When Swim Lessons and Botox Collide

Most of the time Tiny 1 spends his time doing things like this:

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I passionately love this about him. I walk into his room after “quiet time” (otherwise known as my nap time but he thinks it’s when I solve world problems) and find him jabbering on about why he’s going to sell off this “naughty company”, making up songs, turning his room into cities with places like “cooky playground” or just painting himself.

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He entertains me immensely, especially after a nice session to myself of lunch, quick snooze and SVU reruns while folding the endless laundry.

This little 4-year-old of mine is a delight and a joy, until he has to try something new that is not his idea. For example, swimming lessons. I signed him up because I love him dearly and he must know how to be safe in the water. He must. He took private lessons last summer and screamed the entire time. It was fine because no one had to share this experience with me and the teacher was also a mother. THIS year I thought I had invested enough in his initial water safety and signed up for a more reasonably priced group lesson at the YMCA. He didn’t want to go but we discussed it before hand and he knew what to expect. He threw somewhat of a fit the first day and then was fine. The disaster struck when he got a new teacher.

Back story; I’m not 30 anymore. I like to look, shall we say, fresh like I just stepped out of a pilates class with glowing skin on a Lifetime movie. I do not look my freshest these days as I have developed hormonal acne. Fun stuff, said no one EVER. When I discussed both the acne and weight gain this year with my OBGYN, he told me that if I planned on eating each day, I should also plan on exercising each day. I was hoping he would say there was an obvious hormonal imbalance and he had a magic solution that would not only fix my discussed problems but also increase my hair volume. Nope. The second doctor I saw was the dermatologist to fix the hormonal acne. While I was there, I saw he was running a Botox special. I decided to go for it in a quest for that fresh look. I looked like this 48 hours later.

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I share this because it all coincided with the change in swim coaches. The day of the switch of coaches, I worked out ahead of time using the free child care the Y offers because I had chosen to eat that day. I had already complained (because that’s what I do) about the lack of sufficient air circulation in the cardio room but they didn’t particularly care. So I not only had a giant black eye but I was a hot, sweaty mess from the humid, non circulating air post workout. I gathered Tiny 1 from the nursery and took him to the pool for lessons. He arrived, saw there was a new teacher and promptly began the biggest tantrum I have ever experienced with him. He was wearing a tiny European swim suit (the only adorable part of the story), and started running away from the pool while I yelled, “NO RUNNING NEAR THE POOL.” While I attempted to contain him mid run, he yelled he would only swim with his old coach, threw himself on the ground and screamed to the point where other parents were staring and surely wondering if there was something intrinsically wrong with us as Tiny was screaming and I had the giant black eye and looked like a sweaty maniac hissing at my son to “follow instructions” and “no Disneyland if you don’t get in the water.” In all fairness, I also would have been wondering this as a spectator. We exited the pool for a calm down period, for both of us, and he went back up afterwards and sat but did not participate. After the lesson, he spent the afternoon in his room. In theory this is punishment, but he learned he could turn his curtains into a hammock, fit completely behind his closet drawers and wrote a note of apology to his swim coach for his behavior, which we laminated with it being a swim class atmosphere.

He loves swimming again. We have discussed moving up levels means new teachers and perhaps we can meet them ahead of time.

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My black eye has healed and I wear a bit of lip gloss to work out so I can look somewhat pulled together should the need arise again. I can’t change his intensity but I can control mine. His intensity is one of my favorite parts about him and I will take that bad for all that good. I don’t really have a plan yet for the future, but I’m working on that. I know he will work on it with me. Chances are, I will receive a detailed map on the physical steps to take to make the problem disappear post quiet time. He’s just that kid.

 

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Is It Crossing the Line?

We have a tooth issue. I am aware that this will be an anthill and not a mountain in terms of parenting, but it is where we are, and I am enjoying this small, small moment. My T is 4 and 3/4. He had 8 teeth by 8 months. The average first tooth bursts through at 7 months. Our dentist said he has advanced tooth development; I pray this influences his brain but not puberty. Dear Lord, please not advanced puberty. I still have vivid images of the story of an advanced cousin in his daddy’s Cadillac at age 13….no, not advanced puberty in this house. Anyhow, his first tooth became loose at age 3.5. It was so unusual that he had his first x-rays at this early age and all those big ole adult teeth were right there, waiting patiently to rear their jagged heads.

