Can't Hurt, Might Help Me Stop Crying

So I mentioned in the thredUP post that we went cold turkey on paper towels. This is a topic that I am 100% sure some other blogger wrote about years ago, and I am also sure that -- at the time -- I rolled my eyes so hard because that's some sanctimonious hogwash. Paper towels? Really? Sorry, I live in the REAL WORLD with REAL CHILDREN; gimme that good Quicker Picker Upper action. But now the planet is on fire and my kids are coming home from school crying about the polar bears dying, and why isn't anyone doing anything to help the polar bears, and I admit to having had SEVERAL Amy-Poehler-in-Wine-County style breakdowns over the last couple years. (Usually after consuming Amy-Poehler-in-Wine-Country levels of wine, but still. I CARE REALLY HARD!) Anyway, I thought we made the switch just a couple months ago, but after combing through the photo evidence, we've actually been paper-towel-free since July, when I first spent an evening cutting up a stack of Jason's old undershirts into a satisfying stack of rags of various shapes and sizes. Of course I took a photo of them. It was probably the most I'd accomplished in a... Read more →


The Best Things I Bought For My Brain (2019 Edition)

In honor of Cyber Monday, it's better mental health through consumerism, betches. In no particular order, other than in the order I remember them as I wander around my house: Brain-Saving Plan to-do list/mental health planner & Punch Today In the Face motivational coaster (KatieAbeyDesign, Etsy) The part of my brain that took the longest to heal (post-apocalyptic ZZZZZPPPTTTZZZZ-style short-out) was/is, unfortunately, the part that allows me to simply sit the fuck down and get shit the fuck done. Oh, I'm plenty good at making long, elaborate to-do lists around 3 a.m., along with the many terrible consequences that will surely rain down after my subsequent failure to complete said to-do list. But by 9 a.m., I've lost all sense of urgency and/or curled into a paralyzed ball of panic and procrastination. There are a LOT of mental health planners and motivational office supplies aimed at correcting this pattern, but I found most of them either too shmaltzy and motivational-quote heavy, or entirely too detailed and similar to my 3 a.m. version. (DRINK EIGHT GLASSES OF WATER OR FAIL AT TUESDAY!) This one from KatieAbeyDesign on Etsy is way, way more my speed. Keep Fucking Going bracelet (Amazon) Simple, to... Read more →


Adventures in Chaperoning

HI THERE! WHO'S READY TO CRUSH SOME SHIT TODAY? lol jk that mug is full of Theraflu, not coffee. I don't have the flu (we "believe" in the flu shot around here, because it is the flu shot, not Santa Claus), but some absolutely brutal cold -- or some amalgram of multiple colds from Jason's work, the kids' schools, that field trip to the Maryland Germ Factory Science Center I chaperoned last week -- that will not let me live or breathe or go 10 minutes without coughing up a lung. I didn't want to or even intend to chaperone the field trip, because I am really terrible at interacting with other people's children and never know how to handle my pack of charges. ("So you like, go to school? That sucks.") I shoot for being the Cool Chill Mom but instead end up being the Awkward and Ill-Prepared Mom who has terrible Time Management Skills. I forgot to ask about bathroom breaks until we were suddenly in a panicked sprint to find the nearest restroom two floors away; I couldn't find an empty table at lunchtime so we all ended up eating on the floor in a random corner;... Read more →


A Square Lamp in a Round Hole

Many, many years ago, we went to West Elm for pillow shams and also left with a lamp for our dining room. (A wee Ezra was helpful enough to document the shopping trip at the time.) All lighting was 10% off, and then there was an extra 40% store-wide sale going on, and so we got this $399 chandelier (in discontinued grey), comprised of hundreds of (INDIVIDUALLY! WRAPPED! IN TISSUE PAPER! AND TAPE!) seashell bits and bobs for...definitely less than that. This lamp was the only non-furniture thing in our old house that I insisted on bringing with us when we moved. This lamp was non-negotiable. This lamp was a Hill That I And Any Subsequent Real Estate Deal Would Die On, even against the most strenuous advice of our agent. (The same agent who made alarmingly critical noises about the MAIL SLOT on our front door, and so I rushed out to buy SPECIAL POLISH for the mail slot. AND THEN, when the special mail slot polish failed to deliver the desired pop of curb appeal, I replaced the entire mail slot because YES, THIS NEW MAIL SLOT WILL SURELY SELL THIS HOUSE!!1 !OMG!!1CRYTIME!) (This lamp was very important... Read more →


It's Household Procrastination To-Do List Season

So Jake left us for his new home on Friday, which: SAD, but also I'm still pulling clumps of his fur out of the robot vacuum so it's like he hasn't really left! Good god, did that dog shed. I could knit us three new foster dogs with what I lint-rollered off the couch this morning. This weekend I painted our dining room, after four full years of bitching about it. (Turns out one person's deep and abiding love for "rich deep chocolate browns" is another person's "oh my god why is everything in this house the color of poop?") Okay, it was more like painting one and a half walls vs. a full room, BUT STILL. You know how we do here. YEAR ONE: I don't like that dark brown in the dining room. I am going to complain about it on a near-daily basis. YEAR TWO: I don't know...maybe green would look nice? Grey? Blue? Peach? White? Wallpaper? Metallic stencils? Shiplap? Purple? YEAR THREE: Ugh. We'll have to prime first, so never mind. YEAR FOUR: HAPPY SATURDAY MORNING I JUST SENT OUT SAVE THE DATES FOR FRIENDSGIVING AND I REFUSE TO HAVE ANOTHER FRIENDSGIVING IN A POOP BROWN... Read more →


