Help me! My bathroom is driving me crazy!!




I am not one of those women that has to have every single room in her house just so.  But I like things to look like I did it on purpose.  There is a wooden crate full of my daughter’s shoes in our bathroom by the side door.  It is not ideal.  I wish I had a built-in that suggested that this bathroom pulls double duty as a mud room, of sorts.  But for now, I have a wooden crate filled with shoes and it is clear that it is on purpose.  It isn’t beautiful, but it is functional.

In a different bathroom I have something that does not look to be at all on purpose.  It is not beautiful, unless you think that two inch and a half square pieces of black duct tape are beautiful.

When my bouncing baby became a terror on two legs she pulled herself up on everything.  The couch, my legs, the toilet paper holder.  You see where this is going, no?  She pulled the toilet paper holder out of the wall.  Simple fix.  Patch the drywall and repaint.  It’s a small bathroom, in fact, just the toilet and shower. The rest of the bathroom is outside a door and I have already painted in there.

But there is a problem.  When the house was getting a fresh coat of Builder Beige before we bought it someone painted over the wallpaper in this bathroom. Painted. Over. The. Wallpaper.  I have no choice but to remove the wallpaper in order to fix the holes.  Removing wallpaper, sanding drywall, repainting – these are not tasks that my 13 month old would find boring.  Oh no.  She would love to help.  It’s me. I am not game for wall paper removal with a tiny sidekick.

Enter two squares of black duct tape and a toilet paper stand.

Here’s where you come in, my crafty readers.  What can I do in the interim that doesn’t drive me nuts?  Below you can see what the rest of the bathroom looks like.  Apothecary shower curtain, plain black cabinet, signatures on the curtain over the window.

Find me a clever little wall sticker.  Tell me a reason that I need to have a knee high floating shelf.  Talk me out of an enormous wall decal.  Because really, who spends a hundred bucks to cover up two squares of duct tape? I am dangerously close to ModPodging a cool image of a phrenology head to my wall.

Help.  I’m not one of those women that has duct tape on her wall.  So help me.  I’m not.

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Won’t you take me to Funky Town?

A question from a reader:

 I adore my husband.  We’ve been happily married for three years now, and our emotional relationship is great.  I knew he was special when I met him, and we didn’t jump in bed together right away — our first time together was more than just getting drunk and hoping for the best.  We love spending time together as much as we can, but our schedules are out of sync and we don’t have much awake time together these days.  It’s been THREE MONTHS since we’ve had sex.  THREE MONTHS.  And we don’t even have kids!  Top it all off with that magic four letter word: PORN.  Dudes watch it, that’s how life goes.  Husbands, boyfriends, brothers, that’s how they roll.  I know my husband enjoys his dose now and again, but how do I stop feeling insecure about myself when it comes to the ladies on the screen?
Much love,
Not Gettin’ Any in the City

I’m not one of those women that is swinging from the chandelier after the lights go out.  But I have been married to my husband for less than two years and we have a baby.  And a seven year old.  So, I guess I am one of those women that finds a way to make it happen.  Sexy Time.

Speaking of a baby, I had one recently.  I don’t exactly have a bikini body, gang.  I try not to compare myself to myself of years ago much less to a girl on a computer screen.  But I am not exempt from the occasional self-loathing. So, I get it, sister.  And I understand.

On to your question – You like him.  He likes you.  You’re busy.  But you’re not getting busy.  The hubs has taken matters in to his hands. You wrote to me because it is on your mind, too.  So, this knocks out more than a few issues. It is not lack of interest, either in one another or in doing the deed.

So, how do you stop feeling insecure when you compare yourself to the porno gals?  Well, stop checking his history.  Presumably, he does not leave the browser window open and a wad of kleenex on his desk?

It doesn’t seem like you have a problem with the idea of  a man that checks out a porno.  It doesn’t even seem like you have an issue with your man checking out  porno.  So, shoot him an email.  “Hey, honey, I don’t care if you and Missy Juggs have a hot date from time to time, but it wreaks havoc on my self-esteem every time I see it in the browser history.  Please delete it.  Then maybe I won’t compare myself and come up short. And then I will continue to feel like the sexiest gal you have ever laid eyes on.  And then, maybe just maybe, it might not be just your eyes getting laid in our house.  One can dream, love, one can dream.”

