Sunday, March 12, 2017


You. Guys.

I've been a bad blogger. So bad. I hate when blogger people make excuses, and so I hate that now I'm going to give you excuses. . .

I have a job, now. A part time job. And I have no freaking clue how working moms get anything done, like, ever. And I only work part time. I have had to learn to let a tooooon of expectations go. Laundry not getting done on Monday Laundry Day? Oh well.  It's never ending anyway. Daughter looks like a ragamuffin because she will not show any sort of hustle in the morning? C'est la vie. 

I love this job, though. With all my heart and soul. I actually get paid to play the piano for the junior high. I get paid. To play the piano. And the kids are so so awesome and I am getting so much better musically. I know this is all sooo interesting! You're on the edge of your seats. 


I'm in a bad situation with my house right now. Not "starving children in Africa" bad situation, just. . . flippant, house decorator, "OMG, like, my house" bad situation. Listen here:
Everything that needs doing OR I'd like to do costs five bajillion million thousand dollars. Also, my house has hit that ripe old age of maturity where like, everything needs replacing. Do you know what I'm saying here?

I'm saying my house was built in the 90's, and everything has been fine. Not my fave, but, you know. Livable. Doable.  But now. . .everything shows it's wear. Yes, we're pigs. The people who live here are just disgusting. Yes, we all sleep here and fight here and play here and cook here, and then there's the neighbors who like to live here, too, so things are just gonna start looking shabby, but . . .

I'm saying it's all the big things. Soon I'll need a new kitchen. Well, for the most part. My bathrooms. All of the them--- good heaven above my bathrooms are straight out of a horror movie. Frankly, it all is kind of overwhelming me. I just. . .can't right now. 

Enter in this months project!!! 

This is another one of these things that I've so, so so so wanted for us. But I knew it would cost a lot (it did), and I knew it would be a big ole pain (it was). All the flooring in the upstairs. All of it. Gone. I could cry happy tears. I think I actually did.


This picture popped up on The Facebooks by three of my friends, on the same day. Cute little saying, huh?

It would be sooo cute if it weren't for that DISGUSTING CARPET. and that disgusting carpet IS MY OWN CARPET HELLO BECAUSE THIS IS MY FREAKING HOUSE. You don't have my permission, "whisper". Not at all.

That up there was a before photo of my stairs before I ripped the carpet off! I die. Humiliations galore. What's my point? 

(Stairs now. Same-ish angle.)

My point is that all that cream carpet from hell really needed to go. And go it did.

The Jeffro and I -- we worked so hard. We hauled booty to tear all this stuff out and sweep up the dirt and pluck out the staples and crowbar up the tack strips. You've done this. You know. You empathize. Your eye is twitching just thinking about it. And the furniture removal! My kids were all, "It's like we're moving!" (whine, whine). It really was though. We played musical beds. Kids slept in various rooms while the work got done. It was funsies. Really messed up funsies.

Also. I love paying small amounts of money to watch people do the work I know I can do myself. It's so very choice.

Seriously-- if the Jeffro and I were to lay this stuff down, it would have taken us 2 weeks of intense work. because there were weird angles, closets, 4 bedrooms, and a really oddly shaped hallway. Of course we could have done it! We'd have been grouchy and mean and everything else would have gone to crap whilst we worked. . . 


we could pay the people to come in, work their butts off, do a great job because hey, it's what they do, and be done in two hard working days. And so we did. Because we aren't stupid all the time! Just typically!

(The only time my daughter's room has been clean. Since she could crawl.)

I love it. It's sooo much cleaner up here. So much. So. So. So much. The irony is not lost on me that I enjoy vacuuming and detest sweeping, however.

I know I'm not fooling you. I ain't fooling anyone. We actually went with Dark Hickory . . .LAMINATE. Dun dun dun. I love real hardwood ever so much. . . you know I do. It's my secret boyfriend. But let's be real: nobody really comes up here besides us, it's a quarter of the cost, and it's also a quarter of the cost.

