Thursday, January 24, 2013

The joys of painting

Five years ago S and I were recently engaged with the wedding fast approaching in a few months. We both had full time, well paying, jobs. So we did what any reasonable young couple, with enough money, and in the current economy, would do. We bought our first house. We bought a foreclosure in great condition and moved in quickly (like within a few weeks). It's a fairly big house (4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a loft, front room, and TV room) and we literally didn't even have enough furniture to fill it. But, we figured, it would all come in time. We also didn't paint, figuring once things settled down a little bit we would pay someone to come in and change all of the starkly white (and soooo boring) walls.

But one thing led to another and suddenly we had a wedding upon us, and then a few months of settling into being newlyweds. I quite my current job about six months after we moved in and found one with better hours but a slight pay cut. Then, the next thing you know, we are pregnant. (L was a very happy surprise). Suddenly, withing a nine month period, we went to being a young couple with disposable income and no real responsibility to being new parents and me going down to working part time. Then L2 came along and suddenly we had two little ones and one income. Needless to say, while we did eventually fill every room in our house with cribs and rockers and toys, toys, toys, the days of having someone come in to paint our house were far between us.

And for five years it has driven me crazy. I hate white walls. I felt like it always felt so cold, and also felt like we were renting, not owning our own home. I didn't feel any character in our house, and of our own personality poured into it. Well, we still can't afford to have someone come in and do the job for us, but we finally hit home depot, moved all of our furniture and went at it.

Here's the thing: painting is not fun. It's just not. It's seems like it might be fun. In fact, it sounds like a great idea at the beginning. And then you get about three hours in and every muscle in your body is screaming for mercy and the kids are going crazy and you realized you've barely made a dent it one room. But regardless, we soldiered on. We literally spent almost eight hours every day of our three day weekend painting. And we only got the downstairs done (three good sized rooms, but still). And despite the fact thing it was exhausting I  love love love the end result soooo much. Our house feels so much more homey now. And we steered away from the basics light beige's that are popular in Phoenix and took a bit of a risk by using a darker "greige" color called puddle on all the main walls, and a deep chocolate color for the accents. Have I mentioned I love it. I love it enough that the thought that we still have to do the stairwell, the loft, and the upstairs hallway this weekend is kind of OK with me!

So here's some picture of our work! Sorry, I know a lot of them are blurry, the were taken with my iPhone in a hurry!!!!

We will start with the "before" pictures. Of course, I didn't think to snap any before while our house looked normal! So, no, in case you're wondering, our furniture does not usually sit in the middle of the room and our kitchen does not usually look like a tornado hit (except some night after dinner!) But do you see what I"m talking about with the blinding white walls!

And some "during" pictures:

And finally, the "after"! We still need to finish re-hanging come of the pictures, but besides that the downstairs is done!

Wish us luck this weekend when we finish up the rest of the house!!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

L's first day of pre-school!!!!

My baby had his first day of SCHOOL today!

After a few months of going back and forth and weighing the pros and cons we decided it was time to enroll L in preschool. First of all, we want him to be as prepared as possible when it comes time for him to start kindergarten and first grade. Second, he is soooo social and we knew it would be good for him to have some structured playtime with other kids his own age. And Thirdly, we felt like we had hit a bit of a wall as to what we were able to teach him at home. We work on all the basics: colors, numbers, letters etc., but between just daily chores and activities, and chasing around a now very mobile one year old, we don't have a ton of time to dedicate to just learning.

After doing a ton of research, and touring several different options, we finally found a school that both S and I love. I knew I wanted a Montessori approach, but the Montessori school I looked at had astronomical prices, and I knew I wanted something that was structured and an actual school environment. I didn't want to put him in a place that called itself a "preschool" but was actually just a "daycare". He can play at home with me, I wanted him to be someplace where, yes, he would play and have fun, but also where he would be learning.

We finally settled on a place called Wirtzies. They practice the Montessori approach but were also super affordable. I loved all the staff and teachers that I met right away. The have a top notch security system (I hate that I even have to worry about that, but with all the school shooting and especially Sandy Hook how can you not?) But the thing that probably sold me the most was that they have an inter-generational program. Apparently this is pretty big on the east coast, but not as big on the west coast yet. Basically, there is an Adult Day Center on the same campus as the preschool and they do several (supervised) activities every week that incorporate both groups. It's basically a "grandparent" program. They have a courtyard where the older people teach the kids how to garden, the kids put on plays for their "grandparents", or they take joint classes such as art or sign language. I just think it is such a neat idea. I love the amount of joy it must bring to those older people to be around the kids, and I love that the kids are learning such important lessons from their elders early on.

So we are starting him two half days a week to start, and will probably up it to three once everyone settles into this new routine. Honestly, I was excited for him to start going. Obviously for him and all the benefits it's going to have, but on a selfish note, also for me. Two days a week to run errands or go shopping or even just go grab a quick coffee is much easier with one child rather than two, and it's also easier to cart around a one year old than a very active and opinionated three year old. So we were all totally on board with the preschool thing, and we were all excited about it. That's why I was super surprised when the tears started flowing as I walked him into the classroom and I had a hard time leaving. I went out to the car with L2 and just bawled for about ten minutes. I had been looking forward to this, but,. oh man, I missed my baby!!!!

