Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful doesn't cut it...

For years I have understood that Thanksgiving was a time to express how thankful I am for everything I have - my family, my home, my job, my freedom, ect. I have done the 30 Days of Thankfuls on Facebook faithfully, until this year. This year, I got to about day three and stopped. I am not sure if it was because I felt like my thankfuls were becoming mere methodical utterances of the standard things that folks typically express thanks for - my family, my home, my job, my freedom, ect - or if I was feeling less thankful this year. Both options sort of bummed me out and made my thankful expressions feel even more fabricated. Then my cousin, Amy, asked me to guest blog about Gratitude month, and I quietly said a "Thank You" because I knew this was exactly what I needed to kick the dust off my Thanksgiving Self.
But days later, I still had nothing.  Leaning against the counter in lime green Christmas pjs, I was considering this dilemma. The typical morning chaos began to form around me, and I observed the hustle and bustle of getting-the-kids-out-of-the-door. The almost 2 year old stood (not sat, because that is a skill we have not enforced since she is the third) at the table in her pajama top and droopy diaper eating her yogurt and toast - a dog waited at her feet to catch the raisins and bits of bread that tumbled down. I cringed as I watch the yogurt go plop, plop, plop on to the table, chair and floor. Well, that's what dogs are for, right? Then the two older girls burst from the bathroom, naked, and began running laps through the house - living room, kitchen, office, foyer, living room, kitchen, office, foyer, living room - all the while belting, "WeEEE are never ever ever getting back together. You go talk to your friends..." Coffee, where is the coffee? I dove into the chaos, "COME EAT YOUR BREAAAAAAAAKKKKKKFFFFFFFFFAST or I swear you will go to school hungry!" 45 minutes later, my Daddy backed his truck out of the driveway with my kindergartner in tow (he takes her to school each morning), and my Husband backed his car out of the driveway with my almost 2 and almost 4 year olds (he drops them off at daycare on his way in to work). I had about 10 minutes to gather my thoughts and throw on some jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt before I was due to sign in (in my home office) at my job. The kitchen was a wreck from the chaos, the laundry piled up (literally) in the laundry room, and there was a ginormous pile of unopened bills stacked by my computer. Unopened because I didn't have the energy to look at how much is due. That would mean acknowledging how much money we have. And that is another level of chaos that I was not prepared to deal with at that moment. So, I decided put if off, again.
As the thoughts settled, my mind drifted back to writing about being thankful. How am I supposed to write about being thankful? Everything is a freaking mess. I could feel the wallowing in selfish pity starting to creep up my toes as I finally poured myself a cup of coffee. Only then did I notice the news in the background. Oh, I am so loving this hazelnut organic creamer - yum. The reporter described the damage on the New Jersey shore caused by Hurricane Sandy. Still barely paying attention, I heard him detail how the police were organizing buses that would allow families to spend 4 hours at their home "sites" collecting what they could, assessing damage, and taking video/pictures. The families would then be bussed away from their homes with no indication of when they would be allowed to return. A little more creamer. And some sugar - it has been a hectic morning.
There were a few minutes left before work officially started, so I scrolled through my Facebook updates, I am thankful for...I am so thankful... Today, I give thanks..., and between likes, cute pictures, and sips of coffee, I heard another reporter yammering on about a General who apparently cheated on his wife and this means he betrayed the country and now he is resigning and there are a bunch of cover ups and he isn't going to testify... Then it was time for work. And the day flew by.
The next day, I was thinking about being Thankful again, and feeling frustrated with what I was coming up with - everything was so cliche. As an English teacher and a person who loves to write, I appreciate the power of words and sometimes the simplest thing can change the entire meaning of a sentence, a paragraph, a thought, or in my case, a season. I went back to square one - What does it mean to be thankful? Which led me to - What does it mean to be grateful? 
According to Webster, here is the breakdown:
Thank-ful 1. conscious of benefit received; 2. expressive of thanks; 3. well pleased
Synonyms: blissful, chuffed [British], delighted, gratified, happy, joyful, joyous, pleased, satisfied, glad, tickled
Antonyms: displeased, dissatisfied, joyless, sad, unhappy, unpleased, unsatisfied
Grate-ful 1. (a) appreciative of benefits received (b) expressing gratitude; 2. (a) affording pleasure or contentment (b) pleasing by reason of comfort supplied or discomfort alleviated
Synonyms: appreciative, appreciatory, glad, obliged, thankful
Antonyms: unappreciative, thankless, unappreciative, ungrateful
Conscious of benefit? Appreciative of benefit? Wait a minute.
I began to cry. I sat at my computer and looked around - the dirty dishes, the dirty dogs, the dusty shelves, the stack of bills, the "yeyyow" highlighter (probably the instrument used to create the scribble scrabble design on the wall above my couch), the Frankenstein stencil - the Chaos. And I said, out loud,  "I am so thankful for the benefits  I have received - my husband, my girls, my parents and siblings and nieces and nephews, my neighbors, my home, my job, my freedom, ect. I am thankful, every day. A thousand times thankful. But, am I grateful?"
Do I appreciate what I have?
In retrospect, I consider the morning when I just leaned back and observed the chaos - and realize that it isn't enough to be thankful that I have a house my girls can run in, and pets my girls can play with, and food (good, healthy food) that nourishes my family, and a Daddy who understands his value to his grandchildren, and a man who is the definition of a husband, and a job that allows me to work from home, and freedom that allows me to write this blog. Being thankful - being aware that I have these things and that they are good for me - is not enough. I must be grateful - be appreciative of them. Because without them, I am not me. Appreciation is far deeper than consciousness. It comes from the soul, not just the mind. It takes but one edition of the morning news to remind me that my chaos is the result of some serious blessings.
So this Thanksgiving, I will be thankful for food and fellowship, but I will be grateful for my blessings. It is gratitude that can mollify hearts and strengthen bonds, and it is Gratitude that should rule this season - not simply thanksgiving.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Who Cares? We are all going to die anyway.

