Tuesday, August 30, 2011


We have a lot of stuff.
We have a small house.
And we try to cram our lot of stuff in that small house and it makes everything more difficult. It makes less room in the small house, and less stuff actually accessible to us. So therefore... I would say 80% of the STUFF we have we don't use. No good.
I want to get rid of the un-used stuff so we have more room to get to and to use the usable stuff.
This however, is not an easy task. Taking a large amount of time to sort through and decide what we should part with sounds neither appealing nor glamorous... and also really frustrating and mundane, to be truthful.
So in the mean time, I have a new method to deal with it. It's my one for one method. It won't truthfully help to cut down on the amount of stuff we have. It will help control the accumulation of more stuff ON TOP OF the stuff we already have. It's pretty simple and straightforward and it goes like this:
For every new item we bring into our home, we must get rid of something.
This is easy as pie when you are replacing consumable or worn out/broken objects. A few examples:
  • Z got new running shoes, threw out the old muddy garden shoes. (his old running shoes are the new mud shoes... but we have the same number of shoes in the house to fulfilling the same purpose.)
  • Z got new undershirts, because his old ones were dingy and hole-y. Old undershirts were discarded. (actually, they were used as rags for staining and glazing furniture, then discarded. Lest you think I would toss something useful.)
It's a bit harder when you aren't replacing something, but here are some examples:
  • Z bought several new books and video games with birthday money, but sorted out about 30 books from a bookshelf that he took to 1/2 price books. (bonus-- sold them and got about $50 out of the deal)
  • I got a new serger for my B-day (Eeks! sooooo excited) and I am getting rid of the carpet cleaning machine that (sadly) no longer works (but we kept around hoping it might some day).
  • I am thinking of spending some birthday $$ on a food processor... which will eliminate a salad shooter (yup, i actually have 2 of these-- straight from the 90's with all the attachments in perfect working condition. Wait-- why do I have two???) and immersion blender attachments from my kitchen cabinets. (do I get a bonus points for getting rid of multiple items???)
I know, it's technically not cutting down on the amount of STUFF in our house. But the new rule is a step in the right direction. Z seems okay with it too. Probably because thinking one thing at a time is a lot better option (for both of us) than thinking... you need to clean out the basement.
My hope is that it will create a sort of equilibrium in our house, teach us to use and value the things that we have, and keep you from seeing us on an episode of hoarders in a few years. :)
Soooooo... would anyone like a salad shooter???

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

BBABL Update

Yesterday I said to Z: "I know we can't wait for Baby P to get here, but I am kinda glad we still have 'til December when he will arrive."
It's one of those things... days are dragging on monotonously, but time is just flying by faster than I can count. And we can't wait for the day we hold our little one in our arms for the first time, but are desperately trying to have everything ready for something we won't ever have enough time to prepare for.
Anyway, I said it because I feel like there are still a ton of things I want to do before he arrives and ties up our 'spare time' for the next 18-ish years. Also, there is still much prep for him, but yesterday I was thinking mostly selfishly: I want to complete some things for me.
And I have a few things on my BBABL (Before Baby Arrives Bucket List) that I have completed. I am quite proud. Here's what it looks like now: (comments in green)

1. Purchase prints of engagement and wedding photos and hang in house. (actually, I got a REALLY good deal on some canvases from THIS website...  highly recommend!
2. Re-paint that chunk of red wall in the kitchen that never got hit after the bathroom remodel.
3. Train dogs to stay off furniture.
4. Create Recipe Book of Z approved meals for easy access.
5. Replace grungy, stinky living room rug. Didn't actually replace it... but cleaned it to a less stinky state, that might be liveable, so I am marking it off for now.
6. Finish upholstering zebra chair.
7. Teach Z to make a few simple meals. Really havn't done a lot of teaching, but he has been takign care of about one meal a week, which has honestly been really nice. He can rock pasta, grilled cheese, tacos, and quesadillas. So thats a good start.
8. Romantic getaway with Z. We leave soon for a romantic evening at a fancy hotel... followed by some road tripping to see fam.
9. Get my keyboard from parent's attic and set up/accessible in my house -- play piano or sing a little bit at least a couple times a week.
10. Tame the paper monster in the office/basement, get a filing system in place for important documents and bills. I got halfway there, I piled it in one place, cleaned out the filing cabinet, made folders and lebels... and now I just need to file.
11. Sort through clothes and shoes and get rid of torn, faded, stained, and too small stuff I don't wear anymore.
12. Do more reading for fun -- I'll give myself a goal of completing at least 2 more novels before Dec. (Don't judge, I am a ridiculously slow reader!) Halfway through Novel #1. Woot. Remember I read slow.
13. Invite friends and family over for dinner... dessert... or even just coffee at our house so I can participate in that oh-so-fulfilling practice of hospitality. Had fam over for dinner, girls night the other night, and plans to have some friend over in the the next couple weeks, I don't know if I should mark this off, becuase it's kind of an ongoing thing... but I like to mark things off, so I am going to.
14. Complete Christmas shopping (it'll have to be done early this year).
15. Memorize Scripture passage (was supposed to be my summer project, opps.) Started...
16. Actually SEND the gifts I made for friends MONTHS ago. Um... yeah. The baby I made gifts for is officially here. I should get on that.

