Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Stripe Saga Cont.

Maybe it's not so much of a saga...but I'm going to go with that...

So.  When last we chatted about the stripes, I was at a standstill with a very Suessical looking Frogtaped bathroom. 
Jack liked the look, but he is pretty much the only one.  Oh, and as a little aside - that green chair that keeps making an appearance?  That is the time-out chair.  That corner is a prime location that I can see from anywhere :(

I didn't want to spend anymore money on different paint, so I went ahead and tried to mix my own.  I took a little bit of the grey paint from the living room and poured it into my white paint, gave it a good shake and started rollin'. 
Forgive me for taking these at night, they all have that weird yellowy cast.  Bleh.  Anyway - I rolled and rolled and then finally took off the tape and was SO happy with the color. 

It's stripey, no doubt about it, but it isn't too crazy.  It still has a soft look.  I also really love that way it gives so much attention to the boys silhouettes.
It is definitely a far cry from where we started!  Shall we do a little before and after?  Just for kicks?  Okay lets! 

Before - different color paints on the wall, toilet clogged (with a toothbrush!), stinky rusted toilet seat -

After -
There are still some little things that we need to do, things like add a toilet paper holder, get a little rug, but they are minor things when you think back to the very beginning. 

That said.  If I don't see green painter's tape for a while, that will be okay!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Things You Do

I want to be better about recording what my little guys are up to right now, the new things they master, the cute things they say.
Jack: Dude.  You are silly.  You absolutely love to make people laugh, and you have even mastered a British accent when you say 'hello'.  I chalk this up to your love of the Summer Olympics.  You also do a really cute 'silly laugh' where you tuck your chin down, squint your eyes, and chuckle with your shoulders like a little old man. And oh man, I can't forget to mention how much you LOVE to play hide and seek right now.  You like to be the seeker though, not the hider. 
Luke:  Well my man.  You are about two weeks away from your first birthday.  This time last year you were uncomfortably performing acrobatic routines on my bladder, and we just couldn't wait to meet you.  Now that we know you, we know that you are even better than we could have imagined. 

Jack:  You do this adorable thing where you ask "are you thinking what I am thinking?" and you put your little hand on your cheek and tap your fingers.  You usually follow up with some deep question like " we eat carrots or rocks?" and then laugh at your own little joke. 
Luke: You have taken two steps in a row several times, and you have mastered standing unassisted.  I think that if you wanted to, you could walk, but at this point crawling is faster for you.  My mom (your Mimi) thinks you will be walking by your first birthday!  Once again...this is what your invitation looks like! Walking or not, your party will be a fiesta to remember!

Jack:  You have started waking up in the middle of the night and getting out of bed.  One time this resulted in Mommy finding you eating a container of brownies on the couch! After that we started gating the stairs at night and now you usually come into our bedroom and sleep on the floor without waking us up.  Even though I know you are fine, it kind of breaks my heard to wake up and see you sleeping on a throw pillow on the floor, you look so tiny!
Luke: You don't sleep for crap, man.  'Nuff said.  Oh, and while I am at it, I may as well mention that you still scream your head off in the car.  It's so sad, and I have no idea what to do for you. 

Jack: We have started going to toddler time at the Library, and you absolutely LOVE it.  You don't sing along yet, but you do a really cute shy smile when all the other kids sing.  I am hoping to be better about getting you around some other kids your age, since we haven't really made any kid-friends since moving.
Luke:  You can now say 'dada' 'mama' 'this (dis)' 'ball' 'dog' and you use 'baba' for a lot of things, including your brother.  You are a chatterbox though, even if you are the only one you happens to know what you are chatting about.  

You guys seem to change by the day sometimes, and the best part of it is seeing you grow closer as brothers.  Jack, you often try to 'help' Luke walk, which usually results in him falling down, but he laughs the whole time just because you are there.  

As much as I want to savor these little years, I can't wait to see the men you both grow guys are something special!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Half-bath in Progress

Ohhhh Kaaaay.  So.

I really really really wanted to hop on here today and be all like 'hey you guys! Check out all the amazing progress I made on our half-bath this weekend!!!' but no.  I had this amazing plan, I really did, didn't work. 

