We had a fine enough weekend, Ryan wise.  Micah, my sister, and I painted at the house.  My nieces watched the head banger, and I left instructions for them to basically give in to everything she wanted and hopefully not have to endure any fits.  Maybe that isn’t the kind of parenting that wins medals, but I didn’t feel that I needed to burden a sixteen year old and a fourteen year old with a cognitively delayed 3.5 year old’s behavior issues.  So they swung her, took her for a walk and let her run around like a maniac and she ate a lot of snacks and macaroni and cheese.  Yeah for nieces!!!

We worked a lot on painting the walls and ceiling in Ryan’s basement playroom.  A sister who is willing to put a Home Depot bag on her head, ruin her shoes and spray paint a drop ceiling with you is a sister who truly loves you.

Of course, Ryan’s playroom is going to be the first room that is ready to go in our house.  Isn’t that what y’all expect from Micah and me anyway ;).  So hopefully I will finish painting it this week in little nightly snipets and I can start moving some things over.  The house we live in now is going to be on the market soon, so this will also help a lot with our de-cluttering mission.  We rent from Micah’s Mom and she is going to list it and we want to help Grandma D., sell this house a little faster.  Her/Our house is overrun with Ryan things, it’s only fitting that we share the love with the new house.

Here are some more pictures.  The before of Ryan’s playroom in the basement and the mid-way point of the hall light fixtures and new super tall railing and newell posts upstairs.

IMG_3513 IMG_3515light fixture 2 light fixture

I cried to a stranger again today

Today I finally cracked.  the house, Ryan, the budget overages, a sinus infection so I cried to the painter at the house.  He is a stranger, but not really.  He is the father of seven and a good friend of a fellow special needs family.  This man helps my friend get her wheelchair bound son upstairs to bed a few times a week.  My friend can not carry her twelve year old non-verbal, physically and cognitively delayed son up the stairs anymore and her husband travels for work.  This kind man (and handyman) goes to her house, brings Jacob upstairs for her and then goes back in the morning and brings him downstairs for her.  This is the kindness that he offers her, today he brought me a Kleenex and listened.  Just what I needed.

I had a rough morning with Ryan.  She is starting to freak out whenever you lay her down to change her diaper or tube feed her.  She is wigging out and banging her head against the ground while trying to wriggle away and getting poop or ripping out her g-tube and the food goes everywhere.

She is pissed because she isn’t in control, she is pissed because she doesn’t want to be man handled and mostly she is frustrated because she can’t tell me how she feels.  Sometimes it’s just too much.  It is too much to have her physically develop fine but mentally not develop much.  She will run in to traffic, she will run away from me in public and she would go home with a stranger.  She is fast, and pissed if you try to hold her hand, reign her in, or carry her.  She acts out by hitting me, pulling my hair and banging her head on the floor or against the wall.

IMG_3577 IMG_3580

I’m scared when she bangs her head, I am scared that she is going to damage her precious brain, I am scared she is going to knock something that is keeping her seizure free out of balance and I am scared to raise a brat with perpetual diaper rash who only eats fruit snacks because I give in too much so she won’t bang her head.  I’m scared that this is my forever.

I keep thinking of my friend and her Jacob, I know that she wishes that Jacob could run, I know that she dreams of him sitting in her lap on his own, and that makes me feel horrible for complaining but here I am.  I’m afraid that I am going to lose my patience, I’m afraid that I am going to give up trying, I’m afraid that Ryan will end up hating me and stop climbing in to my lap for a snuggle.  I’m embarrassed to tell you that sometimes I envy my friend, she always knows where Jacob is and she knows that he can’t get in to the chemicals under the sink, turn the stove on then try to scale it, or run away from her and in to traffic.

Next week is Spring Break and I’m afraid.  I bought new water based wipes, diaper rash cream and pull-ups to hopefully make the changes more pleasant.  I have figured out a way to tube feed her while she is in her egg chair twisting and watching Sophia the First, and I’m going to let her stay in her jammies all day so I don’t have to battler her to wear socks, much less shoes.  Fingers crossed this new plan works, because if not she and I are going to spend a lot of time in “time out” for both of our sakes.

It’s all happening

So the light fixtures are up.  I will take pictures tomorrow.  I keep getting bad pictures on my phone and I don’t want to share those.  I am also having a new toilet and master bath vanity installed tomorrow.  So hopefully you’ll see those soon too. And the white hex tile is in with Slate grout.

