Wednesday, August 20, 2008

No More Trips to IKEA

Because I'll now be spending my money on getting rid of this guy, and all his little friends:

Yep, we have termites.

Friday, August 15, 2008

“Design Star” Here I Come

I had the day off yesterday to get 4 doc appointments over with, all routine checkups (everything’s fine and I remain The World’s Healthiest Fat Woman – I mean, seriously, no one at my weight and age should have such perfect blood pressure, cholesterol, EKG, etc.). Anyway, in between appointments I ran to Ikea to continue the Great Family Room Makeover of 2008. So far this has included:

Having the slab jacked (yes, that’s really what it’s called; Google it if you don’t believe me)

Painting the walls “Golden Straw,” a fantastic warm color that looks like the outside of a butternut squash. This took me a day and a half, not including the hours and hours of patching work that Bret did – which looks perfect now with the paint on it (which is to say, you can’t see the patches at all…just nice, smooth walls).

Removing the hideous vertical blinds.

Removing the hideous brown wood spindles that “separated” the kitchen from the family room (can you tell my house was built in the 70s?).

Re-texturing the ceiling after the spindles were removed.

New carpet is coming on Thursday – yea!!! What’s in there now is pretty gross and I’m happy to see it go. Anyway, I had a successful shopping trip at Ikea yesterday and bought two end tables in white, curtains and the cover to this ottoman, in black (I have to go back for the ottoman itself because I grabbed the wrong box on my way to the checkout and didn’t have time to go back – honestly, who can tell with all those brown, cardboard boxes). I think this will all go nicely with my green couch and pillows I bought last week (see previous post).

I have really enjoyed taking on this decorating project. First of all because I still feel, after nearly 4 years, that I’m living in someone else’s house. I've done so little redecorating because I was burned out on “fixing up” when we moved in from working so hard on our old house. I was also pretty depressed at that time (infertility, adoption process, blah, blah, blah) and just didn’t feel like doing anything. And then Lauren arrived and there was no time, and definitely no energy. Now that she’s older and easier to care for and we’re sleeping more than 4 hours a night, we are able to tackle some house things. Finally, my 6,000 hours of watching HGTV are going to pay off.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Soule Mama? How About Tired Mama?

I read a book this week called The Creative Family by Amanda Soule, which was recommended on Tara Whitney’s site a while back. The book sounded innocent enough:

“When you learn to awaken your family's creativity, wonderful things will happen: you'll make meaningful connections with your children in large and small ways; your children will more often engage in their own creative discoveries; and your family will embrace new ways to relax, play, and grow together. With just the simple tools around you — your imagination, basic art supplies, household objects, and natural materials — you can transform your family life, and have so much more fun!”

Problem is, Amanda's idea of “relaxing, playing and growing together” includes things that make me equal parts envious and horrified. She doesn’t just knit (EVERYTHING), she makes her own knitting needles. She doesn’t just sew (all her kids’ clothes), she makes pants for her kids out of her husband’s old shirts. She makes “fairy houses” in the woods. She also crochets, gardens, cooks from scratch, turns her children’s drawings into embroidery projects, has a seasonal altar-like space where her kids put their finds from outside, makes all her own holiday gifts and created a “banging wall” in the backyard (discarded pots and pans strung between fallen trees for the kids to bang on). And she does all of this with her kids – two boys and a girl (and one on the way), ages 5, 3 and 1. AND she homeschools – or as she calls it, “unschools.”

Now. Far be it from me to come down on someone for having this idyllic life in Portland, Maine. I think it’s great that she’s so connected to the world around her and her kids. Her book doesn’t have a holier-than-thou attitude, as if we all should be living her life. But it got to me anyway and I had a bit of a breakdown yesterday after thinking about how I spend my time and how much of my days I actually enjoy (maybe 10%?). How the pace of my life is not what I want at all and how I’d prefer the more contemplative, meaningful existence she has.

I could never replicate even half of what she does, nor do I really want to – I don’t sew, I barely cook, I used to cross-stitch but that’s about the extent of my handicraft skills. I could, however, do a better job of spending time outside. I could do more meaningful activities with Lauren besides going to Target every weekend. I could turn the TV off and write. And if I can't make my own stuff, I could at least buy handmade, instead of mass-produced all the time (and I did that today at, a site of all handmade goodies from housewares to clothes to jewelry, which I highly recommend). Check out these pillows I bought. And then go make yourself some fairy houses.