Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Word for 2013

Thanks for all the sweet love on the "The Woman I Would Have Her Copy" post.  I had no idea so many people (men and women) had the same issues that I had.  So many people said that they needed to hear that so I'm happy that you were touched by it.

This is going to sound like it's going into two completely opposite directions, so bear with me.

I've been seeing people all over blogland name their word of the year.  If you're unfamiliar with the concept, it's a word that is your theme for the year.  Something to inspire you or something you want to accomplish...that sort of thing.  I thought long and hard but I really couldn't come up with anything.  No word or phrase struck me.  I couldn't think of anything I wanted to strive to attain.  I mean, I have goals, of course, but that's about as far as it went.

I told you this was going into two directions.  Stay the course, people!  I'm getting you there!  The other day, I asked for a recommendation from my Facebook friends for a local optometrist.  Our new insurance gave us several different options and those were totally different than the ones on our previous insurance.  Several people recommended this one optometrist in particular.  I had used her years ago.  I won't say how many but it was in my teen years.  I racked my brain for an opinion on her from that time and I couldn't come up with anything.  I realized that probably just meant that I hadn't had a bad experience with her.  The dentist who started pulling my tooth before I was totally numb?  His name I could tell you.  I could probably pick him out of a line-up, even though I was in junior high when that happened (I was one of those people who still had baby teeth in junior high--don't judge me!).  The point is that because I had a negative experience with him I remember him.

It's human nature, right?  I would imagine that most people probably have that same perception.  We remember the negative because it keeps us safe.  When you're a child and you touch the stove and it burns you, you remember the next time not to touch the stove because that hurt.  Then you notice all of the other hot things around you and realize that they will also burn you.  It's got to be a subconscious thing though.  I know I didn't purposefully hold back any positive feedback on this particular doctor.  Interesting, isn't it, how the mind works?

Forget my first statement.  We're diverging yet a third way.  Oops.  All of that "why do we remember the negative" introspection made me realize that I'm holding onto a lot of negative.  Why?  Because it keeps me safe.  If you don't completely trust, no one can break it.  If you don't completely love, no one can hurt you.  I could list more examples, but it would just be to say this.  We build walls to protect ourselves from the hurts of others.  I realized that I'm holding onto to hurts from 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 15 years ago, 5 years ago, etc.  I thought I had let most of that go, but I'm really just entrenching myself in those hurts.  I'm not really healed of those things.  I put up the walls and put it out of mind, but if you can recall those hurts, then it's taking up some of your heart space.  It's emotional clutter.  And I don't know about you, but I would prefer for my heart space to be filled with good things and those negative things are taking up some pretty valuable territory.

Roads are coming together.  I told you to just stay the course.  My word for 2013 is "Uncluttered".  I want to be uncluttered in my heart, my mind, my soul, and my home this year.  I know things will still be crazy, but the good kind of crazy.  I'm sure I'll post about it since pouring my heart out is ultimately pretty cathartic but also makes me feel like an awkward pre-teen on the first day of school.

I'll update again at the end of the year and let you know if I was successful in becoming uncluttered!

Joyfully,
Jen

Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 Home Goals

Our homeownership anniversary just passed.  We've been homeowner for 7 years now!  I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but when we bought our home it was supposed to be our starter home.  And at the time is was the perfect size for a mommy and a daddy and two kiddos.  It's a three bedroom, 1 bath ranch home that's as old as my husband and I are.  We planned to stay three to four years and then upgrade.  Wouldn't you know it though?  We fell in love with this too small house and it's location.  It's got potential, people!  So we moved from the starter home mindset to the forever home mindset.  For one of us, it lit a fire under us to get it done and for the other person, it meant we could take our time.  I'll let you figure out who's who.  The big layoff in 2012 put that to a screeching halt though and being able to save our home became the priority.  It also made us realize just how much we really did want to be here.  So, with seven years of living here under our belts, we've made a list of projects we'd like to accomplish.  Some we'll finish this year, others we won't and that's okay!  We don't plan to go into debt so some big things, like the kitchen reno, will take more time.  This is just an interior list.  Exterior is a whole other post.

