Whiny McWhinerson

First day back to the regular grind, and I woke up today feeling like I was already in a stupor of exhaustion and blah.

On top of that, it was zero degrees today.  ZERO.  I know this doesn’t mean much to you Canadian folk who see Celsius zero on a regular basis, but Farenheit zero, even in northerly Wisconsin, is COLD.  Like, “makes my soul shrivel and my heart become three sizes too small” cold.  I’ve even been taking my vitamin d supplements, which usually seem to boost me around this time of year, but I think they’ve frozen themselves into tiny, inert crystals of ice and are refusing to enter my cells until it warms up.

And Christmas is over and my house is bare – but a mess – but bare, and that’s just a bummer.  Wanna see?



This was the (extremely late) night we came home following our last Christmas celebration, but still.  That’s a lot of stuff!

Did I mention Tahd has no clean socks, Gabe has no clean pants, and I’m not doing laundry?

And Isla is in a big girl bed, which I’m so not ready for.  And Jude is getting ready to move out of our room, which sounds divine to me except that it sounds rotten and too soon, and I just don’t like anything about this.  Here’s the room at a midway point.  There’s still more I’m planning to do, but this was a workable stopping point.


I told you – Whiny McWhinerson.  Even I’m annoyed at my petulance.

I think I’d get over it if I could…

A) feel super rested for many days on end, or

B) get some warm sunshine, or

C) win the lottery so Tahd and I can both quit our jobs

Unlikely on all counts, I’d say?

In the meantime, my New Year resolutions (not really resolutions, I guess, just loose goals) are going well.  I purchased this tracker and printed off about 8 copies and am dutifully filling in circles.  I intended to make a similar version of my own, but when I realized how long it was going to take to make it and saw that I could buy an already complete version for the Low Low Price of $4, I was so down with that.

My goals currently consist of…

drinking more water
weight lifting/squats on alternating days
taking a picture a day
taking my medications/vitamins
planning an activity each day to do with Isla (i.e. let my preschooler watch less tv)
tracking my nutrition and activity

It seems like  lot, but they’re all relatively small things.  That, and we’re…what?  Five days in?  As me how I’m doing in fifty-five and then we’ll see!

I should come back later this week to tell you about my word of the year.  I’m excited about it and want to do a project with it to give myself a beautiful visual reminder for my home.  We’ll see what happens…

Back to brooding in my own sour simmer for now.

This and That

I have random bits to catch up on tonight…

I made a reading list of the books I possess that I haven’t yet read. I divided them out into the ones I really, really want to read and the ones I’ll be happy to get to at some point. On my “Must Read” list? Twenty six. I have twenty six books I reallyreallyreally want to read.  Love me some books {apparently}!  My favorites so far? The Mysterious Benedict Society series (for kids but really interesting… a little Harry Potterish but not quite as mystical), Expressive Photography and If You Want To Write. Next week I’ll have new favorites, but that’s just how it goes!

On Tuesday the kindergarteners went on their second field trip of the year – bowling! They had recently completed a unit in gym class about bowling and the teachers thought it would be a fun thing to do during Easter week. I got to chaperone, and what fun!  We had lots of adults, each taking a few children to a lane. I think everyone in my lane bowled either a spare or a strike at some point during the morning.  Which – let’s be honest – is probably better than I would have done!

Gabe also had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon at which he was to get a shot. We have chosen to delay immunizations, and this was only the second one he’s had – probably the first one he’ll remember.  He was so brave!  It was amazing! The nurse positioned him carefully so we could each play a part in restraining him. Then she gave him a stern lecture about flinching. She needn’t have worried, though, because he didn’t budge – not even the tiniest bit!  I was very impressed!  I think it helped that he’s seen me give myself (and helped Tahd give me) a lot of shots, so they’re not that scary.  I guess there’s an upside to injectable fertility medication?

Afterward I suggested we stop at the store and get a little treat. I was thinking candy, but he’d been gobbling up the candy he got at his school’s Easter party, and once I saw him in Target I nixed the candy idea.

Somehow, Target succeeded in beating me out of $25 more than I intended to spend on a “little” present.

You have to watch out for those Target marketers.  They’re sneaky!

Gabe’s last day of school before spring break was Tuesday, so we’ve been having wild times since then.

Actually, I woke up with a headache on Wednesday morning, one that quickly progressed into a flashing-lights-nausea-throbbing-headache sort of migraine. Gabe, excited by the novelty of being home during a weekday, was content to play while I “slept” on the couch.  Note: this is what your child will eat while you’re resting on the couch with a migraine…

Yes, that’s a bowl full of ice cream sprinkles.

