Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sneaky Boy!

So this is TJ's new favorite activity-
He seems to patiently wait until I am busy with something (like moving laundry loads around) and he races upstairs to turn on the water and fill and dump whatever container he can find nearby. He is able to make a HUGE mess in seconds. Luckily he has yet to discover this dandy little gadget-
(Thank goodness!!!) (Knock on wood!!!)
So I really need to find some way to close off the opening and keep him out of the sink before I go crazy drying every surface on this side of my kitchen and the breakfast bar over and over every day. Because we are renting I have to be sure we can remove it without too much damage. I also want to still use the pass through. Looks like a trip to Home Depot or Lowe's is in my future.


Monday, March 28, 2011


Well after everything that has been going on, I was seriously sick as a dog on top of it. I am just now creeping back toward normal, but I now have sick kiddos to whom I passed my icky bug.
Our little guy had an ear infection that sent us to the new Urgent Care center yesterday and my Lilia has the absolutely horrible unrelenting cough I have been plagued by for the past few weeks. Hopefully she will have a more mild version than my own.
On top of that poor Hubby has Shingles! So I've been pretty occupied by illness lately.

Through it all we've been working some of the goodies from my in-law's place into our house. The decor is not entirely my taste, but just having things coordinated and decorated is making me happy. Switching things out for stuff I make or find will be easy. (especially once I convince my husband to abandon his idea of having any major input into the household decor! I just have a hard time taking seriously decor input from a man whose taste is best described as circa 1994 Bachelor Pad!)

You can see my "Before" post HERE

The computer desk now - Cleaned, decluttered, organized and decorated

The living room now- New (to us) super comfy furniture, an area rug and some tables from elsewhere in the house along with new (to us) lighting. I really love the lamp in the corner. My husband grew up with it in his house so it is even more special.

That pass through we didn't know what to do with - It has become a breakfast bar thanks to a perfectly fitting bar we weren't sure we would use at all. Now the space is used several times every day! I love it!
Do you hear the angels singing? (Hallelujah! Hallelujah!) I do every time I come down and see the improvement. I have even found it easy to stay on top of the messes. I enjoy seeing everything looking nice and not worrying about someone dropping in.

The amount of storage we gained with just a couple of pieces of furniture has made an enormous difference! It is surprising the difference a little bit of storage can make! I still have some work to do, but overall I am really happy with things.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our Little Angel

Play in joy and piece with your sister, Ivy, our sweet Winnie. You will always be in our hearts and minds.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My new mantra - Keep Calm and Speak Softly

Our house has been plagued with a nasty late winter cold - stuffy noses and congested coughs. My oldest brought it home a couple of weeks ago and it made its way through my husband and the little ones while I marveled that somehow I had escaped the cursed cold.

Of course the Cold Gods - always ready to prove their might, especially to smug humans like myself- descended upon me with a vengeance just as my little ones were getting better and sleeping blissfully through the night again. I was coughing and hacking up wads of grossness as my throat became sore and scratchy and my voice quickly disappeared to a faint whisper.

The thought of facing the day with three kiddos 5 and under with no voice to control the chaos was a bit frightening. I pictured my headstrong, curious, envelope-pushing kiddos running amok, laughing at my futile attempts to control their actions, as there was only one of me and three of them, which would give them ample opportunity to run wild without correction.

Now I admit probably yell too much. It is difficult not to when you are changing a poopy diaper on a toddler who wants to reach down and grab it while you attempt to clean his wriggling booty, your 5 year old is spending much too long in the bathroom with the water running (never, ever a sign of attentive hygiene practices, but rather, a forewarning of a huge mess) and you hear the piercing screams of your 3 year old from Lord-knows-where in the house for who-know-what reason. And that is just a one minute snippet from my typical day.
Multiply that times the 900+  minutes that make up my average day directly caring for my children, and the yelling happens.
Every day.
Too often.

So I was pretty much preparing for anarchy.

To my surprise, it never came. My kiddos were, for the most part calm and attentive. They listened, most often the first time, and when I did repeat myself, even several times, I  found myself calmer.
The soft whispery voice was magic.
"Did you notice how much better they are listening?" my husband noted.
It was true. The whole house was calmer. They were less combative and more cooperative. My frustration level wasn't escalating with the volume of my voice.
They didn't always like what I was asking them to do. (tv time is over, is usually a battle but today it was a softer, shorter protest)  It wasn't always ok. When we went for a walk, my daughter ran further ahead than I like crossing a driveway without looking, and I couldn't call her back or stop her easily.
But over all it was wonderful.
Bedtime even went more smoothly, once the kids accepted that mom just could not read the story tonight and bedtime songs were short and whispered instead of sung. There were far fewer "I can't get to sleep"s and "I just need a drink" requests and my littlest guy, still enamored with his ability to easily get out of his toddler bed, only ventured into our room once!