Eat Real Food.

Real Food - Chili. So good and look, real sour cream.
I feel like I can’t stop talking about food - Everywhere with everyone all the time. I think I’m becoming borderline obnoxious (possibly full on obnoxious to some).  But food has become a central focus at my house. It rearranged the budget, the pantry, the medicine cabinet, the fridge, the shopping, the conversations – everything.  I guess it is not really food necessarily, but the anti-food – The Chemicals.

Before I go any further, I want to address a statement that keeps getting tossed at me: “Who cares? We are all going to die anyway.”  Yep, that is correct; we are all going to die someday. So? So, what? Does that mean we should get about 35 decent years, and then start falling apart for the next 15 -20 years until we are just sitting or lying around waiting to die? That is crazy. Seriously, that is what we’ve come to? What if we could have 70 decent years? How much more life could we live if we take it by the horns Now instead of saying, essentially, life isn’t worth the hassle? Instead of trading in the last quarter of our lives for doctors’ offices and pills and treatments just to keep from dying, Take. It. Back. Take it back from the part of the world so driven by money and power that they are trading our lives for profit.

Take back your health. Take back your freedom to choose what you put into and on your body.

Saying it like that makes it sound so profound – so Big. But it is not. It is opening up to the possibility that what you’ve been raised on, been taught, is wrong.  I am not trying to dishonor our parents or grandparents here. They were duped, too and in the worst way. They were duped when life was hard. They needed somethings to get easier. They needed life to be good again. What began as a good idea started a pendulum in motion that is now killing them. Like in Poe’s terrifying account of the captive forced to choose which way to die, we are forced to pick our poison. Which way to die - Cancer? Heart Disease? Diabetes?  We are the prisoners tied to the floor with the pendulum ever coming down on us – we see it coming. And we are surrounded by putrid water, and rats, and fiery walls. Is there an army coming to save us? I don’t think so.  In the words of the Hopi Elders, We are the ones We have been waiting for.

How many times do you say these : 

Heart disease runs in my family.

Diabetes runs in my family.

High blood pressure runs in my family.

Cancer runs in my family.

Obesity runs in my family.

Depression runs in my family.

My daughters will be able to say all of them. Each and every one. Is it in their genes to die from one of these diseases? Do they have to pass it down to my grandchildren?

True, some genetics may leave you weaker and more susceptible to these diseases, but it is not like clubbed feet; you are typically not born with these diseases. They develop.

In my family, we can also say these:

                Eating tons of red meat and dairy runs in our family.

                Eating lots of sugar runs in our family.

                Eating lots of salt runs in our family.

                Smoking runs in our family.

                Drinking soda runs in our family.

                Taking pills for everything under the sun runs in our family.

Are these hereditary? Of course not. Are they environmental factors that we train our children to do? Yes. Do these factors directly create, contribute to, and advance heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, obesity, and depression. Yes.  And we are teaching our children to do all of them. Let that sink in for a minute. What are we teaching our children to do?

