Sunday, September 30, 2012


"Sure, we can prep all our kitchen cabinets, paint three coats plus a sealant, and paint two walls red in one day!"

"We can even sleep in and start around ten!"

"I'll even stay up late and put the kitchen back together!"

I'm clearly delusional. It's nearly 7 p.m. And we still have two hours of painting to finish the second coat on the cabinets, which then requires two more hours of drying, plus another coat before the sealant. Wall paint hasn't been touched. Our backs hurt and my hands are aching from the cabinet prep.

And the worst part? My kitchen will have to stay torn apart for two more days.

This better look awesome when it's done!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kitchen Makeover Part 1

When Matt and I do house projects, we like to do twice as much work and spend twice as much money as originally planned.

Today, we realized we HAD to decide on kitchen paint. We've had a patchwork wall for too long and we have a party to host in there soon! I argued that Matt's color choice would clash with our cabinets, so in his devotion to this color, he agreed to paint the cabinets. Now, we both get something we want!

Can't wait to post before and afters!

Tomorrow morning, we start with this product and a gallon of candy apple red paint for the walls:

Friday, September 28, 2012

I like my money right where I can see it, hanging in my closet.

I love jewelry. I've been collecting it for many years now. Not much of it is worth anything--it's mostly from Forever 21 and Target and Charming Charlie's. But I have a big ol' jewelry box full of it, plus a ton of necklaces I have hanging on hooks in the wall of my closet.

I have each drawer of earrings categorized by style and color. And all the bracelets are together in the biggest drawer, with all the rings in the top.

The shelf it's on also holds a few items I love--a picture of my Nannie, my mug from college, a little plaque my mother-in-law got me, and the travel jewelry box that was a gift from a dear friend. What a nice place to get ready!

Here's where I go when adding accessories:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mom Guilt.

My life is full of mom guilt. I know I'm not alone in this, but sometimes I wonder if there's something wrong with me because of how excessive this guilt feels.

Of course I'd expect to feel guilty about certain things, like the amount of time I've been away from them in their lives instead of getting to be one of those stay-at-home moms who makes their food from scratch and volunteers in the classroom all the time. I accept that guilt.

Then there's the guilt that is borderline, for reasons like not having my kids in dance and gymnastics and soccer and all kinds of other things since they were young, because if they realized that they wanted to be an Olympic ice skater right now, they'd be way behind all the other kids and it would be all my fault. But I was a young mom on a tight budget with a full-time job, so those kinds of things just weren't feasible. I should have come up with a get-rich scheme or married for money. Maybe then I wouldn't feel so bad.

Some of the guilt I have is irrational. Take, for example, the guilt that causes me to do my kids' chores for them. Because they have been at their dad's for a few days and I feel bad making them clean their room right now when they don't feel like it. What the heck is that about? Making them do chores is GOOD for them, and I'm ridiculous. I am also frequently stressed out and spread too thin because I accommodate my children's last-minute plans, since I'd feel bad if they had to miss out on something they wanted to do.

This is where I need to do some work. I have got to stop torturing myself with these bad feelings of inadequacy. I'm a good mom! 

The mom guilt even goes so far as to be one of several reasons I don't want more kids. Not only is it exhausting to be constantly worried about the two kids I already have, but I would feel terrible guilt about the time I could spend and the extra things I could do for a new child that I wasn't able to do for my others. And I'd lose sleep over it. I can't do that to myself on purpose.

My kids better appreciate someday all the stress and guilt I've endured with their happiness in mind.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Not my favorite trip to the BMV.

I went to get my updated drivers license with my new married name. Apparently there's this new thing where your ID has to be "secure" which basically means they need a bunch of extra documents on top of the 4359887 other papers you already brought.

When I first got my drivers license at 16, I had my maiden name on it. Then, when I was 18, I updated it with my new last name of my former husband. I provided all your required documents then, BMV.

Now, at 32, of an actual age when you can make an educated decision on who you think you'll be with the rest of your life, I am getting my name changed for the second time.

And the BMV wants not only my birth certificate, new social security card with my new married name, and the 5 other documents including my passport that I brought, but also the marriage certificate from my FIRST marriage.

Because they need the "link" from my maiden name on my birth certificate, to my second name on my current marriage certificate that links me to this new name. So annoying. Obviously, I wasn't willing to go request that and wait 4 more weeks, so my license is not secure.