Preschool was an adjustment for my little man. His teachers rarely got to see him in his full glory as he was busy watching and not talking. During snack time mid school year, his first tooth fell. When I picked him up, he saw me and burst into tears—inconsolable, preschool angst ridden tears. Selfishly, I panicked for a moment worried that his teachers would think I was abusing him, but I quickly realized this was not about me and was a parenting moment.

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He settled down at home and definitely wanted the tooth fairy to come, but he did NOT want the creepy tiny flying thing visiting his room while he slept. I get it. It makes sense. A tooth fairy???? Come on history.

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His second tooth is loose. His favorite 2 foods that give him complete, unadultered child joy are king crab legs and corn on the cob. His first loose tooth lost its last leg while eating the corn on the cob. Now, he will not eat it. In fact, he will not bite anything with his front teeth. He is terrified of the second tooth biting the dust. Watching him eat is not a treat. The length he will go to avoid anything touching the tooth is somewhat fascinating, but I do believe that proper table manners are important and he is appearing a savage with the tooth issue. I have explained both gently and with a slight amount of frustration that he will lose it. There is nothing he can do to stop the progression of teeth. Since he is so clearly my child, I understand all of these fears about growing and getting bigger/older, and I have not been able to help him calm his terror of losing teeth. The tooth is starting to turn a color that no one would put in a giant box of crayons and it sticks out at an angle that, were it a limb, would be cast in a pleasant neon shade. This tiny tooth needs to go.

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I am not allowed to touch it. This wonderfully tactile child who could be worn on my body like a silk scarf will not allow me to come near it. I have offered to PAY him to let me see how loose it is. He locks down iron jaws when I come near it. I recently had an idea that seems brilliant, yet perhaps crosses the line. For the past 2 nights, I have gone in when he is completely asleep and wiggled the little brown tooth to encourage its exit into a little box where I, as his mother, will keep it safe and cry over it when he hits his delayed puberty.

Is this wrong?

A Change of Attitude

Summer break is here. The tiny one is out of school. We all (well not sweet Daddy) sleep in a little later and have our days completely free. We have zero plans in general, with a bit of swimming thrown in later on in the summer. It is both daunting and exhilarating. Tiny 1 is against plans. He inherited this from me. I shun planning in general. He shuns planning AND clothing. He likes to be free to work. He told me last week he had too much work to do to go to a party because his work would probably take him all day. Knowing him, I have not signed him up for any camps. I have gone back and forth on this decision, but he’s at his happiest working in his backyard.

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Knowing his tinier brother, I have ordered a gate for the yard. This adorable, little blonde meatball is a menace.
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Summer just started and I found myself yelling at everyone on Monday, rolling my eyes, threatening and basically being a rotten human, not just a rotten mother. They were naughty, but they are 4 and 21 months, not adults. I thought to myself that the summer was going to be awful and I should find something for them to do, for someone else to watch them sometimes. I went to bed that night and could not sleep. I felt so ashamed. I have 2 tiny, wonderful boys and their moods revolve around mine. If I am naughty, they will of COURSE be naughty. I spent a long time reflecting upon the challenge given to me this summer and the gift of these boys. My original plan was to savor their tiny selves and I was failing, audibly. I decided I needed to change my attitude, something I had been commanding my oldest child to do that day. I prayed that I could do it. I asked for help, and I thought of how much I loved open summer days when I was little.

Guess what? I’m on day 2 of pure bliss. There was a giant temper tantrum in Target yesterday where I ran into so many people I knew, including someone I have been trying to integrate into my friend circle. I was calm and kind. I kept focusing on my attitude change. I was punched in the eye by the tiny meatball and I was again calm and kind–and put him in bed. Attitude change is my motto on refrain.

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Today, we have been building with boxes in our courtyard. We woke up with a mission! We drove around looking for free boxes and then bought a few. Their little eyes sparkled with joy and their faces were colored orange with fake cheese from chips. They’ve eaten primarily junk food and we have been having a marvelous time. They each got to choose a paint roller at Home Depot. The meatball kept throwing both rollers out of the cart, severely upsetting his brother who chose his with such care and would never behave in such a manner, but I could see the humor in it and told him to just sit on them so the meatball could not get to them. I gave the little naughty blonde more Doritos to sidetrack him. He snuck 4 lollipops while I wasn’t watching. It’s summer. I’m cool with it with my new attitude.

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We got home and planned, arranged, rearranged, cut and taped the boxes. My tinies chose a tall wardrobe box to be a house with a tunnel connecting to an apartment. An empty plant container is a chimney. After nap, the painting began.

