Wednesday, June 20, 2012

4, 2, and new

Baby Hadley!  She really is as sweet as she looks!
Hi! we love our new baby!
Gosh it's been a while since I've posted.  Well I've had a baby!  Table for 5!  Well despite my pre-baby mommy of 3 anxieties I can say that things have been going fabulously!  My little Hadley is the world's most precious baby.  I hesitate to brag on her too much for fear I might "jinx" our wonderful luck but....she has beeen sleeping through the night since 2 weeks, happy as a clam all day, and just a sweet happy little squishy bundle that is chunking up more and more every day.  I love to squeeze those little legs!  Big sister SK is fantastic though she may at some point require a restraining order.  If I say "leave the baby alone!  Don't poke her! Don't (insert anything that would wake happy baby or you shouldn't do) one time I say it a million times.  Will however has been an excellent student in the art of baby harrassing and he is keeping up his end of the bargain by trying to pick her up if I leave her unattende for a second.  So we call Haldey the "lap dog."  We are always holding her - always!  Well except when she is soundly sleeping in her carseat without big sis/bro bothering her.  She likes to be packed around (i'm sure she fears for her safety) and we are happy to oblidge.  Now for all of you who wanna tell me I'm gonna spoil her....oh well.  She'll be big and grown before I realize it so I'm gonna have to just enjoy my rotten little lap dog baby for a while.  I've learned a few things in these last 6 weeks....

they love her - poor Hadley! 

#1 - I make massive amounts of breastmilk and should probably consider hiring out at some sort of milk production company and get paid for my talent - ha.

#2- I need (or needed) a minivan.  I made it a few weeks with my SUV that I loved and gave in and traded it.  Now that everyone can't touch each other there is far less screaming and fighting everywhere we go. 

#3 - it is imperative when having more children than you have hands, to strategically place them in the car and buckle/unbuckle everyone in a specific order.  You get this wrong you've got the wrong person loose and they're running in the parking lot while you frantically try and grab them and not veer too far from the car so you can unbuckle the rest who are left behind.

#4 - it takes FOREVER to get ready and go anywhere (this time is not effected by whether or not my husband is "helping" because I'm conviced it actually takes longer with his "help" - though I appreciate the effort)  (ex. the other day we were going swimming at a friends who lives in our town....I started getting us ready to leave at 9:30 - we left at 11:30)
 - Matt said what the heck?  What takes so long?  dress em and put em in the car! 
here's how we find ourselves many mornings!
Well....maybe he is right??? (prob not) but I seriously have to get a more efficient routine.  I am super blessed that big bro/sis sleep anywhere 7-830 each morning (W even slept till 915 today).  Baby H wakes up at 5ish to eat and then when I get up (730-830) usually ready for a "top off."  By the time I then fix Sk's breakfast and get H settled I start pumping (refer to lesson #1 on milk - this takes a while when I've not pumped all night) - during this process W wakes up.  I have to get him breakfast and finish pumping while he is secure in the highchair (aka can't poke baby and make her cry while I am hooked to the "milk factory" as sk calls it).  He finishes eating and is covered (each and every day) head to toe in whatever he is eating "myself."  W clean up, highchair clean up, SK's breakfast cleanup, pack baby back anf forth where I am going for her safety, bag and freeze milk, attempt to eat breakfast (look at clock and realize how late it is), pack baby back to bathroom and put her in bouncy in floor, combat children who want to "watch you" and try and fix own hair and put on mediocre makeup, dress kids 1,2 and 3, make sure bags have dipaers, wipes, anything needed and head out the door (at this point someone usually poops and requires a diaper change and possible clothing change before leaving) - get out the door only to realize this routine has taken 2 hours and you never ate breakfast and are starving (as are the children who just ate) and everyone is screaming for a snack. 

haha seriously though...I love it.

#5- I will spend the rest of my life counting to 3.  Not 1,2,3 you're getting a spanking 3 (though I do that too) but where are my children 1,2,3 who am I missing?  It's a constant counting of where are they, what are they doing.  Sadly H is still immobile and I have no idea how crazy I'll be when she starts running in the other direction of the 2 seperate ones her brother/sister have chosen as well.

I love my baby and my new life.  It's a fun journey and I am getting the hang of it more and more every day.  I've made it in/out of grocery and Wal-Mart with everyone several times.  i've also learned that older women love the expression "you've sure got your hands full" - from some I'm sure this is code for "good grief use birth control" - oh well!  We are blessed and happy and thankful.  I still plan on posting my actual birth story (mainly for me to remember it as much as anything) but my mom has pictures she wanted me to include from the waiting room so I'll try and get to that soon. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

9 months today...Is there really a baby in there?

