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:

IMG_3484 IMG_3485 IMG_3486IMG_0387 IMG_0390 IMG_0445 IMG_0447 IMG_0452 IMG_0453 IMG_0454


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

Ryan’s Room, partially transformed

Here is Ryan’s Room Renovation, before, during, during, during and present.  It isn’t an after yet, as I still don’t have a thing on the walls.  I have un-packed a ton of pictures, that will go throughout the whole house, but I feel like until I get everything un-packed, I can’t start to figure out what goes where.  Micah always makes fun of me, because I buy so much stuff for the walls.  Find me at Homegoods, an Art Fair, a garage sale, or Goodwill, and I am looking at the art.  I might have one or two that are worth something, but all of the rest are just worth a lot to me.  Maybe it’s because I was an Art History major, maybe it’s because I love cheap art, maybe I’m just a hoarder.  But this post isn’t about that, this post is about what we’ve done so far in Ryan’s room.

Ryan's Room Two

I believe that it was used as an office when we bought the house

Ryan's Room One

An office and a bit of a litter box if you look to the left of the closet floor


Once we’d decided to re-do the carpet this room became my closet shelf painting area


My Dad & Uncle Eddie did a wonderful job removing all of the wallpaper and I removed the carpet.


Two layers of the super awesome wallpaper that was removed

Ryan's closet 5

I painted all of the trim white, I painted the interior of her closet with a butterfly stencil that was opposite of the wallpaper and we had the walls painted cream.


My friend and I wallpapered the back wall. I bought this wallpaper for our first house, and I LOVED it. I dreamed of putting it in Ryan’s room one day, when we got settled and I’m so glad I did. I LOVE her room!

Ryan Closet6

Closet interior before I painted all of the trim white

Ryan's Room

Today, she still sleeps in the crib, but we are working on reading books and laying in the bed together. Staying still remains a huge issue for her. It is going to be a lot of work, but my gal is smart and she will figure it out.

Ryan's Room 3

Like I said I bought this wallpaper a long time ago, so I have been collecting the accessories for a long time too. I bought the bed at a garage sale, the side table at another, I made the zig zag pillow in 2013, bought the quilt in 2012 and picked up some dot sheets from Garnet Hill since we bought this house.


catching you all up

IMG_0063We’ve been continuing to get the house in order.  Man o Man does it take a lot to un-pack so much stuff, figure out what we are keeping, selling, and just simply tossing.  Packers packed most of our stuff over two years ago and we haven’t seen it since.  We have forgotten what we even had, in the meantime we’d bought more stuff, changed our taste and a lot of color schemes for this new house.  So what is a girl to do?  Have a garage sale.

Today a two day garage sale became a one day garage sale due to rain,  tonight we are having friends over to watch the Blackhawk’s game, and tomorrow a friend and her family are coming to stay for two days, on their way moving from VA to GA.  I’m excited for all of these things, but the house that we now live in, is still in flux.  Big time flux

Yesterday we finally got a shower curtain hung in the hall bath.  I wanted that rounded out hotel kind, and well we needed a drill bit to go through tile, next is painting the room and the ugly vanity, blah, blah, blah.  I finished the stencil in the master bath above the toilet and I think I pulled of a trick of the eye painting issue.  The toilet isn’t centered on the wall, so I painted a stripe to one side of the toilet to trick y’all and center the stencil.  What do you think?  Shelves hopefully go up today to provide much needed towel and TP storage.


My office is a bit more un-packed.  Damn I have way too many craft supplies.  IMG_0089

Micah cleared off his desk finally yesterday and was able to get some work done, while he worked from home.  Normally he just sets up in our room and it kills his back, so that was great.

Ryan is finishing up her first year of pre-school and she did great.  Her annual IEP went very well.  We heard such great things, so many improvements and they all seem to really love her, and well you know that just warms my heart.  We decided not enroll her in summer school this year, instead we are doing 2.5 months of full time ABA therapy four days a week.  I think that the ABA therapy is helping her so much and I want to harness this time.  Everything says the first five, the first five years, the first five years of brain development.  Well my gal is going to be four in July and has had two lobes of her precious brain removed, so we need to do as much as possible.

