Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Our new addition

Hi, everyone...I'm alive!  In case you were wondering, I had my baby Zachary Brian on December 10th...I hope you don't mind if this is a post about him. 
I never shared my birth story with Ashford, and that is because it was a terrible induction and I didn't want to talk about it...but surprisingly, I chose to be induced again this time at 39w+2 because I was having a lot of pain issues and the baby was big.  My doctor assured me it would go much faster and I wouldn't be pushing for 3 hours like last time.  She was right!  We went in at 6:30am and started Pitocin, contractions were easy until they broke my water at 9, then things got real and I labored on my own until 11am at which point I begged for the epidural.  I was fully dilated and started practice pushes around 1pm, but I couldn't feel the muscles I needed to push, so I frantically told them TURN THE DAMN EPI OFF because I didn't want a c section.  It took 35 minutes to start to feel again, and then I got the treat of FEELING AGAIN just in time to push him out.  I know it was still better than it would've been without the partial epidural, but it was awful and I was blubbering like an idiot for the entire 22 minutes I pushed.  Then he had the cord wrapped around his neck so tight the doctor made me stop for a few minutes while his entire head was out so she could cut it.  It was absolutely miserable!  But Zach was born at 2:02pm weighing 8 pounds 7 oz, and 21 inches long.  I was floored at his size, I knew he was bigger than Ashford but not that big! 
I was lucky enough to have Shaun take photos of the experience, and he did such a great job!  I treasure these and definitely recommend you have someone do this for you...although I'm sure the staff thought I was nuts looking at my camera to change the settings for Shaun while in active labor.  Hey, you do what is important to you!
This is the newborn outfit Ashford went home from the hospital in...it fit Zach for a few days.
My absolute favorite thing to do now is comparison photos, mostly because DUH comparisons are awesome, but also because Zach is huge and dark and the opposite of my fair, tiny Ashford.  I realize this perspective does not demonstrate that, but it's too cute.
So here we are a month later, and this baby is a whole different ball game from my first.  He MUST be held, he sleeps on me and hardly ever sleeps not on me, he nurses every hour and I can't get a single thing done.  Sometimes I'm able to pick him up with the boppy and set him down while still asleep, and that gets me about 30 minutes to do something. 
But usually as soon as the pillow hits the couch, this happens. 
We are all having a really hard time with this transition, having two kids is exactly as hard as I thought it would be.  Ashford wants me to play with him, but I'm stuck on the couch with the baby most of the day.  Usually, I'm listening to a chorus of crying from both kids because I can't help them at the same time.  I also stressed myself out even more by trying to take Zach's newborn photos myself.  OMG, what a disaster.  I was recovering slowly and had many postpartum discomforts.  It was cloudy and dreary for many days after he was born, then when I finally had good light, this kid would not sleep.  No matter what I did.  I ended up with some very amateurish photos that I am not proud of, but what are you gonna do.  The Christmas ones were done when he was 8 days old, and I'm pretty happy with them all things considered.  He at least closed his eyes a while, but wouldn't tolerate being naked no matter how hot I made it!
These are the only decent 'wrap' photos I got.  He wouldn't sleep and wouldn't allow me to pose him at all.  I think he smelled me and just wanted to eat the whole time.  He was also three weeks old at this point, well past the best age to take newborn photos.
This guy is a super chunk.  He weighed 11 pounds 7 ounces at his 1 month appointment!  That is a three pound gain in one month, holy cow!  Here is a hilarious comparison of my boys at one month:
And another comparison that shows not only how different my kids are, but my photography skills, too. 
I wish I could share a 'final' photo of the nursery, but we still have a couple things to do in there.  For now, we are just trying to soak up the good parts of the baby stage - like the snuggability!
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

