Look What I Did!

When we bought our current house five years ago, we wanted to update our bathroom, paint our bedroom (which had hideous trim color and wallpaper border) and built a new closet system since the one that came with the house collapsed a few months after we bought it. Now that we’re about to put the house on the market? These things are finally getting done.

MrZ has been working his ass off on the new closet system. I can not wait to show you pictures of it, it’s so awesome. However, there’s not much I can do to help, so I decided to take on the bathroom. And here…something most bloggers are too proud to do…I’m showing you a picture of my old sink.

Old, Dirty, and Dated

Yes. The sink is disgusting. (In our defense, the little kids use our bathroom too!) Yes. Those are tampons on the counter I didn’t even bother removing for the photo. Yes. That’s paint in the sink. I wanted you to get an honest look at our bathroom so when you see the end result? You will be as impressed as you should be.

New Faucet

I DID THAT. I replaced that faucet AND drain all by myself! Well…I had the help of copious amounts of videos on YouTube, but no real people helped me. And let me tell you, the faucet? Not the hard part. The drain…that had been there for 15+ years and had hair and paint and god-only-knows-what-else in it…the drain was the worst part. One plumber video was taking his drain off of a sink removed from the wall and said, “If your sink is attached to the wall, this will probably be a two man job.” Yes. Two men. Who did it in my bathroom? Two men? No. ONE WOMAN. And that woman was me.

Plumber Zoot

Now…our light fixture needed replacing too.

Old (And Oh So Modern) Light

I got the old fixture off the wall fine. I painted the walls using Behr Paint/Primer in one. That stuff goes on beautifully. Then, when I went to put the new fixture on? I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I felt defeated. MrZ had to do that for me. He swears it’s because the box used for the other fixture is not the standard shape so I shouldn’t have been able to do it, but I still lost a bit of my pride at doing the faucet myself. Oh well.

New Light

I bought a new shower curtain that will be used to re-upholster some chairs after we sell our house. I cleaned the counter a bit and Ta Da! an updated bathroom.

Curtain and Wall color

$30 paint. $30 faucet. $90 fixture. And the bathroom looks hundreds times better. We bought some towel racks too, but we haven’t put those up yet. Those were about $40 total. I’m hoping combined with the fantastic closet, this will make our Master bedroom look more like a suite. Or at least less gross. Either way…it’s better.

Things I’ll Miss

I’m staying optimistic about the house. We’ve submitting our request for repairs, hoping most of it gets addressed or that they’ll give us cash at closing. We’ll know for sure by Tuesday. We’re proceeding as though we’ll own in on June 11th because most of me strongly believes in the power of positive thinking. The other part of me always prepares for the worst, JUST IN CASE. But for the sake of this entry? Positive Thinking.


Things I’ll Miss About My Current Home

  • It’s easy to clean. This house is not tiny, as it’s a good 500 square feet bigger than the one I grew up in. However, it’s still only 1700 sq ft (The house I grew up in? TINY.) so cleaning it in an hour is a very easy task. The new house? Twice as big. And twice as old. I don’t think I’ll be cleaning that in an hour.
  • The kids sharing a room forces us to ban Large Toys. I kinda like having the excuse to ban things like small vehicles and toy kitchens. The sight of large amounts of brightly color plastic tends to make me a little stressed. I don’t mind seeing art stuff all over the place, but for some reason, if a toy is too big for a toy box? I feel like the room is never completely clean. I am weird. I know. In the new house? We have a “bonus room.” There’s no door or doorway to it (The house has a very unique floor plan) so it’s not a bedroom, but we’re making it the play room. Know what that means? No more excuses. Maybe I’ll just pretend that room doesn’t exist.
  • This house has a very open floor plan. If you’re at the computer, or in the living room, or cooking dinner – someone in any of the other three rooms can talk to you. The new house is older so the floor plan is not that open. And it has two floors, with the main living area and the kids’ rooms being upstairs from the kitchen. I’m feeling a lot of yelling in my future. Maybe time to invest in a bullhorn?
  • This house is done. Especially now that we’re finishing up all the project we said we’d do 5 years ago. Our current house will need no more repair/upgrades in a few weeks. This new house? Well, it’s not horrible. But, every wall will need a fresh coat of paint before we even move in. A lot of fixtures will need replacing eventually. The siding will need repair as soon as we sell our house. It needs updated windows that are more energy efficient. And on and on. We’re okay with that, when you want a bigger house but can’t afford these nice new ones – you buy one that needs work and do the repairs over time. That’s what we’re doing. When it’s all said and done? It will be a wonderful Forever Home. But I’m sad to leave a home that needs nothing in the immediate future. Let’s hope the new homeowners appreciate that.
  • The kids share a room. While this is also a big reason to leave our current home, it has forced upon them a wonderful friendship. They really do play together well, and I think it’s because they have no choice. There aren’t other places to play.
  • The fence. In the short term, there’s not containment system in place for the dogs at the new home. It’s an uneven and wooded backyard, not easily fenced. Supposedly there was an invisible fence but until we decide how to work that and if we want to go that route, we’ll have to walk the dogs every time they have to go potty. I’m too lazy for that. I don’t even like walking for myself when I have to go potty.

Mind Over Matter


Some days, or more importantly – some nights, can make parenting seem like a form of torture. When you’ve sang every song, read every book, tried every bed, driven through every neighborhood – and your child still won’t go to sleep. Eventually you end up in your own bed with a kicking 2-year old who finally falls asleep only to wake up 2 hours later, demanding a meal. You know, because who doesn’t want to feed a toddler at 1am? It’s my favorite thing to do! And then, when he finally goes back to sleep it’s only for a few hours because 5am? Wake up, sleepyhead!