Yes, he took full advantage of my plight. 😉

We also did a few Easter-related things. We’re attempting to grow wheatgrass.  Did you know you can grow it in paper towel with no soil at all?

Gabe rehearsed for the rock concert he intended to perform when our family was together.  It was quite a concert.

That’s his fierce face. Lately he’s telling me that everything is “fierce!” <insert snarl>

And then it was Easter weekend! My family was all together and we celebrated the 30th birthday of one of my brothers-in-law.  I made the “cake,” which was actually an apple pie.

Nom nom nom!

Happy birthday, Corey!

Then it was Easter basket time.  I decided Gabe didn’t need any extra candy, so I bought absolutely none of it for his Easter basket. Instead, I bought a bunch of little toys. The idea sounded good in my head, but when I actually filled the basket I realized it was more like a Christmas basket. It was just full of a lot of toys!


Toward the end of the week I realized that I wanted to have something that reminded me of Mara for Easter. I had seen instructions on The Handmade Home for simple stuffed animals and thought I’d add a few more to our collection so Mara’s owl would have some company.

They both turned out a little differently and I think they’re fun. They’re especially soft, too, since their bodies are made with a minky fabric and they both have some flannel on them, too.  FYI – I didn’t measure a thing; I just eyeballed everything. And I sort of combined all the instructions she gives; so even though she gives instructions for 2 types of animals, I rolled them all up into one. Perhaps this is why I think they look more like pandas with floppy ears???

Gabe named his Fuzzy, I think.  I suggested Erma for mine, but Gabe didn’t like it.  Any suggestions?

Then it was Easter! My mom made a delicious dinner for our family…

Isn’t she cute?

And we mostly spent the day around the house. It was pretty low-key. Except for Gabe, who bounced off walls most of the time.

At one point he asked to take pictures, so I let him.  I love this picture.

Gabe wanted a picture of his orange Easter egg, but he wanted Mom to hold it up REALLYREALLY high! She’s doing her best, and I love how you can just barely see her and Kayla, trying hard to hold back their giggles!

Gabe also wanted to use my sewing machine, so I helped him make a small pillow.

You might think those ovals represent Easter eggs, but they don’t. They’re Mighty Beans. Which completely frustrate Tahd because they cost all of about $0.02 to make, yet they mark it up something like 5000% and sell them for a dollar each.

I feel a little more caught up now! 🙂  At least on my blogging. I still have 26 books to read…

Gallery Walls

You know what I love?  Pictures.  I love to have a house full of pictures of some of my favorite memories.  I went through my house one day and counted my displayed pictures, and you know what? I topped 50.  I feel vaguely embarrassed about the fact that someone could come into my house and think we were insanely in love with ourselves based on the number of pictures we display, but that’s not it at all!  I just love looking up from whatever I’m doing and seeing something that makes me smile because it brings back wonderful memories.

There’s a link party going on right now at The Inspired Room about people’s gallery walls.  I thought it would be fun to play along – partly to post my own walls and partly to get new ideas because I have plans to add one or two more of these features. I’m beginning to fear the walls in my house are looking overrun, but my love of the happy memories wins out and I keep plotting new ways to squeeze in a few more photos.  🙂

Right now I have two gallery walls – one in my stairwell and the other in our hall upstairs.  First up – the wall upstairs.

This was my first gallery wall. I got the shelves on sale at Kohls and the frames were all frames I had at home. Some of them were already black, but the others I spraypainted.  I have some old family pictures in this gallery as well as some pictures of Gabe when he was very young. I think one of my most favorite pictures in this gallery is the small picture in the center of this shot – it’s of my dad and sisters at a dance. Growing up, we were never allowed to go to dances. However, as they got older my parents decided dances weren’t such a big deal. In 2005, our church actually hosted a father-daughter dance, and my dad took the three of us for a “date.”  Someone snapped this picture of the four of us dancing, and it’s a really lovely memory!

I put up the next gallery more recently – maybe last year?  My inlaws gave me a whole bunch of frames for Christmas, and I added a few others I had collected since the first gallery.

This gallery was tricky to lay out. I knew I had too many frames to just start nailing them into the wall willy nilly.  So I measured my space and did the whole “cut-paper-bags-into-the-shape-of-my-frames” and worked on a mock layout. Once I had a design I liked I transferred it to the wall and finally installed my nails. Can I just say that I hate nailing into plaster? It’s such a fiasco!

This gallery actually isn’t quite done. I still have one empty frame. I thought I knew what I wanted to put in it, but it’s a larger format print and I wanted to purchase it locally. And when I say locally, I mean I wanted to go to a 1-hour Walgreens. Except they don’t seem to do enlargements on site. So I’d have to wait. And I didn’t want to wait. So instead of waiting I just didn’t order it, basically meaning I’ve waited a year to fill my final frame.  Logical? No. But maybe good, because I think I’d like to use a different picture now.

