Potty Humor

We went on a trip to Chicago for a few days a while back and visited the American girl store on the first night. I made a reservation for me and the girls to have dinner there. Bryon, of course, wanted nothing to do with it. So, he found something to eat elsewhere. Every time he does something without us, I imagine he’s getting his hair blow dried some place and a massage. That’s just the vision that pops into my mind. Maybe because that’s secretly what I want to be doing. Lol.

So, we sit down to eat and I realize they offer unlimited refills of sweet tea. Not good. I spend the entire evening alternating going to the restroom with each girl. I don’t think I even ate.  I should’ve just told them to lay off the drinks but I don’t think I realized what was happening. Sometimes you’re just on auto pilot, right?  They must’ve been flagging down the waitress over and over again for refills while I was in the restroom. Every time I took one girl to the restroom, the other girls were chugging sweet tea, so by the time I came back to the table the next girl was dancing around. Of course, they don’t tell you they have to go because they don’t want to miss out on anything – they just start dancing around so you have to be able to read body language. My kids literally turn into ducks – they squat and stick their butts out and walk in short quick steps. It’s the darnedest thing to see.

Apparently, I scheduled the dinner too late in the evening because the American Girl store was going to close about 20 minutes after we finished dinner. The girls really wanted to shop but there wasn’t much time left. I asked everyone if they had to go to the restroom one last time and of course they said no because they wanted to shop before they closed. The second we get out of the American Girl store and they lock the doors on us, one of the girls (I won’t say which one for anonymity) says they have to go really bad and they are doing the duck walk so I know it’s bad. I’m like Ugh! The closest place was a fancy steak and seafood restaurant!

Well, I knew this was an emergency so we went in and I begged the restaurant host (Maitre d’?) if we could use the restroom it was an emergency and he saw that I had a girl duck on my hands so he said it’s around the corner. There was a long line of women dressed nicely but when they saw my duck they said we should go on ahead. We go on ahead and right when we get in the doorway of the restroom my daughter stops walking and says, “Uh Oh!” and I look down to see a big puddle forming at her feet – in the doorway of the restroom that has a long line into the hallway.

She tries to help me clean it up but we couldn’t manage to get any paper towels to come out of the really convenient automatic paper towel dispenser (I hate those things). She manages to tear off a tiny triangle of paper towel and soaks it in the pee then flings it into the trash can. While she flings it into the trash can, the pee flings all over the mirror while a lady is trying to do her makeup. I’m sure it splashed her too.  The lady cringes. I apologize and tell my daughter to please not help me. Then, I turn back to see my other daughter hovering over the puddle of pee as if she’s trying to see her reflection in it and she starts gagging and dry heaving and I tell her to leave the restroom before she adds to the mess.  I know I wasn’t saying all this in the most pleasing voice either.

Now, I’m looking like mother of the year in front of an audience and I can’t get any paper towels to come out of the super convenient, automated paper towel dispenser. I dance around in front of the paper towel dispenser frantically waving my hands and arms and finally get one paper towel to come out. I throw it on the floor over the pee and take off out of there because I’m absolutely mortified and not convinced I’ll be able to get any more paper towels to come out anyway. And, at this point, I was just looking like a circus side show act that everyone was literally just watching with their mouths hanging open.

On our way out of the restaurant, Bryon is on his way in and tells me that the third daughter now has to go to the restroom to which I reply – You. Take. Her. – in my exorcist voice.  So then I have to wait outside in front of the full length windows while people eat their expensive steak and shrimp and wait for my husband to come back out.  That wasn’t painful at all.  Just another day in the life with kids.  :-p

Locked Up At Home

In our house, we turned all the locks around on the kid’s doors so they couldn’t lock themselves in their room.  You see where this story is headed, right?  We should’ve just replaced the door knobs but whatever – details.  One day, I was reading to the kids in my youngest’s room at nap time.  My oldest was in First Grade.  My youngest was 18 months old ish and she decides to lock the door from the outside and close it locking us all inside her room.  Luckily, she was in the room with us!