He did fine though, which I guess is the important thing, even if it did kind of break my heart. As soon as we got to school he went to put his backpack away and headed out to play. You could tell he was a little shy at first, but he didn't have a problem with me leaving and I got glowing reports about how well he did at the end of the day.

Oh, my baby. I can't believe you're in preschool. I can't believe you are so confident that you can walk into a room full of strangers without needing me by your side. I can't believe how big you look. I love you and I missed you so much  today, but I know this is going to be such a wonderful and rewarding experience for you!

On a side note, I do plan on doing a sign like that every year, so I hope you are as excited and willing to pose by your seventh, and ninth and twelfth grade signs as you were your preschool sign. Also, I will probably cry on all of those first days too.

Monday, January 14, 2013

First post of 2013.... Finally!

**I started this post about five days ago. The first time I went to write it, my iPhone wouldn't upload the pictures I wanted. The second time we discovered that after much abuse my laptop has officially stopped functioning properly in the form of a non-working  "Q" "W" "E" and "R" key. Tonight I am stubbornly forcing myself to finish it and publish it, despite the fact that I am tucked away in the loft on our clunky old desktop, and S and L just had a dinnertime standoff that resulted in L getting sent to bed in tears with no bath or story time. (Apparently to L, sweet potatoes are the new gross.) Oh, and did I mention that L2 is headed back to the hospital at 5:30 tomorrow morning to replace his ear tubes which have already fallen out?

Besides the trying last few days (and the looming reality of having to fork out money for a new laptop) 2013 has been pretty good so far. We've laid low the last few weeks, recovering from the excitement of the holidays and trying to get back to our normal routine. L2 has started physical therapy every week in order to catch up for the time he missed when he was preparing for his surgery and in the hospital and I am amazed weekly at how quickly he is catching up. Despite the fact that he got a little behind with his surgery, you can definitely tell he is just a completely different [personality from L. L was up and pretty much running by 10 months and when he learned to do something new he took off with it right away. L2 is much more laid back about things. He is perfectly content to crawl for now and with each new skill he learns he likes to try it out a few times and slowly ease into it over a period of a few weeks. It's actually pretty funny. He's also very stubborn and if he's not in the mood to do something, he won't do it. End of story. I didn't like the idea of physical therapy at first, just because, truthfully, I didn't really like admitting that L2 had any catching up to do. Now though, I see what a God send it really is. Not only has she showed us how to push him in certain things and fun ways to teach him how to do things, she's also put my mind at rest that each kids really is different. L was super advanced for his age physically. Some kids are super advance in Vocab. L2 has been doing fine motor skill things since he was only a few months old. When they are this age and every milestone is so huge, it seems like a big deal, but our therapist has put our mind to rest that when he is two or three and running around yelling at his brother all these things I have been stressing about will seem like a distant memory.

I"ve been feeling invigorated with the start of the new year. I took a break from my normal gym routine for most of December and was only going about three times a week or running outside. I know that may not sound like taking a break, but I'm pretty strict with my gym routine and usually go five days a week for about two hours a day. But honestly, I needed a break mentally. I've always been very hard on myself when it comes to my body. As an athlete I think that is pretty common. And this last year has been hard on me, because it was freaking hard to lose the baby weight the second time around. And I was beating myself up about it big time. All my pre-pregnancy clothes fit but I've remained constantly about five to seven pounds heavier than I ever was.... and it was killing me. Like seriously, I would cry about it. And I needed to take a break from feeling that way. I needed to run outside and remember that, all the health and body benefits aside, I like running. I like sports and I like being active. I like the way I feel, more so than just the way I look. And I needed to spend more time with my boys, doing crafts and playing outside and cuddling up for movies on the couch, and remind myself that five or seven or more pounds would totally be worth these two amazing little children that I get to call me own. I think the aftermath of childbirth is hard on most women. Regardless of what diet you're on, or if you live in the gym, having a little person grow inside of your tummy changes your body and there is nothing you can do about it. And that 's OK. Like I said, it's worth it. Yes, being fit is important to me. Fitting into my size four jeans is important to me. But being healthy and being a good role model for my sons has to be more important.

OK, sorry about that little rant, but I've been needing to get how I was feeling about it off my chest. S is very understanding and very supportive, but as a man, he really just doesn't totally understand. I know you other mama's out there get what I'm talking about! Anyway, I'm back to my gym routine; running a few miles every day and doing Pilate's and this new tabata class which is killer but awesome. I"m feeling good! And the first weekend of the month I did my first 5K of the year! Me and  few of my girlfriend signed up for the graffiti run, and despite being freezing (for Phoenix) it was so much fun! I"m already signed up for a mud run in the middle of February and I'm stoked! So I'll leave you with a few pics of our race and a promise to be back soon with less rambling posts and hopefully a toddler who has developed a taste for sweet potatoes!

All White before the race!

No white after the race!

Trying to show off our team name "Color me Bad-Ass"

The whole crowd was tossing color in the air.... it was crazy and really cool looking. You couldn't even see the sky! Breathing in all the powder? Not so fun!

I"m sure the restaurant we went to afterwards for some well deserved cold beers was thrilled when we walked in!