Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Master Bedroom Gets a New Look

Hey! I've finished watching the whole run of Buffy for the second time in six months (which Nemo seems to think I should be embarrassed about; I don't see why), I've got some second trimester energy, and the kids are contained in their rooms for quiet time. So I thought I would sit here with a bagel and Nutella sandwich and try to crank out a blog post.

Let's talk about the Master.

 No, not THAT one. 

THIS one.

That's what the master bedroom in our new house looked like when we bought the place. After a coat of paint and getting semi-moved in, it looked like this:

Not too shabby, but it had a few troubling first-world problems:
Problem #1: The paint I selected for the walls was a light blue-gray, which is very hard to tell in the picture. But it was not jiving with the neutral palette of the bedding and lamps.

Problem #2: No curtains. 

Problem #3: I wanted to pivot the bed 90 degrees for a reason I can't really remember, but that meant there was nowhere for our huge dresser to go.

I kind of blew the bedding budget on just sheets--I had just bought some at Home Goods but they pilled after the second wash, so I had to shell out for yet another set. So disheartening.  
This left me in a little bit of a bind when it came to the duvet cover. Then one day I got the idea to try and dye it to the gray tone I had in mind. I mean, textile dying always seems to work out so beautifully for the ReFashinista--why shouldn't I give it a go?
So one afternoon the duvet cover met a plastic tote filled with a whole lot of water and a packet of Rit dye that I picked up for $1.88 in the laundry aisle in Walmart. I reduced the amount of dye and didn't let it soak as long as directed in hopes that I would achieve more of a gray color, rather than black.

The result was purply-gray rather than dove-gray, but all in all I like it!

Next up: Bedside lamps found on Craigslist, spruced up with new shades found at Walmart.

I spent a good amount of time sewing curtains for all the bedrooms. I splurged on thermal/blackout liner fabric, since this is Wisconsin, where it is freezing cold in the winter and the sun doesn't set until 10pm in the summer. Totally worth the extra cost and time.

Then we moved our x-large dresser to the guest room and found two smaller dressers on Craigslist to go in the master.

All this work, and what did I get?

A lovely space.
And a really weird cat.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Seventeen Days Later: A Home Tour

Thanks to copious help from friends and Nemo's coworkers, our move to our new house went fairly smoothly. I can't believe it's been over two weeks!

Some of you have been asking for pictures of the new digs, and now that most of the boxes have been unpacked (or cleverly hidden), I am more than happy to oblige.

The house is a colonial built about 45 years ago. Much of it is dated, and we had PLANNED on doing some updating before we moved in, namely replacing the flooring. What with one thing and another we didn't get to it and likely won't for several more years now. BUT! I did manage to paint all the bedrooms and Nemo installed ceiling fans and replaced some outlets.

So! Welcome.

 To the left of the entryway is a nice-sized office...

Off to a good start,  huh? Don't worry; it gets better.  

To the right of the entryway is the living room...

Which leads into the formal dining room.

Since I am morally opposed to feeding toddlers in a carpeted room, the dining room has become the library/sewing room. This is likely as tidy as it will ever get. 

I just now got my sewing machines out of storage a few days ago, and I hope to get my Etsy shop up and running again within the week. Sorry to everyone who has been waiting!

Then we have the kitchen.

 It's certainly a step up from the kitchen in our rental, but of course if we had unlimited time and money we would definitely rip it all out and start again. It's just what we do.

The eat in kitchen, good for eating in and also playing board games. CJ is completely obsessed with Blokus at the moment.

Off off the kitchen is the family room, which contains Nemo's new BFF: a functional wood-burning fireplace. We've had a few fires so far this season and it IS quite cozy. And no doubt good to have in the event of a snow-related power outage. This is Wisconsin, after all.

The family room also contains my new BFF, the red couch. We had some camp chairs set up in the there while I was obsessively checking Craigslist for reasonably priced sofa that didn't look like it was covered in various frat party substances. They were few and far between, let me tell you. 

So I wandered into a legit furniture store one day (with both kids in tow, oy) and purchased this one from the clearance section for about the same amount that I would have spent on a nice, used sofa on Craigslist. Score! One can never have too many places to nap, I always say.

To the left of the playroom is the garage, a powder room, and (contain yourselves, ladies) a laundry room! Note that it's not in a basement and there is nary a spider's web to be seen.

 At the far end of the hall upstairs is...

