When Refinishing Turns Into Renovating

If I were a better blogger or could stuff one more thing into my days or slow down long enough to get my thoughts straight you would know that we are still living with my parents. You'd know that our original plan to paint, refinish floors, and replace windows was merely the entrance into our home renovation rabbit hole. Now we're pretty much gutting the house... Not much in this house will go untouched.

We didn't have a choice. Once you open walls you can't just let certain things go. Once you learn about the previous owner you can't just un-learn that they were basically your worst nightmare. Once you imagine your kids in the house you realize you were totally insane to think any of it could wait.

Once you jump down the rabbit hole there is no turning around. So, we're all in. ALL in. It's major. It's been more than two months since we took possession of the house and we've got about three weeks before we move in. We're on our second dumpster. The big dumpsters.

So, every night I've been choosing paint colors and counter tops and pulls and windows and glass doors and light fixtures and toilets and sinks and tile and newel posts and faucets and cabinets and appliances and shower doors and trim and baseboards and door knobs and furnaces and other things I can't even remember choosing. And then I sit and do the math all over again. Because when I said we're renovating I meant it. Just you wait and see!


Chicago Parent's New Voice: Yours Truly

Because I don't have enough going on... And because I am so good about updating this here blog often... And because I've been really awesome with blogging deadlines... Right?!?

But, really, I'm super excited for this opportunity. I love Chicago Parent. And I love that I'm part of their community now!

My first post? All about our praying mantis named Pray who is now dead. But will live on forever in our hearts. Well, mine at least.


What's Wrong With You?!?!

"What's wrong with you?" I hate that phrase. HATE. IT.

Yet, I hear myself say it to the kids and I want to slap myself. It hurts my heart when I say it and all I can think is: "Shit. Why did I say that?!?!" Matt says it, too. I don't know who started it, but it's the worst thing ever.

I try to be aware of the things that come out of my mouth when it comes to the kids. I constantly worry about the little things that will get lodged in the pockets of their brains and become memories. I worry that the bad things could outweigh the good. I know that words count so much more than actions. I can still remember things adult said to me that stung when I younger. So, I try so hard to remind them of how good they are, how beautiful and loved and smart they are every chance I get. I cover them hugs and kisses. But it doesn't erase those times I scream "What is wrong with you?!?!"

When they throw a tantrum or knock something over or just will not put on their shoes when we have to go. When they won't get in the car seat or flip over the laundry basket I just folded. What's wrong with them? They're kids.

They might not be scarred by it, but I am. I never want them to feel that there is anything wrong WITH them. Something might be wrong in general. They might feel sick or sad or bored or lost a toy. But that is a different question and that's not what I'm asking, but should be.

Really, the better question is what's wrong with me... And the answer is I'm stressed, tired, distracted, overwhelmed, running late, not paying attention enough to intervene, and dealing with a million other emotions and distractions that run through my head every day.

So, from here, let's consider it deleted. Today, September 19, 2013, I banish that phrase from my house. How about you join me?

What phrases do you say that you wish you could erase from your vocabulary?

A controlling mother, a missing daughter, and a family who is desperate for love. This post was inspired by the the psychological thriller Mother, Mother by Zoren Zailckas. Join From Left to Write on September 19 as we discuss Mother, Mother.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


Moments That Didn't Matter Until I Read "Raising My Rainbow"

We have a specific type of sippy cup that we use in our house. It is the only brand that doesn't spill and doesn't have any parts other than a lid and a cup. Stores are always running low and the last time I went to Target they only had the Cinderella cups. None of the Lightning McQueens. None of the Toy Story guys. Just Cinderella. With pink tops. I had two boys at the time. I stared for a moment. Picked them up, put them back, picked them back up again and turned it around in my hands.

Then I said to myself: Who cares? And threw them in my cart. No one seemed to notice. My boys still use them.


W loves his super heroes. And he has been spoiled by almost everyone, so has the large action figures. The other day I asked him which of the super hero dolls he had. He stared at my blankly... "Mom, they're not dolls."

"Oh, sorry, they're super heroes."

"They're action figures. Girls have dolls, mom."

"It's ok. Boys can play with dolls if they want to, you know."

"Girls play with dolls, mom."

"Plenty of girls like super heroes. That's what's great about being a kid, you can play with whatever you want."

"And you can't when you're old?" he asked.


W has always been physically timid, doesn't really care about sports, still struggles when it comes to catching, throwing, kicking. I don't care.

B is naturally agile and quick. He was born coordinated and ready to pick up sports. He's fearless and determined. He's drawn to watching older boys play baseball or riding bikes. People always remark that he's "all boy." It's supposed to be a compliment. But, what's the opposite?

This post was inspired by the memoir Raising My Rainbow by Lori Duron as she shares her journey raising a gender creative son. Join From Left to Write on September 5 as we discuss Raising My Rainbow.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review.