around the house…

i know i said i’d be back with some new posts, and i am, but it just took longer than i thought.  we’ve been really busy around the house and i just haven’t made the time to blog as much as i thought i would.  i’m also trying to stay off my computer a little more because i am actively trying to be more “in the moment” with the boys.

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a few weeks ago i was able to take a never-before whirlwind trip with my three best girls to portland to go to ikea.  harry had broken his bed and i wanted to get the boys new twin beds.  i made sure they were in stock before we made the four hour trip.  we made a day of it and stopped at pFriem Family Brewers in hood river on the way.  once we got to ikea, of course they didn’t have the beds i needed!  i am not gonna lie: i was pissed!  but, i changed my outlook and just enjoyed the day with my girls.  even though i didn’t get a bed, i did get the much-needed light fixtures for my kitchen, and for the first time ever, i didn’t spend a ton of money at ikea!  we had lunch at Miss Delta in the mississippi district (which is just the coolest neighborhood, aside from my own) and, as always, it was incredible.

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christopher and i have been doing some spring cleaning and improvements around the house lately too.  we found a great leather couch at goodwill–my karmic reward for not getting the bed i wanted at ikea–and our good friend found us the perfect bed at the Habitat for Humanity store in town!  now i just need another similar twin bed and the boys’ room is almost done.  i built a console for the living room to store our vinyl records (see picture at the top); we had our first-ever garage sale, and got rid of a lot of stuff that was cluttering up the garage; and i also totally refinished our front porch, which badly needed a new coat of paint and/or a complete new surface replacement.  i chose to go the refinishing route and used the Olympic Rescue It paint/resurfacer from Lowes (this is not a sponsored post–i wish–but i just liked the way this product worked and wanted to give a shout-out.)  now my porch looks awesome!

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you can see how it filled in the cracks in the wood!

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we still have a lot to do as the weather continues to warm up: planting the vegetable garden, re-seeding the lawn, adding a small patio extension in the backyard and getting our compost bins going.  whew, that seems like a lot!  oh, and we decided that we will homeschool the boys for kindergarten, so i have curriculum to research, classes to choose for them and all the planning that goes into this new endeavor.

i have some fun things in store for the blog too: a tutorial on re-covering a midcentury chair, some home decor styling tips, a peek at the boys’ room decor (when i get it done) and i’m going to start doing some room tours through the house!

hope you have a happy monday!

cheers,

e

back with a fresh start…

i decided to take a break from the blog for the month of january because we had a lot of family stuff that needed my full attention and i needed a little bit to recharge my batteries after a very hectic holiday season.

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but, i’m back with a fresh start for the year.  i  began by moving some things in my house around (of course!) and instead of resolutions, which i never keep, i made a list of intentions for the year.  just some things i want to focus on.  already i’m seeing a difference with the boys.  i am trying to speak with kindness and a calmness in my voice when i address the boys.  so far, they are doing really well in response.

they are back in preschool after winter break and i am gearing up to do some observation at the school(s) where they might attend kindergarten this year!  we need to decide if we want to waiver them to a different district (if we even can) and whether or not we want them in the same class.  honestly, the idea of them in school full-time is really bumming me out so i’m looking into half day kindergartens.  i don’t like the thought that they will be in a classroom setting for 6+ hours a day.  harry will do fine, but i’m worried that jack won’t be able to sit still for that long and will get in trouble and burned out on school.  i’m sure these are the things all parents think about, so i guess it’s my turn!

anyway, thank you for sticking with me and this little blog.  i’ve got some fun things planned for this year, so stay tuned.

cheers!

e

merry christmas…

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merry christmas and happy holidays from everyone over here at the house of mayhem and chaos.  i hope your day is filled with joy and love and everything on your plates and in your glasses is absolutely delicious.  may you find peace, calm, serenity and love during this crazy-making time of year.

much love,

e

from the top: super buddies | the best damn bloody mary | jamie oliver’s comfort food – best. gift. ever. | mid-afternoon snack

around the house…

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things have been crazy around the house over the last six weeks and i have not been posting like i have wanted.  the holidays tend to stress me out as it is, but with everything going on, it’s been a bit more stressful than usual.  holiday decorating is not my favorite, but the boys love it and i do it anyway.  right now, it looks like christmas threw up in my house and i can not wait until january, when i can put it all back away in the garage and have a fresh, clean house!

from the top:

pFriem beers on our way to the fleetwood mac concert in portland before thanksgiving

red cross turkey trot on thanksgiving morning

first snow of the season

hand lettering my chalkboard door is about as into christmas as i like to get

realized this is the first time we’ve taken the boys to see santa!

making soft things for loved ones for christmas

contrary to common belief, elves are grown ups and enjoy a beer now and then (santa would never use child-elf labor!)

gingerbread a-frame

ballast point bloody mary and my favorite hopworks hoodie on tree decorating day (they don’t carry the one i’m wearing but this one is similar.)

jack jack the pirate king

i hope you are weathering the holidays.

cheers,

e

on thanksgiving, family and other s%*t…

i realized that my last post was quite a while ago.  blogging has not been my priority lately.  we have been having some family struggles and we are doing our best to help, comfort and support.  i know i’m being cryptic, but it’s not my story to tell.