Today is day two. I still don't have a voice so we will see if it holds true again. So far it has.
This mom, has learned an important lesson -

(I'm going to print this and post it as a reminder all over my house!)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Getting Back on Track

This has been a difficult week and we still have more coming, with the funeral and my sister coming home from the hospital and needing extra help in the upcoming weeks.

I realize that if my own house is not in order and running smoothly I will not be of much help to anyone.
I am a person who does better under stress. I am really good at buckling down and focusing in stressful situations and cleaning and organizing is one of my go-to stress-relief projects. So I am going to take advantage of this extra focus and energy to make big strides here at home.

We have 2 birthdays coming up this week to celebrate- Amelie will turn 6 on Friday and TJ will turn 2 on Saturday.  I want to make sure they don't get lost in everything. We need some happy here.

Because the funeral arrangements are still pending and my sister will be needing extra help this week, we opted to postpone Ami's party a couple of weeks.

That is giving me extra time to make it even more special for her! I'll be posting some of the plans here soon. It is a rainbow theme and just what we need right now to cheer us up.
TJ won't be having a real party, but we will go do something fun with the family to celebrate his birthday.

Today we woke up to something completely unexpected - a heavy slushy snow covers everything!

The schools are still on though. They are already well over their snow-day limit. So we headed out early to get my oldest (at home) to school on time.
On our trek home I got started early on my good-deed-doing :-)

Traffic was horribly slow and backed up.
As we made our way through the mess, we passed a stuck, brand-new Lexus, its tires spinning uselessly on the slushy ice-snow mix, blocking one lane of a major section of road snarling traffic for some distance. The windows of the were darkly tinted and I couldn't see the person inside. 
Stopping would have meant blocking another traffic lane with my 3 little ones in the car.

So instead I did the only thing I could think of, I called my husband, a police officer in the city where the intersection is located, and let him know. He was finishing up an accident on the highway and apparently headed over to check things out right after I called.

Inside the car he found a sobbing, scared 16 yr old girl who had been given the car just 2 days before, (ok, I won't even get into who gives a 16yr old a brand new Lexus...) and didn't know how to work with a rear-wheel drive car in the snow. She was so happy to see my husband there to help her that she jumped out and hugged him! He maneuvered her car into a nearby church parking lot and had her wait in the sanctuary for her parents to pick her up since she was too shaken to drive. He called to let me know what had happened.
It definitely brightened a stressful and probably very long day for him to have someone so grateful and happy for his help - so it turned out doubly good.

I am off to start work on Home Sanctuary Challenge 2 -Paper Clutter - Which means my computer desk will be getting lots of attention this week!
Plus, I have a new place to store and organize some of the papers and things.
Remember this space?
Thanks to more things from my in-laws (Pottery Barn Roll Top Desk?  - Um, Yes Please!) and some things from my own stash of stuff I have begun to improve the space
I have more things to add (another round platter is waiting for another 3-m hanger) and I'm not entirely sure it will stay here permanently.
I really want a bench with storage underneath here, but for now it is definitely an improvement!

