Project Update: Let’s Paint the Town (Or The Living Room)

It has happened at long last! The paint project we began in our house three months ago is finally complete. I’m pretty sure turtles have made thousand-mile journeys in less time than it took us coat the walls in our living room and hallway with the perfect shade of yellow, but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s finished(!!)… And the color looks just as amazing as I’d hoped when we took the plunge and purchased two gallons from our local paint store in March.

Since my last update on this project was months ago, here’s a quick recap:

Nearly every wall in our house was painted white when we moved in. It vaguely resembled a hospital; cold and colorless. I wanted to paint the living room yellow to warm up the space, but yellow is a difficult color to get right. Choose a shade that’s too bright, and you end up with migraine-inducing walls reminiscent of highlighters and 1980s Lisa Frank notebooks. Too dull, and your walls can look dirty.

Since we have enough trouble keeping things clean around here on day-to-day basis with two kids and a dog and wearing sunglasses inside isn’t my idea of a positive fashion statement, we settled on a more subtle shade of yellow: Benjamin Moore’s Mushroom Cap. It’s not too beige, but not a color that screams from the walls, “I’M YELLOW!”

Bonuses: it is warm, pretty, and it looks wonderful in full sunshine and on overcast days.

Not a good look for the living room walls.

If you stare at these puppies too long, you’ll go blind.

Here are a few pics of the end results. Please be merciful about my limited (::ahem:: HORRIBLE) photography skills.

Benjamin Moore mushroom cap living room

I’m so happy with this color. It’s warm, subtle, and pretty.

BM Mushroom cap living room

The dog wanted in on my paint project photo shoot.

BM Mushroom cap hallway

The 1970s called, they want their light fixture back.

March 16, 2015

*Warning: The following is a uncensored look into my brain during paint projects. Hint: I’m obsessed. If you came here for parenting stuff, please check back on Wednesday.*

We’re painting again, which means I’m on the verge of an existential crisis over color samples. Overly dramatic? Of course! True? Partially. Maybe it’s because I’m a textbook Type-A, but painting is one of those projects that spurs obsession. It’s truly ridiculous, yet I simply cannot help myself. I spend hours perusing swatches in various stores, I waste money on tiny pots of color that I will never use, I seek out those silly simulators online that let you virtually paint rooms (even though I’m fully aware the colors appear different on my laptop screen,) I ask friends for input on different shades via social media. Paint even invades my subconscious. I’m currently dreaming in muted, buttery yellow.

We decided to paint the living room yellow because I wanted to warm up the space, but also because I love a challenge. This color is especially tricky because (as I quickly discovered upon purchasing seven different samples) it appears much brighter on the walls than it does on those tiny bits of card stock. Since I don’t enjoy being assaulted by neon hues reminiscent of the early 1990s whenever I walk into my living room, this particular paint project has been, shall we say, involved.

I’m not proud to admit that I’ve spent upwards of sixteen hours on Google image search peering into other people’s yellow living rooms to see how different hues look in the midday sunshine and dwindling light of dusk. I’m aware that’s totally creepy, but I like to keep it real for you guys. Sorry (not sorry) if I looked at your yellow living room like an online stalker. I promise I won’t show up at your house or anything, as my crazy paint lady behavior does have its boundaries.

After much obsessing, I finally chose a color (Benjamin Moore Mushroom cap – see below) and we’ve begun the painting process. We started edging after dinner last week, carefully cutting in with our brushes along the baseboard. Am I the only strange person that finds edging paint to be relaxing? We’ve painted so many rooms that we don’t even bother taping along the woodwork and ceiling anymore. It’s tedious, which is my nice way of saying it sucks, and the lines rarely come out clean anyway. (Unsolicited painting advice: if you’re planning a paint project, just buy good brushes that are designed for edging and be careful. You’ll be fine without tape. Make sure you go to an actual paint store because they’ll have a better selection.)

benjamin moore mushroom cap

Here’s the color we picked. It’s called Benjamin Moore Mushroom cap, and it’s actually yellow when you put it on the wall. It looks like a creamy beige here on my laptop screen.