And... I have another one to add to my list:
17. Refinish sewing cabinet. (my parents scored a really cool old sewing cabinet from some friends for $0!!! it's kind grubby and ugly, but I see potential. I am excited to fix her up!)

Sooo... I've got my work cut out for me over the next couple months, but i feel good about the progress I've made on my list. Plus, the Baby room is slowly coming together... which makes me heart happy. :) Check back with me in a few...

Friday, August 19, 2011


Z went on what I would consider a very successful man-date yesterday. I was having some girls over for a movie night, so I kicked him out of the house and told him he needed to find a guy to hang out with and do guy stuff. He seemed sheepish about asking, so I plowed ahead and asked an acquaintance at our church for him this previous Sunday. In retrospect, I probably should have let him do it, but I was afraid he never would, and Z needs guy friends to hang out with. Anyway, arrangements were made and yesterday afternoon he left for his man-date-- an afternoon fishing with a buddy. Very manly.
Last night when Z finally got home after 10:00 he was all kinds of excited. He spent the next couple hours rattling off all kinds of stories about his new BFF and telling me all about why they were a perfect match and it just seems like fate wants them to be best friends, and even their wives are very similar so the couple pairing is pretty much a dream team, and this is going to be great! I just laughed at him. He was positively giddy to have a guy friend again. I haven't seen him this smitten since Caleb left.
Speaking of Caleb... whenever he was around, Z used to get all defensive when I would say 'man-date'. "It's not a date, we are just hanging out. Don't call it a date." The word 'bromance' was strictly forbidden. Either he has gotten over himself or I have worn him down or something because Z didn't seem to blink when I talked about his 'man-date' this week. In fact, last night after he got home I asked him if they had talked about getting together to 'jam' (as this has always been the ultimate, unattainable quality in a friend for Z... someone to 'jam' with.) And he said, "Nah, that's really not a first date kind of topic. Maybe the second or third date."
I laughed at his joke, and he did too. But I felt a small twinge of pride. Yup, I wore him down.
Okay seriously now, all joking about awkward male relationship terms aside...
Before we even got married Z and I talked a lot about the importance of maintaining relationships outside of our marriage. Obviously the marriage is the first and most important relationship in both our lives... But we also recognize that it's important to one's emotional and spiritual health to maintain relationships with other family members, personal friends, and couples.
We have been pretty successful with the family side of things... but friends, especially for Z, became kind of a hardship. Right before, or shortly after our wedding all of Z's good friends moved out of the area-- for different reasons. Several of them were married, some were not, but that took most of our 'couple friends' our age and pretty much all of Z's guy friends that he hung out with regularly.
And we haven't been hermits, there are a few people that we hang out with somewhat regularly, but I know that Z has especially been missing that 'best friend' connection-- or just a guy to hang out with, you know without it being a big deal. (do you like how awkward this is? Here's me trying to not over-feminize a conversation about a male relationship and not really being terribly successful. All I know is that everyone, male or female, desires that reliable, close, honest, best friend relationship... and you can call it a million different things, and we joke about it because our culture doesn't really value that kind of vulnerability... but whatever. Bottom line is... everyone needs it. It's important.)
Anyway, I know my husband is excited and happy to have new guy-friends in his life, and possibly a new BFF (he loves it when I use junior high girly terms like that). It also makes me happy to see him fulfilled and happy... and I am especially happy that because he has a guy friend now-- I will never have to go fishing or camping.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dad's Home!