Friday, March 11, 2011

My week took a turn

I was having a pretty good week.
I was writing a blog post about my daughter's upcoming birthday party.
I was taking one of my many breaks from writing the post and discussing our closet with my husband in order to finish the first challenge in Project Simplify.
My phone rang downstairs. My daughter ran it up to me, but I missed the call.
It was my mom. I was still talking to my husband and readying to call her back when the phone rang again. It was my mom calling me right back.
I knew something was wrong.
I answered.
My mom said "We are on the way to the hospital. J (my middle sister, 30 weeks pregnant with her 6th child) is at the hospital and it doesn't look good."
"What doesn't look good? Is it J? Is it the baby?"
"I don't know," my mom said "That was all B (her husband) was able to get out when he called. We are just heading there."
"I'll meet you there" I said and hung up the phone, shaking.
"What's going on?" My husband asked again. As he had when I was on the phone.
"I don't know. It's J. I have to go to the hospital now. " I started getting my stuff together and calling my older daughters. I was upset and shaking.
"I'm driving you," my husband insisted "you're too upset to drive."
I knew I was fine to drive, but I let him take the lead. I wanted him there. And being a Police Officer, he was adept at maneuvering through rush hour traffic.
We gathered everyone into the car and headed to the hospital as I fielded calls from my older daughters.
I was worried that something had happened to my sister. Had she been in a car accident? Her office was downtown, but the hospital was in the west suburbs, so that was possible. The other possibility, that something had happened to the baby, I just couldn't fathom.
She had already been through the hell of one stillbirth, a girl they named Ivy, three and a half years ago. It had been devastating to her, her husband, their children and our family.
Then Their son R was born, five weeks after my own TJ. He was happy and healthy and the pregnancy had gone smoothly. His arrival seemed to help with their healing.
This pregnancy had been a huge surprise, but she was excited and planning happily for a shared nursery for the baby and older brother, R.
As with all of her pregnancies, my sister did not want to know the gender ahead of time.
As we pulled into the hospital my phone rang. It was my mother.
It was the baby.
I had a small sense of relief that my sister was ok physically.
She had not been in a horrible car accident, but she was in the middle of another devastatingly horrible experience.
I really did not know how she would handle going through this again.
I went to her room. I saw her husband first. I hugged him and told him how sorry I was. I didn't want to let him go. He, more than anyone, had never truly recovered from Ivy's death. He had been the one holding everyone else together. Only recently had he seemed willing to start really living his own life again.
I went to my sister. She was upset, but also resigned. They were going to do a C-section as they had done with Ivy. I held her and cried with her.
Soon the nurse came in and told us they were going to prep her for surgery so we went to the waiting room.
It was difficult holding my tears back while the other families in the waiting room celebrated the happy, healthy births of new members of their family. We would never have the chance to know this little one.
I had to keep busy doing something.
I remembered a post I had seen on Facebook.
It was a post by a good friend of mine who had also had a stillborn daughter within two weeks of my sister losing Ivy.
A photographer friend had joined a group called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, in honor of their daughter. It is an amazing organization that provides professional photographers, who have been specially trained, to families suffering child loss before or very shortly after birth. They come to the hospital and provide - free of charge- a photo session for families going through this horrible loss.
After a couple of tries I was able to reach the area coordinator. They already had a photography team at the hospital. They were doing a session with another family.
It stunned me that another family was at this very hospital going through this awful experience.
But it also meant that they would already be there and be available for my sister and her family. I gave the coordinator my sister's name, and they handled everything through her nurses.
Then we waited and waited.
My husband took my younger children home.
We finally saw them wheel my sister down the hall to the operating rooms. Her husband was with her.
We waited some more.
The nurses had closed the waiting room so our family was able to use it exclusively. Soon the room that she would be brought to after recovery was ready and we went to wait there so we could free up the waiting room for other families.
We waited.
Family members came and left.
We finally saw her husband.
He and my sister had been spending time with the photographers and he came to get their 4 older children to be a part of the session as well.
Their daughter, Guinevere Romini, was born asleep. She was shockingly large for 30 weeks gestation, at 9lbs 9oz.
The doctors had no answers, that may come later.
Soon we were able to go in to meet, and say goodbye to,Guinevere.
She was lovely, with thick black hair and chubby cheeks.
I held her tiny body wrapped in a pink fleece blanket.
I cried.
I cried for this little girl we would never know
Who would never experience all the love and fun her family has to offer a little one
I cried for her mom and dad, who were experiencing a devastation that a parent should not experience once, much less twice.
I sat with her mom as others held the baby.
"V said,"she told me, referring to her 8 year old daughter, "That at least Guinevere has Ivy to play with in heaven."
It takes the innocence of a child to find the ray of comfort in this impossibly sad situation.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Tsh, over at Simple Mom, is leading the charge to simplify and organize our 5 most dreaded spaces with her Project Simplify.

The project starts today and lasts for 5 weeks. You have a week to work on the assigned space and we will be posting our before and after pictures on Fridays so there is plenty of time to sign up and get started!
And yes, I am a bit petrified of posting those "before" pictures! I'll feel a lot better looking at the "after"!

This weeks assignment - Your wardrobe and closet!

I have already sorted through to get rid of what I know I don't want, and although I did it about 6 months ago, I found I had an entire bag full of clothes to donate! (our donation site prefers bags to boxes)
Now the hard part (for me)- trying everything on and realizing what works - and what doesn't work and getting rid of what doesn't -  no matter how much it might hurt!

So head on over and join me in getting simplified!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Few Changes

Last week after a fit of frustration with all the impossibly picture perfect houses I was seeing on blogs, I wrote my own little personal rant and to make a point, I ended with  pictures of my horribly messy house.

