Archive for July 2014

Master Bedroom to Girls’ Dorm

July 31, 2014

When I was married, we had talked about how we would fit five girls in one room.  I felt confident that I could squeeze two sets of bunk beds in the smaller bedroom, but it would be crowded.  We talked about one day possibly switching rooms, giving the girls the Master Bedroom while we took a smaller bedroom.

There was no hurry, though.  We were still using a queen and a twin smashed together to hold us and our two youngest (and #3 when she would crash through the door in the middle of the night).  Plus, we knew that the Master Bathroom would need massive work before the girls could use it.


This was what the girls’ room looked like when I reorganized and added the bunk beds in Spring 2012.

Once I decided to start fixing up the house, I also decided that we would go ahead and switch rooms.  The girls and I haggled before agreeing on Arctic Blue (Glidden) for the walls.  I chose Swan White (Glidden) for the trim.  After painting the walls, it was really a waiting game until my handy man could come and dismantle the bunk beds and reassemble them in the Master Bedroom.  Once that finally happened, I was able to do the rest of the heavy lifting and furniture assembly to get the room put together.

dorm nine

This is the view from the bedroom door.  You can see the top of Bailey’s bed.  The doors on the right are for a smaller closet being used for storage:  boxes of hand-me-downs, large musical instruments (guitar and keyboard), and the travel bags they need for visitation with their dad.  The other door is for the walk-in closet.  We’re going to pretend that the walk-in closet is neatly organized with clothing and toys all in their proper places.

dorm five

Here we have  the foot of Bailey’s bed and the new dresser from IKEA (Malm series) for Bailey’s and Piper’s clothes.  The little pink object on the dresser is a cute little lamp I also picked up at IKEA that serves as our new nightlight for the room.  The black-out curtains are the same as were in the room before, but they have been washed and a new curtain rod and metal curtain pull-backs were installed.  The girls also upgraded into the only upstairs place where we could set up the portable air conditioning unit.

Dorm seven

You can see next to the dresser a previously purchased STUVA storage cabinet from IKEA.  The bunk beds were purchased a few years ago at Ashley furniture.  Next to the bunk bed ladder is a  previously purchased Trofast frame from IKEA with storage buckets.  (We actually have four Trofast frames around the house; they are very versatile.)

dorm 3

The top bunk is Piper’s domain.  The bottom bunk will be used by Sabrina (hopefully within the next year).  The “little bed” is a size in between a toddler bed and a twin.  We purchased it from (guess where?) IKEA two years ago for Katie, and she decided she’d rather keep her little bed than move into the bottom bunk.  Katie’s clothes are in the drawers under her bed.  Sabrina’s clothes are in the drawers under her bunk.

Dorm two

And here we are full circle.  This is Bailey’s new bed (Malm series from IKEA) with an old, shorter Trofast frame.  We tried moving the desk and chair (both from IKEA) down to the basement, but Bailey found all of the noise from the main floor too distracting.  Then we have the laundry basket and a small trash can tucked in there, too.

We still have wall decorations to put up and things to organize, but the girls seem to really like their new room.  I have a few ideas of what to do when Cassidy gets old enough to need her own sleeping space.  I could try to move Piper and Bailey down to the basement.  Or I could squeeze another “little bed” in where the desk is maybe.  We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

And since I couldn’t find a link to the cute little lamp, I just had to add some pictures on my own.  It’s real glass, with an LED light underneath it.

At night, it sparkles against the ceiling.

At night, it sparkles against the ceiling.

Isn't it pretty?

Isn’t it pretty?


Home Fix Up: Master Bathroom

July 30, 2014

Four of us moved in to our three-bedroom, three-story town home in June of 2006.  Then we had three more kids in the span of six years.  Then in October of 2011 my mother-in-law moved in with us.  In March of 2014 I filed for divorce from my husband of 14 years, and he moved out.

I was kind of uncertain as to what would happen with our house.  It is underwater, being worth way less than what is owed on the mortgage.  As part of the divorce agreement, though, it was arranged that my ex-husband would keep his name on the mortgage for five years, but then I have to sell or refinance into my own name.  So, for now the kids get the consistency of staying in their own home while dealing with the changes that divorce brings.

It was about a week after the separation that I began to realize that with the kids leaving the house every other weekend to go to their dad’s that I might actually be able to fix the house up.  The idea of painting was something that had just seemed too over-whelming while dealing with 5 young children, a horrible marriage, and crippling depression.  But with the activation of my Zoloft and dropping the burden of trying to stay in the marriage, things suddenly seemed possible.

My first plan of action was to fix up the Master Bathroom.  It had basically been my ex-husband’s private bathroom.  It had an old soaker spa jet tub, whose jets had broken a year or two after we moved in.  I had rarely used them anyway, because mildew and soap scum would always build up in the jets, making bathwater gross enough even before you added the air bubbles.  The toilet had been leaking for a few years, and I had been seeing the effect in our water bills for about a year.  Mildew had basically taken over the whole room, and in the course of eight years almost every fixture (including the gigantic, mirrored medicine cabinet) had fallen off the walls.

Whether we were able to stay in the house or had to sell it, the Master Bathroom had to be partially remodeled.  First I had the toilet replaced.  Then we had to remove the old tub, put in a new tub, and do a tile patch.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to re-tile the entire bathtub area or replace the tile with a new liner.  My handy man also discovered mildew under the floor tiles when he was putting in the tub, so I had to get new peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles.  There was also water damage to one of the walls where the shower curtain had not been closed properly.

Once all of that was done, I scrubbed and painted the walls (Glidden Water Chestnut) and the trim (Glidden Cinnamon Spice).  Then my handy-man returned to finish adding new trim and put up a new mirror, hand-towel ring, and towel hooks.  So, here is the finished product.

