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.