Gallery Wall

The "Man Room"

This is the view of the TV in the Man Room. We called it the Man Room because it allows Donnie to finally have a nice TV watching setup and I left him in charge of picking out the furniture we needed in it since he let me do the sitting room. The couch tables are hand-me-downs from his parents but he picked out the couches and we both found the TV table. The bean bag is a Comfy Sack and before we got the couches it was the only thing to sit on in the room – which was FINE because I LOVE THAT THING. I actually slept on it several nights. All of the animals love it too and even though it weighs a trillion pounds and is impossible to move, it is probably the best couch I’ve ever sat on. LOVE IT.

We’re not close to having everything set up for the TV yet. We just hooked up the DVD player a few weeks ago and we have 47 game systems that were hooked up to the TV in the old house. BUT I HATED THAT. So, I’m not going to hook them up here. If someone wants to play one (which they rarely do as we’re all very busy) then we’ll hook it up. Until then? It stays in the blue box next to the TV. Which somehow makes me feel better.

Now…for the point of the entry…my GALLERY! Let me start by saying I had to attach the frame wire on these frames myself and that is NOT an exact science. Each one is just a hair different as I may have twisted it tighter, or the hooks may have been more loose, or something. So, the fact that they’re not perfect will be rectified as time goes on. I want to wait until the weight of the frames settle on the wires before I make any adjustments so I won’t have to RE-adjust later. But for now? You get the idea.

Disclaimer: Two of my regular-read bloggers often talk about home renovations or updates. When I post pictures of my small-scale improvements I feel a bit silly as it doesn’t compare to Kelly Rae’s gorgeous home rennovation or Heather’s office remodel (Which, I wasn’t planning on watching those videos because my ENVY is too great, but it was totally worth it as it cracked my ass UP.) – but it’s my new home and I should be PROUD. I just felt the need to point out that I am aware that my scale of upgrades is not as impressive as others. But still…GALLERY!

The "Man Room"

This is the shot from the upstairs hall. The wall on the other side of the window, I haven’t decided on yet. I wanted to get this wall up first. I don’t want the walls to match in layout, but I do want there to be similar photos in similar frames so the entire back wall is somewhat uniform. I’ll think about it for a week or so before I start laying something out.

Here’s a close-up:

The "Man Room"

Do you see what I did? I combined color AND black & white. I really like the look of it and kept stopping on Sunday going up the stairs to just stare at it. Look! My photo wall! My photos! Here’s what I said to my husband,

“Who needs art when your wife is a photographer?”
“What do you mean? That is art!”

2-points for saying the PERFECT THING. I’m quite proud of it. I’ll be even more proud when I get the wires on the back adjusted so they all line up perfectly, but for now? I’m happy with it.

What Is It About Boys And Trains and Trucks?

Who is this teenager?

I wrote an entire entry this morning defending my parenting choice to teach my children to say, “Yes, ma’am” and “Yes, sir.” And then it occurred to me…why do I care? It’s a very difficult thing to explain to people who truly hate it, and the people on the fence? Don’t judge me about it, they just might not teach their own kids the same thing. So why am I wasting an entire blog entry on defending myself to people who just hate it and won’t ever understand why I do it?

Instead…let’s look at cute pictures of my kids. And trains.

At the train museum

I took my kids to look at some old trains this weekend. Wes is obsessed with trucks and trains and anything BIG and LOUD. I decided to take my fisheye lens out, but I put it on a camera that I had previously set the iso to 1600 for a low-light situation and forgot. So, all of my fisheye photos from our adventure turned out grainy. This was a bit depressing as I took some cute ones with the kids and the trains, so I opted to do a few Photoshop tricks to try to make the grain look intentional.

(Sidenote: This is why I could never be a professional portrait photographer. I do this kind of screwup ALL THE TIME.)

I'm such an Amateur

Did it work? Does it look like the noise (or grain) in that photo was totally planned? Or is it obvious I was covering up a mistake? Either way…the grain just added some interesting texture to the photos of the trains. So, no FAIL there!

Remembering why I love my fisheye lens: At the train museum
Remembering why I love my fisheye lens: At the train museum
Remembering why I love my fisheye lens: At the train museum

The kids were bored because they wanted to get in the trains, but I promised them we would ride the train on September 11th. This museum takes the trains out several times a year so we made sure to get tickets to the next ride. I can’t wait. I’m hoping Wes will really enjoy it since he’s so into things like that right now. Now, he has his favorites. He’d probably poop his diaper over excitement if I could figure out a way to get him on a Blue Recycling Truck! (his favorite) or a Big Yellow School Bus! (his second favorite) – but for now? The train will have to do.


Crafty McCraftypants

Homemade Garland

I really like making things. There are just two things that stand in my way:

1) I have absolutely, positively, NO PATIENCE.

2) I have no natural talent.

