Category Archives: Remodeling

Home Study Visits in Review

Why on earth did I have my knickers in such a twist? Really? She came. She talked. She listened. She took a tour of the house led by Bean. The dog didn’t yap incessantly, but laid by her feet or on the sofa being petted, being the best little puppy a family could ask for. The cats meowed and presented themselves for petting, but not annoyingly so. They were all their best selves, and hopefully we were too. Bean was awesome and enthusiastic, but awesome enough to act out a little so we could demonstrate dealing with a preschooler. No way you’re getting off to preschool in the morning without a little drama, especially if your kid has the kind of hair that mats overnight into clumps of impenetrable carpeting.

She prompted us to think, and to discuss. Just how could our children disappoint us? I expect the *right* answer is that they couldn’t, but neither Green nor I answered that way. It wouldn’t have been honest. How would you answer? Could your children disappoint you? Green’s answer was better than mine, I couldn’t get past the loaded nature of the question and semantics. We both discussed it in terms of who they come to be as adults and how they treat people and the disappointment being directed at ourselves for our parenting failures. What we both felt was implicit, but didn’t articulate was that none of these feelings preclude loving your child.

Green surprised me with his emotion and honestly with his answers in the joint interview. I had to get up and walk away at one point for fear that I might become emotional watching him be emotional. I know he listens to me, but apparently my incessant chatter for the past few years about open adoption has been listened to AND processed. I mean, I knew it had, but I hadn’t given him credit for how articulate he could be on the topic. And because it is Green, how passionate he was about it. I love how he has strong convictions and stands by them. That characteristic was part of the attraction way back when too. (Got to love a man who stands up to those who sexually harass or are sexist when he sees and recognizes those actions. Good God, I am one lucky woman.)

So now it is a waiting game. Waiting for the report to be written, waiting for the judge to review and hopefully approve. Writing and writing, filling out more and more forms, attending another workshop in California at the end of the summer and then waiting some more. Waiting, for expectant parents to decide that they do not want or can not parent. It feels awful to be waiting for someone to make that difficult choice, but it is their right to make that choice and there are multiple situations I can imagine where that would be the choice. Okay, getting heavy here again. Anyway, just to prove our house was clean (Although because we live in the desert, by 4pm when she arrived on Monday a layer of dust had settled on all the surfaces despite being dusted just 4 hours or so before here are some pictures taken a few days later (See Mum, I kept it clean.Maybe we should have dusted before she came back another day for the first thing in the morning visit, but we didn’t) Note, I also have to practice taking interior shots. I have no idea what I’m doing. Rebecca, didn’t you guys find something about interior shots? Melissa, thoughts?

A weird shot of the living room floor toward the dining room. Note that clean dog hair tumbleweed free floor! Oh and a couple of new pictures on the walls. Please note we do have chairs and a sofa:

I debated putting this picture up before the home visit. Would they think us odd? Americans can be a bit funny about the whole human body thing. I bought it a while back after seeing this featured in an apartment therapy home tour that Portland Sunshine linked to (she has such fabulous fun taste.) The original one reminds me of the images in a “Where do babies come from” book that my brother and I had as kids. Isak

Yes, I’m sharing a picture of our bathroom with you. Don’t you like to being nosy around other people’s houses? I shouldn’t admit it? Oops. Oh well, at least I put the toilet seat down.

This shot is for anyone who has been in our home in the past few years, the mudroom without junk on the cupboards. I planned to redo the shelves in the fabric cupboard, but there wasn’t time. Mmmmm fabric. Mmmmm yarn.

I think the lady liked our yard. Perhaps was surprised by it. You can’t tell how large it is from this shot, but the house is so modest, the yard is such a pleasant surprise. Oh, and for those from elsewhere, this is what green looks like in the Arizona Southwest.

There are more, but for next time perhaps.



Filed under Adoption, Domestic Diva, Grow Garden Grow, Homestudy, Remodeling

Thank you

Thank you for the support shown following my last post. Balance is such an elusive thing. If I figure anything out, I promise to share. Right now I’m part-time for the next month and trying to not freak out at the decision.

On a completely different note, after seven months of inactivity we finally have a painted guestroom/office. Wahoo! We still have a floor to put down, curtains and a sofa bed to purchase. Any suggestions on the sofa bed. Colors? Sources? I’m tending toward a dark gray or a red?

Yolo Paints - Water .07


Filed under Domestic Diva, Elusive Balance, Remodeling

Update: Rubbish Diet, Decor and the Insane Reduce Online Time Pledge

So a quick update in case you think I’ve been neglecting these items. You’re right. Kind of.

This week is the Zero Waste Attempt Week at The Rubbish Diet. Here in the Tepary household? Not so much. We’re still on week 6 or 7 or whichever it was that was the de-clutter week. No really, we are. But we’re getting closer as evidenced that I’m actually able to walk into this room and see the ground, which now has pots of sample paint and putty knives lying around.  All the junk that was here is now in other people’s homes (yeah yard sales!), the compost bin, the recycle bin, our living room cluttering up the good view of the new spiffy decor in there, or um, the landfill. I do intend to go for it though. Soon, I promise soon. The Rubbish Diet has indeed changed my behaviours for the better.

