August 25, 2014

Jail Break! : aka the birth of Camden

Mama and Cam just meeting copy

At the end of the pregnancy, it starts to feel like you’ll be pregnant forever. At least it did for me. The lumbering walk where my legs felt like they were on fire and encased in cement, the not being able to find a comfortable sleeping position no matter how many pillows, the getting up to pee every half hour, I was certainly over it. Then on the last day of July, on the evening that I was finishing up writing my previous blog post, my water broke. I actually heard an audible ‘POP’ which felt like the baby had punched me HARD. Minutes later, the floodgates opened. Being induced previously, I didn’t know what to expect. What actually happened was very what.happens.in.the.movies-like, although I had read it was the opposite and very anti-climatic. It was like Niagara Falls came out of my nether region. All that fluid I had been retaining, well here was part of it. I couldn’t go downstairs for a towel because it continued to trickle down my leg for some time and I didn’t feel like leaving a gross trail through the house. I ended up grabbing some of the baby bath towels out of Cam’s dresser, which was only a few feet away until Joel got home from work.

With progress being made, it may seem like the next logical step would be to hop in the car and go to the hospital. However, I still had a banner to make for an Etsy order I had received just the day before. I had assured the lady that had ordered it for her daughter’s birthday party that I would have it done in time. Besides, I didn’t want to sit around the hospital waiting any longer than I had to, best to stay busy. We ended up leaving for the hospital at midnight. My contractions had gotten much closer together and sort of painful, so it was time to do this.

When we got there and got checked in, we were stuck in a little room to be examined to determine if my water really did break. It was annoying. Believe me, I would have known if I just peed myself. With this pregnancy, it happened more often than I’d like. One time, I coughed hard in Target and wet my pants. Nothing is more awesome than waiting in line with a wet rear end for all to see. Except maybe the times where, on more than one occasion, Joel would have me cracking up so much I would pee a puddle on the floor, which only made him laugh harder. (Those are the times that bond a couple, LOL.) While this might be embarrassing, in reality know that while pregnant, dignity becomes a thing of the past. Between food bits managing to find their way into my shirt or spilling down the ever-expanding real estate of my belly, Jabba the Hut had nothing on me.

After what seemed like forever, we were moved to the actual labor and delivery room. Now time really seemed to crawl by. Since I was making what they considered progress, I wasn’t given any pitocin. The nurses told me I was doing great, but whatever. I wasn’t allowed to have my regular crack-of-dawn snack, so I didn’t care how much they cheered me on. By 3 a.m. I was hooked up with a pretty sweet epidural, which started making this entire process tremendously better. My mood improved considerably. Every so often the anesthesiologist would check back to see if it needed topped off, which was amazing, because my body was pretty damn slow to dilate.

And so this went on for hours. Joel and I both fading in and out of sleep/delirium between being exhausted and famished. It wasn’t until a little after 2 in the afternoon of the next day that Cam was finally born. The umbilical cord looped around his neck twice like Arden’s has been. He ended up outdoing his sister by having it knotted around his neck like a tie. Coming out blue, he freaked out Joel a bit, but the team was on it and quickly revived him. After Cam was cleaned up, Joel plopped down with him and a bottle and fed his son like he’d been ready for this moment his whole life.

Before we knew it, we were home again. Another family member larger. It was surreal, having this baby. The mind is a funny thing. Even though I knew I had just had a baby, the pregnancy already seemed so far off. Then I look at him and hold him and think “Well maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.”

Arden and Cam at 3 and a hlf weeks copy

July 31, 2014

MISSION: Dresser make-over for nursery

Just because we weren’t working on Hallie, didn’t mean we had idle hands. As a matter of fact, it might be a condition. I’m not sure we really know how to relax. However, this sort of motivation does help us get a lot accomplished. Originally, we planned on buying a different house. A larger house. One that had more room for activities. Because we were having trouble figuring out where we were going to put this baby. The problem was, we weren’t really finding what we were looking for AND we needed to at least get Dresden sold. The upstairs here at Walmar is by far the largest room in our 1100 sq.ft. house. It has served as my work studio for the past almost 11 years. Joel has a desk that doesn’t get utilized very often and the space also provides a play area (much to my detriment) for Arden’s toys. Mostly though, upstairs is my domain with rows of printers, massive shelves of cardstock and envelope boxes stacked to the ceiling.

