Thursday, May 31, 2012

Goodbye May.

It's the end of May and not a moment too soon. Not that May has been a bad month. It's just that these days, I'm in a hurry for time to pass. Not all time...just the next several weeks. I have only seven weeks and one day until my due date, and I must say, I am feeling very impatient this time around.

So what's on the agenda for today? Lots. Cody had insomnia last night, but still got up at 6:30 a.m., so we had a difficult morning together. This is a pattern, and the last few weeks have been rough, thanks to the new bedroom arrangements for the boys. But Cody has swimming this afternoon. So at noon, I loaded up all the boys and we drove Cody to school. He will be back in about an hour and a half, but for now, I am here with the Dynamic Duo. At the moment, they are playing very nicely together in their room, hence the reason I can even think about writing this post.

After Cody gets home, I will be feeding the boys an early supper. Well, maybe around 4:30 or so. When Mike gets home, we are all heading to town to do a little shopping. Mike has a special tool he wants to buy that is on sale starting today. He is really excited about it. Me? I want to go to Home Depot. I have some things to pick up there in order to work on getting the nursery ready. I'm excited to get started. The boys' room has remained so nice and clean this whole time, which is nothing short of miraculous. Right now, the baby's room is full of stuff, so I really want to get it all organized and ready. Imagine having two rooms in the house that are clean and nice! It's hard for me to fathom at the moment, but I believe in miracles, and I believe it will happen. I started a little bit today by washing some of the diapers I will be using. They had some stains on them, and I wanted to try sunning them. I was a bit skeptical that it would work, but oh my! It worked! So I'm going to do them one small load at a time, otherwise I won't have room to lay them out properly in the sun. My laundry rack is not that big, unfortunately. I have baby clothes that also have some stains on them and I will be doing the same thing with those.

Other than all of that, my goal today was to get the house a little cleaner than I have all week. So far, so good. I have made significant progress on the kitchen, and seeing we won't be having a big family meal at home tonight, it will stay clean. I am thinking Mike should be impressed.

And speaking of Mike, and impressive, Mike is graduating this weekend with his Masters in Education. We have a lot going on as a result. He has been in school almost the whole time we have been married, which is coming up twelve years. Not that whole time, but a lot of it! Now he is relieved to finally be done. My guess is, he will stay done. As in, he is not planning on getting a doctorate any time soon! I'm quite relieved about this too, as the homework was disruptive for all of us. But I'm proud of him for his accomplishment and we will be celebrating this weekend.

Now I'm almost falling asleep, so I must decide whether to succumb or whether to force myself to do some kind of chore to stay awake. Hmm...this is a tough call for sure. If only I could trust the Dynamic Duo to stay calm and quiet for an hour. Those kinds of miracles don't seem to happen in real life. Oh well. I'm off for now.

Monday, May 21, 2012

How to Keep Your House Clean

The title of my post would suggest some kind of advice or how-to article. I suppose that was a tad bit deceptive on my part. The fact is, evidently, I do not know how to keep my house clean. This weekend, a long weekend here in Canada, Mike and I have been working hard at doing a bunch of organizing and cleaning. In truth, we have accomplished quite a bit, even though our house is still not clean or organized. Sometimes things really do have to get worse before they get better. I'm okay with that. As long as they really are going to get better.

Friday morning I spent four solid hours cleaning. That's not something I do frequently these days, though hopefully I will get there again sometime after this baby is born. Anyway, I did a bunch yesterday too, and Saturday. It was great to see some real progress be made. Finishing the boys' room is a big part of that, though it is still not done, so their clothes are not put away yet in their room. Things like that add to the clutter around here.

So things are not perfect, but we have a plan and there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel. I was very excited to have a pretty clean house this weekend. But then today I noticed a few things. The boys' clothes were all over the floor. I mean, someone would undress in the kitchen (this happens a lot here when someone spills on their clothes during a meal, plus their dresser is currently located there), and they would just drop their dirty clothes right there on the floor and leave them there. Similarly, clothing was left on the bedroom floor, the bathroom floor, the living room floor, the front entrance floor...etc. You get the picture. In addition to that, toys were brought upstairs and left in the hall and the living room. Roller blades were left on the floor along with knee pads and wrist pads and a hockey helmet. And, the books, which I had just organized neatly on the bookshelf two days ago (because everybody else refused to do it), had been dumped on the floor in a pile in front of the bookshelf.

I was discouraged, looking around at the mess. That doesn't count the kitchen, where nobody ever clears their dishes and they leave their crusts all over the table...etc. It occurred to me that I had two options. I could either hunt down my three boys, all of whom were playing outside at that time, and force them to clean up their mess, or I could pick it all up myself and have a relatively clean house once again. Hm. What would a good housewife do? That was the question that assaulted my brain. So I asked Mike. What does a good housewife do? Does she force her children to take responsibility so they learn to pick up after themselves? Or does she go ahead and pick up the mess so she can maintain a clean house? When I asked him the second question, he said yes. Yes, a good housewife just cleans up the mess.

