My Kids Live Here

3 Jul

A few days ago I was perusing Pinterest, not really looking for anything in particular.  I started looking at the home decor pins and then, out of sheer curiosity, searched “kids rooms”.  I scrolled through the various pictures of themed bedrooms, incredible one-of-a-kind beds and rooms with things like swings, slides and rock walls (my kids would never sleep!)  I began to think about my kids bedrooms and my friends kids bedrooms.  How eclectic they were, even when they had a theme.  These catalog rooms as I like to call them, are unrealistic!  I cannot imagine giving my kids one theme, for instance.  “Oh you like cars?  Ok, we will have a car shaped bed that you will only use for a short time, car bedding and fancy curtains with car tiebacks.  Maybe we will paint a road on your floor too.  Oh and you can’t hang anything on your walls because I have meticulously placed car artwork and that is all that can be hung.  And don’t take out any toys.”

I know the majority of these rooms are staged by designers . .  . but they set unattainable goals for parents wishing to give there little cherubs their dream room.  A room that the kids will be so enamored with they will just sit on their perfectly made castle-shaped bed and stare at the walls, smiling for hours.   As parents, we want our kids to have everything.  We want them to be cozy and happy.  Maybe we, even if secretly, want to one-up that snooty mom from the PTA who brags about her kids and how they have beds shaped like tree houses or pizza or whatever.   Maybe we want to be that Pinterest mom or dad.  The one who blogs about there immaculate home and pins pictures of perfect rooms and fabulous DIYs that never go awry.

Maybe not.  I don’t have that dream of having the”perfect” home.  My home is perfect for my family.  It’s not fancy or designed to belong in a Better Homes and Gardens spread.  I know I’ve shared pictures in the past of the boys rooms when I’ve done projects in them, but I wanted to share my lived in real rooms.  I didn’t stage them for you, I didn’t take out all their toys before I snapped the pictures.  These aren’t fake rooms, these are real rooms that belong to real boys.  They did clean their rooms last night, so at least you don’t have to see Big A’s dirty laundry all over the floor or the entire contents of Little C’s books shelf scattered across the room because he was looking for a specific book.

First, here are the “catalog rooms” for comparison:

Where are the stuffed animals?  Blankets?  Anything?!

Where are the stuffed animals? Blankets? Anything?!

Notice the only objects in the room and on the walls fit the nautical theme

Notice the only objects in the room and on the walls fit the nautical theme

See what I mean?  kids don’t live in these rooms!  Not unless they are extremely OCD and never leave a single out of place ever.

Here are the boys lived in rooms:

It's a bedroom a kids can actually go in!

It’s a bedroom a kids can actually go in!

Notice the lack of a theme?  Well a few years ago it was loosely Star Wars.  About a year and a 1/2 ago I painted the Lego Ninajas for the wall.  For his birthday I painted the creeper from Minecraft. . .  so it’s a mishmash.

He’s got his own style, you know . . . that of a 9yr old boy!  He hangs stuff on the walls with tape, usually leaves his soccer uniform on the floor, stinky socks and all.  On the little wall shelves hang various medals from sports and school.  A few trophies on the ledge.   There are birthday balloons left over from his party a few weeks ago.  This is not a catalog room.   It’s my son’s room.

 

Look, stuff hanging on the walls!

Look, stuff hanging on the walls!

A cluttered mix of toys and things.  So, so many things in this room

A cluttered mix of toys and things. So, so many things in this room

Little C’s room went from baby to big boy.  He sleeps with just shy of a thousand stuffed animals, his “guys”, and way too many blankets!  His bookshelf is a cluttered mess!   His cubby is supposed to  have more of those nice colored buckets in it to hall all his toys, but the kids like to load them up with stuff and take it upstairs or into another room.

There is no theme in his room.  When we switched to big boy, I took Little C to the store and said “pick out what you like”.  He chose the reversible blue comforter, the green curtains, and he has bright orange sheets you can’t see.  The art on the walls I painted of all his favorite characters.  No theme.  Not catalog.  Just real.

STUFF!

STUFF!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, you want to see the BEST comparison?  Hehehe!  Playrooms.

Catalog playrooms are laughable.  There is no play in them!

Kids, sit on that sofa and don't move a muscle!

Kids, sit on that sofa and don’t move a muscle!

Stark, bare, no toys . . . I’m sure they are all hiding where nobody can see them.  But playrooms should have clutter!  They need kid-made art on the walls!

I'm sorry Timmy, you aren't allowed to play with those toys.

I’m sorry Timmy, you aren’t allowed to play with those toys.

Why do they show a playroom where the kids cannot reach the majority of the toys?