We kind of covered decor, right? I spent hours debating insipid blue colors to replace the lovely Madonna/Mediterranean blue the front bedroom was previously. A couple of hours this evening puttying all the little dings in the walls. Somehow we hope to prime, paint, and lay the floor by noon on Sunday and ta da it will all be delightful, calm and serene. I might have lost my mind in the process, but any guests, additions to our family will surely love it. Don’t hold your breath on a room ready picture by Sunday.

And now to my moment of insanity, okay one of the many moments of insanity: the pledge to reduce online time. Still doing a relatively good job of keeping myself off the internet one day a weekend, the rest of it? Eh.

Alright, carry on.

ps. Mammograms? Not really as painful as I expected. In fact, not painful at all.

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Filed under Domestic Diva, Pledge, Reduce internet time, Remodeling, Reusing and Recycling

Feeling like Rubbish and Wondering What I Need to Chuck Out

I think that there must be so much mucus in my head that my brain synapses have just ceased up. I look like bloody Rudolph too, my nose is so red. Actually, I’m seriously contemplating how much weight gain from this week I can attribute to blocked sinuses and snot.

Yesterday, after feeling pretty damn rough for several days, I decided I was up to riding my bike into work (that was after getting on the scales and being scared silly to see the numbers go up, not down). The ride started off well, but then five minutes in I decide to take the ‘proper’ bike route and get promptly lost. Now, for those of you who don’t know me particularly well I should share that I’ve lived the majority of the past 21 years in Tucson, almost 13 years in this house. I know the neighbourhood. I ride to work three times a week on average. It is a pretty straight path. Yet, here I was trying to orientate myself using the mountains and still getting turned around. This seems pretty symptomatic of my life right now. It just feels a bit turned around and stuffed up. It doesn’t help that the house is a disaster zone.

Karen at The Rubbish Diet is focusing on decluttering this week. We’ve been decluttering for about a month now, and I just feel like we’re beginning to scratch the surface. I’m heinously far behind with my Rubbish Diet though and won’t be attempting the zero waste week for a few more weeks, after the renovation is finished. We’re still trying to apply her principles though and for the most part our trash output is consistently down, but our recycle bin is overflowing. I’m pleased that we’ve identified more things we can recycle, but consumption needs to decrease dramatically too.

The decluttering is part of a larger project to remodel the front bedroom/office as a psychological step we I feel we need to do before we dive completely into the adoption process. I know the home study isn’t a study really of your house, but really of your home, but still…

In fact, redecorating/remodeling (?) the living room was so we could move stuff in there and work on the front room. (Which reminds me: Sonchia, there is a honking desk in the living room right now that obliterates any good perspective on the room from the position I took the before image. When we get it out of the way I’ll take a picture. It was there when we got back from the UK. Did I mention Bean and I went to the UK last week? We did. A quick trip to see my mum following the death of my Gran. See, what I mean? Life just seems to be rather askew right now and not simple and calm at all.) Because I have no shame I’m willing to share a photo from last night of the front bedroom that we hope to start actual work on soon. I’ve been moving stuff out of this room and its closet forever it seems like, and now just have to sort out the last remnants of the closet. Just so you know, it didn’t have crap all over the floor before the furniture was moved out, well at least not most of the time.

Major Clutter

We’re re-flooring it like we did Bean’s bedroom with Plyboo, painting it, new wiring, new curtains, and instead of a big bed, there will be a sofa bed. The goal is to have a room that we can view as a guest room/office, but will be easily convertible into a child’s room if we are that lucky. But before we can actually get to work on this, I have to get the junk out AND we need to finish the chicken coop. Thank goodness for wonderful in-laws who are in town and helping, or indeed leading the charge on these things. Check out the chicken coop (Thanks to my father in-law):
Chicken Coop from the South plus Huxley

I wonder now how unaware we were of this craziness when we were children. Did it exist then? I think back to Italy, which despite crazy hours split between taking care of Bean and working into the wee hours I still had more down time than here. I wonder whether I will ever feel on top of things. I will, right? How about you? How do you manage everything? Is there something we should be letting go of?


Filed under Navigation of Dangerous Water (Parenting), Remodeling

I know, I know…

I’ve been missing in action. Actually, things got rather hectic. Some good stuff, some sad stuff, but more about that later. For now, I wanted to return to that whole living room redo as a gentle reentry to this blog. We’re still working on it, but I thought I give a photo update, a small peek:
The yellow living room & festive bunting
This is taken from the sofa, which is now positioned by the window as Sonchia suggested. It is actually a great set up of the chairs and sofa. In the evening I can see the lights in the backyard from the sofa. From the chairs I can see the mountains. Planning on replacing the green chair, but check out the back of the desk. Still need to add a finisher to the desk, but I’m putting a material back to the gaping hole in the back. I’m afraid you can’t see how cool the table is as its covered in prep for our girl’s b’day party celebration. We haven’t replaced the dining room chairs yet or put up all the pictures, but it is getting there, slowly.


