Board Books for Bébé

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One of the best parts about not finding out what the gender of our little munchkin is are the gifts. Better baby gifts! And for someone like me, whose love language is split between receiving gifts and acts of service, I'm kind of happy with this arrangement. Sure our baby won't have anything to wear, but she/he already has a sizable library. And really, isn't that enough?

Before & After: Our Bathroom Renovation

Monday, July 28, 2014

Because buying a home and having a baby within a few weeks of each other wasn't exciting enough, we decided to add a major home renovation to the mix. A triple combo I don't recommend. One of the surprising things about major home renovations is that they ALWAYS take longer than you think and cost more than expected. That's just the way it is. However, if you are planning a major remodel I recommend the Cost vs. Value site as a useful starting place.

When we closed on our home I knew the bathroom was simply a non-functional space. I immediately started getting bids from contractors and putting together a Pinterest inspiration board. One of the strangest things about the bathroom was a two foot wall that cut into the faucet side of the tub; making it nearly impossible to turn on the shower without actually getting into the bathtub. Thankfully I never had to use that shower. Awkward placing of fixtures made the space feel small and unwelcoming, not to mention gross. After entirely gutting the space we discovered that ours was likely the fourth (and hopefully final) renovation.
We decided to extend the bathroom entrance by about 2 ft, making the original swinging door into a pocket door that would be flush with the hallway. This gave us additional space and allowed for the removal of the awkward quarter wall near the shower. In addition to the cosmetic changes, we had the old galvanized steel pipes removed and replaced with copper pipes, which greatly improved both the water pressure and taste of our water. Another design trick we used to give the illusion of added space was installing a floating vanity as opposed to a floor mounted one. (So far I love how easy it is to clean under.) When selecting the floor and shower tile I went back and forth between natural stone and porcelain, eventually settling on a marble looking porcelain that was more affordable and easier to maintain. Installing three shelves across from the toilet gave us storage space and an unexpected nook between the vanity and toilet ended up being the perfect spot for the trash can. While dealing with contractors and being without a fully functional bathroom for five weeks was a huge hassle, one of my favorite parts was picking out all the components and tying them together — especially finishing touches like paint and light fixtures. Now that that our outdated 1980s brass bathroom has been transformed into a pleasing modern oasis I can honestly say I am genuinely delighted with the results.

Baskets, Towels, and Shower curtain — Target
Rug — Ikea
Tile — Daltile
Vanity — Modern Bathroom
Faucet — Henry Plumbing
Mirror — Lowe's
Light fixtures — Home Depot
Paint — Home Depot (Behr Citrus and Rhino; hallway Kentucky Blue)
Soap — K Hall Designs
Art — Etsy Aeropagita Prints

Make Way for Bébé

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Apart from announcing our little one, I haven't documented much about the process of growing a little human. Pregnancy, in my opinion, is a bit like fingerprints or snowflakes. No two are alike. Sure they share similarities, but by and large every woman has a different experience. Most of my friends and siblings have been producing offspring for years now. Which means I have access to a bevy of stories and shared wisdom about the process. And I should say that by and large I've had a really easy pregnancy. Like annoyingly easy. In my mind I attribute that to continued gym sessions; roughly four times a week, up until week 37. Pregnancy is weird because it's all about keeping track of weeks. And for that I found this book to be highly informative. Forty weeks is considered full term, but when you break that down into months that actually equals 10 months. So where do we get all this nonsense about 9 months?

Now that I'm in the homestretch I miss the feeling in my right hand. (It is entirely numb and tingly all the time.) Breathing has become a bit more strained and none of my shoes fit. Minor inconveniences really. But still. Strangers have starting asking when I'm due, which means my belly has finally caught up to the size of my ass. So there's that. When it comes to crazy cravings I have eaten an obnoxious amount of salsa, which probably just means this kiddo already has a healthy love of Mexican food. Oh, and I should confess, that for someone who never eats red meat, I've had a burger five times in the last eight months.

And whenever I start to wonder how bébé is doing, I just crank a little Miles Davis and kicking ensues.

Making a House a Home

Friday, July 11, 2014

Whenever I go through a major change I find myself slipping into the habit of neglecting important things. Like writing. Seasons of transition and upheaval often translate to chaos in my mind. Which is basically the very definition of moving. Chaos. Whether you're moving two miles or 2,000 miles the process is largely the same. Packing, purging, cleaning, transporting, unpacking, organizing, rearranging, cleaning, and finally settling in.

I was talking to a friend recently and she said it takes about a year to feel truly settled into a new home. A year! We have lived in our 90 year-old home for three weeks. And like any relationship, we (the house and I) have had our ups and downs. Before we moved GH and I created a home improvement spreadsheet; a growing list where we could track projects, estimated costs, and actual expenditures. Without even thinking about it the list started off with 30 items. Ambitious, no? Some things, like a washer and dryer, refrigerator (our home didn't come with one), and shelves in the master closet fell into the high priority/non-negotiable category. While other things, like replacing all the windows, landscaping, and installing built in book shelves landed in the we-would-like-to-have-someday category.

With a new roommate on the way in just a few weeks our time for home improvement projects has felt somewhat urgent. The time crunch to get as much done as quickly as possible is certainly a motivator, if not a simultaneous stressor. While it's easy to feel overwhelmed, sometimes I have to stop and take stalk of how far we've come.

So what have we been up to lately? Since moving in we have accomplished the following:
  1. Replaced master bedroom light fixture
  2. Removed a wall of ivy from the west side of the house. 
  3. Smashed a giant bedroom wall mirror. Making the nursery feel less like a dance room. 
  4. Demolished and replastered the master bedroom closet. 
  5. Had Elfa shelving installed into the master bedroom closet. 
  6. Countless trips to Home Depot (mainly for paint and tools). 
  7. Hired someone to replace the exterior roof valley and flashing around the chimney. 
  8. Had the interior plaster around the fireplace repaired. 
  9. Installed new shelves and painted the kitchen pantry bright teal. 
  10. Replaced the dining room chandelier & living room sconces with Schoolhouse Electric pieces.  
  11. Stripped hallway wallpaper. 
  12. Replaced hallway light fixture. 
  13. Cut back our jungle of a backyard to a more manageable state. 
  14. Survived hiring contractors to gut and remodel the bathroom
  15. Painted the hallway, bathroom, and nursery.  
While we still have a long way to go, just reading this list helps me realize we are making progress. Slowly. Some things take time. 

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