Explanation & Norman Bates' Mom

Yesterday I posted about feeling like I was barely treading water...  Thank  you so much for the kind notes & emails & phone calls and I'm so sorry to have worried anyone!!  I really am doing fine, I'm just a little overwhelmed with having so much on our plates right now.  I'm not sure if I can explain in it any other way other than that I'm (and it's not just me, it's my husband too) stretched really thin right now but that I'm truly excited about everything we've got going on.  I'm so happy with how our house is turning out and my boys are at such a fun age...  I wish I could spend every moment with them...

I just feel like there aren't enough hours in the day & I feel like I'm dropping balls left & right.  I'm trying so hard for the balls not to be work balls but it doesn't leave much time to take care of things at home and with our house. 

This year, Christian entered kindergarten & I am getting my first taste of how much involvement schools want/need from their parents.  We want to be involved & all of the things the school's putting together are amazing, but we're finding it really hard to keep up...   ESPECIALLY without a kitchen. (Bakesale goods on Friday? hahahahahah  I will most likely be employing the I Don't Know How She Does it Method,which consists of a grocery store dessert that's been lovingly "distressed" a bit ;) ;)    (I'm not sure if I'm kidding or not.)  It's hard enough to get a lunch together ("Lunchables" for today & more days than I'd like to admit.. uggg) and a clean kid out the door, let alone anything else. 

{I WISH this was Christian's lunch.}

I am so behind on phonecalls & emails with my friends & family & blog friends, and feel like I'm not really there for anyone, even though I want to be.  I find myself thinking of everyone and that I'll call them or email them "after work" but by the time I finish up at night, (I've been working late a lot) I just need to be with my kids who are dying for some attention.  (I can think of no less than 20 friends/family members who I need to get in touch with.)  In the grand scheme--- I KNOW these are normal problems to have, and I really am fine... It's just sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming.  I don't want to let anyone down.  I am running around like a madwoman & probably shouldn't even be spending this much time complaining to you ;) ;)

SO...  Here's the post I've been trying to post for over a week or so now, with  maybe 5 minutes at a whack.  (When I sat down to try to finally finish it yesterday, something came up at work so I quickly threw the dog treading water pic up to let you know where I was at.).....

Whenever I look at houses, I find the one element that really makes me love a space is good natural lighting.  In our new (old) house, I loved all of the large windows throughout the house & knew that if we added more, it could be just right. 


{after:  we added two floor to ceiling windows and widened the space between them for a larger fireplace wall}

In the kitchen, we added a second window to balance out the assymetrical location of the first window, which i love!!--

In our master bedroom, we took out the entire wall and replaced it with a massiving sliding glass door for a view into our courtyard.  (My computer isn't letting me attach pics from our network right now so just imagine it, sorry!!)


I can now say that I am a window addict.  I want to add them wherever possible.  In our upstairs loft, I orginally wanted to add one window in between the two existing ones so that we'd have a better view.  Here's what it looks like now:

{The loft"----  our current living room, kitchen, dining room, everything.  Our clothes are in the dresser under the microwave.}

I sit in the swivel glider (which will be going in the baby's nursery when the house is finished) and turn it so I can see outside into our back yard...  The boys will sit on my lap and the baby falls to sleep whenever it's his turn.  Every weekend morning, I sit there like Norman Bates when he's dressed up like his mom, looking out the window:

{hopefully I'm slightly less creepy about it}

But it's really helped me find some peace inside & I love it.  This is the view:

We have deer in the area behind our yard & if we wake up early enough, we can see them playing on pretty much most mornings. We found a tick in the baby's ear over the weekend which is a bit worrisome.  :(  Its entire head was embedded in Luke's ear lobe and it took at least ten minutes to pull it out with tweezers while he screamed.  :(  I felt so terrible. (It had broken in half and the head was still stuck inside.)  After we got the tick out, I just held him and rocked him in the glider and he fell asleep clutching me & trying to catch his breath.  (We've taken him to the doctor and will be watching him for the next 3 weeks for signs of lyme disease but so far, he seems just fine.)

So now...  I think I might want to take out the wall and make it an entire wall of windows for a bigger view outside..   Could you imagine this as a wall of windows??:

We have to decide how low we want the windows to go because it's on the second floor but I am really leaning towards adding this on to our already too-many-projects list. 

Anyway, I'm off for the day- and thanks so much for bearing with me.  Big hug.  (And I'm sorry I worried anyone!!)

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.


Henhurst Interiors said...

