Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's Getting Better

Good news, the kids are eating meals again.

Also in the "good" column, we got our light fixture. And, I installed it. By myself! Without getting electrocuted. 

Still a few things to do. Details like window treatments, rugs and place mats, pictures for the walls. And maybe a weathered old farm sign. But I'm still thinking about it. (I'm pretty sure there aren't any more bugs in it.)

Best of all, I'm not freaking out anymore. Things are starting to come together.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's Worse

A week into this kitchen re-do and I'm losing steam. The problem is things are in a bit of disarray around here. It's utter chaos actually.

Dinner is purchased each night at 5:30 from the grocery store down the street: 68 cent chicken pot pies one night, a frozen pizza another night, grilled cheese and canned soup another. We sit around a cluttered table, or sometimes just eat in shifts and search for utensils because the've been temporarily reassigned a different spot. We've run out of paper towels and all the dish rags have been used as cleaning rags and are in the wash.

It's not just kitchen things we can't find either. While I've been working on the kitchen, the rest of the house has gone to pot as well. We can't find soccer cleats or shin guards and somehow we are missing car seats. Ethan misplaces something every time he sets it down. Because of the clutter everywhere, he simply can't see where he put it. The best part, of course, is when he accuses everyone around him of stealing whatever it is that he lost. (Like anyone would want his 2 liter water rocket).

I was just told today by an informative Miller Paint employee that I've used the wrong kind of paint for my drawers. Her tone implied that I would need to purchase a can of paint remover and a bulk package of sandpaper. I wanted to yell at her. Does she realize how hard I've been working? It's done. The paint is on. There's no going back. I can't get her special kind of paint NOW. So it does no good for her to tell me I've completely screwed up.

Robert is not convinced of the magnet board covered pantry door (which I believe we need very much) and the new brushed pewter (or whatever it's called) colored doorknob to replace the brass one on the pantry didn't fit. And today I bought a chair for $15 and didn't notice until I was well on my way that one of the rails had been severely chewed by a dog. Or a beaver. As hard as I try not to, I think I see a few spots on the wall I need to repaint. Most of all though, the thought of staining or painting chairs makes me hyperventilate.

Meanwhile, life goes on. And with a messy house, it goes on very, very inefficiently. We have soccer games and mutual activities and piano lessons and tutoring and--oh my gosh--people still want to eat. Laundry continues to pile up and pee continues to spot the floors around the base of the toilets.

I've got to finish up with this project. Soon.

But all I really want to do is lay down for a long time.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better

A few weeks ago I asked a friend for some ideas to update my kitchen.

After our 25 day vacation, I walked into our house and everything seemed old, and lame, and in desperate need of a coat of paint and a major update. That's when I e-mailed Emily.

Emily is the queen of DIY. She can turn a bed skirt into an actual skirt or a pillow case into an apron. But she also knows what she's talking about when it comes to interior design. I was expecting a few ideas, jotted down in an e-mail, but what I got was a full-on design consult. She came to my house and took pictures and had some amazing ideas.

But that's not all. She also came up with this blog post which explains, in detail, all her ideas. When I saw the post this morning at 6:14 I realized that Home Depot had just opened and even though I was in my robe and slippers, I wanted nothing more than to run over there and start shopping.

Instead, I started trolling Craigslist for new chairs. And then I started obsessively e-mailing Emily pictures of my finds and asking her what she thought. And then I drove out to Sherwood and bought 5 chairs and a table with 2 leaves for $30. I'm going to sell the table and leaves and the chairs are in need of some TLC, but that's $6 a chair people.

So over the next few days (probably weeks) I'll be posting pics of my kitchen transformation. Robert and I have been throwing around words like bead board and bubble glass all day and trying to figure out how, with only 5 days left of his sabbatical, we are going to get all this done.

Even though our kitchen and house and probably garage and backyard are going to be chaotic for the next few days, this is how I feel right now . . .

Thank you Emily!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Beach Sans Kids

Robert and I took a three-day trip to the Oregon Coast this week and left the kids at home. Well, they weren't at our home. They were at our fabulous friend's home. (Thank you fabulous friend for watching our boys!) We had such a great, relaxing time and while we aren't ready to trade our cute boys in yet, we realized there are sure a lot of things you can do on vacation when you don't have kids.

For example, you can get up and go whenever you want and with relative ease. We arrived at the Yaquina Head lighthouse early enough to get these great pictures, and also to visit the tide pools at low tide.