The house is starting to get painted this week too.  I’m going with BM Terrytown green in the dining room, because my Mom used to smoke Terryton cigarettes, and she suggested that I go with a bold color.  Not really the cigarettes thing, but I think it’s funny and I am going on a few hours of sleep and a few days of body aches, and that little coincidence makes me remember the name of the color.

The master bedroom is going to be BM Athena and BM Hale Navy.  BM colors in Behr paint.  I love Home Depot for doing that & Valspar from our local Ace Hardware does that too.

The hallway, the hallway what freaking color should I paint the hallway????  I want to have it be very Parisian, and really crisp, neutral and clean, but I can’t decide on the color.  This cream is too buttery, that cream is too grey, this one is too blue, this one looks just like white and it’s too harsh.  Silly little problems I know.

Ryan, well Ryan is doing really well, back to school and all of her therapies.  She was chosen to be a subject for her therapy center’s annual photography campaign and a video selection for all of their marketing.  I have to narrate it and be in it too.  So on Wednesday, I am going to have to pull my head out of my paint and go and get myself a pair of pants that fit me, without an elastic waist.   Picture’s start on Thursday.

The skunks are gone, and we also caught an opossum, which I thought was just called a possum.  Eeeehhhh yuck.

Thanks so much to all of those who have been helping at the house and with Ryan.

Ryan's Room blue wall base, then sports, then second wall paper with stripes and a hidden damask pattern.  Soon one coat of paint and one very, very, very tasteful wallpaper on one little wall.

Ryan’s Room
blue wall base, then sports, then second wall paper with stripes and a hidden damask pattern. Soon one coat of paint and one very, very, very tasteful wallpaper on one little wall.

a sanding and staining I go

It’s been a big week at the house.  I sanded, stained and primed the newel posts, pickets, and railing for the upstairs landing.  It is 8″ higher than an average railing and the pickets are closer together than the standard as well.  It was a bit of a rough road to communicate with the Contractor what I wanted, but it is all working out.  It seems very sturdy and once the house is free of workers, I am going to do the finish coats of paint and satin poly and it will be DONE.  Yeah.  I’m kind of really strangely proud of myself, Nicole Curtis you are my inspiration.

bannister 1 bannister 2 bannister 3 bannister 4 bannister 5

This week the drywall patching was also completed and we had some lights moved/changed.  Perhaps our awesome new chandelier will be up soon.  The original living room will now be our dining room so I had to have a ceiling fixture fished in.  Our chandelier is called the Amelia after my lovely oldest niece.  So sweet of you Pottery Barn for making it such an easy and personal choice.  This amazing light fixture and the ELFA master closet were my splurges on the house.  Micah’s splurges are a light in his basement office that he doesn’t have to share with the basement hallway.  For better or for worse, all things equal that is how we roll.

Tomorrow the Mister is going to head back to the house to remove the carpeting on the stairs and in the second two bedrooms.  Next week I am going to put my new paint sprayer to use and get on all of the trim, after I wash the trim down and sand it of course.  Fun, fun, fun, luckily I am listening to a great series of books, so it isn’t so bad.

Well we have been busy and we’ve got nothing house done

parainfluenzaRyan has been sick.  I thought that it was a virus and well it was a virus, but it wasn’t just a virus.  She was not herself all last week so we took her to the Doctor on Thursday after a few days of low grade fevers, stuffy nose and general lethargy.  She said a virus, lungs sound clear if it doesn’t get better come back on Saturday for an antibiotic.  This didn’t thrill me, because I felt like we had waited out the standard virus window and I wanted the antibiotic that day.  We lost.  So we trudged on until the next day.

She still just wasn’t herself.  So clingy, so lethargic and actually laying down on the carpet to fall asleep.  My girl never does that, my girl never even lays down when she could run.

So Friday was bad, I kept her home from school again, and around mid-morning we decided not to wait until Saturday, we were taking her back to the Doctor.  Micah called and they couldn’t get us in until 4:15, ughh but we took it.  Micah came home so he could take her, because I had to be at the house.  Missing a week at the house, meant that work was starting to fall off because I couldn’t make any decisions, buy the supplies, or give the go ahead.  So he took her, I did the house.