I did not have my phone on me and  I needed to be able to get to the bus stop to pick up my oldest daughter.  I thought about climbing out the window but we were on the second floor.  I thought about opening the window and screaming as loud as possible but I might give someone a heart attack.  I thought about kicking down the door like Wonder Woman.  I thought about finding an axe like tool in the room and axing through the door like the guy in The Shining.  I’ve watched alot of scary movies in my lifetime especially because I had teenage babysitters (older siblings) when I was younger and they let me watch things like Nightmare on Elm Street when I was in elementary school.  :-p  That didn’t have any side effects – none whatsoever.  :-p  I thought about tying some sheets together and rappelling down like Rapunzel but with sheets.  I finally got my wits about me and noticed that there was a tablet on the girl’s bed.  Great!  So I emailed my husband at work explaining the situation.

Next thing I know, not even 5 minutes later, I see a hairy arm push the door open.  I’m like – oh great –  now I’m about to get murdered because there’s no way my husband could have gotten home that fast. The reason that thought was the very first thing that crossed my mind is because there were no side effects whatsoever to watching Nightmare On Elm Street when I was a kid.  :-p  Well, turns out, it was just my neighbor.  My husband had contacted my neighbor to rescue me.

This was one of those times where I had taken a rest from cleaning for a few days and so my neighbor must have had to levitate to get up the stairs b/c there were toys everywhere!  After he left, I did one of those forensic analysis of the house sessions where you walk around and survey all the crap the visitor must’ve seen.  I’m like – oh great – that’s where my kid just blew their nose and threw down the toilet paper on the floor instead of walking a few steps to the trash can.  Oh and they decided to use q-tips apparently – they’ve never done that before – oh, lots of q-tips.  There’s the area where the girls thought they would make a rainbow loom bracelet but three minutes in abandoned it but managed to still make the room look like a rubber ball exploded.  There’s someone’s dirty underpants.  Greeeeaaaat..  So glad my kid locked me in a room on this day.  You know that feeling?  With kids, you just don’t want any surprise visitors, amirite?

Although, I have a feeling that there are people out there who always have their house clean but I don’t want to know about them because then I would just feel bad.  That happens in a land far, far away that is not my reality.  Now that I look at the title of this post though, I realize that it could also apply to feeling shackled to your house at times.  You know as a parent when you just want to go to the gym with your spouse and how easy that is without kids and how hard that is with kids?  Every.  Single.  Time.  we take our kids to the gym day care, they get seriously ill.  It never fails.  And the last time, my husband caught it and actually had to take off work for a couple of days.  Our kids are just not at that age where we can just leave them at home by themselves for any length of time – maybe the older two but not the youngest.  So, I feel like one day we are going to just go buck wild and like grocery shop all day(just us) or something when we can just actually leave the house unattended, you know?  B/c it’s been so long that we’ve been cooped up that it’s hard to imagine.  One day in a land far, far away.  :-p

IKEA Reno #2

This was our second full gut job of a rental unit.  It’s been 6 months or so now since we completed it I just haven’t had a chance to post.  We chose many of the same options that we chose in our last gut job because those are still all my favorite options.  That’s one thing that’s hard in renovating real estate is that you want to update to what will appeal to anyone and not make it too custom so I try to pick neutrals. Anyway, even in my own house I try to pick neutrals because you can always add color in other ways but it’s expensive to replace thing more permanent things like a counter top, etc.

With this unit we tried to be better at working on all the rooms at the same time since that’s where we got so delayed on the last unit – mainly because we were trying to do all the work ourselves.  This time, we decided to hire out most of the larger items like flooring, kitchen, and bathrooms and we just worked on some of the smaller items which is still time consuming enough.


