When Ella was born, my mom came from central Illinois to spend two weeks helping me adjust to baby-hood again.
At the time, it was a survival technique. It was January, really cold in these here parts. It was dreary, and dark at four in the afternoon in these here parts. Mike was working long-ass hours and I had a little postpartum depression with Anna, so I knew with Mike being gone, I was going to need my mommy more than ever before.
In those two weeks, she saved my soul by bringing along Facts of Life on DVD to watch at any hour of the day or night; she made amazing dinners of which I can still smell today; she helped me clean house, helped me grocery shop, she held my baby and got my oldest ready for school; she made my comfort chocolate pudding with a marshmallow on top. She saved my fucking life, people.
But the joke for those two weeks was “the family cave”.
When bringing home a newborn baby, the key to surviving is to throw in the trash every baby book you’ve ever purchased and do whatever makes the baby stop crying. For us, that meant putting baby Ella into her little ivory bassinet and let her sleep in there with the teddy bear mobile moving at a rapid pace all the while playing nursery songs that when I hear them today make me almost want to take a shot of Night Train.
Laugh all you want, but those bears saved us in our bunker of postpartum survival.
We laughed about being stuck in “the cave” those two dark (literally dark because again, January) weeks after Ella was born.
The farther and farther I get away from those two weeks, they don’t seem quite so terrible. Oh don’t get me wrong, I am glad to be on the better side of those two weeks but the memories……
……my mom making spaghetti (which smelled better than ever before because of hormones), baby Ella and I on the couch together, watching Beauty Shop, listening to my mom making kitchen sounds in my kitchen, long talks during the middle of the night feedings, watching The View when it was actually good…..
……it was in the midst of hormonal hell, magical.
But over the years, that cave had taken a beating.
In defense of the above wall, it is in the hallway to the garage so that every single hand, foot, and doggy paw that comes through here has touched it. And as much as we know I love nostalgia and memories, filthy hands are not something I want to memorialize no matter how small and whimsical they are.
As much as we loved this color (“Campfire” by Behr) for over 12 plus years, it was indeed a cave.
One would think that yellow/gold would be a bright color and one would be completely wrong. The thing you don’t know is that when we moved into this home, the walls in this room were mauve.
Like purple and pink had one hideous baby and it puked all over our soon-to-be family room wall.
And it was SO mauve.
SO mauve, that the fireplace blended into the wall.
SO blended, that when we first looked at our home, we had no idea it had a fireplace.
Until the second walkthrough, when we said to the realtor, “when did the fireplace get here?”.
“Campfire” was a definite upgrade.
This bathroom has a story as they always do.
When we moved into our home in the summer of 2005, all the walls (with the exception of the mauve family cave) were builder white.
I wanted to paint this bathroom navy blue because, at the time, dark colors in small spaces were all the rage.
So my husband started painting the bathroom dark blue without telling me as he was wanted to surprise me.
I came in from the grocery store and there was this really dark bathroom staring back at me.
Like, it was night-time all the time in that bathroom.
Like when you went in to pee, you felt like you might be in the backyard at midnight.
In the process of the bathroom “incident”, nighttime was all over the floors and baseboard’s because bathrooms aren’t easy to paint when you’re in a hurry and want to surprise your fiancée before she gets home from the grocery store, bless his heart.
I may have cried. Or yelled. Probably both.
So instead of fixing the problem, we went to see a movie.
Anna was at a sleepover and we decided that instead of dealing with the task at hand, let’s deal with the fact that we have a parenting night out.
We went to see Wedding Crashers.
I mentioned a few months ago that Netflix sent me an email insinuating that I might like Wedding Crashers and that it was like they didn’t know me at all.
Little did they (or you) know that I saw it in the theater while my little bathroom sat murdered with paint.
Little did they (or you know) that when that email reached my inbox, we were planning on re-painting that same bathroom.
The color had faded over the years from its vibrant “Campfire” to its current “Vomit”.
We needed a change and because of the aforementioned Navy bathroom murder incident, we needed someone else to make the change for us.
In the almost thirteen years we have lived here, we have always done the painting ourselves alone or with the help of friends or family.
We have a friend who does side jobs and we asked if he would be interested.
Let me tell you, it was the best decision we’ve ever made.
He took his time, there wasn’t paint all over the floors, there wasn’t tape stuck to us.
I wasn’t yelling and crying.
It was glorious.
The only negative was that he couldn’t do the painting in consecutive days, so our home was in chaos for two weeks.
If you know me, that was hard.
But I powered through and realized that I am much stronger than I thought I was.
We chose the color Silver Strand by Sherwin Williams but used Home Depot paint to cut costs.
We used that same color for our living room paint makeover that you can read about here.
We saved money by doing most of the prep work ourselves like patching up holes and taping the baseboards.
We also moved all the furniture out/to the middle of the room and then put it back after.
Our friend wasn’t expecting that, so he was happily surprised to find all of that done ahead of time.
Isn’t that the prettiest bathroom in my house you’ve ever seen? I almost cried when I first saw it.
That hallway used to be dark. DARRRRK. I had to add that lamp to the dryer just to be able to see my dirty laundry.
As you can see, I’ve given up “staging” photos for my blog but doesn’t it look amazing? A cave no longer.
I was so excited about the color, I didn’t even fluff the pillows.
I bought that ladder on the wall over the holidays and had it propped against the wall in the living room. It’s supposed to hold blankets but I don’t have pretty to look at blankets and the rungs were completely covered by blankets so you couldn’t see the wood.
I decided to hang it up over the TV and I love it so much more this way!
My desk space is so cute, that I could sit and stare at it all day. But then I wouldn’t get anything done.
A few months ago, I had the idea of creating a quote wall above my desk. I needed inspiration and I felt like having quotes I love would help. Putting words above the desk where I write all the words seemed almost too clever.
This wall has evolved over the past month already into something that I love so much because when I’m stumped for a word, trying to think of a better way to rephrase something, trying to think of what I should eat for lunch, I look up and here is what I see:
That angel was a painting my mom got for me when I was pregnant with Anna. I fell in love with that angel’s face so much while we were shopping in Wisconsin one day and knew I had to have it. She bought it for me and I put it in the nursery, not even knowing I was having a girl. It was an angel to watch over my baby and my nursery theme was angels and sheep (don’t ask), so it was perfect. I had it in a cabinet tucked away when I was cleaning it out a few weeks ago and thought that I needed that angel on the wall. I love that every time I look at this wall, I think of that tiny nursery and Anna’s beginnings. I also love how the sun streams in here in the late afternoon.
And yes, we still saved that measurement wall.
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