Crunch Time Remodeling

15 October 2014

Move date is in LESS than two weeks.

Where did the time go?! I thought children grew up fast, but no, move-dates approach fast. When we started this whole gig a few months ago, our move date felt like a lifetime away. And here it comes and there is so much to do, and I can do. . . almost none of it.

Like I seriously would be more helpful gone. So I might skip town and visit my folks so Jacob can work all hours without fielding my frantic family-update texts.

Up for some honesty? Well if you'll excuse, I'm gonna change gears here and spew some words at you. My FEELINGS. I need to VENT them.

This remodel has been really hard for me emotionally.

Initially I was struggling because I wasn't getting to help. This was a dream of ours, and I was barely getting to be part of it. And I was a little heartbroken.

I eventually decided to distance myself from the project entirely. I kinda acted like it wasn't going on and started treating it a little like Jacob's job. He was at work. He and my brother would talk about it at night, and I would just check out. It was easier for a little while until he started working on it a lot, till all hours of the night, and it seemed like he'd abandoned us for his pet project.

He'd come home utterly exhausted and see me on the couch also exhausted. My natural response was usually one of: "Hello, man who got me pregnant and then left me alone with his banshee offspring, your day was hard?? Did your hammer skip his nap and then insist on being held all morning? Did your jigsaw completely refuse to eat lunch because you couldn't find his ducky plate and throw himself on the floor? No, they just...behaved exactly as you would expect? Hmm. Sounds terrible."

And he'd be like: "I'm building our house."

And I'd be like: "Blah blah blah."

(I am typically better at empathy than this. Just not with my husband.)

Yeah so... the whole turn myself off wasn't working well. It was easier in some ways. Easier to be angry than...sad.

What I had to realize is that it was OK that I was sad. Of course I had to be sad. I have these kiddos, and I love them, and they are my biggest dream come true, and I get to stay home and draw blimps and fire hydrants for them all day, and I think that's what's best for my family right now...but it still means I'm missing out on something, something I would've loved to be more involved in, and it was OK to be sad about that.

For the last week I've been turning myself back on again, opening myself back up to this sadness. I channeled a little Rudy and decided to give it my best from the sidelines. And it's been good. It feels good. I even had a friend watch the kids for a few hours the other day so I could help seal tile, and I suffered the kids through trips to the hardware store and the countertop supply with the guys, instead of staying home and moping.

It's still frustrating. I don't get to help hardly ever, and I'm putting the kids to bed by myself basically every night. I still get a little jealous. But things are much better this way.

Take yesterday.

Yesterday evening, even though I wasn't expecting them for hours, my little brother and Jacob came home at six, and my little brother promptly started feeding the baby. He paused and couldn't hide the excitement in his voice when he said: "Katie, it's looking so good over there. So good."

Jacob nodded in agreement.

And I felt my heart swell.

There I was. In the kitchen. Sauteing cabbage and scrubbing crusted oatmeal off the counter, just like usual. And my heart was swelling.


So now for pics of some groutless terra cotta tiles and raw trim.
The boys both agreed that the (18 hour) days they spent tiling were pretty much the hardest they'd ever worked in their lives. So. Props to the tilers of the world. 
Last weekend was trim. And now they can get to grouting and finally finally finishing the kitchen cabinets. 
(And - despite what this picture may suggest - we didn't paint our walls honey brown.)

For the countertops, we've decided on a Lyra Silestone.
So they will hopefully go in next week, and if they don't the boys assure me we can throw down some plywood as a stop gap. *fingers crossed*


  1. 1) I helped tile the entire main level of my best friend's house once. Tiling is grueling. It is truly toil, and that's a word we don't get to use a lot anymore in this post modern world.
    2) Thank you for your honesty. I've been going through a "woe is me, I'm stuck at home with my kids"/"this is exactly what is best for us right now" shame spiral, and this post helped me articulate my way out of it. When I was working outside the home, I didn't feel guilty for expressing a desire to stay home with the kids. So the converse should also be true- now that I'm home with the kids, it's ok to sometimes express frustration/remorse/wistfulness/whatever that I'm not outside doing other things. Thank you- I feel like a weight is lifted from me.
    3) I'M SO EXCITED FOR THE NEW HOUSE! That kitchen looks amazing.

  2. Thank you, Cari. I finally have a term for my anguish. The "woe is me, I'm stuck at home with my kids"/"this is exactly what is best for us right now" shame spiral. Basically, I feel ya. But! You still get to be proud of the final product, right? It's coming together so nicely!