Hopefully once there is no evidence of your husband’s  activities you will put it out of  your mind.  And if that doesn’t work I think it is important to remember that pornos are more about entertainment than sexuality and reality.  I love scary movies, the scarier the better. When my heart beats fast and I am scared to tears I love it.  But no part of me wishes that my husband would start hiding behind the bathroom door or killing our neighbors.  I have never looked at either of my kids and thought “Geez,  I would love you more if you were possessed by a demon.”  Chances are your husband doesn’t look at you and wish you looked or acted  like a porn star.

Speaking of how your husband looks at you – you mentioned that you didn’t just fall in to the sack, that it was with intention.  I imagine it is fairly meaningful to both of you.  Any chance he doesn’t know that sex is a priority to you?  He might not have any idea that you have the itch.  Have you ever told him that even though it has been a while it’s a-ok with you if it is a quickie right before you pass out and that he doesn’t need to hold out until there is time for wine and roses?

It has been helpful to me to say it out loud and in English and to not put my husband on the spot.  “I would like to go to Sexy Town, please.  Can you pencil me in sometime in the next 48 hours?” This gives the hubs the chance to say “Sure, but not tonight because I have a hangnail” or whatever.

For many couples scheduling their sex life is the only way to make it happen. I don’t like the pressure implied by a mandatory Tuesday Night Get Down (nor do I like the idea that if you skip out on Tuesday you end up waiting another week!) But I don’t think there is anything wrong with voicing your needs plainly.

Sex is messy whether you are having it or talking about not having it.  In a marriage you strive to meet your partner’s needs and to have yours met.

Identify the need.  Is it intimacy? Is it sex? Is it feeling appreciated or desired? Do some thinking on that.  And then ask.  Out loud.  In English.  Do your best to offer up a suggestion as to how that need might be fulfilled.  Marriage is complicated enough.  I think the only kind of cheating that is a good idea in a marriage is the kind where you give one another the answers.

Good luck. Hope you get lucky.

U.S. Government Tells Computer Users to Disable Java

I’m not one of those women that is an alarmist. I double and triple check Snopes. But this isn’t a hoax, folks. Take a peek an then disable Java.

Is it time for another baby?

I always imagined having kids close in age.  I also imagined marrying Christopher Atkins and growing up to look just like a cross between Brooke Shields and Kristi McNichol.  Alas, life does not always deliver just exactly what I imagined.

On the subject of child spacing, what do you think of having one kid very much older than the other? I’ve got a four-year-old, the clock is ticking if we’re gonna press reset on the whole baby thing and do it again.
Tell me having kids 5-6-7 years apart is JUST FINE. I should also note that while Ava was super high-maintenance for like the first 2 years (all boob, zero bottles, zero pacifiers, OHMYGOD was that hard), she’s like no maintenance now. Plays independently for hours, doesn’t require discipline of any kind…she’s so good that other people brag about her, no joke. I am pretty legitimately scared that a second baby wouldn’t be like her.

Amy – From (Yup.  That Amy West.  She has a new site!)

I’m not one of those women that thinks I know much about parenting.  But I think I know a little bit about me.  And I think Amy and I might be cut from the same parenting cloth. So, I feel wholly qualified to tell Amy what to do with her life.

I was almost eight months pregnant when it dawned on me that starting over might be the dumbest thing I have ever done.  I was on the couch as I hollered up the stairs “Just jump in the shower, Em, put your pajamas on, brush your teeth and bring a book down to read.”

From the top of the steps she hollered back at me “I can just tuck myself in, Mom!”  I didn’t let her.  But it was tempting. In that moment I realized I might be out of my mind.  I had an incredibly independent little person.  She was kind and well adjusted and self-sufficient.  And I was starting over.  With a baby.

In the months since Lucy was born I have realized that having my kids six years apart was perfect for me because of the way that I choose to parent.  Without entering in to the nature vs nurture debate let me just say that I think a kid is the kid that they were destined to be for the most part. But I do think that the way that I parent can foster certain qualities like independence.

I breastfeed on demand.  I co-sleep.  I practice gentle discipline and I talk to my kids like they are small people. It’s time consuming in the beginning.  And I can not imagine doing it with more than one small kid at a time.

I know that it can be done.  I see a picture of a friend nursing two babies and the part of me that longs to envision myself  as an Earth Mother feels a certain pang of jealousy.  But then the part of me that loves a good Pinot Noir knows that I couldn’t possibly have a glass of wine and juggle two babies. I have had to resort to the stemless glass as it is with just the one.