 

Ok, you ready for this?  THIS is our playroom:

The only thing up high are their piggy banks and my movies

The only thing up high are their piggy banks and my movies

There are Legos EVERYWHERE!  You know what is really funny?  They just cleaned this room 2 days ago!  I’m not crazy obsessive about this room.  The way I see it, this is the one room where the boys run the show completely.  Their bedrooms need to be cleanish because otherwise they can’t have sleepovers, I can’t vacuum and the dog can’t sleep with them.  The playroom, while I do make them clean it, is always cluttered and rarely spotless.  It’s not for show, it’s for play.

My kids art work graces all the walls in their playroom

My kids art work graces all the walls in their playroom

We do use cubbies, but we don't feel the need to hide our toys either.

We do use cubbies, but we don’t feel the need to hide our toys either.

What’s my point here?  My point is this: Don’t beat yourself up when you flip through magazines or Pinterest or even most blogs.  It’s all for show.  The rooms are staged, there is no living in them and there are definitely no kids!  When you want to redo a room or organize a room, just think what will work best for YOUR family?  Can my kids reach the highest shelf?  Is it so themed that they will lose interest in that character/show/movie etc in a few months?

Thanks for visiting my lived in home!

Lets Try This Again!

1 Jul

Wow, I am SO sorry I disappeared again for another 3 months!  I promise it won’t happen again!

 

Life flipped upside down and inside out over the past year and I just didn’t have time for blogging, or cleaning . . . cooking . . . sleeping.  Ahem, anyway, I’m back.  Again.

Having started a new chapter in life and making several very large and somewhat scary changes, I’ve decided to take this blog in a slightly different direction as well.  I will still share craft how-tos, recipes and fun activities for kids, but there will be more to it than that.  More glimpses into my life and my family and more story telling.  It will be fun!

Due to health issues I’ve become a stay home mom, which is something I never expected for myself.  I loved working (even though I spent more time at the office than I did at home) I’d work all day, pick up the kids from school and daycare, cook supper and then I’d be spent.  Most nights I was in bed before the boys!  I didn’t feel like I was living my life, but rather floating through the motions of life.  I felt like someone was pulling me around, forcing me to move.  If I didn’t have that pull, I wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed and do the things I needed to do!

Every weekend I would do my best to enjoy the boys (Big A just turned 9!  Little C isn’t so little anymore at 4 1/2)  If I was having a “good day” I would try to fit in as much as possible.  “Hey kids, lets go to the zoo, have a picnic at the park, go fishing and then come home and play 16 board games!” I felt like I needed to make up for all the nights I was in bed by 7:30.   If I was having a “bad day” (which are more frequent than the latter) I would let the kids watch too much tv, we’d lay around in our pajamas all day.  I felt like I needed those 2 days to recover from the week so that I could get up on Monday and do it all over again.  That is no way to live.

After a LOT of thinking, worrying and number crunching, the Hubby and I decided it would be best if I quit my job and focused on taking care of myself.  The hope was that if I wasn’t working 40-50 hours a week and exhausting myself daily that I’d have fewer “bad days”.  I haven’t had much time to test that theory because a little over a week ago I had a procedure (RFA or Radio Frequency Ablation)  to burn off the nerves in 6 places in my spine to try and reduce the amount of pain I can feel.  That procedure is miserable!    I had the RFA about 3 years ago in 2 places in my spine and it took weeks to feel normal, only to discover later on that the doctor I was seeing at the time had not done the procedure in the right places but that is a whole different story!

The good thing is that I am home with my boys, good day or bad day, I can enjoy them and watch them play and grow.  I feel like I’ve missed out a lot due to my health and my pain, having to miss excursions and day trips or cancel plans because it’s too hot outside.  (Heat and humidity make me physically ill due to my Fibromyalgia)

Now I can focus on being a wife and a mother and on understanding my pain and disabilities with the hopes of my life better.

the 2 reasons I am here

the 2 reasons I am here

 

 

 

 

Explanation

16 Mar

A while back I excitedly announced that I was BACK and you all would hear from me more frequently.  Weeeeellllllll . . . . then things got really crappy!  2 days after my come back to the blog world I landed myself in the hospital with severe pancreatitis.  I spent a week in the hospital unable to eat and so drugged up I don’t remember much of my stay.  I bloated up to unrecognizable from all the saline and IV meds the pumped into me.  My hubby and kids visited several times but I was an emotional and bizarre sight to them.  Hubby even brought my dog to see me hoping it might lift my spirits some.  It did, until they left and I was alone again.  The nurses were wonderful, evening sitting and talking with my about my boys, trying to take my mind off the fact that I missed Thanksgiving and their memorable ride on the Polar Express, my niece’s birthday and other family togetherness.

