Tuesday, October 26, 2010

THE room.

There is one room in my house that I'm content with (for the time being). This room doesn't need to be remodeled in any way. The paint is great. The furniture is great. The decor is great. I look at this room and sigh with contentment. This is my dining room. It's a small dining room but most of the homes in our neighborhood have even smaller ones if they have one at all. Our table fits in there just right to seat our family of 7 and it even works for expanding our table out to seat up to 10. For things like Thanksgiving we expand the table and pull out a folding table and push them together end-to-end. The dining room opens up to my living room so I just move my coffee table and area rug out of the way and I can seat 20 people ate the table quite nicely. It's really quite perfect for me.
We got our dining set about 3 years ago and we have loved it. The built in cabinets in the corners are too small to be functional and almost too small even for decorative use. I've struggled with them ever since we moved in until a few months ago when I came up with the genius idea to put all of our family photos through the years framed on the shelves. It works perfectly and I wonder why I didn't think of it sooner.
I even have a little bit of room to add some small seasonal decor to make it a little more festive.
I put this vinyl up a few weeks ago. At first it was just the saying but I felt like it needed a little more so I ordered the flowery branch. It was all one piece to begin with so I cut it up to kind of frame the saying. I'm pretty happy with the way it all turned out.
Thank goodness for having one room that I don't want to change in any way. :) This room offers me a little bit of sanity when I'm getting overwhelmed by everything else we need to do.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NEVER ENDING house painting project

This is what my house looked like about 3 years ago. I've always loved my house and thought from the very first time I saw it that it was really cute. The blue paint made it look more like a little country cottage but I was never really feeling it. It was a bit too old lady for me. Lucky for me, the paint was in horrible shape and it was well passed time for a new paint job. So when I was pregnant with Max (yes, over 2 years ago) and my nesting instincts were kicking in we decided to repaint the house. We were so ambitious and completely convinced that we would have it done before Max was born. Ha! Turns out that we were actually delusional. Once we got into it we realized that the cedar shingle siding was in pretty bad shape and it was going to take TONS of preparation for the wood to actually be ready for new paint.
We had to scrape off as much of the old paint as we possibly could. A lot of people tell me that we should just pressure wash it but we know from experience with another house we painted before that a pressure washer would just damage the old wood even more. So, scraping it was. Do you see all of the cracks between each of the wood shingles in the photo above? Well, we had to fill all of those with caulk. And most of those wood shingles was also pretty loose so we had to nail them all back in too. Then of course a coat of primer to seal it all up. I told you, it became quite the process just to be able to paint.

Before Max was born we got 2/3 of the front of the house done. The next summer I got half of one side prepped and primed. If you looked at our house from the right angle you could see brown paint, blue paint, white primer and exposed wood all at once. It was like that for over a year. This year I have gotten completely sick of the multi-color house and my ambition came back. Max is big enough now that he can play pretty well on his own while I work on the house. My siblings have also been helpful and dedicated entire saturdays for helping me out.

Don't get too excited for me though because I'm not done quite yet. We've barely touched the north side of the house and there's a lot of trim work and touch up stuff to do.
We will be working on it again this Saturday and probably every Saturday as long as the weather decides to be lovely for us. I'm really hoping to get it all done before winter sets in. I would be happy if I could focus on my yard again in the spring instead of working more on my still unfinished house.

But, isn't it gorgeous??? (except for the white railing on the porch which will become black when I get around to that touch up work I mentioned) I really Really REALLY adore my little old house. I plan to live here for the rest of my life so it's worth all of the hard work, right?

I like to look at it from this angle and pretend that it is finished and that I will never have to touch a paint scraper or caulk gun again. :) It will be totally worth it all in the end... just keep cheering me on so I don't run out of steam before I get there! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Homecoming Dances

‘Tis the season for high school homecoming. We participated in 2 homecoming festivities this year. The fist one was for Kaitlyn, my niece that I adore. She’s a senior this year and has never really had a formal dance experience. I was going to update an old dress that she inherited from someone but as I started getting into it I realized that it would probably be easier and faster if I just made a new dress from scratch but I didn’t have time for that either. So, on the morning of the dance I picked her up from her dad’s and took her to Modest by Design. Some of my dearest friends own it and I even worked for them way back when they were selling their stuff out of their garage. We found her a dress that she loved and got a killer deal on it. Next we had to go shoe shopping and we also bought a dress shirt for her bf to wear that matched her dress. She went on the day date and then came back to my house so I could do her hair and make-up and get her dress on her. She looked gorgeous and it was so fun to be able to help make it an amazing experience for her.