One coat is up on the walls. We’ll be applying another when we can find the time to do it with a 11-month-old and a 3-year-old. I’ll post some pics of our living room when we’re all done with the project, but here’s a quick glimpse at the color in some random person’s house so you can get a better idea of how it will look… Because I know you’re all on pins and needles at your respective computers wondering about the muted yellow paint color in our living room. It’s the probably most exciting thing to ever happen on the Internet, but you’ll just have to wait for pictures.

Craftsman Living Room by Seattle Home Builders Ventana Construction LLC

Mushroom cap is a soft, buttery yellow, which is exactly what I wanted for our space. The color isn’t migraine-inducing, and you don’t need to wear sunglasses when you sit on our couch. You can, though, if that’s your thing. No judgement here.

Parenthood: You’ve Turned Me Into An Idiot

dinosaur chicken nuggets

I stole these and ate them.

I’ve done a few dumb things in my lifetime; like that time I paid a strip mall tattoo artist to script the word ‘hope’ across my left hip. It seemed like a wonderful idea when I was nineteen. Two kids and a decade-and-a-half later, and it looks as if somebody scrubbed that little tattoo with a useless pencil eraser, wrung it out to dry, and then ran it over with a tiny steamroller. It’s faded and stretched and most days I wish it would disappear.

Apart from a few other relatively minor offenses, I had a pretty good head on my shoulders for my first thirty years of life…That is, until I had babies of my own. I’m not sure if it was “mommy brain” or sleep deprivation that took the wheel after the birth of my oldest daughter, but I am certain of one thing. The total number of stupid things I’ve done in the past four years far exceeds the total from the three decades prior. Here are five recent examples of times where my brain has departed for vacation, leaving my body behind. (Please note: I had to limit myself to five because otherwise this post would take two days to read.)

1. I forgot to buckle my daughter into her car seat (don’t call CPS.)
This one still makes my stomach turn whenever I think about it. I took my kids shoe shopping because the oldest grows out of sneakers every month. Since my kids are typically decent little humans in public, I figured it would be an uneventful trip. Au contraire, dear readers. My oldest had a near-meltdown in Payless because I wouldn’t let her choose the brilliant strobe-light Disney princess sneakers which were two-sizes too small. My youngest was throwing shoes and eating tissue paper while I wrangled my three-year-old into a pair that wouldn’t pinch her feet or induce seizures. The cashier was swearing at me in silence.

We eventually made it to the car and I buckled the baby in while my oldest yelled repeatedly that she wanted to wear her new shoes. I climbed into the front seat, gave her the shoebox and drove ten miles down the road without a second thought. When we reached our destination, she screamed that she wasn’t buckled in, and I nearly vomited on the steering wheel. For the next week, she told everyone we encountered that “Mommy made a bad mistake,” despite the fact that I begged her not to let on because I felt like the most horrible parent ever.

2. I stole chicken nuggets from Target (don’t call the cops.)
The full account of this particular parenting fail can be found here. In summary, I accidentally stole chicken nuggets from my favorite store. They were dinosaur-shaped and delicious.

3. I’ve left my keys on the roof of my car and driven away (five times.)
“Why the BLEEP is that dude honking at me and yelling?!?” I live in a state where this behavior is typically a sign that you’ve done something egregious (like driving 1.5 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. We are a patient and understanding people here in Massachusetts.) My first reaction: throw my hands up in a grand gesture of exasperation and yell into the rear view mirror. Nevermind the fact that the guy (or guys, as I’ve committed this offense multiple times) was actually trying to tell me that my house keys were on my car roof as I was flying down the highway/driving down our main road/sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a suburban street.

4. I left my two-year-old alone with my phone (she called the cops.)
One Sunday morning at 7AM, I made the mistake of taking a bathroom break while my two-year-old sat peacefully in front of an episode of Doc McStuffins. The Doc may have been in, but my brain was out to lunch because I left my phone beside her on the couch. Three minutes later, I returned to a terrifying scene: my daughter holding my mobile, swiping and tapping incessantly. She managed to call 911 and four people in the time it took me to go pee and wash my hands. Thankfully, emergency services never showed up at our house.

