Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Pua's Big Day and Totally Separate Adventures in Home Decorating

So here we are, on Day 25 of the government shut down. I am, frankly, not doing great with my anxiety on this time of furlough and lost pay and purpose. It doesn't matter that I know I don't need to be anxious, that our back pay is almost certain, that we are still comfortably paying our bills, that my parents can help when we can't. It simply doesn't matter. I'm in fight or flight and there is nothing to fight and nowhere to fly and it would really be better if I could go to my job and get paid for it. But it does help to know what is happening in my brain, to have a name for it, and to have techniques that help me to act less like an asshole to those I love. I'm working on a general update post on that topic, but for now, we will turn to lighter things.

Like Cora yelling, "Mom! Take this picture! I'm SUPER GIRL!!"

(It helps if you can hear her little voice yelling "girl" with her special pronunciation that sounds more like "goy-rl" and it is delightful.)

On the topic of Cora, in a semi-hungover haze after I spent six hours drinking two margaritas at our local taco place until midnight last week, I told Cora she could bring her Pua as her "sleepy lovie" at school. Normally we make her keep it to something small, but I was tired and fuzzy and the giant pig seemed like a totally reasonable sleeping partner on a small preschool sleep mat.

She was SO EXCITED. She insisted on a first day of school picture for them both, then she buckled Pua safely into his car seat in the backseat. "I'm his mom, so I need to keep him SAFE," she explained.

Once at school, she carefully placed him in her cubby, where I assume he waited excitedly for nap time to begin.

Cora told me that night that Pua had SUCH a good day, and all her friends loved him and "pet his soft furry head" every time they walked past. He accompanied us to our post-work happy hour (the one I did not drink at) and Cora felt he should be dressed for the occasion and shared the Wonder Woman hat and wrist cuffs she'd been wearing all day. He looked very festive, even if I did make him stay in the car.

Pua could really have a whole scrapbook album; he's a major part of our life.

Another thing that made me smile recently: overhearing this conversation while the girls were playing over the weekend:

Claire: “Cora! You need to ask me before you take my things!

Cora, with a sigh at the obvious flaw in that logic: “But Cwaire! Then you might say no!

Being the older sister is hard. I was totally ready to defend Claire's right to own things without harassment, when she just shrugged and seemed to agree with Cora's logic. Then I remembered she's also a younger sister.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On an entirely separate topic, other than the fact it also makes me smile, we finally updated our bedroom last month! Obviously it ended up being bad timing with the shut down a few weeks after, but at the time it was an entirely reasonably decision based on my apparently naive believe that I will get paid a certain amount every two weeks.

Here was our bedroom not long after we moved here in early March 2012.

We had painted the walls a light blue grey (the same color we'd recently painted our bedroom in our Austin house), removed some pretty ugly cheap wood built-ins along the back wall, and spent the rest of the master bedroom budget renovating the entire carpeted, navy-blue-walled, brown-bathtub, extra-toilet-in-the-shower bathroom. We left the carpet in the bedroom, though we had urgent plans to replace it as soon as possible, and decorated the room with the bedding and furniture that were only a few years old from the Austin house, with plans to revisit later.

(The picture above included because I still adore every inch of this fully renovated shower that no longer has a toilet in it, and look at tiny baby Claire!!)

But revisit it we did not.

Instead we took down a wall and gut-renovated a galley-kitchen two years later. We switched the kids' rooms and decorated each of them. We had to replace some doors and nearly all our window framing in our bedroom and sun room after they started leaking during rain storms. There was a garage project, a back patio project, a new roof, and all the other little things you do with a 70-year-old house you adore and are slowly making wholly your own.

Last Fall, 6.5 years after moving in, we finally took out the old carpet and replaced it with wood to match the rest of the house, as part of a project that included replacing the rotted window framing and making some small updates to our hall bath like moving the bathroom light switch from out in the hallway to inside the bathroom (what a crazy idea!) and adding an exhaust fan. Wood floors done (and then re-done, after the first round buckled up in a dozen places after two days), I started trying to decide what else I wanted to do to the room. I had no problem with the general color and design, but we'd had it the same for about ten years (when you include the Austin years) and I wanted something different- something with color, something more on the short little back wall... just something. I'd done each kids' room twice since we moved and ours was due. I set a budget of no more than $1,000 and got to online browsing and bookmarking.

Target had a big home sale in late November and I found a rug with all the colors I wanted for 40% off.

I got the lamps, curtains, and teal quilt from Amazon (after frequently finding them on other websites, but getting the lowest prices there) and the world map print from Ross for $25. The bench by the foot of the bed is from Target (from the same super home sale; 40% off!), as is the new curtain rod.