So, basically I have to take on project that require little inherent skill and can be done RIGHT NOW. Some projects take a little longer and my impatience is always noted in the careless mistakes. Take, for example, the garlands I made yesterday. (Thank you Mrs Priss.) I was trying to get the garlands done while the kids napped so I was rushing and I put the glue on the wrong side of the paper. Did I throw it aside and get a new one? NO! Takes too much time! Must hurry before patience runs out!

Homemade Garland

I just flipped it over knowing the glue would kinda be invisible after it dried. Ta-da!

Either way…this garland project? I loved it. I’ve already started draping them around NikkiZ’s room and I’m trying to think of a “boy” way to do several more in Wes’s room.

Homemade Garland
Homemade Garland
This one shows where Nikki requested jewels. Of course.

This is also a good project because I have a strange weakness for stacks of scrapbook paper in the clearance section at Hobby Lobby. Pretty paper is my Kryptonite. SERIOUSLY. I have a truly unhealthy fondness of all types of pretty paper. In other words? I have stacks of it.

Only a very small representation of my collection.

This project allows me to play with my pretty papers EVERY DAY. Because god forbid I – you know – scrapbook with it. I have no desire to scrapbook (THIS is my scrapbook!) but I luuurrrvvee scrapbooking supplies. I sometime just organize the craft storage area just so I can play with the papers and ribbons and brads. *sigh* So, DIY Paper Garland? The perfect project for someone like me.

Letters I also bought some cardboard letters and covered them with scrapbook paper and embellishments for Wes’s room. They turned out great but I’m not sure the best way to hang them. This is going to work for now, but I think I may try to put twine or something on the back and hang them higher up and horizontally. The letters are too big to go vertical, they come too low to the ground. But for now? For Me: Super Miss Impatient Lady? They let me enjoy them. I hate waiting. HATE WAITING. Which leads me to also hate precision, so don’t look at the letters too closely, okay?

Next time I think I’ll buy the kind of letters they sell at Paper Source. They look a little bit easier to work with if the instructional video is any indication. These letters I used for Wes’s room were narrow and not at all pretty on the edges so they had to be covered. The Paper Source letters are pretty all over, and look like they’d stand up on their own.

And while we’re talking Wes’s room, the garland and letters both became projects as I’ve struggle with ideas of things to hang on his walls. I’ll show you what we did with the canvases from our group painting session.


I’ve also hung up some giant animal stickers on his doors and a needlepoint D’s Mom made for his room when he was 2. I have two more pictures I found at Target to hang up and Wes’s room will finally be done! Equal parts store-bought and Mom-made. I think that’s a pretty good combination.

Sometimes I wish I had the design asthetic and desire to make my kid’s rooms look pretty. You know, like from a magazine. Mine are just…kids rooms, I guess. But I hope they’ll have fond memories of fun things on their walls and can ignore the fact that their Mom kinda has weird taste that sometimes makes it look like the actual children decorated the room instead of an actual adult.

Also all that matters? Finding any way I can justify playing with my scrapbooking papers. And if the kid’s rooms become vomit pits of color in the process? WHO CARES?

Homemade Garland
Homemade Garland
Homemade Garland
Homemade Garland

These Really ARE 4 Simple Goals

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For the first time ever in my blogging career, I’m reporting back on a “Improve Myself!” type meme I said I’d be participating in. That may be a slight exaggeration but I feel like in the million years since I’ve started this blog, I’ve done no less than 100 This Is The Big Thing I’m Doing To Change Something About Myself type of blog entries. And have I ever reported back? No. I don’t think so. I know I’ve not actually completed or been successful in any of them so if I reported back it was only once or it was to say: SCREW THAT.

But my 4 Simple Goals were…simple! So I can report back!