I like to be organized, but when it comes to my studio somehow that eludes me. Over the years, I have acquired a lot of crap. Cardstock isn’t a recyclable material, so I hold on to the bigger scraps in hopes that one day I will find a use. That also goes for misprints, ribbon remnants and handmade paper left over from orders. It adds up and it takes up space. Space that unfortunately, I had to come to terms with clearing out a bit, otherwise this kid was going to end up living out of a basket in our room.

One of the more enjoyable tasks for getting ready for this baby was redoing a crazy-looking dresser. I have had this thing for over 5 years, sitting in the garage after a neighbor put it out by the curb. It was an eyesore, but rather unique. Even though it was missing drawers, it was well-built and I saw potential.

Cam's dresser before copy

The front is a little unusual, as it curves in. The remaining drawers fit well, but had the odd blocks of wood screwed on the front of them. I was left to assume these were used as the drawer pulls. Joel made the executive decision to keep them on and as you’ll see, it paid off.
So I started with the priming. Then I painted the interiors without drawers pale blue.

Cam's dresser primed copy

In a shocking twist, I refrained from (mostly) pushing my aqua/teal fetish onto this child. His whale bedding we chose does have a hint of it, but I decided to go with a dark grey with pale blue accents for this piece. The weird looking fronts soon appeared to be waves, though were still lacking something to really set them off. Enter these super cool anchor knobs from Anthropologie! anthro anchor knobs copy

At $8 a piece, it caused me to pause. However the more I searched, the more I liked them and really feel like they tie it all together! After much searching, we found great felted storage bins at Lowe’s that fit perfect.

Cam's room dresser after copy

Here it is, all put together. Granted the walls don’t coordinate very well, because it’s a cozy corner of my workspace, but it’s what we are working with for now. :)

July 22, 2014

It’s THE FINAL COUNTDOWN.

And in case the title didn’t make you think of the fantastically 80’s hairband Europe’s song, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jK-NcRmVcw

rubbing noses joel kissing belly use this one copy

This makes me feel a little better already.
Today I’m 39 weeks, 2 days. Basically, I’m due to have this baby any day.
To say I’m stressed about it is an understatement.
Well-meaning people ask me if I’m excited. The bizarrely, straight-forward answer is ‘no’. I’m about as excited as when I know something big is about to happen and I have absolutely no control on how the outcome will be. The apprehension, the fear, the suspense is not something I relish. Sure, other people are excited.
They also aren’t gaining 75lbs., sleeping only 45 minute intervals before either having to pee, waking up from pain, or experiencing the joy of acid reflux (all 3 have been going on for for the last couple weeks) OR having their body swell from heat so much that the skin feels tight and itchy and the only relief is going to be to have that darn baby.

The first time I read that to accommodate the growing fetus (ugh, I hate that word!), the mother’s ribs expand to make room for their organs. My mind was completely blown. Sure, the baby, ever-so-nonchalantly, can grow free and happy while the mother’s insides get squished and stuffed up their throat. That is some alien shit, right there though.

Arden hugging Cam in mama's belly copy

Sure, I had some of these issues while pregnant with Arden. With my rapid swelling/weigh gain that is a totally undesirable family trait, I was offered the sweet relief of being induced early. THEN, I was excited! I had an end in sight. Turns out though, that I was only dilated 1 cm. So that day, after 3 nurses and then finally my OB assaulted my lower half, I realized I had made a REALLY poor choice. Attempting to insert the balloon catheter into an opening too small, is extremely painful and that was only to get labor started. Pair that with not being allowed to eat and things got ugly.

There were some positives. The epidural was amazing. Then there was when Arden was actually born. Despite being covered in ick, I was in love immediately.
I’m sure that will happen again.
I wanted this baby for what seems like eternity.
It’s just been the 3 of us for so long, it’s hard to wrap my brain around what our family will NOW be like.
It’s challenging to try to comfort Arden when she says she feels left out because she has a different last name.
Joel has been wonderfully amazing and I’m going to miss my nightly foot-rubs.