So, the first thing we had to figure out in this unit was the flooring and not just the flooring but the subfloor as well!  This was an upstairs unit and I literally felt like I had to tiptoe around up there because the floor was so squeaky.  It turns out the people who constructed the building in the 60’s didn’t not use 3/4″ plywood for the subfloor as is the standard today.  They actually used 1 inch think soundproof fiberboard for the subfloor which would’ve been great if they’d put plywood under it.  But the fiberboard flexes and caused a bunch of the nails to come out which was causing it to be super squeaky and flexy.  I literally felt like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh up there bouncing around every time I walked.  It just didn’t feel solid to me.  I wasn’t at all comfortable with it.  The people who have lived below this unit must’ve been super annoyed with all the noise.  We also had a section that was not level by about 2 inches which could’ve just been caused by not having the proper subfloor support – who knows.

First thing we did was hire a contractor to attach sister joists to the joists that were lower to raise them up.  We made sure there was no other damage before doing it and we couldn’t see any.  Then, we had the contractor put 1/2 inch plywood on top of the entire subfloor over the entire unit and secure it through to the joists with 3 inch screws.  He also glued the plywood to the existing subfloor which I was honestly nervous about because I’d rather not use glue since taking it up will be a nightmare, but he insisted it would be better so we just went with it.  We don’t ever plan to take up this new subfloor combo so it’s fine.  It made the biggest difference.  The floor is no longer flexing and moaning.  Then, we put some wood laminate over the top of it with a sound barrier rubber layer underneath it for extra soundproofing.  I think the people downstairs will be much happier now.  We ordered the wood laminate from Lumber Liquidators.  It’s a dark brown wood look color – Farmland Hickory Engineered Vinyl Plank flooring 7mm thick.  But the best thing about it is that it’s water proof.  It was $2.40/sq ft and $2/sq ft installed, which is pricey but we’ve started going with Vinyl Plank in all our units since it lasts so much longer than carpet and people just like it alot better so it’s easier to attract good tenants.

The kitchen flooring had gotten water on it at some point so it was kind of squishy.  We had to pull that up and saw a layer that looked like it could be asbestos.  I sent a piece in to get tested and it turned out not to be – woohooo!!!!!!!!!!!  You have no idea how much of a relief that was.  I had nightmares about that.  So, we were able to get that taken up and we put the same Farmland Hickory EVP down in the kitchen.


The building had old electric panels which we had started to upgrade with each renovation since they were Zinsco panels which are no longer up to code.  With this unit though, we needed to upgrade all the panels for the entire building and Ameren was requiring us to move the meters from the garage to the outside of the building.  All we could see was dollar signs on this one.  But AMF electric company really came through for us.  Don Kentch was the manager on the project and he really gave us an excellent price and made quick work of it.  I literally got about 13 companies to come out and bid on this and so many of them just didn’t want to do the work which was shocking to me because we were willing to pay.  They just came and told us don’t do it – it’s going to be too expensive and take too long. But, for us, it was important to get it done so that the building is safe and up to code and that’s not what we wanted to hear.  AMF came in with a quote and wasn’t scared of doing hard work. I was very impressed with them.  And this way we were also able to get more lines run to the kitchen we were about to redo because modern day kitchens need more electrical than kitchens did in the 60’s.  Win-win.


We chose to do another IKEA kitchen.  The thing I like about IKEA for rentals is that if the tenants damage a cabinet door or something then all we have to do is get a replacement door from IKEA which is significantly cheaper than all new cabinets.  This time though we hired IKEA to do the installation instead of doing it ourselves.  That was a great call.  It took them 3 days vs us taking 3 months.  The installation cost about $2,000.  So. Worth. It.  For the backspash tile, we chose a longer subway tile from Home Depot and they installed for us.  We also got a black quartz countertop from Home Depot that they installed.  We opened up the doorway to the kitchen by removing the cowboy doors and door frame.  For information on our DIY IKEA install, see this post: IKEA Kitchen Install


We had the same contractor do our bathrooms again and chose similar tile for the wall and floor.   This time we got a combo fan light put in place for extra lighting in the hall bathroom.

