It’s the little things….right?

This winter/spring is going to be very busy. Dave is tutoring five evenings a week on top of his job AND trying to fit in some freelance work at the same time. I have these four kids; three of them need to do school and one of them is an almost one year old. So of course we’ve decided that NOW is the perfect time to take on this bathroom…probably our biggest project since Dave built our fence back when we first moved in.

“Why did you decide something like that?” you might be asking. Yeah, no idea. Not important!

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that I feel a little overwhelmed with how busy we are and how…..big our big projects are. I get discouraged with how slow the progress is with big jobs like tiling, and I get frustrated about how NO forward motion can happen on it unless two adults are home, since someone always has to be keeping an eye on the baby (I can hand him off to older kids sometimes, but I don’t really want to assign anyone an eight hour shift while I tile all day, lest they resent poor Abe (or me) forever. Plus I need to save older kid baby tending for when I want to sleep late).

So…in the interest of curbing this frustration and discouragement a bit, I’m making an effort to come up with some quick and easy projects to mix in with the big stuff. Things I can do during naptime, or while Abe plays by himself for a few blissful minutes, or in the evenings when two adults are home, or with Abe on my back in the Ergo. You get the idea.

So far this list exists only in my head, but I’ll get around to typing it out so that I can have the satisfaction of crossing things off soon. One big category on the list should be organization, I think. I know from reading blogs that you’re supposed to think about getting your house/life/etc. organized in January, but last January I kind of ignored it because we’d been here less than a year so I felt like house things hadn’t had too much of a chance to spiral out of control (and I was about to have a baby so I KNEW that life things were a lost cause as far as order was concerned). So maybe a drawer here, some bookshelf alphabetizing there…that sort of thing. I might try to do a periodic check in with that to keep myself accountable and because I know it would be super fun for everyone to see pictures of my messy drawers and find out what categories I sort my books into! SUPER fun.

But today! No organization whatsoever, but here are a couple of the kind of projects I have in mind for my crusade against discouragement.

1. Finish the squirrels!

Remember how I have a wall of sharpie squirrels in my foyer? My dirty little secret there is that I never finished the squirrels. I sharpied squirrels down to where the dresser was going to go and then I just stopped. But it’s bothered me ever since, so I’m finally working on them again now (the dresser is still in the library, where we moved it to make room for our little silver tree). I can do a few at a time whenever I have a spare minute, so it’s a perfect project for making tangible progress without investing big stretches of time:



Okay, it’s hard to tell, but the bottom two rows of squirrels? BRAND NEW!

2. Print out a picture of Abraham Lincoln:

I guess I’ll just throw out a spoiler here: we picked the theme for Abe’s birthday party, and we’re going with the Abe Lincoln theme. Can’t pass up an opportunity like that! So I’m working on decorations and needed to print out a picture to replace Edgar Allan Poe in one of the frames from my Halloween decorations. Done! See? So easy you’d never realize this was an accomplishment at all if I hadn’t put it on a list!



(I’m working on a whole Presidents’ Day thing on the buffet, because it was looking so sad and bare after I took the dino advent calendar away).

3. Hanging Ikea Ekorre Chairs:


Here’s one that might actually be helpful to someone: learn from our mistakes! Milo and Gus have been wanting some kind of reading area in their room for awhile now, so we grabbed a couple of hanging Ekorre chairs from Ikea as a last minute Christmas present.

When you’re going to let your children dangle from the ceiling, you want them to  dangle from nice, sturdy joists. We have a stud finder, but Dave is a stud finder skeptic, so his first joist-finding method involved going to the attic to find joists and then measuring on the ceiling below. Here is the result:


See all those little holes in our ceiling? Yeah, they’re not very noticeable unless you take a picture of them and draw an arrow pointing to them.

Then he got out the stud finder. Turns out it worked just great.

But see how the Ikea hooks have four screw holes in a circle? Those won’t all go into one of our joists. So Dave cut up some scrap 2 by 4s and screwed them (using five 2 1/2 inch deck screws each) to the joists to make a wide enough surface for all the screws in the hooks to go into.