Did I mention it was a quarter of the cost??

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

On Fear

In the last month or so, I've heard a quote like this at least 3 times. At least.

Or something similar to this. Something like,

"Never let fear make your decisions."  And it's like, BOOM. What?  I shouldn't let my fear control me? It's all I know. It's all I am. I'm doing it wrong??

If we've been friends for a while, then you know that I have an absolute crippling fear of performance anxiety. You can call it stage fright I guess-- 

But when people are all, 
"Yeah I get super nervous too when I speak in front of people." Then I'm like, yeah. It's that, but it's so much more. I'm having a total freak out panic attack. Panic attacks are gosh awful. They suck. So bad. 


I let my fear take over me. I stopped doing anything that would get me wigged out. Anything music related that was in front of people? Over. Done. Public speaking-- even making a comment in a room with more than 4 people would completely freak me out. It was a serious problem. It was controlling my life.

I don't even know what exactly started me wanting to change really--

but I started with a fear journal. Seriously. (Journal nerds unite.)

I started making a list of things that freaked me out, and I started planning on doing them. I know this sounds sick and twisted, but really it's kind of sick and twisted.

-Donating blood was never a problem for me until the last few years. I broke into a cold sweat contemplating doing it again . .

So I signed up. And I went and did it. (And I did freak out internally). And then I wrote about it in my fear journal and was like BAM I did that.  And then I signed up to donate again when the time came around.

Tons of musical numbers, speaking in front of large crowds. . . oh my heck, once recently I even sang in front of a bunch of people and I don't sing solos because I don't have a solo voice.

And then I get to write about it, and I pat myself on the back.

I did a violin solo. As an adult. In front of a huge crowd. And I felt sooo ridiculous at a recital next to 10 year olds doing my recital thing. But it was on my fear journal list, and so I did it anyway.

I'm happy to say that it is actually getting easier. But nearly every time, when I'm up doing that thing that is freaking me out, I wonder why I've done this to myself and what my gosh dang problem is.

But then I'm so happy afterward.

I've been meaning to sit down and put my thoughts into words for like, ever--

but then our house was robbed on Thanksgiving night while we were out of town. And that's a new, different kind of fear, you know what I'm saying?

I've said this before, and I'm not even kidding: my house is my buddy. It honestly feels like a close friend. I've poured my literal blood, sweat, and tears into making this house ours. And it feels like someone came in and violated it. They were everywhere-- in every room, and with the amount of things they took, they were in here for a long time.

Evidently, they spent the bulk of their time in my bedroom, and they were thorough. Under my bed, through my socks, my underwear, even my dirty clothes for crying out loud--

and a couple people were asking if we were going to move. Because we feel violated, you know?

I'm not moving. This is my house. You bastages that broke in don't belong here.

I don't feel safe, and I think that's natural. But how I do feel truly blessed, is that I was already working on not letting fear take over me, before this happened. So, I'm just gonna keep on keeping on. I guess this is my next fear journal entry, right?

Thanks for listening. Carry on.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tombstones. Not Just For Cemeteries Anymore.

Today. . .

I wanna talk about this.


Let us talk more about gardening. I know I know. . . I'm sorry. It's a crazy obsession that's getting worse and worse.

BUT hold the phone because my WATER CALLA BLOOMED! Right in my pond! I'm so happy-- I didn't think it had the ability-- not this season at least. . and it's so purty.

And I waited alllllll spring and summer for these dahlias to finally get off their A and do something. . .

And they're these monsters! These giant purple monsters of awesome!

Gosh, I love flowers. But you know what I don't love? Watering them in September/October. What is my deal? Weeding? No problem. Dead-heading? fine. But daily watering at this point in the game?

Done. Sooo so done with it. Most my flower beds water themselves-- but I have these random areas (HELLO TOO MANY POTS) that I'm just done with. Just die already! Or live but don't need water okay?

Anyways. Back to what we're getting all up on today.