So today I'm officially 9 months pregnant.  In waddly woman speak that means I can see the finish line.  With the end in sight I'm so - I don't even know the word - baffled I guess.  Let's review my last 5.5 years......

December 9, 2006 married my best friend (awww I know - too gushy - but for real he's legit my BFF (we've got the necklaces and everything hahaha - joke)
At our rehersal dinner

October 2007 - found out we were expecting Skater.  Every last second of that pregnancy I swear I watched as if you were watching the clock ticking off the seconds.  It CRAWLED by.  I busied myself worrying about everything, reading everything, becoming a "expert" who had never had a baby on everything, and organizing and rearranging her nursery.  I had never been to the "womans" clinic places but a couple times before I got pregnant with SK.  No clue on what to do about a baby doctor we decided to start our journey with a well respected doctor who had been a kind Christian adult role model in Matts life.  Matt had even lived in his families guest house in college.  Problemo here was that he had moved to Nashville.  I love to shop and since Nashville was only 2 hours away and you don't go that much in the beginning we chose him.  It worked great for a while because every month was like a nice little get a way for Matt and I to eat somewhere cool, go to Target etc.  Around the time 30 weeks rolled around (and I started having a few pregnant friends deliver etc.) I began to realize that when I had our baby I wanted to be surrounded with family and friends so we switched (after much asking around) to the most amazing doctor on the planet Dr. Owens (literally I can't say enough about this guy and if you don't wanna know please don't ask me because I tend to gush about does Matt actually we love him that much!)

Around the time I switched with SK my blood pressure was a little high.  I was a new patient so for a while they monitored it.  Almost immediately they started talking "take it easy" etc.  With SK I was ENORMOUS but what I didn't realize being a 1st time mom is that I was swelling like crazy.  Normal right????  ummm no not in this case.  I was put on blood pressure meds to lower it and eventually around 35 weeks sent to bed rest.  The bed rest was a way for a new mom (i.e. no kids to chase in the house to occupy my days) to sit and watch baby shows and search the internet tirelessly.  I had to go to the doctor 2x a week to monitor my BP and at any given time they would take her if it got out of control.  I remember very close to the end crying when we would leave and have to come back a few more days later.  I was happy my BP was okay but so done.  I was huge, miserable, sick and ready to meet my baby.  When the day finally came it was overwhelming to say the least and I had no idea what to expect.

Night before I delivered SK

Our new addition
Fast forward to March of 2010 - I was 9 months pregnant with Will.  I'd had basically an uneventful pregnancy and the blood pressure issues that had plagued me with SK weren't there with him thank goodness.  What was there were constant contractions.  When you get online and google and read babycenter etc. they say if you're having more than 4 contractions in an hour call the doc.  I was having like 10- a zillion.  With SK I had never had braxton hicks really that I noticed so I wasn't sure what the deal was.  I had a scheduled induction (by choice for school spring break scheduling - very modern of us) for April 2.  In the weeks leading up to April 2 I was in Labor and Delivery for monitoring 5 or 6 miserable times.  One time we went I got a shot to calm the uterus down.  I felt like an idiot each time they said I could go home - still pregnant.  It wasn't that I wasn't having contractions...I was they were showing on the monitor - they just weren't changing my cervix.  I got to the point at the end that I was scared to go anywhere myself (because I had a not even 2 year old) because they had told me at any point my false labor could turn to real labor that could start things.  My mom was with me everywhere. I sat up the night before the induction - my last night with SK all by herself - and cried and cried as I rocked her to sleep.  I was convinced that us deciding we wanted another so close was going to ruin her life and what was I thinking and she wasn't going to be the baby anymore....and so on.  When it was time to go to the hospital to be induced I was cool calm and collected.  I felt that I had traveled this road before, knew what to expect and it went great.  Labor was much easier with Will (my cervix was way more favorable with him than when I had SK) and I knew what I wanted and needed and it all went very smoothly.
Night before I had Wilty