I have to be honest here. I kind of felt like I had gotten punched in the stomach. Okay, not that bad, but really, the gist of what he just told me was that I am in fact not a good housewife. It seems silly typing that. Of course I'm not. I already knew that, though I really am trying and I really am least when I'm not pregnant. Right now, running around the house bending over to pick things up off the floor every two seconds just gives me contractions and is painful and awkward, so I am less inclined to do that than I normally might be. But what if I was not pregnant right now? Would it be best to just do all the work myself? I have all boys. Do I want them growing up believing that the woman's job is to clean while they run around and do whatever they feel like doing? It just doesn't sit right with me.

And so I ask you, other housewives, please tell me what you do in this type of situation. When do you force your children to take responsibility, and when do you bite the bullet and just pick everything up yourself in the name of having a clean house? I truly want to know. I hope I get some comments on this post because I am kind of dumbfounded about this issue. Do I have to sacrifice being a good mother in order to be a good housewife? Or is there a way to do both? (I mean, doesn't a good mother have to teach her kids to clean up and take responsibility?) I should add that my boys are very slow learners when it comes to cleaning up. Right now, their bedroom is the cleanest room in the house, but every day I go in there in the morning and make the bottom bunk and Micah's bed. I can't do the top bunk, but that is Cody's so I figure he is old enough to do it himself anyway.

So send me your feedback, ladies. And I don't care if you're working moms or stay-at-home moms. I still want some opinions here. If I don't get any, I'll ask around in person and see what I find out. Then maybe I'll do a follow-up post on this.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day one...

I wish I could say the boys' first night in their new room went smoothly. It didn't. I knew it wouldn't, because not only were they excited about everything, but Micah has never, ever slept in a big boy bed before. He was definitely a problem. He came out over and over again. He opened and shut their door repeatedly. He kept them awake. Finally, we moved him into his crib and he cried and cried until he eventually went to sleep. Then, Mike carried him back to his bed and he slept there the rest of the night.

That doesn't sound too bad, right? Well, it wouldn't have been, except that by 5:45 a.m. all three boys were up and their bedroom light was on. I was so angry. Why don't my kids sleep in when they're tired? It doesn't make any sense to me. So Micah used the toilet, but then nobody went back to sleep. Instead, they got very, very loud. They fought and cried. They played and shouted. Micah is only two and a half. I get it that he doesn't really understand about being quiet in the morning, though generally he is much better at it than his brothers are. Even Jamie, at four years old, can be somewhat excused for forgetting. But Cody is six, and I really don't see that there is any excuse for that kind of rude behaviour when people are trying to sleep. He is old enough to know better. He DOES know better. But still, over and over again he chooses to disregard everyone else and be obnoxious. I could handle this (somewhat) if it were 7 a.m., but NOT at 5:45 in the morning. In truth, I am at my wits' end, and that was the case before the new room too. It has nothing to do with them sharing a room, though it will be worse now because Micah will not be stuck in his crib anymore so he will be free to join in the mayhem. How old does Cody have to be before he finally gets it? If it takes our youngest as long as it is taking him, I'm guessing we're looking at at least another seven years, which would bring our total to fourteen. Fourteen years from the birth of our oldest kid to the time when we might actually be allowed to sleep in the morning. And I'm not talking about a sleep-in here either. Seven o'clock. That's very reasonable, is it not?

So today I am not happy. I am very upset. Grouchy. Not only did my day begin at 5:47 a.m., when I had to angrily lecture my kids, instead of letting my exhausted and very sore body rest just a little longer, but it has not gotten better from there. The boys have bad attitudes. Of course they do. They didn't get enough sleep. They broke their curtain rod this morning, so already the new room is desecrated. I knew it would be fast, but it was not even 24 hours after they moved in. Jamie poured sugar all over the counter, the barstool and the floor. He also used up almost the last of my cold drinking water for a dandelion. (We can't drink our tap water right now, and the big bottle had just been emptied.) Basically, I can't handle anything today, but there is a lot to handle. I have nothing else to say for today. I would love a nap, but that would mean allowing TV, and I can't justify it. Did I mention Mike is not coming home after work? At this point, I'm not even sure I'll survive the day. Here's hoping it gets better and not worse.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our Winnipeg Jets Boys' Bedroom!

Okay, we are not technically finished the room, but it is close. There are a few important details to be filled in. For example, the closet is empty, and I mean completely empty. There are no shelves, no hanger racks...nothing. That's kind of a crucial piece of the room, so hopefully that will get done tonight. If not, certainly in the next few days or so. Another detail is that Micah's bed is not really fully in yet. They were sleeping last night when we finished up, so the beds were all in Micah's room, other than the bunk bed, which Mike assembled in their room last night. So, Micah's current bed is just a box spring and mattress on the floor, without the frame or headboard or footboard. That's no big deal either, though I do think we will fix that tonight too.

The biggest unresolved dilemma about their room is their dresser. It is still in the kitchen, but fitting it in the room is going to be an issue, which I did not anticipate. I mean, it WILL fit, but getting in and out of the room will be awkward at best. So we will probably have to buy a different dresser, a tall, upright one instead of a longer one that is lower. Even then, it will be somewhat crowded in there. But it looks good, and the boys are so thrilled with the whole room. Here are some pictures!

Here is the bunk bed that Mike has spent hours and hours and hours making! I love how it turned out, though there was a slight mishap with the length, and it is too long. That will be a project for fixing another day. (Excuse the mess outside the doorway. The vacuum was there and Micah's dresser is there temporarily too. Not for long though!)

