Saturday, February 11, 2017

Welcome Home!

Once upon a time, my parents moved back to Maine from Texas, and bought a house sight unseen because someone (ok, me) said it would be perfect for them.

Or, perfect once all the smoke and cat dander filled carpets were removed, walls/floors/ceilings washed, every surface covered with 12 gallons of Kilz (which is basically the worst smelling, most goopy, nasty stuff ever), asbestos tiles covered, and all the walls and ceilings painted.

So back in November we had a giant workday, and many many friends and family came and worked their butts off to get the house habitable for my mom. And after a couple more weeks of work, the house was finally move in ready! Then the holidays were here, and life was far to busy to take pictures . . . and life is still busy now, but I finally took ONE after picture with my iPhone today, so here you go! One is better than none, right? More to come, I promise!

A reminder of the before:

I wish I was going to get free coffee for plugging Starbucks (but I'm not)... this post was brought to you by COFFEE. Vast amounts of coffee. Consumed by the gallon for several crazy weeks. Mostly really crappy Walmart brand coffee, with the occasional Starbucks latte supplementing the Wally World sludge.


All that coffee-fueled hard work paid off! A huge thank you to everyone who worked so hard, your efforts were very much appreciated. 

And now the plug for Inspired Interiors... give me a call for all your decor needs! I'll see beyond the dated wallpaper and wall to wall carpet and guide you to a fresh, new, relaxing, welcoming home. Not local? Not a problem! We can do a consult from a distance with today's technology.

(And yes, Molly, all that trim is getting painted White Dove...)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Stepping Back to Move Forward

Homeschooling has been a kicking-and-screaming kind of thing in our house. And I mean me. That's my level of enthusiasm. But it is the right thing for us, so I pray A LOT and take it a day at a time.

I did my due diligence before the 2015-2016 school year started, and chose what sounded like a great spelling program for Sophia. The school year began, and we dove in. We quickly discovered that Sophia and I both hated the spelling program. But did I change to a new one? No, of course not! We paid good money for that program (um, I think about $30), and by golly we were going to gut it out!

Needless to say, neither Sophia nor I enjoyed spelling last year. And because she hated it, not much stuck.

This past summer I did even more research, and found a new spelling program (Spelling Workout) that I thought would work. It has a variety of exercises, from puzzles to finding the missing word, and is *gasp* fun! Who knew?!

This year Sophia loves spelling. Because last year was so abysmal, I started her in the first grade workbook, which she flew thru in a couple months. Now she is doing grade level work and should be done well before the end of the year.

As miserable as it was, last year taught me to be a little more flexible, and less stuck on doing exactly what I had planned. This turned out to be a very important lesson for this year, with Jude starting kindergarten. He just turned 5 in July, and we started school in August to get a head start before Ilse arrived in September. We started working on the same curriculum Sophia had done, reading and math. To my surprise, Jude grasped most concepts VERY quickly. He particularly excelled in reading, easily remembering letter sounds that had taken Sophia much longer to master.

BUT he was miserable. No matter how much I encouraged him, he whined and cried and was generally not fun to teach AT ALL. He whined thru math. And handwriting. And reading.

I finally threw my hands up and said "You're going back to Preschool!"

I ordered Jude a Preschool workbook, and he proceeded to do 2-3 lessons a day, begging to do more. Sometimes I let him do extra, but usually stopped while he was still having fun. By the end of December he started asking if he could go back to Kindergarten. I held him off, and told him he could after Christmas.

This month he asked again if he could start Kindergarten work, and this week I let him start some math and reading. One lesson a day in each, and if he asks to do more the answer is "No." I want him to continue enjoying it, so we stop while it is still fun. Yesterday and today he read three Bob books!

I'm sure without the spelling fiasco in recent memory I would have kept pushing Jude to do kindergarten work this past fall. And a large part of me really wanted to keep going with it. But letting him go at his own pace was definitely the right thing to do, and makes me very glad that we decided to keep the kids home for this year. Especially as Jude's math, reading, and handwriting only took up 45 minutes this morning, which is all his attention span can handle. He would be bouncing off the walls at an all day Kindergarten. I can just see the daily notes home...