Family pic on bench copy

Check back with me after the baby is born and we are all home safe.
OR after 4-6 months when I can (hopefully) fit into my regular-people clothes again. When I don’t spill food down myself at every meal. When I don’t eat chicken wings with such gusto that Arden says ‘Don’t eat the bone, Mama!’ When I only have to wake up every couple hours a night to care for a child instead of my current state. Then I hope to be able to feel completely different. Relieved that the anxious, exhausting wait is finally over. That labor is behind me and I will finally have that beautiful baby in my arms.

In the spirit of camaraderie, what was your most dumb-founding revelation about pregnancy or child-birth?

July 14, 2014

The TROUBLE with Hallie.

It started back at the end of March when we were finishing up Dresden. We stopped in to check on Hallie and drop off supplies. While we had been away 2 things happened. The first one was that the house that sat directly behind Hallie, covered in graffiti, peeling paint and a sagging porch had finally been demolished. The 2nd was that Hallie’s basement was now flooded.

Coincidence?

We had been notified by our contact at the Columbus Landbank, that if we didn’t purchase the other property, that this was the fate that would befall it. Earlier on though, we had decided that we’d stick with sturdier structures like brick, plus we weren’t in the financial position to take on another rehab. We even entertained the idea of purchasing the land that would connect right to Hallie’s backyard after the demolition. Then we came to our senses and realized we’d just pay more on taxes, have more grass to mow each week and in reality it would only benefit our potential renters. Which after considering putting up a fence in the backyard to prevent miscreants from walking through and dumping trash, it wasn’t an additional expense that we relished.

Hallie flooded basement copy (Shown here the water covering the bottom step.)

Obviously, this was NOT something that we wanted. We knew the drains on our end were all cleaned out. Joel had just snaked everything while working on the plumbing prior to the misadventures of Dresden. The correlation of the situation being tied to the other properties demolition seemed pretty clear. But Easter was upon us and as was our trip, so we took this time to clear our heads, hoping the situation would magically resolve itself.

It didn’t.

It took a months worth of calls to finally get a response back. The Head of Demo seemed concerned, took the info from Joel and said he’d call back. Instead, though, the Head of the Columbus Landback (the organization we purchased Hallie from) contacted us, denying any wrong-doing. He told Joel that our property/pipes were old, that we should contact our insurance company and that IF we could prove that it WAS INDEED THEIR FAULT, that maybe they could just give us the land as payment. Sounds a little shady doesn’t it? Why would that last bit even be offered up?

It was on us to prove that it was the City’s wrongdoing. Over the course of the last 4 1/2 months, we’ve pumped the basement of 1 1/2 feet of water 5 TIMES. It’s a large basement. It takes half a day EACH TIME. We were hoping the first time, that we could just pump it and be done. By the 3rd round, leaks were springing up all over the basement from the intense pressure. (I have a video, it’s disheartening and won’t load.) Even with the water gone, it was still being forced to find it’s way in. After the water has emptied, Joel has attempted to snake the drains an additional 2 more times hoping that there was just debris in the pipes. He reworked the the downspouts and drainage around the duplex in hopes it would help. When nothing worked, we finally had a company come out to verify the problem and provide a quote. $8,000 to rip it all up and repair the damage. When Joel presented the findings to the Landbank, at first the guy seemed forthright. He stated this incident had happened one other time. It was a process, it would have to go through City Council to get approved, but it would be taken care of.

Then he totally back-pedaled.

The Head of the Landbank called back. Now one quote wasn’t good enough, they wanted at least 2. In addition, he said we’d have to cover the expense upfront AND THEN get reimbursed by the City. Then there was also something about an easement and how the demolished property would be useless to them if they repaired our pipes and they couldn’t have that. (Which is really random since those pipes were connected to ours all along and worked fine previously.) It became astoundingly clear why more people didn’t purchase these properties. Instead of being our allies, the very folks that we thought we were all working together with to make Columbus better, in reality were more than willing to shut us down and not take any sort of responsibility for their ignorance.