Here is the view looking into their room. The lighting isn't awesome in most of these. I'm not the best photographer, unfortunately! But it gives you an idea. 

This is Micah's new bed. You can see it is just mattresses sitting on the floor. I'm wondering whether we need a bedskirt for his too! But that's for another day as well.

Standing between the two beds, looking at the closet door. See the decal we put on the wall? We have two, but we are not putting the other one up just yet. We will wait to see whether we leave the furniture arranged as it is or not, though we don't have a lot of options due to the size of the room.

Here's a closer up shot of the Jets decal. I think it looks pretty cool. 

And here is a shot of what it looks like between the two beds. Hopefully Micah will not be too tempted to hop out of bed and climb that ladder. These are really tall bunk beds, so it makes me very nervous when he goes up. Jamie will sleep in the bottom bunk and Cody on the top.

All in all, we are super happy about the way the room turned out, despite many glitches along the way. We are feeling like our boys are a tad bit spoiled now, and wondering when we get to redo our own room! I'll have to really think about that one. Maybe one day it will be our turn. I guess our next project will be to create some kind of nursery. I'd like to make that really special too. I guess I will post updates about that in the future. 

For the record, the boys have not officially moved into their room yet. We showed it to them this morning, and they are so excited they can hardly contain themselves. Right now, I have them locked out of there because I'm too nervous about Micah climbing to the top bunk, which he does, without someone in there to supervise him. Tonight they will likely move in, and we will have to remove the locking door knob and replace it with the original one. Then we'll move the locking one onto what will now be officially the nursery. Then I don't have to worry about all my baby stuff getting messed with all the time, which it does. 

I guess that's it for my update for now! This room is another step towards getting our room organized too, since we have been storing a lot of their stuff in our closet up until now. We also have a lot of baby stuff in there, so we will be able to move that into the baby's room too! Woo hoo! Technically, the boys' room is now the cleanest room in the house. How's that for irony? In fact, at this moment, it's the only clean room in the house. Let's see how long that lasts! 

P.S. My original goal was to move the boys in by May 1st, but when that did not happen, I set a secondary goal of May 15th. That's today! What timing!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The third and final stripe!

Last night marked the painting of the third and final stripe in our border around the boys room. Let me tell you, it was a very involved process. Our third stripe was to be silver, and somewhat sparkly, to go with the bedding we bought for the boys. As such, the painting experts at the store couldn't find anything to match so they sent us home with a can of spray paint. Hm. Somehow that made me nervous, and even more so after all the disasters I had when I was painting the other stripes. The final verdict was that Mike would do the painting of the silver stripe because I was reasonably sure spray paint would not be safe for a pregnant woman. Boy was I right! That stuff was incredibly strong. Horrible stuff. Fortunately, we kept it out of our bedroom and we left a window open in that room all night with a fan blowing the air out. We also turned off our air circulation from the furnace so it wouldn't spread all over the house.

Here are a few things you should know if you are ever going to spray paint in a house. First, basically, don't. It's a bad idea. I'm not exaggerating about the intensity of the fumes. I was worried for my baby and my kids, though I needn't have been, as we did contain it very well. Second, as I did mention to Mike before he started, if you are painting a precise area such as we were, you can't just use painting tape. I guess you could, but you'd have to use mass amounts of it. As it happened, we ran out of Frog Tape before we taped the first wall. Mike found some blue painters tape, so he used that to tape around where the silver stripe was going to go. My plan was to then tape paper all around the perimeter above and below the painters tape, so if the spray was hard to contain in such a small area we would be okay. (The stripe was only an inch thick.) Mike did a test swatch on a piece of paper to see how the spray paint was going to come out and how wide it would spray. He determined that all the extra paper on the walls would not be necessary, so he got to work. He did one coat, then we watched a show, and then he returned to do the second coat.

A short while later, he emerged in our room, where I was hiding from the fumes. His facial expression was grim. Uh-oh. I asked him how it went. He said, "You were right." I wasn't sure what he meant, but he explained that he should have indeed used all the extra paper, as there were now visible lines around the walls where the spray paint went beyond the painters tape. Well, you can't earn your stripes without at least one disaster each time, right? We touched it up today, though we will probably need to do a little work on the bottom stripe again before we are completely satisfied with everything. Either way, here are some pictures. And yes, we ARE doing a Winnipeg Jets theme, seeing they are our only Manitoba team! The boys love them.

Above is the Jets' away jersey. Our wall stripes are supposed to replicate the three stripes around the bottom of this shirt. Technically, we don't have anything else in the lighter blue in our whole room decor, but we liked this look for a border anyway, so we decided to use it.

Hopefully these show up all right on here. I did not put any pictures of before the touchups. 

And now we just got back from a lengthy afternoon in town, where we bought all our mattresses and mattress covers. We are so close to being done this crazy process. We still need to touch up the lighter blue a bit. The white paint is not perfect and could use another coat in some places, but for now it's not worth the money. Odds are, the boys are going to damage the walls almost immediately anyway, so we can wait until we really need to paint again and then we can redo the white if necessary. Most of it looks really good though. Hopefully tomorrow we'll have all the accents on, and the floor cleaned up so we can shampoo it before they move in. I'm off, hopefully to survive the rest of Mother's Day. Mike is still in town picking things up, so I'm alone with this crew and they are not behaving their best. Sigh. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The second stripe!

