Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kitchen Update

... I wondered if no one liked my post... then I figured out I didn't actually HIT POST!

I'm pretty proud of myself this week... I set out to make some decisions re: the kitchen, and to get Miss M's closet all arranged for the fall/winter.

I managed to finish:

  1. A flowchart of tasks created to complete the kitchen!  YAY!
    1. I have a checklist of people to call  +1 point
    2. I have to have a checklist to remember all the people to call  -1 point
  2. All of Miss M's Fall clothes are sorted and hung up as necessary!  +1 point !
    1. I culled out all her 18 mo clothes!  +1 point !
    2. I still need to cull her clothes so there are WAY less outfits for me to manage - 1 point Boo Hiss!
    3. However, everything is hung by season (still Summer, early Fall, Late Fall, Winter).  +1 point !
  3. My office files are ALMOST all sorted into 1 external hanging folder. 
    1. Why does this matter you ask?  I can get rid of a large filing cabinet that no longer works with my life or decor. It is storing a LOT of extra baggage, but very little useful material.
    2. I am able to find my key documents, and possibly get them into my fire-resistant file box.
    3. I feel like I know where my towel is. :)
  4. Putting some of my cooking equipment back in the kitchen, because it is going to be another 3+ weeks before the new cabinets are ready. I'm so done living out of boxes.
  5. Almost done making 3 major decisions - feel free to comment:
    1. What color should the walls be? 
      1. I like a French Country look... I'm leaning either:
        1. Blue, light yellow, with some Red
        2. The current apple green.
        3. Yellow with Red and green accents
    2. Wood or vinyl tile in the kitchen?  It is an eat-in kitchen, very large.
    3. What kind of counter-top material to get. (I am not a fan of granite, it is pretty, but I drop things too often - hate the breakage).
On to another week!

  • I plan to schedule a quote for getting a new gas line (new stove). 
  • Finalize plans for the flooring.
  • Break open a wall to find out how deep my new pantry will be.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Testing, Testing! Anyone out there still have me on their blogroll?

Hey Guys!  I'm back!

I think I might have finally adjusted to being a Mom of Two. Only took 1 yr 9 mos. Not so bad, considering.

So, I'm starting up the home improvement projects, trying to put my life back together a bit. I've let the house get a bit out-of-control, and in doing so have found that I am a bit overwhelmed. I feel like the walls are pressing in on me, and I'm unable to think/move/do anything but be stressed about it.

So, I'm working on de-cluttering, which is helping with my state of mind. I'm finding more energy, and I'm less interested in being a slug.

Here are the things on the agenda for the next few weeks:

Redo the kitchen, as the result of a minor flood from the dishwasher.
  1. Get the kitchen dry - completed
  2. Get bids from 3 contractors to repair/replace the cabinets
  3. Get kitchen designs from cabinet retailers, just in case we are replacing the kitchen 
  4. Pick a new floor type - wood or vinyl, no ceramic for me
  5. Get flooring bids for wood and vinyl tile
  6. Decide if I want to take the opportunity to change the wall color
  7. Convince myself that now is a good time to paint the ceiling
  8. Rip out an existing Pantry and non-load bearing wall to make more overall counter space
  9. Pick a counter top material/finish
  10. Learn how to feed my family well without a kitchen (no oven, no cooktop, and only a tiny bit of cabinet and counterspace)
  11. Come to terms with 4 - 6 more weeks without a kitchen
Repair the Foundation:
Water damage on the OTHER end of the house, unrelated, has caused settling of the foundation. sigh. We have had a structural engineer look at the damage and make a recommendation.
  1. Get bids from 4 contractors
  2. Choose a contractor
  3. pay a bazillion dollars
  4. Hope my house doesn't fall down during the repairs.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Has the light gone out? No, it's just Raised Higher

Today I lost a very, very dear friend. She was my "2nd Momma" when I was young. Then again, I think she was everyone's Momma that would let her take on the role, but she had a special gift for making you feel like she was there for YOU!  Every time I have gotten a promotion I've thought, boy would Rose be proud. When someone says I'm a good leader of "Brainstorming" sessions, I know that came directly from Rose. When I needed to choose a name for my daughter, I tried Rose with each name to see if it would fit as a middle name. My Grandmother's name won the spot in the end, but it took a coin-toss to settle it. THAT is how much this lady meant to me.