Aside from dealing with the basement and mowing/weeding, we stopped working on improving the property. There’s no point unless this situation can be remedied. A considerable amount of new hardwood flooring was purchased previously and just sits, waiting to be laid. If nothing changes, we are faced with the decision of possibly handing back the property that we already sunk thousands into. All the nights after work, weeks, months we poured ourselves into, would be a complete waste.

So thoughts? Suggestions? At this point, I’m very disenchanted. I’m tired, we both are. The last thing I want to be doing is dragging a newborn to a rehab site because people cannot be responsible to do their jobs correctly. By now, it was suppose to be completed, rented and providing us with an additional source of income and the neighborhood with one more residence that didn’t look like an abandoned dump.

June 16, 2014

*~Ode to a Stepdad~*

day of regal roofing and restoration

It was just this past year that Arden started comprehending that Joel was her step-dad. Around the time when it was her turn to bring in photos to school for ‘All About Me Day’. Explaining to the class about herself, her family, her hobbies and favorite things. It was due to having to answer her classmates questions of who was in each photo with her. There was one of her and I. One of her and her dad. One of her and Joel and several of the 3 of us from our wedding. It was easy to say “Oh this is my Daddy or Mama’, but as it turned out, not everyone has a Joel.

joel and arden christmas day 2010

So I tried my best to explain this title of ‘Step-dad’ and in the end nothing much changed. She knows she has 2 main men in her life that love her. Except now she knows how to refer to Joel in case of introductions. Up until this point though, when she was 4, almost 5, she would tell me stories of how Joel held her in the hospital when she was born. I thought it was so sweet that I didn’t want to burst her bubble until I really had to. In reality, he came into our lives several months before she turned 2. So as far back as she can remember he’s always been with us.

happy

Joel and I got married right after Arden turned 3. While most of her youngest memories have been wiped clean, she still recalls that day all.the.time. “I remember holding Joel’s hand and waiting for you to come out to the backyard with us”, she’ll state proudly. (Referring to the music playing as I walked down the aisle.) It’s truly her memory talking, as we don’t have any photos of that actual part of the ceremony displayed in the house. Just this morning she asked me if she had been my flowergirl. When I said “Yes”, she demanded to know why she hadn’t any flower petals to throw, as that was what flower girls did. Honestly, at the time she was so busy entertaining the guests by running in circles and making funny faces that there really seemed to be no point.

wedding371 holding hands with Arden cropped

The first time Arden met Joel, she was so small, but took to him immediately. She called him by his name as soon as I told her what it was. Which was impressive, because she was just starting to really talk in 2 word sentences. In return, not having kids of his own or really being around any, he talked to her like she was an adult. He asked her how her day was or how she felt about something. Which thrilled her beyond belief. He made her feel special and never, ever excluded her. Whenever we’d hug, she come over and wiggle around to be picked up so she could get in on the hugging action. She still does. As she got older, she started calling him ‘The Joel’. When is ‘The Joel’ going to be home from work, or I have ‘The Joel’s’ nose, Mama. (Again, not looking to have to explain that in more detail, til I really have to.)

This past Father’s Day, while we are expecting our son soon, but also wanting to tie in our lives up until this point, I had this keychain made for Joel. The etsy seller, Bonnie of DieCutMetalCreations was fantastic and worked fast to get it to me. I am SOOOO thankful for her hard work. The look on his face was priceless when he opened it.

joels father day gift1 copy

To all you step-dads out there, that are entered into people’s lives and changed them in amazing ways. The world is a better place because of you. THANK YOU!

(Wedding photo taken by Lisa Penzone of Pellegrini Penzone Photography)

June 3, 2014

Dresden : For Sale

It took us 3 straight months to complete. During which time we had to put our duplex rehab project aka ‘Hallie’ on hold. On April 4th, we bid ado to the house we had lived and breathed our nights and weekends in. Ironically, I actually felt a little sad about the whole thing. We’d put so much work into it, pushed, pushed, pushed and was sort of left with an empty feeling once it was done. All our hard work passed inspection and the renters moved in.

