A bathroom full of flaws and snafu’s and yet it makes me so happy

sorry, I’ve been painting and watching a lot of Odd Mom Out and Catastrophe lately.

image image image imageI have a post I want to write about Catastrophe (Amazon prime, British comedy, LOVE), but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Let me know and I will wait, but do watch it.

ok on to my new happy place. I am so in love with our hall bathroom. It isn’t done. The vanity stymies me, but I will get there. I have made tons of progress and I will share a finished project soon. I have also made a bunch of mistakes. I have the wrong artwork up and in the wrong spots so I have to fix that. I have a lot of touch up painting to do. I still have to paint the vanity, get the faucet changed, deal with the boob fixture and address the rug and shower curtain.

to save money and with DIY in mind. I attempted to dye our new white shower curtain.  I wanted it linen, it came out baby poop brown so I bleached it. Big mistake, huge.

I wanted to paint and stain the laundry shoot door. So I painted the  trim white and stained the door ebony. I am happy with my work, but wish I had switched the order. The white trim is lost in the cream wall.  Chalk painting the vanity is scaring me. I found a workshop, but it is $80, I would rather buy a Dash and Albert bathroom rug instead.

I also have to frame out the tiny medicine cabinet mirror and of course buy a new shower curtain. The original budget of $100 is blown.  Maybe I was too naive, so I’ve been selling stuff we don’t need or want anymore on Facebook to make it up.

Next few days, Ryan’s first Cubs game, a visit from our St Louis friends and a play date with an old classmate




The best 1461 days of my life

Today is Ryan’s fourth birthday.  Four huge and fast years in our lives, the best four by far.  Today we had a really chill day, we had Occupational Therapy in the morning and then a trip to the super market, even birthday girl’s need food.  A nice long nap, a little Mommy and Ryan photo shoot and then we went to the park with our favorite babysitter, and we were eventually joined by more friends and the birthday girl’s Daddy.

Ryan played well enough with the other kids, she liked having them near, and went right up to them, and then ran away.  One little fella kept talking to her and wanting her to play, and she didn’t understand and kept running away and over to the swings, then back to the jungle gym again and again.

We are having a little party for her on Saturday and hopefully by then I will have the upstairs bath done and be ready to share photos of it too.

You will notice that for me, she was not too happy to take a picture, and then friends and Micah arrived and it was all happy four year old smiles!

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A couple of quick projects


When I was getting the house ready for the fourth of July party, I had my Mom come over to help me hang some things  on Ryan’s walls.  Finally!

We hung up two vignette’s, one over the bookcase at the foot of her big girl bed, and another above her dresser.  A monogram and a clock were tossed in along that same wall.  For the sake of getting it done we put some things up, even though they weren’t “camera” ready.  The monogram and a personalized RYAN and the meaning of the name picture.  Today I changed them from being good enough, to being what I envisioned for her room.  A few things are going up over her big girl bed next and then the room will be complete!



I ordered the ryan and it’s meaning print from ETSY, I picked the colors to match her room, (of course, #obsessive) picked up an IKEA frame with a white matte, but it looked so blah, especially on the cream wall.


At first I was going to use my Cricut to make a new matte. Then I decided to just stencil the one that I already had, because it fit perfectly


Viola! kidding I know it’s Voila, I just like Viola better. I used a colored pencil rather than a marker, and I watched Wanda Sykes stand up while I did it. Hilarious!!


This wood monogram used to be yellow, but it didn’t show up on the cream wall much either


Here it is, with a few coats of acrylic stencil paint. Easy peazy, the color is called Jamaica breazey


The vignette above her dresser. I was obsessed that the girl look out over something, rather than in to a corner. The gal is something we bought at the Renegade Art Fair in Austin. It is Micah’s favorite and reminds him of our gal


The dress was my Mom’s when she was a baby, the gal is from an Etsy artist and I also had to make sure she didn’t look in to a corner and the silhouette/name print was a gift that I received for my First Holy Communion in 1981


Let’s pretend I’m a Celebrity

If you ever read Vanity Fair or watch Inside the Actor’s Studio then you have likely heard of the Proust Questionnaire.


