Wednesday, February 26, 2014

So many pins, so many projects

I’ve been enjoying checking out Pinterest for tips on DIY projects and home décor and other such endeavours.  I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest, as I imagine a lot of people do.  I love it for its inspiration factor, and I HAVE made a few things from Pinterest that I’ve been fairly happy with the outcome of.  There are particularly a lot of great craft ideas to work on with Andrew that I’ve found on there.

I just find it annoying how the picture of craft (or meal or especially home décor) looks so PERFECT and then when I do it I end up with what Andrew deems an ‘epic fail.’  You know it’s bad when you go to start a new project and your 5 year old says, ‘Hopefully this one won’t be an epic fail, right, Mommy?!’

Some people also appear to have endless bank accounts, and therefore have very pristine homes.  They also don’t show signs of having three kids 5 and under, who inevitably take over the family home (unless it’s a mansion, maybe, where the adults of the household truly can have their own space…Yeah, we don’t have that here).  There’s NO WAY I could make my house look the way houses look in the pictures, because, well, we actually have to LIVE in ours.  And I can’t afford to go out and buy all the stuff I’d need to make the necessary updates, anyway, so it’s a bit of a moot point.  Even crafting can get expensive quickly.  There are a lot of ‘little’ projects I’d like to do (if time would allow) but I have to be realistic and factor in how much the supplies will cost.

Still, I do love me some Pinterest!

One project I both started and actually completed last weekend.  I was searching for ways to update a rental kitchen, because we all know how much I can’t stand our kitchen, aesthetically speaking.  The layout is pretty great for me, it just desperately needs to be updated.  There isn’t a chance in hell that management will update it, so I decided to go the ghetto route of making our countertops LOOK like granite…with Con-tact paper.  Yes, you read that right.  I actually felt that A STICKER on top of our counters made to look like granite would be a vast improvement from the counter top we had.  And it seriously does!  It actually looks AMAZING!  I would have applied it slightly differently if I could go back and re-do it, as there are a few imperfections that stand out to me (although I doubt they would to anyone else, especially not if they were comparing it to the way it was originally, without the Con-tact paper!)  BUT for the most part it was a total WIN, no epic fail on that one.  James actually referred to the counters the other day as ‘Mommy’s new baby’, which I laughed at but I can see why he said it!  I feel so much happier in that kitchen now, and while it needs a lot more work to be aesthetically pleasing, it’s a start.  I feel great about it.  The leaky ceiling made me feel defeated for a day but once that was fixed (hopefully for good this time…) I finished the project and it just looks so much cleaner and newer. 

It’s moments like those, when I’ve completed a project and feel good about it, that I realize how important it is to have these projects to do.  It might seem like a simple, silly thing, and yes, maybe even a tad bit sad that putting Con-tact paper on our counters was such a thrill for me.  But my own personal world is teensy tiny right now.  I used to do projects ALL THE TIME.  Before I had kids (and somewhat when I ‘only’ had Andrew) I was constantly changing things around and doing fun little projects around the house.  Once the twins came along…that sort of came to a grinding halt.  It generally takes all I’ve got just to do the general maintenance tasks that I feel I have no choice but to do in order to not allow chaos to completely overtake me.  Who’s got the wherewithal for side projects?!  But I’m realizing how truly important it is, that I really do need to have things to do that I WANT to do, that don’t just feel like chores.  Yes, I have to be realistic about the cost of things, but there is a lot I know I can do if I just put the effort in to see it through.

I’m hoping to get permission to paint out our kitchen cupboards and put knobs on them.  I also want to paint the bureau we have in our bedroom.  The ‘old me’ would have done these things already because as soon as I thought of the project I’d be aching to get to it, and wouldn’t let anything stand in my way.  I need to find that part of myself again and unleash her!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Starting NOW...

Today I finished watching the Gossip Girl series on Netflix.  All 6 seasons watched.  It’s for the best that it ended because I felt kind of guilty binge watching GG at times when I could be doing much more productive things (although vegging can be nice, too!)  I admittedly got totally sucked into the show, though, and kind of loved it.  It’s definitely a guilty pleasure, much in the same way as 90210 was back in the day (or, not all that long ago, the next generation of 90210, which, yes, I also watched).  It’s so superficial, but there’s something about those teen drama type shows that I love!  I was happy with the way the show was wrapped up in the end, so I’m satisfied and not left wishing I could get all those hours back that I ‘wasted’ watching it!

Instead of finding a new show to binge watch, I’ve decided to use this time to be more productive.  ‘This time’ being the bit of time I have in the evenings once everyone has gone to bed and I’ve got all my nightly chores done.  My plan is to force myself to do a little exercise routine (despite that I’m dead tired – it’s really the only time I get to fit that in on a regular basis), do some writing, READ rather than watch shows, and hopefully start getting to bed a little earlier than I have been.  James even said if I went to bed a little earlier, he’d get up if the girls needed something in the time frame where I’d usually be looking after them still (yes, I have the greatest husband ever!)  So I really should take up on that…I’m so tired all the freaking time, and I’m beyond tired of being tired, so I’ve got to change the pattern as much as possible.