In my more sober moments of my stay, I took advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals online and finished my Christmas shopping.  I realized after the fact that shopping online while on a pain pump is a moronic move, but fortunately I didn’t buy anything weird or spend thousands of dollars!

7 days after being admitted I was sent home feeling only slightly better, but my levels were down and the doctors felt I was recovering.  I went back to work but still couldn’t eat anything besides Jell-O, pudding and watered down oatmeal.  I was drinking Ensure protein drinks, I was weak and pasty.  I was in pain. 

I saw my primary doctor after a few days for a post hospitalization follow up and voiced my concerns that I wasn’t feeling any better.  He told me he thought I needed my gallbladder out.  I braved the weekend and tried to enjoy cutting down a Christmas tree with the boys and Hubby.  I laid on the couch in agony while they decorated it without me.  When Monday finally came around, I went to work for 2 hours and then headed over to the surgeon’s office to see what she thought was my issue.  She was pretty adamant that it was indeed my gallbladder and that it needed to come out.  She sent me for blood work to check for infections and check my levels.  I had a CT scan to “clear my pancreas” before surgery.  I was to head right to the 8th floor surgery prep after my scan.  I wouldn’t go back to work for 2 more weeks.  I needed yet another angry organ removed. 

I called my boss and told her the bad news.  She was very understanding as for the past 2 weeks they’d watched how sick I was and worried as I spent days in the hospital, only to come back in worse shape than before I was admitted.  I called Hubby and he left work to sit with me in pre-op. 

My surgery was supposed the typical out-patient surgery where I would spend some time in recovery, head to short stay and then go home.  In short stay I cried in agony, I’d never been in so much pain in my life.  They couldn’t manage my pain and decided to admit me to the hospital again.  I slipped in and out of consciousness, more from the pain than anything else.  I’d wake up and moan, cry and beg for something to get rod of the pain.  They upped the dosage of meds and gave me something stronger only after I reminded them that they were giving me something weaker than what I took at home on a daily basis for my back and fibro. 

Perkocet kicking in it was time for me to try to get out of bed.  Have you ever tried to get out of bad after abdominal surgery?  Holy shit does it suck!  Not to mention that I was still incredibly weak from being ridiculously sick for weeks.  It took 30 minutes to get me out of bed. 

After a few little walks across the room and out into the hallway the surgeon decided I could go home.  Armed with giant ice packs, pain killers, laxatives (ever try to poop after abdominal surgery?) and several other meds for the nasty lesions in my stomach we took the agonizingly bumpy ride home with my hanging my head out the window in below zero winds because I was nauseated from pain killers and motion.

It was a long recovery for my ragged body.  I had hoped to only miss a week of work, but my surgeon wouldn’t allow less than 2 weeks of recovery time.  I was secretly thankful for that as I wasn’t ready to return.  When I did return, it was hard to sit for 8 hours at a time.  It put too much strain on my tender abdominal muscles.  I would get home in the evening and lay on the couch with an ice pack until I fell asleep. 

Do I sounds like I’m overreacting to a common surgery?  Maybe to some.  But you have to remember this:  Every person handles illnesses and surgeries differently.  I have a condition that makes my nerves overact, causing recovery from surgery to take much longer and be more painful.  I was recovering from a nasty illness and surgery at the same time. 

Why am I being so defensive?  Because people actually scoffed at how long it took me to feel normal again.  Does it really matter what other people thing?  No.  But before we judge someone, no matter what it is for, we need to remember that we have no idea what storms they have been made to walk through.

Welcome Back!

23 Nov

Oh how I have missed you!  Life went bonkers for a while and I had to put my little blog on the farthest back burner I have!  Let’s see, I lost my job almost a year ago, spent 6 months as a stay home mom during which time I discovered being a stay home mom is NOT for me!  I landed a new amazing job that I LOVE, however I am working full time for the first time since I was pregnant with Little C, and he’s 4 now so that was a big change for our family!  Trying to juggle working 40-50 hours a week, 2 kids in school, homework, chores . . . I ran out of time for myself let alone my little slice of heaven here in blogger land!  

Life has settled some and I have months and months of goodies to share! 

Here is what has gone on since we last chatted:

ImageLittle C started “school”.  Ok, he started going to daycare 3-4 days a week, but we call it school and he brings a back pack so he can feel like a big boy.

ImageBig A started 3rd grade (sniffle sniffle whimper) and he is doing AMAZING!  I swear that kid is going to be an engineer or something.  ImageLook at his Minecraft game he is making!  He is not allowed to play the actual game (they play it once in a while during free time at school but we won’t allow it at home)  He and a friend decided since neither of them are allowed to play the game, they would make their own! This is a work in progress, but I am so proud of him for being so imaginative!