Yesterday I dared to use the Frog Tape again on my boy's walls. I had been avoiding doing the second stripe for a few days, but I knew it had to get done, so I decided to go for it. I was very nervous, given the disaster I had with the first stripe. We decided that if it all got done within about four to five hours, we probably wouldn't have the same problem with the tape. So I put up the line to mark the stripe in the afternoon while I was home with the boys. Then I made supper and threw it in the oven, knowing Mike would be home to take it out. Then, the Frog Tape process began. Wow, it's kind of a pain putting that stuff on. It took me forever to do it, but once it was done, I opened up my new can of paint. Peaceful Night, it's called. Ha! It's in the wrong room. But that's beside the point. I got started on the second stripe right away. To my surprise, it didn't take me long to paint it. I think I may actually be improving, which is kind of amazing.  Here are a few shots of the stripe after the first coat, with the tape still on.

After that, I anxiously awaited my opportunity to put on the second coat. Mike had a work thing last night, so he left after the boys were in bed. I was not allowed to paint again until 9:30 p.m. When that time finally rolled around, I did my second coat, which probably took me all of ten minutes. It went well, with relatively few incidents. (I did have a few moments where I went too fast and went over the tape a little. Duh. I did wipe it off, but there are a few spots that may need a tiny touch up.) The hard part was removing the blasted tape. I started with the top one, as it was on the white paint and I was less nervous about it ripping because I knew we would still be putting our final stripe on top. Ironically, the white paint was a problem. Lots of it came off on the tape, but mostly in very tiny little spots. I had read that the best way to remove the tape was slowly, and bending it backwards almost right against itself. I think it took me nearly an hour to remove the tape. How ridiculous! (Of course, I did have to tend to a nightmare with Micah in between, but that didn't take too long.)

I had no trouble at all getting the tape off the lighter blue stripe. It came off easily and did not remove any paint at all. I was so relieved about that. I had two bad patches tear on the white tape, despite my extreme caution, so I was annoyed, but again, we will paint over that tonight with our silver stripe. After that, we will definitely have a few spots of white that will need to be touched up, but that's not the end of the world.

Incidentally, I decided not to wait around to find the delicate version of the Frog Tape because we simply don't have that much time. That's why we decided to take our chances on the green stuff.

So, after all the tape came off, this is what the room looked like.

And the next ones I took this morning in the sunlight, for better lighting.

They are not flawless, but they look pretty good! I am very happy with the way they have turned out so far. I am still nervous about the silver stripe, because believe it or not, we have to use spray paint. I will not be doing that process because I think the fumes are too dangerous for me, being pregnant. But hopefully tonight I will be able to take pictures, and hopefully it is going to look good. If the navy blue stripe cooperates as much as the lighter blue one did with the paint, we'll be in good shape. Then we just have to touch up the white stuff, and we'll be ready to put trim back on, and closet shelves and racks, and curtains, as well as other accents. We are almost there!

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's my job to be mean.

I'm a mean mom. This is what I am told anyway, by the ones who kids. This week I have had a few of those moments where I felt like the meanest mother on the planet. I think I wrote about one such moment earlier this week, when I left my Jamie standing bawling on someone's driveway while I drove off to my doctor's appointment. Sure, he was in good hands, and yes, he was safe. I use the word "driveway" loosely, as this was way out in the country and he was nowhere near a road, so he was not left in a dangerous place. (Plus my sister-in-law and her kids were there.) But that's all beside the point. It made me second guess myself. Should I have taken him with me, as he requested? Well, I could have. But I really didn't want to. He would have been bored. He would have been whiny. He would have made the whole experience very stressful, and he wouldn't have enjoyed it anyway. In the end, I had to do the tough thing and leave him there, miserable and vulnerable, crying for his mother as she drove away in a cloud of dust. Nice.

Yesterday I had another such moment. Actually, it is now a weekly occurrence, as Cody has swimming lessons through his school every Thursday afternoon. He hates them. Cody has always been afraid of swimming, though I thought we were breaking through all that after our holiday last summer. No matter. He has decided it is scary once again, so every week he begs and begs me to let him quit and to give him "a day off from swimming lessons". I already paid for these lessons. Besides that, he needs to learn how to swim. Maybe not everybody feels this way, but in my opinion, everyone should know how to swim. And seeing his school got us a discounted rate on lessons and they are the ones driving him to and from the city, I think I'd be foolish to not take advantage of the opportunity. Cody felt differently. So I forced my child into swimming lessons. Then, I had to force him to get ready so I could drop him off at the school. All the while, he begged and pleaded and then flat out said he refused to go. I tried the compassionate route. I reasoned with him and reminded him how fun it is to swim. I explained the importance of learning how to swim. And none of it worked. So then I had to get tough and tell him to stop it, and that he was going, whether he liked it or not. After I dropped him off at the school, I remembered moments like that from my own childhood. You know, those moments when the world feels so big and you feel scared and vulnerable, and there is nobody there to bail you out or make you feel safe. I pictured my little boy riding that school bus all the way to the city, scared and perhaps feeling betrayed by his mother that whole time.

What is the parenting solution? Do we rush in and rescue them whenever they are scared? Or do we not give them any choice when they don't want to do something? Do we coddle them and let their emotions guide their decisions? (And ours.) Or do we take an emotionless approach and just lay out the facts, leaving no room for expression of fear, doubt or even just the desire to say no?

