21

hey, whatever happened to that flip house?

O, hi there. Been since July, has it? Well, I’ve been known to let some spinning plates drop before.

If anyone is still out there (hello? … ello… ello… ello…) who has been around for any period of time, you may know that in the beginning of 2013 DanO, his parents, and I took on an investment property we called a ‘flip house’. We actually timed ODear’s pregnancy around it, thinking that the house would be on the market the summer of 2013 and that we would be footloose and fancy free by that fall/winter to bring a baby into the world. Ha. Hahahaha.

So the ‘flip’ house became more of a ‘hobby’ house because somewhere around the time that we ripped off the entire roof, we realized there was nothing flip about it. It’s fitting, though, because if there is one thing I have learned about this amazing family I married into, it’s that we don’t do anything part-way. We’re going to take a crappy house and fix it up to sell it? Well, then we’re going to freaking fix it up and sell it. We’re not going to paint over that questionable sheetrock and call it a day. We’re going to rip that crap out and start over. We’re not going to leave an awkward wall where it lay. No, we’re going to rough draft the daylights out of that floor plan until it makes sense for families from 2-8 people and uses every square inch of the footprint to it’s highest efficiency.

And that’s what happened. Only, another angle on the story is that when ODear joined our ranks in October of 2013, we were sort of treading water here at O My Family and as much as we hated to do it, we really dialed back the amount of work we were doing at the hobby house. My tireless in-laws labored on and with only spotty assistance from DanO and I, finished the house over the last year. You hear that? It’s done.

If you want a better idea of the before condition of the house, you can see all of the posts I have done about the house here, but here’s a quick refresher

second story collage

And… wait for it…

1377-Belmont-Ln-E-001

As of today the house is officially on the market in Maplewood, Minnesota. 4 bedroom, 3 bath and y’all. The kitchen.

1377-Belmont-Ln-E-010

And the entryway.

1377-Belmont-Ln-E-009

And the… the everything.

Belmont entry belmont master

My in-laws did an absolutely incredible job finishing the house with such attention to detail and quality. Anyone in the market? Here’s the full listing.

before after belmont

 

 

22

how this mama works it out

One of the greatest revelations I have had as the result of being a mother is this:

I am a better mother when I am exercising.

sub 9min 5k

I kind of wish that weren’t true, you know? It’d be nice to plug my ears ::lalalalala:: and deny it – and some weeks I try to – but there is no escaping reality. On days when I haul all three kids to the YMCA childcare by 9am and lift weights or pound out some miles on the treadmill I parent from a better place for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, it is really friggin hard to haul all three children anywhere by 9am and if I get there after 10am then it feels like our whole morning is gone. (Mama takes a shower in the locker room and uses all 120 minutes of her free childcare. Amen.) To be honest I haven’t found a good routine for the when of my exercise, but routine is not really my jam (ENFP says what?) so it looks different for me every week.

Some weeks I hit it early, the 9am thing, and we can be found traipsing through the lobby of the Y on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  One of the things I have had to make peace with is running on the treadmill. See: free childcare. Some weeks we either have more play dates or we need more time to chill at home in the mornings, so the moment DanO walks in from work I mumble some dinner instructions and run out the door to the gym by 4:30pm. With summer sunlight hours I sometimes wait until after the kids are in bed and do a road run around 7 or 8pm.

I have my exercise calendar on the fridge at our house. This started when I was in the height of training for back to back half marathons and needed to get my miles in. I modified Hal Higdon training schedule based on the dates of my races, popped it into an excel spreadsheet and printed it off.

I use it both to tell me what I need to do on a given day and to record how or what I did. Looking back at the calendar I made for January through May, I did about 80% of the workouts I scheduled for myself to do. The schedule had 5 runs or workouts a week and on average I did 4 of the 5. In my world that is doing well. There has to be a balance of grace and challenge. If I were to beat myself up for those missed workouts I would have lost all motivation to continue (the judgmental lady in my head can be a real downer) so instead I effectively give myself one homework pass a week. On the other hand, my tendency is to phone it in when at all possible so I force myself to record those missed workouts. All of them. I put a big ol’ circle (or zero, I suppose) next to the workout on that date. I give myself some flex room, but the moment I start pretending that I’m doing better than I am, all is lost. Does that make sense? I think so much of this is what works for my personality – I crumple under excessive expectations but I will also take a mile of leniency if given an inch – and it has taken me about 3 years of exercising regularly to figure out a balance and system.