When Em comes barreling into the house after school and I am trapped under the baby nursing her down for her 35th ten minute nap of the day I don’t feel guilty when I say “Shhhh, grab yourself a snack and get your homework started.” I hear her dragging the step stool over to the counter and I smile.  She is embracing the independence.  She is blossoming in the open space that I might have felt guilty about pushing her in to any earlier.

I can’t tell you that having kids 6 or 7 years apart will be just fine.  But I can say that now that I have done it this way I can’t imagine doing it any other way.  I feel obligated to point out that I am more than well aware that many women successfully parent two kids close in age.

But you asked me what I think.

And I think if you like to let your baby be a baby for a “long time” and you have a tendency to let Guilt eat you alive the 5+ year age gap is the way to go.  My Big Girl was ready to be a Big Girl.   And I was ready to be attached at the hip to a baby again.  (Or at the boob, or at the boob that hangs down to my hip.)

My Big Girl never looked as big as she did the day my Little Girl was born.

Even more Balance

I’m not one of those women that pigeonholes someone in to who they are in high school.  Just because you were a fabulously beautiful and intelligent girl that sat behind me in spanish and three (not two but three) of my high school loves/crushes were close friends with you doesn’t mean I continue to lady crush on you and your fabulousness. Really, I don’t look at every picture you post on facebook and think “Jeez, woman, do they make a version of you in an average or only in the Spectacularly Fantastic version?”  You intimidated me then with your grace and your kindness and you still do.

So when you sent me this question, I will admit that I blushed.  I might have even brought my hand to my chest and said “Me? You’re asking me?”

OK, lady. How do you balance all of those things without losing your mind? Working out. Cooking. Taking care of two kids and a husband and a house, and still manage to find time and the ways to stay connected with your husband. I am totally having a rough time with the balance and we only have one child! Sometimes (often) I just want to curl up in bed in the quiet and not do a thing!

Dear Mystery LadyCrush from High School,

Last week I wrote about Balance.  We had a delicious homemade zucchini bread for breakfast.  And then we had nachos with hot dog chili from a can for dinner. I called it balance but I what I should have talked about was forgiveness.

How do I balance it all?  I practice a lot of forgiveness.

I am a neat freak.  I like things just so.  Almost three weeks ago Lucy pulled the toilet paper holder off of the wall.   I wanted to just patch the drywall really quickly and repaint that little section of the wall, I have the paint.  And that’s when I realized that my entire bathroom is covered in painted wallpaper. (What is wrong with people?!)  I should really scrape it off.  And then repair the drywall.  And then I might as well repaint my bathroom.  But I haven’t had the time.

Instead I did something totally out of character.  I put a one inch square of duct tape over the hole (to keep my tiny friend from sticking her fingers in there. )  I considered purchasing these totally cute wall decals and placing one over that square of duct tape.  And a free standing toilet paper holder.  But I didn’t.

I have had duct tape on my wall for three weeks and toilet paper sitting on the back of my toilet.  And I forgive myself.

I workout every single day.  But sometimes I stop ten minutes before the end and I nurse Lucy for a few minutes because she is screamy and I forgive myself.

I let my 7-year-old buy lunch at school once every two weeks even though I am a stay at home mom that preaches eating wholesome food and avoiding a lot of the garbage that is unfortunately on our school lunch menu.  Emily thinks it is because she has been really well behaved. But really it is because I wanted to sleep in for ten extra minutes in the morning.   Or because instead of going to the grocery store the day before I watched Ellen and we are out of bread. And I forgive myself.

Balancing a home and kids and a marriage and taking care of myself doesn’t require me to lower my standards.  It just requires me to forgive myself when I fall short.  Because I will fall short sometimes.  And that’s okay.  Because I am giving it all I have got even when all I’ve got is a roll of duct tape, 85% of a workout and a school lunch.

This week I spent two entire days dressed like this.  Bandana.  Maternity nightgown masquerading as a dress.  Old man sweater.  Plaid glasses.  Two days.  I have not forgiven myself for this but I have made peace with it.  I did cook two fantastic dinners and nurse a baby that got two new teeth 975 times for a total of about 39 of those 48 hours. Not that I am justifying it, but like I said I haven’t forgiven myself for this yet.

Don’t be so hard on yourself.  Now answer me this – where is this quiet place that
you can curl up in a bed?