Living Room/Hallway
  • Cover/disguise/hide window looking into carport.
  • Paint ceiling in living room and hallway.
  • Hang wallpaper in living room and hallway.  (I'll be posting a tutorial on paintable wallpaper in the future!)
  • Beef up moldings in living room and hallway and caulk and paint them.
  • Repaint board and batten wainscoting on living room walls.  (This actually turned into taking down the board and batten and redoing it.)
  • Replace or restyle light fixtures--DONE!  We took the two hallway lights and the ceiling fan down and repainted them in oil rubbed bronze.  The whole project cost about $10!
  • Paint cabinets next to mantel? Paint mantel?  I'm playing this one by ear until the room comes together.
  • Replace hinges on front door.  Possibly replace front door eventually.  It's a standard 6 panel steel door right now and it's okay.  We'll reevaluate that once some other projects are completed.
  • Window treatments.
  • Reupholster ottoman.
  • Area rug.
  • Wall decor, throw pillows and other accessories.
Dining Area
  • Repaint ceiling.
  • Convert window to patio door.
  • Repair wall from conversion.
  • Hang wallpaper and paint.
  • Beef up moldings and caulk and paint them. 
  • Replace flooring.
  • Sand and stain dining table.
  • Build and upholster dining benches.
  • Buy two new dining chairs. 
Kitchen
  • Renovate.  I'm not even sure what we'll salvage.  I say scrap it and start from scratch though.  ;-)
Carport
  • We have plans to close the carport in this year for a playroom for the kids.  We're calling it the "Young Man Cave."  Will post more as the time draws near!  (We offered the room to Lil B and he said he'd rather continue to share a bedroom with his brothers in exchange for a really awesome playroom, so we aren't forcing him to continue to share.)
Craft/Laundry Room
  • We must figure out a better washer and dryer placement.  It's terrible right now and there is so much wasted space.  If nothing else, we will have to move the dryer vent because it blows out onto the carport now.
  • Organize craft supplies.
Nursery
  • Toy storage. Other than that, I'm calling this room "done" until she moves in to a big girl bed.
Boys Room
  • Reconfigure sleeping space.  Not crazy about bunk beds, so this will require some real planning.
  • Paint ceiling, walls, and trim.
  • Bedding.
  • Window Treatments.
  • Steam clean carpets. 
  • Replace closet and entry doors as well as door hardware.
Master Bedroom
  • Paint ceiling, walls, and trim
  • Replace closet and entry doors as well as door hardware.
  • Bedding.
  • Window Treatments.
  • Flooring. (You can read about why it needs new flooring here.
Bathroom
  • This room also needs a full reno.  Paneling in a bathroom--need I say more?  We also desperately need a vent fan in this room.

I will update as projects are completed and I'm sure I will think of things to add as time goes on too!  Any home goals for you in 2013? 

Jen

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes Prints--DIY

If you've been on a Pinterest a hot minute you've probably seen something like thisthis, and this.  This is my version (no, I still haven't replaced my camera...).

I've loved them for a while and really couldn't tell you why I didn't just go ahead and make one.  I knew I could DIY this so I came up with a set of instructions using Microsoft Word.  These can really be tailored to your specific style using different fonts.  I'll tell you what I used but I encourage you to have fun with this and really make it your own!  (And no, these aren't our real names and birthdates.  I'm not begging to be had by an identity thief!  Just FYI!)

The first thing you want to do is open a new document in Microsoft Word.  Set your margins to what you want the finished size to be.  Go to File>Page Setup>Margins and set the top, bottom, left, and right margins to 1" each for an 8 x 10 print.  For a 5 x 7 print, set the top and bottom margins to 2.25" and the left and right margins to 2".  Make sure your orientation is set to portrait.  Next, click the tab marked Layout and set your Vertical Alignment to center.  Click OK to get back to your document.

Personally, I wouldn't go any smaller than 5 x 7.  I also found that anything more than 7 dates on an 8 x 10 looked busy, so keep that in mind too.  I went in chronological order from oldest event to most recent but however you want yours to read and whatever events you choose to chronicle is up to you!  Set your text alignment to center.  Type in the date then hit enter to move to the next line and put the event title or person's name. Continue in this manner until you are finished with the dates and events.  Finish it up with the "what a difference a day makes" tagline.