The best part of this story is that the middle aged man who works Saturdays at the BMV had the nerve to say two offensive things to me:

1. That the terrible picture on my temporary black and white print out will look better in color. It doesn't. And also, pictures don't work like that. My former picture was great, and I still look the same, but that's not good enough to reuse. Instead, let's use this one in which you forced me to tuck my hair behind my ears and I have a double chin. Thanks, bureaucracy.

2. The man then said to me, presumably jokingly, not to get married again before my license was up for renewal and I needed it to be secure, because of all the marriage certificates I'd have to bring then.

That's not a funny joke.
First of all, I married someone as a teenager the first time, and I made that marriage last 8 years, which is probably longer than he's collectively been employed. Secondly, it's not like I run in to the license branch every two years with some new guy I met at the bar and ran off to Vegas with. I'm an educated, professional, normal person who has remarried.

I hate that guy and my new license picture. But I love my new last name.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Today in the car, in response to something his friend said, my son said, "first world problems." You may have seen that hash tag on twitter. My son didn't say it as a joke, he said it to mean, "isn't it silly the things we sometimes consider problems."

I'd like to say it was an eye-opening experience for me, but it wasn't. I continued to inwardly be upset about a simple accident at our house that has inconvenienced us and will cost money we don't want to spend.

And as I sit here now I realize what a baby I've been all evening because of that. It's an inconvenience, not some huge problem. Certainly nothing compared to what other people are dealing with at this moment. So I'm going to stop being a spoiled brat right this minute.

In other problems-related topics, I mentioned in a previous post an audiobook I was about to start called, "White Girl Problems." I'd read a review that said it was awesome and funny. I'm a few chapters in and I want you to know it is neither of those things. I gave it a chance and I'm cutting my losses. Just a public service announcement to save you time and money should you see this book and think it might be good.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Making friends at the gas station.

My friend Rachel (who is posting daily with me for a month) suggested a topic to me when I didn't know what to write about, and her topic was gas stations. She probably was trying to be funny since she was in the car and just said the first thing she saw, but challenge accepted!

I have lots of stories about gas stations. Like when on a road trip I saw for the first time a machine that dispensed condoms in the bathroom. And my sister and I totally bought one because I was 13 and that was HILARIOUS!  I doubt my mom knows about that.

But instead of those kinds of stories, I'll share these two:

When I was 19 I started working at a convenience store/gas station, because I was very pregnant with my second child, needed a new job, and they were hiring. I wasn't picky, because I didn't have a lot of options. The store was in a small town, where literally there wasn't even a stop light, just one of those flashing four-way stops. That job was AWESOME. Until I gained twenty pounds. I had unlimited access to fountain soda and doughnuts. It was actually fun, because I saw the same people every day and really developed relationships with the customers. Thankfully when I quit that job and stopped drinking 15 fountain sodas a day I lost that 20 pounds.

It was neat though, because when I had my son, they put a big sign on the windows announcing his birth, and my customers actually missed me. For a very long time I considered that the best job I ever had.

The other night I went into the gas station, and there were two guys working. One of them was shoveling Whoppers into his mouth from one of those big ol' $3 bags of Whoppers they sell there. So I said to them, "I remember when I worked at a place like this. I gained twenty pounds." And one guy was like, "I know! There are so many snacks around!" And I was like, "I know!"

That's how you start a friendship at the gas station.

Be Pretty If You Can.

***#4 in the 30 posts in 30 days with Rachel Roo
I like blog posts with pictures in them. I really think it adds something special to put a little visual interest in. And since I have no particular blog post with corresponding photos, this post will be a mash up of interesting (at least to me), previously unshared iphone photos. Enjoy.

My distinguished, smarter looking husband.

My husband entertained the idea of having glasses one day. Completely taking for granted that he has perfectly fine vision, he decided glasses for vanity reasons could be a good idea. Presumably because he is relatively young in his profession and they could make him look older and more sophisticated.  I teased him relentlessly, and then bought him cheap reading glasses from the dollar store for his birthday. They make him look distinguished, no?

My two vastly different black and white coats.

