My 3 Monsters: March 2010

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How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You

Delivered to me yesterday by my youngest son, this note got me a little bit choked up.  Did he really worry that I wouldn't forgive him?  Have I left even the slightest doubt in my child's mind about my loving him always and forever, no matter how many tantrums he throws?  Could he possibly think the bond between us would be severed by something as trivial as him not wanting to go to bed?  Yes, my son, I do forgive you.  I will always forgive your mistakes just as you always forgive mine.  I will always love you in a way that you will not understand until you have a rowdy little boy of your own.  And I'm proud of the maturity you are showing lately.  It takes a big man to recognize when he has done wrong and ask forgiveness.  And thanks for the note.  Those are the things we moms live for.


This Wasn't in the Job Description

I've worn several hats as a mother that have caused me to throw my hands in the air and exclaim, "I didn't sign up for this!"  Namely "kids' pedicure specialist" (toenail clipper), "school principal/family liason" (person who happens to always answer the phone when the principal calls about a child's behavior), and "emotional bodyguard" (first line of defense between pre-teen drama queen and her feuding peers).  Add "iPod repair technician" to that list.  Remember this devastation?  Well, the "geniuses" (That's what they call themselves.  Seriously? Someone thinks highly of themself . . )  at the Apple store wanted $200 to repair it.  Ummmmmmm, no.  We told our dear one she would just have to live with it until she could earn the money to replace it.  And living with it she was until she perchance participated in a focus group and earned $100.  And also, perchance, discovered you can buy replacement parts on ebay to fix various technical gadgets on your own.  At home.  Quick . . . and . . . easy . . .  And so the adventure began.  Actually, it's not much of a story.  It was relatively painless.  Relatively.  I'm just always taken aback never really surprised at the many and varied "opportunities"  with which motherhood presents me.  Sometimes I wonder if I had known 14 years ago that someday my eleven year old daughter would want me to crack open her expensive techno-gadget and mess around with it's innards, with complete faith that I would restore it to proper working order just as I had "fixed" all her scraped knees with my kisses, would I have taken the job?  Would I have signed that "contract" as readily as I did and with the same wide-eyed optimism?  Granted, 14 years was a long time ago.  Back then iPods were nothing more than a sparkle in Steve Jobs' eye.  And I had cheerfully never clipped a smelly little boy's toenails.  But my answer tonight, with a (mostly) fixed iPod under my belt, is a resounding YES!  Yes, I'm happy to do these crazy things for my family.  Yes, I'd do it all over again.  Yes, I somehow ended up exactly where I belong in life.  Yes, these little tasks make me happy.  And yes, that part was in the job description.

*Apologies for the overuse of quotes , run-on sentences and elipses.  It's one of those nights. . .


More Teasing

Ahhhhhhh.  Those colors look better.  I made curtains for the bedroom yesterday and was thrilled to discover I had enough fabric left over to make these super fun pillow cases to match our duvet cover.  I bookmarked this tutorial well over a year ago, knowing that one day I would have a need.  Don't these pillows look fancy?  It took me maybe twenty minutes to make two of them last night.  And that includes the time it took me to dig out those other two fabrics, decide how I wanted it to look and cut it out.  I'm in love with the way it's all coming together.  And yeah, that's my burlap floor in the picture.  It has a funky, farmhouse feel to it, I think.  You should all really drop by and see it sometime!


Such a Tease!

Yes, I'm still here.  Yes, we're almost finished with our master bedroom overhaul.  Here's a little sneak peek, but keep in mind that the colors are actually much nicer than that in real life.  We have bare bulbs in our ceiling fan right now while I try to decide what I want to do with that so the light is a little bit glare-y and it's messing with my camera.  Also, I don't have the mad photographic skills to make the camera compensate for the wonky light.  So, yeah . . . I'm thrilled with it.  The actual room, that is.  Not the photograph.  I'm going on record now as saying that burlap for flooring is maybe the single greatest idea I have ever conceived.  Mark my words!  Hopefully we'll get it all together by the weekend.


Today I . . .

  • paid my children $1 each to wash the walls of my filthy, dusty bedroom.
  • enjoyed the echoing sounds of my children working toward a common goal in my empty bedroom.
  • kept my promise to NOT work in the bedroom on this, the last day of spring break.
  • cut six inches off of my daughter's beautiful, long hair.
  • took my kids swimming for the second time this year.  (Life in Arizona . . . )
  • ate a plate of yummy pasta with homemade alfredo sauce that is still sitting in my stomach like a ton of bricks. 
  • worried about the future for just one fleeting second as Brent worked his last day at his current job, then said a prayer and cheerfully moved on because, after all, worrying is a waste of energy. (And I have precious little to spare these days.)
  • wouldn't change one single thing about my life.  (Except maybe the speed at which I digest heavy pasta, but that's inconsequential, really.)


