Monday, January 27, 2014

The Most Brutally Honest Reasons You SHOULD Have Kids

Whoa, it's been a while since I've logged on and written anything! We've been crazy busy!

The reason I've come out of my hibernation is because I saw this ridiculous article on called, The Most Brutally Honest Reasons You Should Never Have Kids. 

This article lays out the "horrifying" reasons why you should not have children, yet it's written by a 20-something year-old who CLEARLY has no idea what she is talking about. The author is brutally criticizing life with children, but really she seems to be thinking like a selfish child herself. One sentence sums it up well: "As I spend my twenties wrapped up in my career, friends and nights out, I find myself dizzy over the thought of finding room in my life for someone else." The critique would almost be funny if the author was actually a parent herself OR if she had any idea what life is like when you actually have children. Alas, she is so wrapped up in her own world that she cannot fathom how anyone can actually waste one's own social life and freedom for kids (horrible creatures)! The HORROR OF IT ALL!

So, for all of you who are teetering on the edge of doom and trying to decide whether or not having children really is worth it, here is my rebuttal. I am a mother of three, and I can honestly say that every one of my children are like precious jewels to me. Even though it's a lot of work raising children (and a lot of sleepless nights), every single moment is worth the "death of my social life". 

So, without further ado, my experienced mommy rebuttal...

The Most Brutally Honest Reasons You SHOULD Have Kids

(A rebuttal against the the article, The Most Brutally Honest Reasons You Should Never Have Kids).

1) "You’ll Most Likely Screw Them Up" You'll most likely make them human...let's face it, we're all screwed up...but if you show them love and tell them that you love them, teach them how to love others more than they love themselves, how to be responsible, how to work hard, and how to be moral, they'll be just fine. (btw, These are all things that Jesus tells us to do, and teaching them to love Jesus is probably the best thing you can do for them. I challenge you to go look it up.)

2) "You Will Go Broke" You will invest in some of the most precious treasures in your life. Kids are not an expensive accessory, so don't treat them like one. They are an investment into the World's future. They are your most important legacy.

3) "Your life will never be yours again" Your life already revolves around your relationships with other people, so why not revolve it around some of the most loving people in your life? A benefit to having children is that they are probably the only ones that will help you when you are older. Your friends will change and die, but your children will be there until the end. (especially if you treat them well). You say that our lives as parents becomes a "distant piece of who [we] once were", like we are exchanging our glorious past for something decrepit.  That's ridiculous. Everything changes, but for the better! To be honest, I look back at my younger, more carefree, skinnier self in pictures and see a stranger.  A young, naive, proud version of myself that had no clue about life, had confidence issues, whose mind was so wrapped up in her own little world that she was blind to what was going on around her.  I like the new me better.  I'm sure I'll like the future me even more.

4) "They Will Resent You" They will always love you (especially if you show them love). The love between a parent and child is priceless. When they are hurt, they come running to mom or dad, no matter what age or station in life. Even now, with children of my own, I know I can always run to my mom and dad if I need them.

5) "Your relationships will deteriorate" Your relationships will be enriched because having kids makes you more humble and loving. Before kids, I was a more selfish person. Since having kids, I have become a more selfless, more humble, more loving, more forgiving, and more compassionate person. And that doesn't just resonate with my children and my husband. It affects all of my relationships. I love my family and friends more, and in turn, I feel that they have become closer to me.

6) "You can't be spontaneous" With kids, life is ALWAYS spontaneous!! No, you can't take a three month vacation or move to France on a whim, but really, what responsible adult can truly take a 3 month vacation from any job? And if you have a good reason to move to France, you can move to France...if it is a responsible decision. With kids, every day is an adventure, especially to them! You can see life through their eyes. Make a cardboard castle, become dancing princesses, learn about outer space and far away planets, read a book and dive into a new world full of magic and purple dragons. Everything is new to a child, and if you take the time to show them, you can live spontaneously every day!