Before and After Pictures:

Dining Room/Living Room – Before
Dining Room/Living Room – After
Dining Room/Living Room – Before
Dining Room/Living Room – After
Kitchen – Before
Kitchen – After
Kitchen – After
Kitchen – After
Kitchen – Before
Kitchen – After
Kitchen – Before
Kitchen – After
Master Bedroom – Before
Master Bedroom – After
Second Bedroom – Before
Second Bedroom – After
Third Bedroom – Before
Third Bedroom – After
Hall Bathroom – Before
Hall Bathroom – After
Hall Bathroom – After
Master Bathroom – Before
Master Bathroom – After
Common Area – Downstairs Front
Common Area – Upstairs Front

9 Times Relaxing as a Mom backfired

These are just times for me that I relaxed as a parent (the rules or otherwise) and it’s backfired.  I know many parents can relate.  With kids, vigilance is key, but who has time for all that?

1.) Jumping over cheerios instead of sweeping them up then feeling them exploding between your toes when you accidentally step on one.

2.) Not making dinner and then having 3 little baby birds all barking different orders at you late at night when you’re at your most exhausted.  If I had made dinner, it would’ve been simple – they all would’ve lost their appetite and played instead.

3.)Not staying on top of the cleaning and then next thing you know, your youngest locks you in the bedroom during story time and your neighbor has to literally carve a path through the toys just to rescue you.  I’m not kidding – this happened to me and it was super embarrassing.  I start to think – oh well nobody is coming over for a few days so maybe I’ll take rest on the cleaning and have some fun with the kids instead.  Then the house explodes and either someone pops on by unexpectedly or your kid locks you in a room.

4.) Instead of making yourself something to eat, you eat some of the kid’s cold, nasty leftovers and then realize that they spit up milk in it and you already ate some of it. Also, I usually wake up the next day with a sore throat whenever I eat after the kids.  I’ve learned to just not do it – it’s not worth it.  Let them eat first and then make yourself something nice and yummy and eat in peace after they nap or something.

5.)  Letting them make slime by themselves in the backyard thinking oh it’s just the backyard – what could be the worst that could happen?  Then, you step back out there a few minutes later and you have a flashback to the movie – Swamp Thing.  Let’s call the fire department because we are going to need a fire hose to get this stuff off.  I actually had to throw some clothes away that day.

6.) Not forcing them to go to the restroom before you go on a hike and then end up having to run through the whole hike because they have to go to the restroom and refuse to go out in the woods.  Or worse, not forcing them to go to the restroom periodically throughout the day and they end up peeing themselves in the doorway to the bathroom of a fancy Chicago restaurant that you didn’t even eat at but just begged them to come in because your daughter is waddling around like a duck about to pee herself on Michigan Ave.  Yes, this happened to us and I’ll have to write about it separately because there really is alot more to that story.

7.) Thinking you can casually go into a Taffy store for fun on vacation and not have any rules beforehand.  I think we spent an hour and a half one time.  The kids each filled a bucket with different types of taffy, like a hundred pieces each in 3 minutes, and then we spent the next hour and a half making them each put the taffy back in the proper buckets by flavor and started making up rules on the fly. That went well.

8.) Letting your child pick out their own clothes because you are tired and forgetting to check out what they are wearing on the way out the door.  Next thing you know, they are getting on the bus looking like a street walker!  Woops!

9.) The time I forgot to remind my daughter to share before going to a birthday party and she scooped all the sidewalk chalk into a pile, sat on it, and hissed, “Mine!” at the rest of the kids.  That was a fun time.  We left shortly after.  Isn’t the terrible 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, …’s fun?

I’ve found as a parent that it tends to work out better if you put in your time first and then you relax in peace.  If you spend 15 minutes playing a game or doing a craft with them, taking them to a super crowded pumpkin patch, or making up rules before doing something fun, it buys you 45 minutes (maybe more) of peace and possibly saves you alot of embarrassing moments.  :-p  Although what’s life without embarrassing moments, right?  Those make the best stories.  🙂  And I am certain to have many more because as they are getting older, I am getting more relaxed.  😛

Yarn Wreaths

 As I was looking up how to make a pine cone wreath, I saw this cute idea for a yarn wreath. I like to do crafts with my girls. Well, scratch that. I like to do crafts and my girls like to do crafts so I try to find stuff we can do together. There’s usually some drama but more fun than drama. But so it goes with any family together time. :-p It’s fun with a tinge of drama – as long as none of us takes the cake with the drama then we are good.