What did I volunteer for?

I’m not one of those women that tells everyone that I blog. I link to my posts on my personal Facebook page and about a year ago I stopped hiding those posts from anyone. But I don’t tell people when I meet them that I am a “blogger.”

I’m also not one of those women that volunteers for everything at my daughter’s school. I can feel myself being pulled in that direction but I am using “the baby” as a perfectly good reason to not overextend myself.

This question from Amanda at Southern Fried in Las Vegas was right on time!

Hello there!I’ve volunteered to make some items for the cake walk for my daughter’s fall festival at her school. Being the Pinterest-y crafter that I am these days, I was thinking of making some cute little labels for the goods – telling what it is, listing allergens like nuts in it. Good idea and so cute, right? But…being a blogger and a social media whore, I want to also put link to my blog on it and advertise myself a little.

Is that in bad taste? I’m unsure.

I’m also unsure WHY I volunteered in the first place, but whatever.


Tacky? No. But still maybe not a wise idea? Maybe. If you had a little side business baking cupcakes I’d say slap that website on that label. If you had a side business putting up wallpaper I’d say with a clever tagline you could point out that there is no wallpaper paste in these cupcakes and still slap that website address on there.

But a personal blog? Unless everything on your website is something that you’d mention in a “nice to meet you” conversation with someone you met at your daughter’s school I would skip it. I recently volunteered to try and badger (I mean, encourage) other parents in my daughter’s class to volunteer for the Fall Festival. Every time I sign my name I think “Should I put my web address under my signature?”

This is the scenario I imagine. “Hi, parent of a teacher in Emily’s class. My daughter would love to have your kid over to play. But first let me tell you I swear like a sailor, I have an awful sense of humor, I like sex on Saturday mornings and I was wondering if you want to see my stretch marks?” While it is true I would love to befriend the room mother that would reply “My kids are going as Ren & Stimpy for Halloween, I like to drink red wine from coffee cups and we would LOVE a playdate” I can’t really count on it.

So for now, I wait to spill the blog address until later. I haven’t figured out exactly how I will reconcile writing about the details of my life (and that of my kid’s by extension) when they get older. But for now I will grant them the courtesy of not having an uptight parent with an awesome kid decide that we are just too nutty for a playdate before they even have the chance to be offended in person.

Now speaking of Pinterest, can you help me? On a whim I got Mommy cards printed with my website address on them. But I have thus far been too chicken to actually give one to anyone. I think I might be more inclined to if I wasn’t keeping them in a Kleenex package. True story.


Is frugal just a nice word for cheap?

I’m not one of those women that finishes Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving.  In fact, before I had kids (read: when I had money) I used to leave it all to the very last minute. I almost delighted in the last minute rush of shopping.  In the last few years I have turned in to one of those women that sends cookies and handmade refrigerator magnets.  Now that I am home full time I fully expect to start crafting reindeer from dryer lint before the middle of November.  Sorry, family, for ruining the surprise.  In all honesty, this is the first Christmas since I have taken the Pinterest plunge.   I am afraid.

Even if you are not armed with a glue gun and some glitter if you start shopping early and take advantage of online sales you can score some serious deals.

Faith from Virginia asks:

Am I being frugal or just plain cheap?  Last year for Christmas I gave my mother-in-law a cute picture of my son on a canvas. She loved it, cried happy tears, showed it off proudly to everyone. The thing is, it was free. Ok, I did have to pay a small shipping charge, but that’s it. It’s not that I don’t WANT to shower my loved ones with gifts galore, I really do, but money is very tight. Am I banking too much on sentimental value? Help!

I am a sentimental gal, so perhaps I am not the right person to ask, but I say good gift! When gifting a homemade gift or scoring a great deal I always ask myself two things.  Would I be happy to receive this? Would I have paid full price for it? As long as your answer is yes I think you are a-ok!

We live in a time of immediate satisfaction.  If you want something you can have it delivered to your door or your smartphone in no time.  It’s tougher and tougher to give someone a gift that they really want and more and more of us are “that person that has everything.” So, I say go for the sentiment.  And really, maybe someone has thought it, but has anyone every heard anyone say it out loud – “Oh, man, look  at this crap! Another picture of my damn grandkids!! Like I need that!!”

Now, has anyone seen my hole punch?  There is a sale at JoAnn’s on pipe cleaners – can I grab you a bag while I am there?