My Rose, my sweet wonderful Rose passed from this Earth on Mother's Day. I found out this morning before work. It was so hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other. So hard to keep calm and carry on for my 2 babies that expect me to care for them and get them safely to daycare. I couldn't break down and lie in the floor. So I kept moving.  I dropped them off at daycare and I kept moving. I was so numb.

On the way to the office I started smiling and crying...  it hit me that yeah, I can be sure I do believe in Heaven. You know why? Because I know for certain that Rose is so happy right now. She's in heaven. She's with her youngest daughter Amy, and it has been SO LONG since they've seen each other. I can just hear Amy saying, "Momma, what kept you so long! I was waiting!".  I'll bet they had a glorious reunion - heaven just got better, if you can imagine that being possible.  :)

Let me tell you about Rose, so you will understand...

Rose loved me. She loved me with all her heart. She didn't love me because she had to, but because she wanted to. When she said "one of my girls" I knew that included me.

Rose was the leader of our Girl Scout Troop from the time I was in Brownies to when I finally gave up being a Scout in High School. She and her cohorts put us through every imaginable craft and life-skills activity you can imagine. If you could make it out of paper, popcicle sticks, yarn, glue, wax, soap, or mud - we made it! Our troop fluxuated from 26 to 10 or so... This woman lead whoever would follow through camping, horseback riding, crossing swinging bridges (this was a re-occuring trial of note), thunderstorms, camp fires, haunted houses, parades, community performances, and volunteering. Oh man, did we volunteer.

Habitat for Humanity gets my time, not because I'm so inherently giving, but because Rose taught me how wonderful it is to give. She taught me to jump in, to get involved, to be there for someone without them having to ASK!  

Rose, if you can hear me, I'M BUILDING HOUSES!!! For OTHERS!!! BECAUSE OF YOU!!!

Rose was a force, let me tell you. How she managed to raise her two daughters, and take on whatever kid wanted to spend the night, plan all these events, and still have the energy to lead our troop of hoodlums... I'll never understand it. We weren't her only charges either - she had her church-home that she gave JUST as much energy to.

I have always admired Rose. I have 2 kids, and I can't imagine having anywhere near that ability to get it all done. She not only took on everything, but she also did with Syle. Her style.  She ruled the roost too! You'd see one of us girls get a little too crazy and she'd set us straight! She'd come in yellin' "Girl's! Now that's about enough, get laid down and go to sleep!".  Then again, I guess she was just as likely to let us go right on being silly. How, she could get 14 girls ready to leave the house with only 2 bathrooms, I don't know, but she did - I didn't say we'd make it ON TIME, but we'd make it just the same.

Oh boy... On Time. Ha!  There wasn't "On Time" there was "Rose Time". She'd always show up, just when you thought you'd misunderstood where you were supposed to meet for an event she was leading. She'd show up with everything ready to go, both her girls, and move the group out in a flash. I got to where I would just tell my Mom not to worry, we were on Rose time. Come to think of it, I think I might have adopted Rose Time as my own time zone. I'm always about 5 mins late, but I'm always manage to arrive just before the fun starts. :)

What else can I say. I have felt all day that my life is a little less bright because a light has gone out. Then I remembered my thoughts on Heaven, from this morning, and I realized that no, the light is just raised a little bit higher. She's still a beacon for me to follow, just as she's always been.

I'll miss you Rose. I hope you are proud of what you see tonight, as you look down over us all. Your motto was to "Leave it better than you found it", and I'll assure you, you did.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Career Paths

Last night I overheard a man drilling some go-get'er attitude into his young (around 10 - 11, I'd say) son. The son seemed somewhat interested, but also somewhat bored with the talk. The kid was a doughy sort, seemed kinda laid back. He'd just finished his Chik-fil-A sandwhich and was being chastised for eating a 2-mile-high ice cream cone, That is, chastised by the Father that BOUGHT it for him. This frustrated the crap 'outta me... Why buy the kid ice-cream if you are just going to give him a hard time about eating it? Anyway...

So, I sat and listened to the pep-talk while I cajoled Jim to eat his chicken and I tickled Miss M to keep her cheery.

The lesson I gathered from the father's extolling was that this boy, this son, should put down his ice-cream cone and put himself squarely on the road to "Giving it your ALL!". The subject was sports. The boy apparently needed to bring his "A" game up a bit to suit his father. The boy seemed less than interested by this point in the talk and sunk lower in the bench seat, still eating his ice cream.