I believe there is a balance. Do I know what that balance is? Not really. Maybe it depends on the mom. (Or dad.) Maybe it depends on the kid. Maybe it depends on both. I think it's healthy to allow a child to express their worries and their displeasure, and even their opinions, but I guess somehow as parents we have to teach them that sometimes decisions have to be made for other reasons that may conflict with our emotions. Did I make the right choice sending Cody to swimming lessons? I believe I did, even though it is hard on my emotions every week, because he does this every week. I always feel mean and heartless. But the funny thing is, when Cody got off the bus yesterday after swimming, he sounded excited. "Guess what I did at swimming lessons, mom?? I went in the deep end with a life jacket!" He actually had fun. Wow. So maybe I was not as mean as I thought, or as he thought. Maybe sometimes as parents we see the bigger picture, and we know that if they could only push past their feelings, they would enjoy themselves, even while learning a valuable skill. Sadly, I am quite certain he will still do the same thing next week, and for the five weeks after that, but I guess it's my job to continue being mean so that he can be safe, and he can learn how to enjoy the water without so much fear. But, to misquote a popular muppet, it's not easy being mean. I don't like it. But I will do what it takes to help my kids, even when they perceive it as mean.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Another painting disaster!

Today has been one of those "Go! Go! Go!" days. I got up just before 7 a.m., after a night of horrific sleep. Micah cried loudly from 11 p.m. until well after midnight. Twice (or was it three times?) I was up with him, trying to figure out the problem. I took him to the bathroom, just to make sure that wasn't the issue. The third (yes, it was three!) time I got up with him he was wailing that he wanted water. I got him the water. He said he would stop crying. I told him he was waking everyone up, which he did. He said, "Sorry." I thought we were done. But I was wrong. Cody ended up getting up and complaining about the non-stop crying. Jamie was up too, getting water and something else in the kitchen. It was horrible, and I was so mad! In total, I was up seven times last night. That's between 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. Not cool.

So I was up early getting Cody ready for school. Once he was out the door, I had to get the other two set up with a show so I could go shower. Then, mid-morning we were off to my sister-in-law's place to drop the two boys off so I could rush to town for my doctor's appointment. When I left her place, Jamie was bawling because he didn't want to be left behind. He practically chased after the van. I could see him in my rear-view mirror, just standing there in the driveway bawling. I cried too. I felt like the worst mother alive. Should I have brought him with me? I did consider it, but realistically, I knew it would not be pretty and I'd be far more stressed with him along. In addition to that, he likely would have had a similar attitude at the doctor's office, which would have been understandable, given his utter lack of sleep last night.

After my appointment I rushed back on time to get the boys home for lunch. Then I put another show on (I know: bad, bad, bad!) so I could paint another coat on the blue stripe on the boys' room. So I did, and that brings me to my next story of my complete lack of skill in the painting department. I had watched a few YouTube videos about painting rooms, so I could see the best methods of painting corners, and also how to paint stripes. One thing I learned was that it is best to remove the frog tape right away, provided you are not doing another coat. Well, this was the second coat, so I went ahead and removed the frog tape. It looked pretty good! It was not perfect, and there were a few areas where the paint had bled through slightly, though most were on the top of the stripe so they will get covered when we paint the next stripe, which will be darker yet.

Here's where I ran into problems. The frog tape actually pulled off several large sections of our new white paint. What the heck? The paint had been dry for days, so I didn't think it would be an issue, but wow, it certainly was! I couldn't do anything but cringe as I pulled the tape off. What in the world will Mike say when he sees how I have destroyed his handiwork? Just now, I looked up frog tape and guess what I found out? Apparently you are not supposed to use it on newly painted surfaces, even if they are dry. They have to be "cured", not just dry, which can take weeks. Wow. I simply don't have weeks. I wish I did, but I don't. So apparently there is another kind you can buy that is specifically for delicate surfaces. I guess we have to find some of that now and continue our project. Sigh. Here are a few pictures of what it looks like right now.

So in these first three, it looks not too bad, right? But then there are the next three...

It may be hard to see on here, but check the white paint just above the stripe. Can you see the huge section that ripped off??

These last two photos show the worst section. It tore so badly you can even see the original green paint through it. I don't know what to tell Mike when he gets home!

And now, my busy day is not slowing down any. I have to run and get Cody from the bus, and then I have to peel potatoes because I have a roast in the oven today. If it weren't for my painting disaster, Mike might actually think I was a rockstar today. Oh well. Nobody's perfect, right? 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How hard can it be?

It turns out painting a room is much harder than I expected. Before I get to that, let me backtrack for a moment.

We had a busy day. Cody was home, so it was much more intense than it is when he is at school. That's okay. The weather turned very nice, so outdoor play is very much encouraged around here. However, today we had an appointment. I hate appointments. Today's appointment was at Cody's school, and it was an evaluation of sorts, to see how far he has come since last year...etc. No problem. Except that I had to take the whole crew with me. That is not really encouraged, but I had little choice, seeing there was simply nobody to take them. In the end, it went fairly smoothly, though it made for a long and very busy morning of running around.