This is very custom to your preferences, but here are the fonts that I used.  The dates are CM Old Western (font size is 48)  found here.  The names are French Script MT (font size 36), which came installed on my computer.  The embellishments next to the name are Soft Ornaments (I used a lower case "e" in font size 36) found here.  The tagline at the bottom, with the exception of the word "day" are Teletype (font size 24) which came installed on my computer.  The word "day" is French Script MT again (font size 48).  Part of the fun is playing around with the fonts and sizes until you get what you like!  You'll also have to make adjustments in font size if you do this in a smaller size or if you have more or less events than the example.  Please, please, please scan files for viruses before you download anything.  I'm not responsible if you download something and your computer gets some nasty bug, but I would feel awful.  And always make sure to follow the rules with regards to licensing  for home and commercial use!  Then just print it and frame it!  I used card stock because I had it but you could use regular printer paper also.  It won't matter once it's framed!  You'll have to trim a little off unless you use a larger frame and mat.

Another shot of the finished product again just so you don't have to scroll back up:

Love it!  It would make such a cute housewarming gift!  Questions?  Hit up the comment box or send me an email!

Jen

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Woman I Would Have Her Copy

"...the love, respect, and confidence of my children was the sweetest reward I could receive for my efforts to be the woman I would have them copy." ― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women 

This is one of those posts that I felt led to write but didn't really want to write.  I'm not good with putting myself out there and revealing my hurts and insecurities.  But sometimes, in the process of working through those things it's a necessary evil...at least it is for me.  So bear with me please.  I'm putting my heart out here.

Upon seeing my daughter, people usually say, "She looks just like you!"  Since that statement is generally preceded by an exclamation of her cuteness, part of me swells with pride because aren't they, in essence, saying I'm cute too?  No?  Maybe?  Let's just say yes they are, okay?  I usually say, "Thanks!  We get that a lot!"  But there's another part of me, a bigger part of me, that screams when they say that.  I want to say, "No she doesn't.  She's beautiful.  She's nothing like me."  Ouch, right?  Talk about an internal struggle.

It's how I really feel though.  I've had body issues and image issues my whole life, but I don't think they're any worse than most women have.  We live in a size 0, airbrushed world so it happens.  I had a light bulb moment last night though.  I realized that it's not that I don't want her to look like me...I don't want her to be me. 


I realize that 99% of my issues are that I am my own worst enemy.  And my daughter will be her own worst enemy too one day unless I do something now.  The way she views herself in the future will be directly tied to how I view myself.  The woman she becomes, the wife she becomes, the mother she becomes will have everything to do with the woman, wife, and mother that I am.  And don't think I don't realize that my boys are watching too.  The kind of woman I am will factor in to the kind of woman they bring home to meet their mother.  And I want to like her.  Really I do.  And hopefully that will be many years from now.  ;-)

No longer will I look in the mirror and bemoan the me with bags under my eyes.  Instead, I want to see the bags that are there because I stayed up late talking to a son who will be a teen before I know it, caring for a sick child,  watching a movie with my husband or catching up with a friend.  The same can be said for my wrinkles.  They are there because I've laughed until my face hurt with my friends, learned my lesson about sunscreen the hard way, and wept when necessary.  I want to see the me that is getting older, which is a privilege not afforded to everyone. No longer will I be the me who stands on the scale and grumbles about the number.  Instead, I want to be the me that knows my self-worth isn't a number on the scale.  I want to be the me who is more concerned with my health than what I weigh.  No longer will I be the me who despises the extra skin and stretchmarks around my mid-section.  Instead, I want to be the me who remembers that my body carried the 4 little people I love more than anything in the world. I will remember that I share my DNA with my family so some of the things I don't like about myself belonged to some of the people that I love the most and that there is something beautiful in that.  I really could go and on and on but it all boils down to the fact that I need to really be the kind of person I would have her emulate.

I will be confident enough to be nothing but proud when people tell me my daughter looks like me because how she views me and how she views herself depend on that.

This isn't about beauty.  Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.  We are all who we are.  It's how we approach who we are that matters.

One day, someone will say to my daughter, "You look just like your mother."  And I don't want her to think that's a bad thing.  I want her to be proud when she says, "Thanks!  We get that a lot!"

Choosing Joy,
Jen

*Amended to say that this isn't the only thing I hope she takes from me.  I have many other lessons to teach her.  This is but one area in which I struggle so please don't think I only care about how she feels about her looks!  I'm sure other blog posts where I keep it real about our lives will follow!  :-)