Hi Lauren, I wanted to let you know I totally feel for you and know what you are going through. I have been running my own small decorating business since my two daughters were small. They went to a school that expected a lot of parent involvement; I sometimes wished I could be one of those moms who was leading this or that activity, but you do what you can. Just enjoy your kids and maintain your creative work because that will keep you sane. This is a special time, and though it does go fast, it actually gets better and better. My girls are in high-school now and I have no regrets. I honestly think their having seen me struggle at times has made them braver, stronger, and more compassionate.
All best,

pve design said...

Long ago when my boys were little, I asked a woman (that I admired, a sitter, a Mom of 3 who seemed so happy and never overwhelmed) "you always look so happy, you always are smiling, you house smells nice, you have something good cooking" - how do you do it.
She told me, you learn to say NO to what you do not want. You learn to say YES to what you do want.
I think it can be hard if we let it, and believe you me, I know all about being overwhelmed....but if we learn to let go, to say no, and to open our lives up for what we do want, then we will be smiling, happy and after all, that is what makes this world go round.
Hang in there, and I am glad to know that we all can tread water together. I'll be in a wet suit cause the water is getting colder now! :)

Joanna said...

Sweet Lauren,

All you can do is all you can do! You know this, but I'll say it again anyway: you're a great mom and it's ok to let other things drop so you can continue to be a great mom. Kids survive lunchables and bake sales can go on without you for a few months.

Hang in there! :)


Jill said...

I know exactly how you feel and obviously you are not alone. Learning to say no, accepting imperfection and asking for help from your "network" of family and friends will all help.

Just do the things that you feel really matter (home-baked goodies for school would not make my list...the grocery store bakery does a great job) and think about the memories you want to make for your family.

(I really need to heed my own advice)

Jennifer said...

oh my gosh that view!!!!!! hang in there girlfriend! I feel your pain (though minus two of the kiddos). I took on an extra freelance project this fall, and while I have enjoyed the work, it has been a STRETCH to get it done. but the end is in sight, and just remember, every day that passes is a day closer to having your sanity back! love on those sweet boys (and I'm sure baby Luke will be just fine!)

Designology Interiors said...

I can totally relate to this post, most of us can. My daughter is in Kindergarten this year too and I've been feeling like it's another layer in my life. We have homework every night and I'm not the most organized, so I've had to get used to all the paper work too. I've made it my goal to do a fun family activity twice a week {going to the movies, bake cookies,game night..} because that's what really matters. It's something we look forward to all week.

Nancy said...

Glad to know all is ok, and we all know what youre going through. Your kids will get more demanding and you'll want to be more involved with school as they get older, so I say practice the art of prioritizing and saying no to the unimportant stuff. You're the best role model your kids can have of being a powerful dynamic creative woman, and team!
xo Nancy

Lisa LoJacono said...

Lauren, The whole reason I love reading your blog, is because you are a great inspiration for what it takes to find that elusive work/life balance. I thought that my days at home with little kids would be the busiest, but now that the 3 of them are in school it's even busier. Just keep reminding yourself (and them) that we're all just trying to do the best we can everyday to be good at our jobs and good parents. Those are the lessons our kids will remember. Hang in there!
Cook Street Interiors

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Your backyard is gorgeous! Except for the ticks of course...i wonder if there is a spray or something to keep those under control?

Fiona said...

It's nice people were worried, but I wasn't, because I knew what you meant. Not that you were not going to make it, but just having a baby is so hard (if great)--and you have two older kids and are renovating a house and have a design business and a marriage!

Distress those desserts all you want. There is no shame in just doing the bare minimum, because at least you are contributing. Seriously, do not kill yourself.

Preserving your sanity is key!

Anonymous said...

That view is AMAZING!!! May you find many days of peace and happiness in it. Truly life IS all about the view. Sorry to hear about the little guy. Will say my prayers he remains strong.


Windlost said...

Lauren, I don't have kids, so it might seem like I don't get it, but I have chronic daily headaches (much like having 2-year old twins) that requires full time attention and leaves me exhausted and tending to my body constantly (ice packs, meds, stretching, etc.) just to keep going. I also have a very hard core job as a senior engineer, so those two things make me mad. I cannot imagine adding a home renovation and children to that.

What I will say is advice someone gave me just last week. Be confident in who you are and don't let anyone tell you who you are not (including your own self-doubt). You are a great Mum even if the kids get hot dogs every night for a week, because they are getting love in so many other ways. And even if you can't be "bake sale" mum like the career mums, so what? I am sure they don't have your gifts and talents in other areas of their lives. Let go of the guilt about the extended family and friends - I am sure they know how swamped you must be. I was just saying to David the other night "I don't know how Lauren and Dave are managing it all - they must be bagged" and you put that post up. So anyone with a brain can see it ain't easy at your house. Hey, why are they not bringing YOU a casserole?