The afternoon was not awesome, though it was not terrible either. Around 3 p.m. things started getting bad. For instance, I caught Micah playing with a rubber ducky. In the toilet. Oh my. It went straight into the garbage can...the one under the sink, with the "childproof" latch on it. Fortunately, Micah still can't open it without help. I was very disturbed by the toilet play, and it caused me to mentally backtrack and contemplate all the times he has touched my face...etc. What if he has played in the toilet before?? None of my other kids have ever participated in that delightful activity, though I was always surprised at that. Nobody has ever flushed a toy or other inappropriate object down the toilet. No, wait, I think Cody flushed an empty toilet paper roll when he was really little, though the memory is a bit hazy now. I probably blocked it out.

Anyway, the point was, I had a busy and tiring day. Normally I'd be relieved when Mike got home, but tonight he had to leave again after supper for a meeting at his school, so I was on my own for all the bedtime craziness. But before he left, we managed to tape the boys' bedroom for one of the stripes we will be painting as a border. (It will have three different coloured stripes.) The painting was going to be my job tonight. No problem. I figured I was up to the task. The stripe I was painting was only four inches wide. How hard could it be? Right??

I started by opening my new small paint tray with my brand new small roller. It was cute. There was no getting around it. I opened up this can of paint. Blue. Too dark. Hm. Well, I supposed that was okay. It will probably look good with the final product...I hope. I stirred it, and poured some of the smooth, thick paint into my cute little tray. I must admit, I was quite excited to start this little project. I dipped my cute roller into the tray and rolled it around in the smurf-coloured paint. (In reality, the colour was called Artesian Water. Doesn't that sound beautiful?) With anticipation, I moved over to the first corner and rolled my brush across. OOPS!!!! Oh no! A huge glob of deep blue paint splashed down our fresh, pure white wall! I grabbed the nearest paper towel, but it was dry. I guess you have to use wet paper towel to get the paint off. Dang! I ran to the kitchen for more and wet some and ran back. I was too late. I got most of it off, but there is a large streak I could not get and now we will probably have to touch it up with white paint.

Okay, so I had a rough start. I discovered if I held the roller the other way (flipped it upside down) the paint didn't drip out the same. I continued rolling. Hm. It didn't look very nice. In fact, it was really not rolling on smoothly at all. I wondered if my roller was defective. Cute, but defective. So I grabbed the shorter, but fatter small roller that Mike bought the other day and decided to give it a whirl. Back to my little tray, I rolled the other roller until it was coated in blue and went back to my tiny, disastrous section of the wall. I did one roll, and blue water dripped all down the white walls! Oh no!!! Mike must have washed the brush and it had not dried properly. Fortunately, this time I had wet paper towel handy. Almost not enough, because the amount of blue running down the wall was far worse than my first disaster. But I got this one cleaned up.

By now I was getting a little mad. This was stupid. I put down Mike's roller and picked up my own. Clearly the problem was not just the paint supplies. I tried again. I painted the stripe on that first wall, and just wasn't looking very nice. Why in the world is it so hard to paint? I kept going, and by the fourth and final wall, I think I was getting the hang of it. I went over the rest once again just to be sure, but I have to say, I don't know how this is going to turn out. I thought it would be a fun little relaxing project for me while I was home alone, but I really could have done without the stress. Here are a few pictures.

These photos make the stripe look much bigger than it is because of the green frog tape on either side. In truth, it is a little bigger than I wanted it, but the next two stripes will be progressively smaller, so hopefully it will look okay in the end. Eek. I sure hope it will look good when it's done. 

And Mike just got home, so it's time to sign off. Tomorrow I have another appointment, so another busy day. Hopefully I will have a better report of the second coat!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Blank Canvas

It's another rainy, icky day here, which is not good news for our flooding situation. Amazingly, I have had a productive day so far, despite the gloom. I've already done dishes, laundry, sweeping, and even made some yummy chocolate chip cookies.

The main update around here is about our ongoing "renovations". They aren't really renovations, as no actual construction is involved, but maybe more like redesigning. That's right, more progress has been made on the boys' new room. It doesn't look like much right now, but here it is.

Yep. It's just a plain white room. How boring, right? But wait! We do have a plan. We will be touching up a few areas on the white paint tonight, just to make sure it's really well covered. There are a few areas that need more paint, like right around the ceiling. Then, tomorrow, we start adding the colour. There will only be a little, but it is all part of the plan. Now that I see the room all white, I am having a few doubts, but I know once we have all the accents in there it will be good. There is a method to our madness! I am nervous about it though. I hope it turns out the way I am envisioning it. If not, I guess it's still a blank canvas and we can do what we want with it. 

I have been waiting to start this project forever, and it feels good to finally be crossing things off my list! Mike is still not finished the bunk beds, but he is closer now than he was. He has to build drawers for under the bottom bunk, and he is missing a tiny bit in the way of materials. Then the headboard and footboard areas of the bottom bunk must be completed, and then the ladder. Other than that, they are built. They need two more coats of varathane, and some sanding, I think. Then they're coming upstairs and going into their new destination! 

