Thursday, July 29, 2010

Surrounded by Color ("After" Photos)

The painting is done!
Here are some before and after photos. The tile is a work in progress and the carpet should be installed tomorrow. Yes, I'm ecstatic.
front room before
front room after
front room before - notice those plaster flowers on the wall
front room after - no more plaster flowers
fireplace before - including chair rail
fireplace after - no more chair rail!
kitchen before - note the dog door on the left
kitchen - no dog door, and with "Fresh Thyme" paint
school room before - with gold paint and miles of wallpaper border - ick!
school room after - with Kevin-installed vinyl floor & NO wallpaper border
master bedroom with chair rail!
master bedroom - purple (actually "Magical Mauve") & no chair rail
master bathroom before - note the carpet
master bath after - "Plum Wine" & with tiling in progress, also note the toilet in the bathtub
girls' room before
girls' room after - there are also two pink walls
boys' room before - dark green
boys' room now a more suitable blue
my top fave "before" photo - the stairway - I really didn't like that color
SO much more my taste - LOVE the transformation

And there you have it! The paint. Now when I come home to our old house, I am aware what a different feel color gives to a home versus the white walls. Mind you, I would choose clean white walls over colors I detest, but I now know I much prefer color. It's so beautiful in there I can't wait to move in.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Praise the Lord

That's it. Just praise the Lord, my goal for the day. How can I go wrong with that goal?

After I last posted, I walked across to the house and saw the sun rising. What a glorious way to start the day, even if you are a nervous wreck, which I was. The sunrise made me smile. And thank God. And I walked into the house and saw that the painters finished all that they said they would. Still some work to do, but the crucial areas that needed to be ready for the tilers were done. AND --- I am in love with Fresh Thyme, the color now covering part of my kitchen and laundry room. It's gorgeous.

I walked through the house and then came home where I watched Kevin limp off to work. He is sadly sore from laying the laminate floor in the school room yesterday.

Since it was barely after 6:00 a.m. by that time, I sat and prayed the rosary and then read Mark 16. There are several scriptures from that chapter in the mystery I prayed today, and I wanted to read them in their entirety.

Being up so early, I even had time to give myself a pedicure before the kids woke up. There's something to be said for a day that starts with viewing the Sunrise, praying, and shining up your toenails!

Praise the Lord even further -- the tile guys showed up at 9:00 a.m. and started working. I walked around the upstairs replacing ugly switchplates and outlet covers with simple cheapy white ones and the kids watched the tile guys work. We are gloriously on schedule for the move date.

Now we're home and it's time to catch our breath before I start packing more boxes. Next time I complain about my attitude, remind me to rise early, watch the sunrise, and pray. Things could have gone wrong after that (still could) but I'm way better prepared to handle them. The pink toenails don't hurt, either.

House of Cards

I'm awake.

Kevin and I talked and prayed this morning, and he called today the "House of Cards". If the things that are supposed to happen today don't happen today, then the things that are supposed to happen tomorrow can't happen tomorrow, and likewise for Friday - then we won't be able to move on Saturday. I'm not a nail biter, but I want to be right now.

At 11:30 last night, the painters were still at the house. Think I'll mosey over real quick to see if they're STILL there and then go pray. Like crazy. And try to keep from going crazy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Living Today

I like today. Today I am excited about a new move and a beautiful new home. There are details galore, and a tiny bit of fear that it all won't happen in time and we'll have to scramble to rearrange our move time. But those details give me extra purpose in my day, and plenty to think about. So I'm enjoying today more than usual.

I'm notorious for dreaming about the future and commemorating the past. I love photo albums and special dates and lists of goals and daydreams about what my children will look like in ten years. But I think life is best lived today --- I'm just not that good at it. Except right now. I'm loving today and relishing all the anticipation and fun of putting together this huge moving project.

