Archives for January 2013

Tales From the Crib: Month 16


Ah, sweet 16.  I’m unable to convince Mommy that this sweet 16 should also result in a driver’s license. Boo.

Fortunately, we’ve had some nice days this month, so I’ve been able to go outside to practice my driving skills.

Plus, we’ve had a few long morning walks around the neighborhood, and lots of general running amok.

Here, Mommy! Flowers!

I can climb up and go down all by myself!

Apparently, it’s still to cold for my old friend Mr. Hose.

Unfortunately, we had more cold days than warm days.

This was also SUPER DADDY MONTH!  I got to spend so much time with Daddy.  He’s pretty much my favorite guy.  He took two whole weeks off after Christmas so he could stay home and play with me.

So first, we coordinated outfits for Christmas.


Then, Santa even brought us both the same type of present! I got a tablet to play music and ball popper and books, and Daddy got an iPad.  Although, I think we all know that was mine too so that I can Facetime with Grandma.


We played PIRATES! Aaaaargh.

And destroyed my room…there were lots of British Captains to pillage.  I think I was Jack Sparrow and Daddy was Will Turner.

Then we did lots of MAN WORK!

We got breakfast together everyday.  Coffee for Daddy and YouTube videos of kittens for me.

We even knocked back a couple of drinks.

I’ve been trying to keep busy.  I started going to Tiny Tots.  It’s baby gymnastics.  I like doing flips and balance beams, but I LOVE just hanging out in the corner singing and dancing. I’m technically too young to be in the class, but I keep up just fine (except when we hop like bunnies or crawl like a bear–that’s just shenanigans).


P1040710 P1040712

Of course, the bestest thing about gymnastics is getting to drink out of the fountain! Mmmm.

Annnnnd….drumroll please.  I’m sleeping through the night consistently.  In my own bed!   In my own room!  I’m doing so good I even got to have my first sleepover with Grandma.  We read books, and danced, and ate giant candy bars.  Just kidding about that last part, Mom! (I told you I wouldn’t tell, Grandma!) And what did Mommy and Daddy do during their first kid-free night?  Oh, keep reading, it’s not racy…they painted. Doors. They painted doors.  They sure know how to bring down the house.  I’m doomed for a life of boredom.

I LOVE music and can sing along to a lot of songs.  I’m more of a scatter–Ella Fitzgerald is my homedog.  Bee bop doo doo dee la la.

I know lots of words, and use them in context. I’m getting pretty good about repeating everything I hear (and see), too. Good times.  Though Mommy and Daddy aren’t too happy about this.  I even know some phrases.  My favorite is “Mama, cook”.  I say “Where’d they go?” (I wish everybody would just hang out with me all day), “I don’t know”, and “Daddy go work” (he goes there like everyday).

I can also follow directions, and I do so willingly–I’m a nice boy, thankyouverymuch. Well, most of the time…

Mommy says I’m turning into such a “little man.”  Bring on the women and booze! What?  I told you I repeat everything I hear.  Blame Daddy.

House Party: Kitchen

House Party

Words. There are no words.  So let’s look at pictures, shall we?



Before & After

Before & After

Before & After

Such a happy, happy place now.  I think my retinas would have burned out had we left it alone–even the insides of the cabinets were painted bright orange.  Matty kinda looks frightened by it all…

Things Done

  • Sanded, primed, & painted cabinets and doors
  • Installed one new cabinet
  • New knobs, pulls, & hinges on cabinets
  • Removed carpet and padding (eew)
  • Installed flooring (Peruvian Rosewood from Build Direct)
  • New appliances (fridge, range, range hood, and dishwasher)
  • Replaced all outlets, light switches, and covers
  • Installed new electrical circuit
  • New countertops
  • New faucet
  • Two new light fixtures
  • Removed decorative trim from cabinets
  • Painted ceiling
  • Removed door separating Kitchen from Laundry Room
  • Removed laminate?! backsplash
  • Repaired wall from said laminate backsplash
  • Installed new penny tile backsplash
  • Craigslisted the old stove for $40!
  • Craigslisted the old dishwasher for $60!
  • Moved the  fridge to the garage…MAN FRIDGE (it’s full of beer and candy…)

It was a process…

Chipping away the backsplash piece by piece, and removing phone lines running  through the cabinets

We had to put all the demo somewhere–then pay for a special garbage pick-up

See the cabinet to the left of the stove?  When we moved in, this was in the garage.  We didn’t know why…when we moved it back, it didn’t fit.  You can’t quite see it here, but it hung into the doorway about an inch.  The original stove was the same size…so…right.  We don’t really know what went down with this cabinet.  And the range hood is some odd size.  So maybe it wasn’t the original stove.  But we have paperwork and receipts dated for a stove from 1963. I. just. don’t. know.