THEN…
DUN DUN DUN.
After several weeks, the couple’s relationship fell apart and the woman moved out. Supposedly, taking some of the next months rent and his car with her. By the 2nd month, the guy couldn’t pay the rent in it’s entirety. After the previous renter, we weren’t interested in sob stories. That may sound mean but ultimately it comes down to us being responsible to the bank for the mortgage payment. We’ve already lost several thousand in unpaid rent, though thankfully insurance miraculously covered the repairs since they were considered vandalism. To say we are a bit tired of people trying to get a free ride off us is an understatement. So the agreement was, the next renter that was even slightly late on rent, we were going to put the house up for sale.

The renter was pissed, none-the-less. He said we were inconveniencing him (and a new girlfriend he moved in without signing a new lease, so he could get the utilities turned back on in her name.) He declared we were leaving him homeless and lots of drama ensued. We hadn’t evicted him, we let him know we’d honor the lease if he’d like to stay, as long as he paid. Obviously, that wasn’t an option, because after excessive scratching of walls/paint and floors he abruptly moved out. Receiving only a small portion of his deposit.

Now we had the arduous task of getting it sell-worthy. If you recall, the basement that was once crammed with garbage and filth was cleaned, but really needed painted.

BEFORE: Basement hallway
dresden basement trashed copy

AFTER: Walls painted, carpet ripped up, steps painted.

mms_20140603_4 basement hallway after joel painted copy
BEFORE: Basement after trash removed, cleaned up, new lights put in.

mms_20140603_5 bestment before paint copy

AFTER: Walls & floor painted. (This oil-based paint is some hard-core stuff. Poor Joel probably lost some brain cells those 2 days. I gallantly was spared.)
mms_20140603_2 basement after joel painted copy

The yard and flower beds were completely neglected. And of course, the interior needed cleaned and paint touched up in every room. So here we were again for several more weeks. The result is quite charming.

BEFORE:
This is a very unfair before photo. Taken in winter when the lighting is poor and there is zero greenery. It’s like those stupid weight loss ads when the before/after actors don’t even remotely resemble each other. Back then, I had all proudly trimmed up the bushes and did what I could without running water to clean up the front. It was a tremendous improvement at the time.

Front of Dresden after bushes were trimmed copy

AFTER: We rehabbed all the flower beds (creating a new one around the tree). The front was extensively power washed, as was the sidewalk and fence. The four black scroll metal pillars on the porch got a dose of white paint, which lightened up the entire front tremendously. We also painted the mail box, added a few cute details, like the wreath to make it more homey and there you have it.

Dresden, front view after landscaping , powerwash & paint

Finally, here’s an after of the backyard flower bed.

mms_20140603_3 back flower bed copy

Please send some good selling vibes our way!

May 2, 2014

Dresden : Week 9 It’s starting to come together!

As promised, I’m back to posting the final weeks of rehabbing the Dresden House. At the time, it didn’t seem like it was ever going to end. Things weren’t going smoothly. The upstairs bathroom was attempting to be worked on, but the toilet kept leaking. INTO THE GREEN ROOM. WHICH WAS ALREADY FINISHED. It was sort-of disastrous. We had JUST REPAIRED the ceiling, now we had to cut a hole to allow the water to escape. It was less-than-fantastic. It’s at this time Joel began to call his skill set into question. It’s easy to feel like you are going to lose your shit when things keep going wrong. I honestly didn’t doubt him for a minute. It’s much easier for me to doubt myself then him. Joel is awesome, end of story, so I figured there had to be something else wrong. FINALLY, it was discovered that the toilet had a hairline fracture. So no matter how good everything else was put together, it was going to be an issue. Fortunately, we discovered it BEFORE the renters moved in, so that’s sort of an upside, right?

Anyway, crisis solved and onto the next project. Here we have the living room. Here’s some photos of this tragedy to jog your memory.

BEFORE:

Karman trashed Dresden, erehabbed livingroom 3 copy

Karman trashed Dresden, rehabbed livingroom2 copy

Karman trashed Dresden rehabbed  livingroom1 copy

Karman trashed Dresden slate entryway copy

Ever heard the term ‘elbow grease’? Yeah, a whole lot of that went into scrubbing this slate entry. I don’t have a good after pic, but you’ll be able to see it on the final walk-through video I took (that I’ll post in a couple weeks.)

