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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Poop Mud

So my back porch has gotten totally out of hand after my slew of projects since it was where all the junk went afterward:
  • the bags of leftover grout and mortar after the bathroom project
  • the old toilet
  • the tile scraps
  • a 5-gallon bucket of hardened mortar (don't ever use the fast-drying mortar - ever!)
  • a wheel barrel full of leftover cement from my pathway project
  • kids' summer toys that we pulled out of the shed when we cleaned it out
  • and lawn stuff that I'm selling on Craig's List (which I just remembered that I'm waiting on Michael to see if they work - Honey-do, please!)
So I started cleaning up the mess, and I realized that our big trashcan was hiding back behind the shed.  I remembered that we had company one day, and we didn't want them to smell the poopy Pull-ups that were in a couple of trash bags on said porch, so we put the two bags in the trashcan and, yep...hid them behind the shed.  

Well, you guessed it - we forgot about it.  Several trash days came and went, and those poopy bags stayed put.  That was over a month ago, and lucky me, the lid was left off, too!  Yay!  

So I got my rubber gloves on and started cleaning it up.  Guh-ross!  I tipped it over to pour the water out, and a swarm of mosquitos and flies flew out along with the most putrid smell.  I felt...oh so classy, lemme tell ya.  There was also some dirt in there from when I had pulled up some weeds and threw them in there.  So now I had poopy mud and stickers in the mix.  Awesome.  

As much as I wanted to leave it for Michael to clean up, I put on my big girl underwear, bagged it all up, and sprayed the can out.  I'll spare you all of the fun details of cleaning out this exciting mess, but rest assured that thing is clean now!

The life lesson here (and why I shared such a non-exciting and mundane story):  The longer you try to hide your shit poop, the stinkier it will get.  :D

Holla!  Dig it, yo!  (I totally say those things in "real life".  What?  I do!  Hehe...)

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tornados and Love

Boy oh boy, I hate living in tornado alley.

Michael was out of town tonight, flying home from a business trip, and I was stressed out because the kids were testing my limits I'm spoiled by my husband and have a hard time when he's away.  I had just put the boys in bed after losing my temper a few more times than I would like to admit, having to pray out loud several times for patience and forgiveness, and feeling my chest tighten up like I was having a panic attack.  Kind of ridiculous, I know.

my closet contents after Mama Bear hit
Then I got a text from my bff saying to take cover because there was tornadic activity in my immediate area.  What the what!  The news station that I was watching didn't say anything about my area, so needless to say, I was very grateful for her thoughtfulness.

Suddenly every annoyance or bit of stress went away, and mama-bear-mode kicked into high gear.  I got the boys out of bed (dude - they had just given up the fight), wildly threw all of the luggage and yoga mats out of my hall closet, and got my boys and snuggled up on the floor of our little 3x3 closet.

They were so brave and didn't freak out at all, even when hail was pounding our house.  Levi was mainly concerned that I leave the ball in the closet for him to play with.  Isaac didn't even cry (he did nurse most of the time).  And Samuel courteously spoke in a whisper because he knew I was listening for the news that was going in and out.

We prayed for safety for us, Daddy, and all of our family and friends.  They were so cute and wonderful and ridiculously amazing.  I am seriously so head-over-heals in love with my kids.

It was such a good reminder to chill out.  My kids are far too precious and valuable to get so stressed out (over nothing) that I have a freaking panic attack.  I mean, seriously!  What if a tornado really did hit and (God forbid) something happened to one of them or to me?  Do I really want the last memory to be me yelling at them to go to bed?  Ugh....

Slow down, my friends, and don't take any minute for granted.

Be safe, loves!

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Are you tired of hearing about my bathroom?

Well, I sure am!  For now, however, I am FINISHED!!  I'm so glad to get on with my life!  Remodeling pretty much sucks when you have little kids.  They most definitely have a built in sensor that tells them to automatically start to whine, fight, get suddenly and extremely hungry or thirsty, or hurt themselves or their brother right when I begin to work.
And actually, I lied.  I'm not completely finished, but I am finished for now.  I stayed up until midnight last night to finish painting the cabinet.  I was thinking about just putting the old hardware back on, but then my sweet friend (and awesome writer - please blog more!) Becki sent me these links to these knobs and finials, and I really wanted some knobs that looked like the finials, but then I remembered that I had some new knobs in my shed.  Score!  Thanks for the brain jog, Beeks!  (They don't look like the awesome finials, but they're new and they'll do.)

