Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hiding the ugly

When we first walked through our house (with the owner's stuff in it), there were a lot of things we didn't notice until it was bare (and OURS).  One of them was down in the playroom.  Here's how it looked during that first walk-through...

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Nice striped curtains (which I begged the owner to leave) and pretty french doors.  Thanks to Chadly, the popcorn ceiling would soon be gone and 6 recessed lights would go in.  But it wasn't until move-in day that I walked down the hallway and noticed something I hadn't before: the electrical panel. 

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Of course! It had been hiding behind that big picture she had in the corner.  I've seen people paint their panels before, but I liked the idea of a poster-size picture there.  But I figured a nice quality frame that size (it needed tp be a 24x36), with actual glass, and a mat would be pretty pricey.  I looked around and they weren't bad, but most didn't come with a mat.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find this one at Michael's for $19.99!  Too bad I didn't have a coupon!!  I was planning on adding my own DIY art, so I didn't even notice the leafy print it came with until Chad said he liked it.  Hmm.  Might have to leave it awhile. 

Voila!  Ugly panel hidden! 

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SO... onto the "keepin' it real" part of things.  I have to come clean about how the room looks.  Let's call this a "transition stage."  A month ago, Chad hung the TV on the wall and we had a nice downstairs movie area (minus the comfy couch, beanbags, etc.)  So pretty much just picture the 4 of us sitting on hard, wood chairs, trying to snuggle from afar.  Yeah, pretty comfy.

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Anyway, I finally just got around to painting (or re-painting, I should say) after the recessed light/drywall/taping/mudding/texturing thing was complete.  That's why everything shifted around. So now we can finally finish installing one of my Ikea purchases... a TV/bookcase unit (in gray-brown). We realized the TV would have to be re-hung lower to fit in the space between the new stand and the upper "bridging" cabinet.  So that's what Chad is working on now.  And he's adding an outlet so when we hang the TV, the cord will plug in directly behind it.  Once the TV is ready to hang, we'll attach the cabinets to the wall and fill 'em up with video boxes, board games, etc.  Oh, but I need to put a second coat of paint on the ceiling too.  NOT looking forward to that.  And figure out some seating.  And re-hang the curtains.  And decorate!  And Chad has some outlets to fix in the corner where the new frame is (notice a TOWEL stuffed into an empty hole? Yep. It's to block the serious draft that comes in. Ghetto!)

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And I have something up my sleeve for that corner by the laundry room. Oh, and we have plans for the laundry room too, but that will have to wait awhile. 
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The mess in our hallway... video boxes that will go back in the cabinets, toys, etc. My poor mom, who spent hours ironing my Pottery Barn curtains, will be horrified to see them in a (sort of neat) pile in the music room. Sorry Mom! 
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Anyway, back to my picture...
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Yep, I like it. : )  Oh, and I'm having a friend over on Friday, so this room is about to look a whole lot better. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The "Green Superhero"

A little background information:

* Aidan will be 4 in May
* He wants a "superhero" birthday party.
* He wants to be a GREEN superhero.
* Up until a few weeks ago, he refused to put his feet on the pedals of any bike/trike/big wheel.
* He really loves Thomas the Train.
* He follows directions from inanimate objects (i.e. puppets, toys, etc.)

Picture it... we're at Toys R Us a few weeks ago.  Aidan finds a Thomas the Train trike and tries to ride it (or his version, anyway, which means feet on the ground, pushing like Fred Flintstone.)  But he's having trouble because the trike it too small.  I tell him he'll have to put his feet on the pedals if he wants it to work.  He tries, fails, and starts to have a meltdown.

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I think to myself, "Please, Aidan, don't have a meltdown here.  People are watching.  Lilah is already throwing a fit in the cart.  I can't handle two tantrums!!  Think fast, think fast!" 

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And then I see the train on the front of the trike.  I lean over, cup my hand behind my ear, and say, "What's that, Thomas??  You want Aidan to try to pedal again???" 

Aidan looks wide-eyed at me and says, excitedly, "Ok, Thomas!"  He puts his feet on the pedals, pushes down, and off he goes. 


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But, the trike is still too small, so he doesn't get far.  I see the row of bikes and call him over.  Quick, Mama, think of something brilliant to get him to try a bike!  Oooh, there's a GREEN one!

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"Look, Aidan!  There's a GREEN SUPERHERO bike!  Come try it!"

"Ok, Mama!" 

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He sits down, puts his feet halfway on the pedals, and starts to meltdown again.  Try it again, Mama!  Try it again!  So I go for it.  I cup my ear, lean towards the trike aisle, and say, "What's that, Thomas??  You want Aidan to put his feet on the pedals of the green superhero bike???" 

"Ok, Thomas!  I will!!"

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And off he goes.  On a bike.  For the first time.  PEDALING.  I let him ride around the store (like one of those annoying moms) for about 15 minutes, while he shouted, "Look, Mama!  I'm riding a bike!  I'm pedaling!!" 

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We bought him his green superhero bike a week later.  I was going to wait for his superhero party, but that's 3 months away and the weather's nice! 

