Wednesday, August 12, 2015


*I know. I KNOW. A lot has happened since I last blogged (I had a baby! He’s a beautiful 15 month old ball of fire now! Major house things! A new path with my business!). Maybe someday I’ll catch you up on it, but I make no guarantees. The boys are with my mom for the week, so I have a little time on my hands while waiting drywall mud to dry. 

If you're here for my usual wit and humor (ha), you won't find it in this post.

For the first time since becoming a parent, I had trouble falling asleep last night. I lay awake in my bed for probably an hour and a half before falling asleep, terrified of what I thought could be happening.

From about birth to age three-and-a-half, my sweet son O has been my husband. Everyone saw it and commented on it, “Oh, he is a mini-Tots!” “He is his daddy’s son, isn’t he?” “I feel like I’m looking at Tots 25 years ago!” As much as I would’ve liked to see some of my traits in my son, I was really happy about this conclusion everyone had come to. I love my husband, and I am so proud to have a son who is just like him. But as we get closer to 4, the tide seems to be turning.

If you’ve read the blog before, or if you know me on a personal level, you know that anxiety is something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember, and depression has been an unwelcome visitor to me more than once or twice. Unfortunately, mental illness runs in my family… and you probably know where I’m headed with this.

In the last couple of months, I've started seeing my younger self in O in the form of some of the fears and concerns he has (some typical for a 4 year old, others not). One night, after expressing my concerns to Tots, he looked at me and said the words I had been fearing, “I guess he might be more like you than we thought.”

I always knew that if my children turned out like my husband, they would be fine. They would be strong and confident, smart, capable of anything. The world would knock them down, but they would be so damned stubborn, they would get back up and give it the middle finger. Resilient. Driven. Successful. But what if they turn out like me? What if they inherit the one thing I never wanted them to even see, let alone experience first-hand?

I don’t ever want either of my sons to know the crippling weight of anxiety; questioning every miniscule decision they have to make, extensively planning their every move, lying awake at night because their brain won’t turn off long enough to let them fall asleep. I can’t bear the thought of the weight of depression on their shoulders; unshakeable sadness, loss of their joys and passions, thoughts about what this world would look like without them in it. But the hard truth is, they might. In fact, they probably will. Genetics is not on their side on this one. 

As a mother, what can I do? I can’t fight the enemy we can’t see. I would hold them and absorb it all from them; I would carry that weight on my own shoulders if I could. I can’t. All I can do is be there for them and be open with them about my own struggles (as counter-intuitive as that feels), and hope to God that I can find a way to keep the lines of communication open enough that they know they can talk to me about their feelings, especially in the turbulent teenage years.

I don’t know how to end this post, because I don’t feel like there is a conclusion to this topic. It recently dawned on me, I will never be “cured.” There will never be an end to this for me. I will probably always have cycles of ups and downs, and I will probably always be tweaking my ‘treatment plan’ to find the balance I need (right now, my plan of working so hard and staying so busy I just collapse at the end of the day rather than having time to think is beginning to fall apart. More on that some other time. Maybe). There are moments of peace and happiness, but there is no end.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


As a side-effect of my pregnancy personality, I’m especially scatter-brained and I’m having a lot of crazy side-thoughts. I’ve color-coded this post so it’s easier for you to read. Anything in red is probably just nonsensical babbling that isn't really relevant and you don't really need to read. Or you can, just don’t take it seriously, because it really just distracts from the main point of this post. Which is basically that I'm a whiny toddler and I want what I want and I want it two hours ago.

As I think I mentioned before, I’m about 6 months pregnant. The little squirrel will be here in approximately three months and one day, if he’s a timely guy (I think you can tell a lot about a kid based on their due date/arrival date. O, for example, showed up a couple of days late. Not terrible, but he is sort of a dawdler now. I hope this one is a little more schedule-conscious and can help his big brother out). This means I’m in full-on nesting mode… I’m talking FULL. ON. Not painting rooms or purchasing nursery decor. Bigger projects. Like knocking holes in walls and floors (to move basement stairs… not to just have a hole in the floor. As cool as it could be, it would be awfully hazardous with kids running amok). Since I know it’s probably not realistic to completely turn my floor plan upside down, I thought it might be a good time to take on a smaller, easier project.