I posted them here on my little bloggy blog

And all was fine, because so few people read my blog it didn't matter (and many of those that do have met the mess in person.)
Then I joined some linky parties without really thinking about it.
Then thought about it
and realized that complete strangers would be gawking at the atrocity that was my computer desk, living room, dining room and, well, most of the first floor of my house.
Oh the horror!
I really, really, double truly wished that the internet had an "Undo" button!

But no such button made an appearance.
 So I was most and truly stuck with the situation.

And people came and they looked
And they left very sweet comments
Commiserating and sympathizing with me!
And I was buoyed by them.

Inspired to get off my keister, I made some changes.
Everything was cleaned and decluttered.

The poor bathroom, though not messy, was ever so dreary and sad.

I had to do something with it.
I made plans

Then my dear, sweet, son decided to flush my cell phone (and, in turn, all my crafting and decorating money) down the toilet. 

I must point out, I was NOT home at the time. My husband was in charge.
I was driving, phone-less, to take my 17 year old daughter to school.
The same daughter who a few minutes earlier had desperately wailed, "Mom, do you really need your phone for a 15 minute drive!?" when I turned around to go in and get it, because she was afraid she would be late if I had to run in and search it out (and rightly so, that old thing was always and forever hiding from me!)
So I returned home after my 15 minute phoneless drive to the sad news of my phone's watery end from my husband and an adorable hug and apology from my sweet little guy.
I looked at it's little taken-apart-attempting-to-dry-out plastic techcass (I suppose that would be the techie version of carcass)
For a moment I hoped against hope it might be able to be revived.
I soon realized it was not to be.
It was time to call TOD.

My husband, being overly generous, a confirmed gadget junkie, and feeling more than a bit guilty, insisted that we go out and get a new phone as soon as the stores opened.
I was in no mood to deal with all the choices and salespeople.
So I actually encouraged him go - all by himself.
He left and returned home rather quickly.
(almost too quickly for a man who had dozens of choices and loads of features to consider- if I were the suspicious type I just might believe my angelic-looking little boy was a scapegoat in my husband's grand plan to tech-i-fy me. Except that we have a hopelessly clogged toilet to prove my little cherub's love for flushing things) 

He was pleased as punch with his extravagant replacement.  He even offered to finish the dishes so I could check out all its lovely features  

(hmmm...more suspicious behavior...Perhaps my Miss Marple-like detective skills are spot on... )

And that is the story of how I became a (reluctantly) happy owner of a new IPhone
and an empty crafting/decorating budget.

Poor little bathroom would have to wait until the coffers refilled.

Then my in-laws called and told us they needed to clear out of the condo they had recently sold here in St. Louis and would we want anything?
Luckily, my mother-in-law has lovely taste!
There were bunches of things that we decided to use, many of which will be appearing here in the upcoming weeks, but this is what I was able to throw together in that poor little bathroom this afternoon.
The only things not recycled from my in-laws place were the black wicker laundry basket and the pictures on the wall.  I found perfect prints at The Graphics Fairy and I put them in frames I already had.

It's still progressing
But at least now it is a bit prettier and more welcoming.
And I have a fancy-shmancy-brand-spankin' new Iphone.
(with Adele's new CD already on it! Happy, Happy!!!)

I'm linking this up with The Company Girls!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You've Been Deputized.

March Madness needs help to keep it under control!

March surely is an aptly named month!
Getting ready for Spring to unfold is a lot of work!
(March, march, march along! Clean that! Open that! Pack up those! Plant that! Paint those! Sew that! Atten-hut!)

We are I am attempting a real change in how our household operates and over this next month. I will be implementing lots of little changes that I am hoping will add up to one big change in how things run around here.
I have been busily prepping for this change over the last month or so.

My family is well aware of my plans and they are mostly on board, but I think they are really expecting me to give up and just let things be the way they always have.

I am determined to bowl them over with my resolve and follow through!

This is where this little bloggy blog and you, my bloggy friends, come in ~

I need some help to accomplish this goal

I know myself - after a week or so I will have a rough day or two when, for some reason or another, things don't get done and then I will get behind, feel overwhelmed by it all, and just give up.

I need someone out there to hold me accountable.

So here is the challenge, if you choose to accept it-

I am going to list a bunch of goals over there in that little sidebar thingy doober. I am going to list my progress in posts and on the list. If you see me losing my motivation would you pretty please send me a little kick to get me going again in the right direction again?


I hereby solemnly deputize you to be my official motivational
Keister Kicker

I know you are up for for the challenge!

Now I am off to get to work and make your job easy