Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mud Room, Cards, and Books, Oh my!

Hey Guys, I’m still here. I’m ok. 
I’ve been super busy. And I’m also really, really, really inside myself lately. I’m processing TONS of stuff. So it’s been hard to remember to blog. Some days I am bogged down, like life is utterly crushing me. And other days I stare down the circumstances, like a bull I have by the horns -- that I glare down at with fearless defiance while my shoulder blades burn with unabading power as that bull starts to twist. Then at the end of that day, or the next, I feel like I may never get out of bed again. And round and round we go.
    So some of it is just too personal to delve into on the blog. But a lot of it isn’t too personal at all. While I’m simultaneously dealing with all that came with grief, I’m also dealing with some odd ball life stuff. That stuff -- the life randomnesses--  it’s not too personal, it just is what it is. I’ll share that with ya today. Plus a few house pictures.

Here we go!

So we finally got our little “mud room” spot done….ok, well, it’s not done-done. But it’s close! It still needs the little bench seat at the bottom. Hence the strange gap down there. Imagine a dark piece of wood on farmhouse brackets down there.

(Well and someday I’d like to change the trim outside it, on the top and left side with something better than what it came with. But for now it’s good.)

Check out the “finished" product! Isn’t she pretty!?

I LOVE this thing. I can’t get over how perfect this is for this spot. I had NO clue what to do with that spot when we bought the house. At first I thought we would leave the tiny closet doors on and I could hang my broom and mop back there. But that seemed weird since this is a room with carpet.
So….thank you, super sick pregnancy, for giving me “no choice” but to live on Pinterest for 10 months, whereby giving me some fantastic house schemes. This is such a better plan than a broom closet.

Our garage door is like 5 feet from here. And our backyard door is just across the room. So this is a great spot for our often used jackets and such.
Since it’s summer and we don’t need jackets….I’m pretty sure it’s just gonna hold clothes. My kids can’t keep their clothes on once the weather hits the 70s. They think it’s the surface of the sun now. (No idea! It’s about this temperature in our house year round…but they are melting.) So their clothes go on and off all day. (I figure you can only be naked, or mostly naked, so long in life, I’m not gonna put up a fight yet.) So I’ve asked them to place their clothes there when they are just “too hot."
That basket to the right there is from Target and was part of my mother’s day present. It holds our most used shoes. The ones that go on every day to go outside.

In other things around the house:

I’ve been brainstorming for a few weeks now how to work on our routine.
I’m reading a book (I’ll share in a bit) that’s really into routine.
I’ve had ZERO routine in our life, ever. So far it’s been fine, and even necessary at times that we not have routine, because of how different circumstances have played out. But now I do feel ready for a day in day out predictability.

Because I’m not good at it naturally, I needed some kind of prompt.
After some Pinterest and soul searching I came up with this.

It’s a 1x10x4 cheap piece of pine. 

For things like this I like the cheap “bad” boards because they have more character. I just try to find ones that aren’t warped, but have cool knots or grain, sometimes live edge areas. I beat this one up a little with a hammer and some screws (I pounded on their side into the wood to make interesting dents.) In the process I did spilt the wood at the bottom, but I didn’t mind -- more character. Then I stained it with Minwax Special Walnut.
I bought gold cup hooks and spray painted them oil rubbed bronze and then Blake helped me get them spaced perfectly on the board.

The cards I made with clip art I found online. I just tried to find stuff that looked as depictive and optimistic as possible about each part of our day. Then I printed them on cardstock. They probably would do better being laminated, but I don’t have a laminator and haven’t bothered to go get it done somewhere.
I don’t have all these things I made cards for in rotation yet. But I printed them hoping that this system is going to propel us towards them. And some of it is for the next step in our home school routine. (Like Handicraft. Handicraft is a Charlotte Mason word. She didn’t want kids doing just-glue-paper-kind-ofcrafts, she wanted them learning things that have real beauty and value. Here’s a list of ideas if you are wondering. But it can be anything, we’ve been sewing felt flowers. Jasmine LOVES it.) 
Anway, some of these things I probably won’t start until Fall.
My plan is to think it out each night, and set it up, to make sure it reflects the next day, so when we get up we know what we need to do, and then we can flip them backwards as we get them done.

I’m going to hang it here between the “mud room” spot and  the doorway.

We’ll see how it works for us. I JUST got it done today. So we haven’t used it yet. But it seems like it’s going to help me think straight. I figure it can grow with us as needed. And I can keep tweeking the cards as we go along and grow together.

So remember a few weeks ago I was moving plants around, as part of my emotional bolstering? Well I also moved some hydrangeas. We have a clump of them in our back yard -- which I was thrilled to learn, because I had dreamed of having some someday. But they are in a spot where you can’t see them unless you go outside and walk towards them and just stand in a boring spot of the yard. So I decided I would move them to the front. 

I picked a day that was hotter than the other days I had been moving plants. And I was also emotionally bankrupt but was placing a bet that moving these would encourage me. Well turns out it just burned me out more that day. So I was sure I had killed them in the process because I really don’t know what I am doing. I wound up moving only about half my hydrangea clump. At the time I made that call because I was afraid of killing all of them at once. I didn’t know how to tell where to dig and what part of the plant could be separated from the rest, I felt like I was just groping in the dark. But now I think it was good that I just moved this many, it seems like the right amount.
Anyway, I am pleased to report that after a couple weeks of faithful watering these guys in their new place in the front yard, the plants have seemingly survived AND they are growing flower buds, so I am celebrating! I think there will be flowers this year! Woohoo! That’s gonna be awesome.
With our first hostas getting bigger, and with the new ones being placed around, and with us really fervently mowing back the outrageously-overtaken-by-dandelions grass until the dandelions are starting to relent somewhat….we are starting to get something that looks like a real yard this year! It’s thrilling. Especially when remembering where we started! (Sorry you can’t see our whole yard right now in the current photo, but you get the idea. No scary dead bushes hiding everything. And no more window awning anymore either!)