I’m struggling with anything exciting to say here, so I thought well let’s pretend that I’m famous for a second, and that someone care’s what my answers would be in this moment in time.

The Proust Questionnaire

  1. What is your greatest fear?  That I will fail Ryan
  2. What is your current state of mind? Tired & wired
  3. What is your favorite occupation? Interior Design
  4. What historical figure do you most identify with? Gladys Kravitz
  5. Which living person do you most admire? Is it cheesy to admit that it’s a tie between the Little Couple and Andy Cohen?
  6. Who is your favorite fictional hero? Claire from The Time Traveler’s Wife
  7. Who are you real-life heroes? Parent’s of adult children with special needs
  8. What is your most treasured possession? my Great Grandmother’s dining room set
  9. When and where were you happiest? On our trip to Boston when Ryan was one
  10. What is your most obvious characteristic? big mouth
  11. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? that I can’t let it go without putting my two cents in, and in, and in again
  12. What is the trait you most deplore in others? manipulative insecurity & smirking
  13. What is your greatest extravagance? Ryan’s wardrobe
  14. What is your favorite journey? a trip that Micah and I took to Colorado one summer
  15. What do you most dislike about your appearance? my stomach post c-section
  16. What do you consider the most over-rated virtue? sticking around.  Why is doing what is right a virtue?
  17. On what occasion do you lie? Aha, I’m caught.  Sometime’s I feel guilty saying I don’t want to do something, so I’ll make up a story or just not answer.  A horrible trait
  18. Which words or phrases do you most over-use? lately I’ve noticed I use a lot of “air quotes”
  19. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? That I could keep it together in stressful time’s
  20. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Admitting that I needed help and joining e-harmony, which lead me to Micah
  21. Where would you like to live? In an old apartment in Paris with a courtyard for Ryan to play in
  22. What is the quality you most admire in a man? I admire a man who stands up for himself and his family
  23. What is the quality you most admire in a woman? the same
  24. What is it you most dislike? the sound of chewing
  25. What do you value most in you friends? that they keep calling, that they stick around, and understand that when I don’t call them back it has nothing to do with them, that they listen when I just need to cry or vent, and that they understand I love their typical kids and I am happy for them.
  26. How would you like to die? knowing that Ryan is taken care of
  27. If you were to die and come back as a person or an animal, what do you think it would be? An interior designer for sensory playrooms or a special needs family counselor
  28. If you could choose an object to come back as, what would you choose? a family quilt, equal parts loved and left alone
  29. What is your motto, the words you live by or that mean a lot to you? Never, Never, Never Give Up – Winston Churchill
  30. Who has been the greatest influence on you? Ryan Margaret Minium

The first of many fourth of July parties!

Well it happened, we had the fourth of July party and I think it was generally a success.  I didn’t feel the need to hide or throw my hands up and give all control of the party away to my friend Patty or my Mom.

The general plan was that I would be in charge of décor and Micah would be in charge of food.  It didn’t work out that way, but we’ll get there one day.  He made the main courses and a wonderful appetizer.  I made hot dogs on a stick, wrapped in crescent rolls for the kids, a silly cupcake and a coconut cream fruit salad.  All of the rest of the food was lovingly brought by our guests and family members.  I love a cooperative group and we are so lucky to have them all.

The house was the house, the tour did involve a stop in our room which was the catch all and housed an un-made bed and I let it go.  I just couldn’t get all worked up about it and I wanted to show off the master bath/barn door work we had done.