On the days when I exercise I record my pace or weights or just simply check off (for a spin class for example) that I completed it. I am highly motivated by seeing what I have accomplished. As the weeks pass and I look at that calendar covered with check marks and paces that I’m proud of and tally marks for how many miles I’ve logged, it makes me want to keep working. At 28 years old I still love myself a gold star.

running calendar

{{my calendar from 6 weeks postpartum to May of this year, very running heavy}}

As I move out of my half marathon season (I ran two 13.1s 3 weeks apart from each other in April and May and it was awesome) I am realizing my body and fitness would benefit greatly from lifting weights. This is something I have always known, but I have also known that I am motivated by races and that ultimately I enjoy running so I went the path of least resistance and mostly ran for the first 6 months coming back to exercising postpartum. I feel like I’m ready for a new challenge so I have made a calendar similar to the one above for the next 4 months that includes a lot more lifting and still keeping my miles up (next race is a 10k in late August, then a 10mi in September and a half marathon in late October). I put my lifting schedule together based on poking around google results for ‘beginner weight lifting’ and ‘weight lifting for runners’ for a while. It wasn’t a science – I just needed a starting point.

Imma be real honest: I am sucking. Like, maybe 2x a week I am putting a nice little check mark next to the workout, the other 3 days it’s a big ‘ol circle. Usually those circles are on lifting days.

After 3 years of running and looking to my pace or my distance for a sense of accomplishment, I am having a really hard time with the paradigm shift to lifting. It feels weird to only be on the gym floor for 20 minutes, and I don’t have much of a history to look back to and see how far I have come (since June?) which was really encouraging to me with running. But that’s just where I am right now.

The benefit of having been in this for a few years is that I am able to take the big picture view, even when I am in a stage of sucking it up. It took me a couple of years to find a good strategy to motivate myself and make running a habit. Early on there were weeks, back to back weeks, where I was less than diligent. But I found my flow and the intrinsic motivation to step it up. I am in that stage again, but I am able to say that this does not make me a failure or even mean that I have somehow lost my status as ‘someone who works out’. Cuz that’s a thing. In my head. Just because I am not where I want to be right now doesn’t not mean I will never get there.

For now I round back on the fact that I am a better mother when I am exercising. Something’s gotta give. Either my kids need to be more ok with me snapping at them (ha!) or I need to get my butt in gear, literally, and do my squats.

Ultimately, I am a mama who works out because I have to be.

17

help a mama out – school uniforms

This fall we will be homeschooling our oldest at a kindergarten level, and he will also be attending three abbreviated days a week at a Montessori Academy that has a homeschool program.  The Academy also has a full-time student program and both arms of the school require uniforms. This is completely uncharted territory for me. With the exception of dressing up as Brittney Spears in Hit Me Baby One More Time for Halloween, I’ve never worn a school uniform and I have a gazillionty questions about it. DanO high school’s required uniforms but he was a teenage dude and doesn’t know the answer to most of the questions I pose to him. So, help a mama out?

>>What should I know before I dive in and invest in a wardrobe for this year?

>>Should I look for higher priced items that wear well (thinking Lands End) or just assume that they are going to get worn into the ground regardless so save the bucks up front (AKA Old Navy)?

>>What did you find was needed as far as number of items and outfits? We will only be attending 3x a week so I’m wondering how few items I can get away with purchasing.

>>The parameters are pretty standard- polos, oxfords, and sweaters are the shirt options. Were there tops you found that your kid(s) (specifically your high-energy young boys) preferred over others?

>>How did you store/organize uniform clothes vs. everyday clothes?

>>Did you have any rules on wearing uniform items on non-school days or changing into ‘street clothes’ after school?

>>Did you use clothing labels to mark your kids clothes and which did you find worked well?

>>Are there any tips you have about how to pitch uniforms to OBoy? I don’t anticipate a struggle getting him to wear them per se, but  the idea of wardrobe regulation will be a new concept to him (with the exception of seasonally appropriate choices). How do you talk about uniforms with your young students?

As always, I am ridiculously thankful for you, friends and readers (who are friends I just haven’t met yet). Whenever I think about the wisdom I have gained from some of y’all I get all verklempt. Thanks in advance for your help – I feel so much less clueless with y’all in my pocket.

23

three kids in one bedroom

It is not our ideal arrangement, but right now all three of the kiddos share one bedroom. Because our house has two bedrooms upstairs and two bedrooms on the ground floor, and because we aren’t yet comfortable doing two-story sleeping arrangements with our babies still relatively young, this is what works for us. I wrote about… Read more »