Anyway, BIG HUG. Be confident that you and your life are perfect as you are even if your clothes are under the microwave right now. You have the rest of your life to be bored and sit around when the kids are gone.

Love xo T.

Windlost said...

Oh Lauren, I just heard the other day on the radio that it is the body of the tick that has the toxic stuff and if you get the body off the head is not great to have in (obviously), but it is not the BAD part...

Patricia said...

Oh Sweetie -" This too shall pass.".... My little boy also came in with a tick stuck on the back of his head, he had so much hair it was hard to see, but he kept telling me 'somthing was there'. I took him to Urgent Care and they have a special "tool" to remove ticks ! Came off in a second - so easy with no pain...but still scary for the little ones, none the less.....

Brenda said...

In Oz we constantly have bush tics. It's a constant battle as the paralysis tics we get kill dogs and cats so we are always vigilant. Try gently dabbing on insect repellent that you would rub on your skin or a little tea tree oil. Wait a minute or two and the tic should come a little bit easier.

Suzanne said...

Hi Lauren.
As a Mom to two teenage boys, I remember being where you are now and feeling like I had to participate in everything that was asked of me. Someone gave me great advice. They told me that this is not my time to be so generous for others. My children needed me, my husband needed me and I needed me to be whole. The other stuff can wait for another time in my life. When you have then all in school, then maybe you can give the school a little more help. AGo easy on yourself. The Moms that do it all for the schools must be filling a need they have. Fine for them; not for everyone.

eLIZabeth Floyd said...

Lauren, Hang in there! Things will go forward and you will find your balance.

Good luck! Liz

Libby said...

Hi Lauren- well no kid ever died from a lunch able, so I think you will be okay! ;) a positive attitude like yours will carry you farther than you need to go. I, too, love windows. How much approx. Have yours cost o put in?

Libby said...

Hi Lauren- well no kid ever died from a lunch able, so I think you will be okay! ;) a positive attitude like yours will carry you farther than you need to go. I, too, love windows. How much approx. Have yours cost o put in?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lauren
Sometimes, it's okay just to let the balls we're juggling hit the floor. Just try your best to find a few minutes for just yourself and do something just for you.
As for ticks, I grew up in the country, and the old school method: light a match, blow it out and touch tip to the head of the tick. Should pop right off.

mom23 said...

Whew...I'm pooped just hearing about your schedule! Good luck managing it; ) Once the house is finished, all will fall into place, I'm sure. I was WORRIED that you were going to say that you were going to stop blogging! So glad to hear you can still fit it in your crazy schedule...even if not so often. I look so forward to your posts ;) Take Care!!

ash said...

Hi Lauren,

If it's any consolation, my oldest son (we have 3 boys as well!) is in second grade now, and his lunch, every.single.day, consists of a sandwich and a fruit or vegetable. A peanut butter and nutella sandwich, to be exact. Once in a while, since he likes them, I'll also throw a string cheese in there. This is all because when he started kindergarten (and most of his kindergarten year), I fixed these lunches with all kinds of stuff in them, and it never failed that he returned home with at least half his lunch uneaten. So I finally learned it wasn't worth it. He likes what he likes, and will only eat so many items at a meal, that we decided to keep it very simple. And he loves it.

I know the lunch and school deal was only part of your story, but my point is, try not to let yourself get discouraged or stressed by those types of things. I really believe kids like when we keep their lives pretty simple. You seem to give your boys a great life (from seeing the bits of things you share here) and lots of love. The evenings when you spend time with them are probably their favorite part of the day! That's what matters, not fancy lunches or homemade class treats. If you have time for that stuff or enjoy it, great! But they will love you and appreciate you, regardless.

Take care, best wishes with everything. Your house is coming together so beautifully! Can't wait to see the rest of the journey.

Rie said...

My six kids have pb&j and an apple every day for lunch. Every. Day. They are still alive and kickin'! What's "worse", is they make this lunch for themselves. Horrors! You have to ask yourself, in 20 years, looking back, what will matter most? Prioritize accordingly.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


The most important things to remember is that it is all about your kids, your husband and yourself. Your friends, family and clients will understand.

At the end of the day your beautiful little ones do not care what they ate for breakfast lunch or dinner...ok, maybe they wish they were having more sugar or treats, but they care that they have time with you and our husband.

You are obviously a wonderful and loving mom and wife and these are lucky little guys. Remember to take care of yourself too!

Have a beautiful weekend, and enjoy looking at that view from your Norman Bates chair.


Anna said...