I’m not sure a picture is needed here, but Dave hauled the camera up to the attic with him, so I feel it only fair that I use this:



(look at all that nice insulation! Our home inspector, after trying to convince us the sun room addition was pretty much about to fall off of the house, proclaimed our attic, “phenomenal.” We pay about the same to heat this house as our more than 1000 square feet smaller old house).

From there the Ikea directions are pretty straightforward. They can sit in them and read, and they can gently sway back and forth and bump into each other. Anything else I don’t want to know about.

We had to move the lego table to the middle of the room to make space for the chairs:


And, by the way, here’s what their shelves look like these days, now that they’ve lent their own decorating touches to them:



So there you have it. I cannot show you a bathroom full of beautiful slate like I would like to, but I CAN show you how my kids build Daleks out of legos and put them on a shelf. And that will have to be enough to keep me happy for now.

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It’s the little things….right? — 28 Comments

  1. those chairs are SO fun!!!!! love them! and i love the idea of just printing an abe pic- sawyer would love one in his little mini gallery wall i am making!

    • After I printed it out, I realized that the exact same photo is on like 3 of the Lincoln books I’ve got on the buffet right now. Not much to choose from for pre 1870 presidents!

    • Both a top hat and Lincoln cut outs (not from the Silhouette store since I don’t have a Silhouette) will figure prominently at the party 🙂

  2. Right on! Gosh it feels so good to hear you say that because I am feeling completely overwhelmed with some of my upcoming projects or as I like to call them projects in limbo. Ha! Some of them may take another year or who knows…I think we bloggers out a lot of pressure on ourselves because of our blogs and because our spaces in general are so important to us. Great attitude and I love what the boys have done with the shelves!!! Happy day to you friend!

    • It’s a blessing and a curse, I think–blogging is. on one hand it definitely keeps me motivated; on the other hand, sometimes I’d rather be unmotivated for a little while and relax!

    • heh–I don’t know about that! Really, I’d get LESS done if I only had one this time around, since the older ones are old enough to entertain him for decent chunks of time. But you really forget how hard it is to get things done with babies! Or at least I did 🙂

  3. If I want to feel productive I just make a list of random things and check them off. Wake up…check. Brush teeth…check. You get it. It is the small things!! Also I want to know where I can find me some older children to watch my 2. That sleeping in thing sounds pretty fantastic.

  4. I’ve had 2 Ekorre chairs sitting in a box which has been scooted throughout my house for the past two years. I finally stopped wishing and avoiding and was ready to hang when I ran smack into the skinny joist / wide hardware dilemma. Your resourcefulness (& willingness to share info) has prevented further procrastination! Thank you for your post!

    • oh, that’s great to hear! Glad we could help :). We’re actually rearranging things in that room today and are going to have to make another trip into the attic to move the chairs; my husband’s not thrilled about it 😉

  5. Hey this hanging chair thing is so cool I have not got it yet but I want to this would be great for the boys I thing about getting it for them on there birthday the would be so happy to finally get it I just don’t know if we have the money bey to get it but u will try anything for my boys

  6. Thanks for this. Can you adjust the height of the rope? Was thinking of doing the same in our basement, where beams are exposed (making the project easier) but ceiling is lower.

    • I just asked my husband, and we honestly don’t remember. He suspects he used deck screws that he already had around. Really, anything that’s long enough to grip the wood well and that fits in the holes should work fine. Sorry I can’t be more help!

  7. I know this is an old post, but I’m curious about whether you inflated the cushion fully for actual use. We just set ours up, and when the cushion is fully inflated my kid ends up sliding into the seam where the red and brown fabric meets and it’s hugely uncomfortable. But when he sits in the middle, it’s really high and he isn’t comfortable there either. Did you find this problem?

    • The kids haven’t mentioned being uncomfortable at all….but I will say that they’ve used them with the cushions partially deflated when we haven’t gotten around to reinflating them for awhile, and that’s worked out fine. So maybe try just letting some of the air out and see if it works better?

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