Every night when Z gets home from work the boys go NUTS. They hear his car pull up and wait at the door crying. Once he opens it they start jumping about and barking and wiggling and whining joyously until they get a little attention from their Dad. They love their dad. I kinda get the feeling that they wait around all day for Z to get home so they can get their few moments of attention and snuggle time once he sits down.
Last night, I wasn't feeling so hot. I was laying on the bed when Z got home. I heard the boys start to whine, then the door opened downstairs and Z came in. I smiled as I heard him greeting the dogs. He came right up to our room and as soon as he walked through the door and said "Hey," Baby P--who had been pretty still all day--starting kicking and rolling around like CRAZY. Strong kicks. stronger than usual. Z sat down on the bed next to me and we chatted for a few minutes while kiddo continued to kick around. I laughed and told Z that his child was going crazy.
He sighed... because he hasn't been able to feel Baby P kick yet. (I kinda think he doesn't really believe I am feeling him move, since he hasn't been able to yet.)
"Can I feel him move yet?" he asked.
I don't know...??? It's worth a try. I grabbed his hand and placed it on my belly. Of course, the kid immediately went still. We sat quietly for a few moments.
"He's not moving now, I'm sorry." I said.
"It's okay..." Z said. But at the sound of his dad's voice Baby gave a timid kick.
"Wait-- did you feel that???"
And this huge, giddy smile spread across Z's face.
"I think I did!" and then Baby P kicked again harder... "Was that him?"
Yup. That's him.
He was so excited. Well, actually, I am pretty sure they both were.
We reached the point in pregnancy a few weeks ago where baby can supposedly 'hear' us, and start to recognize our voices. While that's a charming sentiment, I didn't put much stock in this claim because it seemed a little silly-- like something made up by over enthusiastic parents trying too hard to make up a connection with their unborn child. But... now I am thinking there is some validity to it.
It COULD just be coincidence.
But it seemed to me like Baby P was responding to his Dad's voice last night. It seems like, just like the boys, he got SUPER excited when dad got home. Like he started wiggling around and showing off just to get a little attention and snuggle time from his dad.
And... I don't think Z minded. In fact, I think he quite enjoyed finally getting some attention from his son. The smile on his face made me giddy too. It makes this Mama's heart happy that my boys-- ALL my boys-- love their Dad so much. And that my Dear Husband loves his boys-- the furry, needy ones, and the little one kicking for attention from my belly. :)
What a sweet day!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Nursery Prep Update

Remember THIS LIST?
Well, now it looks like this:

1. Clean out basement to make space for 'guest bedroom'
2. Move guest bed to basement
3. Remove all clothes and items from guest bedroom closet and dresser
4. Sand and paint all furniture for nursery.
5. Line all drawers
6. Assemble Crib scheduled for 9/12 delivery and set up
7. Build more shelving in nursery closet this weekend! 8/14
8. Paint nursery this weekend! 8/13
9. Select and purchase rug for nursery
10. Select and purchase rocker/glider/chair for nursery
11. Select and purchase fabric/linens for nursery
12. Sew curtains for window and closet 'door'
13. Sew bedding, baby quilt
14. Decide on other decor/accessories to purchase/make/register for
15. Hang all pictures/artwork/shelving, Move in all clothing and care items, put all toys and other personal items in place.
16. Show Baby P his new room!

Okay, so there is a little fib. You know how #4 claims that I have sanded and painted all furniture for the nursery... well... I have. I just... still have to put on the top coat. Tonight. this stupid project is one I mistakenly thought I could tackle in about 3 days (sand day 1, paint day 2, reassemble and enjoy a lemonade on the patio day 3). HA. 3 weeks later... well, you see, the sanding took longer than I predicted. I mean, I am still working full time so I only have about an hour or two to devote to this project every night... once you calculate in the number of breaks I have to take because the up and down and the fumes and the dust can make me sick really fast! Anyway... once the sanding was done, it was a coat of primer... and a 4 hour dry time before painting. Then 3 coats of chocolate brown paint, a light sanding and a final coat-- each of those with a 4 hr dry time in between. Then glazing... so it looks kinda better than fake wood painted brown. And it does look good... but now it needs a hard protective top coat. Which claims to might take 3 coats to cover... SIGH.
At least my husband took pity on me after I had a pregnant breakdown a few days ago. (okay, lets not lie I have a pregnant breakdown every day... look my kid likes to lay on my spine so my sciatic nerve thing is going nuts, and I never claimed to be tough cookies.) So he helped me finish the painting and glazing technique last night. (He held a lamp because that room is stupid dark, and said... "a little more there... and fix that there... " while I was trying to get the faux technique to look perfect. He also cleaned up my mess when I dumped an entire cup of glaze on the floor in the middle of the dresser top.) So now all that's left to do is the *expensive* safecoat so our kid doesn't die from toxic paint and off-gassing. That is, if he doesn't already have flippers from the all fumes I've been sucking while painting.
(Okay, I wore a mask to minimize hazards. You know I am paranoid about having a flipper child though.)
So tonight I am going to safecoat the furniture, and I will stay up 'til dawn to finish the stupid thing if I have to... because that's how dedicated I am.  And while I am happy with the results, this whole thing has made me realize that I never ever ever want to refinish furniture again. Ever.
This weekend we are painting the room a soothing blue, tropical lagoon, and the closet a peppy green, spring leaf. 'We' meaning, I am making Z do it... and my dad is going to build us some shelving for our closet. And lest you think I am skipping out on the painting projects this weekend, rest assured I am not. I fully intend to take myself and get a pedicure while dear husband is painting the nursery on Saturday.
I know. It's a tough life, but I am fully dedicated to this project.