7) "You Have To Love Them Even When They’re Assh*les" What a selfish comment. How about you turn that comment around and point that back right at yourself. It will be better when you realize that they will love YOU even when YOU are an assh*ole. The benefit to having a family is that family will love you even on those days when you treat them like crap. At least, that is what family SHOULD do, and that is what my family does when I treat them like crap. Forgiveness is a great thing to teach your kids, and the best way to teach them forgiveness is to continue to ask THEM for forgiveness when YOU mess up. Because you will. A lot.

8) "You’ll Still Be Paying Your Student Loans When You Have To Start Paying For Theirs" You can teach them to be wise with their money and pay their own loans and actually contribute to the World...First of all, the responsible person would pay off their loans quickly, save up, and spend their money wisely. It shouldn't take until your 60 years old to pay off school loans...if you are responsible. Second, a responsible parent will teach their children how to pay off their own loans. If the parent wants to help a bit, that's fine, but you shouldn't completely pay off someone's debt. How will THEY learn to be responsible?

9) "They Could Disappoint You In Big Ways" They can ALSO make you the proudest person in the world...every day! When your child learns something new, shares a toy with the little boy at the library, tells you they love you without being prompted, gets a good grade on the difficult math test, or just does something really nice out of the blue, they make you the proudest person in the world! It beats anything great you have done in your own life because that is YOUR child, and he or she is just beginning to show you what kind of person they are going to be and the possibility of what they can do in this world! There is no greater feeling than that of a proud mommy or daddy. And when they disappoint you, always remember that those times are experiences that they can learn from and become a better person.

10) "You Have To Relive High School". Not all teenagers are completely selfish and immature. If your life is full of drama, chances are, you'll pass that on to your kids. So if you don't act like you're in High school, neither will your kids. See rebuttal #1.

11) "They Ruin Your Body" If you are a woman with kids, your body becomes more curvy, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to learn to embrace those curves! Also, if you are married, your husband will love those curves. Also, it doesn't take much to lose the weight if you drop the bread and eat a carrot. Just sayin'.

12) "You Have No More Free Time" Does an adult really have that much free time to begin with between work and sleep? When you have kids, your free time is full of laughter and tickles, and the occasional date night or night out with your girlfriends. You make the time to spend with your friends or spouse. It's not that difficult.

13) "You Will Always Be Financially Responsible" Seriously...if a parent is paying for their 26 year old adult child's phone bill, that's the parent's fault. Teach your kids to be responsible, and they will be responsible. Teach the child to pay their own bills, and they will work hard to pay their own bills. When I was 19, I was working and paying off half of my college tuition. When I turned 21, I got married, and I took over all of my bills with my husband. When I was 22, I bought my first house with my husband. My goodness! Yes, parents can help out, but there comes a point when you have to cut the strings and let them make their own choices, pay for their own rent, pay for their own phone bill, learn from their own mistakes, and become responsible adults. That doesn't happen one day when they turn 26. It happens over time as you teach them how to be responsible, how to work hard, how to spend their money wisely.

14) "None Of Your Friends Without Kids Will Ever Want To Hang Out With You" This is the biggest lie! I've had 3 kids in three years, and I have more friends now than ever. Your friends without kids will not understand completely everything you go through, but if you are truly a friend to them, and if they are truly your friend, then they will stick by you and you will stick by them. Maybe the real problem is that these friends don't know what true friendship is, and if that's the case, it's better to find friends that will truly love you. And MAYBE if you agree with the authors statement, then maybe you need a lesson on what true friendship is before YOU abandon your friends with kids. PLUS, when you start having kids, your circle of friends grows as you get involved with play-date groups, mommy groups, or go to PTA meetings. And it won't be too long until your friends without kids start having kids of their own. If you stick by them during those years when they don't have kids, you will be the first person they come to when they do start having kids.

15) "You Can’t Smoke Weed Or Get Drunk" You shouldn't smoke weed or get drunk...period. That's not good for you. You do stupid things when you are drunk or high, and this ruins your body...(wasn't that an issue for you before?) So if having children makes you a more responsible adult, isn't that a good thing?

16) "You’re Gonna Be That Person In The Minivan" I ROCK my minivan, thank you very much! AND if I ever get into a car crash, I will survive over the cool guy in the tiny sports car.