Hi Lauren:

First you have to know that God loves you very very much. You are an awesome mom and an amazing designer.
But sometimes in life what we need most is the wisdom to balance when we have so much on our plate. Here are a few practical suggestions to possibly help you.

1. If you are worried about your children eating too much processed food you could buy chopped fruit and veggies from the grocery store. At least 2 steps- that of washing and cutting the fruit is avoided this way. You can serve it to your children as a snack. And you can just steam the veggies in the microwave and serve.

2. Also, just make sure that every single day you connect with your children in some way. A hug, a kiss, snuggle time and tucking in at night are plenty.

3. In the school you can volunteer when your children are older. There will be plenty of time. Now, just make sure you show up to the school for all major events.

4.You are following your heart. your children need that example of a person who follow their heart so when they grow up they too can do so.

5. It is natural to freak out when our kids fall sick. I used to freak out every time my kids fell sick. But now I realize that falling sick is part of growing up. You don't have to feel guilty or anxious about it when your children fall sick except take the necessary precautions. However it is easier said than done.

Also, always remember that God loves you and your kids very much. Especially when we cannot do it all, God will help and protect our children. I pray for my children everyday...that God would take care of them and they would learn and have fun in school. Praying for your children everyday will give you peace of mind and then just trust God that everything will be okay. There will be trials in life but if you keep trusting God everything will be beautiful in the end.

Love and prayers,

Tina@thriftingwithcake.blogspot.com said...

Sorry you're having such a rough time! I can't imagine the stress of three littles, a design biz and a new house and remodel. Yikes!

I think someone else said it above, but you just have to say NO to things. My best friend has three kids under the age of six. That's what I've learned from watching her. She's happy and sometimes I don't hear from her for a few weeks, but her babies are what's most important and I get it. Your true friends and understanding family members and clients will get it.

I only have dogs right now so I can completely shove it up my arse..but I've had a hubby with two hip surgeries in a year, so plenty of days I feel like a bad mom to my dogs and like I suck as a wife. I started saying no to people and life is much calmer.

Have a great night! your house is looking great so far!!

5th and State said...

poor you! i have no idea how you are doing it all lauren and this comes from another who is overwhelmed but without three little ones, oh and we are not remodeling!

love the changes with the new windows and crazy for your view
also shocking to see how big the boys are!
catch your breath girlfriend

Vero said...

Hi Lauren,

I started reading your blog since you were on Better Homes and Gardens magazine. And I find you so fun and honest. I read all the comments that people had for you and they are great and they said it all. I am glad because I don't have the right words for you.
I too get overwhelmed and I don't have as much as you have going on right now. So I admire you and agree 100% with all the advice you've got.
Don't feel guilty you are doing great and if you take weeks or as much time as you need to write a post, it is ok, we can wait for you.
Love the renovations on your home and that beautiful view.

Christine said...

Hang in there. I know what you mean. I think as moms we tend to be very hard on ourselves to be on the ball all the time. I'm trying to realize that it's just not possible all the time. My son being in Kindergarten this year has had a major impact on my guilty factor. I get down on myself for not being able to be more available for his school stuff. Managing his school stuff could be a part-time job, I didnt' realize how much work is involved with Kindergarten. I'm trying to stay in school for my interior design degree so I don't have to go back to teaching. I feel so behind on figuring out what I want to do with my life. My daughter is just started preschool and my husband is always on the go with work. I feel like people say, "just say no" but how can you without the guilt. The guilt is half the problem for me.
All I can say is , hang in there , your not alone.

Pam said...

Lauren, I have read your blog for awhile now but never commented. For some reason this post spoke to me and I wanted to give you the perspective of a mom of four, with an almost empty nest.
With both family and work it's not really about balance, it's about priorities. To me my priority was my husband, my kids, and some time for myself, everything else took a back seat.
You are entering a time when you will be asked for a lot, from schools, sports, volunteer organizations, etc. and you need to decide what is most important before you are "in the moment."
Another lesson I learned, from another experienced mom, was that as much as I loved my home it didn't have to look perfect. She said to me, "Your kids will always remember the time you spent taking them to the park or making them cookies, or just talking with them. They won't remember the new chair you bought or the tile that had to be perfect for the kitchen."
I never forgot that and I can say now that I have three in college, it is so true. My girls and their friends loved our house, even though it was the smallest on the block. It wasn't a decorators dream but it was clean, cozy and always had a cupboard full of snacks. (Not usually homemade!)
We still have kids that come to see us even though our own are miles away at school.
Don't feel bad for not being able to do everything all the time. Enjoy every moment with your kids while they are little because it really is fleeting. Always remember to give time to your husband and yourself because if something goes wrong there what will it all mean? And lots of prayers help too! :)

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