What you will need:
Styrofoam wreath (we bought ours at Joann’s) – Or you can duct tape 2 pool noodles together..
Felt to coordinate with the yarn colors (for the rosettes – we bought ours at Joann’s)
Yarn (assorted colors – we chose a max of 2 colors per wreath because it can get tangly – one would be even easier)
Pins (for the rosettes)
Spray glue
Good scissors

To make the wreath:

1.) To start, we stapled the yarn to the wreath with three staples, then used the spray glue and sprayed the wreath in that beginning spot (just a little section) and wrapped around a few times – this made it extra secure.

2.) Every time you wrap around, you have to put the balls of yarn through the wreath which ended up being hard with my little one’s wreath because she picked such a small wreath but she insisted the smallest kid has to have the smallest wreath – lol.

3.) Then just keep wrapping the yarn around and spraying the spray glue every once in a while to make it extra secure.

4.) I wrapped the yarn around the wreath twice to make sure all the white was covered.  One of my daughters wrapped once and the other wrapped haphazardly so who knows how many times she went around. They all turned out fine. Once you get to the end tie a knot in the yarn and you are done with the wrapping of the wreath.

Time to make the rosettes or whatever you want to call them.  I tried to find pre-made felt creations at the store that I could just glue on, but I didn’t find anything that I liked and the girls kept wanting to buy poop emoji  and other ridiculous (sandwiches, hot dogs, etc) stuff which I thought would ruin their wreath so I abandoned that idea and told them we were just going to make our own things to glue on.  Luckily, I found this site that taught me how to make rosettes and also luckily the girls didn’t have any ideas to make poop emojis out of felt – dodged a bullet there.  I like to roll the R when I say rosettes – try it it’s fun.  I nicknamed my little one Rosa for the day because she was a rosette making beast.

To make the rosettes:

1.) Trace a circle onto the felt using whatever you can find.  I used a peanut butter jar that had about a 4 inch diameter, a coaster with a 3 inch diameter and also a circle from our Twister game which was the largest – about 6 inch diameter.  We traced all of these on the different colored felt then cut them out.

2.) Next, cut a spiral out of the circle (make a snake).  That’s not confusing at all, right?  Here’s a picture (as you can tell, you don’t even have to be great at cutting):

3.) Then, roll up the snake into a rosette starting with the tail of the snake.  Here’s a picture (I always wanted to be a hand model):

4.) Last, put a pin through the rosette to hold it together, then hot glue it to the wreath wherever you want it.

One thing to be careful of when making the wreath is to make sure that you don’t have too much line of yarn because it will get tangled very easily. I did have to get out quite a few tangles, but it wasn’t so bad because we were doing all of this while watching TV so we were sufficiently entertained/distracted. I prefer to be distracted when doing crafts because it calms me – music or TV. I also like to have something called Sleepytime Tea which also calms the nerves or at least that’s what the package says – that’s enough to convince me. The stocker at Wal-mart got a real good laugh when I asked him what aisle the sleepytime tea was in (he asked me what kind of tea I was looking for – should’ve made something else up)..

My 9 and 8 year old did theirs all by themselves. They used different strategies to get them done but both look great. My 5 year old couldn’t do the wreath but she did make all her rosettes by herself which completely blew my mind b/c cutting the felt is rather tedious. My 8 year old agreed to make my 5 year old’s wreath for her as long as I promised to let her use the glue gun. I was really nervous that she was going to burn half her face off but it worked out fine. You just have to keep your expectations low like I do. :-p My 8 year old actually glued most of the rosettes on all the wreaths except mine (because I didn’t want to freak out if she messed mine up). And she did better than I probably would’ve done.

We all did ours our own way. My oldest wrapped the yarn haphazardly. She wasn’t able to cover all the white of the styrofoam wreath this way, but it still looks great I think and she got done way quicker than the rest of us. My 8 year old meticulously did hers to cover all the white on the first wrap around because she did NOT want to have to wrap it around again. I wrapped mine around twice in order to cover all the white and I didn’t worry too much about having mine twisted I didn’t mind it being a bit messy or mummy-like.