And speaking of tide pools, if you don't bring your kids with you to the beach, you can spend time looking. Really looking. You don't have to keep your eye out for sneaker waves that might take your babies out to sea. You don't have to bring a change of clothes for the kids who will ultimately fall into the water and get soaked. You don't have to mediate fights over who saw the sea star first or convince anyone that we are NOT taking a hermit crab home. 

And because you can stare and look and search, you might even see a very rare giant Pacific chiton. Or, you could spend a few, uninterrupted minutes listening to a very interesting park ranger who will point it out to you.

You could take pictures of the cobbles that cover the beach. You could then go to the interpretive center and read ALL the exhibit plaques and learn that these cobbles are from ancient volcanic lava flow. 

If you don't bring kids to the beach, you can take one of those dorky self portraits where you hold out your arm with the camera and hope you get you and your sweetie centered. Then you might think that it doesn't even look like you took the picture yourself. Until you see your arm reflected in your husband's sunglasses. 

If you don't bring your kids with you to the beach, you can climb out onto the rocks where the rising tide threatens to leave you stranded, and not even worry about it.

If you leave your kids home when you go to the beach you can break the rules, climb under the safety rail, and hike down to the crashing waves at the bottom of a cliff. 

Speaking of crashing waves, if you leave your kids home when you go to the beach, you can sit and watch the waves for as long as you want. No one will complain that they want to do something else. No one will get too close to the edge. No one will ask you to carry them up the steep hill when it's time to leave.

And after you hike out and get back to your car, if you want to lean your seat back and take a nap, you can. You can sleep for 30 minutes if you want. And when you wake up and see some people looking out into the ocean with binoculars, you can ask them what they see. And when they tell you they see whales, you can see the whales too. For as long as you want. (whales not pictured)

If you don't bring your kids with you when you go to the beach, you can go to a 16 and over concert at a casino and hear the B-52s. The B-52s!!! And they will sing Love Shack and Rock Lobster and you can scream and dance and wave your arms like a crazy person and no one will be embarrassed of you. 

And if you don't bring your kids with you to the beach, it will feel great when they run up and give you a hug when you come home. It will feel great when they ask you to tuck them in at night and to give them a kiss. Especially if the child asking for you to tuck and kiss is your 13-year-old.

And when things get harried--when the school bus is coming down the street and no one can find their shoes--you can take a deep breath and close your eyes and remember the amazing time you had at the beach with your husband when you left the kids at home. And you'll feel just a little bit calmer. 

After you find the shoes and get those kids on the bus, of course.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Don't tell anyone, but I'm a little sad that summer break is over. School starts in just 3 hours and 40 minutes and I'm not sure if I'm ready for that. Well, I know I'm not ready. I lost the paperwork that tells what bus number the kids are supposed to take home as well as the one that I'm supposed to sign saying they should ride the bus home. It was in the same spot for 5 days and now it's gone.

We had a fun summer. The boys had a blast playing with friends in the neighborhood. They rebuilt a go-cart and had Pokemon tournaments and became better swimmers and tried to catch frogs at the pond and organized neighborhood soccer games, and jumped on the neighbor's trampoline and played on the other neighbor's inflatable water slide, and roasted marshmallows in the backyard. Not to mention Disneyland, SeaWorld, seven national parks, a zip line, three cousins, two grandparents, a new friend, and DVD players for the car.

Plus, the best weather of summer is happening right now. We've got hot days with warm nights and it just doesn't seem right to have to go to bed early because it's a school night.

I've enjoyed watching my boys become more independent and creative. I've loved seeing the joy on their faces as plan and organize and carry-out their fun ideas. I've loved waking up "whenever" and pointing to a box of frozen corn dogs when it's time for lunch and telling them to "help themselves."

The house is a disaster, the laundry pile seems never-ending (I suspect the boys are throwing clean clothes in there rather than refolding them or shoving them back in their drawers. But I don't care), we can barely walk into the garage anymore for all the bikes, balls, scooters and skateboards that are strewn around, and the only food in the fridge is milk, cheese, eggs and some left over beef barley soup.

But I don't care. I've surrendered to summer and it feels great.

I feel like I'm betraying my other mom friends who have joined me in years past doing back flips on the lawn when the school bus drives away that first day. I'm sorry, but I'm just not that happy today.

I'm a little happy. Just not back flip happy.