So we had to buy a new cabinet.  Thankfully, a stock cabinet fit perfectly.

BEST PICTURE YET! We measured the dimensions for a new fridge, except for height. Ha! So after it was delivered, we realized it wouldn’t fit unless we removed the upper cabinet, which was crazy-affixed to the other cabinets.

We actually got a cash-back allowance for kitchen upgrades, so we tried to make the most cost-effective choices we could.  Originally, we were going to get new cabinets, but when we realized we would pretty much keep the same layout (and realized these were some sturdy, well-made cabinets), it made more since just to paint them.  Then we were going to just get new doors so we could do a more updated design and hidden hinges, but it would have taken 2-3 months to get them, so it just made since to save time and money.  We definitely realized this isn’t our forever home, so we made choices we could live with for a few years until we hopefully (fingers-crossed, prayers to heaven!) get relocated back to Cinci (or somewhere with a beach–I could do that.)

To Do

  • Patch the walls
  • Paint the walls (still determining color vs. all-white)
  • Grout the backsplash (yes, it’s been up since March)
  • T molding on the floor
  • Baseboard molding along the bottoms of the cabinets
  • DIY window treatment
  • Fix the sawed-out cabinet above the fridge
  • Lighting…we have 4 different light fixtures in a 10′ x 13′ space.  And if you count the adjoining Family Room, we have 6 different types of light fixtures in a 10′ x 37′ space.  It’s very chaotic.
  • Pulls on the new cabinet

So. That wraps up the House Party. Blast, wasn’t it?  If nothing else it got the Hubs to get his butt in gear and tackle some much-needed projects.  Although it may have worked too well since he’s talking about cutting down trees and making pavers for a patio…

House Party: Family Room

House Party

Yet another awkward living space…it’s almost too small for furniture like couches and tables, but too big to be left open.  Add that every wall has an obstruction, and yeah…awkward.



It definitely got worse before it got better, though.

Things Done

  • Removed carpet
  • Patched cracked tile (for an even base for the new floor)
  • Installed new flooring
  • Painted ceiling
  • Painted walls
  • Painted trim
  • Painted built-ins and shelving
  • New ceiling fan
  • Painted entry door
  • New switches, outlets, and covers


  • Lighting–it’s just chaos–more about that in the kitchen post to come…
  • Decor
  • Furniture layout

I really want to turn this into a formal dining room.  I picture a large dining table, like this…

dining table

or even a round table, like this…

I pushed two folding tables together when we had Matty’s Baptism, and it worked great.  I could see some great game nights happening in here, too.

This room currently houses Matty’s play kitchen and store.  So maybe every room is turning into the playroom? 🙂

House Party: Living Room

House Party

We always knew this room was going to be the hardest in terms of layout.  Three out of four walls have some sort of obstruction–a huge window, or entry.  It’s also really, really long, which makes furniture arrangement difficult.  We’ve moved the furniture around at least 5 times.  For the most part, this is the “play room” so there’s usually toys and  books galore.  It’s weird, this room is “done”, yet still needs something, but we’re not sure what yet. Ha.



Things Done

  • Removed half-wall railing
  • Painted half-wall
  • Removed wallpaper
  • Painted ceiling
  • Painted walls (TWICE!–the first color was not so good. This is Rockport Grey by Benjamin Moore.)
  • Removed chair railing (it was only on one wall)
  • Painted window sill
  • Replaced thermostat
  • Replaced outlets and covers
  • Removed non-removable hutch from media cabinet. Yeah…

To Do

  • Carpet cleaned. Oh, it’s so, so bad.  Between a year of renos and a  year of toddler/baby, the white carpet did not survive.
  • Paint floor vents
  • We might do crown molding
  • Molding around entry to kitchen
  • Lighting–there’s no built-in lighting.
  • I have a plan to “jazz up” the half wall…
  • Hang wall art
  • Figure out what to do on with the “blank wall”. Ideally some sort of play space or toy storage.