Cara (my 8 year old) made up this saying we used whenever anyone critiqued any of our wreaths while we were working: “I tried and I tried and all you want to do is blame me.” But you have to say it in kind of a drawn out Minnie Mouse accent type of voice and really drag every syllable out. Here’s a link to Cara’s voice: Voice_170713_1[1]  This had us cracking up the whole time. Once, I got annoyed with Cara because she really tangled up her yarn (and I was of course the designated detangler) and she said this and had us cracking up so the rest of us used it too. This came in handy to break up the intensity of crafting.  So, I say to Sydney after an hour of her making her wreath that I’m not so sure about her strategy because the white will still be showing, etc.  She says, “I tried and I tried…”  LOL.

I used this website as my guide for the wreath: http://millionmoments.net/2013/01/how-to-make-yarn-wreath.html

And this website as my guide for the rosettes: http://millionmoments.net/2013/09/make-felt-flowers-rosettes.html

Here’s a pic of the kids all hard at work:

Pine Cone Wreath

I can’t really decide if this one is a Pinterest win or fail.  I’m still thinking about it.  I’ll let you decide.  The wreath I bought was falling apart and had faded after having it up for 6 years straight so I pulled all the berries off and was left with the wreath skeleton.  Which, when my husband saw it without the berries – he’s like, “Great!  We can just put that up!”.  Lol!

I had some pine cones left over from when I bought some cinnamon scented pine cones from Michael’s like 20 years ago – lol.  They had obviously lost their scent and had gathered so much dust.  They were perfect.  Also, I had my girls collect pine cones from the park as well.  So we had plenty.  I was trying to use stuff I already had or that was free.  I seriously considered making one out of all the kid’s mismatched socks, but thought better of it.  One day I’m going to figure out a use for those.

I cut the pine cones with a tree trimmer like tool.   Or is it a bush trimmer?  I have no idea – found it in the garage.  I guess you can tell I haven’t done any yard work.  Here’s a picture of it:

I actually thought I could use tin snips at first but no way.  These things are hard to cut – you need something heavy duty.  And some of the cuts aren’t going to go well so plan for that.  Then, I put them in a box and spray painted them red – actually this color from Home Depot.  I love red (it’s apple red):

I wanted to do multi-color but I didn’t feel like buying more paint so it’s all red which worked out because then I could just slop them on there however I wanted.  I hot-glued them on there – seems to be going pretty well so far.  We’ll have to see if they start falling off.

However, I think I could’ve spaced them out a little better – it looks like it has ears.  Maybe I’ll add a few more filler pine cones at a later date, but I ran out of spray paint because I used half of it for something else so for now this is going to have to be good enough!

I think it looks especially good from afar – at least that’s what I think.  Or maybe the Home Owner’s Association is going to write in the bylaws – no DIY wreaths – because of my creation.  We shall see.  Lol.

Here’s a close up:

Mommy Independence Day

I think every Mom should celebrate Mommy Independence Day.  This should be a day on the calendar every year in which the Mom gets to celebrate all the things she no longer has to do for her kids.  I mean they do have National Peanut Butter Lover’s day and National Cheese Doodle day so why not?  The end of wiping bottoms would top this list of celebrations.  I know every time my kids have reached a milestone, I celebrated with a great big Hallelujah!  Here’s some of the milestones we can celebrate with glee:

1.) When the kids can put on their own shoes.  Especially when they can tie them themselves.  Of course, it won’t be perfect (laces will frequently be untied), but we no longer have to do it – we can bark at them to do it – woohoo!