"Jude distracts all the other children."

"Please desist from feeding your child caffeine and sugar before school."

"Jude refuses to stand in line/sit in a chair, etc"

So for now, home it is, with a "custom" Preschool-Kindergarten mashup. That may or may not sometimes include Magic Schoolbus or Wild Kratts for science...

Monday, January 23, 2017

Thar She Blows!

I did not blow my top at the town office clerk. And I count that as a victory today. God is certainly using adoption to grow my patience, and we've barely started collecting our paperwork.

Today I herded the four kids into the car and took off for the City Clerk's office. Auburn first, then Lewiston. Birth certificate day! The goal was to come home with multiple (18 total, to be exact) copies of birth certificates for John and the kids. 

Auburn went well. The kids were minimally rowdy and got lots of compliments on their behavior from the very friendly staff. Ilse and Dawson did their adorable thing, and Sophia read aloud to Jude, so by the time we left we had made fast friends.

Then we headed to Lewiston. And I should have known to start praying for patience when we got in the front door and saw the giant flight of stairs to be climbed. Anyone who has ever tried to climb stairs with an 18 pound baby in a car seat and 2 year old holding your hand knows what I'm talking about. When hauling an infant carrier it's best to get to your destination quickly. Especially a baby the size of a one year old. Holding Dawson's hand makes that completely impossible.

We finally made it to the top of the stairs and headed for the Clerk's window. Which is the first window in a VERY long wide hallway, perfect for running if you are 7, 5, and 2. I handed over my paperwork for John's birth certificate while trying to ignore the wild children racing to the other end of the hallway. Perhaps everyone wouldn't figure out they were mine??

"I need a copy of your marriage license."

Here's where I started to kick myself.

You see, at the very beginning of this whole thing my sister said that I would need a zippered three-ring binder for all of our adoption paperwork, and to take it EVERYWHERE with me. But since I obviously knew better, I left the binder at home today. I had the form all filled out along with a copy of John's license, so why drag four kids AND a big binder around?

Because then when the City Clerk asks for your marriage license you will have it.

I tried to get around it.

"He signed the paper. AND I gave you a copy of his driver's license. Isn't that enough?"

No. No, it was not.

It was right about then that the steam started to pour out of my ears. And then the clerk offered to mail the birth certificates. 

"You can mail them, but not give them to me? Even though the address on my drivers license is the same as my husband's?"


I asked her to wait while I conferred with John .... would he rather come by the office to pick them up today at lunch or tomorrow before work? 

"If he comes tomorrow I can't prepare the birth certificates until he gets here. They have to be prepared the same day they are picked up."

Lunchtime it was.

Lesson learned. When Kristin says to take your binder everywhere, TAKE THE BINDER EVERYWHERE. 

There were no compliments on my children's behavior at the Lewiston City Clerk's office. There was far too much running and shouting for that. But I didn't lose my temper at the grouchy clerk (and she didn't lose her temper at the grouchy mom), we all survived, and John's birth certificates will arrive home tonight. When they do I will slip them into their sheet protector in my binder. And when asked for my husband's birth certificate I will smile and say, "Of course! It's right here."

Friday, June 24, 2016

Sunroom Progress

Painting the sunroom has been the LONGEST painting project of my life. I'm glad I didn't know just how long it was going to take, or I might have been reluctant to tackle it. I think I started painting in the first couple days of June, and then had to take a break for vacation, then back at it this week.

The reason painting took so long was that I had to paint every inch of wall and trim by hand. No rolling. I suppose I could have done a little rolling, but still would have had to paint each joint where the boards meet by hand, and it really wouldn't have saved much time. The paneling is real wood, not crappy 1970's junk, so a roller just doesn't cut it.

At any rate, MANY days of painting later, I'm DONE. Whew! Last coat went on the floor last night, and now I'm just twiddling my thumbs while I wait for it to cure so I can move furniture in. Not feeling very patient. Not that I have much furniture to put back in it.