The window is possibly the best part of the house., coming from an apartment with no natural light.  Matty spends most of his day looking out.  Yes, we do have cars and dog-walkers stop and make faces at him.

We’re so dedicated to getting this room done that we spent New Year’s Eve in working on it.

We removed the chair railing, only to find more (and different!) wallpaper!

He’ll have his own show on HGTV soon!

House Party: Laundry Room

House Party

Ah, the heart of the home. Seriously–it’s in the middle. When we moved in there were 7 doors in this room. Seven! There’s an entrance from the master bath, kitchen, and hallway.  So after removing the doors from the hallway and the kitchen, it was ready for a little love.



Things Done

  • Removed doors from kitchen and hallway
  • Repaired drywall where we ran new electrical
  • Repaired drywall where previous washer hookup leaked
  • Painted walls
  • Painted trim
  • Painted ceiling
  • New light fixture
  • New flooring (laminate tiles)
  • Sanded, primed, and painted cabinet doors (all 8 of ’em) and cabinets
  • New hinges and knobs on closet doors
  • Painted utility closet doors
  • Painted pantry door
  • New hinges and knobs
  • Replaced outlets, light switches, and covers
  • Painted back entry door
  • New hinges and knobs on back entry door
  • New hot water heater
  • Painted pantry
  • New shelving in pantry


To Do

  • Finish flooring (Hubby gave up with 1 row to go in the pantry–ha!)
  • Actually do something with the blank canvas covering the fuse box

I LOVE having this room done, and it turned out great.  It’s so bright and happy now.

Oh, and in the event of a zombie apocalypse, I’ll take laundry duty. 🙂


And since we’re talking hallway and entry, let’s lump that in here.

Hallway Before:


Hallway After

Entry Before:

This is actually looking into the Living Room, but pay special, special attention to the rails.  These went from a half-wall and across the ceiling…I had to take a handsaw to ’em. We somehow don’t have a true before picture of the entryway…

With the rails cut down…

And now…

Things Done

  • Painted closet doors
  • Painted entry door
  • New knobs and hinges on entry door
  • Painted walls
  • Painted trim
  • Painted ceiling
  • Removed railings
  • Painted half-wall

Whew–lots of work for such a small space!

House Party: Matty’s Room

House Party

Matty’s room has been the biggest transition.

1. He’s growing so fast that the needs for his room keep changing before I can get it done.

2. We actually moved his room a month or so ago.  Right after I got it “done.”

We were originally going to put him in the back bedroom, but that room always seemed so cold.  Then we thought he’d like to have carpet to crawl around on.  Since he never really crawled and he’s into riding toys and pushing toy cars around, we decided the non-carpeted floor would be fine now.  Plus we weatherproofed and it’s nice and toasty.


(it’s a bad pic, I know–it’s from the listing…)


Magnetic & Dry Erase board playspace

Teepee (Homemade Christmas gift from Aunt Amy)

Closet & Storage still need some work…

Things Done:

  • New Flooring
  • Painted Walls TWICE (Matty’s Room color: Baltic Gray by Benjamin Moore, also known as Flying Saucer Gray by Benjamin Moore for Target)
  • Painted trim
  • Removed closet doors
  • Replaced outlets, light switches, and covers
  • Painted ceiling
  • Caulked windows
  • Painted door
  • New door hinges and knob

To Do

  • New light fixture
  • Custom closet shelving
  • Finish decorating (including wall art.  I think Matty is starting to get confused about who the people in the frames are…)

I actually created a plan for Matty’s room.  Then every single thing sold out. Not even kidding.

Matty's Room

  • The bedding I wanted was Goodnight Moose from Land of Nod.  I’ve since devised a plan to design my own on Spoonflower.
  • I was going to go with a bigger rug size, but when it sold out, I realized making a little “play nook” with open flooring for cars and riding toys worked better anyway.
  • The book holder was from Dwell Studios, and yes, sold out.
  • Metal wall letter from Land of Nod is back in Stock, but I found this idea to make my own.
  • We already had the map and lambskin rug.
  • Now we just have to figure out the bed style we want.