Two Words . . .

Burlap Floors!

I can't wait to show y'all pictures of the finished room.  It's coming along nicely, but we're exhausted and we really needed to hook up the computer again (Brent IS looking for a job and all . . .) so we are going to take a day or two off.  Maybe.  I'll have to weigh my current aches and pains against the idea of sleeping on the living room couches for a few extra days.  It'll be a tough call, believe me!


Just Begun & Almost Done

This is the state of my master bedroom.  Luxurious, no?  Actually we've mostly finished the ceiling since that photo was taken.  And painted the ceiling fan white. I just need to lightly sand the new plaster and paint it.  Then we move on to the board and batten wall treatment.  It will be similar to this beautiful one at House of Smiths. . .
 . . . with a pretty birch white on the lower half and a beautiful warm gray up above.  So lovely. And then, THEN, I can finally do the floors which were, if you recall, the real reason this room is torn up.  I just thought if we have to remove all the furniture anyway, why not go all the way?  Right? 

Now, because I feel the need to show a finished project once in a while, here's my new living room artwork.

Remember how I made that picture back in December?  I mounted it on a giant canvas and I've been looking for just the right frame for it all this time. I wanted something substantial and gallery-like.  But without the gallery-like price tag.  I found this lovely at Hobby Lobby in their 80% off clearance section.  Regularly $150, mine for less than $30!  A couple of cans of black spray paint later, I am thrilled to death with it.  Next time I go to Lowes I need to get some picture wire and anchors and it'll be good to go.  For now it can lean there on the {soon to be fixed up}mantle . . . mostly finished . . . like most of the projects I do in my home.


In Honor of Award Show Season . . .

In the category of "Worst Home Improvement Project Ever Attempted By Amateur Renovators":

  • Painting Kitchen Cabinets (circa 2004)
  • Installing New Shower in Master Bathroom (circa 2006)
  • Removing Popcorn Ceiling from Master Bedroom (circa this past weekend)

And the winner is . . . . . . . . . . . .(drumroll) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Removing Popcorn Ceilings!!!  Accepting this award on behalf of amateur renovators everywhere, Amy G.

Oh my goodness!  This is so unexpected!  I mean, I knew before beginning that this was going to be a miserable task, but by Saturday afternoon, with a head full of plaster-dusty hair and a sore neck, I was pretty sure I had this award in the bag.  I want to thank the builders of the 1980's for their blatant disregard for aesthetic appeal and their dedication to loading the ceiling of my home with pounds of unnecessary plaster.  Without their finish-it-quick-and-not-very-well attitude I wouldn't be where I am today.  Also, a big thank you goes to all the previous residents of my home for smoking indoors with seemingly reckless abandon.  I have spent days basking in the cheap hotel room ambiance that you so kindly and thoughtfully laid the groundwork for all those years ago.  What was holding that aroma at bay for the past six years I'll never know.  To my dear husband, thanks for getting laid off  freeing up your schedule and having a few extra hours to spend with me in the pursuit of this prestigious award.  And finally, to McNeil Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of Tylenol, bless you.  I couldn't have done any of these mind-bogglingly terrible jobs without you.  Thank you all!


Busy, Busy!

I'm becoming very self-aware in my old age.  Like figuring out that I cope with stress in one of two ways:  by sleeping for hours on end (to avoid dealing with said stress) or by doing "projects" (to avoid dealing with said stress).  As dumb as this sounds, I never realized that before.  But you have a lot of time to think about stuff when you're tearing up a room's worth of carpet and banging out all the tack strips and base boards.  And drawing chalk lines on the walls to see if you would like the faux wainscot technique you are considering.  Also, I made these bracelets.  Cute, huh?  I find that I collect "things" that I like, without ever having a plan for how I'm going to use them.  I scour the dollar ribbon baskets and the clearance bead racks and I hoard.  Because some things are just too pretty to live without.  So I was super excited to find this tutorial at Tatertots and Jello.  So easy and, AND, I already had all the stuff.  But if you're not a craft hoarder like me, those cool little jewelry pendanty things are on sale 2 for $5 at Michaels this week.  And lots are on clearance right now for $1.99.  And yes, those bracelets are sitting on my newly barren floor in the photo.  So excited!


Big Plans

This morning I vow to begin the unceremonious removal of the master bedroom carpet.  Cassie, lovely dog, has decided our bedroom is for her most personal use, if you know what I mean.  Try as I might, I can't break her of the habit. Every time I think I've made progress we take two steps back.  We've {thought we} thoroughly cleaned up after each of her "accidents".  We've steam cleaned the carpets.  It still reeks in here.  And our once taupe carpet is now taupe with large gray-ish circles in a random pattern.  I shudder now at even the thought.  Can we afford to replace carpet right now?  Maybe.  Would it be wise, considering our current situation?  No. No, it would not.  So I'm going to try {cringe}painting the concrete for the time being.  Because, really, anything would be an improvement from our current situation.  Literally anything at all.