But then I didn't want to put the other pulls back on because they wouldn't match the new knobs.  So then I remembered this blogger that made a wooden crate and used rope as the pulls.  (Can anyone remember where that came from?  I searched and searched and couldn't find it.)  I didn't have cool, thick rope, but I didn't want to spend another dime, so this is what I came up with.  Total cost of the painting: Zilch!  I already had it all.
I wish I had taken a before picture, but just imagine it white and ugly.

This picture was the widest shot I could get of the room since it's so tiny.  I was standing on the edge of the tub.  Do me a favor and don't look too closely at the grout.  It's a bit unevenly colored because I put too much sealer on it.  I was trying to act preemptively to save my poor grout from the bad aim of its new users.  It will even out after we mop it a couple times.  Here's the before and after:

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bathroom Remodel Update

Well, the tile phase of the project is finally over.  As unexpectedly expected, it took a week to do something I had only allotted two days for and $500 for something I only allotted $100 for.  Such is remodeling life when you have an old house.  It needed to be done, though, so whatev.

The bulk of the expense was getting the plumber to put in the toilet and sink.  Since we used Saltillo tile, it raised the floor up about an inch and a half, and it wasn't level, so that's why we left it up to the plumber to deal with.  If you didn't know, imperfection is the nature of Saltillo.  Since they're handmade, all of the tiles are different shapes, widths, textures, colors.  So they're gorgeous, but they're a pain in the poop to lay and work with.  I know that seems counterintuitive because if it doesn't have to be perfect, then what's the problem, but trust me.

My other bathroom
Tile decals
So now I just have to buy these awesome tile decals to cover up the old lady floral tiles.  Then I want to get a new shower curtain and paint the cabinet (to the right of the doorway, not pictured) and ceiling the same color as my other bathroom.

Old lady floral tiles

If you see a pretty Spanish shower curtain anywhere, let me know!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mistaken Identity

Have you ever met someone that looks different every time you see them - like a different person?  Well, there's this other mom of one of the boys on the tee-ball team, and I swear every time I see her I go, "That's her?"

Well, her kids also go to my kids' same preschool, and I have said hi to her at least twice at school.  Well, at least I thought I did.  Turns out that I was saying hi to the wrong person.  It wasn't her at all.  This girl has looked totally confused every time I've greeted her, and it's because she doesn't know who the hell I am.  How embarrassing.  Oh well.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Test of Our Commitment

Boy oh boy, our commitment to debt-free living was in serious jeopardy tonight, like call Mr. Ramsey quick - these people need an intervention.  We've been looking at houses on the market as research for when we are able to buy in a couple of years.  We've seen several different houses at different price points, and we're getting a feel for what we want in a house and how much that will cost.  We've seen some good ones, two in particular that we thought we could live in.

I promise this picture doesn't even do it justice.
Well, we saw one tonight that knocked our socks off.  It was perfect.  It was everything we are looking for plus some.  The style was the biggest draw.  It was Spanish with gorgeous features throughout.  Perfect (for us because we're into that thing)!

We were seriously considering putting an offer down on it.  The thought of losing that house brought physical stress to my body and tears to my eyes - that's how much I liked it.  There were definite drawbacks, though.  Like:

  • We don't have the cash right now.
  • The street doesn't have the canopy of trees that we like.
  • We wouldn't be able to fully furnish it for a while.
  • It would set us back a few more years from our goals.
  • And a few other small things.
But all of the negatives weren't phasing me.  I wanted that house.  Michael did, too, which surprised me because he's usually stronger than me when it comes to impulse buying.  

Then Michael reminded me of something I said a while back.  I was saying how we were so naive when we decided to start having kids, thinking that we needed a house right away.  We could have stayed in an apartment for another two years and gotten to our goals more quickly.  It all worked out good, though, because we got a house across the street from his mom, so in that regard the timing was perfect.  But strictly financially speaking, we should have waited.  

Well, now we're in that first position, the simpler situation.  We could get the pretty house, and it would probably be fine but tough for a few years.  But we would probably look back and say, "Man, we could have just stayed in our little house for a little longer, and we'd be so much closer to our goals."