To see more wall art ideas, check out this Pinterest Board.

Very happy with how this room turned out.  Especially since Matty and the cats spend a lot of time in here. 🙂

House Party: Bathrooms

House Party

Two! We have two bathrooms.  We’re very excited about that, if you can’t tell.  Especially after sharing a 5ft x 7ft bathroom at the apartment for 4 years.  They were both in need of love.  So to cut costs, we pretty much made them identical.

The Master Bath

This room is such a disappointment. It’s huge!  But it has the smallest shower I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I think a cruise ship shower is bigger.  And the layout does not maximize space.  We had a contractor come to give us an estimate about converting the shower to something better, but he never called back.  Maybe he was scared of all the wallpaper?  (Four different patterns in the same room) Then we had a plumber (who was here anyway…) give some advice, and gave us a quote to convert the shower to a full tub (which sounds heavenly to me), but the Hubs wasn’t on-board, so we trudged forward working with what we’ve got…for now.



Things Done:

  • Flooring. The same we used in other spaces of the house.  A happy accident that we happened to have just enough leftover to fit this space.  Since it’s an adult space, we’re not worried about laminate in the bathroom. So far, so good.
  • Painted cabinets
  • Removed weird lip on vanity top
  • Painted vanity
  • New vanity top
  • New hinges and knobs on vanity doors
  • New faucet
  • Removed wallpaper
  • Removed wall tile
  • Installed wainscoting
  • Painted wainscoting
  • New baseboard trim
  • Painted all trim
  • Removed shower door
  • Used Rustoleum Tub and Tile on shower stall
  • New showerhead (which was harder than it seems)
  • Caulked everything
  • New toilet lid (we kept the toilet–it was in good shape)
  • Painted two doors (yes, two.  I don’t like having two entrances, but it’s a point of contention between me and Hubby.)
  • New hinges and doorknobs
  • Painted the walls
  • New light switches, outlets, and covers
  • Removed florescent lighting (fixed completely rigged electrical)
  • Installed new lighting (which we hate, so it’s probably going to get Craigslisted and replaced)
  • Built custom frame around the mirror
  • Painted floor vents


  • Replace vanity light
  • Replace  ceiling light
  • Clean up caulk in a few random places
  • Finish patching and painting wall by light
  • Wall hooks for storage

All-in-all, not too much left!

The Hall Bath

This house must have a been quite the party house in it’s day.  Pink tub. Yellow tile.  Orange wallpaper.  All in the same room.  Lucky for us <–sarcasm! we didn’t know about the orange wallpaper until we lived here a few weeks…it had been painted over.  Fun. Fun. Times.



We weren’t going to work on this room right away…then someone flooded the toilet.  With carpet.  And I didn’t know about it until the next day.  So needless to say I ripped the carpet up immediately.  Nothing like dragging soggy poopy carpet through the house, on your own, during your only 30 minutes of free time during the day. Yay!

We also had a plumbing issue the day we moved in. Thankfully, Hubby tackled it like a champ.

Things Done:

  • Removed carpet (eew)
  • Removed vanity
  • Removed wall tile
  • Removed wall paper
  • Removed florescent light
  • Removed wall mirror
  • Replaced toilet
  • Installed pedestal sink
  • New mirror
  • Installed new vanitylight (lurve it!)
  • Installed new ceiling light and fan
  • Painted walls
  • Installed wainscoting
  • Painted wainscoting
  • New baseboard trim
  • Painted trim
  • New flooring (it’s laminate floor tile. Cheap, easy to install, looks GREAT, and easy to replace after potty training a boy. Ha!)
  • Painted the door
  • New hinges and doorknob

To Do:

  • Mount mirror
  • Finish patching and painting walls by vanity light
  • Make-white the shower. Ha.  We’re still waiting to see how the Rustoleum Tub and Tile holds up before we do it in this bathroom.
  • New shower curtain
  • Wall art (kid-friendly)
  • Paint floor vent

We’re so happy to have both of these spaces “done”.  A few cosmetic things here and there, but nothing too frustrating.  And we did it all ourselves, which is kind of mind-blowing.  Well, if I’m honest, I think Hubs did everything except paint and caulk.  He told me if I’m not careful the neighbors are going to think I’m having an affair with Bob Villa. 🙂

House Party: Master Bedroom

House Party

The bedroom was one of the first places we wanted to get down. You know, so we could get a good night’s sleep in the middle of renovations. Ha! hahahahaha. But we did get this room done first.



