Thursday, December 30, 2010

Making Plans

Oh, where to start? We have rented this house for a year and a half and hope to buy it this summer. A year and a half of wondering if this was The place for us. A year and a half of thinking about all of the things we would change.

The house was built in the early 90's. So it has the typical dark oak wood everywhere, mini-blinds, carpeting, worn vinyl flooring, laminate counters and more country blue and mauve than you can shake a stick at.

So here is The List. Brace yourself. It's a long one. It's going to take some time. Okay, a lot of time.

Short Term Projects:
~Replace two exterior doors with divided light doors to let more natural light in.
~Install wide-plank wood floors. The sculptured mauve carpet has got to go.
~Paint all dark oak white
~Paint the walls in all of the rooms. The entire house is white because apparently it goes well with dark oak.
~Remove mini-blinds and install updated window coverings.

Longer Term Projects:
~Kitchen remodel: Tear out pantry. Reconfigure layout. Install additional cabinets and island. Replace appliances.
~Turn outbuilding into garage. Frame and insulate two bays now and the other two bays later when the girls start driving (Oh Lord help us).
~Turn current garage into family room.
~Tear down wall in hallway to open up between the kitchen and new family room.
~Turn current living room into dining room.
~Build covered pergola/porch off of dining room with French Doors.

Here are some before pictures:

The hallway between the garage (our future family room) and the kitchen. The doorway straight ahead will be taken out. The door at the end of the hallway to the left (not shown) will be replaced with a door with divided lights to let natural light in. The wall on the left is the pantry wall that will be gone. Right now it's very dark.

The pantry that I can't wait to take a sledge hammer to. I love the storage but this thing takes up way more space than it's worth.

Oak, oak and more oak. I can just hear the paint calling my name.

Did I mention there is a lot of oak in this house? The layout is funky too. There are some space-hogging design choices going on here.

The current living room that will someday be our formal dining room. Until then, we will pretty it up.

Our current garage/future family room. The door will be replaced with a wall of windows. The ceiling will be removed and replaced with a vaulted ceiling. A double-sided/indoor/outdoor fireplace will be added on the right side wall so that we can enjoy it from inside or outside on the patio.

Our bedroom with the lovely, mauve sculptured carpet. This will be our first project. Nobody should be forced to live with carpet like that. EVER.

A close up view just in case you need proof.

Our hall bathroom. I want to do some wide horizontal stripes, replace the vanity and replace the bone colored toilet with a more efficient model.

Trust me. As soon as we sign the papers, the paint brushes are coming out.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dear Santa, Is it too late to add something to my list?

Okay, that's it! I am adding a nice camera to my must-have-wish-list. I have a point and shoot digital that just doesn't cut it. I'm ready for a Nikon or Canon so I can shoot in manual mode and get my creative on. Check out the blog below to see examples of different shots. All of the shots that they show in the 'auto with flash on mode' look like my pictures. Ick.

Centsational Girl

I'm not sure why I'm having trouble with the link above. You may just need to copy and paste it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Falling in Love Again

I'm not sure what happened last month. I was all settled and cozy in this house and then decided that when it came time to buy, I wanted something different. Well I'm back to feeling like this house is truly home and the best place for our family.

So I've officially written my 2011 goals and #1 is Buy This House. Which of course means that #2 is Save Down Payment.

So I'm back to my dream book of remodel ideas. Because, although this is a great place and feels like home, I'm dying to get my hands on some paint and new flooring.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Room for Living

My First Mood Board

I created my first mood board, a fun, energetic dining room. I LOVE this program!

Kendall's first mood board. So easy a 7 year old can do it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Isn't it funny how the universe works? I had just posted my last post about wanting a ranch-style, one level house when I found a house that just went on the market. I really shouldn't be looking right now. But it was just listed and it's darling! We go to view it on Sunday. I'm trying to be realistic and not mentally move in. But at the same time if I just visualize us living in the house....well you just never know.

So I've been stalking the house. Is there such thing as a restraining order for stalking a house? Not only am I stalking the house, but I've been redecorating the inside, even though I haven't even seen it except in pictures.

At the risk of other people stalking "my" house here it is:

I do know that the exterior is darling and the interior needs some updating. I love a project, or two, or three.