But don't you dare pity me with my concrete bedroom floors.  I'm also going to paint the walls and scrape off the popcorn ceiling and paint my ceiling fan and sew the curtains for which I bought fabric a year ago.  And it's going to be stunning.  Mark my words.  Stunning.  You're all going to want concrete floors of your own by the time I'm finished.  That's right.  Stun. Ning.


Masters of Greek Mythology

Overheard this weekend:

Ri:  If you could have a Greek god for your parent who would you want it to be?  Except for Poseidon, obviously

Sis:  Yeah, obviously.  Maybe  Athena, then.

Ri:  Yeah, or maybe  . . .  (10 minute conversation ensues)

Thank you, Rick Riordan and Percy Jackson for opening a whole new world of knowledge to my children.  Especially Ri, who had never read a book for pleasure before picking up The Lightening Thief during Christmas break.  To date he has devoured four entire books.  FOUR!!!  Now, I've seen the movie, but someone needs to explain to me why, obviously, Poseidon was excluded from the conversation above.  I'm thinking that, because he is Percy's father, he's pretty cool and obviously he'd be everyone's first choice?  Don't you hate it when your kids know more than you?


"To Sleep, Perchance to Dream . . ."

Falling asleep is not a thing for which I am naturally gifted.  I struggle with finding my brain's off switch.  I have always so struggled.  My husband, on the other hand, can fall into restful slumber at will.  I'll never forget the night we were laying in bed at the end of a long day, chatting a bit as is our custom.  He said, "I'm not feeling very tired.  I think I'm going to get up and read for a while. ( . . .ten second pause . . .) ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ".   Are you kidding me?!  Then I, who was exhausted, laid there for upwards of an hour listening to him snore.  Cursing him for snoring so.  I've been told that I snore.  I believe it.  But at least I (usually) have the courtesy to wait and fall asleep last, so as not to keep my bunk-mate awake.  It's frustrating to be so tired and have sweet, sweet relief be so elusive.  The more tired I become, the more elusive it seems to be.  Too tired to sleep . . . there's some irony for you.

And when I do fall asleep, it's rarely that deep, poisoned-Disney-princess-esque slumber that rejuvenates and refreshes.  I'm fitful.  I toss and turn.  I wake up a lot. I dream -- vividly and disturbingly. Take two nights ago when I dreamed that B and I bought a new house.  A large, lovely house with a master bathroom the size of our entire current master suite.  A fancy bathroom with a shower that lead into a sauna.  Odd, but we were delighted with it.  B decided to take himself a shower and then test out the new sauna.  He came running out in his towel yelling, "Hot sauna!  Hot sauna!"   It was at that point we realized our friend Mitch was also . . . ummmm . . . using the facilities.   He said, as casually as if relieving himself in front of us happened all the time, "Leave the sauna on.  I want to try it out."  Odd thing is, in the dream Brent and I acted like it happened all the time, too. It doesn't.   Even though it was just a dream, the vision of my good friend's husband on the throne is burned into the back of my eyelids.  It's something that I will never be able to un-see.  And that is why I am always so tired.

The end.


A Simple Request

Can we get really personal here for a minute?  Brent was laid off from his job yesterday.  It was a complete shock.  Stupidly, we had no inkling this was coming.  This company is in the middle of a HUGE transition and laying people off by the boatload.  We should have thought . . .   Anyway, will you say a prayer for this little family of mine?  We're not in crisis-mode yet, because it's not a crisis.  Yet.  If we learned anything from the last time this happened it's that these things often end up being blessings in disguise.  And that we're not alone.  We have fabulous friends and family and we have faith that our Heavenly Father will bless us.  And with that on our side, we don't worry.  (As much . . . I'm only human after all.) We know that we'll be fine, come what may.


Turning Over a New Leaf

Tomorrow morning (Today?  I'm writing this at midnight) I will get up and walk to school with Sydney and Cassie for the first of (hopefully) many times.  It's about a mile there, followed by another mile back home, through the lovely park with the pond.  It will be good for all of us.  Sis has been wanting to NOT ride the bus for a while now.  I've been wanting to spend some one-on-one time with her.  And get a little exercise.  And Cass needs to burn off a little excess energy and (hopefully) stop chewing holes in things that do not belong to her.  So it's like killing four birds with one stone.  Sweet!  A four-for-one.  I'm a sucker for a good deal.