The good news is, the boys are really enjoying sharing a room. Well, Micah is anyway. He loves having his big brothers in his room with him. I might be speaking too soon, but in the two nights they have been in his room all together, he has not woken up with nightmares at all, whereas he usually does every single night. I think it's comforting for him to not be alone in there. However, when he moves to the new room with them, he will also be leaving behind the security of his crib and moving into a twin bed. (Not into the "bonk beds", as he calls them.) That could raise a few issues, such as him not staying in bed, or him falling out of bed. But we will see how he does. He is definitely ready, and he is blessed to have his brothers in the room with him where they can comfort him and keep him in line. He is also more than happy to entertain them both with all kinds of silliness. That's why last night we staggered their bedtimes. He went down first, and once he was asleep (which only took five or ten minutes), we put the other two to bed. It was much smoother than the first night, so we may have to adopt that method on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, he also gets up earlier than normal too because his brothers wake him up. Oh well. It's all part of the process, I guess! 

I'm off for now. It's almost lunch time and I need to prepare something for the Dynamic Duo. Cody is at school today, so it's just me and them. They get along very well, but they also are very good at finding trouble. I won't even tell you what they did this morning, before Mike even left for work. Yeesh. Bye for now.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

It's Finally Happening!

I know I have mentioned several times over the last couple of months how anxious I have been to redo our boys' bedroom. There have been many factors causing us to delay this process, but I am happy to report that we are finally getting started. Mike has been busy building bunk beds over the last couple of weeks, and though they are not finished yet, they are close enough that this morning was deemed the day we would evict the boys out of their bedroom. I can't even tell you how much I have anticipated the moment we would be able to start fixing all the damage they have done in what used to be my gorgeous baby room for Cody. Here is a photo to show you an idea of what it originally looked like. In this picture, the baseboards were not on yet, and it does not show the wispy white clouds that were scattered over the blue part of the walls, but it does show you an idea of our theme and how cute it was.

I have much better pictures, but they are on a different computer and I cannot access them at the moment, so this will have to do for a glimpse. 

I have posted pictures on this blog before of the boys' room, and how awful it got. Today, we emptied it. First, we had to remove the change table and a lot of baby stuff from Micah's room. We also removed his dresser, which is now standing at the end of our hall where it is accessible but also out of the way. Here are some pictures of the boys room now, empty. I decided that it would be appropriate to employ some child labour, seeing they are the ones who wrote all over the wall in crayon, pencil, ballpoint pen, and whiteboard marker. The novelty wore off quickly on Cody, but the other two stayed and helped for a while. It took a long time to wash the walls, and in the end, they were only sufficient because we will be painting over them. Here are a few shots.

Here, Cody has begun the process of trying to wash away the larger-than-life pencil/etching of a big-headed creature of some sort. 

Micah joined in, shirtless. He was like a true construction worker in there. He put a lot more effort in than his oldest brother did. I don't know whether the extent of the "art" and other damage will show up in these, but if not, you'll have to take my word on it.

Ah. The sweet sight of my boys actually cleaning. And not just toys, but cleaning up a horrific mess that they have spent the last few years making. Not for lack of me scrubbing in between, but it did hit a point where I gave up and just left it alone. Only because I knew this day was coming and we would one day redeem these walls once again. And the carpet too. And of course, Jamie had to be shirtless as well.

I got all three in this picture. Cody, looking like a very tormented slave; Micah, working diligently to wipe chocolate smudges off the closet wall; and Jamie, walking like an Egyptian. He always has marched to the beat of his own drum.

Jamie stepped in front of this part of the wall just as I took the pictures. This is where we have recorded their heights over the years. We transferred it all to some boards that we will have to use somehow. That has yet to be determined, but I was not about to lose this priceless information!

The next picture shows their temporary room. We moved both twin beds into Micah's room and left his crib set up in there. The boys' dresser is now in the kitchen. Good thing this is temporary!

Jamie's bed is the blue one, Cody's is by the door and Micah's crib had to move from the wall it was on to the one opposite. What's in the picture is how they will be sleeping for the next week, or even two. I wonder how long they will party tonight when they go to bed.

And here is the boys' room, once my beautiful nursery. The baseboards and window frames have been removed. You can kind of see the clouds in this picture. You can also see what look like clouds on the green parts. Every one of those white smudges is drywall mud, used to cover holes and dings in the walls. Needless to say, there are a lot of white smudges. A lot.

The junk on the floor is just painting and cleaning stuff. 

The closet door has also been removed for now.

So, this is phase one. Apparently the drywall mud has to dry for 24 hours, so we will not be painting our first coat of white paint until tomorrow afternoon some time. Dang. I'd love to start tonight, but I guess that's okay. I'd post pictures of the bunk beds, but I haven't taken any yet because they are in a yucky room in the basement. I will probably wait until we move them into the room officially. Then they will look nice. 

That's the official update for tonight. Hopefully tomorrow I will have pictures of the same room only all white. I know that sounds boring, but bear with me. We do have a plan! I'm off for now.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


One thing I am not good at is waiting. I am waiting for many things right now, the most significant one is my baby, but I'm not even due until later in July, so it's going to be a long time. But I'm talking about waiting for something imminent, good or bad. Right now, I am waiting for a man to show up here to have a look at our land to see whether moving our house to the spot we want it is a possibility, and if it is, what we will have to do to make it work. I'm kind of uptight about stuff like this. I would really prefer if Mike were here too, but he isn't. So that means when this guy gets here, I have to leave the Dynamic Duo unsupervised in the house and haul my pregnant body up our steep ridge in the wet, 4 degree weather. Hm. Not really something I am anticipating with great excitement.