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(by the way, super excited for superhero party planning!!  Of course, it will be Lilah's party too... I'm going for double birthdays as long as I can, since they're only 5 days apart.  She'll be a pink & purple superhero!  Here's one inspiration pic I found on Etsy...)


Monday, February 20, 2012

Come in, come in!

Time to finally show off some rooms of our house!  Let's start with the entryway.  (Disclaimer... the pictures are kind of random, with some previous owner's pics thrown in for referencing.  I'd go take new pics now, but it's sort of dark.  And late.  And these pics were already on flickr.  And I'm lazy.  So there ya go.)

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(Chad had moved our patio set to the deck upstairs, but it has since moved back.  Can't wait to spruce up the porch a bit.  And for the katsura trees to fill out again!)

What I love:

* having an actual entryway/mudroom area (in our old house, you entered right into the hallway and living room.  I like having a place to kick off my shoes and hang up my coat!)
* my new coat hooks Chad installed... although you can't see them at all, with the hat/coat/bike helmet/grocery bag/Ergo madness going on!  We're actually going to add 2 more (for a total of 16 hooks!)  I was originally going to put a bench on the other side, but I realized I'd rather have more room to hang the diaper bags, rather than set them on a bench. Unfortunately, all 4 sections won't be centered now under the window trim, but I don't think it'll matter too much. 

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* my new Ikea shoe cabinet! I actually bought it for upstairs because I typically take my shoes off up there, but in the end, it worked better down here. Chad just needs to attach it to the wall (ASAP!)

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* the stair runner - love the look, love the dirt it hides (well, except for the white fluffs of cat hair)

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* my new mail organizer (Real Simple from Target) - I'm sure I could have DIY'd something, but since I don't sew, my options were limited.

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* the tile flooring - great for all of the wet, dirty feet!
* the big closet area - we have ALL of our coats in there with room to spare. And the new closet knobs. They used to be wood. I need to get an up-close shot. This room is SO HARD to photograph since it's SO SMALL!
* the french door - it's cute!  (I since moved the Ikea twigs out.  Looked too cluttered once we added the hooks and all the hanging stuff!)


What I don't love:

* the front door.  Love the look, color, etc.  But it's not hung high enough to clear the tile flooring, so everytime we open or close it, the bottom scraaaaaaaapes against the tile.  Like fingernails on a chalkboard.  Seriously, the kids are NOT sneaking out in this house!  Well, at least not through through the front door.  Luckily for them, there are 2 french doors right by their bedrooms, perfect for a midnight rendevous.  Ugh.
* no place for doormat/rug inside.  Because the front door scrapes, we can't put a rug right where you step in.  That's why you see my PB seagrass rug on an angle in the mudroom area.  I still wanted a rug somewhere, and although I'm not a huge rug on an angle fan, it looked stupid to put it straight.  I sort of like how it leads you into the music room. 

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* the outdated closet doors.  Someday, I'd LOVE to take them down and put in cubbies like this:


* the sconces.  I know they're contemporary and silver.  And new!  They could be a whole lot worse.  But they're so square, literally. (here's a pic from when we first moved in)

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I would love to see something like a lantern or outdoor light to give it that craftsman-by-the-water feel.  (But apparently Chad would NOT love something like this, he just said.)  : )

* the placement of the light switches.  I'm getting used to it, but when we first moved in, they drove me crazy.  The stairway light is on the column right as you walk in (see picture below.)  But then the next closet light (you can see in the pic above of the coat hooks) is the light for the music room (and there's no switch as you walk into that room!)  And then the next switch is for the front porch.  But then the sconces get turned on by a switch around the corner, above the shoe cabinet.  Wish it was on the wall with the rest of the switches.  Not a huge deal, but it's my house, so I can complain!

(Here you can see the light switch on the very left that turns on the stairway light... this pic was with the previous owner's stuff)
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(And here, you can see the switch that turns on the sconces above the shoe cabinet)
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* walking right in and having to climb a staircase.  Sometimes I miss our main floor living 2-story.  But then again, it didn't have a view!

(here's a pic with the previous owner's stuff... you can really see how close the stairs are to the front door!)
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* the tile flooring - well, the color... it may float some people's boat, but the bluish/purple tones don't float mine.  At least not with the rest of the house.  I could see beige/brown tones.  I REALLY want to replace it, but it's fairly new and can't justify that... yet.
* the french door - it's sort of in the way sometimes, and I have to move that rug if I want to close it.


So, as soon as Chad hangs the other two wall hooks and attaches the shoe cabinet, this room is DONE.

For now.  : ) 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lilah @ 21 months

Brother's boots, binky, black barrette

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Thomas train & toothbrush taking off!

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Munchkin in mug cover

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Perfect posture, posing with pop

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Hats & hearts

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Pots, pans and pajamas!

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Clip-ified cutie

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Painting appendages

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Gazing in galoshes

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At 21 months, you:

* climb on everything
* love boots, shoes, and hats
* nap great, sleep through the night mostly
* request food with words or signs ("ba" = milk)
* are still addicted to your binky
* love to be rough-housed
* have an infectious giggle
* are still shy around strangers (or even relatives!) 
* love to be carried on my hip
* still sleep in the Ergo sometimes
* can throw some awesome tantrums

Love you, Lilah bean!