Friday, 20 November 2015

The beginnings of our first house

When it comes to this house purchase, I've decided to follow a little quote I came across one day:
Being right is mostly confidence.
It's mainly humor with only a tinge of reality, but it helps.

There are times we realize we have certainly bit off more than we can chew, but we remind ourselves to take it one day at a time and keep moving forward. That's really all you can do when you're starting out with this.

Forgot to mention our house was built in 1850. It's a farmhouse, and we love it. But old houses come with "quirks"... like termite damage.

Therefore, the front part of the house gets new subfloor. The original planks had been replaced long ago, so there was no loss ripping up the other stuff.

Once we ripped out all the carpet, most of the floors in the house look like this. Painted (or stained?) floor around a permanent rug. Look at all those fun staples to pull out.

Then there's the more tedious dining room with tiny fake planks on top of the real stuff.

The key word for this house is potential. It's there, like in these awesome built-ins that made us want to see the house in the first place.

Then there's also our views. Lots of fields (with a broken deck, exposed septic tank, and random traffic cone). We'll gladly be staring at winter wheat for the next few months.

As I review all these pictures, I'm reminded we've only just begun...

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Doing the Mom "job"

The days when the kids are having one meltdown after another and I'm trying to cook dinner, clean the kitchen, and tend to their cries at the same time, but I am handling every moment with a calm head and warm heart, are the days when I feel really proud of myself for being a good mom. Moments like that remind me of my mom. I knew my mom loved me, but to my young self I thought being a good mom was being good at your "job." Our house was clean, she made yummy food, and we were happy. Good mom. 

Obviously, moms do lots of things, but I am grateful that my mom cared about basic homemaking skills and could simultaneously keep her cool. She is a good example to me. I never understood the unconditional love that comes with motherhood when I was a child. Now that I do, I know there is more to being a mom than cooking and cleaning, but I also know those things are important. I knew my mom loved me because she took care of me. Now that I have kids of my own, I know I'll love them no matter what, but because of my own experience, I know they'll feel that love when I take care of them. 

I don't look down on all those posts about ditching the housework to spend time with your kids or praising Martha over Mary. Those days are needed. I'm just saying that cooking and cleaning shows love too, and it doesn't go unnoticed. 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

We are mouse hunters

Discovering that you have a mouse in the house is like finding out you've been lied to.

It starts with finding a few droppings. Then you notice food nibbles. All out panic ensues, and you order pizza for three nights in a row because what is safe anymore? One night an entire mouse trap disappears, so things get real and you move the oven. A giant gap between the wall and the floor that leads into a large cabinet makes you question every moment you've ever spent in the kitchen and whether you were doing the grapevine with mice or maybe you were just tripping over your own feet.

We have since anchored our traps with string and thumbtacks. One by one we are taking back our kitchen.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

April's learning goal

I spend a lot of my time getting excited about things to learn, but then I don't learn them because there are so many I don't know where to start. This year I've tried breaking my goals down into months. I try to do one skill every day or so for a month. This helps me decide if I really like it enough to stick it out for longer or if dabbling seems sufficient.

April is sewing. I have dreams of making my own clothes (blouses and dresses mainly) because everything I see these days is either yuck, beyond what I would ever pay, or "is this supposed to fit like this?" I know I have a lot of skill to acquire first, but I'm optimistic. At least, I was until yesterday.

This is the giant curtain I made out of a sheet to replace the vertical blinds in front of our screen door.

It was a little short.

Positive spin: the problem was in the measuring, not the sewing.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Not choosing anger

Never seen the movie but like the phrase.
Anger management has never been a forte of mine, but I never really thought it was a big deal. I thought I had a healthy way of dealing with it, like deep cleaning my closet or finally doing that mound of dishes. The problem was I kept letting myself get angry, and I liked it. My anger would fester, and I liked the adrenaline and the power. It gave me motivation to do things I had struggled getting around to. I didn't mind it and accepted it as part of my personality.

I didn't see my anger as a necessary fix until I had kids. Sometimes you can walk away from situations and cool off, but more often than not you need to be present because you can't correct young children ten minutes after they've done something wrong. They need to be instructed in the act. I can't just walk away when my son hits his sister for the umpteenth time. That being said, I can't explode in the moment either. It isn't right to force my kids to handle my anger for me.

My son thought it was hilarious the day I screamed into a pillow. I didn't know what to do about my anger. I don't want my kids see it, but it gets to that point more times than I care to admit. I never understood how people (such as my husband) seemed to always keep their cool, and I didn't believe for a second that it was a choice. But you know what? It is.

It wasn't until I read this blog post about anger that I finally got it. Just like all our emotions, we choose to feel them. I choose to love my husband. Yes, I'm naturally drawn to him, but it's my choice to act on it. Anger is something I'm also naturally drawn to, but I still have the freedom to choose it. Just because it's natural, doesn't mean it's healthy.
Saying anger is healthy is like saying infections are healthy.  
The fact is, dealing with infections is healthy, treating infections is healthy, preventing infection is healthy, eliminating infectious material is healthy.
-"Isn't Anger Healthy?" A Blog About Love
I was once a believer of healthy anger, but if you feed it by venting or violence, it will never go away and will actually escalate. (Read more about venting here.) I think sometimes we confuse venting with healing, as if dwelling long enough on the emotion will purge us of it, but it's only kindling to the flame.

I want my children to listen to me, not fear. There are hard moments every day, but I am the one who chooses to make them bad or good.