Daddy came home early and was somewhat caught off guard, but the excitement pulled him into the fun while I went for a quick workout. We couldn’t get Tiny 1 to come inside until his stomach forced him. He painted the outside of his work and then started the inside. Tomorrow he plans to draw and hang pictures for the inside. His pride is palpable. Tiny 2 ate a popsicle after painting for a while. It was a glorious day.

It is hard to be patient sometimes. It is REALLY hard to manage big feelings, but it is my job. I signed up for it. It was worth it today. I pray I remain the adult and keep up the attitude change. Summer is full of possibilities with an empty schedule. “It is well with my soul.”

 

A Dozen Years

I have been married for a dozen years on June 10th. I keep reflecting on this. I like the sound of it more than the sound of 12 years. I think it is the materialist in me. A dozen eggs, a dozen necklaces, a dozen doughnuts….mmmm. Like a dozen eggs, a couple of years have been cracked and (emotionally) discarded, but most of them have made wonderful food for the soul. I am happy. I am sated. I look forward with joy in my marriage. I know that a dozen years later, I am still beloved to him, as he is to me.

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My husband and I met in high school. Adolescence threw me two giant curve balls otherwise known as breasts and I went from an A cup to a D cup in one year. This is NOT the stuff dreams are made of for a young girl, despite how it may sound. There was a traumatic bra buying incident where my mother learned that she could fit her head inside the cup of my bra. I loved that woman madly, but my 14-year-old humor had not evolved enough for that joke.

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I reference my gigantic adolescent boobs because they are responsible for meeting my husband. Any and every 16-year-old boy is interested in advanced female physical development and we started dating. Any adult can tell you this is not enough to sustain a relationship and 4 weeks later it was over because he fell deeply in love with my dearest friend. I loved her far more than I liked him and we all moved on in high school. By that I mean that I detested him but still loved her.

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Fast forward 10 years and a meeting as adults. I lived in Manhattan and he lived in Chicago. He found my email address we became really good friends. His humor got me. His humor! Our locations dictated that our friendship had to come first and I am forever grateful for this. Without a physical connection, we learned so much about each other. I went through a quarter life crisis and he was my rock, my sounding board and my greatest cheerleader. To this day, he is my greatest cheerleader. His belief in my abilities lifts my heart and I pray he never finds out I am not as talented as he believes.

We have had times when we did not really like one another. We have had times when a bit of the faith in love was lost. There was a year I was really mad and did not know how to get passed it. There were a few years where we were broken together trying to start a family.

In all of that, we had faith and perseverance because of our foundation. That friendship forged on a landline phone grounded us. Our knowledge and love of what was deep down inside has sustained our marriage. I love him and depend on his love returned. He is the best father for our two boys. I pinch myself when I think about what he does for our family. A lot of it he does because that is who he is as a man, but I know there is quite a bit in it because he loves me. That makes me swoon just as it did a dozen years ago saying “I do.”

A few years ago he asked me why I had chosen to get a breast reduction. I felt like he was speaking a different language. I looked at him and said it was because they were miserable, always in the way and probably would be to my waist by now. He said, “They were the coolest thing ever.”

I kind of love that the awful teenager still resides just a little bit inside the body of the most beloved man. Cheers Patrick, to us and a dozen years!

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Stocking Stuffer Musts–If Santa Is Not A Sure Thing

I am incapable of shutting my mouth and smiling kindly when backed into a corner. It is a glaring flaw in my personality. Just today I was telling my mom about a conversation where my inner common sense was screaming at me to just listen to someone I completely disagreed with and let it go. Just listen and let it go. Nope. I firmly ignored that poised inner beauty and let the sweaty, striped capri pant, crazy haired girl with red armpits from laser treatment carry on like a Halloween lunatic. I’ve been this way since childhood. This unfortunate characteristic was the reason for the entire Santa Claus unmasking. The well mannered, quiet girl would have gotten a couple more years of childhood, but the loud mouth had to be protected by her mother. Here is what happened.

Third grade started off with getting an out-of-the-blue giant nosebleed on my new dress, on the first day of school and my teacher would not let me walk the one block home to change my dress. This was a sign, in hindsight. Near Christmas vacation, we were in class doing a Christmas craft. The girl next to me said Santa Claus was not real. I told her if she believed that then he would not come and bring her presents. She said that she knew he was not real. This started a full blown discussion/argument including everyone around our desks and I was the ONLY one on my side. (Ok, Kristen Amy, WHERE WERE YOU, best friend??) I went home and indignantly replayed it all for my mother. A couple of hours later, she took me across the street to our church, early before choir practice. We sat in the sanctuary and she told me that Santa was really named Leanne and Dennis–but really just Leanne because I know my dad wasn’t picking out the presents. I sobbed. I was devastated. I asked if this meant that the tooth fairy also was not real. So many dreams were shattered that night.