New trim and some progress

So, while I still have about one million linear feet of trim to paint white, at least it is all installed!  We hired out this job because I just couldn't do it in my condition, and Shaun works such long hours it would've taken months.  At 38 weeks pregnant, I've been slowly sanding, caulking and painting while Ashford is at school, so maybe it will all be done by Memorial Day. 
I love how bright the hallway looks now, especially with my new fixture lit up.  I hate dark hallways, and this light is just as bright as I hoped it would be. 
The Feiss light fixture is available at a few sites, but I found the best price at Wayfair.  I decided to go black or dark bronze with all the fixtures in the main living areas, and plan to switch out all the door knobs and hinges, too. 
The thick trim is just 1x4 primed MDF and it looks so much better than the fluted 2.5 inch stuff we ripped out.  Our trim guy did have to cut the light switch cover near the bathroom door, though!  Oh well. 
The front hall is looking much better without the ugly fan.  This amazing foyer pendant is by Elegant Lighting, and I also found the best price on Wayfair.  Although, it is selling for much more than I paid now.  I snapped it up for $350 in September!  I cannot wait to replace the ugly wood railing with a nice black metal one....someday.  Oh, and a new door.  Someday. 
Our living room is coming along with a huge 120-170" black curtain rod from Crate and Barrel.  Our window is 10 feet long, so it was a blessing to find this rod.  However, I have to say that we almost returned it because its damn near impossible to install.  The brackets slide onto this tiny little piece that actually screws into the wall, so it opens up a whole list of problems from not knowing exactly where the screws should go, to the bracket not sliding on due to the width of anchors (store provided anchors, even).  We also had a broken piece in one of the packages that will need to be replaced by Crate and Barrel.  We made it work, and hopefully the ones for the dining room and kitchen are easier now that we know!
Right now, I have the same cream Ikea curtains I've always had on the window, but they are laughably short and also look terrible with the bright white trim around the window.  I did manage to find 95" bright white panels at JC Penney, so those are on their way!  I chose plain white curtains because I bought a boldly patterned rug for this room....the Berta rug from Crate and Barrel.  I can't wait to get it rolled out, it's been sitting in it's plastic for weeks now. 
Things are laid out pretty much the exact same as our Minnesota house, but this will all change once the sectional moves to the lower level and my new rug is brought up here.  Speaking of lower level....
So obsessed!  Shaun did all of this board and batten himself, and I'm so happy with it!  We didn't have to think about the height since the ledges were existing, so it was as simple as buying 1x3 MDF for the top rail under the ledge, 1x2 MDF for the battens, and 1x4 MDF for the baseboard.  The spacing of the battens was sort of planned to cover the seams in the plywood, but a few are fudged here and there.  They average 13 inches apart if I remember right. 
He also did a great job trimming out the windows.  We had to get a very specific size trim to nicely frame around the window but not go past the 'sill' that was already there.  1x2 were too small and dinky, 1x3 were too wide....so I found a piece of primed MDF that was exactly 2 inches wide at Menards, and it did the trick. 
I love how clean it looks down here now.  The walls above the trim are painted with the main level color, SW Popular Gray.  The trim in the entire house is Behr Ultra Pure White in satin. 
For some reason, the wacko previous owners put solid wood doors downstairs, but fake ones upstairs in the main living area.  I'm torn about what to do here.  Painting them white would be the easiest option, but I do like the thought of staining the doors a better color and keeping them wood to break up all the white.  We are also putting stained shelving in the room, so that would tie in nicely. 
Our last hurdle, and the only reason this room isn't yet complete, is the flooring. 
We had Home Depot come measure the room and give us a quote on nice carpet we like.  A quote that I haven't seen yet because they never sent it to me.  I haven't seen it because when they called me to confirm the quote, they told me they won't install it over this tile until we get it tested for Asbestos.  Sure enough, after paying $120 for testing, the tile and adhesive contain 4% asbestos so now we are stuck.  It would cost 3k to have all the old tile in the family room and downstairs bedroom removed, and we just can't afford that cost plus the $1500 or so for new carpet..so we are hopefully having a family friend install the carpet over the tiles for us.  Sometime in the future when the carpet is dingy, we will pay to have it all removed and put in nice new tile throughout the space, but we can't do it now.  This house is just the ultimate money pit and it's been one thing after another!  Have any of you dealt with asbestos tiles?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Why I'm so slow