Baby makes 4
Now fast forward to now April 2012 - I'm 9 months pregnant with Hadley.  I'm not scared that I'm ruining my others lives anymore like I was before...I have seen the beautiful friendship of SK and Will and how he was such a gift in her life and playmate that I can't imagine her living without.  I know they'll make amazing big sister/big brother.  SK was amazing when I had Will and she is amazing with our new niece Gentry.  So loving and careful and helpful.  Will as well loves our niece, is obsessed with babies and isn't the least bit jealous - he just wants to be involved and hold and help too.  They both beg me to get Hadley out of my belly so they can hold her.  I'm not really nervous about labor - it's not a been there done that as much as I feel confident about the process. I know that anything can happen and it's not always predictable or like planned but I also feel more educated than ever before about a zillion different options and what things mean etc.  I don't sit around and wonder about if I've forgotten to buy something at Babies R Us and that if I don't have it now I'll be lost forever.  With SK it's like I didn't realize if I've forgotten or end up needing something that I can easily go or have someone get it for me.  I'm not even as scared about handling 3.  Some of you with 3 are probably laughing at me.  I have heard that 3 is the hardest transition but I'm confident in us.  I'm more confident in my ability as a mom than ever (at least most of the time) and I feel ready.

So what's the problem????

I look down at this big ole belly that looks like there is an alien that is trying to crawl out and I think .... for real there's a baby in there?  When I took the pregnancy test with Hadley it was like NO WAY (we planned all 3 so you'd think I'd see this coming) but I still couldn't believe it was positive.  I thought it would take a while for it to sink in.   9 months and it's not totally sunk.  Matt actually told me a couple weeks ago that even though 3 was always in the plan and never a "if" for us but a "when" we would try he said it's almost like he felt like we really wouldn't.  He laughs at me because I use the term "legit adult" all the time when I do certain things.  I told him that after we had Will I felt like a legit adult because we had TWO kids and it was like WHOA that's like a family of four.  I don't know why to me it felt so much more real or whatever when we had 2.  I know this baby is coming.  I know she can come basically any day now (realistically probably at least 2 more weeks) but still I'm at the end.  Not only do I not feel at the end I cannot even fathom that in 2 weeks I'll be where I was having my other 2.  Which would be one more weekend baby free from now.  CRAZY!  I mean I can hardly grasp this.

Also it's weird because with the others we knew induction was the plan.  We're on the fence now.  We're gonna have her size measured soon again to see if she is still tipping the scales at 98th percentile and move forward from there.  There are a million factors some good and bad to waiting vs inducing early vs letting us go whenever.  I just don't know what to expect.  Plus #3 is the wildcard.  With your first people expect you to go overdue.  I wouldn't have been induced if it wasn't for my health at 38 weeks it was time to get her out before I got any worse.  With Will it just worked out that way.  With your 2nd people still expect you to get close to your due date if you go into spontaneous labor maybe a tad early.  #3 - wildcard.   You've done this 2 other times - and in my case within the last 4 years - so my body knows what to do.  Lots of statistics support dialating earlier, laboring earlier and faster etc.  Not having ever gone into labor on my own I don't even know what my body does.  So as I near the end I just wonder....when's she coming?  What's gonna happen.  I guess we'll see.

I loved our life with SK and Will just added so much that we couldn't even imagine.  I can't wait for the new journey ahead.  I can't imagine it, it doesn't seem real at all, and I know I'm gonna look back and say do you remember when we just had 2? No? Me either and it becomes all you know...I can't wait and I'm just so excited to meet this sweet baby girl.  A part of me is a sad knowing this is probably the last time I'll be pregnant and I'm enjoying it (no I don't want to be like way overdue - my doctor won't even allow it) but I'm not as I'M DONE get em out anxious as I was before.  I'm ready and excited.  Hard to explain how I feel but just praying for a smooth journey and a healthy baby.  When I'm on the other side I'll let ya know if I am as cool calm and collected as I feel now! haha.

The kitchen....

Kitchen before.....

Kitchen after!
The kitchen is often called the heart of the home.  I guess it's because meals are lovingly prepared in there and you spend tons of time in there period.  It's not super inviting when the walls are blah, and everything else is just blah too.  Like I referenced before my old house was great....just not me.  The kitchen in that house was fairly big which I really liked.  The only problem - EVERYTHING there was white.  Appliances, cabinets and countertops.  We had long talked about switching out things but again we had spent our money in house and just never got to it before we left.  One thing I'd always thought about doing was painting the cabinets.  When I saw the blank canvas kitchen in this house I knew that's exactly what I was going to do.

When I say that Matt and I had some major freakout, unsure, panic attacks the kitchen cabinets are one of the biggest.  I decided before tackling the project I would do a sample door.  I painted and sanded and stained exactly like I wanted.  The sample door came out perfectly, didn't take a ton of time and we loved it.

thank goodness my dad helped me - bending over a zillion doors and drawers was killing me!
in progress drawers
So.....I started in on the cabinets.  The sanding took forever (thanks to my dad for helping me), the staining of the edges is a quick process - painting took forever because there were a million to spread out and paint fronts, backs, sides etc.  Then to poly coat the fronts, backs, sides etc.  I will confess I do think there is an exact fingerprint mark of my stained fingers on the inside of one door if anyone ever needs it.