We might have over-bought on the flagstone just a little.

And you know what one does with extra pieces of flagstone? Besides another massive project involving said flagstone? (Maybe next season but don't hold your breath 'cause I'm still tired. . .)

You borrow a little handheld Ryobi tool from your Daddy-o and make your own tombstone/engraved name thingy (Actual term). Duh.

'Cause everyone has one sitting elegantly in their yard, right? And I want one!

Now, let's just stop for a second and calm down.

If you are a perfectionist: don't DIY this. 

Pay someone and get yourself a big freakin' huge sign and put it in your front yard for all to see.  Because DIYing this isn't going to be perfect. And I'm okay with that. I'm sloppy. It's who I am. Be sloppy with me.

See what I mean? It's a Monet: from far away it's fine, but up close it's a real mess.

Have you noticed that most of these stone carving thingys are black inside? The letters, I mean? I do like that. But the Jeffro preferred it au naturel. And I'm okay with that, so I went with it. But you could definitely get a paintbrush in there and make the letters stand out.


(I know how to spell my own last name, promise. This is for someone else)

this is as simple as printing out what you want on your own printer at home and taping it down. For the font freak like moi:
 this font is Trajan Pro. I love Trajan Pro. It's da best.

So you tape it down, you get your little tool out with a diamond tip,

and it's soooo nice to have this plethora of various sized diamond tips -- the smaller ones we used to outline the letter, and then we'd just remove the paper and really smooth things out with a wider bit.  Also, I could have moved the wet/dry vac hose and swept around this area just for the picture,

but that's not who I am. That wouldn't be authentic. And I need to be authentic.
(Is there a lamer phrase than "Being authentic" right now?)

So as I said, it's not perfect, and I knew that. I planned on it sitting in a flower bed in the backyard, without any pomp and circumstance, and we love it. Do it!  Try it!  It's actually quite addicting to sit down and just drill right into stone. It only took a couple hours, too. Oh my heck! If I had gray flagstone. . think of all the awesome tombstones for Halloween you could make! If I had all the time in the world, that is.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em.


I thought this day would never come, but the da&* pond is finished. El finito. Smoke em if you got em, and then take a tip from me:

Do Not Do This. Don't. Just. Don't. 

Let's say we did, then don't. Am I happy to have it in my backyard? Yes ish. I do love it. But it was soooo much work. Sooooooo much harder than the other stunts we've pulled since living in this house, and we've pulled a lot of stunts all up in this operation.

People told us not to. But we're hard workers! we said. We're no stranger to difficult projects! we said. 

The cost of having a pond (even a small one) put in by a contractor is insane. But now I know why. There's just so much to think about, from the digging and the leveling and the pond liner and the electrical and the filter and this and that and the other. Sigh. Having it done professionally is probably worth every penny, sad to say.

So I'm saying I like it! I'm crying tears of joy that it's done! But I wouldn't do it again. And actually, if we're gonna be 100% honest, I still need to get out there and bury the electrical, and we're also putting in some pond lights which I'm pretty excited about. 

 But now that the backbreaking labor is done-- 

Look at my lily pads!!  They actually have lilies. And they open at around 8 am and they close up around 5 pm and they are so nifty I can barely stand it.

In the small pond, we have a lily that is seriously two-toned:

Shut up!! Gah I love it so.

And we have lots of other water plants like water hyacinths and water lettuce and water callas and they're crazy expensive and I'll be seriously pissed if they can't withstand a Utah winter. But they should, so here's hoping.

And we even have fish! Goldfish. But fish!

This is me attempting to show you how our pond connects to our flower beds. And I dearly love that hibiscus in the corner there but it's gotten a little wild. Time to trim that puppy down.

You know what's funny? But not funny haha?

How many comments we got from the neighbors. Lots of very kind and encouraging comments from people we don't know very well, and then several mean jabs from people we do know well. That surprised me a little. 