5. I burned a hard boiled egg.
This happened. I’m not proud and I’m terrible in the kitchen. Lesson: don’t leave an egg in a pan of water over an open flame for an hour.

These are just a handful of examples. I’ve got an entire arsenal in my brain filled with moments of recent stupidity. On the bright side, parenthood has also made me smarter in a number of ways, but that’s a different post for a different day. Do you have any parenting fails or “mommy brain” moments to share? You know you want to get them off your chest!

Guest Post: Raising My Spirited Daughter

Hi Everyone! Today, I’m trying something a little different. My wonderful blogging friend Ali reached out to me recently to inquire about guest posting here on The Momma Review. I was pretty excited because: a. I absolutely adore her blog, Run.Knit.Love.; and b. I’ve been busy and I haven’t shared any awesomeness here in a while. Ali is awesome. She’s a talented writer, she’s down to earth and funny, and she is also blessed with a spirited child. Thank you, Ali, for sharing your post. Parents of spirited children UNITE!

Without further ado, here’s Ali’s story of her spirited daughter. Leave her some comment love, visit her blog, or follow her on Facebook for more fun reading!

Sleeping by the door.

Sleeping by the door. Photo credit: Ali Wilkinson

I knew before my daughter was even born that we were going to be in for a wild ride. I was around 18 weeks pregnant, and had been feeling those sweet little butterfly kicks for a few weeks. I was walking down the street, talking to a coworker, when all of a sudden that girl MOVED. A little bump arced across the corner of my shirt, and I could feel her pompom-sized butt stretching out as far as fetusly possible, turning around, and settling back into a more comfortable position. “Uh oh,” I thought, “this one is going to be trouble.”

My daughter is what the parenting books politely describe as “spirited.” Spirited could also be described as strong-willed, hot-tempered, obstinate. She has stayed in her room for over an hour rather than change her diaper, loudly voicing her displeasure throughout. She has staged a mini hunger strike rather than try a bite of broccoli. She has fallen asleep against the door of her room while I hold the door shut, fighting against naptime.

As frustrating as it can be – and it is often unspeakably, maddeningly frustrating – I love having a spirited child. She knows what she wants and is willing to fight to get it, even if it is unattainable. (Sorry, no Nutella and jelly sandwiches for breakfast.) She constantly surprises me with her grit and determination – reaching the top of the play structure while older kids look on; strapping herself into her car seat by herself at age 2.5 (but oh my goodness, that was an excruciating 20 minutes). She is her own strongest advocate. She is also fiercely loving, loyal, curious and smart. And, despite being the middle child and the only girl in this family, there is not a sliver of a chance that she is going to get lost.

My greatest hope for my daughter is that she holds on to her spiritedness as she grows into womanhood. This world needs more women who can stand up for what they want, who aren’t afraid to strive for something that seems out of reach, who are comfortable saying no and have the conviction to stand by that.

So my goal, and my struggle, as I raise this spirited child of mine is to nurture that spiritedness while still maintaining the role of parent. I want her to feel heard, and to feel like her views matter. And, when warranted, I want to be flexible enough to accommodate her. For instance, if she wants to wear three skirts instead of just one skirt, well why not? The problem is that line gets slippery. She wants to wear her leopard print pajamas to school? Well, I guess so. They’re warm and they cover her body. She wants to wear just legwarmers and a t-shirt in January? Well…. At some point you’ve got to draw the line. And she is always looking for exactly where that line ends and trying to nudge it slightly further.

It is a tough job staying firm on those lines, especially knowing that resistance is likely to be met with a big emotional response. And honestly, I feel like I’m maybe 50-50 on making the right call. But I keep working at it. I don’t want her to think that she is in charge around here because, for crying out loud, she’s two years old. But I also don’t want her to feel disregarded. Because if she can embrace her fierceness and vulnerability, her power and conviction, she is going to get things done. She is going to take up space in this world.

She showed me at negative 22 weeks that she could move things much bigger than her – I have no doubt that if given the chance, she will move mountains.

This post originally appeared here.

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