This gallery has a few non-photo things in it, too, although I’m not sure about them. One is a little craft I made out of shells and rocks we collected in Florida – it’s the heart in the center of the above picture.  The other is a dried magnolia leaf we got on the same vacation.

I have a decorator friend who says galleries are always more aesthetically interesting when people incorporate non-photo items. So far I haven’t felt like I mastered this. But maybe I’ll get it right in the next gallery wall!  😉

Speaking of the next gallery wall, my plan is to do something with larger format prints – maybe 16x20s?  We’ll see what ends up happening!

Do you have a gallery wall?  Link up and play along! It’s fun! 🙂


Art Display Wall

I have issues.

As of today Gabe has attended approximately 111 days of school.  As of today, I have thrown away exactly zero pieces of work he has brought home.

Exactly zero.

Every day Gabe brings home papers – gobs and gobs of papers.  On the first day of school, I had a genius idea that I’d get a binder, punch holes in each of his papers, and insert them into his binder so that at the end of the year I’d have a chronological record of all his work.

That lasted about two months until the first binder was full and I had to find a second.

Then there was the work that didn’t fit into the binder – the art projects that were too large.

Or the projects that were too special to have holes punched into them.

Or the ones that were really cute and I wanted to display.

So I got myself some rope and made a little artwork display line a la Land of Nod.

Which worked well for about 2 weeks until I became irritated with the fact that the clothespins didn’t always grip the artwork and I didn’t have enough space on the line to grow our collection of displayed art.

Since then, I’ve been looking for another way to display Gabe’s school work, a way that fits into our house’s decor and fits into my approach to memory-keeping (aka hoarding).  I’m still working on the hoarding issue, but in the meantime I think I’ve found a great solution.

Enter chicken wire.

About a week ago I ran across this post about how a blogger used chicken wire to create a focal wall.  I stumbled onto these two sentences from her post

I plan on changing out what is hanging on the wire pretty regularly.

The whole point of doing the wire was to give me a “canvas” that I change as much as I want.

and knew I had hit on something that could change my life, or at least my ability to deal with Gabe’s papers from school.  😉

In our house we have a back entryway that has a giant wall.  To illustrate how giant, let me terrify your poor motherly souls with this picture…

I swear to you he loved this – would laugh and laugh. In spite of the fact that he looks completely shocked and terrified in this photo.

Anyway, see the wall? The tall wall behind my shocked child?  It’s this big, blank wall that just begs for something exciting.  For the last few years I’ve had two measly 11×14 picture frames on it, frames which look like hardly more than specks on a wall so tall.  But I couldn’t come up with anything else until last week.

When I saw the chicken wire post, it occurred to me that my tall wall would be the perfect place to display copious amounts of work created by Gabe at school and chicken wire would make it really convenient.  We had an issue, however.  Thanks to our fantasmical plaster walls, stapling things into our walls presents some challenges.  Namely crumbling plaster, which ends up being a pretty big problem in this sort of application.

Tahd informed me that he didn’t think it would work due to our walls, but I was determined to make it work.  It occurred to me that we might be able to attach each end of the chicken wire to a piece of wood and then screw the piece of wood into the wall.  Plan in hand, I presented my idea, and he (perhaps grudgingly?) said it would work.  I say “perhaps grudgingly” because I told him I would do it.  And I think he knew I totally wouldn’t.  And he was right.

See?  Here’s Tahd working on the wire. Doesn’t he look super thrilled?

So I sent Tahd to the store – Farm & Fleet, to be exact – where he found a glorious sale on chicken wire… $7 for 25 feet!  Score!

At home, Tahd found 2 ugly scraps of wood and cut the chicken wire to length.  Actually, he cut the chicken wire about a foot and a half short, but we decided to make it work.

Note: it takes a little maneuvering to straighten out chicken wire.  We rolled it backwards and forwards a few times to straighten it out as much as possible.  Definitely a two-person job.

Once the wire was straight we opted to hang it without painting it.  Tahd stapled the top and bottom edges of the wire to a white board and then took the wire-and-board contraption to the wall.  Using screws, he attached the top edge to the wall…

and then stretched the wire taught and attached the bottom edge also.

And then?

It was done!

Because our wire is attached to boards it doesn’t rest flush against the wall.  I’m not sure it would anyway – the wire is a little finicky and seemed to have a really hard time getting completely flat.  I actually like that there’s a little space because it makes it easier to clip things to the wire.