I remember this time, when I had had it after a long hot day,

and I'm ashamed to admit that I just plopped right down on the lawn-- just sprawled out right there, and I put my face in the crook of my elbow and had a little cry. Oh yes, I did.

And a good friend was driving past, and I heard her yell out of her car, 
"You look like you could use a coke right now!"

And then I made our usual Mormon joke about throwing in a little rum with it (it never gets old)--

but that great friend brought me a milkshake. And I felt so much better. And yet dumb for being such a baby. 

But I tell ya, there is something about landscape work that just feels. . . overwhelming. 

I'm glad I did this now-- I took some photos of my flowers near the beginning of the season, and then I went out and snapped a few more this weekend.

Here's my one corner of my new flower beds back in June. . . 

and here it is now.

Gosh that alyssum is insane! And my dahlias took their sweet time but they're this close to blooming! And I'm happy. 

And since I'm feeling so gosh darn happy to not be sweating and swassing it up outside--

I treated myself to a sign purchase. Hee.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Two Steps Forward & One Step Back.

Happy Summer!! Woot! I know for most of y'all,  you're like, "Hello, summer's nearly half over duh!",

but for us, we've only been out of school prison for one week.  So again I say, HAPPY SUMMER! Woot!

If we've been friends for a long time, then you know alllll about my nerdy annual summer anthem. Oh.My.Heck. -- Your life is incomplete until you hear my 2016 anthem. You haven't even lived.

Listen. Love it.

How could I choose any other song for my anthem? I ask you?? Sigh. Gosh, let's listen again. Replay!

You know what I think is so funny, but not funny "haha"?

How hard all parts of yard work felt prior to all we've done this season. Now, what used to seem like a really big fargin' deal seems wimpy and small in comparison. Silver lining of this mess we've gotten ourselves into, I suppose.

So! Yard work extravaganza at the Tremaynes! Otherwise known as: "What the He$$ have we done? Part 2."  Ack, it never ends.

Last time we left off this exciting drama, the pond looked like so,

and my brand new flower beds (to get rid of all that extra dirt of course) looked like so.

Check 'em out now, as they're filling out. And as I'm filling in blank spots with clearanced perennials ($1 perennial geraniums? $3 gallon coreopsis? $1 dianthus?? Don't mind if I do!).

Now.  NOW-- get yourself a cold bevi and a donut, because let's talk about what happened in the front yard. The plot thickens. 

I still had more dirt from the da$% pond fiasco. Still. So I opted to continue the fence line flower beds. I was talking to a gardener extraordinaire friend, and she attempted to talk some sense into me:

"All your flowers will be hidden there."  She said.
"You should make a big dramatic flower bed down the center of your yard." she said.

Tonya dear, you are so, so right. I should have listened!! Why didn't I listen? 

Wait, I know why. I was already hauling dirt and sod day after day, and one more huge thing like that just might have pushed me over the edge.

So. . . 

I like what's going on here. I do. But I still wish I'd have gone with the dramatic look. In fact. . . can't believe I'm saying this. . .

but the more the years go by, the more I'm really into flowers. I'm going to be an 80 year old gardener lady with more flowers than lawn. And I'm totally okay with that. The other day, I went jogging with one of my running buddies who likes flowers too, and we spent nearly the entire 4 mile run talking about plants we like. 

I was born an old lady.  And look!! I actually have a hydrangea that's decided to bloom!

It's an Independence Day miracle! My other hydrangeas just sit there and do nothing. At least they don't die. But that's about it.


So we're here. Perhaps next year I can go bigger and better. Now--

it totally doesn't matter, because it's over now, but I also opted to dig up all the lava rock we had in our beds along our driveway/up to the front door, and opted to plant instead. (see above, about how I'm an old lady and like flowers.)

It should not have taken this long to remove the lava rock, lay down some new weed barrier, haul in the soil, and get planting--

but holy freakity freak, it took me hours and hours and hours. If I recall, it was a week straight of just these beds. Good grief. I do like the flowers-- but it definitely doesn't make as big of an impact as I hoped. Not a biggie, but a tad disappointing for the effort.  Hmm.  I should get out and deadhead that dianthus.

