Tuesday, May 31, 2011

wedding weekend

It’s weekends like this past one that makes it so difficult to get back into the swing of our day-to-day routine:  waking up to an alarm clock, seeing my boys for only 30 minutes in the morning, going to work, being stuck indoors, wilting under fluorescent lights, riding the T, and rushing to get dinner served in attempts at having a solid hour to hang with James before he konks out.  (I’m not asking for pity here – I’ve seen a lot and know I have nothing to complain about.)

Both Joe and I took Friday off – turning a 3-day-awesome-holiday-weekend into a 4-day-even-awesomer-holiday-weekend.  Joe’s Mom flew in from Cincinnati and was able to see us and James for only the second time since he was born.  I miss James and am amazed at how much he changes overnight – I can’t imagine how it is for her to go several months without seeing the little nugget.  My brother, Jim, got married on Saturday so we headed down to Plymouth on Friday afternoon to begin the festivities.  First stop:  Woods.  I inhaled a lobster.  Joe and his Mom are not seafood people.  They were probably disgusted watching me attack that beautiful juicy, red, crustacean but it didn’t stop me.  I had butter and lobster-goo dripping down to my elbows.  Luckily, I think James distracted them from my classiness.
Friday night, Joe's mom was on James duty while Joe and I went out with my family and acted like we were on spring break.  It's a good thing for everyone involved that I left my camera at the hotel.  In summary, we went to East Bay Grille, depleted their liquor supply, watched the Bruin's make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, moseyed on over to Sam Diegos for an unnecessary burrito and some more unnecessary drinks, and then finally made it back to the hotel.  5:30am came around pretty dang fast - James had a bottle and, because he is the sweetest kid ever, he fell back to sleep for a few more hours.

Saturday afternoon, we sluggishly took a stroll for some fresh air and pics.  We took James to see Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower.  He wasn't impressed but liked playing in the grass and watching strangers walk by.

He also liked getting some more q-t with Grandma. 
 After James' history lesson, we headed down to my family's cottage on Widgeon Pond for lunch.
After lunch, James suggested we head back to the hotel so we could take a nap before getting ready for the wedding.  Seriously, baby of the year.  Refreshed, showered, and only slightly-hungover, we headed to the wedding.

It was a perfect day for a wedding.  Everyone behaved themselves...especially these dolls:
...and these beauties:
I wonder how many years it will be before we can get them to sit together and all look at the camera at the same time...
Adults attended the wedding too but I don't think they'd be as happy if I posted their pics without authorization.  But here's one of the hot couple...
It was great to spend time with the family - immediate and extended.  It's always a shit show laugh riot when we get together - which we plan on doing more often now that we know the little ones behave better than the adults.  Until then, we'll pass the time by going to work and trying to earn some loot to pay for our next weekend getaway.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

pull up a seat

We finally have a place to sit!  We don’t have any time to sit but that’s another story.  Our sectional arrived this week and it looks even better than I had anticipated.  I had been eyeing grey sectionals for the past several months and finally settled on this sucker.  It’s sturdy, masculine, comfy, and awesome – all of the qualities I look for in a…sofa?  I have been obsessed with gray for a while now.   (…which is no reflection of my mood – bright yellow would be a more appropriate representation.)  We also got a large, dark brown, leather ottoman in lieu of a coffee table - its firm enough to use as a table but also cushy enough to rest our feet or use as additional seating.

The new sectional definitely brings a different look to the entire living area.  We still need a large rug for this room but, as mentioned in an earlier post, rugs cost mucho dinero.  I’ve been looking for a black and white striped rug to add some interest and pop.  I wouldn’t think a black and white striped rug would be hard to find but everything I have some across is zebra-ish and/or costs at least 400 smackers.  No thanks and no thanks.  A rug isn’t on our “gotta-have-now” list so I’ll just keep my eyes peeled and our living room rug will eventually come along.

I also had a chance to stain the TV stand this week.  I started off slowly and precisely applying the stain but after 10 seconds I said, “eh, screw this”, and just started slapping the stuff on there.  Getting in all of the nooks and crannys was a pain in the heiny but it only took about 2 hours of my precious time over the course of the week to complete.  Two coats of stain – 3 coats on the more-visible parts of the piece.  The polyurethane that I originally bought spilled in the back of the Jeep on the way home from the store so James and I made a Lowes run and grabbed a spray-can version instead.  It probably didn’t give the same amount of coverage/protection that the paint-on-kind would have but that’s aiiight – it still holds our TV.