...Noni's room, aka "Where all the cool kids hang out and try to cheat death".

I ordered fabric for curtains like two weeks ago, but thanks to some sort of clerical error the order never got shipped. They assure me that it's on it's way now (sure, sure) so hopefully I will be able to retire the quilt-curtains before too long. 


...and CJ's room.

At the near end of the hall is the guest room/future baby room.

Then there's the master suite.

There as some feng shui issues we need to work out, but there's one thing that I am definitely OK with:

It's a beautiful thing.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Riddle Me This

It's time for a fun game of DIAGNOSE EVA! Here are some symptoms for you to write on your white board...

Clue #1
Our credit card company put a block on our card due to suspicious activity, which was actually me sending Nemo out to the store for just one thing: Spaghetti-Os, Ramen Noodles, and Wendy's cheeseburgers, etc. Apparently innumerable small charges on a credit card is a red flag for fraud...but in this case, it was something completely different.

Clue #2
Nemo and I recently started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I couldn't help but notice some stunning physical similarities between myself and the android Mr. Data.

Namely, we both have pale, greenish-tinged complexions. I'm also finding that I have a hard time getting jokes lately.

Clue #3
Netflix keeps condescendingly asking me if I am STILL watching Buffy/Ripper Street/The Paradise.  Why yes, I am, Netflix, NOW STEP OFF BEFORE YOU GET HURT.

Clue #4
CJ and Noni have conveniently fallen in love with The Tigger Movie. They obligingly watch it every day after lunch so I can I zonk out for 77 wonderful minutes. Sometimes I wake up to someone driving a toy truck across my face, but mostly not. 

Clue #5
The other night I wanted to put hot sauce on my mashed potatoes. Luckily I started to feel pukey about seven seconds after having this thought, so I didn't follow through.

Did you guess it?

We are thrilled that we will be welcoming another HumbleBaby to the outside world this Spring! 

I had to get an ultrasound to date the pregnancy, because what with the cross-country move and everything, I kind of lost track of things. The baby is around 12 weeks now, and should be making his/her appearance sometime in April. 

We've given the baby the nickname of "Ender". Major nerd points if you know why:)

This all might seem strange, given my history and also this recent post. I really can't explain it, but somehow, despite everything, I got a mad case of baby fever. 

I am excited, and very thankful, but that's not to say I'm not also anxious. Prayers and positive thoughts are very much appreciated!

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, September 19, 2014

These kids today

I rarely write posts just about the kids, but now that we are tragically far away from a large cohort of our friends and family, I thought I would put together a little update on these kids of ours.

CJ started going to nursery school two mornings a week, and he is just in hogs' heaven. When I come to pick him up he gives me the stink eye and says, "No, mom. Don't come back." Warms the cockles of my heart.

While CJ is at school Noni and I go to a "Mommy and Me" gymnastics class at the local Little Gym. My little anti-socialite is doing very well and having lots of fun. She sometimes even allows the teacher to help her on the equipment. If you've ever met her in person, you'll know that this is HUGE.

Her teacher says that she is ahead of the curve when it comes to "hanging on". I am not surprised at all, little barnacle that she is.

It should be noted that Noni doesn't usually use a pacifier, so this picture is pretty funny to me. She never got the hang of them as a baby, but she found this one somewhere a while back and seemed curious about it, so I washed it off so she could play with it. Now you'd think she was born with that thing in her mouth.

Noni started calling CJ "Nah-Noo", which invariably gives him a temper tantrum because that is NOT his name. It's close to his real name (we don't actually call him "CJ") but not close enough for his taste.

Noni is started to progress quite a bit with her language skills, but not quickly enough for CJ. The other day he handed Noni a toy and she very politely said, " 'ank you." CJ got in a horrible snit about it. "No! You can't say  'ank you! There's a T-H in it!"

He really shouldn't be throwing stones, though, because he refers to my Kindle as a "Tingle".


We recently discovered that Noni is allergic to peanuts. A few months ago I gave the kids peanut butter with their snack, which I rarely do because peanut butter is messy and I am lazy. Anyway, after snack was cleared away, this happened:

Any skin that came in contact with the PB got really red, swollen, and itchy--she also got some in her left eye, as you can see in the picture. 

A trip to the allergist confirmed it. Allergic. Not life threateningly so, at the moment, but I have an Epi-Pen in my purse now. Bummer.
But there is a silver lining: She isn't allergic to tree nuts! The Nutella can stay!!!