The second homecoming dance was Tristyn’s. She was nominated for Homecoming Queen. They held the pageant on the saturday before the dance. There were 18 girls competing. It was a lot of fun watching Tristyn bring her pageant skills out on stage. That night the judges chose the 6 finalists and then they had another pageant for the student body and they got to do the final voting. Tristyn didn’t get the title of queen but she was a part of the royalty and got a killer tiara. :) Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a good photo of her with her tiara but I will keep searching and post it as soon as I find it!

Ignore the fact that Thayne and I both look goofy in this one... Tristyn looks great and that's the most important thing!

Tristyn and her date on the night of the dance.


I adore all of my kids. Being a step mom is actually one of the easiest things I’ve done in my life. I think people in general just assume that being a step parent is hard. It’s not. Sure, there are situations when it is but I honestly think that those are few and far between. The hardest part has been the few times that I’ve had to deal with the ex-wives (Thayne had been married twice before me). But I mostly stay away from that because it really is just not my place to be arranging things for the kids with their moms. All in all, being a step mom is one of the greatest things I’ve ever done and I can’t imagine my life without any of the kids in it. Here are a few things that I have learned from being a step mom (a lot of these also apply to being a mom):

It is possible to love someone else’s child like they are your own.
Kids just want to know that they are loved unconditionally and supported.
No one can replace a child’s mom or dad.
Kids like having a parent that they know they can talk to about anything.
It is not ok to yell at your kids or say mean things to them.
Kids understand that parents make mistakes. They just want their parents to own up to them and apologize when they are wrong.
Kids are easily influenced but parents should never take advantage of that.
Kids want to be allowed to be their own individual person. You can’t force them into being someone they are not.
They start out as kids but all you have to do is blink and they are suddenly adults.
They don’t always make the decisions that you want them to but you have to let them make their own mistakes and hope that they can learn from them quickly.
It is never fun to watch your kids suffer in any way.
No matter how old they get, you never stop worrying for them and hoping for the best possible life for them.
The best thing you can tell them is that they are loved.
When they seem like they might be in trouble you should always try to help them in whatever way you can. It may be a conversation or something you can physically do but no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it is your job as a parent.
Every parent wants their child to turn out better than themself.
Telling your kids that they shouldn’t make the same mistakes you did doesn’t make you a hypocrite, it makes you a good parent.
The standard minimum parent time schedule issued by the state for non-custodial parents is crap. It is impossible to be a completely involved parent when you only see your kids every other weekend. It is best for kids to have equal time with both of their parents.
A non-custodial parent that wants to go to court to get equal time with their children had better have an unlimited amount of time and money and patience for a never ending and ridiculous court battle. And an incredible (and expensive) attorney.
The good always out weighs the bad... no matter how much crap you have to deal with, the kids are always worth it.

I have had some headaches to deal with but there is no limit to what I would do for these kids. They make my life full. I am so blessed to be able to be a part of their lives and to see the incredible people that they are growing into. I have learned so much from them about life and everything that is really important. They are my family and they are my friends. And I really do love them like they are my own. Kyle, Tristyn, Kassidy & Jakson, thank you for being the best step kids anyone could ever ask for!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hospitals give me the creeps

A couple weeks ago my mom fell and broke her hip. I sat with her for about 7 hours on a friday night as they x-rayed and decided the best course of action. They admitted her and scheduled surgery for the next day. She was having a really hard time with all of it. Between the pain and lack of sleep her dimensia was worse than normal. We couldn’t leave her alone so us kids had to take shifts sitting with her. I spent most of the following week at the hospital with her. She had surgery and has since been released from the hospital so now we’re just getting her rehabbed so she can be mobile again. Being at the hospital stresses me out. I really hate it. I got a nasty cold and I totally blame it on being at the hospital. The first night that I was there my brother sam came and hung out for awhile too. I was freezing and I said “Why do hospitals always have to be so cold” his response was encouraging... “to preserve the bodies”.