Other happenings this week:
  • We finished taking down the deck that was surrounding the pool.  The wood/metal/crap that made up the deck is in piles in our back yard waiting to be hauled away.  Hopefully we can get a few bucks for the scrap – we think it’s mostly aluminum.
  • We started cleaning up some of the brush in the back yard but there has been about 12 minutes of sunshine in the past week so we didn’t make too much progress.  We were able to tear down all of the vines that were strangling a small tree but that probably only accounts for about 1% of the work that needs to be done.  It’s a start.
  • The fireplace was cleaned and inspected.  We’re in the clear to start our wood-burning-insert hunt.  We hope to have one installed by the end of the summer so we can be ready to burn once the temps start to drop.  We don’t want to solely rely on oil to heat our house and the math tells us that we’d recover the costs of a new insert within a year or two.
  • We are also planning on replacing the heating system – new oil tank, new furnace, new electric water heater.  The existing equipment is original to the house (50+ years old) so obviously isn’t very efficient.  A fella came and checked it out this week so we are just waiting to hear back to see how much time and money that overhaul will entail.
  • We unpacked more boxes and started getting some pictures up on our bare walls.  I'm planning on blowing up some of our own pics and hanging them in the living room - and once we finalize the furniture placement of James' bedroom, we'll go ahead and hang all of the frames from his old bedroom, too.
  • James discovered that he loves Cheerios.  He’s getting pretty good at picking them up with his pudgy little fingers – and has already figured out that it’s much easier to slobber all over his hands so that the Cheerios just stick to his them.
We have a lot going on over the next few weekends so we probably won't get much stuff done around the house.  I'd like to say that it will be a nice break but doing dirty work around the house isn't nearly as stressful as spending the weekends rushing from place to place - but at least we can come home after a long, busy day and plop down on our big couch for about 3 minutes before we decide to go to bed instead.

...aaaaand a few random shots from this weekend...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

week one.

We’ve officially been living in the new house for a week now and things are slowly finding their place.  We have most of our essentials unpacked and organized but the garage is still full of bags and miscellaneous boxes - which clearly aren’t filled with anything important considering I have no idea what’s in them.  I should probably do myself a favor and just move all of that stuff to the top of the driveway for the trash men to take but let’s get real – I’ll probably unpack that stuff in a few years, wonder how I lived without it, and clutter my closets with it all

Aside from closet doors, proper window treatments, and some wall art, James’ room is a project no longer on our to-do list.  All of the furniture is from his old room and we just replaced the red shag rug from C&B outlet with a larger, cheaper, navy blue rug from Ikea. Area rugs are generally pretty expensive – especially if you’re looking for one of decent quality.  This cheapo from Ikea seems fairly sturdy and doesn’t shed – and I won’t freak out about any stains (i.e. puke/poop/pee).  If we had a bottomless bank account, I probably would have paid more for a larger rug but this one works.  We were surprised at how large his room really is – especially compared to his old room.  We chuckled when we saw that the larger rug still left a lot of bare floor, but, whatevs. 

The previous owners turned this bedrooms’ closet into a mini-office/desk area so the bi-fold doors were removed and stored in the basement.  Since the old doors are ugly and would require me carrying them up from the basement, and because we don’t store knives and poison in James’ closet, I’m fine with keeping it open for now.  As for window treatments – I was initially planning on making my own but then, for several reasons (one being that I don’t know how to make window treatments) I decided to search for navy blue roman shades.  Those can get fairly pricey too.  I found these cheapies on JCPenney.com but since I can’t see the true color/quality, I might hold off until I find some that I can actually see before purchasing.  (No matter how simple the process, I hate returning stuff.)

Our new bed was delivered last week and it is friggin’ amazing.  Since our new bedroom has a lot more space, we upgraded to a king sized bed.  If you don’t already have one, I urge you to go get one right now.  I have never been a good sleeper but this past week has been an absolute snooze-fest - the non-boring, awesome, restful kind.  Despite the previous mattress was one I bought for like 100bucks when I lived in California 8 years ago, I never really felt like it was all that bad – and hopefully any future guests that will have the pleasure of sleeping on it won’t either.  BUT, within minutes of lying in our new bed, I knew I had been depriving myself years of restful sleep.  Anyways…as you can see from the wooden shutters, fugly plastic blinds, tacky bi-fold doors, and random furniture, we haven’t done anything to our bedroom yet.  It’s sufficient for now so we’ll tackle once we have some loot saved up.  I want to make a wall of drapes to hide the off-centered, too-small window behind the bed.  We also have plans to build our own headboard.  A new dresser(s) is on the wish list too.  Oh, and James’ old rug is temporarily at the foot of our bed until we can find/afford a neutral rug to take its place.