One thing I’ve wanted to do since we moved in is tear out our carpet. Is it terrible? No. Honestly, it’s in surprisingly good shape for everything it’s been through. I’m just a borderline germophobe, and that existing aversion to all things “icky” is amplified with the prospect of a new baby in the home. Our house sat dormant for who knows how long before it was purchased and uprooted from it’s former foundation and moved to our plot. Then, construction workers traipsed through it on a nearly daily basis as they repaired walls, dripping drywall mud and dragging tools across it. I think with a good deep steam cleaning, it would be alright (definitely not beautiful, but livable for a while).

Why not just have someone come in and take care of all of my carpet to get rid of the “ick”? Because that’s what a sane person would do. Because one of the first things I noticed when we moved in was that this carpet was covering beautiful hardwood floors throughout our dining room (who carpets a freaking dining room? Someone without kids, apparently), living room, hallway, and bedrooms. Basically the whole house, with the exception of the kitchen and bathroom. Of course when I saw that, I immediately wanted to tear out every shred of carpet in my home and refinish those suckers! I’ve got a toddler and a dog… and a mean case of the “pregnancy dropsies” myself. My carpet is anything but clean, and it’s not going to be that way for a very long time. Why not eliminated the problem altogether and get something that’s a little easier to clean? Especially if it’s already there! It’s like my own little gold mine in my house! (okay, not a gold mine, but definitely a diamond in the rough)*

So, what makes more sense than tearing out your carpet and refinishing your floors when your 6 months pregnant? Um… not doing that, probably. Or that’s what Tots thinks anyway. Fun-hater. When I brought the idea up to him, he shot it down immediately, shattering my dreams. Something about it not being a necessity and being a lot of work, I think. I sort of quit listening after he said no and started plotting how and when I could do this without his help. 

Of course the first person I called was my dad… and oddly enough, he agreed with my husband, that this was probably not the time to take this project on (What the heck, dad?! You're supposed to be on my side! It's probably your fault I'm this crazy anyway!). Like a toddler throwing a tantrum, I huffed and puffed and kicked and screamed- in my head. It went a little something like this “No, no no no. I WANT IT! I! WANT! IT! NOW!” (Not bad, right? I learned from one of the best.) I think all I outwardly did was sigh heavily and give a disgusted look.

So then, with my two main resources acting as roadblocks, I did what everyone does- I googled it. Surely this is something I could still pull off, right? Oh… I would need to tarp off the areas of my house that I’m not working in? Okay. Well, the dining room is really the only way to access my kitchen and mudroom. McDonalds and Subway for every meal! Sweet, that’s a silver lining, right? What else? Uh… it takes about a week for the poly to completely cure before I can move my furniture back into that room? Crap… I could move my dining room furniture and my bedroom furniture in the living room for a week. I guess O could live with grandma for a week. What’s what? I need to worry about ventilation? Ugh. Nebraska weather… this probably won’t happen until mid-April, if I need to be able to open my windows! Wait… I’m pregnant. Duh. There are certain things I am not allowed to be around, and things that are probably borderline “okay” but still not recommended. Floor dust and stain/polyurethane fumes probably fall into one of those two categories.

Long story short (or not, really, because if you’re still reading this, you just read the long story), I’m at a dead end and feeling pretty frustrated about it. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this project will not be happening until after the little squirrel makes his appearance. I suppose I need to find a less fume-y project that I can complete on my own until after he gets here. Perhaps I’ll finish one of my 50 half-finished projects in the garage? Ha. Right.

In other news, my birthday is coming up! I’m debating about what I should put on my “birthday list” (I don’t really get a birthday list, I’ll just find something I really like and tell Tots it’s my birthday gift when I casually bring up purchasing it). I’m thinking a Kreg Jig… anyone have one? All I’ve heard are great things, but I’d love to hear your reviews too. I’m also thinking Kreg Right Angle Clamp might be in order too.

* I know many of you will come at me with the argument of carpeted floors being warmer and more comfortable, and you’re not wrong, but I have a million and one arguments for wood floors… I’m not going to make them all, but if you didn’t know already, we are dog people (see this post). I never had an indoor dog as a child and always desperately wished for one, so I will probably always have one as an adult (neener-neener, mom). Dogs are messy and mine especially seems to be a carpet-killer. This reason on its own is enough for me.

**It really seems like I made Tots out to be hard-ass dream-squisher bad guy here. He's totally not. He actually probably accommodates my crazy more often than most would, so maybe this is why it comes as such a shock when he doesn't (cautiously) jump on board the crazy-train.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The DIY Home Project Roller Coaster

Hello! I hope you all had a great Valentines Day and still have plenty of chocolate left. I had a hot date with a pizza, my yoga pants, and Netflix. Oh, and Tots, O, and Dex were there too, so that was cool.