17) "Personal Space Doesn’t Exist" I have 3 kids, and my personal space certainly does exist. Bathroom doors lock, bedroom doors lock, and there are people called Babysitters. Put the kids to bed early and the TV will be yours. Oh, and the romantic nights WILL happen.  How do you think I ended up with 3 kids? 

Having kids is so worth it!!! Don't believe this garbage written by a 20-something adult child who has no clue what it is like to have children!

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Love-Hate with the 48 (hour film project)

On location - Photo taken by Jason Johnson.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I led our team to compete in the Madison 48 Hour Film Project 2013.

You know that feeling when you are slowly making your way to the top of the rollercoaster right before you make that first plunge?  You go from nerves, to fear, to raw excitement within a few seconds.   All at once, you are having a total blast but also wondering why the heck you stepped into this thing that is hurdling you down a very large hill and pulling you upside down and sideways at a very fast speed?...but after it's done, you instantly want to do it again?

Yeah, the 48 Hour Film Project is just. like. that.

I'm sure many of you are wondering what the heck is the 48 Hour Film Project?  Well, basically you have 48 hours to make a short film...but you can't come up with an idea before you start (well, you CAN, but that's cheating, and usually it doesn't turn out as well.)

Teams from all over the world compete within their city's festival.  We compete in Madison, WI.  This is our 6th year competing.

How does the 48HFP work?
On Friday night, all of the team leaders come together at 6pm for the official kick-off, where they will draw their team's genre from out of a hat (yes, literally.  In this case, it's a furry purple hat).  This year we picked Drama.

Every year, each team is assigned the same elements to include in their film.  These were the elements from this year:

Character: Sylvia or Sinclair Vandermint, a kleptomaniac.
Prop: a pillow
Line of Dialogue: "Forget everything I just said."

After these elements are assigned, they unleash the teams at 7pm on the dot, and we then have exactly 48 hours to film, edit, and return the film.  Even turning the film in 1 second late disqualifies you from the competition.

Each team has a different process.  Some teams are made up of amateurs, some have a professional film crew with professional equipment.  The point of the weekend is to have fun, actually finish a great film, and maybe make some friends along the way.  If your film wins the city festival, it moves on to the big festival, where all of the city winners from all over the world compete.  The top films from that will go on to Cannes Film Festival!

My love-hate relationship:
Every year at about the same time, I always ask myself, "Why do we get ourselves into this?!"  It's usually around the time when we are trying to finalize a script idea (usually in the early morning hours on Saturday).  We are tired, we have yet to start filming anything, and things just don't seem to be working.  The story either doesn't have all of the elements it needs to make it a good story, or we don't have the actors we need, the script isn't written yet, story boarding is just starting, and the very long to-do list keeps getting longer.

This year, we didn't have the final script done until late Saturday morning, and we didn't start filming until late-afternoon!

Running through the script with our actors - Photo taken by Jason Johnson.

To be more efficient with our time, Stephen will start blocking out the scenes with the actors on Saturday, they will start filming a scene, and bring me the card when it is done.  I am the editor, and once I get the card, I start editing that scene while they are working on the next one.

All the while, I work with our composers, make calls out to our caterers to make sure our team will eat, take calls in from the team, nurse my child, help get my kids down to bed (thankfully my mother lives in town, and she takes our children for most of the weekend!), help keep the schedule moving on time, and make sure Stephen gets all of the required angles for the scenes...along with fluids so he doesn't fall over.  I sometimes get to fit an hour of sleep in there somewhere.

After a rough-cut edit is done, Stephen takes over and does the color and sound edit.  Our goal is always to have an edit locked by 3pm on Sunday afternoon.  If not that, then we at least try to have an unfinished copy ready by 5pm to send up.

That didn't happen this year.

Call it ultra perfectionism, but I don't think we could send up a less then "semi-perfect" edit.  It would have hurt too much after all the work to send something that has one angle with a strange background noise when he could spend a few extra minutes of tweeking.

A crazy moment from this year was when we were almost completely done but running out of time, and a MASSIVE storm blew in.  A bolt of lighting hit reeeaally close and knocked our power out for a few seconds.  Luckily, it was only for a couple seconds, and luckily we have backup generators that temporarily keep our computers on until we can close our projects and shut down our computer.  It could have been bad.  We were cutting it close with the edit!