Today is a visit to the pool supply store and Sears to choose appliances. Today is taking my nieces' left-behinds to the post office. Today is choosing grout color and an alternative tile since our earlier choice isn't available for another week. Today is quick lunch and grocery shopping and calling my parents and friends for meals after the move. Today is kids playing together and watching Pink Panther and "The Muppets Take Manhattan" and going for another swim - the sixth in a row since we got the new house key. In fact, today is now mostly over. I packed more boxes, checked on the paint (both kids' rooms have their first coat), and made baked pasta for dinner.

Whether tomorrow brings successes or failures toward our upcoming move - or something totally unrelated, I hope I enjoy it and thank God for every second. And whether I dream or reminisce, I know I'll enjoy even that - but most of all the "now". It sure doesn't last very long.

And speaking of not lasting long, here's a photo unrelated to my post - but cute nonetheless and capturing John in his brief stint as a two year-old.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Paint Fumes? Or Pure Joy?

I can't tell if I'm feeling deliriously happy because I've been sniffing paint, or because I'm watching our new house turn into OUR new house.

Today was day three of home-ownership in Nevada (let's not forget we are still homeowners in California). I began day three by walking to the new house around 6:30 a.m. to shop-vac wallpaper scraps and climb a ladder in the downstairs bathroom to scrape MORE wallpaper border off the ceiling. It sucked. I'm sore. But it's done, hallelujah.

The nicest painters in the world appeared at 7:22 a.m. and went right to work. I am glad to report that the once-golden-barfish-brown loft is now a pleasing Rustic Taupe. And the lighthouse-border bathroom, stripped of its lighthouses, is Alaskan Skies. Our master bedroom, devoid of the burgundy chair rail, is Magical Mauve.

After some price-comparing that put a lot of miles on our car and minutes on our phones over the past weeks, we chose our carpet/tile company and put a deposit on the flooring this afternoon. Plus Kevin spent a little time online researching his "school room" vinyl floor project which has to happen early next week before the new carpet arrives. I'll take photos of that for sure.

To conclude, some progress photos of the plaster.
First, the "before" photo:

Next, I photographed a little of the mess. I do mean a little. It was much larger, but I had to sweep frequently so the little blobs of damp plaster didn't stick to the wood floor. I was using a squirt bottle, a wood chisel, and a rag to scrape this stuff off. You can see, if you look closely, how badly I gouged the drywall. I am relying on the expertise of my formerly drywalling husband and the skills of the painters to cover up my violence. All the damage running horizontally beneath the pattern is where I tore off the chair rail.
Finally, I enlisted Kristi's help toward the end of my job. I should have hired her MUCH sooner. This photo makes it look almost pleasant and fellowshipy to chisel plaster. I assure you, it isn't. I should have had Kevin take a picture when my forearms, pants and shoes were covered in white dust.
More tomorrow! I feel like HGTV, and that's pretty fun.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


There's something to be said for manual labor once in a while. At least I sleep really well when I work!

Woke up at 5:30 knowing I wouldn't go back to sleep. With a pool fence installer, a painter, a floor measurer and a locksmith due at the new house within hours, I showered and dressed ridiculously earlier than normal.

Now, many many many hours later - I am proud of all we accomplished today. I'd post a photo, but I left the camera at the house.

The two highlights were scraping plaster frou-frou decor off an entire wall in the living room and wallpaper off the exceptionally high bathroom ceiling. Do you know very many people who put wallpaper border on a ceiling? I don't.

Last night, Angie and Kristi were my heroes for joining me in wallpaper scraping and chair rail demolition.

Bright and early tomorrow morning, a professional painter and his crew will start the home makeover. I can't wait!!! It seems wondrous we'll have a house that will be so much our taste.

I'm listing the paint colors we've chosen - see if you can guess which room any of the following colors will paint.

Bunny Tail
Alaskan Skies
Magical Mauve
Midnight Garden
Rustic Taupe
Bachelor Blue
Plum Wine
Red Red Wine
Fresh Thyme
Frosted Garden

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We're In!

Just got the keys a little after 3:30 - hallelujah and praise the Lord!