Remember the before?

Nothing like moving day chaos! The previous homeowners had chosen a neutral palatte that relied heavily on beige with other accent colors . . . perfectly acceptable, but not my particular cup of tea! The sunroom also had carpeting, which they pulled up for us so we could move right in without worrying about the kids and their asthma.

While we figured out how we were going to use the sunroom, we arranged it into three zones . . . a seating area, craft table, and mudroom. Here you can see the first two, and the other side is the mudroom.

And THIS is the fabulous flooring that was under the carpet. No wonder they covered it, eh?! Lots of adhesive remained from the various carpets that had been laid down over the years. We debated back and forth about what to do . . . tile, laminate (my personal nemesis), hardwood, paint, etc.

For now we decided that paint was the sensible choice. In the future tile or hardwood would be nice, but time is ticking before the baby comes, and I could NOT have that old nasty linoleum in there one minute longer. So for the cost of a gallon of primer and gallon of paint, we covered it right up!

My goal with the sunroom is to make a bright and inviting space that the whole family can enjoy. The kids want to be able to read and play games, so we have moved crafts to the dining room permanently. The sunroom will have an area for books, a small play kitchen and a couple other toys (mainly Legos and Playmobile). I'm going to make a mood board very soon and will be sure to share it here!

And finally, the after:

This is the view I see when I walk in from the kitchen, and it makes me VERY happy. It's so cheerful, and the white allows your eyes to just look right past the walls and out the windows. Nature just comes pouring right in!

The floor color is Stokes Forest Green by Benjamin Moore (wall color is Simply White by Benjamin Moore), and I wish I could claim complete credit, but need to give credit where credit is due.  Last summer I tore out an article about a summer house Sarah Richardson made over, and she used this color on one of the floors. I've LOVED it since, and am so happy to have been able to use it. The cabin (the word seems inadequate in this case) is available to rent, and is pretty fabulous.

Coming up . . . a mood board for furnishings, lighting, and curtains, and then REAL after pictures following a trip to IKEA!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Try, Try Again!


It's done.

And has been done for close to a month, but we have been vacationing, and preparing to vacation, and before that working on the never-ending job that is painting the sunroom.

So without further ado, here is the armoire, no longer crazy kelly green, but soft mint green . . .

Ah. I love it. And of course, I am far from a  photography pro, so the color is unfortunately less than perfect in this photo. It's a little bit stronger mint in person, and less washed out. But I'll take what I can get, considering the youngest child that was playing monkey on me while I tried to take pictures.

Benjamin Moore's Reflection is what I ended up using on the armoire . . . no test samples, nothing but a look at a kitchen I adore, and I went for it! Fortunately, I love it, so the $12 was well spent this time.

Remember the before? Before for both the armoire and dining room wall color, if you look closely.

And then the in-between . . . three coats that took FOREVER to paint and only a moment to decide I absolutely hated it.

I purchased new brass hinges to use, but then thought I would attempt to get the original armoire hinges cleaned up first. Which really was the lazy option, as I didn't feel like filling holes and making new ones. As luck would have it, an 8 hour simmer with a little dish detergent mixed with water did the trick. The paint peeled right off and left me with nice brass hinges that worked perfectly with the owl knobs.

The owl knobs are from World Market, and I had previously used them in our old kitchen on our pantry bifold doors. Love the owls! Sophia insisted we bring them to the new house, and now they have a perfect new home.

What to use with the owls? Little dangly pulls from Hobby Lobby, about $2 each with their 50% off knobs sale.

Now for the not-so-pretty but very functional bit.  The armoire functions exactly as I intended, as craft / homeschooling / library book / kids game storage. Plus I also put their cd player on the top shelf (to be lowered as soon as I rev up the energy to drill new holes for the shelf supports), so everything that was previously stored in 2 1/2 other pieces of furniture has merged into this one.

I LOVE having less furniture cluttering up the room, and especially being able to shut the door and not see any of the mess.

One more time, the after that I get to see every time I walk into the dining room or living room . . .

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