This is what I'm loving recently:

This cozy, elegant dining room from this great designer. (just copy and paste it into your browser. I can't get my links to work)

These great built-ins to make the best use of a small space found here

This ultra-glam beaded wallpaper for a stunning powder room from here

There is more, much more. Oh the possiblities.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


The home we live in now is not ours, we rent. The owner would like us to buy it but we are conflicted. He hasn't told us the asking price but we do know he is a bit upside down in the house which is probably the biggest reason we hesitate to mentally buy this place. I've put a lot of thought into it and here are my pros and cons:

Staying Here:
~No moving expenses
~No moving hassle (isn't that worth like a million bucks?!)
~We feel comfortable here
~We know what we would do to update the home, we've (okay, I've) got it all mapped out in my head.
~Land and space so we aren't crowded.

~Land. I'm not sure I want to be responsible for almost 3 acres. And I kind of like living in a neighborhood.
~Less expensive options. Maybe.
~Less updating. Maybe. Although, for some reason, I am usually attracted to the ugliest house on the block and have lots of great ideas. This drives Dylan crazy.
~One level. I've wanted a one level house for a long time. The last three homes we have lived in have been two levels. I would like a spacious rambler.

Something along the lines of this!

Right now we are in a house that looks like this:

The house needs a ton of updates; all new flooring, walls moved, kitchen redone, bathrooms redone, light fixtures redone, exterior lighting installed. I could go on.

I tend to obesses about things. I'm trying not to obsess and trying to allow things to happen as they are meant to.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Baking Bread

I live in the country. I should be able to make a decent loaf of bread. I borrowed the bread machine from my Mom. I bought all of the healthy ingredients. And I was ready to bake several loaves a week so that we wouldn't have to buy processed bread from the store again or go broke buying the healthy stuff.

Attempt #1: Dense brick that slightly resembled bread.
Attempt #2: Not quite as dense but still gross brick that slightly resembled bread.

Now I could buy the premade bread mixes but what's the point? Those are $4 a pop. I might as well go to the natural section of the grocery store and pay $4 a loaf for good bread.

Well, I'll give it another try. I live in the country. I have to be able to do this!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Garden Girl

After receiving a vote of no confidence from Kendall in the spring I am happy to say that our first garden was mostly successful.

As I was planting strawberries in May this was our conversation:

Kendall: Oh no. We're....
Me: What's up? Is everything okay? (I could see the stress on her face)
Kendall: Nevermind.....Well....Well, we're going to have to get grandma over here. You're just not good at this kind of thing.
Me: What? You don't think I can grow a garden? You'll see. At the end of summer you are going to be so proud of me.

Okay, so the strawberries never grew. My Mother-in-Law said it best when she asked, while sqinting her eyes, "What did you plant, strawberry seeds?".

But the rest of the garden took off without a hitch. Well except for the corn that turned out not to be corn. Getting excited about the corn that popped up even though we didn't plant corn was a little hopeful. We watered and nurtured that stuff. It grew and grew. But when we got to Albuquerque for vacation and saw the corn they were growing there, we knew we did not have corn at all. When we got home I promptly googled 'weed that looks like corn'. What do you know?! We were growing millet and boy did we have a good crop!

Really though, we've had some luck. We have huge cucumber,carrots, peppers, onions, lettuce and a ton of pumpkins.

Kendall has more confidence in us now. We will definitely do vegetables again, we will try our luck at strawberries and even some market flowers. I'm looking forward to the next growing season.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Genius Parenting

Sometimes I can't believe I get paid for what I do, working with young children and teachers. I get to laugh out loud every day. Today it was this conversation:

Jane (name changed to protect the hilarious): I'm allergic to boys.
Teacher: (laughing) Who told you that?
Jane: My Daddy.
Teacher: I thought so (still laughing).
Jane: Well, I'm not allergic to these boys. I'm allergic to boys I don't know.

That dad is a genius I tell you. I promptly went home and told K & T that they are allergic to boys. They didn't buy it. Damn, I should have tried it when they were younger.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Those cringe-worthy mom moments

I had one of those moments last night. The kind when you are playing with your two girls, giggling and rolling around on the bed. And then your one girl misjudges where she is and goes head first into the corner of the night stand. She holds her head and says over and over "I'm okay. I'm okay. I'm okay. I just need to cry a little bit". And then you hope that she's right and it's just a bonk but something tells you that's not the case. Your gut is telling you to pick her up off the pillow and when you do you see the blood, coming from the top of her head.

Yes, I had one of those cringe-worthy mom moments. Stay calm. Get dressed. Get her dressed. Get into the car and head to the hospital. All the while trying to not let your heart break as she is so scared about everything that is happening. She clings to every word you say. "Are you sure it's a little one?" "What do you think they will do for it?" "Will it hurt?" "How old were you when you got stitches?". And then when you pull up you can hear the panic in her voice and the tears start to flow again "We're going to the HOSPITAL? Why are we going to the HOSPITAL?". Because when her sister got stitches two years ago, her doctor's office was open and they did it very calmly and quietly there.