We finished the film and got it in the car to send up by 6:35pm.  It was due by 7:30pm.  We were 45 minutes away.  You do the math.  I was a TEENY bit nervous. (Along with the fact that we were rendering it and exporting the final copy on a laptop as we were driving)

We got to the drop off location at 7:15pm as it was burning to the DVD and turned the final copy in at 7:25pm.  Our backup was done by 7:28, but for the dramatic fun of it, our teammate, AARON Williams, waited until the last second of the countdown to turn it in.

We are happy with our final product.  Our actors did a great job, we had an amazing crew, and despite the lack of sleep, we had a lot of fun.  And that's the point, right?  Having fun, meeting new friends, and actually completing a great film in 48 hours!

10 tips to make the 48 hours go a lot smoother:
1. Make a Kickstarter to help fund the cost of entry fees, food, any rentals that are needed, etc.  You never know if there are friends and/or family that are interested in helping to support you! 
2. Don't be afraid to keep a random genre.  Our most successful film entries came from the off-beat genres, like Science Fiction or Vacation/Holiday film.
3. Our goal every year is to write a simple script with the least amount of characters and with as few locations as possible.  This will cut down on filming time, especially if you don't have a large crew to help out.  Sometimes the story allows this, sometimes not.  But to have that goal in mind will help as you develop the story. 
4. It's fun to come up with a story as one big group, but it's faster to do this with only a couple key people.  If you do have a large group that wants to write the story together, make sure you have 2 (or at most 3) people read over the script to make sure it makes sense, all of the story elements are there, and that it CAN be done in 48 hours and edited down to 7 minutes.
5. Our team needs to eat and have a continuous supply of caffeine!  But we don't have the funds to supply them for the whole weekend.  Stephen learned in film school that local restaurants may be open to donating food for craft services.  We have gotten free pizzas, sub sandwiches, donuts, and coffee from local establishments!  We've even had a catered meal from Texas Roadhouse!  We always ALWAYS make sure to thank them and put their business in the credits for free advertisement!  We also have people bring snacks, or we'll have friends or family that want to help out drop off cookies, snacks, meals, etc throughout the weekend.
6. We've made good connections with the local theater companies, so we have a great group of actors of all ages that are willing to put up with us for the weekend.  This allows us to have access to great actors along with having a large group of different actors to choose from.  What we always do is let them know the weekend in advance so they can put it in their calendar.   That way we can call them on Friday night and have them available when we need them. Oh, and one important thing to remember: Treat your actors like royalty!  Especially when it's 5am and they are still filming after 12 hours! And let them change the dialogue if they find something better-fits their character.
7. This comes from Stephen, the director. If you can, storyboard before you film!  When you've been up for more than 30 hours, and you are in the middle of filming, the storyboard will insure that you don't forget an important angle as you are struggling to stay on your feet!  Stephen found himself falling asleep through the last scenes and couldn't think straight.
8. Edit during the filming.  It just makes sense.
9. Have clear jobs assigned for people if possible, at least the important jobs. This will help keep the drama and time down to a minimum.  Have someone assigned to end credits!  Have someone assigned to getting paperwork together.  Have someone assigned to special affects.  These things can be done throughout the weekend, not at the very end.
10. Make sure the biggest things are done first before you try to perfect the film.  Think big to little.  Get the rough cut done.  Then add music. Then color correct, then do the sound edit.  We found after the first year that it's a very good idea to have a cut put on a DVD by 5pm.  That way, if the final cut isn't done, we can at least get a copy ready to send up to insure our team gets a spot in the competition. (Like I said...we didn't do that this year, and we almost didn't make it in time!)

Jeremy Heesen during a shot for the beginning sequence of the film - Photo taken by Jason Johnson.

Here is our film from Madison 48 Hour Film Project 2013.  Enjoy!!

If you'd like to hear more about our past experiences, please enjoy some crazy stories from past competitions, including our 15 min late entry and Stephen's unfortunate incident with a butcher knife, his hand, and a visit to the ER a few hours before the film was due...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Insulation Project

This past week we finally got insulation put into our walls.  It only took 150+ years to do this!