Worse yet is the fact that he did not say what time he would be arriving. He only said late morning. To me, that means now. But he might not even get here until 11:30 or even later. So, now I am in limbo because I feel like I can't start anything in case he shows up. The same thing happened yesterday, when Mike told me this guy had called him and would be here in an hour. (That was at 12:40 p.m.) So I ran around like a crazy person cleaning the house in case he had to come in to discuss things. Then, at 4 p.m. he called and said he couldn't make it after all and would come this morning instead. Ugh. The good news is, I got my house cleaner than normal. The bad news? Well, I had to put off the moment until today, which meant prolonging my tension and dread.

Dread seems harsh probably. But that's how I am. I overreact. I get nervous. I get stomach aches. What if he says we're crazy and it's totally impossible? What if he sees my ugly lounge pants and thinks I'm a slob? What if I fall on the ridge (it's steep) and look like an idiot? Do any of these things matter? Not really. Not to a normal person, anyway. But these are some of the irrational worries that run through my brain as I wait. And the longer I wait, the more frenzied they become. Did I mention I have to wear Mike's huge rubber boots because mine are missing? The possibility of slipping on the steep path is very real.

Anyway, that is what I am doing today, so far. The house is clean. The boys are dressed. Well, Jamie is in shorts and a sleeveless shirt and it's basically winter today, but I choose my battles. And Cody is at school, which means my battles will be less frequent and less intense, at least until 3:15 p.m. when he returns home. If I were not waiting for this guy to come, I would probably bake. It feels like that kind of a day. Why not? My kitchen is nice and clean, and the lights are on because it is dark and gloomy outside, so it feels cozy in there. That's perfect baking atmosphere. Cookies, maybe? Or a banana loaf? I'm not brave enough to start buns or bread today. I'm sure I'd run out of energy long before I was done. But it doesn't matter, because I can't bake until this man has come and gone, in case I have something in the oven and have to leave the house. Not going to happen. So I will continue to wait, and pace, and fret about ridiculous things, because that is what I do.

Phone ringing! It's him. He ("we"?) should be here shortly. Now my nervousness increases! I'm so neurotic. I have to go for now.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ode to Moms Everywhere.

I know I'm a bit early in posting a tribute to mothers, seeing Mother's Day is not far away. But I really wanted to get this out while it was fresh on my heart. Yesterday, I had one of those really bad days with my kids. I had to fight a terrible battle with one of them, and it was ugly, and I broke know, one of those days. I believe every mother has them. Okay, some of you moms have only one child at this point, and that child may be under two years old. Maybe you have not experienced what I am talking about just yet, but battles do come and sometimes we are prepared for them and sometimes they take us down.

Yesterday, I fought the battle and I won, but let's just say I did not escape without wounding, figuratively speaking. During this battle, at one of the most intense moments, my mother called me. I answered the phone, and she could tell by my voice that something was wrong. Well, I couldn't help but cry as I described to her what was going on in the house at that moment. I was feeling like a loser, wondering how it was that my child would deliberately disobey everything I said, and how he could say terrible things to me, and show me such disrespect. I know everyone says you can't take those things personally, and I know that is true. But there is something very discouraging when you feel helpless as a mother, and yesterday I did.

So I was a little embarrassed to tell my mom how bad my child was being, because it certainly reflected badly on me. But she understood, and told me how she had had many moments like that too in those years when my sisters and I were young. Of course, a part of me was surprised because she had three girls, and I have three boys, and I have to admit, when things get this bad I often wonder if this is just the way boys are. But she assured me that all kids go through this, or certainly have days that are bad, boy or girl. I was afraid she might tell me how I should be doing things differently, but she didn't. Instead, she told me to press on, and to just keep being consistent, and that even if it takes a long time, things would work out in the end. And she knows, because she has been there and seen it through to the end. Not that she is not a mother anymore, because of course she is and always will be. But she is past the "raising" stage of motherhood, and she not only survived, she even did a good job. (Is it bragging for me to say that? Hehe.)

My spirits were slightly lifted when I got off the phone, even though the battle still raged on around me. And then, not long after, my mother-in-law called me. Now the interesting thing is, my mom and my husband's mom raised their children very differently, so they have very different perspectives on things. But what was truly wonderful was that even after a great conversation with my own mom, I then had an equally great one with my mother-in-law. She offered me so much encouragement as well as some advice, and she also affirmed that she had been through similar battles in her days of parenting younger children. They both had such different angles of looking at things, but both were compassionate, understanding, and non-judgmental.

Later, as I reflected on both conversations, it struck me how blessed I am to have two mothers in my life, both who love me and both who love my children. And even though their life experiences have been different and their parenting styles are different, I value both of their opinions and their friendships, and I am so grateful to have them. So I wanted to give a shout out to mothers. Some of you are still in what I call the honeymoon phase, where you have only one child or baby, and though you may not be fighting with your child, you are often weary from the demands of one so young. Some of you are where I am, with more than one who are young and battles are frequent and sometimes volatile. Some of you are dealing with teenagers and you are fighting battles that probably make mine pale in comparison. And some of you have already raised your children, but you are still there for your grown children, and even your grandchildren. Whatever phase you are at, may God bless you as you continue to be the best mom you can be. I hope your children know, or someday will know, all that you have poured out into them, and are grateful. I know I am.