Archive for October, 2012

So, the house. This is becoming a (really crappy) home improvement blog, but that’s really all there is to write about these days. Our lives = house stuff, baby preparations and work. Here are a few things we accomplished recently:


When we moved in, the fireplace had one thin layer of white paint over what used to be very dark stained wood. I know it was a very dark stain because one whole side of of the fireplace was not painted at all. There are lots of weird unfinished paint projects around the house. When we moved in, we immediately painted the orange-y bricks dark grey, but left the rest of it alone. Finally, a couple weekends ago, Mike painted the white…whiter.

Taped and ready to go.

You can kind of see the poor paint job in this one.

Working hard.

When it was all painted, dried and cured, we decided to replace the giant clock with this giant mirror that we got free from Mike’s dad and stepmom. ¬†Eventually I want to paint the frame, and the giant clock will go on a wall somewhere. Here’s the fireplace now:


We still desperately need to winterize the pool, which mostly means we need to fix this mess:

Which has gotten so much worse since this picture. The pool cover is sinking in the middle and filling with rain (aka: swamp) water. But we haven’t dealt with that yet. However, we did winterize the porch a bit. We just hung up plastic sheeting to keep the weather out this winter.

(Yes, he’s using a wagon as a stepladder. Add stepladder to our shopping list…)

All done!

Exciting, I know.


Our living room is a hodge podge of furniture we got for free or very cheap. But the free coffee table (that matches the free end tables) was just too big for the space. And too visually heavy. So we traded it out for another table we had on hand (one that I had before we got together). I don’t have a good before picture, but you can see the larger table in this picture:

The new table feels much lighter and much more airy even though it is a darker wood.

I bought that tray at Marshall’s recently to help control the mess that usually occurs on the coffee table. No solution for the end tables yet though.


We have this set of four tall skinny shelving units that we came from Target some time ago. We’ve used them for a variety of things in their lifetime, but when moved into this house, three of them found their home in the baby’s room. I plan to use them for whatever – clothes, toys, supplies. I’ll see what naturally ends up there. We placed them under the window, in between the crib and the closet. They’re also not far from the changing table, so they could easily serve multiple purposes. Check them out in this picture:

I decided I wanted to cover the backs of these with colorful paper to brighten them up a bit. My approach to this room has basically been “lots of colors, lots of patterns” so I bought three kinds of fun scrapbook paper from Michael’s. They each started out like this:

Mike removed nails and replaced them where the backing was pulling off (these are not exactly top quality pieces of furniture!).

We removed the shelves, then I cut all the paper, and we used heavy-duty double stick tape to adhere them to the backing. Replaced the shelves, and voila!

(You can see I cut the first music note (top shelf) paper the wrong direction! But we only had three pieces, so there was no turning back. Good thing it doesn’t really bother us.)

Here are the three together, back in their spot under the window.

I can’t wait to fill them with fun baby stuff!

And that’s what we’ve been up to.

Read Full Post »

To the orchard we went

This fall has been extremely busy already. Summer disappeared, and it already feels like we’re on the verge of winter. But today we decided to hit the orchard with some of the fam before we run out of nice enough weekends.

Our family tradition is to visit one particular orchard, but the last decade it has gotten so busy, it’s not as fun. Luckily we got there before they were technically open, so it was less busy, and the kids could play outside and check out the pumpkins before it got crowded.

The “photo in front of the giant apple” is a must, a long-standing tradition. We usually try to get a full family shot, but it gets more and more difficult as our family grows and the orchard overflows with people.

When they finally opened, we went in for some donuts and cider. I hate pumpkin flavored things, and most apple desserts don’t do much for me, so fall isn’t my favorite culinary time. But I love fresh apples, I love donuts, and I LOVE hot apple cider. Pumpkin spice lattes? The mere thought makes me gag. Hot apple cider? I could swim in it.

After our snack, we picked out some pumpkins for the kids.

Nephew Brady

Niece Scarlet

And then we stole those pumpkins from them in order to take this:

That was probably our one big fall adventure this year. We do plan to have my family over for trick or treating next weekTo . Our new house is in a big, expansive¬†neighborhood, so it’ll be perfect. We don’t have costumes though… or costume ideas. I don’t want to do something cheesy with the baby belly, and my criteria for costumes is very low-cost, very minimal effort, and no synthetic halloween makeup. For instance, four years ago I went as an Undecided Voter. I simply wore an Obama pin, a McCain pin, and a big question mark pin. Easy. So, any ideas?