Yes! Yes. I know.  So. Much. Better.

We were originally concerned our King sized bed wouldn’t fit, but there’s plenty of room.  In our old apartment, we actually had one nightstand turned sideways with everything pushedtogetherthistight to make it fit.  I had to sit on the bed in order to open the closet doors to get my clothes.  Any more questions about why I hated that place? And…get ready to cringe…

Ignore the duvet.  We’re on a 5 year quest to find one we like.  Our newest purchase was about 6 months ago, and you can tell from the “after” picture that we didn’t like that one either. On a happy note, we did DIY the headboard!

Anyway, back to the house. The rest of the room…

These are Billy bookcases from IKEA that we’ve had since the apartment. Yes, they hold all of my shoes.  Yes, the Hubs came up with this solution (and bought more shoes to fill it up).  Sorry, he’s taken, ladies!

We removed the closet doors.  The closet is actually fairly large–9 ft across, but the doors made about 2-3 feet in the middle impossible to access.  Oh, and ignore the brown door–we actually got all the doors painted two weeks ago!!!!! Can you tell I’m excited. It feels so good to have that done.  Matty actually claimed the mirror for his room, but I’d like to get a chunkier version, like this.

Things Done

  • Installed flooring (Peruvian Rosewood laminate from Build Direct)
  • Painted floor vents
  • Painted walls (Alaskan Husky by Benjamin Moore colormatched to Olympic No-Voc)
  • Painted trim
  • Painted doors
  • New hinges and doorknobs on doors
  • Replaced ceiling fan
  • Caulked around windows
  • Replaced closet shelving with custom shelves
  • Removed closet doors
  • Removed blinds/replaced with woven blinds (this was harder than it seems)
  • Replaced all outlets, outlet covers, light switches, and light switch covers

And as proof of the Hubs’ manliness…

Hubby and two of our friends knocked out two bedrooms of flooring in just a weekend.  They’re pretty much the greatest guys ever.  Yes, sorry, they’re both taken, too. 🙂


  • T-Molding nailed down for flooring <–do you hear me, Hubby?  Needs. Done. In. Every. Room.  Matthew carries it around like a sword.
  • Cables for TV hidden.
  • Duvet (it’s a process, people. A 6 year process…)
  • Move Matty to own bed–remove bed rail. AWESOME SAUCE to have completed that recently…
  • New bedside lampshades?
  • Pictures/decor?

Any duvet suggestions?  I may give a prize (and no, it’s not a cat)!

House Party: Curb Appeal

House Party

Outside spaces definitely weren’t the first projects that we tackled, but they may have been the most back-breaking.  And where we feel we got the least bang for our buck (literally and metaphorically).

Here’s the outside when we bought:


And here it is as of Friday…

OH WOW, RIGHT! <–sarcasm But here’s a list of the things we’ve done:

Things Done

  • Painted the mailbox
  • Moved the house numbers (they were hard to see from the street)
  • Removed outdoor carpet on stoop (piece. by. piece. ugh.)
  • Trimmed 14 bushes (before deciding to get rid of some)
  • Removed 7 bushes (including roots)
  • Dealt with Killer Bush From Hell (think wasps, flies, & bees in killer amounts that took over the whole yard)
  • Mulched
  • Planted annuals
  • Planted two shrubs, an azalea, and a hydrangea
  • Added solar lights
  • Added soaker hoses
  • Planted a garden
  • Limbed up three trees
  • Raked at least 500 pinecones
  • Painted 5 sets of shutters
  • Assembled a swing set
  • Moved some brick (built a firepit which was then mowed over by the neighborhood kid who mowed our grass)
  • Painted the lamppost
  • Weeded. Think 2 garbage bags full from a 10 sq. ft. area…
  • Arranged lawn furniture
Front Door Spruce


Lovely, lovely lawn furniture.  Perfect for passing out sleep deprived naps.

