Curtain rods….90 minutes of pure joy.  Kind of.  

Today I did something totally wild and crazy……I hung a curtain rod.  Really though, I hung the brackets, the rod and the curtains and I had to use a power tool (a drill counts, right?)  

Last year we had installed the cheapest, worst vertical blinds ever.  They barely closed, then they fell apart, then Danny half ripped them down in frustration, and then for the rest of the year our poor little sliding glass door had nothing to show for it but the leftover hardware still hanging on the wall.  So, today I went to the Home Depot to redeem.  It’s kind of weird when you realize your in a battle with a window treatment, but that’s how it feels.  

After buying new drapes and a curtain rod, I came home and took down the pointless-eyesore-brackets from our old blinds.  That alone was the very beginning and it was almost my undoing.   The screws were close to stripped and it took all my strength and a good 30 minutes to get 6 screws out.  

I read the instructions for hanging the new brackets, tried to put those drywall-screw-anchor-things in until I realized that there was a stud right where I was working, which bent the drywall-anchor-thingy.  I Googled “what do I do now….” ( lucky stars it was 2017 and we had google), discovered I needed to drill a pilot hole and then had to call my husband, ugh…….ONLY because I didn’t know where the drill was.  I had wanted to do it all by myself. Ugh, again.  

This is where things went most like expected.  I told him what I was doing, he wondered if maybe I should wait for him, I had to admit that he might end up having to re-drill and patch holes, but I hoped not,  and he told me where the drill was and how to attach the bit.  I measured, measured and then I measured some more.  I’m not good at math and I was praying that I would miraculously somehow figure this out in my head and that they would be level.  

Frizzy hair for the win! Hey, I told you I was working hard.

Then ….. ta da!  I did it! It worked out perfect!  It took me 90 minutes……to hang a curtain rod.  Ugh, for a third time.   

But, the point is, I did it by myself, this little house on the shoreline is cuter for it, my family won’t be blinded by the setting sun at dinnertime, and again, I did it by myself.  

I can understand that this might sound silly, that maybe there are other people out there that can hang a curtain rod in 20 minutes, but I swear, last year it would have taken me two hours.  I PR’d by like 30 minutes!  All I’m saying is those HGTV’ers better watch out, I’m becoming quite the handywoman.

Sincerely, 

The girl who now realizes she should have gone to construction camp…..is there such a thing?

P.S.  Later in the day I saw my girl hammering the nails down on the deck.  It reminded me of how important it is for her to see me doing these things, however small (and however long it takes me) on my own.  Just so she knows that she can too. 

There is a kayak in my living room, still.

Yep, you read that right. There is a kayak in my living room. And I’m learning to deal with it. Actually I’m learning to go with the flow, accept that things aren’t always the way I imagined, and learning that I can come to LOVE what I thought I could never live with.

Danny and I moved into this house 2 ½ years ago. We did a four month remodel on it and spent lots of dollars that had taken a lot of hard work and time to make. I spent the time designing and decorating the house pretending I was Joanna Gaines’ sidekick, and that helped a lot. It made the process and the pain of living in a construction zone at least part way fun, as I imagined the beautiful, clean, and lovely home I would have to show for it in the end. For months I worked hard and I worked a lot, and then………..I got tired. This is why 2 years later we still don’t have our trim molding up, and why this summer will be our third summer building the new deck out back. We can only go at it a couple of months at a time and then we need an 8 month break, ha!

But I’m finding that this story, this way of things, is thematic throughout my life. I’m like an A minus. I start strong, I do great, and then….. I guess that’s where the minus comes in.

It’s like the kayak in my living room. Danny surprised me with a kayak for Christmas. I’ve wanted one desperately for the last 8 years, but it takes me about 10 years before I’ll commit and buy anything that I want. I really like to think it through. Needless to say, I almost died when I woke up on Christmas morning and Danny led me to our front room where, on the orange couch, wrapped in a whole roll of wrapping paper, was a boat. Isla and I screamed, tore the paper off and hopped in, right there on the couch.

Somehow, over the next few days the kayak ended up, not in our garage, not in our shed out back, but in our living room. That was in December……………it’s now April and still I have a kayak in my living room.

kayak.jpg

I wasn’t kidding.  There it is….right there in the middle. 

 

In the last 3 months it’s served as a toy box, a hiding place for our hide and seek games, and a lounge chair for my daughter while she watches TV. And at some point, almost every single day, Isla climbs in and calls for me to join her so we can “go on vacation.” We pile in, usually with a stuffed bear and a few books, and paddle all the way to Disneyland or Las Vegas or California. Those are always her top three destination choices.