We had a few house guests as well, Micah’s Mom was in town from CA, his sister came in from VA, and a family friend from Quincy, IL.  Micah’s Aunt arrived at 8am from Baltimore and left by 7pm back to Baltimore, a whirlwind for her, but wonderful for us.  It was great having a full house pre & post party, that was eight extra hands helping us get ready and then clean up.  AMAZING, I wish I could have so much help every year, but I know that this was our year.  Next year we will have lived here too long to be so pathetic and as Ryan continues to develop and get’s easier to watch on party days, I’ll have no excuse to ask for the help.  But watch me :).  I’m pretty shameless

Here are a couple of shots, I didn’t take as many pictures as I had hoped.  Too busy chatting with everyone.  I finally got to see a lot of friends that I haven’t seen in a along time and we really got to know our new next door neighbors.  They have lived in their house for 39 years and they told us all about our house.  They are actually Realtor’s too and seemed to like what we have done to the place.    They also realized that we can see in to their 3-season room from my office and our back yard.  So we can likely see them if they walk around in there naked.  Which these 2 septegenarian’s (folks in their 70’s) said they do.  What FUN.


Little vases I got in the Target dollar bin, and stars I had left over from her wonder woman costume last year


The awesome Pinterest idea I had failed, so little faces with the tongue’s out, why not!


Aunt K from Baltimore!


The little angel praying I would stop with the damn camera already.


We found her, and there was Mommy Popporazzi at the ready


Too many people taking the same photo, so they aren’t looking at me. Grandma D




End of the night, Ryan super fussy and her “namesake” Ryan trying his best to get a smile out of her


Still Here?? We are!

I updated the account, we are sticking around.  So many folks that we are related to and love read the blog, so we are going to keep it going and try to keep it up more often.  I am not begging for comments, but I really don’t realize that any of you all read this without them.  All comments come directly to me and only me, so if you don’t want them public but you want to get a message to us, that is a good vehicle.  I won’t approve anything for publishing if you ask me not to.  Moving on, with a few little updates.

Micah turned forty this past weekend.  The big 40, and to celebrate it, we went to Las Vegas with his two college best friend’s and their wives who live in New Jersey.  It was a wonderful four and a half day trip, and it was just so nice to get to sleep in with Micah and not worry about a Toddler. Ryan stayed home and was very well taken care of by various family and our wonderful baby sitter.   All of the Vegas crew have kids and the R&R was (I hope) much appreciated by all.  Vegas was between 110 and 113 degrees by day, so generally we laid low.  A few of the trip highlights (other than a lot of sleep), drinks in the chandelier at the Cosmopolitan, seeing La Reve at the Wynn, Todd English Pub at Aria, Pina Colada’s by the pool, (only moments for little old pale/pre-cancerous mole crazy me) and talking.  We just hung out and talked a lot and it was great.  We’ve already made plans to meet up again next summer in CO, but we’re bringing the kids!!


La Reve, The Wynn


La Reve, the Wynn

Junk Chips at Todd English.  Picture ala Google Images

Junk Chips at Todd English. Picture ala Google Images

This weekend we are having our first annual 4th of July party, our first “real” party at the house and Micah’s first party being responsible for the food.  Micah’s Mom, family friend, Aunt K, and sister A will all be in town, so it will be great to see all of them, and get a lot of photo’s with them and star spangled Ryan Margaret.

The house will be the house for the party.  It isn’t going to be done, but all three toilets are working and two of the bathroom sinks, so it will just have to do.  You can now sit at the dining room table and luckily the weather in Suburban IL is only supposed to be sunny and 80, so our two outdoor seating areas can be utilized.

Gate 3

Custom Gate, Closed

Gate 1


Gate 2

Closed and yes, I am going to finish staining the bannister. Soon I promise

A work in progress, our dining room

Dining Room Progress 4

Stacks and Stacks of framed art work

Dining Room Progress 1

The dining room, today

Dining Room Progress 3

Piles of un-packed decorative item. The elephant is named Steven, though clearly he is acting shy.

Dining Room Progress 2

Stacks and Stacks of curtains from our old houses/rentals. One day some will be hung here, or sold, or given away. TBD

Photo’s of the party and the “party” decorated house soon.

Why have one bathroom that is good enough, when you can have three that are in flux/torn up??

Three toilets, three toilets.  I was so excited when we moved in to this house to finally have three toilets/bathrooms at our disposal.  Living with one for three of us for almost two years, was seriously draining.