When he got to the Doctor he looked at her respiration levels and listened to her lungs and he instructed us to take her to the Emergency Room.  The Emergency Room that we prefer is downtown Chicago, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, that is where all of her Doctor’s are and they are used to sick/medically complex kids.  We go there so that we don’t just automatically get admitted.  Ha, ha

Day two, breathing treatment

Day two, breathing treatment

Day three playing with a hospital toy, and now I am obsessed with finding it at a Thrift store soon.

Day three playing with a hospital toy, and now I am obsessed with finding it at a Thrift store soon.

Day 3 nap

Day 3 nap

Almost a smile day 3

Almost a smile day 3

Well she was admitted, admitted with pneumonia and parainfluenza.  So we went in Friday night (after an hour and a half in traffic) and stayed until Monday afternoon.  She needed some breathing treatments, some oxygen as well as an antibiotic.  She is doing a lot better but sleeping a ton.  She has missed over a week of school and therapy already and will get another chest x-ray, flu vaccination, and ears on her lungs tomorrow.  Hopefully she will be right as rain and ready for a half day of school on Thursday.



I dream of doing these big amazing house reveal posts, blah before and then stunning after.  I don’t have any of those to display.  I have before and construction, so well here goes.

* We opened up the “doorway” to the family room.  This is adjacent to the kitchen and the front hall

Family Room Opening

Family Room Opening, we are adding a light above here and all of the flooring will be wood soon enough.

Family Room Opening3

The opening from inside the family room

Fireplace 2

The fireplace sans hearth


The fireplace before it was stuffed full of insulation and closed in by drywall


Enclosed fireplace. The hole is because we are adding two outlets, so that the TV stand can go in front of it, and we won’t need to have cords running across the floor.


The second floor short railing and original landing


Look beyond the piles of ugly wallpaper, this is the original stairway and upstairs railing


Adding a couple of feet to the landing. This will minimize my fears on her falling down to the first floor directly from the second floor


The landing from another angle


The new wall and the fabulous landing behind it. The knife in the ceiling is indicating where the new hall light will go. I dream that the Contractor stabbed a mouse in the attic! It’s a bit darker than before, but it really does create a little nook of privacy in front of the guest room door. I think that our friends and family will appreciate that.

I wish that I had picked out and changed a few paint colors, but I haven’t.  I wish that I had painted the closet trim before I painted the closet interiors but I didn’t.  I wish I hadn’t eaten the whole pint of Phish Food today but I have

hole in the kitchen wall

Original view from the kitchen. The wall that divided the kitchen and the dining room

kitchen opening

Today, the wall is down and that is the view in to the kitchen from the now open dining room, we are going to use it as a sitting room though

kitchen opening2

The opposite angle

The only bit of any decorating that I’ve done so far.  The closet in Ryan’s Room and the master.  Almost done, just have to paint the trim, doors, put the shelves back in Ryan’s closet and of course get all of the flooring changed.

Master Closet Master Closet2 Ryan Closet6

Tearing the carpet out has torn me up

It’s not pneumonia.  I am over exerting myself ripping the carpet up, and have torn some muscle that I don’t use (out of shape) in my chest and thus the feeling of bricks upon it.  The remedy, no more carpet removal, time and Advil or Motrin.  All of this is exacerbated by the common cold.  Wah, Wah.  So I am taking it easy, focusing on stenciling the master closet tomorrow because our custom ELFA closet is getting installed next week.

The house won’t be done for a month, but I ordered this a while ago, so it is in stock now.

It appears from these photo’s that Micah did all of the carpet removal and that Ryan has done all of the carpet choosing.  I am the family Photographer so I have no evidence of my back breaking upstairs work and yep I am letting Ryan choose.

carpet pile up in the kitchen dining room before

Carpet samples two carpet samples


The house, the house, my lungs are on fire

So I have been working at the house while Ryan is in school.  We have hired a Contractor to remove the family room fireplace, build a bigger landing on the second floor,  so that the area is safer for Ryan, and to take down the dividing dining room/kitchen wall.  Yep, we are doing it.  We got a few more bids and it is doable after all.  We are also changing/adding lighting, painting every last morsel of the house, taking down wall paper, putting up wall paper, raising the hall railing and putting hardwood down in all of the main floor and re-carpeting the stairs and the second level.  Anything that Micah and I can do we are doing it.  I should say that anything that our village can do ourselves we are doing.  Thanks everyone so much!