Our old bed is now in one of the upstairs bedrooms and, like I said above, it really isn’t that bad so feel free to come visit and spend the night!  (Please note that the entry fee to our lovely home is a bag of groceries.  Cash is also welcomed.)  Unless we have guests, we don’t have a need to even go upstairs and, therefore, have no need to make any improvements just yet.  Eventually, our plan is to bump out the roof and add a full dormer to the back of the house – maintain the front lines of the house while still adding tons of more space to the two upstairs bedrooms and bathroom.  For now, an already owned bed plus and already owned chair and ottoman equals a free guest room.  There are few pics in this entry that emphasize the fact that I don't iron - this being one:

Back downstairs, I just hung some curtains and Joe replaced the light in the dining area – both were improvements that cost less than $20 but made a huge difference. 

There are still roller shades on the windows but I’ll probably remove those once we confirm how much sunlight that room gets at all times during the day.  There are plenty of trees and shrubs around the house and because we’re set back from the road, I’m not concerned about privacy.  If we need to keep those for light-blocking purposes, I’ll probably just get the most inexpensive white roman shades to cover them.  While the curtains were super cheap, they surprisingly have a decent weight to them and can also keep out some light and peeping Toms if necessary.  The curtains are also loveable because they are clean, crisp, and can be easily thrown in the laundry with some bleach whenever they need to be freshened up. OK, to those with superior attention to detail, all curtains are the same length.  I hemmed them all myself (ahem, with hem tape) but got lazy and didn’t iron the pair in the middle.  I’m hoping gravity removes the wrinkles and brings them all to the same length for me.  For now, the gorgeous yellow chair I snagged from Marshalls will attempt to mask my laziness. 

We’re still waiting for our sofa and ottoman to be delivered so our old love seat is here in the interim.  The only other thing we purchased for this room was the corner TV stand from Mill Stores.  I love that place.  I’m still trying to decide which I love more - the smell of the store or the sweet old men that work there. Maybe it’s the sweet smell of the old men?  Anyways, the stand is still waiting to be stained dark but because an entire bottle of polyurethane spilled in the back of my Jeep, I’m still mad at that project and will tackle at a later date. 

Scroll on and off the pics below to see the previous owners' space transform into ours:

That’s about it for now.  The pool is gone and we've managed to take apart most of the deck - so we have some major yard work/torture sessions coming up.  We originally decided that Joe was in charge of the outside of the house and I was in charge of the inside BUT after discovering poison ivy around the property, he’s trying to weasel his way out of that agreement.  Stay tuned to see who wins that war.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

honey, we're home.

I lived in my condo for 3 years, 10 months, and 6 days yet it never really felt like “home”.  Despite making my monthly mortgage payment, being responsible for repairs and maintenance, and being the keeper of the castle, it somehow always felt like a temporary resting place.  When we went to look at the new house a few months ago, I instantly knew that was where we would soon be building our home.  It wasn’t in any of the towns where we would normally search so I’m not sure how we even found the property online – but I’m glad we did! 

Having a modest budget, we knew we would have to sacrifice a few items from our wish list.  Up until then, we had toured a lot of houses and a few even had potential – but ultimately, each house we looked at was either too small, too big, needed too much work, was cheaply built and had no character, was in a less than ideal location, or Joe had to kneel in order to fit in the upstairs bedrooms. 

Living in our two bedroom condo that had only two small closets, we didn’t need (or want) anything fancy.  We simply wanted some space to grow, space to live, space to play, and space to put all of Joe’s clothes.  Our new house has four bedrooms – we hoped for three.  It has two full baths – we hoped for 1.5.  It has a basement, separate laundry room, mudroom, and separate office/storage room – we hoped for a coat closet.  It has a two car attached garage – we hoped for off-street parking.  It is on almost an acre of land, set back from the road at the end of a long driveway – we hoped for a spot for James to play in the dirt.

We spent the weekend moving the rest of our belongings from the condo to the house.  It’s an amazing and settling feeling to finally be in our home.  I feel like it’s so much easier to breathe.  We have countless projects on the horizon but, for now, it’s so satisfying just to sit amongst our piles of disorganization and enjoy our new surroundings.  I can’t express how good it feels to watch James scoot around in his little rolly-chair-thingy without bumping into walls and furniture every two strides.  I know he’s digging the freedom too.