The hardest part however - rubbing stain on the top of the paint and wiping it to give it the weathered look I wanted.  It was impossible for me to get them all looking similar.  The more I worked at it the more weathered they looked.  The more bewildered Matt looked as I went from a light weathering (something he came on board with hesitantly anyway) to much much more.

Finally we were ready to hang the doors.  We had an AMAZING find.  The super special, super old and custom hinges that are hidden on the doors (came with the kitchen and are cut out of the door so have to be used) suddenly didn't fit and allow the door to close with hopes of ever opening it again.   Matt had to carefully dremel each and every door on the edges to get it perfect.

Time to put on the hardware.  I had trudged through every store, online, lowes, home depot - everything to find hardware that I not only loved but was affordable.  I got it on the doors and HATED it.  Not just a little but a lot.  This is awesome when you've drilled holes in every door for this!

This is the basic cabinet doors before
This is our glass cabinets after!  

At this point I had a complete meltdown.  Matt was looking at the cabinets like I had mod-podged leaves or something and I was hysterical.  I hated it.  I had a screwdriver in my hand and he said he was ready to run because he thought I was gonna throw it!  I didn't (though it did cross my mind...)

We left for the night deciding we would start repainting in the morning - something that after a solid 2 weeks of nothing but cabinet work I was pumped about!...NOT.  When I returned however I didn't HATE them but wasn't sure.  I took to the stores, found new hardware that we LOVED and attached that.  We decided to put repainting on the back burner and went on with other projects.  One of which was we had 2 of the cabinet doors cut out for class pieces.
Lower cabinets after

Here's a money saving tip for you.....plain jane glass is cheap.  Glass with any sort of bubble or detail is NOT.  So we had plain glass cut for the cabinets.  I made a trip to lowes and for $18 dollars picked up a roll of the bubbly rain stuff you see them apply to glass on HGTV.  Matt was convinced this was awesome - I thought it was gonna look like cheap crap.  I can honestly say that I was completely wrong.  It was WAY (shockingly so) easy to install and has the exact look that we were going for and at about 1/4 of the price of getting glass cut like this.

Once we had everything in place, glass doors, hardware (and countertops installed) we looked back and LOVED the cabinets.  I guess it was something that has to grow on you.  It's for sure a specific style (which wasn't my intention at first but just sorta went in that direction) but I've received numerous compliments from people so I assume that they don't look mod podgy anymore and I'm proud to say I did them myself!  Matt has even come back lately and said how much he loves them and is so glad that we stuck it out because of the look.

I also painted the crown molding thats around the top of cabinets only (i.e. not the rest of room or window) the same color as the cabinets to make them look more custom like they had an extra finishing detail and were more grand.

Some other custom money saving tips were in the other finished we chose.  When it came to picking countertops we knew ours needed replacing but didn't want to spend a ton.  We went to Lowes and looked and the mid-grade color we liked was MORE EXPENSIVE than the basic color granite that we also liked.  Lowes was running a special on their most basic class A type of pattern.  We were looking for something neutral and nice and decided to go for it.  Man I'm so glad we did.  We never imagined getting granite but it worked out to not be nearly as expensive as we thought simply due to what we chose.

I have ALWAYS wanted a farm sink.  Always.  I HATE 2 sided sinks.  If you have one I don't hate yours it's just not functional for me.  That was my one request.  I really wanted cast iron but it was going to be several hundred dollars added so I spoke with the company and they were able to find me a stainless (aka comes with the granite install no charge) in a farmhouse and I LOVE it.

Appliances are something that add/take away from a kitchen.  Our existing super extra wide old stove was taking away.  We had a contract on our house around Christmas time.  Christmas time = stores running crazy deals that you don't always see the rest of the year.  When we saw Lowes running such a deal on stainless steel appliances (making a fridge, dishwasher, stove and microwave about 1/2 of what they normally are) we bought it.  We were able to keep them at Lowes and not have them delivered until we closed on the house.  Just paying attention to certain sales and time of the year saved us a ton.