I was going to talk about the awesome flowering pear trees I planted in the front park strips. But, no. A horrible windstorm came through and took one of them out--  I'm not through with all the stages of grief, yet.  I just. . .can't. Later, maybe. Just know that I had to replace one of them, and now I have one big tree, and one little weenee one. It looks completely ridiculous. Like "Twins", and one is Ahnuld, and one is Danny Devito. It's sad, really. 

So guess where we are on the pond, huh huh?!?! 

Totally not done. Sooooooo so so close. Maybe we can finish the flagstone work this week. Maaaybe. 

Please cross your fingers for us. And your toes. And your eyes. Now keep them like that until I say we're done.

Monday, June 13, 2016

When Life Gets Crazy, Throw In A Extra Project. Or Two.

The backyard/frontyard renovations are still ongoing, and yet. . .

as if we didn't have enough to do, as if I wasn't overworked, tired, and as if I hadn't spent a small fortune on landscaping items. . . 

then I went forward with a project inside the house. Why?  Why??  Because I'm crazy. And not  like "crazy haha". Crazy crazy. Cray cray. Insane in the membrane. ("Insane in the brain!")

It's a loooong story. But you know those projects, that you know need to get done, and you talk about them getting done for years but they just keep staying near the bottom of your list? 

You have those, right?

This is one of those for us. The hardwoods in our kitchen needed to be refinished when we moved in. 7 years later (how in thee world have I lived in this house for 7 years??), a leak in the dishwasher and a very swollen floor later, and we've FINALLY gotten around to doing it. 

I'm kinda sorta laughing at this "before" kitchen picture up there-- soo much has changed in here, like the paint color, that cabinet on the right has come down, etc., etc. And let's not talk about my cabs. Let's say we did.

And then don't. I am sooo conflicted about what I want in here-- I've wanted white cabs for years and years, and then I decide I'm totally okay with the maple, then I'm not, then I am. . . now I'm waiting patiently to see what happens in the exciting world of kitchen trends. . . 

we'll see. 

How in the world can bloggers on the interwebs afford makeover after makeover? Where is all this filthy lucre coming from? And how can I get me some?

 The best part about this is that I hardly lifted a finger to get it done. Annnd I'm super happy with the outcome. Gosh it's nice to pay good money to watch other people work really hard around you. It's so very choice. 

Let me spoil the surprise and tell you. . . 

I went with dark floors. (I'm whispering this in a creepy way.)

I went back and forth and back and forth. . . I honestly like the maple in here. . . dark is harder to keep looking clean. . . I'll see every speck of dust. . . 

And yet. Still did it. I just knew it would change the whole look of my house.

Everything got taped off and covered and there was dust everywhere and I couldn't cook for two days and we had lots of fast food and there was a lot of yelling at my kids on my part because "Dang it, son, I told you it wasn't ready to walk on, what are you thinking??"

And here it is stained, but not shellacked.  And my house was heavy on fumes and my island was covered in crap they kept pulling out of my pantry to do that part of the floor, and all the windows were open to get the smell out and it was hotter than Hades in here. . .

but it was worth it. Because I love it. I love it I love it I love it. The color is Jacobean, and I knew I would like it because Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick has that in her house, and I completely trust her because we all know she is the goddess of house decor, amen.

And of course right at this point, I made a comment to the Jeffro about the cabinets (AGAIN) and he said he just knew this would snowball and I'd make a comment about them (AGAIN). But I shall be patient. I'm not made of money, although I like to pretend in my head that I am.

So! The question on everyone's mind: are they hard to keep clean? Yes. Yes they are.  However--

I anticipated lots of dust, and dusty footprints. That's not happening. What is happening, however, is that my children are slobs. When they Cookie Monster down a taco in a horribly violent manner, as they inevitably do, I can see every single speck of cheese and saucy beef.

