Stripping Wallpaper

This week I've been focused on making more small changes in the house. Of course, small changes feel so good, that they usually snowball and then I up the ante. Stripping the wallpaper in my kitchen has been on my wishlist for about 10 years. I did try to strip it when we first moved in, but we had five small children and it was not a job that was progressing easily. Chunks of drywall were coming off with the paper and I wasn't prepared for drywall dust and all the work that it would take to get the walls ready to paint. So...I put up more wallpaper. It was easier than making the repairs and I thought that I might get to pass all that work on to the next owners! Well, it didn't work that way. Our streak of moving every two years was broken and now I'm the faced with the wallpaper removal.

This time I researched my options better and was determined to see the project through until the end. I decided to go with a removal product from Lowes because it promised less mess and I'd heard good things about the method.

In addition to the tools above, I also bought the Piranha gel spray. For this process, you run the scoring tool all over the top layer of paper and then soak the paper with the gel product. After about 15 minutes, the adhesive under the paper should have loosened enough that you can start to scrape off that layer. Unfortunately, my paper came off in teeny, tiny pieces along with more drywall. I think the original wallpaper was put directly on the drywall when they built the house 25 years ago and it's never going to come off without a great deal of damage.

This brought back vivid memories of why I gave up ten years ago and I considered throwing in the towel again. In order to determine my next step, I called in a painter to get his expert opinion on the state of the walls. He looked at them for about ten seconds before he pronounced the magic words, "If I were you, I would stop stripping wallpaper." Yay!! He went on to tell me I was doing more harm than good and that in this situation he would recommending putting joint compond over all the seams and sanding them smooth. Then he would paint everything with an oil base primer. After that I can paint over it and no one will be able to tell the difference. He also said the walls I had already stripped could be repaired and painted too.

Now I've learned over the years that joint compound and sanding is not my friend. No matter how carefully I work and how long I spend trying to get smooth surface, there are still lumps and bumps. Because the painter's price for this kind of work was very good and he said the whole thing can be completed in one day, it was a done deal. He's coming next week, so I'll keep you posted on how it turns out. In the meantime, I'm having fun considering wall colors!

Recommended Reading

Looking for a good book? I always am and this one was so good I finished it in just a couple days. Glitter and Glue, by Kelly Corrigan, is the author's story of how she grew to love and understand her mother through a nannying experience after college. Corrigan had gone to Australia to experience life and have an adventure that she was sure she could never have at home. However, nannying turned out to be the only job she could get to support herself. Caring for and living in a house with children that had recently lost their mother made her appreciate her own mother in ways she never could have anticipated. As time goes on, Corrigan realizes she has turned out to be a lot like her own mother and has come to embrace things she once viewed with disdain.

This book spoke to me because I have two teenagers who don't hesitate to critique me and tell me just what they'll someday do differently. They'll be more fun, more relaxed, and more free. They won't concern themselves with the mundane issues that appear to them to make up a mother's life. This book gave me hope that my own children will someday look back and appreciate the things they've learned and experienced in our family. It gave me hope that they'll someday see me as more than their mom, a real person with many parts just like them. I enjoyed reading about the way Corrigan's view of her mother changed as she gained more life experience and became a mother herself.

So if you're a sucker for a mother/daughter book, or are just looking for some light at the end of the parenting tunnel, you might want to check it out!

Family Bike Ride

It was a beautiful day for a family bike ride yesterday. But why does it always seem so much easier planning it than actually doing it? Late afternoon was when all our schedules finally meshed, so we set a 3:00 departure time. Of course, it was 3:30 by the time we actually left. It always takes longer than you think to load up the bikes and drinks and round up the kids. We had gone no more than a couple miles down the road before two of the kids loudly proclaimed from the backseat that they were STARVING. Keep in mind this was not a spur of the moment trip. Shouldn't STARVING have set off some warning bells BEFORE we left??? Anyway, I ignored these declarations. Eyes on the prize people, we're going for a bike ride, not to eat out! Fast forward a few more miles and you can see that ignoring it didn't get me very far...

We stopped at a grocery store and they devoured two boxes of granola bars before we even unloaded the bikes...