As far as finished go I was oil rubbed bronze all the way.  I love the look and I love things that are nice but a little bit rustic.  Matt wasn't so sure.  I begged for the cabinet hardware to be oil rubbed and he agreed it did look better.  Then came time to pick out the faucet for the sink.  Naturally I wanted oil rubbed and he wanted stainless.  I won the battle and so glad I did.  We've used the oil rubbed bronze house throughout our house and I am thrilled with it.  In the kitchen we incorporated it into cabinet hardware, sink faucet as well as in the light fixture that hangs above my sink....

About that light fixture....I knew exactly what I wanted and everywhere I looked what I liked was stinkin expensive.  I'm not one who is going to pay $400 for a tiny light over the sink when it's simply cosmetic.  So I searched and searched.  We made a random trip into our hometown hardware store and there was the most perfect light and it was ...get this $60 bucks.  It made the trip home with me and I feel pulls the kitchen finishes together well.

Love this tool!
Another point of contention was on the backsplash.  I was thinking neutral originally and Matt wanted cool glass tile.  So I got online and started ordering samples (because ordering custom glass tile in Lowes or anywhere was OUT OF THE BUDGET).  I found a sale online and was able to order our dream color limey apple glass tiles for a few hundred dollars.  We did the install ourselves (not too hard actually) and this makes the kitchen in a way it wouldn't if we had done neutral and painted the wall a color.  This backsplash is so Matt and I loved the way it juxtaposed his style with mine.  It's one of my favorite features in the kitchen.
The diamond bit on the dremel made cutting the class tiles super easy!
This color should be named Matt Houser
Custom made open space for mixer and cookbooks

One thing that's always bugged me is a bunch of junk on the counter.  There is a perfect balance between nothing and too much.  Though beautiful (and I did want it displayed) my mixter was always in the way as well as my cookbooks.  Our old oven was way wider than normal ones today.  So when we replaced appliances I had some extra inches left over.  We were able to create an open cabinet that I had measured to perfectly fit my mixer (and it's deep enough my toaster that we rarely use is hidden behind it) and my cookbooks can be neatly displayed, accessible and leave my not so large counter space free!

Finally I painted the pantry door with chalk paint and love it.  I'm contemplating painting another entire wall with it because it seems to bring a cozy very homey vibe when we have our grocery list and the kids artwork in chalk in.  I've seen several HGTV kitchens where there is a floor to ceiling chalk wall and that's probably my next project....after this baby comes because I so can't start a painting project least I don't plan on it.

I keep chalk nearby and always have a grocery list going.  It's super handy and when I run out I add it.  When I leave for the grocery I take a picture of the door on my phone and go from there.

It was a bumpy ride with the cabinets for sure, 100x more work than I thought (just because nothing went as planned) but in the end I'm super happy I did them this way!  I love looking at the before and after of the kitchen. It's the most dramatic change in all of our house and I really do feel that for not a ton of money we were able to take a basic and boring kitchen and turn it into something totally us and very cozy and warm.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Refinishing the hardwood - WAY harder than expected!

Here's the floor color before - the pictures don't show the grooves cut into the floor from a crappy sanding job done before
We liked the color of the floor fine when we moved in.  It wasn't what we would choose if we could pick it out from scratch but it was fine.  Problem is there were tons of swirly divits where someone in the past had tried to refinish it, dug in with the sander and made tons of grooves.  It looked terrible.  We debated back and forth and decided it was now or never on the floor.  Our entire house is hardwood (tile in kitchen and bath and the back bedroom has carpet).  If we were gonna tackle this project it HAD to be done whlie the house was empty.  So we decided to go for it!  We never knew what we would be in for.

First like any well respecting home reno-ers we priced having the job done for us.  When we found out it was going to be around $4000 we laughed and laughed and decided we'd do it ourselves or not at all.

Article after article read on the internet and questions asked we were ready.  * I will add a disclaimer that every article mentioned this is not a job for amateurs but we ignored that part and figured with some good ambition we could do it*

We rented a sander, and started sanding off the finish.  We sanded, and we sanded, and we sanded.  (As referenced before I was about 25 weeks pregnant and physically couldn't be on my hands and knees in the floor for very long at all).  Matt had the job of sanding the edges with the edge sander.  He literally spent an entire weekend crawling around this house on his hands and knees.  We sanded from Saturday morning until Sunday night LATE to get finished.
Very first swipe with the floor sander

We had decided to start in the very back bedroom sanding because we had no idea how it was going to go.  We knew then if it didn't work we would carpet it and just leave and live with the floors.  After sanding about half of that bedroom, seeing how long it would take and someone venturing out into the hall with the sander I freaked out and declared we had ruined our house and it was a big mistake.  To say we were unsure was not even covering it.