I had an accident in March.  And now, I look like this. 
Well, that is not what I look like on a daily basis, but you get what I mean.  I am 34 weeks pregnant now, and I'm almost totally unable to do anything useful around the house, so progress has been totally dependent on Shaun after work and on weekends.  Not fun for a DIY lady like me, it frankly drives me crazy that I'm so tired, so nauseated, and have such bad pelvic pain every day.  Shaun took my maternity photos, didn't he do a great job? 
When you feel like crap, it's nice to at least look good!  So, as you can imagine, we needed to make a room for our newest addition - another boy, Lord help us.  As usual, my motto is reuse and buy as little as possible...so the yellow rug, crib, glider, bookshelves, nightstand, linens and dresser are all things we already owned.  As well as all the baby gear that will soon clutter up this room!
The wood wall looks magnificent in here, but we still have to frame out the edges with pine lattice to cover the gaps.  I tested some Gunstock stain on a strip on the right, it seems to work ok.  I am brainstorming what else to put on this wall, shelves?  White animal head?  Huge picture?
Not all the yellows in this room match, but I'm ok with it.  I have loved yellow and gray since my dressing room, so it only seemed right to use that combo in here.  I will add pops of green as an accent on the crib skirt, changing pad, toy basket and accessories. 
I'm not sure if both the bookshelves will stay in here, or if there is just too much furniture in the room.  The wall color in here is the same as Ashford's room, SW Anew Gray.  The light fixture is this one from Wayfair.  I love the industrial look!
It goes well with the pipe-inspired curtain rod I found at Target.  It looks very shiny online, but in person it is a nice matte pewter. 
The curtains were a splurge.  I wanted blackout panels and didn't want to bother with making any since I just wanted a neutral solid.  These are the Evelyn linen blackout panels from Pottery Barn Kids in gray.  They were expensive, but I was able to catch them on sale and they also let me use a 15% coupon I got in the mail.  Not too bad! 
Here is a better photo of the pine lattice we're using around the wall.  As you can see, it's a bit more red than the wall, so I may try to tweak it before staining the rest of the pieces. 
The fabric I chose for the crib skirt is this adorable Urban Zoologie Crocs fabric.  It has all the shades of yellow and green I was looking for!  The dresser that used to be in my (dearly missed) walk in closet fits in this closet, so we can't possibly have any lack of drawer space for baby goodies.   
 The closet goes a bit farther to the right with built in wire racks for diapers, extra blankets and bulky stuff. 
And that is a little tour of the baby's room thus far.  In other news, I waddled to meet up with fellow fabulous blogger Kim Woodward at a pumpkin farm a couple weeks ago!  Here are a few pics of our boys having a great time:
Backstory on this one...we let them go up the big slide by themselves, and instead of waiting in line, they just ran up and slid down ahead of everyone.  It was hilarious! 
These two were so adorable together.  Kim, I can't wait to meet up again!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