IF Santa is not a sure thing for your stocking, may I suggest some must haves to make the holiday stocking commercial, merry and feminine.

BEAUTY Category:

I found the brand Beautycounter and am a convert. They stand on the premise that we must do a better job promoting safer products. Our skin is our largest organ and we slather it with unregulated chemicals. Rest assured that everything this mom owned company sells is safer for you and your littles. I sell it on the side, but these are two of my favorites. I could go crazy telling you about all my favs, but here are a couple. Want more info, http://www.beautycounter.com/katieszurpicki

Cleansing Balm, or aka miracle balm. $80 and lasts about 6 months. The price is steep, but lasts forever and is worth every cent. Cleanse your face with it, remove make up, slather it all over after a day in the sun or a day in a blizzard, rub it over bitten cuticles or tiny cuts. It is the most incredible soothing product I have ever used. The incredible scent comes from essential citrus oils.

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Beautycounter Body Butter, $39. Winter dries out your skin. You need that extra layer of thickness to protect yourself. My fingers crack, even in 65 degree weather. This is amazing. Again, the scent is from essential citrus oil. You are paying for the extra time in sourcing the ingredients and time spent ensuring its quality and safety. Support safer products. My lion cub has very sensitive skin and this soothes his baby eczema.

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Lush bath bombs. Perhaps the phrase “it’s the bomb” came from referring to this fabulousness? My entire family loves these. I convinced my child at 10 months that baths were tolerable with the magic dragon egg bath bomb that turned colors as it fizzed. Buy them. Don’t worry if your tub turns a color. A good clorox spritz will get rid of it and you can bathe again with more of these magic balls. http://www.lush.com

Everyone Soap and Lotion, $11ish. I found these at Whole Foods, although available on Amazon.com as well. This is a non GMO and essential oil scented line. This is a HUGE bang for your buck and it’s fantastic. I bubble up the boys’ bath to the tippy top and then turn around and use it neck to toe on myself. This is my new fav for the bathing process.

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Living Proof Dry Volume Blast, $29 sephora.com. I just received an unfortunate haircut that I am referring to as the reverse mullet. I have more styling options with this as my #1 favorite hair product. Spray it after drying your hair, all over, mess it up and finish styling. It is equally as awesome as their dry shampoo. Don’t judge the product by my hair, just trust me.

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Wearables:

Ditch the conventional stocking and fill up some pretty cowboy boots with goodies instead. This is the most versatile shoe ever. I’ve been wearing boots for 20 plus years. I’ve given up my highest heels after having 2 teenies, but boots make me feel pretty and I can chase my cubs at the park in them. If you’re new, don’t go conservative. Jump in. Wear color. Cute dress with boots? Why not. Skinny jeans tucked in? Absolutely. Feeling fat? Boyfriend jeans, cuffed with a hint of boot peeking out. Perfection. No one looks at thighs when you have a detailed boot. http://www.countryoutfitter.com has my favs. Check out the Corral brand. Yes. Please.

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Athleta Chauranga capri, $64. It may be the first stripe to make thighs appear thinner and your booty perkier. I swear on all that is sacred that this is the BEST capri ever made. Put an IOU in the stocking with this picture because they’re back ordered until January, but get them. GET THEM!! Amazing. Plus, you can size down. Vanity sizing works for me. They come in a full length tight as well, but the fabrication is not the same. The magic is in the capri.

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Lou and Grey Steeeetch top, $59.50. Lou and Grey has wearable pajama fabrics. It’s the equivalent of a security blanket that has been washed 1000 times. Their fabrics are to die for. The fit is beautiful and skirts the timeless and trendy category in just the right way. I like this top because you can go full on athleisure with it. Pretend you are going to the gym when you pair this with your chaturanga capri. Check out the thumb tab on the sleeve. You look like you are pulled together with fitness goals. Win.

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Thingies:

Thegrommet.com. This site is my current obsession. They launch new products regularly and it is all based upon individual creativity. I. LOVE. IT. MADLY. You also get a video of the product. Check out the chicken launcher game. I was crying with laughter. BUT, to continue with the feminine stocking stuffer, I really eye balled the Impwear laminated cotton bags starting at $24.95. Laminated cotton. This not only appeals to the mother in me, but the clean freak. It is a giant pain to clean makeup bags, but I gag when bags get too dirty. This is a wipe down bag WITH a loop to hook upon things. You have several options in color combos too. Perfection.

