Sunday, June 29, 2008

Before and After

The last few weeks have been busy with projects around our home. I thought I'd share a few of the before and after photos of what we've accomplished around here.

The first are of the first haircut I've given Green using clippers (electric buzzing thing, not to be confused with shears, which are scissors). The front looks pretty good, but I did have to go back a few days later and fix some spots in the back. It's a good thing he doesn't mind holding still!

The next pictures are of the fire pit area we've built this year. This is one of those projects that has been in my head for a year and it's great to see it taking shape. We're not quite done, but I'll have to update the "after" photo when we get some gravel. I can't wait to dutch-oven cook and roast marshmallows in the backyard. You are all invited to join us!

The last project, which has been in my head for almost five years, was to give the downstairs bathroom a little makeover. The plan was to do this project while Kent was in Mexico a few weeks ago. His Father's Day present was supposed to be a finished room that he didn't need to help with. Unfortunately...after I removed the toilet from the floor so I could paint behind it, I couldn't find the right new parts to put it back. So Kent came home to a partially painted bathroom with a disconnected toilet. He reconnected the toilet, and the girls and I finished the rest. Now, two weeks after Father's Day, it looks pretty good!

Enjoy the pictures. If the captions don't come on automatically, you can turn them on in the bottom left corner. Following the slide show are some of my thoughts while working.

I've long believed that involving children in work around the house, for big projects as well as for chores, will teach them skills, provide opportunities to talk and strengthen the parent-child relationship, and give them a sense of accomplishment and positive self-worth. That philosophy is fine and dandy, but it is sometimes a struggle for a perfectionist like me--I'm not as bad as I used to be--to actually let the children participate in the real work. But I've tried to do that with these two projects. Though they couldn't physically lay blocks, we let them dig and rake the bed behind the fire pit bench, even at the peril of the sweet peas I planted there in March. Later this summer, I want to build garden boxes for each of them to plant and care for however they desire. Kind of a substitute for a pet! Maybe they can even make a little money selling their flowers or vegetables. With the bathroom, all five of the kids had fun peeling wallpaper, sanding the panel boards, and painting primer. But I had to grit my teeth and get over myself to let them work on the more permanent painting. Fortunately, when it came time to paint, they had mostly lost interest in the project since we were no longer surprising Dad by that point. But they did paint a little and I am very pleased at what a good job they did. I also found out that Purple has a good little interior designer inside her when we were replacing accessories and putting out linens to finish the room.

The other thought I kept having while I wiped paint and caulk on my work clothes is to create a uniform for moms. Painters have it so good! They wear all-white clothing with the knowledge that it is going to splattered by paint. Plus, they can wear their painter's uniform in public for everyone to see the mess that demonstrates their work. I need one of those! As a mom, I am constantly getting smudges from my kids' hands and faces, oil splatters from cooking, bleach spots from cleaning, and grass stains from gardening. Rather than going through three different stain removers trying to remove the evidence of motherhood, I would love to have a stay-home-mom uniform that I could wear in public and proudly show off the canvas of my work. Aprons are too outdated, and house dresses are too ugly. It has to be something cute but also identifiable as the Mom Uniform, not just worn-out clothes. Maybe an all-white shirt-dress. Who is with me?!


Our family said...

Wow the bathroom looks great! I'm very impressed. And I'm totally with you on the mom uniform. You could sell it at tupperware style parties and rake in the money. It has to have lots of pockets for picking up the small toys you step on and maybe one pocket big enough to hold a bottle of windex. Oooh, and a plastic-lined pocket for chocolate to melt in.

mindy said...

i love the idea of a mom uniform. And I have to say, my friend has made a dang cute apron that I'd be delighted to wear out in public. But of course, then you don't want the kids to touch it. You can't win, I guess.

Good job on the projects! It's fun to be productive.

Charlotte said...

Good job on the bathroom. I would never be brave enough to take off a toilet by myself! The bathroom looks great. So does the haircut, I have a little one running around I need to capture soon and do the same.