If you are interested in my 'Baby Space Design' ideas and plans... you can check out these posts from my other blog:
Baby Space Design: Part I
Baby Space Design: Part II
Baby Space Design: Part III
It's slightly more interesting than listening to me complain about painting.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I work with hillbillies and all about buying expensive baby junk

I have mentioned before that the people I work with are certifiably crazy. I have mentioned before that the people I work with are dirty hillbillies. I imagine that you, my faithful reader, aware of my love for hyperbole (used strictly as literary device to make my strong opinions clear) may have written these accusations off as more of my excited ramblings.
Today, while sitting in my office minding my own business, I witnessed a lengthy conversation about how to make your own moonshine in your kitchen. How to rig the whole thing up with a pressure cooker and (this is an exact quote) 'some copper tubing taken off a job site.' This conversation took place IN. MY. OFFICE. In the middle of the work day.
Hillbillies. Dirty ones. It's official. Making moonshine in your kitchen with stolen copper tubing official.
First of all, EW.
Second, EWWWWW, why do I work here???
Third, anyone know of opening in a non-hillbilly operated business open immediately? I feel as though i have had all the moonshine chat I can handle for... the rest of my life.

On a mostly not related note, I went garage sale-ing with my mom on Saturday. We went to some shaaaaaady sales in g-town. I'm talking shady. They are probably cousins/married to the hillbillies I work with. Then we stopped by a friend's house who was having a garage sale, and scored an extra base for our carseat for $5. (they are $60 to purchase new from the store.) Normally, I would be against purchasing items such as carseats used, just because you never know if the item has been in an accident or has in some other way been compromised. I felt confident purchasing it from my friend, as I trust her and she said it had never been in an accident and she is a very clean person and excellent mother.
Second hand safety items from trusted friend = okay.
Second hand safety items from hillbilly stranger = just say no.
Actually, it doesn't have to be a hillbilly (that's just my theme today) I wouldn't recommend second hand safety items like a carseat or base from any stranger... even if they have all their teeth.

On the tail end of my car seat bargain, we decided to spent a buttload of money on a fancy upholstered glider/rocker for our nursery. I kept going back and forth on whether or not I was willing to spend that kind of money on it... but I was having an 'it's okay to splurge with money we did save for this specific purpose' kind of day, so I told Z we should go shopping. I set us a budget that I thought was on the high side of reasonable, but we quickly discovered we would be hard pressed to stay within that budget for what we were wanting. In fact the first store we went to... the cheapest chair they had (which we did like well enough) was sill going to put us over that budget, and that was before tax, and all the protection plan they would try to sell you 'becuase your kid will probably puke on it'. SIGH.
Store number two. Cheaper prices... lower quality... but still found something that we liked, coming in just a little under our budget but tax and 'your kids gonna puke on it' plan would take us to just above our budget. I sighed, but decided we wouldn't find anything cheaper (trust me, I have searched tirelessly) so lets just do it.
So we did. they totalled up our ticket-- just over our budget, as predicted. We took the ticket to the front to pay, and SURPRISE!
There was a mystery sale price that rung up that the sales person apparently didn't know about or didn't tell us about. And because the 'your kids gonna puke on it' plan was based on a price point, the sale price took that cost down as well... and our 'just over budget' rocker came in at about $100 UNDER budget. And I didn't sigh and feel frustrated about the amount anymore, but strutted out of the store like a ROCKING CHAIR BUYING ROCK STAR.
Because that's pretty much what I am.
(And I guess Z can be too if he wants... because he let me get the chunky corduroy upholstery which is super soft and I am a little bit tooooooo excited about.)

So, just to summarize this post (heck I could have saved you a bunch of reading): If you make moonshine you are a hillbilly and I might be your co-worker. Don't put your child's safety in the hands of a stranger, even if they have all their teeth. Z and I bought a chair and are rock stars.
That is all.