Matt worked and worked and worked.  He never complained one single time that he had this job and I couldn't help him.
Here's a fun fact that you know but don't realize....when you sand the finish off an entire house of hardwood there will be the most immeasurable amount of dust EVERYWHERE - way more than can be imagined - that has to be cleaned before it can be stained.

Bare wood floors!  BEAUTIFUL - can you see the potential?
After cleaning and cleaning and wiping down walls, baseboards, fixtures, and then sticky cloth wiping down the floor (Matt not me) we were ready to stain.

Matt and I LOVE dark walnut stain.  Everytime we see it used on tv we always say that's the one we would pick out.  We tried 3 samples and were easily agreed on which one to use - the dark one!

Anxious to get started.  He had the most massive headache the following day - I felt horrible!  That's with every window open and a ventilation mask.  Like I said....not for preggos!  I took this picture and left!
We never imagined how long it would take to stain.  I assumed a few hours - more like 6.  Since stain is oil based (aka stinks like crap and very "fumey") it wasn't safe for me to even be in the house with Matt while he did this.  The scariest part was that I'm the one who has always stained and refinished furniture.  Matt had literally never even stained a single piece of wood in his life, nor seen it done to know the process and here he was ready to apply stain (after hours and hours of painstaking sanding) to our ENTIRE house.  To say we were nervous is an understatement.  I had full confidence he could do this but needless to say it's a massive project to tackle for your first staining experience ever!

Our first look at the color!  I loved it!
Matt stained for an entire night and then poly coated, lightly sanded, wiped clean, and re-poly coated again for days.

Poly coat!  Sad news is that he discovered only after staining the entire house on his hands and knees a new tool that made things 100x easier and faster.  Poor thing!  Live and learn!

Here's the after!  

Though this is one situation where I'd say we will never do that again (and that's probably not even true) I am thrilled with the outcome and absolutely love the result.  I'm so proud of Matt and how hard he worked on this.  It was supposed to be something we did together and ended up being so much work for him!  But in the end sooooo worth it.  The floor is the exact color we would pick and is really a foundation that we laid in this house that is a base for the house looking exactly like we would want it to.

How I've tried to make my house my own

When Matt and I bought our house in Paducah we topped out our budget.  I had eyes bigger than my wallet and fell in love with the house.  The problem is I'm never completely satisfied with something someone else has picked out.  Nothing was in bad condition in Paducah or even ugly for that matter but it just wasn't "me."  The problem with maxing out your house don't have room to make changes.  Other than paint (which I did a lot of) we had to slowly do things over time.  I found in that house constantly thinking of another project that I could do to make the house better for us.

When we decided to move to Murray we took a different approach to house hunting.   We were trying to "downsize" our payment and streamline our life (aka get rid of the clutter, crap, and space we were wasting).  When we started looking at houses we knew that we would have to put some work into it.  House after house wasn't quite right.  When I walked into this house it was perfect....well almost.  It had "good bones" (a term we learned from our hours and years of watching HGTV and proudly use like pros).  Matt and I enjoy watching renovation shows and dreaming of things we can do.  Our realtor learned that we had a special eye for things we could do and usually immediately agreed on a course of action needed or potential for any house.  She even showed us a few houses that she said in their condition she wouldn't show to anyone else because we would be able to see the vision.

We've tackled small projects in the past and I've painted A LOT in the past.  Though we weren't sure about all of it we felt we could totally tackle a house reno that was cosmetic in nature.  We were excited to find something that had a great base but was just like a blank canvas begging for us to put our stamp on it.  The only hinderance (and something that I don't recommend is that we began this entire process when I was about 25 weeks pregnant).  Originally we had looked and thought we'd be in a house before the years end.  I'd never imagined it would take until my 30th week (aka not so mobile anymore) to get finished.

The things that made our house "the one" was....

* 1st of all the backyard.  Our house in Paducah had an amazing backyard which is pretty much what sold Matt on the house.  Not only was our backyard good size, it was fenced and to Matt's delight it had an extra garage.  We spent many birthday parties, summer days, and cool nights sitting by the fire in that backyard.  When we started looking the yard options were awful.  Either the yard was overlooking a neighbor dog that looked like he wanted to eat my kids for lunch or was a less than appealing view of neighbors I was sure would be arrested weekly.  When we saw this yard (3 acre spread of flat space and completely privately blocked by trees) we were sold!

* Next our house had some key features: hardwood floors (nothing old that needed to be ripped out and replaced - AKA $$$), tile in kitchen and bath (again with no extra money needed for ripping out).