So we can’t blame genetics for our diabetes while we grab a sandwich of honey wheat bread, chemical filled peanut butter and jelly and wash it down with a Diet Coke. That does not jive. But we have reconciled it in our head – because we have been trained to.

Untraining ourselves is overwhelming at first. If you take it head on and get serious about it (not dabbling around cause it is trendy or any of that crap), it is unhinging. Finding out what we are doing to ourselves and our children – it is like mourning the loss of a loved one.

1.       Denial – no, that is not possible. That is what the FDA is for. This is all conspiracy crazy talk. I can’t eat carbs. I’ll just eat/drink diet. I can’t drink too much water (I don’t like it). I’ll just take vitamins.

2.       Confusion – How could this be happening? How could they let this into our food? Why would they use ____ in makeup? What is the purpose of doing this?

3.       Realization – Omg. Omg. Omg. Omg.

4.       Anger –  How could they do this to us? I don’t want to eat anything. I can’t even go to the grocery store anymore. I want to scream it from the mountain. I want to shake them when I see what they are feeding their kids.

5.       Acceptance – Okay, I think I am ready to do this. Where do I start? Who can help me? Where is a good place to go? How can I do this?

6.       New way of life – How can I get others on board? I need new jeans. Who wants to go shopping?
* All of these come straight from the mouths (or fingers) of the folks in the 30 Days on the Plate.
We are still waiting on long term results. Short term results - loss of weight, loss of exhaustion, loss of small tumors, gained clear thinking, gained cravings for healthy food, gained energy, gained knowledge. Gained truth. And there is no end it sight. There is no diet. There is ... well.. it just is.
We are the ones we have been waiting for. Not the doctors. Not the politicians. Not the diet gurus. Not the food manufactors. Us. We. You. I. Heal yourself.
**On Tuesday, August 7, I wrote about the way headaches ruled my life. Guess what is in charge now. Not headaches. And not pills. In just under two months, my pain is so much better – not completely gone 100% of the time, but they don’t rule me.

Eat Real Food

30 Days on the Plate – fb food support. Thanks beyond thanks.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What you can't see

       As I start, I have to admit I am not sure where to start. I've mentioned before, writing is where I turn when I sort of have no where else to turn and, well, here I am. But I want this outpouring to be public - if anyone actually reads. Why? Not because there are others out there who may be going through the same thing as me, and I want them to know they are not alone - No. Because I know there are people out there who are saying the things I've heard my whole life, and I want to talk to You. The folks who think that people with chronic pain are wimps, complainers, or lazy nappers who could just take a few Advil and get over it -  Yeah, I want to talk to you.
     I hate the term Migraine. Like I hate the term organic. It means nothing these days. Everyone who has a headache has a migraine. When I was a child, I was put into the hospital with what they termed an "unknown virus"  - my first knock me out of commission headache that I can remember. From then on it has been constant reason after reason - stress, puberty, "you'll grow out of it", not enough rest, dehydration, pregnancy, postpartum, too much medication, not enough medication, adjustments, not the right adjustments, ect, ect, ect. I don't care what it is anymore, I am just... just tired of them. I want them to go away. Forever.
    Here is what people who DON'T have or LOVE someone with real, true chronic pain (not the sorta kinda pain that is - let's face it - a little bit embellished for attention) cannot understand: chronic pain lives and breathes under the surface of life. It is always there. Aways. All fing ways. It never goes away. Sometimes it is deeper and sometimes it breaks through the surface, but it is always lurking there - just there. If you love a person with chronic pain, you can see it in their eyes. Sometimes, I can tell He is looking, just to see how deep it is today.
    Let me describe to you what normal is for me. Some part of my head/brain hurts every second of every day. On a good day for me, my head hurts bad enough to put most people to bed (I think - but I can't feel what others feel, so...). I can do most things you can - get up, take a shower, drink coffee, get the children ready to get out the door. But here is how it works for me: I get up, but before I get up out of bed, I gauge how bad my head hurts - that will determine how fast I can sit up, and how fast I can walk to the bathroom, and how hot the shower needs to be, and if I can turn the lights in the bathroom on. The level of head-hurtedness will also determine if I get to shave because if it hurts too much, I can't balance, and if I can't balance, I can't use a razor - you get it. My husband also seems to just know when the gauge is higher because he automatically shows up with a hot cup of coffee which helps dilate my blood vessels and makes me feel a little better. And I also have to drink lots of water. Lots.  However, if my head is feeling okay. I can get up and go.
     While I get my children ready, I am praying no one has a meltdown, but not for the same reasons that you do. Sometimes when the baby screams, I go blind temporarily - literally. Screaming is not helpful when a headache is always looming. If someone is screaming, I cannot carry the baby down the stairs without worrying that I may drop her. Thank goodness she is learning to come down by herself so I don't have to worry about that too much longer.  And I am so tired of having to tell my girls that I have a headache. 
      Let's talk about making beds. Simple enough, right. Every time I raise the quilt or comforter and shake it to straighten it out to lay it across the bed, I get a head rush that pounds my head for a good 15 - 20 seconds. Anything that causes pressure changes - up and down, in and out - I have to do very carefully or my world can shut down quickly.
     But the thing that confunds the world about chronic pain is that we learn to function in spite of it. Joe Public assumes that if we can function, it must not be that bad, but, Joe, you are just freaking wrong.  So we go swimming, to the movies, out to eat, watch the Olympics, get on Facebook, work, blog, ect. We live, because if we don't, If the pain takes over - then it takes over and everything fades away and becomes lost inside the hurt and nothing matters anymore. And life becomes pain killers, and we become addicts, and the pain wins. And we lose.