Because our home is brick, the company had to come inside to blow it in.  (This also means that since they had to drill holes every few feet, we have a lot of painting to do!!)

This required us to move our furniture from every outside wall into the middle of our house.  While I know it's a blessing, it couldn't come at a worse time!  We have been so busy with different charity events along with my 10 yr class reunion!! Eek!

Well, the house is done.  We should see a "night and day difference" on our heating bills.

Now it's time to paint and move everything back...ugh.

Please enjoy the following pictures of my very messy house. This is what we have been living in for a week!

 My closet is actually nice and clean...:)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My $20 DIY Outdoor Rug!

I am in LOVE!

...With my new rug, that is...

My challenge is to spend no more than $50 to give my front porch a much needed makeover. My problem is that most outdoor rugs cost a lot more than $50.  When I did a quick search online, even the DIY rug ideas were more costly than I wanted. I really wanted a rug, so how do I do that for $20 or less?

My answer came to me as I was perusing the dollar store!

  • Carpet squares: I found some heavy duty waterproof carpet squares for a dollar each. I think they are meant to go in dog kennels, so I figured they would work really well for an outdoor rug. NOTE: If you buy carpet squares, make sure the bottoms are made with a waterproof material so they don't grow mildew. (8 carpet squares: $8)
  • Outdoor spray paint: The paint was on sale for 2/$5, and two of those cans were left over from a past project!  Score! (2 cans of spray paint:$5)
  • Waterproof carpet tape: $7 (Ace Hardware Brand)

 The first thing I did was tape the carpet squares together. I found some inexpensive waterproof carpet tape at ACE Hardware down the street.

I measured out each stripe to be 6 inches wide.  I whipped out the only thing I had on hand to make straight lines: my trusty duct tape and cardboard! (Painter's tape did not stick to the carpet.) Then I got to spray painting the heck out of those carpet squares! 

 Here is my porch BEFORE the addition of my fabulous rug (please ignore my dusty porch...)

And here it is AFTER!!
 I found this little pillow yesterday at my favorite downtown consignment shop.  How perfect is that?!

People asked me if the spray paint makes the carpet rough, and surprisingly, I don't think it does.  I also mixed satin with glossy, and there wasn't much difference on the carpet that I can tell.

I am very pleased with how it turned out, and what's great is that I can add more carpet squares anytime to make it bigger.  I am loving how much color it brings to my dusty porch!  I can't wait to add the final touches to my $50 front porch makeover!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Before & After: Retro Highchair

I'm a sucker for any piece of furniture that is old, broken, or just needs a little TLC. But when I see something that could be classified as "retro" out people! I make a beeline straight towards it.

That's what I did when I saw a lovely green Flex-steel couch in pristine condition just sitting there at Goodwill with a $17 price tag. CHA CHING!

About a month before our darling daughter was born, I had another moment like that.

Sadly, after my in-laws' house had a large fire, we were cleaning out and sorting the stuff that could be saved or tossed in the large dumpster they had in their driveway. As I was throwing a box of "un-save-ables" into the dumpster, I noticed a little bit of vintage aqua vinyl and rusty silver metal peeking out from behind a whole lot of rust and soot and got pretty excited.

My husband dug this beauty out.

I know what you are thinking...un-save-able, right? I even thought it might not be worth it, but Stephen assured me that he could fix it.

We also still needed a highchair for our little baby girl that was due in a 3 weeks.

So he went to work cleaning it up. After a few days of working in our backyard, he brought this lovely item into our kitchen, and I. was. floored!

Quite the cleanup job, right?? Aside from a few knicks in the vinyl, it was practically brand new!

First he cleaned off all the soot and dirt. Then it was time to attack that rust.

He found a couple items to help him out (along with a LOT of elbow grease).

To take off the rust he first brushed on the Naval Jelly with an old paintbrush (remember to use gloves to protect those hands!)  He left this on for about 15 min and then washed it off with water and an old rag.

After this, he used Bar Keepers Friend to polish up the metal. (This stuff also works FAST to clean up your sink and make it look soo bright!!)