As I mentioned in my last post, we recently moved... into a bit of a dump a fixer-upper. I know there are some of you out there who have been there, done that (and have the nail gun scars and PTSD to prove it) and can remember how I'm feeling, and there are probably some of you out there who are at the beginning of this process, like us. And, heck, there may even be a lucky few of you who have never had to go through this process and are wondering if the rest of us need our heads checked (and the answer is undeniably a resounding and echoing YES).

Here's the thing nobody tells you about moving into a project house. You're strapping yourself into a mental and emotional roller coaster. The sense of hope you feel when you first decide to buy your dump your fixer-upper and as you begin to make plans for what will eventually become your dream home is dizzying. We can do this! All we have to do is get by for a couple of years until we're eventually able to do the full renovation. Just look at all that potential! Oh, and the charming farmhouse style sink! That puppy is original!

That hope carries you through until the second time you walk through the doors, this time to clean, before you move in. The dizzying hope turns to spiraling hopelessness. Will this house ever be clean? What the heck IS this in the bathtub? Can I even cook in this kitchen? That charming original kitchen sink is less charming and more concerning now that I have to do dishes in it. We are SO wearing shoes forever until we can replace this nasty carpet. Can O just go live with his grandparents until we've completely renovated? Holy crap... O! Can we really raise a kid in this mess? How are we supposed to get any work done with a toddler running around? And a new baby?! Can our marriage survive a renovation?! What the hell were we thinking?!

And then, just when you're ready to pull out all of your hair, comes the excitement of a new project. Yay! We're going to make a little progress! This is my chance to make my own little safe haven in this rat's nest (not literally, so far. We've only had 1 mouse to date). I'm so excited!

Of course, two days into the project when you no longer have a toilet on the main floor (or a shower or bathtub in your house at all), you start to feel a little crazy again. Who in their right minds does this? There are people who do this work for a living... can we just call them? And maybe move into a hotel for the week? I just want to pee without having to put my shoes and coat on to go down to my unfinished basement! Jeepers it's cold down there! We are never doing this again!

And then comes the joy, a week later when the project is finished* (only 2 days past it's originally scheduled finish date). Oh my gosh! This looks great! This is my new favorite room in the house! Which room can we do next? Can I tear out my kitchen next year? Casey's pizza and McDonald's doesn't make a terrible Christmas dinner, does it? We could survive on pb & j sandwiches for a week and a half. Our tub is in now, so we could always do dishes in there... OR, maybe this is an excuse to go exclusively to paper plates and plastic ware for Christmas break. SCORE!
*Oh, and also your definition of the word "finished" gets a slight modification.

Am I the only one who has ever felt this way? I grew up as the daughter of two DIY'ers. I remember gutting and remodeling every house we've ever occupied, and I don't remember it ever being anything besides a wonderful adventure. I guess time (and parenthood, and the fact that it's now my budget rather than my parents') changes a person's perspective. Tots and I are in this one for the long haul, for better or worse. And I'm pretty sure I need my head checked. Just 2 short months after finishing our bathroom renovation*, I'm chomping at the bit to do something else. Tear out some carpet and refinish our hardwood floors? Swoon. Sand and paint our nasty kitchen linoleum until we can actually do a full kitchen renovation? My heart races at the thought (and YES! That's actually a thing! I just learned this week that you can paint linoleum! I've intentionally been avoiding the hardware store because I'm not sure I'd be able to restrain myself... and then I'd have a lot of explaining to do when Tots gets home from work).
*again, our definition of "finished" is not what it once was

I'll keep you posted on our progress, but until then, if anyone has any words of encouragement or the names of good contractors they'd like to pass along, I will gladly accept either.

Friday, February 7, 2014

I survived the holidays and all I got was a soccer mom starter kit.

In true Hurricane Jessie style, I want to wish you all the happiest New Year!! Only a month late, right? 

I've been thinking about you all. I've wanted to come back here, but it's sort of like your hometown. If you leave and you're gone for too long, you almost feel like an intruder when you come back. I’ve had some great intentions of doing more, doing it better, and making more of it. And then I opened my eyes and it was February 7th. Where does my time go?! (Don’t answer that, Netflix.)