JBL Flip 3 Wireless speaker, $79.99 (currently at Target.com). I’m not tech savvy. I know Beats and Bose have these too, but the JBL had the best price and I love it. I hook up my Pandora app from my phone and have been rocking out to Christmas carols (Hello Trans Siberian and Manheim Steamroller) since November 1. I love that there are color options too. Perfect for a techie wannabe.

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Oil Diffuser. I’m not into candles. I don’t like the dust that accumulates on top and I’m over plug ins now that I have discovered the beauty of essential oils. I am a sucker. Plus, I feel fancy blending the scents. I am a scent junkie and this hits the spot. Plus, if you blend Eastern and Western medicine, there is science to essential oils and healing properties. In full disclosure, I rubbed fennel oil all over myself in an attempt to nurse the tiniest tiny longer and it didn’t work. However, I diffuse the left over fennel oil and it works instantly to make me smile with its scent. Amazon has a million oil diffusers to choose from.Youngliving.com has the best oils, but man are they expensive! Their Thieves oil is both therapeutic (hello cold and flu season) and it’s the best smell ever. It comes in cleaning products as well as the oil. It is the icing on the essential oil cake. It is, however, about $41.

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Here are a couple from Amazon that I have loved blending and are in the $7-$12 range. Clove and sweet orange are lovely together and perfect for a cozy winter afternoon. They are not just for the ladies either. My husband asked for a diffuser and starter set for his office. Boom.

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LaMarca Prosecco sparkling wine. My dad decided he had enough ties and shirts and decided to switch to buying fancy wine. He built a wine rack and started buying wine from The Wall Street Journal recommendations. He has a dot system for coding how fancy the fancy wine is. His children are not allowed to choose bottles with dots on them, certainly not a 3 dot bottle. In fact, after I stayed in my parents’ home for 5 weeks and they were concerned we would never leave, he implemented a top shelf only rule for me. I am only allowed to help myself to top shelf wine. He brought this one home for me one night. It’s very moderately priced and has a great sparkling taste that is not too sweet. Thank you Dad.

Cards Against Humanity Game. This is not a new game, but so funny and wrong. It’s wrong that one might put it in a stocking, which makes it so right. You learn about people and how to play to your judge. For example, I learned my mother generally played the dirtiest card but would never vote for a dirty card when she judged. I love you Mom.

Merry Christmas! 

 

 

Peace From Type A

I am not earthy. I am not new age. I am not bohemian, and I am not easy going. I am type A. I am all or nothing. This is great for an employer, but not always so great for home life. Aside from my car keys, I always know where things are and where they belong. I like things to be where they belong. A source of great peace for me from my type A self is my courtyard.

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Before we had our house, we would jump in the car and drive around neighborhoods, looking for “For Sale” signs and praying the house would be semi-affordable. When we drove by our house and I saw the courtyard, I immediately put it in the unaffordable category. My first thought was to mentally inventory my closet and see if I could sell off my shoes and bags to make money. Not enough… My hair is terrible, so no one was going to want to buy that. I decided to look at the flyer for the price and cry. I was pleasantly surprised. In California, all homes are ridiculously overpriced, but this was a price we could swing! We got the house and started working. I ripped out cabinets and learned that electricity didn’t come from magic boxes in the wall. Every day, we ate lunch in the courtyard and I could envision things of beauty growing there and cool evenings with wine and friends.

The house is finished and even with all the beauty in each new room, the courtyard is still the place that I find magical. Patrick has strung white lights across the top of it and it is my wonderland at night! I’ve introduced T to it too, and I am sure in the near future he will choose to play out there over his room. Each plant that lives there is hand chosen. The jasmine winds up the side of the door because it is the smell that I associate with California. It took years to get it going, and had to be moved around to find its proper home, but it has taken off!

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The gardenia was chosen because when its delicate flowers open, it is the smell of heaven. The azalea made it because of the hot pink color. It had a rough winter and is looking a little ragged these days, but Patrick has been tending it back to health. I battled the Aphids last year on my rose bush, and this type A girl won after much work and googling. I added a succulent pot this weekend and frequently go outside in the beautiful spring afternoon to just look at it.