ImageOur cats learned how to cook, which is great because I just don’t have time anymore!  See?  Gnocchi is tasting his delicious creation!  They like to help with homework too.  Very smart cats.  ImageImageBig A continues to be enamored with Legos.  Look at this incredible Lego train he built with NO instructions!  See?  Engineer for sure.

ImageMy poor Little C spent some time in the hospital a few weeks ago .  He was horribly sick and the doctors just could not figure out what was wrong with him.    They thought it was meningitis, which meant every doctor and nurse to enter his room had to wear a mask.  That was really frightening for Little C!  The worst part of the entire ordeal was having to watch, helplessly as he whimpered in pan,  As a mommy, that broke my heart.  Thankfully, he made a fll recovery and is back to be being his sassy little self again!

Image

 

Well, that sums it up for now I guess!  I promise it won’t be another 6 months before you hear from me again!

A Little Advertising

28 Apr

Remember back in February when I shared a painting I did for my friend, the author of the Winters Saga series?  Well she just launched a new website   promoting her books.  She is also publishing them as paperbacks now, previously they were only available on Amazon.com for Kindle and Cloud readers.

With the promotions of her newest title, Legacy due out in October, and the publishing of paperback versions of her books, this has been a very busy and exiting time for Karen!  AND check out what pops up on her website!  My painting!

150596_528774437154384_761760633_n61735_532533826778445_1096106705_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s fun to see my work pop up in other places around the web.  But it’s more fun to know that people really appreciate my work!

I’ve Been Busy!

22 Apr

Wheew, sorry folks!  I know I’ve been MIA, but I have a REALLY good reason!  We put our house up for sale and I have been spending 90% of my time cleaning, decluttering, sorting, donating . . . and the other 10% sleeping.

Selling your house is seriously a full time job!  Especially with 2 kids and 3 pets that make a lot of messes and clutter!  Putting your house on the market is so much more involved than just signing on with a realtor and sticking a sign in your yard.  You need to do your homework or you may as well not even list your house.  The weeks prior to our realtor coming over were spent comp shopping to decide on a competitive price, fixing things that needed fixing, and a massive purge and clean that made our house sparkle and shine!

Why did we purge and clean?  Well that’s a pretty simple question to answer.  You want your home to show off it’s bests assets, it’s size and functionality.  How can someone come in and decide if they want to live there, visualize their family living there, if you have nicknacs and pictures on ever wall and surface?  Any good realtor will tell you to take down all the personal affects and only leave out a few decorative touches.  You want to make it look like you don’t live there, like it’s staged.  And after going to a bunch of open houses, some of which were so cluttered I didn’t even know what room I was in, I think it’s safe to say that a tidy house will sell faster than a cluttered one.

We removed all of the personal photos from walls, shelves etc.  Over our mantle we hung a large mirror, and over our sofa we hung a nice piece of wrought iron artwork.  Speaking of artwork, you all know I love to paint . . . well I took down most of my paintings to show off the size of the rooms.  If there are too many things on the walls, they distract the eye.

In the boys rooms we put most of their stuff in storage, to showcase the rooms instead of the toys.  Same with the playroom, we put away a good chunk of the toys.  They still have plenty to play with, but it looks less busy.

Extra furniture was stored away as well, too much furniture makes a room look small.

So, those are a few of my tips for getting your home ready to sell!  I will keep you posted on the status of ours!

Beauty is in the Eye of the Flamingo

26 Mar

Handmade gifts are the best, right?  Don’t you love receiving a gift that someone you care about has painstakingly fabricated with their own two hands?  And it’s the thought that counts, even if you don’t totally adore the gift . . . right?

Muuwaaaahaaahaaa UNLESS the gift was made with pure malice and EVIL by your cunningly handy sister!  Muuwaaahaaaaahaaaa!  My friends, may I introduce to you . . .  My sister’s birthday present . . .

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A little back-story may be in order here.  My sister HATES pink flamingos.  She thinks they are the tackiest animal on the face of the earth.  So naturally, she despises those lovely plastic pink flamingos that grace the gardens and yards of home everywhere.  What’s worse than an ugly plastic flamingo?  A BEJEWELED plastic flamingo!

If you want to make one of your own, because well why the hell not, right?  All you need are an ugly plastic flamingo, 1500 crafts jewels, a LOT of hot glue, and a lot of patience.  This bad boy here took me about 6 hours to bejewel, and is the reason I no longer have finger prints.  And since I ended up with 2 of these flamingos, of course I HAD to make a 2nd one!  Any takers?  Hehehehe

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