Fast forward eating and another bathroom break and we're finally doing it! We made it past all the arguing, false starts, "this bike is too small" and "this bike is too big" complaints, and my husband spoke the final words...all of you just be quiet and enjoy the bike ride!

Of course getting everyone to stay biking in one direction feels like an exercise in futility.

But we're happy to be feeling the breeze, seeing the sun, and we try to ignore the three little riders squabbling over who is in the lead, who cut who off, and who doesn't know their right from left!

Forty five minutes later, we've reloaded the truck and are on our way home. Someone is again STARVING and I can't fathom cooking dinner. Guess we're going to be eating out after all! Amazing what a smile food can bring. Biking must work up their appetites because it looks like they can't get big enough bites!

Was our bike riding a success? Well, it was kind of like this adventure. Not quite what we pictured, but fun and special all the same! How about you? Have you been on any adventures with your kids that haven't turned out quite the way you planned, but it was all good in the end?

The Thrill of Change

This morning I woke up desperate for some creative project. You know the feeling that if you can't think and plan and experiment, you might go crazy? I just needed to experience the rush you get with making a change and seeing things in a new way! As soon as the kids walked out the door, I got to work. I decided to tackle one corner of the living room and maybe update its colors a bit. We moved in ten years ago when yellow/gold was on trend and now I'm really wanting to start changing it little by little. The problem is that I can't just throw everything I own away and start over. I really need to work with what I have and make changes slowly. The first thing I decided to do was paint the bottom of my glass top sofa table.

There's a lot of this color in my house and I'd like to freshen things up a bit. Ignore the wild drop cloth. It was cold outside and painting inside was my only option. Between coats, I also painted a picture frame from this same color to a warm white.

While things were drying, I decided to see if I could do anything about the curtains you see peaking out in the picture above and in the photo below.

Again, they're in the same color family. I guess I really went wild several years ago! I had some full length white ones in my bedroom, so I decided to switch the two. No ironing or adjusting needed, just a simple change out.

What a difference! I'm really happy with more light and neutral color in the that corner!

I'm going to be looking for a new rug with a fresher color palette than the one I have now and I hope it will brighten the space even more.

Isn't it amazing how small changes can make you feel so good? I've been smiling inside every time I look over there all day. Of course, it's also amazing how tackling one area of your house causes the other areas to become so messy. Here's how the rest of the kitchen looked when I was done...

Actually it's better not to think about that and just focus on what I did accomplish today! 

Choosing Trust

As a mom, the desire "to make it all better" is always there. See a problem, find a solution. Wipe away the tears, bandage the wounds, elicit a smile. But what can you do when your child hurts from things out of your control? How can you make it better? What if they won't, or can't, tell you what's wrong? It's so hard when the hurt is emotional, so hard when it's inflicted by circumstances or people we can't control. Struggle can produce strong character, but that doesn't seem worth it in the moment.

They say you can only be as happy as your least happy child. There's a lot of truth in that for me. Sadness in my child produces sadness in me. Pain in their heart pierces mine too. That's one of the hardest parts of motherhood. Today my child struggles with something I can't control.  I can't take it away. I can only lift them in prayer and be available. I can only provide encouragement while they work it out. It's not easy. There's doubt, frustration, questions, and fear. But I know there is One who loves them more even more than me, that knows what's truly best for them, and I'll choose to trust Him.

I know I'm not the only mom anxiously watching from the sidelines. There are many waiting and hoping as their children struggle through hard situations. May we continue to wait and hope and cheer and silently will a victory...and surrender. Minute by minute by minute, surrender it to the God that formed them, trusting that where and when we cannot help, He can.

Two Little Princesses

Every little girl wants to feel special. And I can't think of anything that would make her feel more special than a fancy night out with her dad. That's exactly why my husband took our twins to the Daddy's Little Princess Ball this weekend. Big sister did their hair and makeup and they felt beautiful! Dinner out and more dancing than their little feet could handle. Special memories to save up and treasure...

 Their dance program said--
 Someday, My Prince will come, but my Daddy will always be the King of my Heart!

Someday someone else will be their date to the ball, but may they always know how much their dad loves and cares for them!