I've got to wrap it up now, because I am headed off to Michigan for the second time this month, but this time on a plane and without bambinos! So say a prayer for Nemo, who will be wrangling them solo this weekend:)

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A New Home and a Home Altar

So, you remember when we moved half-way across the country and into a tiny duplex a scant two months ago? Well, we intended on renting for a while but then we started "casually" looking--just for fun, you know.

It's all fun and games until you come across THE perfect house in THE perfect neighborhood--then you have to scramble to get approved for a loan before someone else snatches your dream home (4 beds, 2.5 baths, 1st floor laundry, and a screened-porch. Our wish-list verbatim). So yeah, it's been busy. And it's going to get even busier, because after we close next week we are planning on doing some minor renovations (painting, possibly flooring) before we move in. Fun stuff!

Soon this glitzy chandelier will be all mine.

But before all THAT happened I did this little project! And I'm just getting around to posting it.

I borrowed/stole this print (a detail of Raphael's Sistine Madonna) from my dad when I moved into my "own" place when I was nineteen. She's been with me in every place I've lived ever since! It's much prettier in person.

I had been meaning to put together a home altar for a while, and after a few garage sales I could finally get to work.

I gave everything a few coats of an antique white spray paint--more carefully than I usually do because I didn't want to paint the landlord's grass. I don't much care about my own grass, though.

I replaced the Madonna, put a piece of pretty pink scrapbook paper behind the glass in the smaller frame, gathered what few religious items I could find in our recently-moved mess and...boom.

That is two years worth of palms there, because we never remember to burn them. I'm very glad that they all have a home again--they had been rattling around on my dashboard ever since the big move.

The smaller frame became a makeshift whiteboard. Most--ok, some--days after breakfast CJ helps me come up with a prayer intention list. When he asks for us to pray for Princess Anna I usually substitute a general "people who are lonely".

Sometimes we make it through TEN WHOLE Hail Marys after that:) 

This crucifix has been with me since I was a kid. It is originally from the convent associated with the Parish I grew up in. When the convent closed they held a sale of all it's contents and my dad brought this home for me. 

It ain't much, but it sure makes me happy! Maybe after we move AGAIN I will be able to find my prayer cards and such to add to the shelf. One can hope!

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

That Small Catholic Family

This one's going to get a little Catholic, folks, so BUCKLE UP. Or, you know, click away. No hard feelings.

Lately, Cari Donaldson, one of my favorite Catholic bloggers has published two pieces about family size in the Catholic community, specifically how we in the pro-life culture have a tendency to objectify children and glorify the larger-than-average family. This not only alienates those in the community who don't have the revered "big Catholic family", but is also completely the opposite of what the pro-life culture stands for.

To Cari I say, YES. And thank you. I am so so glad that these posts are out there. They bear a very important message that I hope many people will take to heart.

Lately I have been struggling with some of my own issues related to the "bigger is better" mentality. 

When I was new to the NFP world I was (silently) a little judgey of the young married couples without children. Then, just as all of my friends and peers were starting their families, I was suffering from sub-fertility and multiple miscarriages. I learned the unspeakably hard way that lack of children doesn't always mean a lack of desire for children.

But that isn't the only reason that we need to tone down the baby-worshiping.

I've wanted to mother a large family for as long as I can remember. I came from a large family, and when I was an adult I came to admire the  wonderful Catholic bloggers out there, many of which run a 6+ child household with grace and poise. Some of the best Catholics I know run large families, and that fed into the whole misconception that in order to be a good married Catholic, one must have more than 2.1 children.

Then I got postpartum depression. It wasn't that I felt a little sad or a little worried; I went completely batshit crazy and had to be hospitalized for a week.

I struggled with a lot of things that week (and for innumerable weeks afterward), but what bothered me the most was that my dream of having a large family was dead. Something that had been so close to my heart for so long was abruptly and painfully torn away.

Not only had I lost my desire for more children, but simply seeing stroller on the street or a onesie set at the mall sent me into a full-blown anxiety attack. If ever the thought of another pregnancy entered my mind, my next thought was of throwing myself out a window. That's how bad it was. I made Nemo promise that we would never try for another, which calmed me somewhat--but I was terrified that stopping my child-bearing career at "only" two would label me a Bad Catholic.