Thinking about that future regret that we might feel took all of the pain of letting go of that perfect house away.  I'm sure another one will come along when we're ready for it, and it will be so sweet when it does.  But until then I'm going to keep my eyes on the prize and our research is over!

Make it Right!

At about this stage in a home improvement project, I get the overwhelming urge to start half-assing it.  Then the wise words of my HGTV crush Mike Holmes begin ringing in my ears: "Make it right," which I always correct in my head by saying, "Make it correctly."  I digress...ahem.

So anyway, the front bathroom was the only room in the house that we haven't done a thing to in the 6 years that we've lived here.  It wasn't because we didn't want to but because it was just fine, a bit 'old lady' but fine.  So when we decided to sell in a couple of years I realized that I can't keep ignoring those mold spots underneath the linoleum that keep getting bigger and bigger (nasty, I know).  So one day last month I just ripped it all up and bleached the heck out of it.  We lived with the ugly, black concrete for a month or so.
So then in an effort to save money [rolling my eyes - you'll see why later] we decided to use the leftover kitchen tile.  It's a thick, handmade, Mexican Saltillo tile.  We made some mistakes laying it in the kitchen, but having learned from those mistakes, I was going to lay them perfectly in the bathroom.  On Saturday, my very sweet and beautiful friend Kellie helped me to get to this stage of the tiling project.  Oh and Michael's friend Chet helped him take the sink and the toilet out, as we are not very handy in that regard.  
As you can see, it's mortared but not grouted, and there is no toilet or sink.  Well, here's why (go head and proceed to chuckle at mine and Michael's plumbing ignorance).  There are bolts that come out of the foundation in which to anchor the fixtures onto.  Well, Kellie and I tried to get them out so that we could make them longer since the tiles were so high, but they weren't budging.  One of them was spinning without moving.  Plus, Saltillo tiles are uneven and not level, so the two tiles that both the toilet and the sink would sit on were different levels.  So we threw in the bath towel and decided to call our trusted plumber.  

Pay no mind to the crack in the tile.  I cried inside when I did that.  It's going to be underneath the sink anyway.  
This is the spot for the toilet.
I really get tempted to rush things and get hasty when things go slowly or when I face obstacles like this, but thankfully I have a husband that reminds me to be patient and that I'll regret it if I half-ass it.  

So now I just have to:
  • put the tile back on the wall (found the perfect color match at Home Depot).
  • get the plumber to assess what we need to do
  • grout
  • get the plumber to put the toilet and sink back in
  • take those hideous floral tiles out (there are 9 of them) and replace with plain white ones
  • paint the cabinets and ceiling
  • get a new shower curtain rod
  • get a new shower curtain 

As you can see, something that was only supposed to cost $50 has now turned into much more.  Such is home improvement!  It's always three times more expensive and takes three times longer than planned.  Oh well.  At least we'll be able to enjoy it for a couple of years before we hand over the keys to someone else. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Prom Schmrom

So I never went to prom.  There, I said it.  I'm not sure how I feel about you knowing that now.  I thought it would feel good to get it out, but I'm conflicted.

This being prom season and all, the topic comes up a lot.  I usually just stay quiet when people talk about it (that and SAT scores) because I don't want to say that I didn't go.  It's not that I didn't want to go; I wasn't the prom-is-stupid type.

I blamed it on money to my friends, but I could have made it work because I was working at a barbecue place at the time.  Sure, all of my money went to repairing my POS 1982 Oldsmobile Toronado, but I could have put off a few repairs.  God knows it ran on luck anyway.

No, it's that I wasn't asked.  That makes me sad for my little 17 year old self.  I was going to ask this guy that I liked from another school, but he didn't ask me to his prom, so I figured he didn't like me back.  Wah wah wah...Plus, I just couldn't bring myself to ask a guy out.  No offense if you've done it; I was just way too insecure to risk the rejection.

I have lots of regrets in life, but that's a pretty big one.  I know that it shouldn't be, but still.

On a brighter note, Michael didn't go to prom either, but he went to the prom-like banquet of a friend's.  Here's that fun story.  This picture kills me.  They're just babies!

Did you go to prom?

Fashion Blogs

I've been really into fashion blogs lately, and my I-can-do-anything attitude (I'm told it's a Gen X thing) tells me that I can do that, too, but then I make myself snap back to reality.