You hope the Emergency Department isn't packed and that you can get seen quickly. And you do. An angel of a nurse comes in and gets your little girl to smile and look forward to a popsicle at the end of her visit. Every once in a while, when the numbing medicine is sitting on her head, the shaking, nervous questions and tears come again. And when the doctor comes in and says that she is going to put a couple of staples in your child's head you don't panic on the outside but you are freaking out on the inside, trying to keep your child calm as you carefully question the doctor about the benefits of staples over stitches.

And in the end, an injection to numb the laceration and two staples later, your little girl is shaking like a leaf eating her grape popsicle and trying to process what just happened. The tears and shaky words come and go in spurts. But she falls asleep quickly once she's home and wakes up feeling great the next morning.

Kids are amazing!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The funny things they say

The girls are both at such funny stages right now. Yesterday I picked K up from first grade. I noticed a coffee stand that had gone out of business and made a comment about it. K said "I wish schools would go out of business". I said "That wouldn't be good. Who would educate our young?". She quickly responded "I know everything I need to know. And I have a calculator".

So there you have it. All you need is a first grade education and a calculator and you're set.

This morning T was miss grumpy pants. I was trying to cheer her up by playing I Spy on the way to school. She was pretty quick and got most of them right. Until I got to "I spy something that can be very stinky". She blurted "Butt". "Um I was thinking garbage can". "Well butts and shoes are stinky". "Yes thank you for that little lesson T".

Monday, February 22, 2010

I refuse to be a muffin

I admit it. I've rode the "I just had a baby......(4 years ago)" train long enough. I kept waiting for my body to bounce back like it did after my first pregnancy. But I guess when you are 37, that just doesn't happen. The muffin top is here to stay unless I get my butt moving.

Luckily it looks like Spring has come a little early. It's been beautiful. I started running around the park by my work. I can't wait for the crumbs to start falling off my body. This had better work!

What did you say?!

T is four years old and she's a genius when it comes to anatomy. This weekend she looked in the mirror with a flashlight and said "Look Mom. I have a nipple on my face". Is it bad that I made her repeat herself seven times before telling her that I think she meant pimple?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I have been reading a lot about how Americans are living differently because of the economy. Our family started making changes three years ago when money got tighter and our cost of living in Seattle skyrocketed. I call it my domestication period.

I had left my job because I couldn't deal with a husband who worked 16+ hours, working 10-12 hour days myself and commuting 45 minutes each way, usually with the baby screaming the entire way. One night my daughter who was 3 at the time asked me "Where are we picking dinner up tonight?". She thought dinner came out of a drive-thru window. I had had enough. My marriage was on the rocks. My husband was running a fledgling business and I was at my breaking point.

We put our house on the market with the intention of scaling back. I sold my car. I started grocery shopping, riding the bus with the girls to the farmer's market on Wednesdays and began cooking like crazy. I started clipping coupons. No more shopping at the mall. I hit Goodwill, Value Village and second hand shops around Seattle for clothing and household items. I began babysitting for neighbors and family members to make extra money. We were beyond broke but for the first time in a long time I was WITH my girls, truly present. We took many walks around the neighborhood. Picked blackberries. Baked. Had playdates with the neighbors. The time was so good for my soul. The color started to come back to my skin.

Our house never sold. After over a year we were left with no option but to walk away. We tried working with the bank for over 9 months with no response. I had started a new job so that we would have medical and dental benefits. But I refused to make the commute and put my kids through long days again. My marriage got to the point of no return. We were at a crossroads and it was tenuous at best. We moved into a rental house where our housing costs were half of what they were and we were 3 miles from my work. We continued to scale back our lives. We missed our old neighbors but met some wonderful new neighbors! We were in the rental for 10 months. It was a wonderful time of rebuilding and refocusing on our family. Eventually we knew we wanted to make a big move to an area with a much lower cost of living bringing us to our current place.

For a while there was a great sense that we gave up the dream of having a house in the big city with a nice view. But once we moved, we never looked back. We learned and gained so much more. We are much more careful with our finances. I still feel domesticated and I love it! I love that my kids are 6 1/2 and 4 now and they don't remember those long days or getting food out of a drive-thru window. It is on the rare occasion that we do that. I love that I have a job with a non-commute that allows me to do the work that I love and then be home and be completely present with my family. I love that my husband and I weathered the storm and are even stronger now. We have re-prioritized everything and now things are more stable than they have ever been. Stability and domestication feel great!