It’s at this quiet moment of the day, when we’re cuddling in the kayak in the middle of our newly renovated house (that looks just like I imagined except for the boat I’m sitting in), that I pause and have a moment of thankfulness for this girl that I’m raising. She’s imaginative, she’s hilarious, she’s kind. And then I think, thank God this kayak is in my living room. I know it’s not perfect, and I’ve never seen this style/trend on Fixer Upper, or any other HGTV for that matter, and I’m sure eventually I’ll get around to moving it. But for now, if spending time in it with my daughter gives me 5 more minutes to appreciate and actually see my girl who is growing way too fast, then I’m totally ok being an A minus kind of lady.

❤ Lo, A-

Unicorns and a dad that knows his girls.

Four years ago I had my first Mother’s Day.  In the morning when I woke up Danny had a present for me.  He had been so excited about it all week and I had absolutely no idea what it was.  You never really know with him.  Flowers (which surely would be dead after a week in his closet)?  A piece of jewelry?  Maybe a card and a barrel full of candy which I would always enjoy. I should have known better…..

I closed my eyes and held out my hands and when I opened them, I held this……..

unicorn poster

I remember looking down at it, kind of confused.  Then I lifted my eyes to my sweet husband sitting across from me holding our baby girl, and he had the biggest smile on his face.  At that exact moment, he WAS the definition of what it means to be proud of yourself……because you’re pretty sure you’re awesome.

To be honest, I was still a little confused. Does this go in our bedroom?  Our kitchen?  Our living room?

“Isn’t it exactly what a little girl would pick out?”  He asked me.  Then I realized my wonderful, thoughtful husband had scoured the store looking for something he thought Isla would have picked out herself.  A unicorn print, duh!  It was then that I thought, He’s right, he is pretty awesome.

Fortunately, I hid my momentary confusion well and I don’t think he ever thought twice about it. You see, that is what is sort of magical about Danny.  Most dads get their wives flowers, or candy or jewelry for mother’s day, but Danny thinks along a different line.  He chose a gift my 5 month old daughter would be proud to call her own.

So, here we are 4 years later and I have finally found the perfect spot for my unicorn print.  I’m slow to commit to anything, so it’s not really unusual for me to take half a decade to hang something on the wall.  I mean, come on, that requires me putting a push pin in my wall and that is commitment.  I found these cute little tassels and clothes pins in the dollar section at Target and just strung some gold and white string to hang the picture from.

About a year ago I had this really grand idea that Isla would have a horse themed room, but then I remembered that…..

#1. she’s not me

#2. this is not my bedroom that I’m decorating, and

#3. even if it was my bedroom, Danny doesn’t really want to sleep in a horse themed room either.

Fortunately, Isla tends to lean towards unicorns, which is about as close to a horse as I’ll get, so I’ve gone in that direction.  The poster now hangs near the unicorn head above her bed.

unicorn head

Seriously though, this unicorn head was one of my most glorious bargain hunting moments. I got it at a local retailer’s garage sale event for $3.  Later that week I saw a brand new one in the store for $89.  It was fate!

Is it weird?  Maybe.  Does Joanna Gaines have one of these hanging in her house? Probably not.  Isla and I both love it though.  It makes us happy, and I live by the theory that your home should make you happy.

Now, I look at Isla’s room as it is finally coming together and I cannot express my gratitude for the unicorn print.  It reminds me of my daughter, the one who gave me the best job on the planet (hello moms out there!)  It reminds me of my husband, the one who thinks differently from most (hellooooo all you awesome dads out there!)  And, at the end of the day, all that matters is that these memories and that silly unicorn poster make my heart pitter patter.

Adulting. And turning my house into a French chalet…..er, I mean a house with a French drain.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard lately, but adulting is hard.  I mean really, it gets taken to a whole new level when you own a house.

This past weekend my super handy husband decided to put in a French drain (this is his 3rd try, but I promise I wasn’t lying when I said he’s super handy).

I bet right now you’re wondering what kind of fancy spa-like bathroom I have that needs a French drain, right?  Visions of jetted tubs, granite countertops, and maybe even a bidet go dancing through my head every time I hear the words “French drain”…….OK, my imaginary bathroom does not have a bidet, that seems totally impractical and ironically a little unsanitary to me.

But really, what you should be envisioning is this:

DRAIN

Tada!  I know, exciting right?  Its a grate.  But no Laura (I have to remind myself), its so much more than that.  It’s a drainage system.  That makes it sound more exciting.

And here’s our history lesson of the day, a French drain is not French at all.  Its named after Henry Flagg French of Massachusetts, America!  I never would have know this if not for two things:  I’m an adult and I own a house.  Does anybody else miss being 22?

Anyways, here’s the story.  We moved into our lovely rambler two years ago.  We knew it came with an AstroTurf back yard (story for another time) but had no idea we were getting a swimming pool too….until the first time that it rained.  Our driveway has a legitimate toddler sized swimming pool after every heavy rain, which means about 5-6 days a week.  The pool is closed on the weekends if we’re lucky.

To top it all off, the pool/puddle sits right next to our driveway where the most beautiful flagstone path leads to our front door.  This also happens to be the side of the driveway where I park and since I leave for work at 0’dark thirty, I usually step in the puddle right before I climb into my truck.  I have a pile of 83 sopping wet socks in the back seat to prove it.