* The windows needed to be replaced but other than that everything was ready for us to make it "pretty" and not just functional.  Good layout, and just ready for our stamp.

After some tough negotiating (something we'd never done in the past - our history had been getting so anxious we'd never find another house we loved as much and getting scared we'd lose it and paying more than we should have) we were able to strike a deal.

Matt and I got busy watching shows, browsing lowes, and taking pictures from everywhere to hone in our style.  The key to a project of this magnitude, in my opinion, is a husband who is on board.  We spent 2 months of working all day and staying up till midnight working on the house.  We only wore work clothes and were covered in paint, dust, or other reno junk at all times.  We did nothing but work on this house.  The crafty girl in me wanted to do everything possible ourselves.  The tight budget we were on got Matt on board for this.

I was convinced when we started this project that I could achieve a totally custom look and make this house completely us for less than you can buy cookie cutter basic option stuff.  At times our styles differed and Matt and I both seriously buckled and doubted a few of our choices in project process but in the end we totally love it.  This house may be a downsize for us, and we do have a little less space and storage....but being able to customize and design a blank canvas to perfectly suit our needs has allowed us to enjoy this house and be proud of it in a way we haven't been before.

I'm going to be creating a series of posts (for those of you that have asked me) to explain and show some of the things that we did along the way.  I wanted to share the "cheap" finds and cool money saving ways that I found to get a look for less.

I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Did you know you're only allowed to have 2 kids????

Okay so I'd like to educate everyone on a phenomenon that I've been made aware of....

America has a 2 kid limit!!! I never knew!

Here are the caveman rules as follows and expectations of women...

Rule #1 - When you're dating you must get engaged (better have him locked in!) and have a marriage plan in place.

Rule #2 - After you get married you must immediately try and have a baby.  If you are not actively trying to conceive/adopt/acquire a child by your first anniversary something is wrong with you (and please expect constant questions and references to your ticking clock if you choose to wait - that comes standard with the after 1 year package).

Rule #3 - When you have baby 1 you MUST want baby 2 and have a plan in place for this (allowing more spacing than 4 years MAX in between absolutely not allowed for any sane person - on the flip side anything close/less than 2 years in spacing means you're an idiot and you get the "oh you poor thing")

Here's where the rule gets slightly tricky....

Rule #4 - If you have a 2nd and you have both a boy and a girl you are DONE!!!!  (don't be fooled by people asking IF you are done as if this is a "choice" - you are expected to wrap it up and be done).

****The ONLY exception to this rule is if your 1st 2 children are the same sex.  Then you are allowed to try for a child of the opposite sex.  However no matter the sex of #3 YOU MUST STOP!!!  Exceeding the number 3 by choice will be considered completely irresponsible and followed with questions that all begin with "how will you...______(insert inappropriate questioning of your parenting ability to show love/attention/time/pay for college for your children).

I've got an extra popsicle and room in the tub for #3

I obviously have one of each.  Desiring a 3rd, and intentionally planning for her (2 years apart from my others) qualifies me for a straight jacket and a padded room.  This also gets the "oh you poor thing."

Bring on the crazy!  We are so excited to meet our newest little stinker!  

3x within the last 7 days I've been asked if this is my 1st OR my 2nd.  No other options.  When I then respond 3rd I get a HMMMMMM look.  This is ALWAYS followed by "what do you have at home?"

(They're trying to see if I'm a rule breaker or if I am just trying for the 3rd to get a different sex than the first 2 - I do at least appreciate the chance to redeem myself).

When I say I already have a girl and a boy it's a "OH"  (people love to catch a rule breaker and give a disapproving look).  So here's a question - is it rude to tell people thanks for the comments but no one cares what you think complete stranger who doesn't know me at all?  (I think not).  Too bad for me is I'm all talk and normally just give an irritated smile and walk away.  

So this is just a warning for all you out there considering a 3rd.  There is an unwritten rule that you may reproduce TWICE and twice only!.  Only 3x is allowed if you're trying for that boy after 2 girls!  Still okay yet less acceptable is trying for a girl after 2 boys.

Break this rule and be subjected to dirty looks, inappropriate questions and inquiry into your personal life by strangers (the upside is that the majority of these folk are qualified themselves to be featured on People of Wal-mart so that's a plus).

Monday, April 9, 2012

Don't you know what causes that??? And other things to not say to a pregnant ME!

34 weeks with 6 to go - baby #3, yes i know what causes it, no I don't know that we're done for sure :)

I love being pregnant.  My experiences have granted me the comments of the public that I will now share with you.  Well meaning citizens of our great state (and beyond really) that feel the compulsive need to say something to me while pregnant.....

