Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Baby Gate - for a weird situation

Bronny has entered the "MUST CLIMB STAIRS!!!!!!!" phase of life. This being our first time in this house, in this life stage, we did not have a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs.
And I didn't have a great idea on how to put one there, because there's nothing to support the standard kind of gate on one side -- because there is no wall to press it against.
I'd been looking on Pinterest, when I thought of it, for a while (before it was a must.) And then, like it does, life got busy and baby got mobile... and suddenly life was absolutely nonfunctional until we got one up. Every 15 seconds I had to run to the stairs and grab a baby. I was about to lose my mind. So we just went with the baby gate idea we could knock out the fastest. A fabric one.

I found these modern-ish coat hooks on clearance at Menards. 

And I grabbed them all up because I loved how they looked and how flat they stayed to the wall, and how cheap they wound up being. (I also wanted some coat hooks in the sunroom.)
I liked they they weren't really an injury threat for stair climbers because they stay so flush.
(If you are new around here -- our walls have big plans for beauty someday down the line -- currently they are horrible. We are aware. lol They are half wallpaper removed, half TERRIBLE old drywall. It’s not ideal.)

Then I just used some fabric (it’s paint-dropcloth fabric) and sized it to the space and sewed a casing on the edges, to slide a dowel rid into it for added ridgidity. And then I just  added ties to the corners to wrap around the hooks.

I'm fully aware that this gate isn't strong, and might be no match for a kid who's into conquering obstacles. But after an initial learning day, where we showed Bronny not to yank on it, he's just respected it as a boundary when it's up and not touched it.  He’s a pretty chill guy. He knows its downstairs-time when its up. (If it's down, then he flies up the stairs!) (And heads straight for his toothbrush!)

So life has returned to it’s previously scheduled level of mothering, sans stairs. 
(Hugely helpful!)

As far as how it looks…it’s kinda just "whatever", really.  If our stairs and walls were done, it might have a simple, old-world functional beauty --maybe. I don’t know. Baby gates are always ugly. So this one’s  ability to be kinda meh -- might be as good as it gets? But next to our haunted walls it kinda just looks drab-ish. But I don’t care -- I’m not chasing a baby!

P.S. Here are the hooks in the sunroom 

These happened because of the snow.
See, our family room door is how we've been used to getting to the back yard. But that room is carpeted, and kids with wet snow gear + light carpet is stressful.
So I decided that getting outside via the sunroom, will be the winter-way. (But it might become THE way -- I’m now thinking about spring mud….) 
But so, I wanted the kids to have somewhere to put their wet coats and snow pants... so here came the hooks. Same idea where I liked the look of these hooks AND that they won't grab your legs on the way by. So far so good with their use. Someday they will probably be too low for good use (much sooner for snow pants than later) but for now it’s good. 

As far as a life update -- if you are interested read on. If not -- that’s pretty much all the pictures for now.

I’ve been kinda just laying low lately with blogging. Mostly because I really did want to keep the Christmas season wrapped up in safety and peace. But with that in mind I have very much been questioning what is safe, and what is worth the risk?

I’m in a hard and confusing season. We are coming up on the year anniversary of my brother’s death. The Christmas trees right now are making me think of last year, when he was last still alive, and it’s surreal.

I’m also in a season of making choices. They are choices that might look like subtle little things, but are actually the kind of choices that when added up over a lifetime will be major game changers. I know they are the right thing to do, I know they need to be done for the good of all of my family. The thing is, making these choices has kept coming up against some very hard resistance and hurt feelings.
 (Sorry this is the internet, so writing this stuff might come across as super vague, because I need to be sensitive to all sorts of feelings here and keep it vague (this is for the sake of way more than one person. So please no one single themselves out reading this thinking that I’m pointing at you, I’m not -- it’s across the board complicated in many areas of my life) -- so I don’t know how much sense any of this will make within this post, but I’ll do my best.) 

When my brother died it shifted EVERYTHING for me. And so I was kinda left with two options: 
1) lay down and let life happen to me (and well, in my experience, life isn’t exactly kind, so that sounds… fun…No, not at all)
2) Or get up and give it everything I have -- even if I have nothing left inside me.

I went with get up. 

Making healthy choices isn’t always popular. 

For blogging sake, I think it’s safe to share this example. 
When I made the healthy choice to be physically healthy (eating well, working out, and losing the baby weight to reach an very healthy BMI for my height -- no where near the lower end of my recommended weight range), that was actually shockingly un-popular amongst many people who see me in passing, but aren’t close to me personally. I wound up getting confronted on numerous occasions where people were trying to determine if I was sickly and unwell. When I explained, they still tried to push a negative onto me. It’s very confusing to me because I do not think I look, in anyway, unwell (besides sad-eyes regularly), and I also feel great physically. But because of conflicting feelings about weight in our country as a whole (I guess? I don’t actually know...)  people wanted to attribute negative things to my positive actions.

This same sort of scenario is being played out in a few other fundamental areas of my life. 

I’m exhausted. 
It’s freaking hard work making healthy choices (physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy choices) even if you are supported when doing it.
 It’s crushingly hard when you have to do it in the face of people saying you shouldn’t. Even if they mean it in a helpful way --sometimes things just can’t make total sense from outside the situation.

It’s extra exhausting when you find out you actually need to shift something in nearly every area of your life all at the same time
I don’t recommend it.
But at this point that’s pure survival -- I have to shift things, to match the shifting of everything when my brother died. It’s like sea legs. I have to move to stay up.

All of that has made me feel very protective of myself and my young family. I’m not sure who is safe and who isn’t. Who will say “Yes, we support you choice for wholeness.” 
(I realize in my internet-vagueness here, this might sound fishy, and like I’m doing crazy things. I assure you I’m not. The essence of what I’m pursing for our young family is: simplicity and relationship/connections.)
I’ve been so worn out and lost when it comes to this concept of who is safe right now, that blogging just seemed too vast and unknown.
I wasn’t sure what was good-sharing, what was over-sharing. What was helpful information/inspiration to blog, and what’s just “Hey look how great I am!”
 I still actually have no idea about those things. But what got to me blog today were two really sweet comments that touched my heart, and reminded me that this blog can be a true form of connection to people. Not just throwing words out into the judgmental black hole of the internet. So thank you to those of you who have ever reminded me that I’m of worth via this blog. At this point of my life it’s actually entirely more meaningful that I can convey. I hope in some strange way I can repay the favor by somehow throwing something helpful out there for you.


  1. I just want to let you know that you are really an inspiration and motivation for me. I started trying to get in shape a couple months ago after having my baby in August and I've recently started putting a lot more work into it. I've never been in shape in my life, but I'd love to follow your example and get healthy like you have. It's hard work, and I can't imagine trying to change multiple aspects of my life at the same time like you are describing! You are awesome. I so admire how you are always trying to improve life for you and your family!

  2. I totally understand needing to be careful with the influences in your life. I had a time in my life where I had to distance myself from anything or anyone who was negative. Sometimes self protection for your and your family is more important than all else. You should never let other's make you feel bad for doing what's best for you and those you love.

  3. Thank you for your post. This is excellent information.
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  4. Thankfully we are past this stage but my sister-in-law will be back into them soon. I didn’t realise there was such choice these days.


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