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I dangled Spanish moss over the courtyard windows. A dear friend gave us some and it reminds me of him each day. These plants don’t really go together or create one cohesive look, but each one relaxes me and lets me be earthy for just a bit.

Cooper, Meet Lester the Molester

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I grew up in Omaha, NE and attended college at Texas Christian University.  I thought I was street smart when I moved to NYC because I was an adult.  In Omaha, the streets were so tough that my biggest feud was with the rival high school’s show choir that won contests playing the fiddle to “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”.  We had one guy in our grade who was Creepy McHandy, but all the girls knew to never share a table in class with him, and that was that.  When I was at TCU, someone tried to break into our house and my response was to play dead.  This was my background that prepared me for NYC.  My parents were a wreck.

I worked at a racketball/personal training gym when I moved to Manhattan because I could do laundry there for free.  One of the personal trainers asked me if he could show me around the city.  I accepted.  My roommate asked me if it was a date.  I said no.  We worked together (I had watched a lot of Melrose), he was 40, and I was 22.  Clearly he would not ask someone that much younger out.  She asked me if he knew it was a not a date.  It went without saying right?  Nope.  My first clue should have been when he became annoyed when some guy talked to me while I waited in line for the bathroom.  Over dinner, he told me about his rescue cat.  I love all animals, particularly ones that have come from hard times.  He asked me if I wanted to go see his cat.  Smarty pants said yes.  We walked into his apartment and he immediately put the moves on me.  I pushed him off and asked where the cat was.  He showed me and I started to pet it.  (Seriously says older me???)  He then tried again.  I told him we worked together and this was not going to happen.  I reference this story with humor because God’s hand was on me that night in that it was only an awkward, and not dangerous, situation.  We did not socialize after that night and I had learned a big lesson.

I often think about situations I have put myself in when animals were involved.  I don’t regret them.  Today, two of my greatest joys in life are my rescue dogs.  My big guy, Cooper, and I have a soul connection.  I have never felt safer in my house, or out walking alone since Cooper joined our family.  Rescue dogs have an innate appreciation for life, and I believe they are more affectionate because of their past.  Cooper had some aggression when we got him.  He tried to bite me when he thought I was taking a treat away on our way home with him. He also stalked all visitors who came over.  We got a trainer, were consistent with him, and today he is the best dog who trusts humans.  He guarded baby T from danger when we brought him home, and goes from room to room with me all day.  He is a gentle giant who would have become a raging giant had he been with me the night I “went to see a cat”.  There are so many wonderful animals in rescue groups or humane societies waiting for you to bring them home.  Every day my day is better because of sweet Cooper and wild Ernie Bob.  If you cannot adopt, support or volunteer, if you are able.

FLOWERS IN THE CRACK DEN

Katie: Pat, why don’t we have a ceiling today?

Pat: That’s called progress.

Katie: What if it rains?

Pat: It never rains here.

Katie: But what if it does?

Pat: It won’t.

A couple days later….

Katie: You know our neighbor’s cat pees on everything. If we don’t cover the hole to the crawl space, he’s going to come in here.

Pat: He’s not going to come in here.

(A couple of minutes later, cat strolls through house. Pat and I scramble while I repeat over and over “I told you so”.)

Welcome to the crack den. Pat does not find this term amusing. He also didn’t find it amusing when I told him I was sure I would find used needles in the backyard. In his defense, I am extremely dramatic. I did think of placing one of my ivf needles out there as a joke, but didn’t think it would go over very well.

Pat and I gutted and remodeled 90% of our house when we moved in. By ‘we’ I mean that I fully participated, in the heat, for 3 months and then complained and cleaned. It was brutal. One of the ways I kept myself from going completely savage while cleaning dishes in the bathroom sink was to have fresh flowers anywhere in the crack den. Sumatra and Stargazer lilies are my favorite. They are stunning and have a most glorious smell that can hide many chemical smells. When people came over, I could at least show them that while we lived like squatters, I had not forgotten my manners. I think outside of their visual fabulousness, I gained this love from my mother whose house is always filled with flowers. Her tip is to buy a bouquet and put 1 or 2 flowers in beautiful, tiny vases along window shelves. It looks so pretty and stretches the bouquet.

P.S. Pat is a very accomplished architect. For more of his work, see his website at www.studiobuildca.com. He would love to help you with your den too!

before work started

before work started

The crack den look.

The crack den look.

FINALLY!!!

FINALLY!!!

The bathroom now only washes humans and canines.  No dishes.

The bathroom now only washes humans and canines. No dishes.