As soon as Kevin gets home, we're going swimming!

Nervous & Anxious

Instead of worrying, we are to pray about everything. I'm praying a lot these house-buying days, but I'm still nervous and anxious. Both Kevin and I barely slept last night. We are supposed to get the keys to our new house today. I think I will cry if we don't, and I'm sure I'll cry if we do.

I got us out of the house to Target this morning. Bought some pool stuff for the kids (and some swimsuit cover-ups for me - I plan to start LIVING in those things).

Just talked to the realtor and she said the key handoff won't be before noon, but later this afternoon most likely.

There are drywall supplies in the back of our van, and painters and locksmiths and carpet measurers standing by. All I'm thinking about it pulling down chair rail and wallpaper border. Bring it on!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Shoulda Guessed

In 12 years of being married to Kevin, and four years of friendship and dating before that, he has never criticized any of my clothes.

Last Saturday, as I suited up to take our kids to a splash park with friends, I put my new shorts on. They were six dollars at Target, are BRIGHT green and have a pink stripe down each side. Kind of preposterous from a fashion perspective, but they were cheap and I purchased them expecting to only wear them running.

He cornered me in the closet and told me as gently as he could that he didn't like them and wanted me to change.

I found something else to wear, but it caused me a few tears. It seemed so unlike him that I thought I must have looked exceptionally terrible.

Less than half an hour later, we arrived at the park and it seemed like nearly everyone I've ever loved was standing in a group and shouting, "Happy Birthday!". Friends from past and present, near and far. It brought tears to my eyes, and readily explained the issue with the shorts. I'm guessing he didn't want me to look too "Target Clearance Rack" for a surprise gathering of my 100 closest friends. (Unfortunately, my Henderson Libraries 5K t-shirt passed his inspection, so all my party pictures are taken in that sloppy article of clothing.)

Kevin's parents served a scrumptious meal, but I barely tasted it because I was so emotional. It was VERY bizarre to sit at that splash park and look around to see friends I haven't seen in YEARS mingling with current buddies and other folks. I loved every minute and it was over far too soon.

Now, over a week later, I'm still glowing. And still trying to decide whether to scrap those Clearance shorts. I shoulda guessed something was up!

I love my husband.

There are lots of pictures, but these two capture some crucial moments.
Here I am after seeing all the friends lined up at the edge of the park. I promise I wasn't just emotional about being dressed too dowdy -- it was mainly all those great faces!!! I couldn't believe they all came to celebrate with ME!

Kevin (with lots of contributors) made me a beautiful scrapbook for my birthday. I never would have thought he'd tackle digital scrapbooking before me! I enjoyed looking at some of it at the party, though it made me cry all over again. The crown is compliments of my sweet friend Janice who came from Yucaipa! And yep, I wore it nearly the whole party.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Today is the day! I'm forty years old today. Life is amazing.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Packing Up the Gravy Boats

Packing to move is really a unique task. Rarely do you have such a chance to go through your belongings so thoroughly. I was reminded yesterday that I have three gravy boats. Three! No one but the pilgrims at their extra-long Thanksgiving table needs three gravy boats. But one is an heirloom, and two are extra-elegant, so three I will keep.

I've been trying my best not to pack things we might need in the remaining weeks we're here. When I packed up our master bedroom closet the other day, I intentionally left the humidifier out. Smart move, since John broke out with a croupy cough two nights ago. Sadly, I thoughtlessly packed my blue shoes that go with my blue skirt that I wanted to wear to church last Sunday. I wore my black sandals and hoped no one would notice.

You come across things that you would have no use for, ever - and you're then faced with a decision. Continue to store it in your valuable closet and cupboard space, or toss it. I came across our Peruvian Bread Warmer yesterday. Some family member gave it to us years ago - I'm sure it has survived at least three or four moves already, but I've never used it. Who would have a use for a Peruvian Bread Warmer? Peruvians, I suppose. But they must not have large families because I'm certain this thing wouldn't hold more than a third of a loaf. I tossed it.

