So, uh… HEY!

I’ve started this post so many times, and no opener (or title) feels quite right.   I mean, how do you go MIA for so long and then just come back acting like nothing happened?   Answer:  You don’t.   At least I don’t.   I can’t.  So, I’m employing my social-awkwardness skills, and slowly sauntering back with my tail between legs to say… Hi.   🙂

I’ve missed blogging, but the truth is that even though we’ve completed some fantastic home projects over the past few months, home decor and blogging simply hasn’t been the focus of life as of late.

THIS has been the focus….

 photo IMG_5623.jpg
IMG_4567

His name is Henry Alex Spragins and he was born on March 27th, 2017.   Ain’t he a beaut?? (Not that I’m biased). 😉

We are absolutely THRILLED to have welcomed this little guy, as growing our family is something that we’d hoped and tried for for a long time.   For  three years to be exact.    I was to the point where I *knew* it wouldn’t happen.   But, then it did.  And extreme happiness ensued.    I still remember that moment when we found out.  It was the weirdest, happiest, scariest moment ever.   Disbelief, elation, nervousness that something would go wrong during the pregnancy.   The fact that we were going to have the profound privilege of caring for another life when we didn’t think we would again brought such joy.    And we couldn’t have been more excited about it.    It took a while for it to even seem real.

…And then morning sickness hit and I was like “Yep!  REAL.”.  Ha! 😉

 photo IMG_4216.jpg

(At 34 weeks)

I’m not gonna lie… this pregnancy wasn’t a fun one.  I had awful morning sickness and crazy insomnia…  Oh, the INSOMNIA.  I barely slept the ENTIRE pregnancy, but all of this was a small price to pay in my opinion.  And, thanks to this pregnancy-induced *sleep training*, I was actually in much better shape sleep-wise for much longer than expected after he was born.  I mean, getting by with less sleep had become habit by this point.  That is… until about 6 weeks in, when I hit “The Wall”.  You know what I’m talking about… “The Wall”: That moment when you realize “I’m so effing tired that I just walked my kid up to school in my pajamas, with uncombed hair and no make up and didn’t even REALIZE it until I got home and walked past a mirror”.   Heehee!  I broke out into hysterical giggles when I realized that I’d literally forgotten to change.  Actually, “forgotten” isn’t the right word… It hadn’t even crossed my mind to begin with.  A few days later, I realized that Joey had also hit “The Wall” when the beeper on the coffee machine went off to tell us that our coffee was ready and he started fanning the smoke detector with a towel.   I laughed even harder at that one.

Despite all this, Henry is such an amazing addition to our family, albeit COMPLETELY different than Lucas was.  It’s incredible how two such opposite entities can escape from one womb.  Needless to say, there’s been a total learning curve, but we’re getting there.

Speaking of Lucas, he’s been such a giant help.  He seems to have embraced his role of Big Brother like a champ.   It kills me every time I see them together.    Ugh, don’t even get me started on this cuteness…

 photo IMG_5003.jpg

 photo IMG_5049.jpg photo IMG_5875.jpg

Or the Daddy-Son moments, for that matter…

 photo IMG_5018.jpg photo IMG_5169.jpg

 photo IMG_4640.jpg

Just stop it right now.   (If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen these shots, but here they are again.  Because I love them.)

Anyways, once I started feeling more human again during my second trimester, I realized that in terms of our home, I needed to focus way more on function and organization.  SPOILER ALERT: They’ve been severely lacking.  I also needed to focus on ways to make our home more conducive to easy living, creativity, and family time.  Not just aesthetics.   While the former items have always been a consideration, pregnancy was definitely a reality check into how far I’d let them fall to the wayside over the past two years.  I spent a decent amount of time improving the functionality of our home as I felt up to it throughout the pregnancy and they’ll be subjects that I’ll blog about in the future.    Other changes that we’ve made include a new nursery, updated guest bath, as well as master bedroom, half bath, and laundry room improvements.   Oh, and curb appeal.  Oh, yes.   I’ve shared glimpses of these updates on Instagram, but I’d love to incorporate more comprehensive posts on the blog with details along with before and current pics.  Our House Tour page completely irks me right now…. It’s so outdated.  Time to rectify this.