On a recent Goodwill store trip looking for shelves, I stumbled across a lovely coat from the Limited for $10! I excitedly snatched it up and showed it to my husband when I got home. "Dont you already have a coat that looks like that?" he asked. I may happen to own a Cynthia Rowley coat in a similar color scheme but with vastly different styles, so no, I don't. :) 

My daughter tweeted a text conversation we had recently. And it made my day. #teenmomproblems

This photo is something I found online a year ago, and absolutely LOVED, so I took a screenshot of it. It's a brilliant life philosophy for ladies if you ask me. And something I definitely want to teach my daughter.

Find anything interesting when you go through your photos on your phone?

How to do things better.

***#3 in my series of 30 posts in 30 days with Rachel Roo

Today I thought I'd share some thoughts I have on how to do things better. I've found successful methods for certain areas of my life that someone may find helpful.

1. How to make your teenage kids like you.
This one is tricky because each kid is different. I find that behaving differently when their friends are around is key. When no one else is at the house, acting silly and bringing in references to funny videos on youtube they've shared with you is sure to win points. But when friends are over, you must act mom-like and serious, but also act like you love the same music as them and totally know how twitter works. Then buy their friends stuff, like frozen pizzas and sodas and candy. If you really want to make your kids love you more than other parents, you can limit rules and chores and provide unlimited access to tv shows above the recommended tv rating system for their age. But then the other parents will judge you and your kids won't respect you, so really it's not worth it.

2. How to best enjoy the tv show Intervention. 
First step, pour yourself a glass of wine, because A. you aren't an alcoholic, you just drink to enjoy the notes of berry and spices and complexity of an age-old (Biblical, even) beverage, and B. because you'll be more emotionally invested with a little vino lubrication, and C. because it's relaxing.
Second step, feel better about yourself because you haven't abandoned your kids or made your family make ugly cry faces on tv.

3.  How to get motivated to go to the gym. 
You know those jeans you save even though they don't fit but you plan to wear them again someday when you get in shape? Get that pair that is a size up but also don't fit, and wear them around all day. Look in the mirror a few times, and unbutton them while you eat lunch. I did this today, and my alarm is already set for 5:30 a.m. Treadmill, here I come!

4. How to stay up past your natural bedtime writing a blog post.
Step one, make a pact with your friend to post daily for thirty days. Step two, do not think of the upcoming blog deadline or brainstorm any post topics. Step three, attend your church meeting and have Starbucks with a friend at 9 p.m. Step four, begin your post at 11:50 p.m. Step five, remember all the clever blogs you read today and hate yourself for not comparing. Step six, check facebook for inspiration. Step seven, post whatever you wrote because it's now after midnight and your alarm is set for 5:30 a.m., remember?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

College Night

*#2 in my series of 30 posts in 30 days with Rachel Roo

It's probably not news to anyone who knows me that I'm sad about my kids growing up. I even briefly mentioned it here.  But today it got even more apparent to me.

I took my kids to their annual well child check-up at the pediatrician. And for the first time in my life, I was asked to leave the room during their appointment. They had to undress, which I had to leave for, AND the doctor asked me to leave so she could speak to my daughter privately. In the teen years, they want to ask kids really awkward questions that they'd never answer truthfully in front of their parents. Things like, "are you sexually active?" and "have you tried drugs or alcohol?"

Hi, I'm old. And so are my kids. And if I wasn't totally eavesdropping outside the door, I'd probably be freaked out.

So, after that, we went this evening to the high school college night, where a bunch of colleges set up tables to speak with prospective students. We've gone before, but now that Emma is a sophomore, it's really not just for fun to inspire her to get better grades, it's for realsies. She's going to college after a couple more years. She's a real prospect now. I took my son Ethan and his friend with us. They wanted to talk to the Army reps. I was like, "Maybe later, they look busy." But really, inside, I was like, "don't talk to them and get any ideas, because I like to spend my nights sleeping, not worrying endlessly about whether I'll see my son ever again."

It's really cool to see the people my kids are becoming. Envisioning their adulthood is not that scary because they are awesome people so far, and I'm not that worried about them being one reckless high school party away from being juvenile delinquents. But it is absolutely crazy to me that the two little people I've known since they were born are starting to make decisions about adult things. The two people who wrote letters to Santa, and whose teeth I once brushed for them, and who I  still kiss goodnight, are going to college soon. 

Did I mention that we are all way too old?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Incestuous Grandparents.

*post one in a series of daily posts for the next 30 days with Rachel Roo

I like listening to audio books. I started while commuting to work, as it was a good way to pass the time. Once I started to work from home, I planned to finish the book I was in the middle of  and cancel my subscription to Audible, where I get one audio book per month for a low fee. However, that book I was in the middle of was 30 hours long! It's hard to get through that without the 2 hour a day commute.