1) I can put an outfit together, but, my word, I am a boring dresser.
2) I have NO clue what's going on in the fashion world.
3) I totally wouldn't be able to post pictures of myself!  I don't know how they do that.  I'm much too self-conscious.  I always complain that there are no pictures of me in our files, but it's because I always delete all of them!  Did anyone else forget how to take a cute picture when they had kids?  My smile is so weird now.  It's ridiculous.

Anyhoo, if you're looking for some good Mom-fashion, here are my three favorites:

Ain't No Mom Jeans - These girls are awesome!  They're so open and honest about their problem areas post-kids, and they have great solutions that are super fashionable.  Also, I'm pretty sure we'd be BFFs if we knew each other.  ;)  This post made me laugh so hard I cried.

La Vie Petite - This girl is seriously just too cute.  She's super stylish, and her outfits give me great inspiration for that day in the far off future that I'm finally at my goal weight and ready to buy new clothes.

Momma Go Round - She's got great ideas for budget shopping, and she's always trying something new.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but she's not afraid!  

Do you have a favorite fashion blog?  Please indulge my newfound obsession and share!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

To Dispel Any Rumors....

...that I have it all together, I should probably let you in on the truth about me.  I can come across as a goody-goody, although I much prefer the term "recovering perfectionist".  I really am working on it.  Allow me to give you some proof:

  • There are about 5 spit-up stains on my living room rug, but am I doing anything about it?  No, because no one is coming over any time soon.  
  • My son peed in his bed, and I let him sleep in it the following night because it had dried.  
  • The birthday presents that I buy are usually the cheapest at the parties.  
  • I drink alcohol while I'm breastfeeding (a glass of wine here and there).
  • I know that lentils give Isaac gas, but I eat them anyway because they're good.
  • I yell at my kids.
  • I yell at my husband.
  • Michael and I fight several times a week.
  • I have an unhealthy fear of home invasions, so I leave the alarm on all day long and I plan out in my head what I would do several times a day if it were to happen.
  • I break wind in front of my husband and kids.
  • I cuss.
  • I hide my inbox under my bed when company comes over because it's a hot mess of crap and it clutters up my countertop.  
  • Laundry sits on my table for days on end, until Michael can't take it anymore.
  • I watch too much TV.
  • I'm decisive rash.
  • Oh, and maybe I overreact just a tad a lot to criticism.  
I never really thought I'd have to convince people of that.  That even sounds braggadocio (wow, what a snooty word choice), but if you really knew me, you'd know that I'm just happy to have come a long way.  

I grew up a white trash kid on the Southside of San Antonio.  Then we moved to the country and lived out many stereotypes that I'd like to forget.  And that's why I'm a recovering perfectionist.  I want to get as far away from my upbringing as possible because it sucked and it was embarrassing.  

So if I come across as judgmental or like I'm bragging, would you just please try and believe the best about me?  (That's not supposed to sound as desperate and needy as it does.)  I'm not trying to rub anything in anyone's face.  I'm just really happy that my life doesn't suck anymore.  I'm thrilled to have a man in my life that doesn't call me worthless everyday.  I'm thrilled that I don't have to say 5 Hail Mary's when I'm checking out at the grocery store, hoping that I don't have to put anything back.  I'm happy that I have a house that I'm proud to have people visit that doesn't smell of smoke and cat piss.  

I'm proud of my life, but you don't have to see that as an indictment on your life.  Just be happy for this little white trash girl from the Southside of San Antonio.  She overcame a lot of odds.

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mumford and Sons and My European Dreams

Oh man, I love Mumford and Sons.  If you've been under a musical rock for a while (like I usually am), then they're an English folk band.  LOVE THEM!!!

I love love love when a songwriter can make me feel, and they do this lyrically and musically.  So talented!

Anyway, when I listen to them I find myself daydreaming about going to England and drinking a gross pint of their warm beer at an out-of-the-way pub while listening to a band like them.  And then it reminds me that 31 years have gone by, and I still haven't made it over the Atlantic.

In college my girlfriends and I would always start to plan a European backpacking trip, but who were we kidding.  I was living off of student loans and a 15 hour a week job, living in a ratty apartment that smelled of the spices used by the 20 international students in the 2 bedroom apartment below me.  I had no spare cash.