I couldn't invest in new furniture, and had no argument with our current set, but I did want to freshen it up a bit. I thought about switching out the night stands, but then got the idea to switch out all the knobs instead. $30 on Amazon later and I had 30 brass bar knobs that I switched out ALL by MYSELF (I do not do these things) and I love it!

It's little, but it genuinely changed the feel of the furniture for me.

Then I got the idea to do framed watercolor prints of favorite vacation memories along the back wall. I used the waterlogue app ($2.99! bought 2 years ago when I gave my parents a watercolor print of my childhood home), printed matte 12x12's to Costco for $3.99/each, ordered custom mats from this website for a total of $60 (they were great, cut perfectly, and delivered for free 5 days after ordering), and then picked up the six 16 x 20 frames from Michaels during a Christmas sale that was a remarkable "Buy 1 Get 2 Free."

I truly love them. They're colorful and personal and just abstract enough to feel like art. Very personal, happy art.

I still would like to add a few more things once I'm being paid again- a fun colorful throw for the bottom of the bed, some art or metal work for above my dresser (I still have my old Austin frames there; I love them, but again, they've been there for 10 years, and now that we have the frames of photos above the bed, I'd like to add more art to the space), and maybe some different flowers for the vase on my dresser. Little stuff I'll get to later and over time. Oh, and we need to repaint the walls because there's a lot of holes and touch-ups that don't match like the one on our ceiling from when the new roof leaked. I'd like to change the color a bit as long as we're going through the effort, something a little less grey-blue and maybe more cream-blue, but I do really love the colorful new look and all total I spent less than $700 to refresh the whole space.

In close, because it's about time to pick up the kids, here are the images I framed (because every picture I tried to take of the framed images themselves reflected my own image back onto me). I look forward to switching them out with new ones over the years. Except maybe not because I deeply love them all.

Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica, 2018

Chicago, Illinois, 2018

Cano Island, Costa Rica, 2018

Nauyaca Falls, Costa Rica, 2018

Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 2014

Canyonlands National Park, Utah, 2016

Happy Tuesday to you all. (Oh! And I made this Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad for lunch yesterday and it was exceptional and I genuinely can't wait to eat the rest of it for lunch tomorrow. Just another little bit of happy to close it out.)


  1. I love the photos!! They’re artsy and sentimental and just enough different to add interest! I also have a bathroom entirely covered in 30 year old carpet (vomit emoji here) that I cannot wait to gut! Then I’ll work on the country blue bedroom full of handmedown furniture :P

    1. Thank you! And yes- I'm pretty sure our carpet was 30 years old too (all the vomit emojis) and it felt amazing when they rolled that away! I look forward to your country blue bedroom of handmedowns as well :).

  2. Is it just me or does anyone else totally want to see a before picture with the toilet in the shower??

    1. It is to my eternal regret that I never got a picture before the contractor ripped that sucker out. It was the craziest thing. A fake low ceiling, super dark tile shower, and a toilet right next to the spot where the shower head sprayed down.

  3. I love what you did with the photos!

    1. Thanks P2P! They make me smile every time I walk in the room :).

  4. Those photos look so cool -- I am going to have to check out that app.

    My sister in law works for the government too. This shutdown has to end soon, doesn't it? I can't believe it has lasted this long.

    I just finished reading a trilogy that I think you would like, if you need a reading diversion. Have you read the Court of Thorns and Roses books by Sarah J. Maas? The first book is enjoyable, but the second and third ones are so good.

    1. I can't believe it's lasted this long either, which strangely, seems to make it more likely it'll last even longer... like the shock value has worn off and other news stories are dominating. Though missing a SECOND full paycheck next week might bring it back front and center.

      And thanks! A friend had recommended that series a little while ago but I forgot about it - I'll download this week!

  5. I have a bunch of friends that work for NOAA and NASA and one of them posted yesterday "I miss science." My heart goes out to you guys so much.

    1. Ugh. I miss being a lawyer. I miss my office. I think my succulent is dying. Hugs to your NOAA and NASA friends too.

  6. I LOVE the watercolor photos and love this idea. I think it's a really nice mid-point between all-family photos and art on the walls - we're moving out of a rental soon and not sure where we'll land, but I hope to steal this idea when we find "home."
    I'm sorry about the shutdown and hope you and so many others are able to return to work soon.

  7. OH. MY. GAWD. I love this! Love love love this! I especially love that you changed out the knobs. For 8 years now, I've been frustrated with our bedroom suit because it has gold knobs that I sort of hate, but I loved everything else about the set so I bought it anyway. EIGHT YEARS I've been "meh" about my bedroom and it never occurred to me to switch the knobs. This feels like the moment in my first post-college job when I found out that you got paid for vacation days (I thought they were like excused absences). On the one hand, why has brain not figured this out? On the other hand, who cares - I have a solution now! Thank you. Like - seriously, thank you SO much.