I feel like I continued with my usual ruts so far since the new year started, and while it’s still early in the year, if I don’t start making changes NOW, I won’t have much chance for success by the end of the year.  So there’s no time like the present to get started, and this time I MEAN BUSINESS. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Snow days and singing some Raffi

After reading several books to the kids this afternoon, we got to a nursery rhyme book, so I started singing.  I always figure the kids are going to cower away into a corner and cover their ears at the sound of my singing voice (I think I would, if I was listening to me!) but I’m always surprised by how taken they are with my singing.  Maybe it’s because it’s somewhat of a rare event that I spend any length of time actually singing to them…but they LOVE it!  I was singing Sing a Song of Six Pence, for example, and Emily broke out into a dance, complete with a huge grin on her face.

Once I’d sang all the songs from the book, I sang a few others I knew by heart, and then I put a Raffi CD on.  We sang and danced to Raffi for close to an hour, and the kids were all happy, dancing, and playful.  It was right around the time when our Witching Hour usually starts, so I was amazed at how well everyone was doing!  Meltdowns naturally occurred not long after, particularly after Margaret bit Emily’s arm as hard as she could, or at least I gathered as much looking at the bite marks…Poor Emily.  She’s never an instigator, she’s not a bully in the least, but Margaret on the other hand…Just watch out for Margaret, need I say more?!

I finally convinced Andrew to get his Mohawk-that-was-growing-wildly-into-something-totally-not-mohawk-ish  cut yesterday and I gave him a really cute big boy haircut.  It’s not perfect by any means, but I think I’m doing better at giving him his haircuts.  I’m so glad I’m able to do it, it’s crazy how much salons and barber shops charge to cut kid hair!  Although in their defence I’d probably want a lot too, if I was having to deal with little kids squirming around…I can’t imagine cutting some other kids’ hair, truthfully.  LOL

We got a fair bit of snow since Saturday morning.  It’s really not that much compared to what a lot of people are used to, but for us it’s a lot.  On Saturday we took the kids to the park and let them run around and play in their snowsuits, which was great because it’d be a shame if they didn’t get any use out of their suits!  I bought Andrew’s last year and we never got enough snow for him to use it, so it won’t fit him by next year.  All 3 kids LOVED being in the snow, and it was hilarious watching the girls because their snow suits and ski jackets are so puffy, they were waddling around like penguins!!  They really kept them warm though, which is the main thing.  We built a snow man and it just felt like a fun winter adventure.  I was having a bad day leading up to that (I think I wrote about it already…the water leak and the mil issues…) but our outing to the park really did make the day better.  That night we even had a fire in the fireplace, which is a rare treat since we can only have them after the babies have gone to bed.

Yesterday James took Andrew to see the new Lego movie in the theatre, and Andrew absolutely LOVED it.  Margaret and Emily napped late but napped for a good chunk of time, so I got a bit of rest.  I have felt so unrested…for years now, really, I wish there was something I could do to make it so I got enough sleep and had more energy.  On the other hand, I still think it’s a really good thing I’m a night owl, or I hate to imagine the extent of the water damage we’d have from the water-leak-fiasco!  So there is that…

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Leaky townhouse

There are a lot of things I really love about our place.  One thing I have never been a fan of is our kitchen.  It has awesome potential, I LOVE the layout of it, it just needs some major updates.  Whoever lived here before never heard of a cutting board, so the countertop (which is beige and super ugly to begin with)is all cut up and looks dirty even when it’s clean.  There are also some big chunks of it missing, which just seems embarrassing to me.  We are the type of renters who treat our place like we own it, and we take pride in keeping things clean and looking nice.  But if you took one close look at our kitchen you’d probably think we’re total slobs!  There’s just nothing we can do about it.

Until I saw a pin on Pinterest about using Contact paper made to look like a new counter top.  For less than $20 I can make our counters look like granite even though they’re not!  Last night I went ahead and did the biggest counter in our kitchen, and while there are a few minor issues with it, I think it looks AMAZING, definitely 100% better than it was.  I had just finished and taken some pictures of it, and was feeling SO pleased with my accomplishment, when I heard a noise over by the sink (on the other side of the kitchen) and just all of a sudden there was water GUSHING from the ceiling.  So much that in the time it took me to grab a pot to catch one part of the leak, water was puddling onto the floor and it was a total disaster.  I panicked a bit, ran upstairs and woke James up and then we had to take a few things out of the storage under the stairs to get the water shut off.  Once we turned that off it stopped fairly soon, but OH MY GAWD what a disaster.  It had gone all inside one of our food cupboards so we had to take everything out, we used all our towels to mop up the water (which was discolored and smelled bad) and my nice ‘new’ counter was jam packed full of all the stuff from the wet cupboard!  I felt totally defeated.

Today someone came to ‘fix’ it, but the problem is that this is the 3rd time its been ‘fixed’.  The first two times were much smaller leaks, but given the guy spent 5 minutes tops on the repair job, I’m a tad concerned that it’s only a matter of time before it happens again.