Read Full Post »

We’ve made significant progress on the house over the last week. Now that I’m not working every evening, and Mike is working relatively normal hours, we had time to do a few things that have been nagging at us for weeks. First, we bought a wall shelf for above the desk. We had a box of office supplies that didn’t fit in the drawers and that we didn’t want on the desk surface to avoid the cluttered look. That box made me crazy. I tripped over and glared at it daily. Now all the junk from the box is neatly organized on a nice, deep shelf.

We intentionally hung it in against the corner, rather than centered over the desk, so we can hang a calendar or white board or cork board to the right of the shelf. We just haven’t done that yet. But isn’t it so clean and beautiful now?

Mike also finished painting the kitchen! Well, not finished entirely, but finished the walls. To refresh, it looked like this when we moved in:

Unfortunately that’s not a great picture because you can’t see how much of that awful blue abounded. The wall to the left was blue with a chair rail and awful brown paneling beneath. To the right was more blue wall with lots of cabinets.

Before we moved in, we taped the kitchen in anticipation of painting right away. It took awhile, but we eventually got one coat up on everything but the bulk heads, which were covered in old wallpaper glue. After several weeks, we finally dealt with the bulk heads. We, of course, means Mike, who scraped and sanded goo-goned the crap out of them, then added a coat of paint. So for awhile things looked like this:

We pulled the plastic down, but we had run out of paint and so never did a much-needed second coat. A couple weeks ago, we bought the paint on sale, but it wasn’t until this weekend that Mike was able to finish painting. Thank god it looks good and we can be done! This picture is actually after only the first coat, and I think it looks a lot richer with two coats, but you can get the idea (and I don’t have to get up to take a picture…):

From this angle you can also see the brown paneling (left) that we’ll eventually paint white, the orange-hued oak cabinets we’ll eventually paint, the ugly linoleum floor we’ll eventually replace, the missing trim we’ll eventually put up, and the appliances we’ll eventually replace. Eventually. Also, in the above photo, the bulk heads are still white, so picture those grey. The kitchen paint is from the same swatch card as the living room paint, so they’re from the same family, just different shades.

And finally…

We FINALLY finished painting the baby’s room! Do you want to do a celebratory dance with me? Go ahead, I’m doing mine right now. You guys, it was such a project. After over a month, we still weren’t done, so every evening this week we were up there doing something. Eventually we were able to tear off the painter’s tape, scrape the stray splatters off the floor, replace the outlet covers and the door, and put the furniture back in place. And then I cried. Tears of joy.

As you can see, we opted not to scrape the paint off the window panes right now. We’re just so over it, and the paint is on the outside, so we decided to live with it for now.

There’s still a lot to be done, but the rest is fun stuff. Hanging things on the walls, hanging curtains, putting clothes and diapers and other things away. I can actually enjoy this room now instead of feeling my heart race with anxiety every time I go near it. Thanks to Mike for all his hard work!

Read Full Post »

We’re slowly making progress on this house. We have very little time to do anything, so it takes us weeks to do a job that should take a day, but we’re getting there. Over the weekend two of my sisters and my stepmom came over to help me organize the front room. I took this picture a couple weeks ago to show them what I walked into everyday when I came home:

I labeled this picture “Anxiety-inducing Room” and that’s what it was. After a stressful day at work and a long commute home, this is what I walked into, and every day it stressed me out. But I rarely had time to do anything about it, and when I did, I’d stand frozen in the middle of the room. Paralyzed by too much to do. Thank goodness for my girls, they helped me whip it into shape.

Still several projects we need to finish up (and why is the desk chair in the middle of the room…Mike??), but it’s SO much better. They also helped me do this by our front door:

While we were organizing inside, the kids were outside. Raking our front yard. They wanted a giant leaf pile, and we said sure, here are some rakes!

I’d say they did a pretty good job.

The baby’s room is still kicking our ass though. Mike slowly painted four coats on all the trim and baseboards, one hour at a time, whenever he could fit it in. Then he sanded all the walls to get rid of the bubbles that randomly popped up. And Sunday we spent several hours taping and painting. We had to use my little art brushes to paint over the white smudges from the trim paint. (Remember, we had to do that in order to cover all the layers of colorful paint caked in the creases.)

We also painted over all the little white and orange dots exposed from sanding the bubbles.

I’m not sure how well you can see it in this picture, but these little dots were everywhere. Some were quite large and needed to be covered with a smear of paint. All so that we can hopefully paint ONE more coat of mauve over the whole thing and be done.

I’m excited to finally take the tape down, remove the drop cloths, and move all the furniture back in so it will finally look like a nursery!

Read Full Post »