It took two large boxes to pack up all of our board games. I tried to get rid of a few, but just couldn't. I'm far less attached to clothing. I donated more shirts last week than I have left in my closet.

Still to pack is the kitchen, which will be last-minute, and all the things which occupy the children: toys, craft supplies, Wii. They have to have something to do while I'm analyzing our belongings.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

On Dentists and Churros

I'd like to meet the mom who lacks a guilty conscience and buys her kids churros at Costco moments after leaving the dentist's office. I am not that mom.

All four kids had appointments with their FABULOUS dentist this morning. Four sets of x-rays; four cleanings, four exams - plus visits to the treasure chest and trying out the new games in the waiting room. All that and we were back in our car in one hour flat. (From there we sped to Costco for a few items and I couldn't bring myself to buy them their semi-usual churro. Likely the flouride hadn't even dried on their teeth!)

Joe has one small cavity, Cayna four. At least they're tiny and all on baby teeth. So we'll go back another day for fillings and coatings. AND Cayna has a referral to see an orthodontist.

Orthodontia indicates we've moved to Level Three of Parenting Challenges.

Level One: sleepless nights; diaper rash; teething; ear infections; potty training

Level Two: no more training wheels; first day of school; "Where do babies come from?"

Level Three: body odor; orthodontia; eye-rolling; video game addiction

Level Four: cell phones and networking websites; full-on puberty

(Levels Five through Seven are foggier for me, as I have not parented in these Levels. I have, however, lived them - so I'm anticipating the following:)

Level Five: driver's license; boyfriends/girlfriends; parents suck

Level Six: SAT/ACT; college applications; empty nest

Level Seven: career choice; spouse choice; being in-lawed

There you have it! We're in a new level. Maybe there is a way I can operate here and remain uninformed about the financial requirements. As it seems that Cayna has inherited her father's funky dental issues, we are in for a LOT of work. No matter, I guess. I'd rather hang out here in Level Three for a while. Level Four makes me nervous.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

These Are the Days

These are the last days of my 30s. I can't believe it. I hardly feel qualified to be 40.

I am not bothered by this big birthday (though that might change if anyone gives me "Over the Hill" cards - how depressing!). Bothered isn't the word. A little stunned, though. How have I been alive 40 years?

I can't imagine what the next decade holds, but I'm looking forward to living it. I can look back, though.

The most obvious occupation of my 30s was my kids. I gave birth at age 30, 32, 34, and 37. It appears that most of the decade was spent pregnant or nursing.

Kevin and I established our household again and again - six times! -- and in five cities.

We converted from Protestant to Catholic.

I read countless books. Slept a lot. Cleaned my bathroom more times than I care to recall (wish I could cut back on that in my 40s but I don't see it happening). Made friends. Lost a few, or moved away. Saw some sights. Tried some stuff.

Overall, I'm content. Not entirely. There are always little "itches" here and there (what if we just picked up and moved to Great Falls, Montana?) - what if I'm missing my calling in Politics?

In the moments when I trust God and quiet myself, I'm smiling. At least grinning. Life is good.

I started a journal in 2002. Before I was married, I zoomed through a journal a year - sometimes faster. But this one has dragged on for eight years. There are only a few pages left and then I'm closing it whether I make it to the final page or not. I think a new decade warrants a new journal, don't you? And I'll close the book on the 30s at the same time.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I had a heckuva to-do list today. And I crossed everything off. I have no good reason to blog today except to brag. Not sure posterity will care, but I do!

Woke up.


Got feverish John up and held him.

Made appointment with pediatrician.


Cleaned the kitchen for the first time.

Scheduled FOUR painter estimates for next week and coordinated with the realtor (amounting to roughly eight phone calls).

Scheduled FOUR children to see the dentist.

Made hair appointment and eyebrow appointment (overdue, as usual).

Answered e-mail.