The father then whispered conspiratorially, "You see this? This is the reason!". Without speaking, and with a gleam of riches in his eye, the father brandishes a baseball card, a Rookie card, and whispered, "BallPlayer Whatshisname STARTED at One Hundered THOUSAND Dollars a YEAR!", then he yells, "STARTED! Can you IMAGINE?!?!?!?". Then he waits, sure the son will come around, and he does.

The son sits up straighter, looks more closely at the card. The Father, realizing his fish is on the line, starts reeling in the story. He's guesstimating how much Player Whatshisname is making now, what he is worth, what he will make over a lifetime. The son steals glances at me, I think he's looking for confirmation, but I look away.

I can't help but think... That poor boy. Only 1 in several thousand ever make it to be a real ball player. Most just end up frustrated that they didn't make it. I'm sure there will be hurt feelings and lost dreams on the Father's part, too. Hopefully he won't take it out on the kid forever...one of those "you didn't make it happen" regrets.

It occurs to me too, that most kids with his cultural background don't focus on their studies, so they don't even graduate high school. His father is trying to set him on a very difficult path, and one that the kid is not currently physically ready for. It's going to be a looooong road for this kid.

I keep thinking about this kid.

Could I have blown the kid's mind if I told him what a Dentist or Lawyer makes, or even what I make for that matter. I could tell him that people with white-collar careers don't have to worry about being side-lined by blowing out a knee, tearing a rotator cuff, or some young stud coming along and stealing all his hard-won glory. Well, sometimes we do worry about that last one, but you come to terms with it pretty fast. :)

Then I realized.... I am sorta being like the Father. I'm thinking of the outliers. I've focused on the money piece. I haven't found out what this kid is actually interested in. I know nothing about his abilities. I know not everyone can be a Dr. or Lawyer, etc.

So, now I wonder, how do you help a kid find the right match. How will I help Jim when it's his turn to pick a path? I keep going back to the cliche, the "Well Rounded Child". Maybe that is the key after-all, more than a cliche - the more experiences you have, the more you can relate to and try on for a fit.

Then again, I think back on my childhood... I had LOTS of experiences. I was opened up to so many different ideas and career choices. So many that I couldn't choose. I fell into my current position because I knew I could do the job, not because I was in love.

I know now that what I really needed was someone to give me a list... A list of careers with what they do, what they typically make, and MOST IMPORTANTLY here are the high-level steps to get there. I didn't have anyone that could help me with this information. I was expected to just sort-of figure it out.

Before you suggest it.... The Guidance Counselors at my school focused on the troubled kids. They either didn't know how, or didn't care, to help me pick a path.

As a result, for several years I've thought of going back to school, so I can be what I want to be when I grow up. :) I still wish I knew what I want to be, and how to get there. Sigh.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blogher? Maybe?

I'm thinking about going to BlogHer. Not because I'm such a great blogger anymore, not because I have any kind of traffic to speak of here, but because I know sooo many of these Bloggy ladies, and I'm very interested in meeting them.

I feel like I'm a moth, being drawn to it. My one regret? I wish I had spent more time keeping my readers intact. I kinda feels like the "I wish I'd lost weight before this big event", but in this case I wish I'd taken better care of my BLOG instead of my BODY. Well, I would have liked to be more svelt before going to the event, too. But, I think I'm going to go anyway, love handles and all.

I wonder, who of you will be going this year? I sent out a couple of emails to my blog-buddies, but haven't gotten much info back yet. Hopefully that just means that they had GREAT weekends! Ha!


Today we did something novel. We went to the park to a gathering of Miss M's daycare classmates/parents. We had a good time! It was an international lunch, for sure. The other ladies were all from various countries - China, India both North and South. They brought meat and veggie tikkas (patties), somosas (meat-filled pastries), and tofu sushi. I held up the Caucasian/Southerner end of the bargin, I brought fried chicken and HOMEMADE Strawberry Pies with REAL whipped cream. I didn't realize I was a stereotype, but there you go! We had a GREAT lunch. I truly enjoyed myself.

Jim got some playtime in at the park, he and I were alone in that endeavor, since all of the kids were <1. He wanted to go to another park after we left - I think he had a great time. :)

Oh... I do think I scared the other parents just a bit (most of them only have 1 child). I told them it would be 6 months or less before their kids would be ready for the playground equipment. I got back some HUGE stares of incredulousness. One guy actually said, "No, it'll be more like a year or 2". His kiddo was one of the oldest. Sigh. I sure hope he's wrong in his estimate... I'll just have to wait and see. :) They can consider themselves warned! HA!