I hope you all got through the holidays well and are still carrying with you the excitement and sense of renewal that every new year seems to bring (I also hope you are NOT still carrying with you those 5 extra pounds of holiday weight... that's not just me, is it?). I’m still working hard to figure out what I should focus on for 2014 (surprise, surprise)… maybe it should be FOCUS in general. 

In all seriousness, a real goal of mine is to make more time to do things that make me happy. Not work stuff, not housework, not television (sorry Netflix). I’m still trying to figure out how to carve out that hour or even just 30 minutes each day to be by myself and be creative. Why does it seem like there are so many competing forces in our universe all of the time? As soon as I carve out my 30 minutes of creative time, my physical side says “where’s MY 30 minutes of uninterrupted workout time?” and then my brain asks me why I haven’t finished reading 3 of the books that have been on my iPad for the last year now. Pinterest, of course, wants to know what’s wrong with our relationship and why I haven’t been spending as much time with her (The truth? She’s a one-upping bitch who can’t help but be a show-off. Anyone besides me think we could all use a little less of that in our lives? Unfortunately, I don’t think I can tell her that, because I don’t want to sever our ties for good).

I would love to tell you in detail what I’ve been up to since my last post in August, but it would be way too long and boring. Here is the super-condensed version: change of employment, starting up 2 businesses (and letting them both slowly starve- and then trying to figure out how to resuscitate), baby on the way, change of address, change in commute time, and a major, MAJOR change in hairstyle. Sprinkle in there a couple of serious "where the heck is my shoe/purse/cellphone/car keys" moments, and you get the picture.

I think Tots and I went through all of the life changes we’re going to go through for the next 3 years in the matter of the last 3 months, but that tends to be how we do things. Oh, I should also add to the list that I officially had to relinquish my “cool mom” card as of last night. We sold our beautiful Chevy Silverado and in it’s place now sits a  (drumroll, please….) less-than-lustrous minivan. WOO HOOO! With a 2-year old, a baby on the way, and now a minivan, it’s like 2014 brought me my very own soccer mom starter kit! Merry Christmas!

Alright, so behind my sarcasm, I’m not nearly as bitter as I sound. While 2013 brought some major life changes, I think they were all for the better. I left the job I started in January and returned to my old job, which is what I was truly passionate about anyway. There were a few modifications made and it’s not a permanent position, but it is a beautiful reality for me for right now. I will leave my position in early May, just in time to have a couple of peaceful weeks at home before baby #2 (lovingly referred to as my Little Squirrel) arrives. From that point on, I will be at home with my 3 (and a half) guys… probably perpetually putting down the toilet seat and mopping up muddy footprints. Because life is about to get much more complicated, I can't hate on the minivan too much. I know that although un-glamorous, the minivan will be a symbol of stability, convenience, and reliability in my less than stable universe. From my garage I can already hear her whisper "It's okay if you don't want to put on real pants today... That hoodie looks very becoming on you... That ketchup on your shirt really brings out your eyes... McDonald's for breakfast rather than homemade? Great choice!"

Obviously, we are thrilled about the Little Squirrel, and I’m toeing the line between wet-my-pants-excitement and sheer terror for his arrival. O seems really jazzed to be a big brother and talks a lot about sharing his toys. I know it would never hold up in court, but I’m considering having him sign a contract stating that he will hold true to his word after Squirrel’s arrival.

Our move has probably been the biggest change. We now live in the town where Tots works. This means I’m commuting every day for about 45 minutes each morning and evening. With a 2 year old. I am definitely not complaining; I know some people have it much worse, and I know it’s worth it to remain on staff at a job I’m passionate about. The only thing I would change about the whole thing is if I could go back in time and strangle Passenger before they had the chance to record Let Her Go diversify my musical collection.

I’m definitely excited about my new hairstyle. This is obviously not a fashion or beauty blog, but my pixie cut does deserve a mention. My hairstyle prep time in the mornings went from 30 minutes minimum (that was on a lazy day) to about 15 minutes max. Why didn’t I do this years ago?! That being said, I’m already in the process of growing it out because I’m having major hair envy  worried about looking like Miley Cyrus  fickle like that and I’m perpetually trying to change something.

So, there’s my life for the last few months in a nutshell. I foresee many blog posts about our house, since we moved into a sort-of dump. She’s got great bones, but it’s time for a facelift along with some implants and serious grooming some updating, possibly an addition and major landscaping.