one hour, and, eventually, 25 of my hard-earned dollars, on hand soap today. And I ended up with exactly what I had before. I just thought that insanity deserved a picture.
We really, really like bananas.
I spent a couple of hours this afternoon seasoning the cast iron pans I bought off Craigslist several months ago, so that I can get to the business of actually using them instead of just tetris-ing them around in my cupboard to get to another pan. I used these instructions, and I am now the befuddled owner of four black, but very sticky, pans. Wonderful.
While that mess was happening, I tried hard-boiling eggs in these contraptions that David procured for me after watching me spend the better part of an hour (badly) peeling 8 of the little buggers awhile back. The verdict?
Fascinating. Luckily Eve will eat them here, there, or anywhere. Even if they are shaped like igloos.
It wasn't all Kitchen Fail today, though. No, I also managed to bake a loaf of bread and make double batches of both sweet and spicy meatballs and chocolate chip cookies. That all somehow amounted to a quadruple batch of dirty dishes.
I do not beat my middle child. If I did, I wouldn't beat her on the shins. I swear I do not know where all those bumps, cuts, and bruises came from!
Devlin helping his daddy mount outdoor speakers on our patio in his footie pajamas and sneakers is a lovely distraction from Mt. Disherest.
Good night, fair citizens! May your eggs be round, your piggies painted, and your children, if you have them, fleece-clad and sleeping!
Today was a productive little day.
Got kids off to school on time, with good breakfast and lunches and a chapter of 1 Nephi
Ran 2.5 miles
Showered (very luxurious - does NOT always happen, as we know)
Got dressed/makeup/etc (separate than, and happens even less often than, showering - except during Dressember)
Library storytime and lunch with a friend!!!!
A little thrifting, during which I splurged for a waffle iron at $14.99 - I have been wanting one, and picked the sturdiest one I could find. I figured anything this heavy had to have been built to last. I think it weighs more than Iris, and that is really saying something.
Turns out it is quite a popular, well-regarded specimen from the 50's - the Sunbeam CG-1 - and I actually got a great deal! (If anyone has the flat grill plates that interchange with the waffle plates and isn't using them, and would take less than $60 for them, I'll be your new best friend. And I'll make you waffles.)
Got a (tiny, like 5-6 minute) nap
Helped kids with homework, cleaning out lunchboxes, not killing each other - every day is a blank slate on this stuff, apparently
Had the opportunity to fulfill part of one of my resolutions by declining any involvement in the school carnival fundraiser beyond attending - and loved it
Attended 3 glowing parent-teacher conferences (Devlin had one for his regular class and one for his ELP teacher)
Went out for Wendy's to celebrate glowing conferences (since when did it cost $35 to take my family out for fast food?)
finished folding and put away all laundry (it was 6 days worth - no campfires or stomach flu or significant blood spatter, yet still just SO MUCH LAUNDRY HOW DOES IT HAPPEN)
working on a little project for my dining room, to be completed with a trip to IKEA on Thursday
Attended a meeting for a church responsibility that I foolishly accepted but didn't go as badly as I feared
Am now sitting down to watch the season premiere of Downton Abbey that I stupidly missed on Sunday, and iron my tea towels
A perfect end to any day, if you ask me.
Just a few little bits and bobs rattling around my head today.
* * * * *
We finished Season 4 of Breaking Bad yesterday. NOW WHAT??? I am literally dying waiting here. Hasn't been this bad since the end of the first season of 24.
* * * * *
Dots are deceptively high in calories. And they come in a huge box. It's a conspiracy.
* * * * *
I got these amazing, beautiful blocks from a swap yesterday, and Eve is absolutely in heaven. She's currently using them with our smallest nativity set, who are sometimes Jesus and the wise men, sometimes Clara and Drosselmeyer and the Mouse King, and sometimes the Faerie People.
* * * * *
I'm no expert on What Is Cool For the Population At Large, but I'm thinking that if there are Ed Hardy neoprene beverage holders sold at the Speed Smart, that moment has passed.
* * * * *
And speaking of the Speed Smart and its wide array of upscale products, I used to love those Hostess Fruit Pies. I kind of want to eat one now, just to know what they really taste like.
* * * * *
Today at the Farmer's Market, Eve was reading aloud the signs (since she is a newly minted confident solo reader!) and took a minute getting through "Davy Jones Seafood". Once she figured it out, she made a face and said "I hate fish! I only like gummy fish in a bag."
* * * * *
I now regularly wash windows, steam clean carpets, do yardwork, cook dinner, and work out. I never, or rarely, used to do any of those things. And I now have more children than ever before.
What was I doing with my time all those years???
Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 7:46 PM
(Name that movie.)
So, it's not the 10th exactly, but I feel like I'm a little late to the New Year's resolution party.
Luckily, I don't care. And having a few extra days to think about my goals for this beautiful, freshly minted year has only been a good thing.
Yes, I could have used the last week of December to think it over, and have had them all ready to go bright and shiny the morning of January 1, but then, well, I just wouldn't be me.
Since my resolutions do not include a personality transplant, let us begin right where we are.
January 4, 2012.
Shoulders down, neck relaxed.
There, that's better.
* * * * *
In 2012, I will run 500 miles. I didn't keep track last year, but this comes out to about 10 miles a week, which will happen very easily if I keep to my current schedule. It's totally attainable, but doesn't allow for me to fall off the wagon or skip weeks very often. Perfect.
Plus, there is this song.
In 2012, I will run a 10K...and a half marathon. The first is not a stretch. The second definitely is. Wish me luck.
In 2012, I will travel with my whole family, and just with That Guy I Married. I love going places, and 2011 reminded me how much I love my husband, and being his wifey, so I definitely think that needs to happen lots more. But I also want to take my kids places and not piss and moan so much about the stress of traveling with kids. Yes, it's stressful. But it's fun too. Get over it, self.
In 2012, I will end the year using the same water bottle I just purchased in Santa Barbara. This is probably the resolution that is least likely to happen. Water bottles in this house are cursed.
In 2012, I will learn the Chopin etude in E major. All of it. Not just the beginning and the end, which I have been playing very nicely for about 2 years. That bit in the middle is scary, but it is going down.
In 2012, I will not lose my voice yelling at my kids or break anything in anger. I was trying to think of a way that I could really measure how I was doing in this area, since "never raising my voice" is definitely not going to happen, and I know for myself that measurable goals stick with me a lot better than nebulous, undefinable ones. I realized, after thinking about it for awhile, that when I yell and I lose control, which is what I am wanting to eliminate, I let everything go and I do actually make myself hoarse.
(Do you have my Mother of the Year medal all ready to go? Shiny and polished?)
So I thought - if, when I need to raise my voice, I can keep my wits about me, remember to breathe deeply first and use my voice deliberately, even though it's loud, or stern, or both - then I think that will accomplish what I want to do.
And the other part? Seriously, Wizzle, you are 30 years old. Stop having tantrums and breaking doors and whatnot.
Here's to me, and you, and all of us in this magical year ahead!