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however, i have been thinking a lot about how i interact with people.  a long time ago, i was very much a pleaser.  someone who put my own stuff on the back burner (or pushed it completely off the stove) in favor of other’s needs.  i was super nice.  always happy (actually, not at all) and willing to do whatever was asked of me.  after going through my divorce nearly ten years ago, i realized am realizing that i am much happier with myself if i adjust how i interact with others in my life.

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a couple of the ways i have adjusted my thinking are listed below.  and just to be clear, i am not writing this post to give any instructions because i have it all figured out.  just the opposite; this is more a reflective post for me and maybe to give out a little encouragement during this time of year.

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the worst case scenario: i will win the zombie apocalypse because i have a plan.  i always have a plan for the worst case scenario.  however, i am learning that i can’t continually let my mind travel to the far reaches of all the horrible things that can happen to my kids, my husband and my family or in my work.  instead, i repeat the polish proverb: “not my circus, not my monkeys.”  really, i am learning that there are things outside my control and i neither need to be nor should i worry about being in charge of those things.  it gives me a moment to breathe and say, “is this really my problem?”

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literally: i used to spend a lot of my time thinking that what people said to me was not really what they meant.  i would replay conversations over and over in my head until i was not sleeping, like ever, and i was sure that person totally hated me.  something like “i can’t meet up with you that day” would turn into “i have never ever liked being your friend and i can’t believe you haven’t figured that out yet and i wish you would never speak to me again.”  messed up, right?  finally, i was just too exhausted to deal with that anymore.  during my divorce, i lost most of my friends.  i have one that stuck with me and we are very close.  she is amazing.  but, in making new friends, i have learned to adjust my thinking.  if someone says something to me, i believe them.  maybe that’s naive, but it works for me.  i will not be held hostage by trying to interpret someone else’s thoughts.  and on the flip-side, i say what i mean.  i don’t want anyone to have to guess.  i have a few more really good friends now and there is no bullshit with us.

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the holiday season always brings so much shit along with the cheer and wonder.  families can sometimes be the most cruel because the normal societal rules don’t seem to apply.  we often say the worst to the ones we love.  we often turn our backs because we assume forgiveness will always be there.  we crack and break under the stress of creating a perfect “holiday experience.”  we expect more from others than we are willing to do ourselves.  and, this is just awful, damaging and heartbreaking.  i am certainly guilty of this, but i’m doing my best to change my thoughts, actions, expectations and behaviors.

try kindness

during this holiday season, i challenge you to speak with kindness and intention.  say plainly and clearly what you mean and expect that others will too.  reach out to those who need comfort and compassion.  give someone some help and maybe a break before they lose it.  do not expect the moon without offering the stars.  and remember, sometimes it’s not your circus and these are not your monkeys.

but if they are your monkeys, please ask them to refrain from throwing their shit.

cheers,

e

 

image at top courtesy of the museum of the city of new york

harvest and halloween…

halloween is over and i always feel a little sad when it’s done.  i leave our decorations up until almost thanksgiving, and the skulls stay out year round, but i’m a little sad that the spooky season is done for the year.

this year, the boys wanted to be a pumpkin and a skeleton, so i was thrilled that i could make their costumes.  this is the first year since their very first halloween that i made their costumes.  i got a black shirt and leggings from target for the skeleton and just painted some bones with white fabric paint.  the mask is a paper-mache skeleton face that i found at craft warehouse.  i painted it  white, used a sharpie to define the teeth and eye sockets and punched holes in the side for an elastic strap.

for the pumpkin, i got a large orange t-shirt and painted a jack-o-lantern face on the front.  i sewed some elastic to the bottom so we could stuff it with a pillow to make a fat pumpkin.  we layered a green shirt and some striped leggings underneath.  i used felt to make the pumpkin top hat and threaded a headband through the bottom.