* Don't you know what causes that?  - one of my favorites.  No - I'm completely clueless.  Please let's sit down and you explain it to me!  I mean really?  I'm a 27 year old adult.

* Is that twins?  - nope just one.  Why is everyone so shocked that my 5 foot 1 inch frame doesn't hide a baby like I didn't know I was pregnant?  I especially love the follow up question "are you sure?"  - No actually I'm not - I was at the ultrasound but actually left before you got there - whoops!

* When are you due?  (this is made better with the addition of an audible and shocking face as if you've seen something horrific) - I mean seriously?  I'm the one who pees my pants when I sneeze - why does it effect you so much to know that I have x amount of time left?

* To follow the previous when are you due is the "no way you'll make it that long."  - Though meant to be encouraging (I at least tell myself) this cracks me up.  I want to say really?  I went 57 weeks with my 1st one and 72 with my 2nd.  I love this one because it's said with such certainty.  My doctor (who I assume actually attended medical school) thinks I'll make it to very close to my due date!

* This latest one recently happened.  I will preface by saying I'm torn between hating this guy and him being my best friend.  Random guy at lowes says..... " should've danced all night."  - This comment actually is hilarious.  Shocking only because it was said to me by a man who looked to not be a dirt bag, mid 50's, and COMPLETE STRANGER!  Thank you for your personal opinion on the events that lead up to this babies conception!  (But according to #1 - I have no idea what causes this condition!)

* I only gained (insert an amount WAY less than me) when I was pregnant. - Congratulations on starving yourself while you're trying to produce a human being!  I don't care!  I spent many years crying and being frustrated because one of my friends eats M&Ms and drinks cokes and is TINY and was wearing her pre-baby pants like 15 minutes after she got home.  I well - don't work like that.  If I've learned one thing it's that everyone is different, pregnancies take a different tole on our bodies and thank you for pointing out that you think you're awesome.  I've got a gold star for you!

* You're done now aren't you????? (with a shocked and persistent tone) - ummm does it matter to you who I will never see again?  I am having 3 - when I'm on the TODAY show announcing that I'm having my 87th kid then you can speak to me about this. (and I love the Duggars by the way!)

* Is this your first?  Followed by the look like I'm standing on the street corner in my fishnets when I mention's my 3rd.  - I mean for real.  Again with none of your business.  I had my 1st a year and a half AFTER I was married to my husband, who coincidentally I happen to STILL be married to and who is the baby daddy to ALL of the kids.  So what's with the judging judgy judgerton?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Is the Easter bunny real???

"Mrs. Amberly is the Easter bunny real or is it just your parents?"  This is the question that one of my 1st grade friends asked me this week - in front of 25 other curious friends -.  I hesitated and asked what he thought?  Then I reminded him that if he didn't believe in all those things they wouldn't come and visit.  (Basically I panicked and didn't want to dash the hopes and dreams of an entire class of 1st graders with my answer).

This lead to my thinking....should I or shouldn't I do "Easter bunny" with my own kids?  For me I do remember believing in Santa though it wasn't ever something that was "devastating" when I realized who Santa really was.  My mom may disagree but I don't remember ever really believing in the Easter bunny.  As far back as I can remember I thought my mom and dad made me a special basket of treats that we got on Easter morning.  Matt on the other hand - hard core believed in everything...Santa, Eater Bunny, and tooth fairy.

I am not so die hard that I think that my children believing in Santa scars them for life and completely takes away the entire meaning of Christmas being Christ focused.  I think it can be a fun holiday where we focus on Jesus and also anxiously wait for Santa.  We don't make a giant deal out of Santa and I'll never lie to them if they ask me about it.

However....the Easter Bunny is a completely different story.  The Easter Bunny just doesn't seem like that big of a deal to me.  Sarah Kate randomly mentions seeing him at the mall etc. but we've never acted like he sneaks into our house at night for good little boys and girls and leaves them a basket.  So the question should I handle it?

For Matt and I we've said that we're not going to just talk it up saying "that's not real Skater" but we aren't going to tell her he comes to our house.  She can recognize him as a figure that we say hello to and take a picture sometimes with but when Easter baskets come out on Sunday morning we are going to just not really address it and not tell her it's the Easter bunny.  If she asks - Mommy and Daddy got everyone a basket of treats and we're going to church.  I do appreciate our Christian preschool in this matter as well.  They've had an Easter egg hunt and fun activities but SK came home this week and exclaimed "Jesus is ALIVE."