Body Image

I attended the most wonderful "seminar" about body image last night called, "More Precious Than Rubies:  The Truth About Body Image in a World Full of Lies".  It was absolutely life-altering for me.  I wish Sis could have come with me, but she had obligations of her own.  It was taught by two sisters whose other sister had struggled with anorexia.  One of them told the story of watching a neighbor walk his three dogs past her home every morning.  One was a Greyhound, one a Poodle, and the other a German shepherd.  She said it occurred to her one day, "I wonder if that Poodle ever looks at the Greyhound and says, 'I wish I had legs like those,' or if the Greyhound was ever jealous of the German Shepherd's beautiful coat."  No!  Of course they don't!  For a Poodle to have a Greyhound's legs is a genetic impossibility.  And for me to be a size 2 with beautiful blond hair is also a genetic impossibility.  So why do I fret so much about being anything other exactly what I am?!  Could I make changes in my lifestyle that would IMPROVE MY GENERAL HEALTH?  Of course I could.  But those changes will do nothing to change WHO I AM inside.  Or very much about what I look like on the outside, really.  Or my worth as a person. 

Society puts a lot of pressure on women nowadays regarding our appearance.  Millions of dollars a year are spent digitally altering the photographs in magazines and advertisements to make us feel bad about ourselves.  Yeah, that's the goal. Because if we feel bad about ourselves, then they can sell us the remedy to whatever they've convinced us is wrong with us.  It's crazy.  One of the ladies said, "I've never looked at the Pottery Barn catalog and come away feeling better about my house". That hit home to me, the interior designer,  but it's the same with makeup ads and magazine covers.  Because it's so easy to believe the lie. 

Then she made the point that the day her first child was born, and they laid that precious girl in her arms, she thought she had never before seen anything so perfect and so beautiful and so valuable in all the world.  We all feel that way about our children.  And our mothers felt that way before us, and their mothers before them.  But ultimately we have that Heavenly Parent who STILL thinks we are, each of us, His crowning achievement.  The most precious thing He ever created.  No matter what size our jeans are.  Life-altering, I tell you.


How to Make a Buck

Remember trying to earn money as a kid?  I remember babysitting for my mom and dad (at age 9 or 10 . . . the horror nowdays!) for the accepted family currency -- candy bars.   I remember being elated to receive a quarter from the tooth fairy.  I remember, as a family, collecting soda cans, squashing them in the garage, and taking them to the recycling center to get a little bit of cash.  Mom and dad used that money for fun things like tickets to a gymnastics meet in which Mary Lou Retton was competing or Happy Meals at McDonalds (a much rarer treat in my childhood than in my own children's).  I remember selling Kool-Ade to passing neighbors on the street in front of our house on Mountain Road in Albuquerque.  (House #12509.  Don't ask me how I remember that.)  My point is, children had little access to money in those days and it was fine.

Fast forward 30 years to my children.  Often they have more money in the "Bank of Mom and Dad" than I do.  They participate in focus groups and research studies and are generously compensated.  Sydney saved up $200 last year to buy and iPod Touch.  She started her own pet sitting business, all on her own, to generate the revenue necessary to achieve her goal.  Now Ri has decided to sell a few things on ebay.  Just a few old Pokemon video games . . . the ones so old that they don't fit into the new Nintendo DS he is currently using.  We warned him he may not get very much.  He said he's be happy to get $5 for the lot of them.  The thing is, apparently unbeknownst to me, these games are collector's items.  His listing is up above $20 already, with a day and a half to go.  It absolutely boggles my mind.  My goodness, how the world has changed.


"Scottie Pippen, Reluctant Superstar"

I've been looking at that book sitting here on my desk for a month now.  And wondering, Why?  Why do kids unintentionally make things so hard on their moms?  Why do they pick Scottie Pippen, or Jackie Robinson, or Helen Keller for the subject of their biography reports in school, knowing full well that they are going to have to dress up as the person they choose?  Pray tell how I am supposed to make that happen, to my child's specifications, without in any way offending someone.  I get why my children have chosen those people as the subjects of their reports.  They all have inspirational stories.  They're all heroes in their own way.  It's just a good thing I had a boy's tank top in my craft closet and I am fairly proficient with the freezer paper stencils.  We created a Chicago Bulls jersey (and by we I mean I) at 10:00 p.m. after the Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet last week and it was a hit.  Now we just wait to see what #3 comes up with for me next year . . .


A Mind Like a Steel Trap

This is a page out of a book written by my Ri in first grade as a tribute to me for Mother's Day.  Nothing gets by this kid.  Not. One. Single. Thing.  In this same book he also wrote about how we like to eat pizza from Pizza Hut together, and go to Taco Bell together, and shop for food together, just he and I.  Oh man . . .  It's maybe too painfully accurate a picture of my life.  He somehow failed to mention, however,  that this was the year I trained for and ran a half marathon.  Maybe that's why I was so tired and hungry all the time.  Just putting that out there for discussion. 

Also, that same description is still apropos . . . nice and tired.  Yep, that just about sums it up today.

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