AFTER:
For us, this room was one of the more stand-out transformations. The refinished hardwood really sets it off.

livingroom completed. dresden

livingroom front window dresden copy

Thanks for checking it out! I’ll have another room to view next week. :)

April 23, 2014

Our Mini Spring Break : Louisville, KY

It’s been weeks since I posted and I’m sorry to leave you all hanging! Between finishing Dresden and lots of orders for dfmi designs and getting sick (AGAIN!) the blog was the first to be put on hold. Something has to give, right? We did manage to spend a little fun time taking a trip to Louisville. We left Thursday night and drove down for all day Friday, coming back Saturday night in time for the Easter Bunny to arrive the next morning. At 3 1/2 hours away, it was perfect. I can’t handle much of a car ride anymore with this baby belly, everything is super uncomfortable.

What’s there to do, you wonder? Well, on several trips to Nashville there is a large dinosaur that you can see from the freeway inviting you to come to Dinosaur World. I’m not going to lie, I was totally into this! I wanted to be able to visit when we had Arden along though. They have 150 life-sized dinosaurs on display. You take a walking path through the woods and encounter all the creatures along the way. Some are better than others, with plaques providing information about each one. When Arden was in her dino phase a couple years ago, we learned about way more dinosaurs than I ever did in school. This place provides even more!

Dino 1 copy

Bronciosoris pic copy

They also have a “Fossil Search’ for little kids, which Arden was super into. Basically the children sift through a sand table with their little tools and discover fossils. There are tons, but they can only keep 3 favorites. Then Arden went to the Dino Dig, which is basically a faux dinosaur skeleton covered in sand that the kids (with their shovels and brushes) have to unearth. It was cute, she was into it. There is also a museum, a cave with a video about the life of a dinosaur and a gift shop.

Joel vs. the T-REX 1

Dinosaur World was about an hour and a half from Louisville and didn’t cost much. There are lots of other attractions like caves, ziplining and a Corvette Museum in the area to check out too.

family pic at dino world 1 copy

During the researching portion of the trip, I was really drawn to the East Market District of Louisville. What was once a small town that would look like any other that you’d pass through, this place has been revived with an edge. Lots of cool eateries and interesting shops line the streets. Some of our favorites was ‘Garage Bar’, a converted service station with an interior I could live in! Lots of reclaimed metal and wood.

Garage bar sign copy

Arden at bar  Garage copy

Garage bar doors up copy

A cute shop for coffee and treats was ‘Please and Thank You’, which is also a tiny record shop. Loved their sign!

please and thank you sign copy

Awesome street tacos were found at Taco Punk. How cool is this sign?

Punk taco sign copy

We also went to at Easter Parade on Frankfort Avenue, where Arden collected an insane amount of candy! It was almost Halloween amount of candy!

I super love this building photo taken while driving through the Historic District!

Awesome topography building sign copy

All the while, we stayed at Hyatt Place in Louisville. It is considered a 3 star hotel, but was really nice. The room was spacious, modern and had a handy mini-fridge. (I love this for drinks and snacks!) We opted for the king-sized bed and it was cool, because it also included a sleeper sofa in the sitting area and a stylish partition divided the two. So we could put Arden to bed and hang out for a bit on our side watching t.v that swiveled in either direction. The downside is that she was sick most of the trip (allergies are killing us at our house this year!) and kept me on my toes getting her ice chips and meds to soothe her constant coughing in the middle of the night. The BEST part of this place was the complimentary hot breakfast. Special breakfast sandwiches made fresh, sausage gravy & biscuits, oatmeal & cereal bar, fresh fruit and yogurt, muffins, pastries & bagels, plus a wonderful drink selection. Maybe I’m easily impressed or maybe I just really like food, but seriously, the spread was great! Perfect for a family stay, especially for this pregnant/hungry mama!

Here’s Arden setting up her bevy of stuffed animals she brought along.