I had wanted the wire to cover the entire wall, top to bottom.  But when we realized Tahd cut it too short we just decided to center it on the wall and figured by the time I got all the artwork hung on it I could camouflage the fact that it was a bit short.

I’m still working on filling it up with artwork.  And other miscellany that makes us smile.  I expect it’ll be an ever-changing and probably overfilled display of the things we love most.  I see all sorts of photos and artwork and momentos in its future.

So there you have it. A super fun way to reinforce your hoarding habit AND display fun artwork.  It’s a win-win, don’t you think?

Weird Day

Day 472 of Tahd being gone this week, and we woke up to this…


Snow – giant, beautiful snow!  It is March and I think most everyone I know is ready for spring, but these flakes could have caused earthquakes every time they hit the ground – they were enormous!  They were mostly the size of quarters with a rich dose of silver dollars thrown in for good measure.


I hate the snow when Tahd is gone, though, because snow = shoveling.  Thankfully spring must be getting close because the snow eventually turned to rain and washed away into puddles before I needed to drag out my green back, shoulder, and arm torture device.


I keep a little reminder of spring on my table, though, so my mind doesn’t dissolve away with the melting snow.



I also woke up to something I found initially annoying but later realized was slightly important.  From around 5:30 or 6:00 on this morning, Gabe coughed.  Non-stop.  The absolutely predictable, incessant barks punctuated my last precious moments of sleep until I was finally roused for good and realized Gabe sounded like he wasn’t just coughing but was also having an asthma attack.  It took approximately 1.8 seconds for me to start flashing back to my own childhood asthma attacks when I could. not. catch. my. breath and immediately had the same sensation of being unable to breathe.  The good news was that I was able to breathe, and the even better news was that Gabe’s issue seemed pretty mild.  I called the doctor who was able to squeeze us in for a quick appointment, and we set about our day – getting ready, picking up some pastries, and going to MOPS to drop off the food and briefly see some friends.  Then it was over to the doctor.


Having never been diagnosed with asthma before I wasn’t certain Gabe had, in fact, had an asthma attack.  But upon listening to his lungs and watching him breathe the doctor concurred and ordered a breathing treatment.


Can I just say that breathing treatments are deceiving?  The child sits calmly on the bed and methodically inhales the magic air for the prescribed amount of time.  It all looks so serene and unflappable.




The medication takes effect and the child begins frantically ricocheting off the walls in a jittery attempt to findsomethingtodorightnow! Said child is overhere! And overthere! And overhereandoverthere at the exact same time!  As helpful as albuterol can be, I do not consider it a friend of the parents.  This parent is not a fan!  Granted, I’m also not a fan of children who can’t breathe very well, so I’ll take the albuterol over the labored breathing.


It seemed to help, at least enough for me to break his heart by taking him to school, so we hopped in the car and continued on our way.


Can I just say I spend an inordinate amount of time in the car?  I added it up this week and realized I spend a minimum of two hours every school day.  If I have any appointments or errands it’s more like 3 hours.  I probably pick up an extra hour or two on the weekend.  Altogether, I bet I spend at least 15 hours a week in my car.  It looks something like this…



Do I look tired there?  ‘Cause yeah, I was.  And no, I didn’t take that while driving.  I was sitting in the car waiting for the school to turn Gabe loose at the end of the day.


The waiting also gave me time to observe the particularly messy condition of my car.  I swear I have crap shoved into every possible crevice.



You’d think that spending so much time in the car would motivate me to want to keep it clean.  But nope – hasn’t worked so far.  And that’s just the front seat.  The back is worse – far, far worse!


Doesn’t Gabe look thrilled to see me here?

I swear to you – every day!  He looks this thrilled every day!  For someone who spent a solid hour begging me to let him skip the rest of the school day, he certainly doesn’t look happy to see me when I pick him up!  I actually took this picture on Monday, but he looks this way almost every time I pick him up.


So we came home, my little asthmatic and his tired mother, and proceeded to attempt to not destroy the house before bedtime.  Can any other mothers relate?  I can get the house all picked up while he’s gone for the day only to have it fall apart in what seems like moments.  And it’s not just him – I do at least my fair share of creating a disaster, especially when it comes to dinner preparations.  Good grief!  I’m a messy cook!  Tonight was raw pumpkin pie soup, which sounds disgusting in print but is actually really tasty in person.  If you like pumpkin pie, which I do.  But do you know how many carrots you have to juice to get 32 ounces of carrot juice?  Uh, a lot.  There were very many carrots and very much carrot pulp and I think I may have dyed my countertops orange.  Which is good or something because orange is my favorite color. 😉


Gabe’s in bed now and I’m about ready to head that direction myself.  I’m hoping for a regular day tomorrow.  Today wasn’t bad, but it was definitely weird!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...