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Thursday, February 26, 2015

New stuff underfoot!

While mopping the floor yesterday, I realized that I never posted about our new floors!  Our home was a foreclosure, and before putting it on the market, the bank painted the entire house a lovely peachy beige and installed new beige carpet throughout the whole house.  Sadly, our dogs completely trashed the carpet in a matter of months.  Whether it was the adjustment to a new space, the scent of the previous owners' dogs coming from the sub-floor, or the fact that our 8 year old dogs are just un-potty-trained assholes, the peed on the carpet.  A lot.  And you can only clean giant puddles of dog pee out of the carpet so many times before it's just ... done.  

I'd been researching flooring options for quite some time and trying to decide how to get several hundred square feet of flooring for practically pennies.  We considered painting or staining the sub-floor, and did quite a bit of experimenting with ideas.  Ultimately, we needed to find out what kind of shape the floor was in before we made any decisions.  And one day I decided that I couldn't live one more day with the nasty carpet and we ripped that crap outta there.  Turns out, the sub-floor was in just so-so shape.  Not terrible, but not great.  

I pondered a little more and one day stumbled upon a really great sale at Lumber Liquidators.  A 6mm laminate flooring called Donar Oak for $0.29 per square foot. It was a really pretty, albeit cheap, laminate flooring.   I tried to place an order, but they were all sold out.  Womp Womp.  I called the store on the off chance that they had some in stock and the awesome store manager told me that they run sales like fairly often and let me know when to check the website for another sale.  


A few weeks later, I found an even better sale than the first one -- $0.19 per square foot for a 6mm laminate called Black Forest Oak.  It wasn't as pretty as the Donar Oak, but it was CHEAP.  So I ordered enough for the family room and living/dining room and then waited for awhile -- a few weeks, to be exact. The people at Lumber Liquidators were wonderful and kept me updated throughout my waiting period.  Eventually, I got a call from my local Lumber Liquidators store manager informing me that they were still waiting for half of my order to arrive (it looks like they are out of the Black Forest Oak still/again), but that they had enough stock of the Donar Oak (my original choice) to fill my whole order.  Ummmm, OK!!  

We picked it up from the store that day and also picked up some Blue Hawk underlayment from Lowe's.  We didn't want to go with anything super expensive because BUDGET or anything super cheap because KIDS and DOGS and NOISE.  Brian and his friend got it all installed in a weekend.  It was very easy and would have been possible to get done in a day had they not had 3 little helpers!  Those helpers are super cute though, so they rolled with it.  (I didn't document their process because there are a million tutorials out there for laminate flooring installation.  Shanty 2 Chic did a pretty good one that you can find here.)

We are loving, loving, LOVING the floor.  It's beautiful, cleans easily, and hides dust and dirt very well between vacuum sessions.  And it was cheap!  With 3 little boys and 3 dogs, I'd rather something cheap get ruined than something expensive.  We won't always have 3 dogs and eventually those little boys will grow into big boys and if the floors are shot, I'll consider it money well spent.  The underlayment we chose has been lovely so far and we're happy with the choice.  It's not echo-ey or hollow sounding or anything.  

In case you're wondering about the budget breakdown...

9 Boxes (approx 600 sq ft) Donar Oak Laminate Flooring - $120.71
6 Rolls Underlayment - $284.94
Grand Total - $405.65 

That's roughly $0.68 per square foot!  Not half bad, if you ask me, especially since it barely took 8 hours worth of work.  I think that prepping and painting/staining both rooms would have taken well over double that amount of time, and most likely for not much cheaper.  So I'm pretty happy with our results!  

We haven't installed new baseboards yet, but I'm leaning toward a nice, simply, high baseboard like in the photo above.  I like to chew on things for awhile before I pull the trigger, so this piece is sitting in the family room so I can decide if I like the feel of it.  In the mean time, we're lovin' the floors!

**For the record, Lumber Liquidators and Lowe's have no idea who I am.  Just passing along info on products I'm diggin'.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

Motherhood has made me fickle.

Since the birth of my oldest 5 years ago, I've often found myself wishing away the years.

Maybe not wishing that they'd disappear completely, but at least speed up a bit.  It usually comes in rather innocent thoughts - When they can all do "this" or "that", life will be so much easier.  

When they sleep through the night.

When they are onto solid food.

When they drop to one nap.  

When they're walking independently.  

When they can follow simple directions.

When I can trust them alone for more than 30 seconds.

When they're potty trained.  

When they're REALLY potty trained and can hold it for more than 4 seconds.

No, REALLY.  More like 4 minutes.  

When they go to preschool.  

When they can buckle their own car seat belts.

When they can help with chores.

When they go to real school.  

You get the idea.

Eventually you hit those milestones and it does get easier.  Don't get me wrong.  With two 3 year old boys and a 5 year old boy, it's still complete chaos.  But a slightly more controlled chaos.  