Summer Cereal Wars

We're currently getting the back deck and wood trim painted, which is one of those homeowneryship things that costs like, ALL of your money and leaves you with...well, everything pretty much looking exactly the same as before. (They're also power washing the siding, which has grown slightly greenish since we moved in, so we at least get to Make Yellow House Yellow AgainTM.) It's a very unsexy unfun home improvement, and it's taking forever because every day it starts raining right after the crew shows up. (That has got to be one of the All Time Top 10 Most Exciting Paragraphs I have ever written in the history of this blog, no? Perhaps later I shall set up a live video feed of the freshly painted window trim so we can all watch it dry together.) This morning they asked me to remove all the window screens, which I did, while the cats looked on in escapist glee. I of course managed to injure my fingers not once, but twice in the process, and drop one screen down the side of the house. ("HEADS UP!" I yelled to absolutely no one below, for no discernible reason.) Then I grumbled and... Read more →


Makey Makeovers

OH RIGHT ROOM PHOTOS. PREPARE TO LOOK THE HELL OUT OF SOME FURNITURE AND SHIT. Ezra and Ike's room, before: (Minus a generous floor-coating of toys and clothes and there was an IKEA dresser on the verge of complete structural collapse just behind the door. It has since been burned in the fire pit.) Ezra's OWN ROOM, which is HIS and NOBODY ELSE'S, now: Those curtains were in the family room when we moved in. After I replaced them Ezra claimed them for his own room because they were "fancy." They are also gold damask and the kid literally chose a paint color called "Damask Gold," so I can probably stop writing about him now, because that tells you everything you need to know about who Ezra is as a person. I upgraded to a standing desk in my office (that I am currently...sitting at, because I am tired) and gave Ezra my old one. Ezra chose EVERYTHING else -- from the furniture to the bedding, which he (correctly) predicted would coordinate perfectly with the wall color. "This is all very me," he declared. He also decided he was ready to be a plant father to some bamboo. We're still... Read more →


(Gasps for Air)

aaaaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii It's spring break, bitches. Although pretty light on the "break" part for me, personally. We're heading up to Killington, VT for a few days for our semi-annual "let's cram eight humans into a two-bedroom condo" visit with Jason's brother and family, where there is still SNOW and ICE and BULLSHIT. The seven other humans will probably ski and snowboard while this chicken human will stay inside and likely end up working most of the time. Work has kind of exploded all over the place for me, in the usual freelancing feast/famine cycle where I go from frantically emailing every work contact I know to remind them that I exist to suddenly juggling 25 deadlines at once. And of course the timing lined up perfectly with us deciding to go nuclear on the boys' bedrooms, so for the past week I've been either 1) working on Very Exciting & Important Technical Documents, 2) up to my eyeballs in IKEA furniture and Lego storage, or 3) just sort of lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling for a sec. I'm happy to report that the bedroom makeovers are about 99% complete, and everyone is very, very happy with the... Read more →


Trading Rooms, Part 2

(Thank you everyone for all your kind words and thoughts. Last week suckkkkkked but I am okay.) Once upon a time, when we ripped up all the carpet in Yellow House and had wood floors put in, we decided to cut a couple corners and save ourselves a couple dollars. The corners we cut were the boys' bedrooms, which all had somewhat newish-looking carpet. We figured we'd leave those rooms as-is and wait for the carpets to get destroyed over time and replace them only when we absolutely needed to. (Much like our approach to the kitchen appliances, and if you're keeping track I am STILL cooking and baking with an oven I hate with the fire of a million faulty oven coils, because the fucker fucking sucks but just won't DIE ALREADY.) (On the other hand, this happened, so it's like I got a brand-new dishwasher all over again.) ANYWAY. FLOORS. CARPETS. TRY TO STAY ON TOPIC FOR ONE BLEEDING SECOND. We regretted our decision almost immediately, because the boys' rooms became Animal Accident Central. Why pee outside in the snow or rain or your litter box when you can pee on some soft, inviting carpet? Especially if that... Read more →


Trading Spaces

When we first moved to Yellow House, everybody got their own room, and we made the room assignments by age and room size. Noah got the biggest room and Ike got the smallest, with Ezra taking the medium-ish one. But we REALLY assigned Ike to the smallest room because we wanted him to have as little space for rock-star-trashing-a-hotel-room shenanigans as possible. That room is big enough for a twin bed, a nightstand and one small toy box. Everything else is kept in the basement or on the hallway bookshelves. This would naturally limit the about of shit that he could dump all over the floor every night. (Right. "Naturally." My ass.) Sure enough, every morning I'd find the entire contents of his toy box on the floor, along with 20+ picture books he'd managed to drop riiiiiight into the small space between his bed and the wall. What I wouldn't find in that room, however, was Ike. Once his room was satisfactorily wrecked, he'd sneak into Ezra's room and crawl into bed with him. "Ezra keeps the bad dreams away," he told us adorably at the time, so we allowed it. We also, eventually, allowed Ike to just start... Read more →