Ryan will now give you five if you ask her almost every time, and then make a fist to give you knuckles after.  She loves when you blow it up, and watches for it.  We learned this trick from her cousin Patrick and she loves hanging out with him as much as possible.  She also is understanding language a lot more.  She will come right to the fridge if you ask her if she wants some cheese.  She goes right to the basement door if you ask her if she wants to swing and she is looking behind her from time to time when she is running if you call her name.  She is in a big time Mommy Love phase, wherever I am, Ryan is.  If I am sitting on the floor, she is in my lap, if I am on the couch so is she, if she is crying for Micah and I walk in the room, she come right over to me, sits in my lap and stops crying.  I love it, and well who the hell am I kidding, I just LOVE it.  This is true “typical” affection, properly placed because I am awesome and properly shown because she is awesome as well.

She is doing great with her IPAD, her playroom is a Godsend and her favorite babysitter is home for the summer.  So all things are coming up Ryan for our Ryan.

Speaking of coming up Ryan, well her GI tract is still and issue and she may be facing a fifth GI surgery this summer to figure out why she is spitting up so much and why if we over tube feed her she is also throwing up.  By mouth too much spit up, (food not getting in to her tummy) by tube too much throw up, (food not staying in her tummy).  Either way, the anatomy is working against her in some fashion.  We’ve been fighting this battle for over a year, and we just need her “fixed” if possible.  So a swallow study will be performed in the next few weeks and maybe a CT scan of her belly too.


The blog, the blog may be a thing of the past soon enough.  As you’ve surely noticed I haven’t updated in a long time and I find that I don’t “need” it to get all of my feelings out like I used to.  It is also up for renewal and the way I have it set up now, it’s a couple of hundred bucks every few years, and I just keep thinking that if I had a couple of hundred extra bucks I could get our guest room painted, or finish paying for the custom gate that is getting installed next week.  (super sturdy and custom at the top of the misaligned stairs, but damn woodworking is not cheap)  So we’ll see.


This is the best we could do with a store bought gate, so obviously this isn’t great, or sturdy enough. The new one will match the railing and bannister that I just did, and I’m telling myself it will be a “selling feature” in 30 years when we sell

Maybe I can knock the blog’s abilities down a few notches, as I certainly do not utilize all of them as it is.  We shall see.

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**Upcoming events, Our TX family Uncle M, Tia C, and cousin Gustavo are coming to town, Micah and I are headed to Las Vegas for his 40th, being joined by his best friend’s from NJ and their wives!, Huge fourth of July party and a visit from Grandma D, Auntie A, and hopefully Auntie’s K & P too.  Ryan will turn four, which is the last birthday I will allow her to have.  Then hopefully we’ll round out the summer with a trip to Iowa, because I have never been and we are going to seek out the American Picker’s guys and visit their store.  Nerd love will hit IA this summer in the form of our family of three.

Ryan is going to give you a house tour!

I took a little video of Ryan a few days ago at the house.  Let’s pretend that she is giving you a house tour and not just running while I narrate and simultaneously wipe some snacks off of her chin.

enjoy ( though you are missing the dining room (old living room) and foyer)

House Tour Hillcrest

YOU HAVE TO CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE, labeled House Tour Hillcrest, I hope it works, you know I’m a luddite.

Playroom Pictures from my phone!

image Here is the basement playroom before and after. I ordered all of these big interlocking playmats off of Amazon. I had to get them in a rainbow of colors because I really wanted the chemical free kind (little miss Ryan is still too oral and I am still a worry wart).  Due to the rainbow dictate I wanted everything else calm. Her toys (too numerous to count) are colorful on their own, so white walls it was.  Painting plastic wood “like” paneling white is a beast. Don’t look too closely because after four coats I gave up.

My sister helped, Micah helped and my friend Terri helped too,  still it was an exhausting job and needed to be put to bed.  The floors came next, sheet linoleum so dusty and stained I wanted to rip it out and replace it. Then I looked at our bank balance and washed it numerous times on my hands and knees only to put the mats down too early and have to wash it all over again. Oh well, I am listening to a bodice ripper of a book series and that sure is keeping my mind off of the manual labor very well.

Then the move, the numerous boxes upon boxes of “Ryan toys”.  my Mom Helped so much and we had the swing I-bolts hung in the houses I beam.  Our contractor hung the I-bolts and he is so kind he didn’t charge us.  He knew all about Ryan and our story but seeing the playroom and the care we were taking to have it be just so for our sweet girl, then having the chance to finally meet Ryan and talk to Micah about her moved him I guess  because when I asked him how much it all was going to cost he got emotional and told me that it was no charge.  Such a kindnes, these swings are so integral to her therapy and regulation that it was no small gift to is at all.  I will praise him and recommend him to all.

