My winter activites are pretty limited: find random things for the kids to do, complain about winter, promise myself to do all kinds of fun things when it warms up, and work on some house projects. The dining room is my latest victim. It's a good space, but it has felt cramped for a while. I've been running ways in my head to maximize the space to make it work better.
I told John that I wanted to paint it, and he was on board. The only condition he gave me was that I had to do that on my own time. That was a house project that I could do with the kids. Since we are third generation do-it-yourself-ers raising the fourth generation, that didn't scare me-it excited me.
First we had to fill some cracks in the plaster. I let Burl do a portion of this, and I did the rest. This was a blind-leading-the-blind thing situation, as I barely know what to do. Squeeze, fill, dry, repeat if necessary. Burl loved this and it was our own version of homeschooling.
While I got started on the with the primer, I let the kids draw on the walls. I view coloring on walls like I do kids cutting their own hair: it's a parenting right of passage and I love when it happens. Since the kids have already sneaked in some wall coloring, I figured that they would like to have full access.
This was the best idea in the history of DIY projects with toddlers. They stayed extremely busy, and I scored some major cool mom points.
During their naps, I finished up the rest of the priming. They joined me after their naps with a pretzel picnic snack with their baby and teddy. John and I have found that toddlers can make our DIY projects more lively and exciting. It's times like these where we ask each other, "could you even imagined this five years ago?" With squinty-eye smiles and borderline jazz hands, we always say "no, we never could have dreamed it."