Good times! Hopefully we'll do it again soon. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wonderful World...

Wow... My world is kinda wonderful, and pretty sucktastic at the same time. How's about them apples?

I have several things I've always wanted, more kid-related goodness than I could have imagined, a growing friendship base, and yet my insides are...well... screaming. I find I am, therefore, screaming at my husband and older kid a bit for being a pain in my buttocks. Then, I turn and see Miss M and I just melt. I'm instantly calmed by her innocence and sweetness.

I feel like a fraud when this happens. I feel like a bad Mommy. Apparently I'm just not good at holding in my emotions when I'm being irritated repeatedly. My husband is, I think, trying to work with me. At least he's less bothersome lately. My older kid? Not so much. He's taken on waaay more of the "mommy irritation" work than his fair share lately.

Really, I need Jim to stop baiting me everytime I turn around. He argues with me about his dinner every.freakin'. night. He claims to NOT LIKE his FAVORITE foods. OMG, makes me want to screeeeeam. Sometimes, I do. Like tonight.

I made dinner, took it out of the oven, carefully cooled it for my lovely son, and all the while he was claiming that he doesn't like this food. A WONDERFUL food he's had many times before and LOVES. I knew, as soon as it started, that we'd have another night of me repeating "No, you aren't done until you have had 'n' more bites.", and the all-time classic, "How do you KNOW you don't like it, you haven't even TRIED it?!?!?".

He KNOWS this dance bugs the shit outta me. He KNOWS he's just being a pain. He KNOWS that end the end he'll just end up eating it - at least 1 bite. So why in the hell, after 6 months of this, are we still having to sort out what he will agree to eat? I just want to run screaming from the house.

The worst thing is... He's a wonderful, amazing, sweet, and loving child. He's also a pain in the butt because he's really smart and knows just what he's doing when he pushes all the buttons at once. Sometimes, he even smiles an evil smile when he knows he's got me cornered.

I don't know how I'm going to make it through this point. I told my hubby... It wouldn't be sooooo terribly bad either, except that we have at least 3 more years of this with his sister to look forward to before she's even started pulling this mess. How am I going to make it that long? How will I stay sane?

I have to admit, I think some of my angst is that I'm more mentally tired these days. I changed teams at work recently, and the learning curve is pretty steep. I'm doing to same job, essentially, but I'm having to learn slightly different policies and procedures, as they apply on the new team. It's exhausting having to track down the process for each thing I do. I really need a break.

I want to take a trip overseas. I want to go either to Rome or Ireland. I want to go in late May, but it may already be too late to make that happen. I'm not really sure my passport is current... I need to put that on my checklist.

Hubby is talking about taking me to Chicago in June to celebrate my Birthday, which is this month. He chose June because there is a huge food fest going on, and he KNOWS how I lurve me some great food. Trust me, if Seattle wasn't on that nasty fault line, and right up against that tsunami-generating ocean, I'd be there in a NY minute. No Doubt about it.

Anyway. I'm just rambling. I haven't posted in a while due to my funk and my crazy so-called life.

I am loving on my sweet baby girl. She's 5 1/2 months old now. Ya, I know, where did the time go? Does the 2nd one grow faster or something? Sheesh.

She's doign all kinds of age-appropriate stuff, grabbing toys, chewing toys, babbling, and now she turns when you call her name! YAY! I'm not sure I talked about that here, but we were kinda worried something was very wrong. She was 4 mo old before she made any attempts at all to turn to investigate the sounds around her. It didn't matter what the noise was, or the loudness of the noise - no response. So, Whew! We are so glad that turned out to be nothing, apparently. She seems to have learned her name even! YAY! Oh, and she has juuuust started rolling over. Tonight, I think she figured out she could roll to where she wants to go. Seriously. she looked at a toy of Jim's, flipped and flopped a couple of times and ALMOST got it. She's apparently directionally challenged, but I don't expect it will last long.

I'm sorry I haven't posted lately, hope any of you that are still reading will choose to forgive me. My funk and all the work craziness has kinda made me hide from the world a bit. I've been reading up on you guys though. AND I'm on Twitter - I don't follow during the day usually, but I'm on at night.

Night all.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Free Address Labels!

Shutterfly, a company I love, is giving away some of their ultra-cool address lables.
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Offer ends Feb 23