Filed under Remodeling

Day Four of Insanity and Oops!

Well, I was doing pretty darn well up until today with my online time limits and then what happened? There I was packing up yet more books at the crack of dawn so we could move bookshelves into the living room when I decided to check my email, and then my RSS feed and then, what would you know, how about a quick Tweet on Twitter, or a comment on Facebook. All of this, so far, was within the hour set aside each day Sunday through Friday for such indulgence, but that is the point: Sunday through Friday not Saturday. (How did it get to be Saturday already? That means I’m back at work on Monday dang it.) Luckily, I am the parent of a toddler and so nothing if not flexible, so this was not a massive failure in the first week, I will merely apply the rule to tomorrow. So tomorrow, really tomorrow.

Today? Today, I’m going to share a few things that are making me happy.

This shot includes my favorite person, well her and her dad, and my mum and dad are running a close joint 3rd. One of my favorite places, our back yard AND the most comfortable shoes ever. Really, they’re like slippers. I don’t care what Stacey and Clinton of What Not to Wear say, comfortable shoes can be cute, even on a forty year old.

Most Comfortable Shoes Ever!

I’m also really loving this necklace that my friend Maggie of Velvet Glass gave me. I think it better to display it on a rocky rather than a close up of my rather wrinkley neck.

Glass Mosaic Necklace by Velvet Glass

I can’t afford Velvet Glass’s intricate beautiful glass mosaics, but I can afford the belt buckles, necklaces, coasters and prints. I’m thinking about commissioning her to create a belt buckle in the form of a tree or maybe a leaf. Actually, honey if you’re reading this I’d love to get the bubble fish for my birthday. Yeah, he never reads this.

Almost being done with the paint job in the living room. The ceilings and walls are painted, the baseboards are back on, bookshelves are moved in, although not secured to the wall. I’ve picked out some possible fabric for various pieces in the living room. Just got to decide whether to recover the chair we’ll be using until we find a more comfortable option like Sonchia of Dream within Reach suggested in the comments to my post Requesting Decor Input. Perhaps this?


The paint has a little more green in the yellow than I had hoped for, but after trying a bunch of samples the one we both agreed on was so close to the three gallons that we already had we couldn’t justify buying more paint. I figure the right lighting and fabrics will add a touch more warmth.

I hope your New Year is off to a fabulous start and 2010 brings much happiness, peace and health. And with that goodnight.


Filed under Remodeling, Resolution, Vanity

Requesting Decor Input

Ahhhhh, holidays. Time to snuggle up with a book, knitting, board games, to rest, to reconnect and to celebrate. Yeah, well that would be any other house than ours. At our house we’ve decided to paint the living/dining room area. Except in our house you don’t get to just paint the room, oh noooooooooo…the baseboards are coming off, rewiring, addition of fans, and somewhere along the way we have to find new curtains and a new rug. Isn’t that what everyone does at this time of year? Doesn’t sound very restful does it? I didn’t think so either, but still it needs to be done. When else would it be done?

We do need some help though. No, no, don’t worry I don’t mean actual painting help, although if you’re so inclined…I mean decorating help. I put a note into the women at Dream Within Reach and hope they’ll have some suggestions, but maybe you will too. Don’t be shy.

So this is the before:
What's different with this room?

The rug we currently have was a fabulous hand-me-down from my MIL. It has to be thirty years old, and I think we’ve finally done it in. The curtains are those cheap ones on copper piping that you put up when you’re just out college, but we’re long out of college. The sofa in the back is staying, but perhaps new pillow covers can jazz it up, the near sofa is out of here, but the coffee table stays. Also entering the picture will be a few tall dark wood bookcases that need to exit the front guest bedroom. We need to add some curtains, a rug, and a chair. Now, I fear our style, if you can call it that, borders on stuffy/eclectic and we need to spice it up a little, while keeping it comfortable and including the pieces we currently have.
We’re painting the room the room with a Yolo Colorhouse paint, Aspire 001, which looks much more yellow on the paint chip, I hope it is on the wall too. Oh Lord, the paint went on and it is yellow as in scrambled egg yellow when made with that fake egg stuff. Not rich, not warm, just ugh. Looking for a new colour!  Suggestions please.White ceiling and trim. The room isn’t particularly light and needs some help in the lighting arena too. So there you go:
rug (wool tufted rather than hooked)
chair (I’m thinking new to us rather than new)
added paint color

This is about where we’re at right now…

That dining room table and chairs are out of there as soon as I can find a leafed rectangular. They were also hand me downs just post college or post-bacc or grad school.
Many thanks.


Filed under Remodeling