Selected movie for 90-minute drive across town and back. The primary reason for the trip was to return a white serving bowl that belongs to a woman who left it here in FEBRUARY. It has been sitting on the top of my frig for over four months. got me out of the house without infecting others with John's germs, and the kids got to watch a movie.

Stopped by U-Haul to buy packing paper.

Served hot lunch. No one ate it. (Probably all the pretzels they got during the van movie.)

Cleaned the kitchen for the second time.


Talked to a couple friends on the phone. (I won't say who... but somebody I know is having a girl!!!)

Packed the coat closet.

Organized the laundry room and inventoried for packing.

Took John to pediatrician.

Dropped stuff off at Goodwill.

Came home and cooked fajitas. Everyone ate.

Cleaned the kitchen for the third time.

Got the kids to bed.

Went to Target for things I couldn't live without, including a pair of clearance-rack running shorts. They are bright green with a pink stripe down the sides. I am going to be a mean sight in those with my white legs, red running shoes, and maybe my "Die Trying" t-shirt.

Watched TV with the Kevster.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Photos of the Fourth

Is the Fourth of July really the Fourth of July without watermelon? Here's the mess I made with my big knives and two watermelons. I ixnayed the cutting board since the mess would have overflowed everywhere anyway.

As with the watermelon, so with the homemade ice cream.

Facepainting! Cayna originally requested a red, white, and blue mouse. Kevin steered her toward a star. John got the grand ol' flag.

We set up in the street and started lighting things on fire. It was quite a display.

John was a bit nervous about all the noise. I loved holding him.

Joe was cool.

We've never been hip enough to get the family-4th-of-July-matching shirts. We still aren't. But at eleven p.m. on the 3rd, I remembered that weeks before, Joe had sweetly requested a "Fourth of July shirt". Kev made it happen with a late-night run to trusty WalMart.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July #234

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. -Erma Bombeck

I love the Fourth of July! I love that dress is casual, the pressures (family, menu, traditions) are minimal, and everyone has a good time.

(I also love Erma Bombeck, and I love that our priest, Father Charlie, included her quote among others in the church bulletin today. Let me say this again - if you're a reader, and a woman, you need to make sure you pick up one of her books.)

Most of what I remember from childhood 4th of July is sparklers. We lit some for our neighbors' Canada Day celebration on Thursday and though I didn't hold one myself, I could clearly conjure up the sensory experience of holding one - even to the memory of the quick prickle of a spark on my forearm.

I knew I was a grown-up when it was my peers lighting the fireworks, not my dad. And my first married Independence Day was on Lorilyn Avenue - in the street - with two other couples and a box of "Safe and Sane" explosives from a stand.

4th of July '95 was spent on a train in India. By far my most exotic commemoration. We sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" as we rumbled along. No fireworks.

Today we're sitting in the a/c as temperatures soar outside. A get-together with friends awaits in the early evening, and after dark we'll situate the mini-van somewhere with a view of the valley and all its displays. The kids will be tired, parents too, and the sky will light up in honor of our country. I'm tellin' ya, I love this day. I love my country, too. I'll get back to you later on whether I'm feeling patriotism more strongly than a full stomach.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Nearly Out Of Toilet Paper

Today we were given a closing date for our new house! If you are able-bodied, can work hard in 100+ degree temperatures, and enjoy free pizza - give us a call and we'll sign you up to help us move.

As for the toilet paper, when I bought my last billion-roll pack of t.p. from Costco, I wondered if we would use it up in the old house. Would I still be living here the next time I ran out?

I went through this same torture when we had our SoCal house on the market for OVER A YEAR! I kept hoping, "Maybe this will be the last time I buy toilet paper before we move."

There are many bizarre ways I attempt to measure my time left in limbo. Today I calculated that I should only have to mop this house (with its 220-million square feet of tile) four more times!

Finally we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I love that light. It's so lovely. Not only is it beautiful to gaze at the realization of hopes and dreams, but it also, figuratively, means the train has run RIGHT OVER Limbo. Limbo is left bleeding and dismembered on the tracks. Sorry, Limbo. I'm headed for the light.