And now onto the stuff that my Mum will care less about reading…

As mentioned in a previous post, we delayed moving in so we could have the main living area and James’ bedroom painted.  That project is complete and it looks pissa. Before, the living/dining/hall area was a blah-yellow color. There was even one wall in the dining area that was tan – not sure what look they were going for with that.  It wasn’t totally horrendous but it made the place feel drab and dull.  In attempts at keeping the place light and airy, I chose Wool Skein (by Sherwin Williams) for the living/dining rooms.  It’s nothing bold or dramatic but it definitely brings new life to the room.  Have you ever looked through paint colors to find off-white?  Holy crap – there’s way too many options.  After comparing about 50 of them, I chose this one.  It’s light enough to keep everything feeling fresh, has some tan to keep it warm, and has a subtle gray tint to keep it crisp. Forgive the poor lighting and not-so-true coloring – I wasn’t able to take these pics under ideal lighting conditions.  Move your cursor on and off the pictures below to see the before & after comparison:

James’ room has a large bay window in addition to two regular-sized windows.  There’s plenty of natural light in that room so I wanted to go darker with the walls.  I wanted his room to be suitable for a baby boy without having it be too “baby”.  Do you ever watch those home makeover shows and wonder how the hell the kid is going to feel about their purple-polka-dot-Barney-themed room when they’re 16?  I do and it irks the heck out of me.  The walls are Creek Bend (by Behr) and while they aren’t as dark as I had originally thought they would be, I’m happy with the way they turned out.  His white furniture contrasts nicely with the wall color – and the navy and yellow accents I plan to add will look super handsome.  Check out the bay window…the previous owners said there are several deer that live in the woods behind our house and often come right up to the window to munch on the plants out there.  I can’t wait until James makes friends with them.  Picturing him looking at a deer just on the other side of the window pane cracks me up.  Aaaanyways, move your cursor on and off the pictures below to see the before & after comparison (of the walls, not the deer):

Since our place is still cluttered with boxes and other miscellaneous items, I’ll snap some more pics once our furniture is in place and we have some sort of organization going on.  Until next time….

If you weren’t able to see the snazzy before/after pics above, here’s what you missed:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

home sweet home

We have our house!  Because our renters aren't moving into my condo until June, we have a few more weeks before we need to move ALL of our belongings.  Now that we officially own the house, it’s painful to go back to the condo.  We are in love with our house and are sad when we have to leave it.  We’ve already made several trips over and fall more in love with it each time we pull in the driveway.  There's some painting going on this week so the plan is to move the rest of our belongings once that job is done.  If it wasn’t for our attempt to keep our son from huffing paint fumes, we’d have moved in immediately after signing the papers and getting a hold of our keys. We hope to be all moved in by next weekend – or at least have enough in the house to allow us to sleep, shower, eat, and clothe ourselves without too much difficulty.

After moving everything we had stored at my parents’ house, we spent most of the weekend tending to the pool.  As I’ve mentioned before, the house came equipped with a lovely (read: unwanted) above-ground pool in the back yard.  Within minutes of sending out a mass message looking for takers, it was claimed.  The weather was beautiful this past weekend so it was a pleasure to be outside - but uncovering and attempting to drain a pool is the last way I would have chosen to spend the days.  OK, so my Dad and Joe did most of the dirty work but I made sure to stay close by so I could bark alternative ways to do whatever the hell it was that they were doing.  In less than two days, the pool was completely drained.  It’s amazing what two garden hoses and some sucking can do.  I can’t wait to wave goodbye to “our” pool – but I must admit that I’m petrified to see what the back yard is going to look like once it’s gone.  I’ll just cross my fingers for more sunny days that can be enjoyed outside, shoveling rocks and sand, and filling in a potential ditch left by the pool.

I didn’t get a chance to take any pics once the cover was off and the water was almost completely drained but here are two from the beginning of the shitty draining process:

Other than filling our garage with miscellaneous boxes and prepping the pool for removal, Joe and Steve fixed the automatic garage door opener thingy, we installed our new washer and dryer in the laundry room, and I raked up a couple bags of leaves/vines/brush.  Yes, I raked up a few bags…Joe just grabbed the rake when he saw that the camera was out.  Scandalous.

I hope to share a few before/after pics of the inside of the house once the painting is completed later this week.  In the meantime, here’s one of James’ checking out his new room.  He likes it...but already told me to get a move on burning the lace curtains.

…and the token family shot…

Oh...Johnny and Christian stopped by to check out our new digs too.  Pretty standard weekend.  They’re amazing friends.