And in that chaos, I find the time to look at old photos and reminisce about how quickly my babies have grown into these cool little people.  People who sleep through the night and eat normal food and pee in the bathroom (even if it's more often around the toilet than actually in the toilet).  I long for the sweet baby days.  I rejoice with every step toward more independence.  It's a constant tug between the two.

I'm not going to tell you that you shouldn't think that way.  It's normal and natural and, sweet Jesus it's helpful.

See, those "speed it up" thoughts aren't bad.  They're one of many ways that Moms stay sane in the most trying moments. We just need to remind ourselves that it won't always be this kind of hard.  I think we all know that motherhood is hard.  And will always be hard.  But this kind of hard won't last forever.  The sleepless nights, the diapers, the complete dependence.  Eventually they will end.  And a different kind of hard thing will take their place.  We know this, but in that moment, we just need to remind ourselves that this - this hard thing that we're doing right now - it will not last for forever.

So while we're snuggling our babies at 3:00 a.m., it's fine to look forward to nights of 6 hours of sleep.  While we're up to our elbows in poopy diapers, it's perfectly acceptable to hope that your kid will decide to ditch the diapers at 18 months old.  When you're bundling and lifting and strapping your babies into their carseats for the 4 millionth time in a day, it's cool to dream of the days when they can hop in and buckle themselves, only requiring a check and a tighten from you.

Eventually all of those things happen.  The day comes when you ask your kiddo to go potty, get his shoes on, and buckle up his seat ... and he does it.  All three of them do it.  And all of the sudden you're wondering where the years went.  It feels like you blinked and the years flew by like minutes.  A tiny part of you wishes you could hold that tiny baby in your arms again.  But just a tiny part, because those sleepless nights were a bitch.  See?  Fickle.  We're all just fickle.

Those sweet little old ladies in the Target checkout line who pull you aside while your babies are grabbing things off the shelves while running in opposite directions to tell you to "cherish these times because they fly by too quickly"?  They can't help it.  They mean well.  It's just that motherhood (and probably subsequent grandmotherhood) makes you fickle.

So let's just roll with it, shall we?  Let's enjoy our big kids and our little kids and our babies.  Let's complain about the tough spots, look forward to the bright spots, and reminisce about our sweet babies.  Let's embrace the fickle.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

Live life ... together.

You may or may not know this, but I am a Mary & Martha Consultant.  I've mentioned it here on the blog before, but I try not to jam it down anyone's throat.  Truth be told, I'm a horrible salesperson.  But the messages Mary & Martha bring to consultants and customers is a beautiful one.  I wanted to share this newsletter I recently sent to my customers, as it speaks to something else I'm not very good at - opening my home to others. I love to get together with friends, but seldom feel that my house is in "good enough" condition to invite people in.  This newsletter explains a bit more about my goal to conquer these insecurities!  Please enjoy! 

When was the last time that you invited someone into your home?
  I'm not talking about your family, your best friend, or anyone who you wouldn't mind seeing your dirty laundry.  I'm talking about those people in your life who you always mean to spend more time with, but never invite over for coffee.  

You know, because you tell yourself you'll invite them after you tackle the giant pile of laundry that's spilling out of the laundry room.  Or after your husband finally gets around to putting up the new baseboards in the family room.  Or after you save enough money to remodel the kitchen because it's just not good enough for company.  Yes, these are all excuses that I have used at one point or another in my life.  (Alright, in the last week!)
But you know what?  I'm ready to change that.  I'm ready to invite people in.


I'm going to tone down my inner "Martha" (mine is kind of a loud mouth) and channel my inner "Mary".

I'm going to quit worrying about the missing baseboards and the really dysfunctional kitchen.  I'm going to take a minute to vacuum up the dog hair, throw in another load of laundry, and shove the rest of it into the laundry room ... an
d close the door.  I'm going to make some coffee, pour it into my mismatched mugs and serve it to friends.

And then?  I'm going to enjoy myself.

That's the beauty of the story of Mary and Martha in the bible and of the message we share here with Mary & Martha.  Stop fussing.  Love others by welcoming them, serving them, and finally, being with them

​So why am I telling you all of this?  No, I'm not going to tell you that buying Mary & Martha products will make it easier to entertain.  Prettier?  Yes.  Simpler?  Maybe. Really, really easy?  No.  (Except for the paper bakeware.  That is legitimately easier. I mean, who likes washing dishes??  Not this girl!)
For me, it's the messages.  The messages of Mary & Martha products remind us of God's love for us and of the love that we share with one another.  They are simple, yet powerful messages. 
I hope that you will join me on this journey of opening our homes to others.  If that means that you would like to host a Mary & Martha Gathering, please let me know.  It'll be the easiest "party" you ever throw.  Pinky swear.

If a Gathering isn't right for you right now?  That's fine too.  Just take one step and invite a neighbor or new friend into your home.  I'm going to do it too.  Let's love God through loving others.  Together.