Master Bathroom 1

New shower curtain and towel rack.

Master Bathroom 2

New bath tub and tile patch.


Master Bathroom 3

New toilet, rack, mirror, and sink accessories.



New hand towel ring and sink accessories.

New hand towel ring and sink accessories.

Nailed It!

July 9, 2014

Since I am in a huge period of discernment and because I stalk  follow Jen Fulwhiler and her blog, I decided to try out the Called and Gift CD set along with the Spiritual Gifts Inventory that she recommend.  Both were developed as a workshop by the Catherine of Siena Institute
to help people discern with which charisms they may have been gifted by the Holy Spirit to aid them in their vocation.  In other words, the Holy Spirit sometimes has specific ways that He wants to use each individual person within his or her vocation.  The theory is that if we can discern how the Holy Spirit normally uses us then we can more fully cooperate for the benefit of others and the glory of God.

Anywho, even though I thought my chances of actually being able to listen to all five CDs without a bazillion interruptions were slim, I actually found several times where I was able to listen to them with few interruptions.  (It had to be the Holy Spirit at work.)  I filled in the circles on my inventory, and eagerly looked to see where my high scores are.  Now the program doesn’t promise that those are the spiritual gifts that you have, but the inventory is supposed to help you narrow down which ones to investigate more thoroughly.

The program tells you to look at your top five.  My highest score was for the charism of Knowledge.  The next two that I remember were Evangelism and Writing.  And I totally can’t remember what the other two were, and my answer sheet is in one of these various piles of paper stacked around my kitchen.

I did all of this in May.  While I have kept it on my mind the past two months, it has been on the back burner while I’ve been dealing with other issues.   A couple of days ago, though, I came across the Spiritual Gifts Resource Guide that I had purchased along with the CDs and the inventory.  (It was in one of the piles of paper stacked around my kitchen.)  I sat down with it and went straight to the pages on Knowledge.

The program describes the charism of Knowledge as such:  Knowledge empowers a Christian to be a channel of God’s truth through diligent study and intellectual activity that enables us to better understand God, ourselves, and the universe.

Well, that sounds pretty spot on for me.  God’s truth?  Check! Study? Check!  Intellectual activity? Check!  Making connections about how everything applies to God, myself, humans in general, and the universe? Check!

So, then I look at the Scripture and Catechism references.  Of course, the first three are from three of my favorite Old Testament books:  Proverbs, Wisdom, and especially Sirach.  I love me some Sirach.  I fell in love with it when I was bored to death on Senior retreat when they locked us in a chapel for what felt like two hours to journal and all I had was my Bible to read.  The book of Sirach just cuts to the heart of things with no b.s.

The first book on the recommend reading list is The Dumb Ox:  Saint Thomas Aquinas by G.K. Chesterton which I have been slowly been making my way through.  The Patron Saints for this charism include Thomas Aquinas and Edith Stein.  Thomas Aquinas is, well, Thomas Aquinas.  This is the second time in the past few years, though, that I have been pointed towards Edith Stein with no real previous knowledge of her.  I may have to read her biography next.

Here’s where the punch line comes, though.  These are some possible expressions for those with the charism of Knowledge:





RCIA/religious education

home schooling

Did you catch that last one?  HOME SCHOOLING!!  I literally laughed out loud when I read that.

I guess the Holy Spirit was leading me even when I didn’t realize it.  He’s sneaky like that.  I will still be homeschooling for at least another year or two (God willing), but I will need to start investigating other avenues (hopefully paying ones) for the Holy Spirit to put me to work.  But it looks like the inventory really had my number.

I can’t wait to see what else the guide has to say about the other charisms in which I tested high.


Baby Birds

July 2, 2014

The hardest part of parenting is when you have two choices and you have absolutely no idea which way to go.  Do you push your little bird out of the nest a bit so that she can spread their wings and gain some confidence, or do keep her under your wing a while longer?

I decided a few months ago to transfer my second daughter, age 8, from the homeschool to our parish school for third grade.  Homeschooling had been extremely rough this past year with a lot of arguing.  Plus, since she was loathe to participate in organized activities, I felt that she could really use more social opportunities.  She seemed to lack confidence in herself, and I thought a successful venture into school would give her a boost.

Also, I really need more time to focus on her next younger sister.  My third daughter has Sensory Processing Disorder that mainly manifests with her eating habits.  However, I have also noticed some motor skill issues which I think are related to the SPD.  She’s extremely intelligent, but she struggles with certain life skills.  I need to start doing some therapy work, in addition to first grade homeschool work, to try to bridge the gap with her eating and motor skills.

On top of that, with the divorce, I need to start focusing on gaining some marketable skills to get a job in the next three to five years.  I’m looking at taking the ParaPro assessment to get licensed as a teacher aid.  I’m also looking at online Masters programs.  This means I need time to study.

However, DD#2 was getting extremely upset about the idea of going to school.  She got along fine during her two shadow days at the school in May, but she was miserable on the inside the whole time.  We found notes saying that she wished she was dead, and she said it was less about the divorce and more about going to school.  I began to wonder if I was doing the right thing.

After discussing it with her counselor, we all agreed that she will not be going to regular school after all.  She will be homeschooled for at least one more year.  However, this year I will be switching to a formal program.  Both my 3rd grader and 1st grader will be registered with Kolbe Academy Homeschool.  I’ll have to tweak a few things, but for the most part I will be using their book list and course plans.

It will definitely be more work and more structure than I would normally use at these grade levels, but I just don’t have the time or energy to put into planning my own curriculum this year.  I think a more formal program will better prepare them for the eventuality of school, which wasn’t really a concern of mine previously.  Of course it brings up questions like:  do you use the spelling program that you think will teach them more or the spelling program that will get them used to how they teach spelling in schools?