So what did I do upon moving it.  I seem to have made it my job to get us from three bathrooms to one/1.5 at best.  As it stands right now, our first floor powder room is 100% out of commission.  The toilet broke, and while Micah and I bought a new one two weeks ago (2 days after it broke) we have yet to install it.  I am so nervous about him installing a toilet for the first time over our brand new (over budget and never happening again) hardwood floors that it sits.  He wants to do it, he has studied up on it, he has watched You Tube video’s, talked to friends and well he isn’t bad at this stuff, but I said NOPE.  The more he tries the better he gets, but I still don’t want him to do it.  This is the way I see it.  If the plumber messes it up, then I am mad at him.  If it leaks and warps my floors I am livid with him.  If Micah installs it and that happens, I am fighting with my husband.  I don’t want to fight with my husband, so I hired a guy (scapegoat) to do it, and he is coming on Wednesday.

Bathrooms -1

Upstairs, our master bath is still in a state of flux.  The sink is in, but has a bit of a drip.  The trim is primed, yet not painted and the shoe round still needs to be installed.  Micah is going to have his friend help him with the drip (If I don’t get my guy up there first) and so we still wash our hands in the hall bath

Bathroom -.5


Hall bath.  Well it is fully functional, it is just a bit of a construction site.  When we bought the house it was green.  I love the color Green, but I love bright rainbow green or very light mint green.  I also love an Emerald Green and I did get our dining room painted green, so what I am drawing out saying is that I am not anti-green.  I am anti the green that was in this bathroom along with all of the honey Oak trim/vanity/door and ugly boob light fixtures.  I am fully owning those anti feelings, and a boob light fixture to me is one that is a glass round frosted shade with a round hardware piece and a knob holding up the shade that looks like a boob if you lay under it and look up.  I’m weird but man do I hate these things.  Yet aside from the fixtures, I was supposed to live with the hall bath for a year.  Well I was supposed to finish staining the railing, not buy any new furniture and get something on the walls too.  O for 3.

I hated the green, and decided to paint the wood trim white and the walls Benjamin Moore’s Pismo Dunes.  I had the paint left over from the old house.  Trim is primed white/2 coats.  Pismo Dunes just didn’t look right.  Too pinky, too dark, too much for the small space.  So I flipped the script and now I am painting the walls cream, the trim a color and using our old dining room wallpaper as the inspiration.

Inspiration wallpaper behind this little six month old pudding face.  Man do I love her.

Inspiration wallpaper behind this little six month old pudding face. Man do I love her.

I also bought some new glass hurricanes for one of the light fixtures, Micah installed a new medicine cabinet, We got a new toilet and a dark brown wood seat,  I’m chalk painting the vanity graphite and I’ve already changed the knobs.  The boob will remain, until I can figure out how to get an exhaust fan/light combo installed that looks like an old school house pendant light for $20.00


Here is where we started and where we are now:

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And here is our new couch (in the salon)


A few wonderful moments

June 2015 2 June 2015 3 June 2015

A lot of times I feel like I complain about how hard it is to be Ryan’s Mom.  How hard it is to handle insurance companies, therapy schedules, my emotions pertaining to Ryan’s developmental delays or medical issues.  Maybe I’m complaining about money or the new house, the old house, not working, or going grey.  I don’t mean to complain, it is just when the moment hits me that I want to share something it is normally right after something really hard happened or I’m afraid is about to.  So today I thought, why not mention a few great things that have happened in the last four years.

  • Being a special needs Mom, I have made so many new friends.  I have made friends with folks mostly in a similar situation or Ryan’s Therapists, but these are real friendships.  People I hold very dear in my life and I know that I could not have made it through any of this without them


  •  Micah and I have grown closer than I would have ever thought.  We have truly become each other’s partner.  I liked him and I loved him before, but now I know that he and I are perfectly suited.  We aren’t perfect, sometimes we argue, we snap and then we talk, we work it out and we laugh.  We both realize that we have already walked through fire so who care’s about this little this or that.  Ok, eventually we realize that :)


  • Facebook, maybe you dread it, maybe you live off of it, but for me it is a bit of a lifeline.  I have found Infantile Spasms communities, and Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery communities.  Through them I have “met” wonderful people, received wonderful advice, and maybe even comforted one or two from time to time with our story.  These people live all over the world, but every day we find each other