So, if you are one of Those people who think chronic pain - the diseases you can't see, the pain that hides inside - is not legit. That those people are faking it or are crazy, then all I can say is, I hope - not that it never happens to you - that it never happens to someone you love.

    Here are some of the things I am soooooooooooo sick of hearing.

Do you need to rest?  Of course I need to rest. I work full time and have three small children. Do YOU need to rest?

Have you been to a doctor? Many. Since childhood - family doctors, Ers, OBGyn, Chiropractors, ect. I've been on lots of meds and special waters/fluids. Yes, I do the cold rag, dark room thing. Sleep doesn't make them go away anymore. Yes, there have been MRIs, CTscans, blood work, thyroid work, and the other stuff you want to ask about.

Have you taken anything? This is my favorite. I go to the chiropractor once a week. I take meds twice a day and serious meds when I have a big  "break through" headache - I am getting ready to start taking some non essential amino acids that have been known to help. I would eat raw snakes if they would make it stop.  

I get headaches, too. Especially when I've been looking at my computer all day or when I've been out in the heat {or something similar}.  Really? . . . Yeah I see how that is the same thing. To me that is the same as saying I have three children so I totally understand how someone with 15 children feels. Nope. Notsomuch. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Pinspired Bathroom Redo

Shots from the door.
As far as I am concerned, my family is complete. I've been waiting for us to make this decision so I could redo the kid bathroom. That sounds weird even as I type it, but there it is. We have one kid bathroom and knowing that we are sticking with an all girl (kids anyway) family makes a difference in the approach to redoing the kids' bathroom. We have all girls; let's do it girly. So that is what I did. I scoured the Internet and pinterest for ideas (see The Girls' bathroom board for a full overview of the major ideas). Some of these ideas I ripped off completely; some I tweaked; some I tried but in reality they just did not work.

I did not take any before pics. I am terrible about doing that, sorry. Basically, this bathroom was neon lemon super bright yellow. That was it, oh and two mirrors and a towel rack. We moved into this house two years ago, and, well, I have been a little busy with the starting a new job, then starting another new job, having the third baby, and, you know, life and stuff. So, the house is Slowly coming along to the incredible masterpiece I see in my head (Ha haha hahaha).

I chose pink, yellow, and gray for the colors. I was afraid I would go way overboard with these three, then I found a big print that inspired a few more colors to peek in.

The budget for this makeover was $0.00 (seriously), so I have been collecting and hitting sales for about 6 months, and I think I managed it for about $100.00 (including paint). I made most of the "stuff" and any materials or already-cute-enough things were ALL at least 50% off of the original price; however, quite a bit of the materials came from Goodwill or the Habitat for Humanity Restore (awesome, awesome place to find stuff for super cheap). I'll try to tell where I got everything as I go.
 It is a small bathroom (as you can tell from above). The bottom 3/4 is gray (Valspar paint - if I had to do it again, I would absolutely go with Sherwin Williams), the top 1/4 is the original yellow. I have to give credit to my friend, Bianca. The paint "format" (3/4 bottom color, 1/4 top, "stitching" with the 3rd color) was inspired by the sweet room she did for her baby girl.
The pic should be vertical, but it is not letting me correct it. Ugh.
This will be another hair bow holder. I will add the ribbons once I find a color I like and that matches. I had nothing I was happy with in my ribbon stash. The frame is a Goodwill (GW) purchase. I covered it with ribbon from Hobby Lobby (HL) and some flowers I made. The large one is a silk flower with a felt one glued in the center - the others are all felt. All the tutorials for these flowers are on the Crafty Board.