I listen while I do dishes, while I drive to pick my kids up from stuff, and while I do projects around the house. It's honestly a nice incentive to get up and work on painting that trim or doing laundry, because I just press play on my phone and get to hear more of the story, instead of just boringly folding Matt's underwear.

There's a slight problem with my current audio book, however. It's called "Middlesex" and it's about a hermaphrodite growing up in the '70's. Problem 1: the title. It seems like I'm reading something really inappropriate but I'm totally not!

Problem 2: Every time Matt walks in the room while I'm listening to this, the author just happens to be discussing some peculiar part. Like what his/her genitals look like. Or the weird incestuous relationship of his grandparents. And then my husband looks at me like I'm a freakshow for listening to a book like this.

It's actually quite interesting but something I think that, should I have been actually reading instead of listening, I wouldn't have continued. It's one thing to read long, detailed descriptions of someone's outfit, and it's a different thing to be listening to that while painting your bedroom ceiling. It's easy to put up with a bit of a slow-moving plot when you are distracted.

I started the book while on a flight for work a couple months ago. (It's 30 hours long, people, don't judge me) and I fell asleep more than once while trying to listen to the first couple chapters. But overall, I'm glad I stuck with it. But I'm excited for a more normal sounding book I've downloaded for my next read: White Girl Problems. Guess I'll be keeping this audio book subscription for a few more months now at least! And hopefully I'll finish painting all the trim in the house by then.

Friday, September 14, 2012

That's when you know.

When you are upset that you put on real clothes today, and the only person who will see you in them is your husband, and he isn't coming home till bedtime, which is when it's totally acceptable to [still] be in pajamas.

When you know your dog's napping patterns so well that you can predict the exact time in the afternoon when he'll have one of those dreams that makes him softly bark and flinch his paws in a way that means he's totally chasing something in his dream. So you can try to catch it on video. (It's so cute it could go viral for SURE.)

When the only time you left the house in days was to go to the drugstore around the corner because you were out of wine.

When you have left voicemails for people for an hour without actually speaking to anyone, so you open facebook just to remember that you know real people who do stuff outside their house.

When you stick a post-it note over the webcam on your laptop because it's 11 a.m. and you haven't showered and you are in a Napoleon Dynamite t-shirt while on a conference call with colleagues, and there's no way you want that camera to accidentally activate and show people what you look like.

That's when you know you are getting a little too comfortable working from home. 

But it's AWESOME.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bills, Bills, Bills.

Since I work from home, I find myself looking at things around the house that need addressed at random times during the day, like on my lunch break. Sometimes, my personality makes me do things RIGHT THIS SECOND compulsively, (unless of course I am not on a break and have to be working.) For example, I might decide that the way things are organized in our pantry is chaos, and I immediately start searching the house for things I can repurpose to use as organizational features in the pantry I'm about to empty and refill. Or maybe I decide that I NEED a new rug by the front door, and thus go shopping and wander Meijer until I've looked at all the rugs fifteen times and they aren't right, but everything else is closed and I NEED a rug tonight!

Yesterday, during my lunch break, while waiting on the soup in the microwave to be ready, I noticed the pile of bills on the counter. This is where they live. I've tried baskets, but those just end up filled with lots of other papers and the bills get lost. I also have a mail organizer in a kitchen cabinet meant for organizing these papers. But when I put the bills there, they are no longer in my sight and I forget about them, until I have a panicked thought while driving down the street, wondering when exactly it was last that I paid the light bill. So, on the counter, right where I can always remember them, is where they stay.

Until now. It occurred to me that putting the bills on the side of the refrigerator in some sort of holder would be convenient, because they'd still be right where I could see them, but not ON the counter. I started gathering materials; scrapbook cardstock, an old magnetic clip, and a Pinterest project staple--spraypaint. Then I took the old clip outside and painted it. (Sorry, Indiana State Police, but your logo doesn't match my cardstock.)

I then folded the cardstock and taped the back to create a nice little pocket. Once the paint was dry, I stuck the magnetic clip to the fridge to hold my new pouch for bills. And voila, a five minute solution to an annoying stack of bills on the counter.