We have issues with the management of our place, and we’ve had concerns about living here for any length of time in part because of that.  I was starting to think maybe if we did a few of our own updates to make the place feel a little fresher we’d be able to look past the negatives and stay here longer term.  But then the water issue happened and while yes, they were prompt in coming by to fix it, I just don’t have any faith whatsoever that it is in fact ‘fixed.’  It worries me, as I’m pretty sure there is mould growing in the area where the leaks have been happening since it has happened so many times (who knows how many times before we moved here) and it’s never properly dealt with.  I can’t live here if I know there’s mould given we have 3 small children who could have long term effects from that.  I am just feeling really sad about it all, we can’t afford to move right now and nor do I want to, and Andrew is registered for Kindergarten so I don’t know when it would be a good time to uproot him.  I know he’ll end up having to change schools when we move, which makes me sad because I always imagined staying in one place once we had a children or children in school.  I went through the same elementary school all the way through, and though we did move once in that time, we were still close enough to the same school, and then I went to one high school all the way through.  I always imagined the same for my kids, but I realize things do change, and we’ll settle somewhere eventually.  I think sometimes I feel sad that we can’t own our own home, but I don’t see us ever affording it unfortunately.  I feel like I was meant to own my own home, as snobby as that might sound, but I mean more just in terms of how I’d like to care for it and keep it nice, and it’s so much more limited in what one can do with a rental – plus, who wants to sink a lot of money into something they don’t own.  On the other hand, I like renting because we don’t have to pay when things do go wrong, and we’re not sinking further and further in debt with all the renos I would no doubt want to do if I owned!  I’d always be wanting to do updates!  So there are definitely perks to renting, I think I just wish we could be renting from someone who also cares about the place we’re in, at least enough to do maintenance properly the first time.  I worry about what other issues there might be that we just haven’t discovered yet.

Throw in a bunch of issues with my mil (that saga will never end!) and this day is proving to be a fairly bad one.  It’s snowing, though, which is a novelty around here, so I think when the babies wake up from their nap we’ll bundle them and Andrew up in their snow suits and we’ll go outside for a little snow adventure!  The day can be salvaged yet!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

It's all about me (for 5 minutes, at least!)

Just over a week ago I went and got my hair cut for the first time in 6 months.  I don’t usually go that long between cuts, but it’s so hard to find the time to go, and I was nervous about finding a new stylist.  My mom went to this particular woman and I liked what she did with her hair, so I decided to give her a try.  I am SO glad I did!  I absolutely LOVE my new haircut.  I decided I didn’t want to lose a lot of length because it took me so long to grow it long, but at the same time it felt too thick, heavy, and without any real style.  I basically gave her free range to do what she wanted, but I made sure to tell her I wanted it to be noticeably different.  I feel like for the first time in a long time, my hair actually has a style.  Maybe to other people it wouldn’t seem like it, but I feel so much better – sort of like a new me!  Definitely a change I was needing.  She basically drew a whole lot more hair into my bangs, which she referred to as ‘fringe’ (I’m really not up on my hair lingo, obviously), and there are lots of layers and she majorly thinned it out, but kept the majority of the length over all.  I LOVE it.  

I had a gift card for Ricki’s to use that my grandma gave me for Christmas, so I went there last weekend and got a nice top…and ended up doing a bit more shopping at a few other stores.  There were still some really amazing deals on leftover from Christmas, and even new clothes were on for a percentage off, so I really lucked out.  It’s extremely rare that I ever buy anything for myself these days.  Even if I go out with the intention of getting something for myself, I gravitate toward kid stuff and end up having adorably dressed children, but me…in a total style RUT.  I was telling my mom the other day that I often think, Why bother thinking about the way I’m dressed when no one even sees me anyway (because everyone’s looking at the kids).  But she made a good point – it does matter how I feel about myself.  And I have to be honest, I haven’t been feeling great about myself for quite a while (mainly in trying to ‘get used to’ my ‘new’ body post-twins).

But a few new pieces in my wardrobe and I really feel refreshed, and so much better about myself.  AND I’ve lost 2lbs!  Which is actually an amazing feat because I’ve done almost nothing in an effort to lose weight, as I was going on about doing in my New Year’s Resolution post.  I feel embarrassed to say that I haven’t been putting more effort in, and also a little angry at myself for not getting going on working toward my goal sooner rather than later.  BUT I have largely cut out snacking later in the evening (which is the downfall of many people, I believe) and already 2lbs have come off!  Which I know isn’t much, but it’s a start.  If I start exercising more and continue to watch what I eat, it should come off faster than I originally thought, if 2lbs came off with almost no effort.  Or at least that’s the hope!!

Tomorrow’s my birthday and while I do go by the calendar year, technically I believe the ‘new year’ starts tomorrow for me, since it’s the start of my next year.  So I have to say, that I’m feeling good going into it.  I’d say ‘energized’, but I was a total zombie today.  More sleep is definitely something I’d like to fit in somewhere this year, but I know I have to just stick to realistic goals, so I won’t even put that on my list =D