One bush down, 14 to go!


The backyard is still a hot mess.

So we still have some stuff to get done.


  • Fence in the backyard
  • Patio in the backyard
  • Limb up the pine tree (eventually we’d like to get this cut down)
  • Remove 4 more bushes
  • Remove said Killer Bush From Hell
  • Put in a raised garden
  • Get a rain barrel
  • Finish painting shutters (yes, we ran out of paint and didn’t get one set done <– keeping it classy)
  • Plant more perennials throughout the entire yard
  • Install planter bed on corner
  • Install planter bed around lightpost
  • Replace light fixtures by front door
  • Put in a natural playspace for Matty
  • Build a lattice box around the air conditioner
  • Install a shed in the backyard
  • New screen door for the front door
  • Irrigate and reseed the lawn

The backyard space is the next on the list. We’re hoping to have a fence and patio done before the start of Summer…anybody volunteering for Matty duty?!

Hop on over to Pinterest for some outdoor eye candy.

outdoor spaces

House Party!

House Party

Has it really only been a year since we closed on our first house? Yes. Yes it has.  Why does it feel like so much longer?

When we found out we were pregnant, we immediately started looking at houses.  We knew the raggedy 800 sq. ft apartment (that was crammed with oversize furniture because we were supposed to only be there 6 months, so we bought “house-size furniture”…) would never work.  Unfortunately, there was nothing to buy. Seriously.  Not one thing we even remotely liked.  So when my nesting instinct kicked in, I became sure I could make the apartment work.  I became the master of small-space organization.

Our spare bedroom went from this…

To this…

And it was fine. Until Matthew was born.  There was no natural light. There was no garage or covered parking. The scariest moment of my life was the first time I had to lug a 30 lb. carseat from the car…on ice…on an incline. The lack of kitchen counter space was unbearable (5 ft. linear space total–broken up over 3 spaces…). There was no dishwasher.  This was actually the catalyst to all fights we’ve ever had. This all led to us both screaming, “BUY NOW OR WE’RE GOING TO KILL EACH OTHER!”.


We were ready to put an offer in on one, and it sold. Literally as we were writing the offer they called to say it sold.  Whop Whop.  So on a whim, we decided to look at one a few houses down (that we originally didn’t like because the curb appeal was lacking), and we put our offer in on the spot (contingent to home inspection, of course).  Ironically, we ended up buying on the same street we almost bought on when we first moved here 5 years ago (but didn’t because of many weird quirks–one of which was that all the kid’s bedrooms only had locks on the outside of the door…which I kinda understand now…jk!…kind of).

Most of the house hadn’t been updated since 1961.  What was updated was probably done in the 80’s.  I’m talking orange cabinets. Orange countertops. Orange wallpaper. Orange carpet.  The bathroom had 4 different patterns of wallpaper (it was “updated”).  And we still have a 220 volt outlet in the Family Room that we have no idea what it was used for.

I’d like to say what drew us most to the house was that it was an “outlet for our DIY spirit”, or “the incredible views”, or even “the great storage”(Okay, that’s true–AWESOME storgage), but nope, it was the price.  We got a great deal, with allowances for upgrades, so we were able to jump right in with projects.  Well, aside from work, nursing a baby non-stop, and dealing with sleep-deprivation.  Remodeling a whole house is totally do-able with a 3 month old and no family/babysitters within 2 hours, right? I apologize to all of our friends and family that came to help out who had to see my boobs while I walked  around “supervising” with a baby strapped to my chest or rocking in the Living Room for hours on end…

Some days I feel like we haven’t gotten anything done to make this house feel more like home (there’s still no pictures on the walls), but when thinking about all we’ve accomplished in just a year…WOW!  So, in order to make me feel better about accomplishments, organize my thoughts about what needs to get done next, and to update those who may have helped with some of the earlier stages of house development but haven’t been back in awhile, I present: House Party!

So this week, I’ll be posting our updates, room-by-room, along with upcoming to-do’s, and our inspiration pics. Get ready to be WOWED! Just kidding…be ready to be all like, “why is no room completely done?” and “why is that backsplash still not grouted?”