I have been painting the closet shelves and the closets and ripping up carpet.  I’ve noticed that I feel like crap, like I am short of breath and I have chalked it up to the fumes and me being 100% out of shape.  Well this feeling isn’t going away, instead it is getting worse, I went from feeling like a brick was laying on my chest, to feeling like a box of bricks is on my chest and my lungs are burning.  Yet I am not congested and nope I don’t smoke.  Is shortness of breath a side effect of being a chocoholic?? Guilty!!  So tomorrow I am headed to the Doctor.  I hope I don’t have walking pneumonia.

For now, here are all of the before photo’s of the house.  The décor is the lovely Elayne’s (the very nice woman that we bought the house from, who lived there raising her family and then with her husband and alone for 37 years, left a cat and a skunk problem, but she and the house are lovely, the décor just isn’t us)



The Front Elevation

Back Exterior Backyard Dining Room 2 Dining Room Family Room 2 Family Room Guest Room 2 Guest Room Kitchen 2 Kitchen 3 Kitchen Living Room 2 Living Room Master Bath Master Bedroom 2

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

H&M Dress straight on 20150131-DSC_7589 20150131-DSC_7558

I know that I am crazy, I know that you all know that I am crazy too, so you won’t be surprised that I get really in to dressing Ryan up for the Holiday’s.

Valentine’s Day is especially one of my favorites because I think that red looks so nice on Ryan and I’d found this little chalk board Happy Valentine’s Day sign that she could hold already.  Then on New Year’s Eve I found a wonderful cream dress with hearts on it and a drop waist at Old Navy in Ryan’s size I had to have it for my gal.  I knew that it would look great on her and with her holding the sign.  A few days later I read on Facebook that one of her previous Photographer’s was having mini-Valentine’s Photo Sessions in her house, a cheaper than normal price for ten images.  A St. Valentine’s Day miracle!


20150131-DSC_7470 20150131-DSC_7417 20150131-DSC_7400 Old Navy Dress looking on Old Navy Dress and book

Why do I love this dress so much? It is the re-issue of her 2013 Valentine’s Day dress!  Thank you Old Navy, for bringing back one of my all time favorite frocks!


The House, a few Doctor visits, rodents & wild animals, Oh My!

The house, well we haven’t gotten that far along.  We are in the process of getting some quotes and narrowing down the scope of what we are going to have done at the house.

The skunks, it seems that there was definitely a den of skunks under the back patio

Back Deck




So we paid a wildlife/rodent disposal company came out, remove the dead skunk bodies and bones, capture the live skunks, and place traps for any friends who may want to come back and visit.  They also dug down all around the patio to put metal mesh down a few feet so that the skunks can not come back and create a new home under the back deck.  Guaranteed for ten years!  Grandpa Don and I also scattered moth balls, because supposedly there stink also deters any and all animals from coming to your house.  So the house smells like skunk and old lady, let me know when you want to come over!


a lot of skunk body’s under there


Let’s even make it easier for them to get in, a quick hop down the window well and up under the patio. Yeah


The house construction progress.  Well there is really not a lot of progress.  To save money, we have started to do a lot of the demo ourselves.  Micah is a carpet removal machine, my parents are helping with the wallpaper, I’m on staples and clean up in addition to wall patching and of course all of the planning.

IMG_3018 IMG_3016 IMG_3052 IMG_3048 dining room before

carpet pile up in the kitchen

That is a lot of carpet we removed. The blue tape line is where I want the kitchen opened in to the dining room


It seems that we can not remove the wall between the dining room and the living room.  I really wanted too, even after we found out that it was structural.  The thing that seals the deal for us, is the heating elements.  the heat runs and cold air returns (I think that is what they are called) are all incased in the wall.  So $$ to remove a structural wall the right way, bigger $$ when you add in all of the HVAC work around construction.  We’d have to add a soffit here, rip up the sub-floor there, break in to upstairs walls to move things, repair the drywall etc., etc., etc.,


Dining room, with a cold air return that was hidden when we looked at the house by a huge hutch. Wah, Wah

hole in the kitchen wall

The heat run for the second floor, yep in the wall that I wanted to take down


It’s kind of devastating me, even though it may seem silly, it isn’t silly to me.  I really want to be able to see her playing  while I am in the kitchen.  We have a family room but it is open to the kitchen yet beside it, next to the pantry and the powder room.

So thus far, we have ordered an ELFA closet system for the Master Closet and paid a Structural Engineer to look at the house, and I bought lighting for the front hall and foam floor play mats for the basement that are non-toxic.

Soon I’ll show you the carpet samples and someone in this house really likes to lay on them!




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