So I'm saying, I sweep a lot now. Because I like the look of a clean, new floor. Who wouldn't?

Annnnd. . . I have a lot of dark furniture. Shucks. My sectional is totally staying, though. But maybe this is my excuse to finally get me that new round table in the kitchen in a lighter tone. . .

As I said, I like to pretend I'm made of money. Let's not ruin the dream.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

What The He$$ Have We Done, Part 1.

You know,

when the Jeffro first talked about putting in a pond, I thought he meant one that was like, this big (Imagine me holding out my arms in a big circle.) 

I didn't think he meant a massive, 3+ foot deep, we-need-to-rent-a-mini-excavator-to-get-the-job-done, type pond. 

I josh not when I say that I've spent my life working in the yard the past month, nay, it's been two months now, working in my yard.

Sorry neighbors for any unintentional saggy pants I sported during this time.  It happens. I don't mean it to, but it does. 

It dawned on me the other day, when I was hauling my 100th bag of soil/manure/mulch out of the car:

I'm a farmgirl. But let's go with "farmboy", because that's more fun. So I'm saying to myself, 

"Farmboy, polish my horse's saddle. Want to see my face shining in it by morning."

"Farmboy, fetch me that pitcher?" (The one that's right above my head within arm's reach but I'm too lazy and prefer you to be in kissing distance? That one?)

So I'm a farmboy/girl. 


Let me tell you how this project has snowballed. It starts with the digging of a monstrous hole in the ground with said mini excavator,

And then things got really exciting and spicy. We found the phone line! The one that wasn't marked by Blue Stake! Gosh, that was fun. 
Jeffro and I will be in our rocking chairs on the porch staring at this pond (oh, by the way, the official name for the pond is "the da$% pond". Let's go with that from now on. We certainly do.), anyways-- Jeffro and I will be rocking along in our chairs, staring at the da$% pond, and we'll be 80 years old and we'll be like, 

"Remember when we dug up that there phone line? What a hoot."

Because you give everything 20+ years and just about everything that doesn't involve death or dismemberment is a hoot. 

So then,

poor little farmgirl me is left with is a massive mountain of dirt in my yard. Massive. This shall never disperse, mountain. Daunting mountain. Brokeback Mountain.

 And what does one do with a massive amount of dirt in the yard that must be moved in order to not kill the grass? (Plus I cannot even deal with leaving projects undone?)

(The mountain was bigger than this. He wasn't done yet in this picture. I exaggerate a lot, but on this I'm not pinky swear)

You take this backyard you just pushed forward and fenced in, 

and you make the flower beds you've seriously considered putting in all along the fence line, and dang it, you make it happen! Shovel after shovel and wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow-- it happens, dang it. 'Cause the grass don't grow well there anyway, and it's ugly, and it shouldn't be.

And my back ached when I would sleep for weeks and I would dream of shoveling and dumping and SHOVELING AND DUMPING and my hands have new calluses and my fingers look permanently dirty despite the use of work gloves, and I'm probably in the best upper body shape of my life because I'M A FARMGIRL, HERE.

Everything went by the wayside-- my house looks like crap, my nails look like crap, the house is a mess Jack, the kids are a mess Jack, you're a mess Jack. . .

(gosh I love that movie.)

But here we are.

Perhaps you're wondering,

"One small row of flower beds took you that long?"

1. Don't you judge me.
2. I had more dirt. Much more dirt. Thus, the front yard got involved too but let's chit chat about that over donuts next time.
3. Don't you judge me. You don't know! You weren't there! 

Meanwhile, the Da$% Pond:

 Shaping of the da$% pond is done. Plumbing is set. Supplies are purchased--

but there's a kink in the pond liner plans. But I can't go there yet. It's too soon.  The Jeffro is like, 

"If we could go back and decide on this again, would we move forward?"

Do you mean do the actual work again?? All over again??  Do you wanna keep your wife?