2.) Put on their own clothes.  Especially when they can pick them out themselves and not look like street walkers (but I guess this might adjust again when they become teenagers where it seems the goal is to look like a street walker at times).  Not my kids, I’ll have to start picking out their clothes again if it comes to that.  My husband doesn’t even like them to wear the leggings that are so popular these days.  My daughter was horrified the time she tried to wear leggings with a “not long enough” sweater and my husband told her to put on some “real pants”.  :-p

3.) Going on the potty.  The downside to this is that you will spend way more time than you want to in public restrooms which is disgusting.  Every time you run an errand, you hear the dreaded, “Mommy, I have to use the potty!”.  Or, “Mommy, I need a drink of water!” which you refuse because you know it will lead to having to go to the potty.  In fact, I just stopped drinking water altogether when I became a Mom because I didn’t want to have to take the kids to the public restroom – Moms don’t have time to use the restroom.  :-/  And I am still traumatized by the time I took my kids to the restroom only to have my 2 year old dig in the little maxi pad trash can.  “Look mommy!”  I’ll never forget that – I’m sure we all have our own horror stories about public restrooms, right?  :-p

4.) Feeding themselves.  And then, comes the even better milestone of them actually liking food!  Hallelujah!  My oldest started liking food at about age 8.  My middle child is starting also to like food and she’s 8 so maybe 8 is the magic number?  There’s hope everyone!  Of course, they still have their quirks with food but overall they are so hungry they will eat most things – woohoo!

5.) Being able to make their own sandwich.  And then, comes the even better milestone of them being able to make their own sandwich without creating a beach (sandy beach made of bread crumbs) in the kitchen.

6.) Reading.  And then comes the enjoying reading milestone.  This one is amazing!  Now, they can entertain themselves!  But, if you have multiple kids, they always seem to act at the lowest common denominator so I assume that you won’t get the full benefits of this until the youngest one really gets into reading.  Our youngest wants her siblings to play all the time with her and they can’t catch a break, so they only get to read at bedtime and when the youngest is occupied.  :-/

7.) Being able to reach the sink to wash their hands.  This was a big one for me because I have had back problems and nothing seems to aggravate the back more than picking up wiggly kids who can’t seem to wash the soap off just right, etc.  “Mommy, my hands are still sticky from soap – I need to rinse them more!”.  I used to improvise and get down on one knee and let them use my other knee as a step stool.  Also not good for the knees though. :-p

Of course, we will always be mothers and we love being moms, but it’s ok to celebrate when our role changes, right?  I can’t help but celebrate.  Our role is constantly changing, but we can always take comfort in the fact that we are still Mom and our kids will always need us in one way or another.  I prefer they need us conversationally as opposed to, “Mommy, you need to wipe my butt!”.  😀

Life is like a box of board games

I’m channeling Forrest Gump in that post title. So, you have to imagine me saying it in that accent while sitting on a park bench holding a board game. If you’ve met me, this is not hard to imagine. :-p

I like to look at life with comedy because if you don’t laugh you’ll cry, right?  I prefer to laugh so hard I cry – sometimes in an insane-looks like I should be in a straight jacket sort of way – but whatever I take what I can get.  :-p

These are the board games I’ve identified so far in my life:

Trivial Pursuit: When you learn a new fun fact and then you decide to quiz your spouse or friend about it so you can tease them when they don’t know the answer (even though you just learned it yourself :-p). But I’m not that mean – I usually do admit to just learning it.

Chess: When dealing with family (sometimes-amirite? Other times, it’s just easy). BTW, I suck at Chess. :-p

Clue: When trying to figure out which kid did it. Interrogate each kid to make your determination. It’ll be hard because each one will point to someone else. You have to be good at reading between the lines or good at threats.  Was it Colette with the permanent marker in the kitchen? Ding Ding Ding – I win!

Operation: When playing the family nurse.  Feels like this especially when trying to remove splinters and you have to use a needle to get it out.  Except instead of a buzzer going off, you have a kid screaming in your ear.  Bryon’s the nurse in our house – the kids don’t trust me – but I just think that’s because I don’t tend to emit a calm vibe most times..  That’s a nice way of saying I tend to freak out when someone gets hurt.

Charades or catch phrase: When you forget a word for something in conversation. Happens more frequently as we age, eh?  But charades is fun..

Jenga: when filling up the recyclables trash can over the top and try not to be the one who puts the piece of trash in there that knocks the whole thing over. Then, you’re the big loser and get to take out the trash..