Then I got married and realized that $80k of debt was a lot.  Going on a European vacay at that point seemed pretty stupid ludicrous irresponsible.

So now that we're debt-free (what! what!), I'm so excited about making these daydreams a reality!  And we'll be doing it totally guilt-free and paying cash!  I can't wait!  No more paying off the past - only seizing the day!  Once Isaac gets old enough to pawn off on leave in the care of loving family members, Michael and I are headed for a gross, warm pint!  

Here's a little sample of Mumford and Sons.  Enjoy.  :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Making Money and My Role

Lately I've been kind of frustrated about not having an income of my own.  I'm SO incredibly blessed to be able to stay home with my kids and that Michael is so talented and makes plenty for us to live on, but something just gets to me every now and then that makes me feel inadequate about not having an income.

I was venting about this to Michael the other day, and it's not like I want to go get a job, but I just needed to vent.  So he started reminding me of all I do to add to the value of our family:

  • no childcare expense
  • home-cooking - little dining out expense
  • budgeting and debt-free living
  • time - not being crazy busy adds to the value of a family
There were other things, too, but I don't remember.  Anyway, it felt good to be valued.  I think I'd feel pressured to work if I didn't have such a supportive and amazing husband.  He's a keeper.

Chef Point

Once a month a group of my girlfriends and I get together and go out to eat sans kids.  This past time we decided to check out Chef Point in Watauga.  I had heard a lot about it from different people, so I just had to check it out.

It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, so it had to be good.  And let me tell you, this place is a dive!  It's in the middle of nowhere-special (sorry, Watauga) in a gas station!  You can pass by it a million times and not know that it's there, nonetheless that it's got an amazingly talented chef behind the line!

At first we were disappointed that they don't serve alcohol and that you can't even byob, but when the food came out none of that mattered!  We were totally food drunk.  It was amazing!

We decided to order a few different appetizers and entrees and then split them all.  Let me tell you; that's the way to go!  We got to sample all the different dishes, and it made it so much more enjoyable than if we just each had one dish.

Forgive my iPhone pics; I wasn't planning on blogging about this place until I started eating the food!  Then I made everyone stop eating so that I could take pictures.

For appetizers we had:
Crab Cake - Delicious!  It's one big cake with cream on top.  I had never had one like this, and it was fantastic.  
Italian Nachos - I was the most skeptical about this one, but it was my favorite thing on the table.  SOOO delicious!  It's a huge plate, too, so if you don't care about a balanced diet, this plate could be an entree.
Italian Nachos

For entrees we had:
Blackened Stuffed Chicken - Whoa!  Awesome!  It's so fattening, but it was worth every bite!
Blackened Stuffed Chicken
Pasta Con Gambereto Di Mare - I asked the waitress for something on the lighter side, and this was what she recommended.  I liked it a lot, but it was not the best thing on the table (hard to compete with cream sauce and deep-fried).  It's great if you want something not too unhealthy.  
Pasta Con Gambereto Di Mare
Monte Cristo Sandwich - This wasn't my favorite thing, but it was pretty good.  It was very...what's the word...fried.  
Monte Cristo Sandwich

For dessert we had:
Famous Bread Pudding - Watch the video from Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on their website about how they make this.  I could have eaten a whole pan of it.  It was amazing!!!

There are healthy menu options, as well.  I hear the Grilled Salmon is amazing!  But this was my splurge night, so I enjoyed the full fat options.  :)  Plus, we weren't drinking, so we could afford the calories.  Hehe.  

This place was amazing.  I couldn't believe that this amazing food didn't have a proper restaurant yet (they're working on it).  GO THERE TODAY!!!  You won't regret it.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lamp Overhaul

What did I do today?  Funny you should ask.  It was a rainy day, and we were stuck inside, so I decided to overhaul my lamp.  :)  I saw this blog, and I thought it was such a good idea, and more importantly, I already had all of the supplies that I needed (no money, no trip to the store).  It went quick, too!  That's the best part.
I'm not going to tell you how I did it all, because if you want to do it, you should go to the tutorial that she links to for in depth directions.  I will tell you that I used hot glue for the ribbon and underside gluing.  I also used some spray glue adhesive for the fabric to stick to the shade.  Using hot glue was a mistake, though, because it made it too lumpy.  :(  Shoulda used fabric glue, but I was too impatient (three kids and all).
So what's your honest opinion?



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