  This hair bow holder is not new. I made it about three or four years ago. The top is canvas and the bottom has three pieces of ribbon weighed down with a heavy key ring along with four simple screw in hooks.

I made most of these hair bows over the last few years with the exception of some ( the star burst ones with the buttons in the middle were made by my talented little cousin). There are lots of hair bow tutorials online and on my Crafty Board.

The flower hooks are from HL but I added the marble to the middle. Right now, all spring and summer stuff is 66% off at HL, so these were super cheap! They will be decorative a pony tail holder and a necklace holder. The pink piece (on the right, but, again, turned the wrong way!) is my favorite of everything. This is a piece of seaweed we found on Pawley's Island on our last beach trip. We brought it home, dried it, glued it to a piece of wood (AC Moore), modge podged it and painted it. Love it!

The sink shelf has a lot going on (or maybe it seemed that way when I was putting together). The shelf was a brand new wood shelf I found at the Habitat Restore for two bucks. I rigged the mounting from some wood we had around the house. I mixed bronze metallic paint with yellow to color the shelf. Then I used the bronze to paint "That's What Makes You Beautiful" on top. The girls are (of course) soooooo into that song right now, and I think it is a cute line for a bathroom mirror.

These are clay pots from Walmart that I modge podged doilies onto, and I used a hot glue gun to make little do dads on the tops. I painted  the one above blue and the one on the right pink. Then I went over all three with the bronze metallic paint. I hot glued them to the shelf so that the girls cannot pull them off and break them.  

This pot (again with the formatting) is from the Tinker Bell party we had when Ad turned three and Ab turned one. The pic below is how we used it then.

The formatting, ugh, the formatting! Anyway, this is a planter (50% off at AC Moore) that I hot glued to the counter to use as a brush holder.

This is the picture that I used as the overall inspiration. I found it at Garden Ridge - by the way All of their kids' room collection stuff is 75% off. This little sweetie was $7.49 when all was said and done.

 The shelf under the picture was another Restore purchase (.50 cents). I originally bought it to sit frames on when I spray painted them. The last thing I painted was light blue. The blue on top of all the colors was kinda neat, so I used the board for the shelf. It is rough wood on top and the multi spray painted colors on the flip side.
The frame was a full buy (no crafting needed) from Garden Ridge for $1.45.

 These are details of the B. The letter was unfinished paper mache from HL. I painted it white then coated with a glitter finish. The outline is a string of plastic pearls hot glued to the edge. The rest are various beads I bought from HL or had at the house. I love the embellishments at the top. I learned how to do those from this video.

Eh, I am over complaining about the formatting, whatever. This was a Barnetts Sweet Tea vodka bottle that I hot glued marbles and beads to. I imagine this with some lights inside would be awesome. Currently, it is the home to some tall, pretty pink flowers.

The shower curtain liner is a regular old liner. The pink is actually a sheer curtain panel. I picked up a second shower rod ( .50 cents at the Restore) and squished it in on the other side of the tub. The ends come off so I could scoot the fruit basked onto the rod. This way we did not have to put holes in the ceiling and the kids cannot pull it down. I tested it - they can't pull it down. This means no more frog pod falling off in the middle of the night and scaring us all to death. This also means that they cannot reach the toys that we do not want them to have (like ones that the 18 month old uses to dump water on the tile). Later, each kid can have their own basket for their own stuff.

We have serious storage issues in this bathroom, so I went with then crates on the wall idea. The crates are 10 bucks at A C Moore. They are plain unfinished wood, so I white washed them. If you want to do this, be sure to get good hangers. I'll try to find a picture of the ones we used.

These cute little hangers were 60% off at HL but only came in the rod iron look, but a little white spray paint did the trick.

This is a Ragu jar (look closely and you can see the glue from the label that I could Not get off). I Never Never throw away glass jars - there is always something you can do with them = vase, condiment holder, paint water holder, paper weight, clue holder - on and on and on. I used hot glue to spell out sisters and added some hearts and dots, then I coated it with silver metallic spray paint. Love it.

This was a magazine/toilet paper holder that all of our grandmas used to have when we were kids. I snagged it at GW for $1.00. It was brown, so I added the signature colors and took off one of the legs for toilet paper. My kids like to read while they take care of their business, so this  will hopefully help keep the books off the floor.