First make a paste using the powder and a tiny bit of water, and rub it on with a rag or sponge.  After a bit of elbow grease, it polished up the metal real nice!

They have Bar Keepers Friend in a liquid form, but I like the powder MUCH better!

For the tray and footrest, he removed the rust and coated it with White Rust-oleum Appliance Epoxy.

For the last step, he did a wet sand on the spray painted surfaces in order to make it smooth.

It worked out pretty well, I think!  Well worth the time and, elbow grease.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Extreme Dollhouse Makeover!

I have so many memories laying on the floor and playing with the big wooden dollhouse at Grandma and Grandpa Monson's house in Monmouth, Illinois.

It was a dream. come. true for a little girl of 3 or 4!

Later I found out that it was actually my mom's dollhouse when she was a little girl! How amazing that two generations of Monson girls were able to play with this same little box of wood and glue.  I can only imagine the creative stories played out by little hands and tiny dolls!

Fast forward many years into the future...

After my grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I was honored to take this little dollhouse home with me.  This was right before I went to college, so I had no use for it at that time.  It took up space in my parent's basement for about 4 years.

Then I got married, and we bought a house.  My mom and dad decided that it could now take up space in MY house...

For 3 more years that little dollhouse sat until one day I brought it out, cleaned it up and gave it to my little girl, who was about 2.  I didn't have any dolls to give her, the doors were coming off and the furniture was broken. It needed a good dose of TLC, for sure.

Then I got a grand idea!  Extreme Dollhouse MAKEOVER!!!

I didn't have a lot of money to do this, and I had no clue where to start.  I had to get very creative piecing things together to make this a beautiful creation: "spray paint, doilies for the rugs, scrapbook paper for the wallpaper, fix the old furniture, make a kitchen set"...the list kept getting longer...and I wanted to complete it for my daughter's 3rd birthday.

Which was just over a month away.

First it needed to be cleaned, glued back together and primed (Don't worry, I got my mom's permission to paint it!!)

My inspiration: I loved the look of other dollhouses with pristine white walls and floors with a colorful background.  I kept coming back to THIS dollhouse and THIS dollhouse.

I found some great scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby that would brighten up the walls and colorful fabric scraps I had laying around in my crafting pile.

Then my husband and I got to work cleaning, fixing and spray painting my mom's old dollhouse furniture in colors to match the "wallpaper".

I also wanted to have a kitchen set.  I drew up some examples and sizes of what I wanted, and a dear friend made a kitchen table, fridge, sink, and stove, as well as a twin bed for the dollhouse kids' room.
The kitchen set was made by a friend, and my husband decorated it.
I will be forever indebted to him, He did an AMAZING job!

My handy artistic (and extremely handsome) husband went to work decorating the kitchen set.  He used chain links for the faucet and handles for the sink (which he cut to size), buttons for the stove handles, and coiled wire for the stove top.

I made little chairs gluing fabric scraps and scrap pieces of wood together.

I found this amazing and inexpensive set of wooden dollhouse dolls off of Amazon that has held up really well (much better than I expected) over a year later.

Here are some fun Before and After shots:

I took these pictures last Christmas when My daughter decorated her dollhouse for the dollhouse Christmas Party.

I found this dresser at the dollar store. It just needed some paint!  The bunk bed was made by a friend.

The map I found on Craigslist for less than a dollar.

I found this little dog at a little thrift store and was so excited!  My mom had a poodle like this growing up called Gigi.

doilies for rugs and a small frame for a "mirror".

My daughter's birthday on an unmatched old earring.
I looked at so many possibilities to buy shingles or make shingles for the roof, but it was going to take too much time and money.  Stephen had the grand idea to cut paper bags into strips, glue them on the roof and then paint it with copper spray paint.  At first I was hesitant to glue paper bags onto my mom's dollhouse, but I came around to the idea, held my breath, and let him carry turned out really well! (And it only cost us a few dollars for the paint!!)

 Stephen and I had such a fun time doing this together (despite the late, LATE nights!)  And the hard work paid off.  We've got one happy little girl! 

(And I admit, I have had a lot of fun rearranging the furniture right there with her! Brings back old memories...)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...