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harry was “scary harry” the skeleton and jack was “jack-o-lantern” the pumpkin king.  he wouldn’t let me stuff his shirt because he wanted to be a skinny pumpkin like jack skellington.  the boys said that daddy needed to be a ghost, so we made a very traditional ghost costume for christopher.  we went to downtown kennewick and walked down “treat street” where all the businesses hand out candy.  we had to pit stop at home before trick-or-treating our neighborhood because the boys already had full buckets!  then, we stopped by our neighbor’s house for a little halloween gathering and had a wonderful time before i had to go to work.

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my costume was kind of chosen for me.  at work, the theme was that the men would be hunters and the ladies would be the animals.  i wasn’t too keen on that thought (but since this is not a post about the rampant sexism inherent in society, i’ll skip the diatribe) so i decided to go as a raven.  i couldn’t pull off a jungle cat costume in my 20’s, let alone my late 30’s, and i figured “gothic raven” was more my style anyway.  plus, i found these wicked-cool feather false eyelashes, so i was pretty happy with the way it turned out.

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we harvested the pumpkins from our garden and the boys went to a pumpkin patch on a field trip at preschool.  they love picking the pumpkins.  they drew faces on their pumpkins and christopher and i carved them into very happy jack-o-lanterns and we put them on the font porch to ward off the evil spirits.

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this has been a really fun halloween season.  i’m looking forward to thanksgiving.  i think we are going to host at our house this year and i just love the idea of having all our family here to share the meal.  christopher’s mom is living in washington now, and it will be the first thanksgiving, since we’ve been together, that she will be with us.  it’s time to get planning!

how was your halloween?  i would love to hear what you and the kids were dressed as!

cheers,

e

that maddening season…

do you ever think “if i can just make it though these next few weeks, things will slow down and get back to normal?”  i do, but now i am starting to think that there is no such thing as slowing down and going back to “normal.”  fall is here and that means that halloween, thanksgiving and christmas/new year are just around the corner.  this is the maddening season:  obligations, parties, gifts, crafts, buying, cooking, going, doing…

i am trying to prioritize some “me time” in my days, which just really means that i struggle with feeling lazy when i decide to get a cup of coffee (the most incredibly large cup of coffee-cue mike myers voice, hello!) at my local coffeehouse in between dropping off and picking up the boys from school, because i should be at home cleaning and cooking instead of visiting with my lovely neighborhood barista and reading the newspaper.

but, i’m trying not to be too hard on myself and remember that i can only do what i can do and that i need to make time to enjoy the boys and my home.  i’m learning to say “no” to some obligations and to say “yes” to things that i want to do and to things that will make life easier and more enjoyable for me and my family.

here are some things i’m doing to make this maddening season a little less hectic (starting with that coffee on school days):

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i accomplished one project, in that i think our halloween decorating is done.  bats, tombstones, pumpkins and skulls are all placed strategically around our house and they boys are delighting in the season, which, really, is what it’s all about.  bring on the spooky, i say.  i’ll be leaving all the skulls out after halloween and incorporating them into the regular home decor.  something else i don’t have to put up next year.  i also especially love halloween because all the spiderwebs in my home the rest of the year look like very delicate, handmade-from-etsy, decorations.  yay spiders and yay me for being too lazy short to clean them!

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jack and harry are happy we can still spend some time outside and that it’s not too cold yet.  the little cat loves jack jack and lets him snuggle her and pack her around.  she is so patient.  i’m loving watching this special bond they have and i’m really having a hard time with the fact that we need to find a home for some of the stray cats that have come to live on our porch lately.  maybe some cats will be a part of my holiday “giving.”  watch out, peeps.

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also got my hair cut again.  i’ve come to the realization that i am not good at doing my hair, especially now that it’s gotten much thicker and unwieldy after having the boys.  i went back to my pixie cut and i’m way happier.  i can just run my hands through it on the mornings i have to get the boys to school and i don’t look like the mom who just fell out of bed.  even though, i am the mom who just fell out of bed.  chalk up one for making a good hair decision and doing something for myself that i know would make life a little easier.  it’s not the best picture, but hey, that’s what you get when i take a quick selfie just before i walk in to work.

oh, and a good friend of mine has started selling nail wraps, so i’m jumping on that bandwagon too, because a) no drying time, b) two week wear time, c) i like having my nails done and these are cheaper than going for a manicure and easier than me doing it myself and d) no nail polish smells, which drive my husband batty.  it’s a win-win and i’ll talk about them more when i have given them a good trial run.

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finally, here is a sneak peek of the boys’ halloween costumes.  something i love is crafting, and i was thrilled when they asked for costumes i could make.  harry’s is completely different and i’ll put them both up on the blog when i make some time to take pictures.

how do you deal with the “maddening season?”  i’d love to hear your tips and tricks for making life easier and more enjoyable.

cheers,

e