  3. Wow, I didn't realized you guys were moving in so soon! Totally get the frustration though. I would feel exactly the same way. Although buying a fixer-upper at this stage in our life might just ruin our marriage...(good thing we won't be buying a house in the crazy Seattle real estate market for a very looooong time!)

  4. I can totally relate to this–having done a bunch of work on our house before we moved in (when I was nursing a little baby) and now while I'm uncomfortably pregnant/caring for kids. It's tough feeling like I'm not as helpful or involved as I'd like, but I'm glad that we (meaning mostly husband, mom and other family) can do the work that we wouldn't be able to afford otherwise.

  5. Gosh, I love your honesty. I wish I could come over and draw blimps with you :)

  6. I am super impressed with how that tile is turning out. Seriously, it looks so good! I was skeptical at first but I would honestly consider that for future home flooring.

    Also, thanks for being honest about feeling left out. After reading some of the comments I know I'm not alone in feeling this way being a SAHM. I have been feeling like this A LOT lately. Being at home with your first baby while all of your friends are working and your husband is starting this awesome new job. It's really tough and reading your words helped more than you know.


  7. I can totally relate to the feeling. Although we're not remodeling, moving and fixing things up were kind of done without me in a way. I was pregnant and it was easier for me to watch Noah while my husband worked/s.

    Also, LOVE those floors! They're beautiful!

  8. Wait your pregnant?! Congrats!

    Totally understand how you feel. Eric got to do most of the work on our house and I got to watch the kids and be pregnant. :)

    1. Not pregnant ;) Always a fair guess though in our circles, now isn't it?

  9. Looks SO good. I was itching to see those tiles in action.

    You're such a good sport, Kate.

  10. I love your perspective on this. I think as a working mom, I tend to envy SAHM's for getting to spend time with their kids all day. But we are all missing out on something. And the way you said that totally hit me just right. You can totally love and appreciate your role and still be sad.

    It makes total sense to me. The kitchen looks so great. I love the countertops you picked out!

  11. What a mature way to process a very valid feeling set!! And it looks beautiful. Wish I could bring you a housewarming gift! May have to send some fudge!

  12. Can't wait for all the final pictures! And, you're way winning in the maturity department! I'm pretty sure I get that way when my husband fixes little things around the house. Except, it's more of a why-aren't-you-watching-kiddos-and-magically-doing-fixes-simulatneously rather than I-wish-I-could-help-you-with-that. I know it's different since it's y'alls new house, but if I'm this bad for little house fixes I'd be a mess for something bigger - God help me! Prayers for you all in these last weeks! So exciting! And, glad you could write it all out. It is tough to want to be somewhere knowing you would love it and be such a help while you have something equally as wonderful keeping you elsewhere. As much as it is a good thing, it is a hard thing too. Hugs :)

  13. Its looking SO good!! I can't wait to see all the Afters! Since I don't get HGTV and all.

    And to add to everyone else - sharing your heart so humbly in this was really, truly refreshing and encouraging to read. Cause everyone has that reaction to SOMETHING sometimes and refuses to stop and ask themselves what's going on. At least i hope so, because I certainly do!

  14. This looks so fantastic. But I can imagine feeling just like you. Creative workmanship and having your hands in the work are hard sacrifices to make.

  15. I mean, I was already feeling this post and then BOOM. Notre Dame movie reference. And then my heart swelled.

    You have such a knack about writing about marriage and motherhood that is so relatable without airing dirty laundry.

    I love how the house is looking. Now how do I weasel my way down to Houston to see it in person?

  16. Our house renovation was an incredibly stressful and taxing time mentally. It definitely stretched us and there were a few ugly days. I remember hearing ppl talk about home renovations has super stressful and I always thought, "Oh how hard could making your house look totally beautiful be?" And then we bought a fixer upper. All I can say is this too shall pass! It looks great!! And the tile is going to look great!

  17. I read this last week but couldn't comment on my phone, so here goes:

    I totally understand where you're coming from. I always worry about people when they embark on giant renos because I know the cost, and I just love looking at the glass half full. It is a giant sacrifice on your part to give up the precious free time of your husband's so you can take care of kids...some more! I couldn't do it, or haven't been able to muster the self-resources to do it yet because I know it would leave me a wreck. It is hard to want to work, and contribute, and finish a project but not be able to. I feel so often that I've been in that "place" for so long I think I just quit thinking outside the box, or don't think things are possible for me anymore. So I get it. This comment was not cheerful or uplifting for you. I'm sorry.

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