Tallest step stool ever. Even the baby (see below) has no problems reaching the sink to brush her teeth - or play in the water. Another 75% off item from Garden Ridge. This cutie was already painted and available to the tune of $30.00. Asking me to spend thirty bucks on a step stool is like asking me to fly to the moon for some cheese. However at 75% off, I'll take it. Wuz (nod to my neighbor here) it.

And we are back to the door.

We still have a shelf to add Over the back of the tub - I have a few baskets to stick up there to store all the overflow when I buy a ton of something when it goes on sale - shampoo, conditioner, poofy balls, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.

Below are some other Pinterest inspired stuff around my house...

Haha - depending on how you read this, you may think, "Good grief, that's a little personal". But this was his note to me after our 4th of July field day.

 This is a Mason jar and a baby food jar (Earth's Best, I think). I mixed blueish/greenish paint with watered down glue (regular glue), painted the inside, turned it upside down, baked it at 350 until it was dry. Cotton balls on bottom, cotton swabs on top. Cute and efficient.

 My favorites at the moment on a spice rack.
 Magnet tape on the inside of the medicine cabinet + bobby pins = magic (and less mess in my drawer).

Sugar scrub (some of you may get this for Christmas). Coconut oil, lime juice, and sugar. I highly recommend taking a bottle of Dawn to the bath with you so you can rinse out the oil and grime that comes off of your body when you use this. It works because I can see the pounds of dead skin in the bottom of the tub! Yuck! I mean, Yay, cause my skin feels A Maz Ing, but, yeah, bring the Dawn.

Sideways - again. This happened by accident. I was painting the hall and was wrapping up for the day. I had all this extra paint in the brush and wrote this on the wall thinking I would paint over it the next day. Husband came home and sorta loved it, so we taped it off, painted around it and are leaving it. It is right at the top of the stairs, so it is the first thing you see heading down and coming up. <3

Again, sideways. This is a growth chart. The wood was $2.00 from the Restore. I measured and painted it - Husband hung it.

My babies' rooms - still a work in progress

There are two Es, I know. I changed my mind 3/4 of the way through. The U is still under construction. Everything - EVERYthing here is either made by me or purchased from GW and the Restore. Max = $15.00 in the whole thing.

Frame from Restore (painted white) as was the flower (painted also). In the frame is one of A3's first birthday cards from my sister and her family. The colors and meaning were perfect. :)

 Shelf was white wicker (from Restore for $5.00). I roughly painted the outside and shelf to match the facing wall. The bird houses were $1.00 each from the Restore.

Gallery wall in A1's room. She is a dynamic girl. Hello Kitty frame $5.00 from Restore, spray painted white.

Poofy ball things made from the girls' birthday gift tissue paper. They are right in front of the vent, so they sway when the air/heat kicks on - she loves that. I love the blinds - How many times do you tell a kid not to mess with them. There is even a hook for the string (see it between the windows). I don't know how she even gets up there!?

Wood elephant from Restore. Quote from The Seven Blind Mice (one of our favorites).

This was the ugliest thing when I found it at the Restore. The shade was yellow and busted, the base was grimy wood and the plastic part was yellow - old yellow. The new shade is from Walmart. We cleaned it up and painted it her colors, and she loves it. It is the perfect reading light.

 Glassless frame nailed to the wall allows us to change posters when the time comes (the time may never come given her love for comics). The painting is one I did years ago.

This may be my favorite thing in the entire house. This is the paper where she wrote her full name (by herself) for the first time. She cut it out, and I secretly saved it. The frame was a Goodwill purchase painted to match her decor - the inside is scrap book paper with her name and date written on the bottom right hand corner.

 Garden baskets from Garden Ridge. Full price = $5.00. The best deal!! These hold the treasures she does not want A3 to get a hold of.
"You cannot come out of your room until the little hand is on or past Tink." - Summer time Rule.

Not in the kids' rooms - in the hall. And it is in progress. The hall is skinny and long, so the horizontal line as a photo organizer works beautifully. I'll take the tape down when the project is finished.

This is what happens after Mom nicely arranges the wall decals in A2's room. The pattern changes daily. Oh well.

 This was my mother-in-law's. It is from the era of country blue and rose. We modernized it with hot pink and yellow (A2's favorite color). We pretend it is Mother Goose watching over her books.

A2's gallery wall. Her 1st bday tutu, her favorite beach hat from babydom, a fan her aunt and uncle gave her, an art project, her pictures, and a cow. She loves cows.