Basically, I’ve spent this morning implementing the most basic of Happy Self principals. MIND OVER MATTER. My body is tired. My mind is fried. My heart is a little beaten. My throat hurts. But will this do me any good today? NO. It will simply make me more miserable. I’ve been spending every other minute of this already-long morning saying to myself, “You are in a great mood. You are excited about your day. Your kids are wonderful blessings, not evil spawns of Satan. Today is going to be a great day!”

And as cheesy as it sounds? As long as I keep telling myself this, and don’t let the festering thought of misery have even one millisecond to grow, it works. It’s one of my most valuable lessons I’ve learned in parenting. Mind over matter can work. I’ve been joking with the kids, calling their milk/juice their coffee. “Don’t spill your coffee!” They think it’s hysterical and it give me the periodic excuse to get more coffee. Which helps too. I’m staying busy, doing laundry, not letting my body dictate my mood. It doesn’t always work, trust me, but it definitely won’t work if I don’t ever try. So every time I have a particularly rough night, I try to psych myself out the next morning. I convince myself the night wasn’t that bad, I’m not that tired, and today has too much potential to waste on my own grumpiness. I say 3 days out of 5? This helps me salvage what would have been a pretty crappy day. Those are pretty good odds, if you ask me.


Diversity in the Zoot Home

Several weeks ago, NikkiZ and I set out to repair a toilet and install a new toilet seat. Nothing major, just a simple task that needed our attention. I tried to make it seem fun by allowing her to be part of the entire process and help. Oddly enough? She was excited. And when it came down to it? She did most of it herself. She repaired our flusher and installed a new toilet seat with only minimal help from me. I was pretty impressed. I’ve always wanted her to see me doing stuff like that so she’ll grow up just assuming women can repair things as easily as men can, but I didn’t think she’d actually get excited about it. I mean…I know how to do it…but I’d rather someone else do it. You know?

Fast-forward to Sunday when AndyZ got a bunch of tool sets from various family members for his birthday. NikkiZ played with them all night. And then yesterday? I got these great photos that show exactly the two personalities in my middle child.

Tool Time
Showing him how it's done

She’s always shown great mixtures of girly-girl and tomboy. She wears princess gear and tiaras but she also hits the crap out of a softball. She wants me to paint her nails but she is overly aggressive on the soccer field. She’ll rock her baby dolls to sleep and then teach her brother how to use a screwdriver. It’s just so fascinating watching her grow into this fantastically well-rounded little girl.

Much better than her mother who still doesn’t know how to apply makeup properly.

Edited to add: For those of you who noticed part of this entry is missing? I took it down just to make this entry a little more positive and less negative. I realized after the fact that it seemed a bit bitchy and, while it made me feel better at the time, I don’t want to put too much extra negative out into the universe when there’s already plenty out there. I got the bitching off my chest, now I’m okay shifting the focus of this entry back on my adorable daughter. Thanks for those of you who tolerated the previously included rant.

Birthdays…Zoot Style.

AndyZ’s birthday was Friday, and to celebrate I booked the evening solid with dance recitals and then a camping trip at the Botanical Gardens. Go me! I’m the master of planning, you know. I mean, what boy doesn’t want to spend his birthday watching his sister dance? It’s the dream celebration!


The camp-out, on the other hand, we knew he’d love. We’ve only been able to do one of the camp-outs since AndyZ was born because of rain so I was thrilled that the bad weather cleared out before Go! time. He didn’t remember much from the last trip as he was, you know, a baby. If you’ll recall, I camped there a few days before I was scheduled to deliver the birthday boy so it was a bit fitting to be there again on his second birthday. One of the staples of the Gardens, a wonderful man named Harvey, came up to talk to us and asked us how old AndyZ was. I said, “Two. Today! We actually camped here two years ago a few days before he was born.” He looked up at me and said, “I thought that was you. We tell that story a lot.”

HA! We’re a story now! The crazy pregnant lady camping mere days before she was due to give birth! I’m famous.

It was loads of fun, although MrZ opted to stay home and build a closet. Jeez…some people are just so selfish.

Pre-Hotdog Snack

I wish every one of you could do something like this in your town. It is all of the fun parts of camping, without any of the stress. Someone else brings the food. It’s only for one night so you don’t worry about bathing. There are tons of other families in a safe environment. And there are wonderful Garden employees there to tell you all of the cool things you miss on your normal visits. Like giant spiders and millipedes! Yum! If you don’t mind the effort of loading your camping gear for one night, and then spreading it all in your yard the next day to dry, it really is the best way to take small children camping. AndyZ loved it, especially the 9 o’clock s’mores. I didn’t love those as much as I was up until about 10:30 bouncing him around the area singing to him, trying to get him to sleep. I’m praying I stayed far enough from the other tents that no one could hear my terrible voice.

All in all? Great night. The kids slept great and I did too, considering! And then Sunday? We celebrated the real way at Mimi and Grandpa’s house with cake and bubbles!

If no one is looking I can just take the cake AND eat it too
"Don't Touch"
Love the bubble wand

I’m looking forward being able to host future birthdays in our new home (Me: Thinking Optimistically) since it will be big enough. I don’t see how people have birthday parties for kids in their home without a place to lock them up. Which is what I plan on doing. With chains and shackles. We’ll call it a Jail Party! I won’t have to even make good food because Jail doesn’t have good food!

(I’m not going to be very good at this, am I?)