It's SUPER nerdy how excited I was about this little craft. :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blog Love

I love blogs. Pinterest has turned me on to some new ones recently, and then I follow links in those blogs and find more awesome blogs! I thought I'd share some recent favorites for your reading pleasure.

You need to understand something about what I do when I find a blog that interests me. I obsessively read EVERY POST THEY HAVE EVER WRITTEN until I've run out of things to read. It's a bit of  problem. But it's fun!
I saw a great organizing post she wrote linked to pinterest, and I fell in love. I literally check this one daily since I found it a few weeks ago. It gets me motivated to get up and  organize something!
This blog was found through the above blog. I also read every post ever, and discovered that she's from right here in Indiana too, which made me love her even more. Lots of fun house projects.
I just found this tonight so I haven't read all the posts yet, but a few of her posts that I randomly found made me laugh out loud. Particularly this one.
Just found this tonight too, through the previous blog. Only read a few, but again, laughed out loud. Seems like she's a mom with a potty mouth who tells it like it is, good, bad and ugly, where being a mama is concerned.

Have any blogs you just can't wait to read? Please share!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Niagara Falls Honeymoon

After our June wedding, my new husband and I headed out for our honeymoon destination: Niagara Falls. I was super excited, because I'd never been outside the country before, and was pumped to use my new passport! Matt and I both love going to new places, and were really looking forward to having a romantic week together. Plus, it was our honeymoon, our first days together as husband and wife, and we were pretty giddy. :)

We drove up through Detroit and across the bridge into Windsor, Canada, on our first day. It took about 5 hours, including a creepy drive through a virtually-empty Detroit, and a scary encounter with a ramp to the Ambassador bridge that was under severe construction and made us feel like we were headed for certain death.

Finally through Detroit and over the bridge, we get to the "border patrol" place where they check your passports, and apparently grill you about your plans while in their country. We reached the officer full of relief from getting through Detroit and excitement for being in CANADA for the first time! The officer quickly conveys the message that this is not just some fun transaction where you get a stamp in your passport. About three sentences into this exchange, I actually started getting worried that we'd get arrested for the bottle of champagne in our trunk. Then, out of nowhere, the officer tells us (without emotion, in an intimidating, no-nonsense monotone) that while we are here, we should definitely hit up the wineries at Niagara-On-The-Lake because we will get wasted.

Uh, ok. So we resume our excitement to be in CANADA as we pull away and head to our first hotel of the trip, overlooking the river and downtown Detroit. We went to the Caesar's casino and wandered the river walk, where we had a close encounter with none other than THE Kenny G playing Jazz Flute at a riverside festival! Talk about an exciting start to your honeymoon!

The next morning, we were headed for Niagara! Driving through Canada was exciting for me because I love all things French, and everything in Canada is apparently in both French and English! I snapped this picture of a road sign early in our drive.

Merci for the conversion, Canada!

 We checked in to our amazing hotel in Niagara with a view of both the Horseshoe and the American Falls, and walked into our our room to see this:
Falls view tub.
Yeah, our bathroom has a window next to the jacuzzi tub, so you can literally look at the falls while you soak in a bath! Speaking of seeing the falls.... our view was unbelievable. Here's just one photo of many that I took out the window from the 44th floor.  This was right after a little rain shower and the rainbow definitely jazzed up the view a little bit.
View of the Falls from our room!

We filled our days with good food, beautiful scenery, and lots of laughs. One of our favorite things was our ride on the Maid of the Mist. It was windy that day, which really stirred up the "mist." Except it's not really a mist at all, but more like you are being sprayed in the face with a garden hose and someone has their thumb over the end. It was super exciting though to be that close to the giant, incredibly powerful falls!

Maid of the Mist from the Journey Behind the Falls Tour
 We also did a "Journey Behind the Falls" tour where we got to wear our second poncho of the day, and the best part was standing on the deck pictured above, and having awesome views of the falls.
Rigging for the tightrope
The day after we left Niagara, Nik Wallenda was the first person to ever tightrope walk across the falls, and did so during a live television event.  So, we saw lots of preparation and camera crews setting up. In the above photo, the actual tightrope is in place!

We spent lots of time at the Casino across from our hotel, and left Canada up about $20! We also wandered the touristy part of Niagara and took a ride in Ripley's Moving Theater, bought some souvenirs, and had a little fun with a Mountie/Moose. It was a wonderful trip, and a perfect honeymoon.

Click here to read about our wedding day!