Hungry Hungry Hippo: Anytime Mom or Dad is eating something yummy and the kids are around..

Scattergories: When you have to spell something out quickly while on the phone..  My reservation number?  Sure!  It’s R  like raucous.  S like sleep deprived.  V like vino.  1-4-5-6.  Looking forward to staying at your hotel.  Thank you!

Monopoly:  That ones self explanatory except the bank wins everytime in real life.  :-p

This begs the question – does real life mimic the board games or do board games mimic real life? Deep thoughts.

Our First Real Estate Baby

We did so much on this unit that it’s broken down into several posts.  Since it took us 9 months to complete, we are calling it our first real estate baby.  Hope no one drops it on it’s head!  :-p

We decided to DIY an IKEA kitchen:
See post on IKEA kitchen (4 part post):IKEA Kitchen Planning Design

Ceiling Fans:
We had an electrician put ceiling fans in all the rooms.  See this post on Ceiling Fans:Ceiling Fans

Patched Holes from Ceiling Fans:
See post on patching the holes: Patching Holes

Repainted all walls, ceilings, window trims, & closet doors.
For the paint colors, see this post: Lighter Shade Of Gray

Installed all new 6-panel doors throughout.

Opened up the doorway from the dining room to the kitchen:
See this link: Opening a Doorway

Duct Work:
We had to fix the duct work in the garage that was dented in pretty badly. We hired Morgner Heating & A/C to come out and put new duct work in.

We put new flooring throughout.  See this post on the flooring: Trying out Pergo XP in the Rental.  We actually used Allure Ultra in the kitchen because it is even more resistant to water.  They look so similar in color, don’t they?  You can hardly tell they are two different types of flooring.  We actually lucked out there because we didn’t even have a sample of the kitchen flooring – I ordered it online.  It’s called Sawcut Dakota.  We had Home Depot install it.

See this post on the bathroom gut: From Potty To Powder Room 03/2016

Repaired bathroom ceiling:
We had an issue while renovating where we had to repair the bathroom ceiling (after it had already been renovated.):Repairing Ceiling Water Leak

Shelf Liners:
I like to put shelf liners in the drawers and cabinets to protect them.  For some of the shelves (like the ones that are already damaged), I do permanent liners.  But for the new shelves, I do temporary, removable liners with no adhesive.

Here’s the before and after pictures of the unit:

Kitchen – Before
Kitchen – After
Kitchen – Before
Kitchen – After
Kitchen – Befoe
Kitchen – After
Kitchen Entry
Living Room – Before
Dining Room – Before
Dining Room/Living Room – After
Master Bedroom – Before
Master Bedroom – After
Second Bedroom – Before
Second Bedroom – After

No Before Picture for the Third Bedroom

Third Bedroom – After
Hall Bathroom – After
Master Bathroom – After

Ceiling Fans

In many older buildings, there aren’t any light fixtures in the center of the ceiling so people have to use lamps.  We have several units like this.  Slowly, we are starting to put in ceiling fans.  I’m a big “fan” of ceiling fans.  Personally, I think for rentals they are great.  People like to save on electricity and they like to air out their house or apartment so why not?

I love ceiling fans! I know they aren’t designer, etc. But they are functional. And I love functional! So, maybe it’s a good thing I’m in the rental market.  I feel like many pretty design elements aren’t functional and that’s disappointing to me. I also like to feel the breeze inside – it makes me feel like I’m in a tropical location.

Also, ceiling fans can provide plenty of light if you pick the right one. I like to get the ones with multiple light bulbs and no cover on them to filter the light. At least for rentals – I feel like the brighter the better. If they don’t like the bright light then they can have lamps in the room and use those instead. Or they can put softer light bulbs.  It’s their option. They had them on sale at Home Depot for $70 – what a deal!  About the same as a light fixture – depending on the light fixture.

Unfortunately, you sometimes have to butcher the ceilings a bit to get any kind of light fixture in but some patchwork and you should be good..  See this post on patching the holes: Patching Holes