I think that Danny has begun to see the puddle as a personal assault on his handyman capabilities.  He scowls at it, his mom sends him texts with pictures of the “swimming pool” telling him to do something about it, and I just keep walking right through the middle it.  It’s possible that my cold wet feet were keeping him awake at night.

So, this last weekend, Danny went at it.  I came home from work on Saturday and found a huge, black monstrosity of a tube in my daughter’s newly decorated bedroom (it always feels like as soon as I finish one room, a black tube/piece of equipment/boxes of junk show up in the middle of it), along with some sort of sleeve-ish sock thing that is supposed to go around the tube and a grey plastic grate.  I’ll be honest, my first thought was that my beautiful flagstone walkway was going to be replaced by a grey, plastic rectangle, and I wanted to tell Danny that I was totally ok with cold, wet feet for the rest of my life.  But, he seemed so excited and there were tubes and gravel and metal spikes all over the house already, so I let this one go.  I’m trying to be a good wife/person/partner like that.

A few hours, 2 trips to Home Depot and an energy drink later, Danny called me outside to look.

My super cute, handy as heck husband had installed the French drain AND cut up the flagstone into smaller pieces to surround it.  It looks totally great!  That’s when I told him to crouch down and give me the thumb’s up so I could take a picture of our new drain, because when you’re an adult, you do things like that……and, because I’m proud of him.  It was one of those weird moments where I looked at him and saw that young twenty-something that I fell in love with and then blinked and he was a 35, a dad, and a total stud for knowing all about French drains.  Funny how life changes you.

DANNY AND DRAIN

We stared at if for five minutes and then…………………………….. I went inside and looked at all the receipts on my counter.  Apparently big black tubes, metal spikes and socky-sleeve-tube-wrap things are expensive.  My mind quickly did the calculations and I realized that what in the past might have been the most beautiful vintage-inspired dress from Anthropologie has now turned into a drainage system for my driveway.  I cried a little.  But I tried to hide it, because I’m an adult.  And even though adulting is hard, remember, I’m trying to be better at it.

…another project checked off the list.

DRAIN AND FEET

I’m not going to lie, I stood out in the rain with my hose, rinsing off the grate because I wanted it to look pretty.   I’m weird.

Another persons ugly can become your beautiful

We are a young family of two working parents, a new house, a toddler, two dogs and lots of bills which means that we like free things. I mean, I don’t always like them at first (as is the case in this story) but I usually always like that they’re free. The trick is, turning someone else’s ugly into something that is mine and something that I think is beautiful. Some people call it upcycling, or flipping.

We just bought our “dream house” last summer and have been in what seems like a constant state of remodel/construction/improvement of every sort and in every corner. The first part of the house we’ve begun working on is our kitchen. Its sort of a great room concept and opens right up into our dining room. I thought it would be nice to have a dedicated space for Isla, my daughter, in the heart of the house, where she can color, build playdough animals and have tea parties without me worrying about her marker missing the paper and drawing purple circles on my new dining table. Thankfully, we somehow managed to pick up a free small table and chair, just the perfect size for our two year old. The only problem is….its U-G-L-Y. I mean really, it came in red and yellow and covered in stickers that had already been halfway peeled off.

islas table 2

Seeing as how this was going to be in the main part of my house and visible to guests and myself every single day, I wanted the table to blend in, but also be a fun place for Isla. So, I would paint it, I thought. An easy fix. This is where I’m laughing at myself because no project is easy with a toddler, but its always fun, or funny, in hindsight. I brought the table out onto our deck (which my husband is slowly but surely replacing board by board…just another project) and gathered my supplies. I had left over Behr Silver Drop paint that we had used on our walls and had some navy blue paint I had bought that I plan on using on our front door. I opened up the can and began with the table while Isla ran around outside. This is the point in which I made my first mistake….I turned around to do something, honestly I can’t remember what, and when I turned back around Isla looked like this….

islas table

I’m thinking she put her hand on the paint can lid, realized what she had done and then put it to her mouth as in, “oh my gosh!”…….or she just tried to eat it. Not sure which, but I’m preferring to think the first option. So I got her cleaned up, finished painting the table blue and the chair grey, rested the lids loosely on the cans and went inside to wash my brushes and get a hammer to close the paint. Second mistake. I came back and Isla was now covered in grey paint. (I didn’t bother to take a picture the second time, just imagine the picture above but with grey paint).

Anyways, once we got all cleaned up, the paint dried, and had I tried to chip the paint splatters off the new pieces of wood my husband had already replaced on the deck (whoops), I set up the chair and table inside. It’s fun, its not orange and red, its perfect! Yes, the process was messy. Yes, my child possibly ate paint. Yes, we learned our lesson. And yes, we turned someone else’s ugly into our beautiful.

table finished