Then some time passed, I did a lot of research, and I finally concluded that due to my specific circumstances, I was perfectly justified in practicing NFP to avoid having more children. The lack of desire for more children is not a sin.

Yay! Not a Bad Catholic.

Then more time passed. I've spent over a year reflecting on this issue, and I have come to a conclusion: I don't want my small family size to be "justified". I shouldn't have to defend myself, or feel the need to explain the absence of several more children given my relatively young age and my husband's gainful employment. I want my family, regardless of our numbers, to be loved and cherished by our Catholic community, end of story.

There are many factors that influence a particular Catholic family's size,  and it doesn't have to be something tragic or life threatening in order for it to be "ok". One of the most important things I have learned in the last year is that preferring a small family doesn't make me any less of a person, a mother, or a Catholic. It simply means that I respect the personality God has given me and recognize that it isn't a flaw that must be overcome. Maybe I can't handle more children; that doesn't make me less than a woman who can.

Sometimes it really is God's plan for a family to remain small. But for people like me, it is also necessary to leave our hearts open so we know when the plan has changed. In the past year I went from terrified, to the point of despair, of having another baby to quietly hopeful that we might someday welcome another baby into our home. My heart has truly been changed, and so dramatically that it can be nothing short of a miracle.

But even if we remain "just four", we are more than "ok". We are more than "justified". We are a family. And all families, whether large, small, or childless, are beautiful. Just love them, support them, celebrate them, and pray for them--no matter their numbers.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Potty Training! TP Unravelling! And more. {7QTs}

Linking without thinking over at Jen's.


Because I believe in keeping things real on the internet, here is a picture of what our living area looks like rightthisminute.

We do have furniture now, so, yay!  But due to the new place being roughly half the size of the new one, we are having issues finding places for all of our stuff. I always thought I was a minimalist, but this move has taught me differently.

 While the house leaves something to be desired, the neighborhood is awesome (which is why we picked it). It is very peaceful and the weather has been so great lately that I have been making a habit of going out for a solo walk after we get the kids in bed. Last night the views were particularly nice.

 A neighbor's back yard. Tres jealous.

What you can't see in the picture is that for the last few days the lovely neighborhood has been smelling spectacularly of horseshit.

My theory is that some local green thumb got a delivery of manure for their garden beds, which is great, but boy does it stank.

So, six or seven years ago my bike was stolen right off our then-apartment's porch. We lived a block away from a high school that could be politely described as "INTENSE", and stolen bikes were the least of the police department's worries. Anyway. I never bothered to buy a new one so I haven't biked in over half a decade.

Now, I know many super-cool people that are avid bikers, so when I saw there was a cycling class at my new gym I thought, hey, I'll be super cool too!


broke my tailbone about three years ago, and it still bothers me quite a bit. Somehow I managed to forget that when I was signing up for a class that would require an hour of contact between said tailbone and a narrow seat evidently made out of concrete.
I made it through the class and it really was a great workout, but I just can't bring myself to go back next week. Guess I can't be super cool after all.

Speaking of CJ, I intended on starting to potty train him this weekend due to the impending start of preschool...then I remembered that I don't have a washing machine.

One is supposed to be installed before August 1, so I guess all potty training plans are on hold until then. Thank goodness. I hate changing diapers, but I am really not looking forward to the whole transition.

Speaking of CJ and transitions (poor kid is having a lot of them lately and he is holding up admirably under the pressure), we changed him over from a crib to a toddler bed when we moved. It has been going rather well, other than some early morning wake-ups to explore the new house when we first arrived. We nipped that in the bud and it hadn't been a problem for a while. Then at 4:40-something last night (I don't consider that to be morning and neither should you) he was stomping around the house looking for "Mommmeeeeeeeeee!" and he got very upset when Daddy tried to put him back to bed. Then when I put him back to bed he pretty much zonked right away. I'm thinking sleep walking, and I really hope he doesn't make a habit of it.

The kids don't often disturb my sleep these days, which is good because I do a fine job of disturbing my own sleep. Really really hoping that he doesn't make a habit of it...


Someone unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper all over the powder room and kitchen today. Surprisingly for a household with two toddlers and two cats, this has never happened before. That was super annoying.

Ya'll should know that Brother Francis has a new dvd available over at Herald Entertainment.  If you like to catechize your kids but don't have a lot of time or brain cells, Brother Francis is the guy for you!
That's the news for now. Later gators.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.