Oh, and have I mentioned the kitchen???  Although the renovation was complete last summer, I haven’t stopped tweaking it in the meantime. ESPECIALLY since I’ve been in the space more, cooking.  Here’s a sneak peek…

 photo IMG_1994.jpg

For me, a neat and creative space that feels like “us”, induces more creativity to take place in the space.  In this case, cooking.   Sometimes Joey stares at me, like “Why are you changing that again??” or “But, I just installed that light fixture… ”.  He’s always patient and seems to humor me just fine, but it’s just my process.   Living with a room and changing things trial-and-error style is how it evolves into a space that feels like us.  The kitchen has taken great strides and I can’t wait to share the details of what’s worked, what hasn’t, and our experience with living with our Ikea kitchen (with some cabinetry changes we’ve made for elements that we’ve found sub-par).

Now, one thing that’s for sure is that our new bundle of baby cuteness has really put life into perspective as of late.

 photo IMG_4918.jpg

And I think this is why blogging came to a standstill for me for a while.   I LOVE home decor and working on our home, but the truth is that it isn’t our top priority… rather, it COMPLIMENTS our top priorities by making life easier, homier, more functional, and yes, pretty.   So, while I’ll be posting home-decor related stuff as per usual, I really want to start incorporating other types of posts upon occasion that reflect our lives in different ways that others may find helpful.

Truth be told, I’ve treated my blog as a journal of sorts throughout my pregnancy.   I’ve written posts as I’ve needed to to clear my head or document things that I was excited about.  I simply haven’t published them as I didn’t feel ready to share them at the times they were written.   I have a bunch of unpublished entries that I’d like to eventually share in between decor posts when the timing is right.  These are things that either I feel may be valuable to other people or that I want to document long term. Some include Henry’s birth story and how I recovered from my back injury (I’m better!  And running again!  Woot!).

Another thing that some of you may know is that up until this point in my career, I’ve worked as a registered dietitian for my day job.   My most recent job was in oncology, but I’ve worked with many types of clients over the past eleven years (both for various medical conditions and for healthy eating/weight loss).   BUT as much as I know about nutrition, I’m embarrassed to say that our diets at home weren’t always the best while I was working.   Since Henry was born, we’ve made the huge decision that I’m staying home with the kiddos for a while, thus, improving our nutrition on a budget is definitely a priority for me.   I’m not sure if this is of interest to everyone, but I thought that occasionally posting tips on what’s working (and isn’t) as well as how to get the process started in this regard may be useful to some.  What do you think?  Is this something you’d like to read about?

As I recommence into blogging again, frequency of posting will be organic and (again) reflect life.  Sometimes it will be more frequent, sometimes less.   But it will always be real in terms of what’s going on at the time.

So anyways,  anything else you guys want to hear about?  I always welcome ideas and constructive  feedback, so bring it!  😉

Finding inspiration in the face of writers block

Any of you guys ever suffer from writer’s block?   I have to say that I’ve been pretty blessed since starting Operation Home in that it hasn’t happened often… though it definitely has happened.  And when it has, I’ve found myself at a loss for how to solve it.    I’m such a DIY-obsessed person that the wheels are constantly turning with ideas for projects to take on and things to do.  But sometimes, just… nothing.   Empty brain.  Nada.

And it’s an inner battle for me because I’m definitely a textbook Type A personality.  I like schedules.   I like reliability.  I like trying to stay with a somewhat predictable posting schedule so that all you lovely folks will know what to expect from my little outlet here.  But sometimes, life gets in the way… or, of course, the dreaded writer’s block.   And I’m faced with the question… Do I find something to post for the sake of posting??  Or submit to the continued silence emitted from my little slice of internet??

Long ago, I decided that posting for the sake of posting wasn’t really my bag. It never really interested me.  I felt like I wouldn’t be nearly as sincere or passionate in writing those posts and that ya’ll would see right through it.  I also didn’t want to complete projects that wouldn’t really work for us simply because I needed something to post about.  That just seemed like a waste of time and resources.  So, I’ve never justified doing that either.