All crapped up but making progress

So, just like last time the movers delivered our stuff and left us with boxes to the ceiling in every room.  I didn't really take any photos of it initially because I was so traumatized.  But, here is the mess today after two weeks of working on it. 
Guest room status:  poor.  No guests allowed, the entire room is full of linens and my clothes. 
Extra bedroom status: tragic.  Don't worry Kelly, we didn't rip out the amazing chevron wall, it was an optical illusion!!  This room was the obvious winner for bring the 'dump all' for random boxes.  Oh, and all the huge baby apparatus that used to live out of sight in our crawl space. 
 Ashford's room status: good!  When you're a parent, they always come first, amiright?
Master bedroom status:  fair to poor.  We have these tiny sad closets that simply cannot contain my shopping spoils from the last ten years.  We also are looking for a new headboard and haven't hung the new light fixture yet.  Points that we actually got the curtains hung, though. 
The main living area is still covered in cardboard and plastic because our downstairs is being completely re-drywalled and it will soon be fabulous!  For now, status: unsafe for small children.
Dining room status: Fair to poor.  Our table works, the coffee maker is set up, and once we get our new chandelier up, pick up a bit, buy a new rug, hang the curtain rod, buy new curtains, and hang things on the walls, it will look awesome.  Yeah.  That is going to all happen very soon. 
Kitchen status:  tragic.  There are so many things wrong with this kitchen.  There is so little storage that we had to bring cabinets up from the basement to put things in temporarily, the dishwasher door scrapes against the door trim when you open and close it, and the tile is broken at the threshold to the dining room.  Also, the previous owners have a dimmer on the can lights that doesn't actually dim anything because they just put regular CFL bulbs in the cans.  Can I just mention my amazing hibiscus tree?  That is what it looks like after living with my plant-whisperer mom for a month. 
Have I shown you the lower level?  I don't think so...here it is when we moved in:
It stunk like smoke in here, had zero lighting, and of course was covered in cheap paneling and acoustical tile ceiling.  Within a week it looked like this:
And here is the bedroom you see to the left:
 Dark, paneling, smoky smell, horrible carpet that had moldy carpet padding. 
Downstairs half bath: the toilet runs, the vanity top is meant to be on legs NOT on a vanity, and the lighting and medicine cabinet are awful. 
Laundry room: dismal washer and dryer, paneling, dirty drop ceiling, plywood cabinets with completely bowed shelves. 
Weird bar nook: I am dumb for not taking a better photo of this from farther back.  It had upper cabinets that literally couldn't open because the doors hit the frame of the closet they stuck this in.  Laminate wood counter, questionable wiring for the lighting, mirrors everywhere.  Yikes.  This is all gone now!
So much progress has been made on the lower level.  Here it is after a couple visits from a great electrician, and the fabulous drywall guy that did our kitchen on Russet Street!
We are keeping the wood parquet, it is in very good condition.  The old linoleum will be covered by carpet eventually.  The walls with plywood will be painted white, and we will add board and batten treatment to make more sense of the bumped out ledge around the perimeter.
The area straight ahead is the weird bar nook that we ripped out.  It is now a clean empty space for us to do whatever we want with.  While it would be nice to have a closet for storage, we are thinking of a more interesting application...probably a built in kegerator with lower cabinet if we can fit it, then floating shelves on top for glassware. 
This is a better look at the plywood and ledge situation.  Our drywall guy installed all the luan and even routered the edge of the pine 1x4s to look more finished.  The tv will be mounted in between the windows so we don't get any glare on the screen. 
On the wall straight ahead, we are probably going to do built in cabinetry similar to what we did on Russet Street.  We have 195 inches, which would fit 6 30-inch wall cabinets plus a 15 inch wall cabinet perfectly, but I'm not sure if that is the final plan.  We desperately need the storage, though!
I love how this basement doesn't feel like a basement.  I think the 'hallway' helps it feel like another house instead.  The laundry is on the left, the middle door is the bathroom, and the bedroom is the door on the right.  Speaking of the bedroom.....
The carpet was ripped out and the walls were all redone in here, too.  We haven't added any overhead lighting due to the ductwork, but it might happen later on since we didn't pull out the ceiling in here.  For now, I will just get a plug in fixture that operates on the switch.  I plan to paint all the walls in here and on the long wall to the right, put two big wardrobes from Ikea for my clothing overflow.  We will most likely carpet in here as well. 

So, that is where we're at!  Today we are priming the drywall downstairs and hopefully getting everything painted so we can move our extra boxes and junk from the upstairs down...so our trim guys can get in and replace all the trim with new 1x4 mdf upstairs.  Whew!