Now to the toys.   I have been dreaming about setting up this room for Ryan for over two years.  I have been combing every Goodwill, thrift shop and garage sale I could find to fill it, as well as taken every hand-me-down purchased too many things off of Zulily and Amazon.  I have a problem and I can’t seem to articulate it well.  I have convinced myself that if I provide Ryan with everything then maybe it will work.  Maybe my efforts will be what was needed to kick start her speach and cognition. Maybe i can do something to help her, maybe I can finally get it right. Hopefully I pray for that maybe.

My Mom helped me a ton, she is a taskmaster and we weeded out the baby toys, organized the rest, moved everything around and then organized it all.  It took days, but it is basically done.  Micah and I are considering container options from IKEA (a pic of one is included) and I am going to hang some things up and paint the door with chalkboard paint and then call it.

Ryan loves it sits at her table or goes right to the platform swing.  She has been running the whole house and laying on all of the floors to get used to everything.  I will get her in some pictures soon I promise.  Without the Nikes my feet already feel better, a new pair of shoes and orthotics next

image image image image image


my body is falling apart and killing me.  Just being on my feet so much is about all I can handle.  I got some new tennis shoes in December, and I don’t know if I bought the crappiest NIKE’s of all time or if it’s just me, but my legs are a fire almost every day and I have this nasty feeling in my right foot as soon as I put any weight on it.  Oh and I had a birthday, so I’m officially old & falling apart.

But I am also moving tomorrow.  I will post a bunch of pictures, I will show you the lovely wallpaper that I hung with a friend from work, and the overly indulgent play room that we are putting together for Ryan.  I can also show you the half painted trim upstairs, the powder room with a freshly painted yet un-lacquered vanity and the new black hinges on the honey wood doors with the old antique gold knobs.  I can tell you all about the wonderful people who have been helping us with Ryan and all of the lovely new things that Ryan is dong these days.

I will tell you when my feet stop aching long enough for me to get off of my butt, grab my phone and post the pictures.

Stairway progress, prime, dry, tape, repeat

From the title you might have an inkling that the stairway is not going that well.  The carpet was installed yesterday, and I’d been so busy focusing on the staining of the railing and the newel post on the first floor and re-staining the rail and the top of the newel posts on the second floor that I didn’t get to the finish layer of the white paint for the risers.  My Mom and I worked tirelessly the day before the carpet was getting installed to get all of the trim painted and/or at least primed.  I was satisfied with our work, I know that my Mom wasn’t.  Grandma M is much more of a perfectionist than I am, and I already had weeks of thanklessly painting trim and seemingly getting no where under my belt, so at dinnertime we called it a day.  A solid eight hours we’ll never get back, however thankfully we could kvetch about all things BRAVO!!  Side note, for my birthday (next week) my amazing husband is taking me to see Mr. Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper in person at the Chicago Theatre!!!!!  Sometimes I wish I were a young gay man, just so I could date Andy Cohen, is that weird?  why, yes Carrie it is.

Ok the stairs.  The carpet folks are coming at 8:30 Thursday morning, pushed off from Monday morning in order to get more trim done.  Anyway that time line leaves me not a second to get anything done the morning of, so all I was able  to do was remove all of the stain blocking tape from the primed risers and rails.


The tape starting pulling off the primer, not just a little bit, chunks and there is no way that I can prime them again and have them be completely dry before the carpeting commenced.  If I did it and it wasn’t dry, then it would create a huge mess and at least the paint would be fuzzy and sticky with carpet fibers.  I almost cried, seriously.  So yet again I had to swallow my screams and just let things move forward, even it means that my stairs will end up looking shotty.  Shotty because I am going to have to do all of the fixes and finish work post carpet.  So maybe I could have gotten away with getting the finish paint a little close to the carpet because the white primer was totally underneath it and my painting sins could be forgiven, because it would be good enough.  But nope, that isn’t going to happen now.

Feast your eyes

IMG_3486 stairs in process 6Stairs in process 4

And BTW I HATE the carpet.  It is too dark.  I wanted cream, I wanted cream, I wanted cream and I went with light brown to hide the stains and I know that it was the smart choice, I know that I have a kid who still pukes a lot and I know that we may want more kids, and that this darker color will hide a multitude of sins, but damnit I wanted cream so I’m going to whine about it for a little bit.  Sorry I’m being a baby.

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