  • WEARING A SKIRT – I wore skirts FOUR TIMES the first week. I wore one for Sunday dinner first. Of course, I ended up also wearing PJs under it, but still. I enjoyed it so much I used the excuse of three big days of meetings or Volunteer Activities to wear skirts that week. FOUR TIMES. I loved it. Why I never thought to pursue the Skirt As Casual thing is BEYOND ME. Flip-flops or Converse. WITH A SKIRT. It’s totally my new thing. I was disappointed yesterday was a grass-mowing day as I couldn’t wear a skirt! I wore one Sunday and Tuesday and I plan on wearing another today. One of these days I’ll have a full length mirror so I can show you pictures. But I refuse to buy one until I lose weight STOP GAINING WEIGHT.
  • TAKING CAMERA EVERYWHERE – My first day doing this produced a lot of THE VERY SAME PHOTOS that I take all the time. Turns out I just am home a lot. Go figure. I’m going to try to take the camera again tomorrow but maybe plan something a bit more fun to do. Like leave the house.
  • EATING SOMETHING DIFFERENT – The first week I tried 3 or 4 different recipes. Went great. This week…so far? Unless you think trying the bag of frozen PF Changs food I found at Target as “eating something different” – I’ve not really put a lot of thought into the meals this week. I bought fresh brussel sprouts to cook as something different and Twitter gave me tons of yummy ways to try, but I haven’t done it yet. Dinner is tricky with E now back in school and D training for his Triathlon this weekend. I have to have it ready around 5pm to fit into D’s schedule but I can’t start until after 4pm because of E’s schedule. We’ll see how next week: Post Triathlon, goes.
  • GOING SOMEPLACE NEW – I took the kids to the MAIN BRANCH of the library the first week. We’ve been to our branch on our side of town many times, but the downtown BIG library? I only went there once in college and E and I think we went there once a million years ago to get him a book, but I don’t really remember it so it doesn’t count. The visit was great and Nikki was blown away by how much bigger it was. This week we tried out Gigi’s Cupcakes after dinner, just as a treat for E after getting his ingrown toenail chopped out. It was fun although I am just not a cupcake person. E’s was better than mine was, but none of us finished any of what we ordered. SO MUCH ICING. The kids didn’t even really like any of it. The icing or the cake. They’re spoiled by my cake poppers. They expect anything with the word “cake” in it to taste just like that.

So….I’m quite proud. The thing about these goals is there’s no failure. I’ve set them up so I can try every week, but if I don’t do it? Whatever. Who cares. Try again next week. But I actually look forward to the excuse each of them give me to Try something new/Look nice/Take pictures. Turns out I like to do those things in SOME WAYS…I’m not as much of a creature of habit as I thought I was. I’ve enjoyed some of the branching out. I’ve already started worrying that when the end of the year rolls around, I won’t have an excuse for these things anymore. But maybe by then? These things will simply be the new normal. How cool would that be?

Kim? Yeah. I know her. She’s the one that wears skirts and carries her camera everywhere! You should ask her for her _________ recipe, it’s great! She cooks a lot of different stuff, it’s cool. She also knows all the fun stuff in Huntsville to do/see. If I’m ever looking for something new to do I ask her.

Hey. I think that girl sounds pretty cool…don’t you?

(Although – I hear she never uses shampoo on her hair. That’s still pretty weird.)



I’ve had a lot of insignificant personal conflict in my mind lately. Just stuff that keeps me awake at night as I sit in bed and wonder how I’ll handle these little dramas that have popped up. Nothing major, just personal dilemmas keeping me awake as I struggle for solutions. They don’t bother me during the day, I’m too busy to worry about the inconsequential. But at night, in bed, when it’s quiet and I’m trying to fall asleep – these challenges really bother me. How do I fix it? How do I make it work? How do it resolve this so it doesn’t make me so sad when the lights go out?

Last night I found myself missing Prayer. I am not religious, I don’t believe in any version of a god that any Christian church defines. But I used to. I used to be very religious. I used to say the rosary and go to church and Pray. I prayed constantly. The peace that someone would be there for me, help me through the gray days, that was so comforting. I remember I would ask god for strength at least once a day. That was my token prayer. “Please, God. Give me strength to make it through this drama in my life.” And while I know that on paper none of my teenage dramas were really that tragic, I remember the depression and the sadness and the anxiety associated with those dramas. THAT was real. I remember that comfort Prayer gave me. Sometimes I think that refuge, the Prayer with my God at that time, saved my life.

I stopped believing a long time ago. I know I’ll never have church back in my life for reasons I don’t have the time or the words to explain. I don’t miss church. I don’t miss religion. I don’t miss the guilt or the dogmas or anything associated with that point in my life.

But I miss prayer. I miss just being able to talk to someone about what was bothering me. Someone who I didn’t worry about judging me (Hee. That’s funny.) or thinking me a bad person. Someone who would just listen and give me comfort in knowing I was not alone. I tried to pray last night, just to see if I could without the belief in the person on the other end of the line. No dice. So, I just struggled again with unheard conversations in my mind.

I know religious people and I have church-going friends and family who have said they don’t pray and I always find this jolting. Really? Isn’t that the best part of church is being able to pray? Maybe I used prayer differently than the average religious person, but to me? Prayer was what held me to the church even as long as I stayed. I probably actually stopped believing 15 years ago, or more, but I tried different faiths and different churches for 5 years or so after that. Because I couldn’t give up praying. But somewhere along the way, the prayers went the way of every other part of my religious past. Faded into nonexistence.

But I tried again last night, just to see how it felt. It felt wrong and weird and really made me giggle a little out loud. Really, Kim? You’re praying? YOU? I don’t think so.

So, I just keep trucking along the usual way. Working things out in my head until I finally get some peace. It’s not as romantic as prayer, but it works. Sometimes.

I know a lot of us have bonded over past religious lives and find ourselves in similar agnostic positions as adults. What parts of it do you miss?