And in other random -- keep you up to date news -- I got a hair cut two weekends ago. I’m LOVING it.
This was the first day, right after the cut.
For some reason It’s not as curly since. (See below)
But either way. I’m really enjoying this length right now.
My sister in law did the magic -- she’s awesome.
It makes me wish hair didn’t grow, so I could just know it would stay like this forever without upkeep. 

Ok time to talk books.
I’m reading WAY, WAY, WAY too many books. And at the same time. It’s kinda crazy.

 Here are a few to share.

I randomly discovered this book called Helping Your Child With Extreme Picky Eating. It took me a while to get through it. (Life stuff.) But I think it’s going to really improve our collective lives. If you have a picky (not even necessarily very picky) eater this may be worth you looking over. It’s very anxiety relieving (for parents and child.) It’s got a very good respect level for all involved. I like it.
     Now for us to implement it in our lives, it is more challenging because our food allergies. I have to overcome a lot of habits that cropped up while I was sick-pregnant where I would eat allergy foods and the kids would eat their own foods. (Life with a baby, in a reno, while grieving has not propelled me to fix these habits yet.) I need to get back into the habit of making “everyone can eat this” food for everyone as a family meal. That’s honestly a bit daunting for me right now -- I’m emotionally worn out, and mix in the emotions on food from last pregnancy plus still trying to get that pregnancy’s weight off -- it’s a bit tedious. But I’m still seeing this book as a God send. It’s gonna be worth it. I just have to get into the right gear. (Oh and yeah, this is the book with routine. They suggest routine snacks through the day. Once I got into that mental place I knew I needed more routine on the whole.)

Speaking of Food Allergies and books. I grabbed this with the last book I just mentioned (it was nearby at the library.) “Not What I Expected: Help and Hope for Parents of Atypical Children.” It’s written by a phsycologist who diagnoses children with brain stuff (sorry, I’m too all-over-the-place to talk about this with proper jargon) meaning she often deals with ADD, ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, learning disorders -- things of that nature. She wrote the book because there was no literature helping parents deal with their emotions on the matter once the diagnosis happens-- and because it’s super important for them to know how to deal with their emotions. She knew there was a need for the book. Anyway, the book can apply to anything “atypical” with your kid -- I’m applying it to the food allergy emotions I have. I’m only about half way through but I’m really appreciating it. It’s already clarified some things for me about myself and why I’ve reacted certain ways in the past.  It’s validated some things I thought but wasn’t sure about. And it’s helped me to see how others around me also need to go through these same emotions on the subject of our food allergies, and how we might be at different stages of processing that -- that was one of those moments where I was like “Oh of course! It’s so obvious! BUT I would never have framed it so that I could understand that.” And once it was framed that way it makes so many things so much easier for me to process. Anyway -- it’s a good read if you have any reason that your child may not fit in the “standard box” of who you thought your child would be before you met them.

Speaking of reading books.
As far as Jasmine is concerned, we are still plodding along nicely with our Bob Books. (They are reading primers.) She started with great vigor and then we both felt like “hmm now what?” after getting through a couple books and then intensity level started going up. So I found this website teachingwithbob.com and it’s really helped A LOT. She breaks down how to review and move along using just Bob Books to learn to read. You can use her website to find everything for free, or you can pay like $7 to download it all simply and concisely. (That’s what I went with.) And we’ve been doing much better since. It’s a good thing.

Ok so that’s all for this week.

We are really, really trying to “break ground” on the sunroom soon. Meaning start painting -- well initially priming with shellac, before painting.
 It feels like the most daunting room to me. It’s been the most work for us since the beginning. So I think I’m both more jaded by it, and more excited by it. I just want to read a book, on a couch in their while it rains. For heavens sake just let me read in the rain in there already! (It’s been 2.5 years of dreaming of that!) (Why must I paint before getting a couch! (Oh cause I don’t want to ruin the couch. Stink!))
 I’ve never painted raw cedar before, it’s a big room with LOTS of windows to cut around. The painting seems daunting!
But we will eventually get there! WE WILL.
And Blake’s semester at work is over, so he’s got more freedom with his time. He still needs to do stuff even in the summer semester, but it’s more flexible. So hopefully that helps us get where we are going in the space.

Stay tuned.
(But don’t worry if it takes me longer to post these days.)


  1. LOVE your new haircut! It works with your face shape so nicely :-) My hair is always more curly if I use leave-in conditioner after washing it. Seems counter-intuitive since I would think the conditioner would weigh down the curls. But it also helps tame the frizz I have ALL.the. time. so I do it anyway. I wonder if your hair would react the same way. It looks good as it is though anyways!

    Also I love your little mini-mudroom! I daydream about having something like that. Someday, when we have a place of our own...

    1. Aw Thanks Yvonne, your always so sweet. I’ll have to give that a whirl with the leave in conditioner and see what happens. I’m also wondering if it’s the difference in shampoo she used vs what I have? Who knows. Hair can be so random sometimes.

  2. My hair recommendation is the organics line at Walmart. Heavy handed with the conditioner, and shampoo just the scalp after. I have a cut similar to yours, and I condition and put it in a bun to soak up the goodies while I shave my legs. I need a trim desperately, so I suggest getting it cut again before it grows too too far.

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