During these timeframes of utter brain blankness, I’ve asked myself  “Self, how on earth do I find inspiration for useful projects that would benefit our family and home in the face of writer’s block?”  Obviously, in the context of this blog, writer’s block also = project block.

So, I started to brainstorm ideas that might help get the wheels turning again.   And, I thought I’d share what ended up working for me…

1. I started a running list.  Every time I’d think of a project that I wanted/needed to happen, I’d write it down.  It didn’t matter if I had writer’s block or not.  Just any time something came to me, I’d add it to the list.  I actually created a draft post called “project ideas” so that it’s right here for easy reference.  Whenever I felt a loss of inspiration, I referred to the list to see if there was something I wanted to knock off.  That way, I constantly had a useful list of projects that were applicable to us and our home.  Upon occasion, the list ran short… Or only contained projects that didn’t suit our budget or schedule at the time. In those cases, I continued with the following steps…

2.  I trolled Pinterest.  Both my current boards and pins yet to be seen.  I looked at my inspiration rooms that I’d pinned.  Examined what I liked about them and didn’t.  Different elements that caught my eye and aspects that would be practical for us and our lifestyle.   I looked at my “Craftiness” board for potential projects, since I’d pinned those guys for a reason.   I searched for new inspirations, DIY crafts as well as art inspiration ideas, etc.   It’s during one of these searches that my alphabet art came to be…

IMG_6099

2.  I went through all of our junk.   First of all, adding a little organization never hurt anyone.  Plus, it also gave me a clear idea of the items I already had, ones I wanted to tweak, etc.   Inspiration City, especially when you had a veritable Monica Gellar Closet to contend with.   This process is how Lucas’s Lack Map side table was born…

IMG_4336

3.  I visited thrift stores.  You never know what diamonds-in-the-rough may present themselves and throw project ideas your way.  I can’t even tell you how many projects I’ve encountered simply by visiting a thrift store.   My spray-painted trays for one…

IMG_5091

My mid-century tables for another…

20140604-091627-33387486.jpg

4.  I visited my favorite “pretty” stores.   Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie, and the less-expensive-but-still-totally-droolworthy Target.  When I saw this bench on display, it churned in my mind for several weeks…

Capture

I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  And it was during a period of writers/project block that I remembered the bench that we had in the attic and realized that I could transform it into my own version

img_59362

So, visiting the store gave me the initial inspiration, but really, the reason why this project presented itself at the time that it did was…

#5. I RELAXED.  I decided to just forget about it.  To stop trying to think up something brilliant.  To just BE OKAY with the fact that I deviated from my posting schedule.  To just be.  Enjoy our house.  Chill with my men.  Do nothing.  And BAM!!!  DIY Bench was made.  And I have to say, it was a project that improved our space.  It prettied up the view into the bedroom.  Provided seating. Was cost-effective (under $8!).  And was an overall useful improvement in our home.  And it happened because I didn’t force it.  I think this was the hardest lesson to accept, but one of the most important.

After a bit of soul-searching, I realized that (for me) quality beats quantity any day.  I thought of some of my favorite blogs, and realized that schedules don’t really matter.  Some post daily, some 2-4x/per week, some once per week, some every few weeks.  In every single case, I look forward to getting that email notification of a new post, regardless of what their schedule may be.   A DIY diary is a DIY diary.   Sometimes projects get done in quick succession, sometimes activity slows.   Such is the case with inspiration.   We can’t all be geniuses all the time (at least I can’t).   All I can do is be true to myself and do what I can.

So anyways, these are some the techniques that have helped me find inspiration.  I know everyone is different and what works for one may not work for everyone, but I figured this was worth putting out there.  Just in cases (name that movie!).

Before I sign off for today, there’s one more thing I’d like to know… After 11 months of blogging, I realized that I’ve never really asked ya’ll your opinions… What do YOU want to read about??  What topics interest you the most?  Project posts? Simpler decor ideas? Personal stuff?  Any questions you have for me?  Also, what helps you battle the all-consuming writer’s block?   Leave me a comment and let me know your take on things.  I’d sure love to hear read it.  🙂

img_5091-e1399222648815

 

Linked up at: Tatertots and Jello, Lines Across, I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Anything & Everything Turn It Up Tuesday

TDC Before and After