  •  I have become kinder.  Not just outwardly, but inwardly as well.  I hear something that would have riled me before and I just let it go.  I see something that would have enraged me, something that I would have felt obligated to put my two cents in to and it slips right off of my back.  Road rage eh, not being included eh, not hearing from old friends anymore eh.  Yet again not perfect, I’m still more fired up than I should be a lot of the time, but I am kinder than I used to be



The Master Bath Progress

The Master Bath is a work in progress as well.  We had planned on changing out the sconces, painting the vanity and the room, installing a barn door for bedroom/bathroom separation and calling it a day.  Budget about 1K for the door, paint supplies and maybe some new drawer pulls.  Well that isn’t exactly what happened.  Here is how you break a renovation budget.

  • To save money you rip up the carpet from the closet and the sink area -$100.00
    • You make the mistake of ripping up a few tiles, when you tear up the metal transition piece
  • You notice that the floor boards under the broken up tile is particale board, not cement board so you have to buy new tile and get it installed +$750.00
  • If you are getting new tile, then you should really get it under the vanity too, because one day you will want to change it, and you Princess like those vanities that are raised on “feet” to look like furniture +$700.00
  • If you get a new vanity then you need a new faucet too +$125.00
  •  You save money by buying two neutral sconces off of a Facebook Garage Sale site.  Side note, the gal knows your cousin.  Small world -$25.00
  •  You take your sweet time ordering the barn door, because you are nervous about the dimensions and the finishes.  To save money you decide not to have them paint it.  -$200.00
  • You decide to use the left over paint that you’d used at the other house when you fixed it up to sell it.  Benjamin Moore Athena and Benjamin Moore Hale Navy.  -$100.00 at least
  • But you don’t have enough and so you have to buy a pint more of both +$40.00
  •  You get creepy feelings from the old toilet that is in the room, and besides it is bisque, and the only bisque you like is Lobster
  • New toilet with the elongated seat, higher position, wood seat, and installation takes you over budget another +$500.00
  • Well if you are going to get a new toilet seat, then you need a new toilet paper holder +$20.00
  • You re-use shelves that you had at the rental, and employ a “trick of the eye” paint trick to center them, and the stencil above the toilet, using the same stencil that you last used in Ryan’s old room, lets say savings of -$75.00

A few bumps along the way include, vanity number one arriving broken, taking two months to pick our another vanity, returning a faucet, buying another, Micah with the help of a friend installs the new vanity, saving you a few hundred dollars.  The barn door is still un-painted and that was a mistake, It is so heavy how the heck will you get it down to properly paint it.  The installers had to re-enforce the wall to hang it, and that messed up the bedroom paint job, so you’ve got to fix that but you almost have a master bathroom finally! Which is great because last week you started messing with the hall bath and the first floor toilet is broken.  Homeownership is AWESOME


The original master bath

The original master bath

The reason you need a barn door installed.  Vanity in the bedroom 1973 style

The reason you need a barn door installed. Vanity in the bedroom 1973 style

Ripping up the carpet

Ripping up the carpet



No more boring tile

No more boring tile, better get on all of the trim and wall paint before the new stuff is installed

The new tile, with slate blue grout

The new tile, with slate blue grout

New toilet and the whole back wall with one coat of Hale Navy

New toilet and the whole back wall with one coat of Hale Navy

Barn Door 1

Barn Door, in it’s un-painted glory

Barn door with wall repairs

Barn door with wall repairs

Broken Vanity

The first vanity, broken top

Master Bath 4

The shelves the stencil and a slim strip of the Athena Grey on the toilet wall, to make the toilet look like it’s centered on the wall, so the stencil and the shelves could be centered off of the toilet not the wall.

Master Bath 5

The new vanity, still needs to be tweaked a bit, but we LOVE it. So proud of Micah

Master Closet

Our grown up elfa closet system

Master Closet2

The closet wall stenciled to match the toilet wall, in the opposite scheme

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