Arden making her hotel bed copy

Overall, it was a nice little get-away. What fun things did you guys do over your long weekend?

March 17, 2014

Dresden : Week 8 Bring on the green!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Thought it would be great timing to post about our next room we completed, The Green Room.
Joel has been told before by people that he is very lucky. Lucky to know what he does, to be able to do what he does, to get the jobs he does. It’s a little bit irritating, because it’s not luck at all. It’s hard work. He may have a knack for learning the mechanicals inside a furnace or a car or heck, even my printer. He’s good at figuring out how things work. It takes practice and making mistakes and lots of labor. It doesn’t involve luck.

As a matter of fact, the opposite could be said. After Joel replaced the toilet in the upstairs bathroom (because the renters actually cracked the tank and broke the wax seal (that prevents sewer water from leaking when you flush) it was discovered that we need to do more to the green room than just replace 2 windows and paint. When the tenant got her water turned off from not paying her bill, the pipes froze and they busted inside the ceiling. We found this out after some tests flushes upstairs. With water leaking everywhere, we had to tear out part of the ceiling to find the problem. Word of Advice: it’s good to pay your utilities. Another fun tip, if the temps are going to hit freezing, leave your faucets on, just dripping a wee bit and it prevents the pipes from freezing up and bursting.

Celiing torn out in green room copy

If you look the pipes closely, the 2 greys ends are what is supposed to be connected together.

Pipes burst in ceiling copy

So not only what there this issue, but quite a bit of the wall had to be scraped and patched to remove all the peeling.

Green room patched up copy

Then comes the REALLY unenjoyable part. The sanding. The dust gets everywhere.

Me from sanding the green room copy

AFTER priming and painting, here’s the ceiling where the hole was. Not too shabby.

ceiling pic copy

Here’s the completed room with the floor refinished. So sharp! We super love the new, brighter green! Most definitely a color we will use again!

Green room color copy

March 11, 2014

MIRROR, MIRROR

Mini me Arden pretend driving copy

About a year and a half ago I began to notice a really annoying habit Arden had.
Every time she was frustrated, say putting on shoes when the tongue stuck inside or a jacket with the arm inside out, she would make this really exasperated, loud grunt. If no one responded, it would continue into foot stomping and her shouting that whatever she was having difficulty with was ‘stupid’.

‘Dude, it’s not that hard!’ I would say, as she would flail all about. “Come on, we have to go!” No, of course it didn’t seem difficult for me. I knew how to do all these things easily. As a smaller person though, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by problem solving, especially when you are slow and always being rushed.

I’m not proud to say that it took me several months of this behavior before I finally caught on. Working on a wedding invitation order under a deadline, I stood over my printer fuming. The cardstock would jam, the toner would leak, smearing across the page. Something inevitably always went wrong when I just desperately needed it to work smoothly. I let out a loud overly-exaggerated groan, slammed the printer tray back into position, shouting “Stupid thing!”

THEN IT HIT ME.

The super annoying tendencies that my pint-sized child displayed were because of me. A completely learned reaction from one of the people in her life she looks up to most. I’m giving life lessons on how to handle challenges and stress and I was totally letting her down. This made me reflect on how I could rectify the situation.

In my job, I try to bend over backwards to make others happy. Pleased clients refer others. It’s good for business and my livelihood sort of depends on it. But in my quest to do whatever it took, I sold myself and my work short. The pressure I felt, spilled into my family life. I would be up till all hours tweaking a sample, only for a client to completely change their mind the next day. It was exhausting. I realized adjustments had to be made within how I ran the business in order for me to not get so overwhelmed. I needed to get rid of tension in my neck and the weight of perfection that always loomed over me.

Slowly, progress is being made.
I know this because I don’t get the crippling migraines I used to. I do better at taking things in stride and not so personally. And Arden? Well now, she calmly asks for help with a task she gets stuck on, instead of throwing a fit. While it’s humbling to realize my faults and work toward bettering them, it’s more important for me to make my example a good one.

I saw this video a couple weeks ago that prompted me to want to write this post. WARNING: It is emotionally jarring, but it certainly gets it’s point across. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d4gmdl3zNQ

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