Here is the deal. I wanted to do a big ol' reveal and shock you all, but this is a real life blog...and sometimes that just doesn't happen. is a peek into how the half bath is not progressing...

 Ever since I saw the reading room over at the Lettered Cottage, I knew that at some point I wanted to try doing stripes in a room.  I had thought that I would do them in one of the boys rooms, but since their ceilings are so low, I don't think it will work.  I then decided that our half bath would be a perfect place to do some stripes.  I measured and remeasured, gathered up all of my supplies, and started working. 

About an hour later (and some choice words for the tape), I had created Willy Wonka's bathroom...

...I then put on a first coat of my bright white paint for a subtle stripe, and there was my problem. 

My striped were SO subtle, that they aren't even there! How...neat. I wish I could say I totally rallied at that point and figured it out, but no.  I packed everything up, poured myself a big ol' glass of wine, and pouted on the sofa for the rest of the night.

How mature am I? 

Thanks to my sweet pep-talkin' hubs, I do finally have a plan, I am going to go back for another attack tonight, but I thought maybe you guys should see that sometimes(usually) my plans don't go off seamlessly.  Luke's birthday party is in two weeks, and I would like to have this mostly finished by then...wish me luck!

Have you ever had a project just NOT go the way you were hoping?

P.S. Jack told me he likes the green stripes and wants it to stay that way!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Acorn Hunt

Alternate title: Free Fall Decor - With Kids!

Jack has been really into pirates lately (did you know yesterday was National Talk like a Pirate Day?).  It's either that we are following a map to Pirate Island, or that we are on a treasure hunt, or we point at each other with sticks and say 'argh!'.  He also says 'yo ho ho' which is kind of hilarious. 

On Sunday we told him that we were going to go on a real treasure hunt for acorns at the park, and he was SO excited. 
 I had noticed previously that our park is just covered in acorns, so we packed up the boys, grabbed a basket, and headed out on our treasure hunt. 
Jack took this very seriously.  He threw out almost every single acorn that I picked...apparently they were too dirty.  He also refused to let that little basket out of his grip, it was pretty precious to see how much this meant to him. 

Jack and I did most of the acorn hunting, since Luke is still more of an acorn eater at this point.  But not to worry, Matt and Luke were off having a good old time on their own...

Luke was very intrigued by a pretty red leaf that had fallen, yes that's right, our leaves are already changing and falling.  Crazy. 

Once we got home, we popped our acorns in the freezer for a while.  Why? Oh.  Well.  Let me tell you.  Last time I did this (decorated with acorns) I did NOT know to put them in the freezer, and a few days after we brought them home my kitchen counter was COVERED in tiny little grubs that had crawled out the acorns.  It was just so so so gross.  So gross.  I just...ugh.  Always freeze your acorns to kill any little hitchhikers in there.

 We let them freeze overnight, and then Jack helped me fill up a little fishbowl with the acorns.  I put one of our favorite fall candles in there, and we have a cute little decoration AND an awesome pirate acorn treasure. 
We didn't spend a dime, and we had a fun time as a family. Win-win.

And again - if you take anything from this post - FREEZE YOUR ACORNS.  I still feel a little gaggy thinking about those grubs. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Half-Bath...

...from Hell. 

Okay, maybe that is a little bit on the dramatic side, but this little room is driving me bonkers. 

**This is NOT a how-to, in fact, this is more of a how-NOT-to remove a toilet seat**

We have been slowly going through the rooms one by one, and this one just kept getting put off.   At first the toilet wouldn't even flush, so we didn't use this bathroom for a long time.  Eventually, Matt took matters into his own hands and snaked the drain until he found the source of the problem.  A toothbrush that someone flushed at one point.  You know...cause that's totally normal. 

 It started off like this...
...and more or less stayed that way up until two weeks ago.  When we primed our board and batten, Matt also primed the bathroom. 

On Sunday night Matt really wanted to watch the football game, which was fine with me, but I am just not a football girl so I decided to start working in the bathroom.  I painted the walls a creamy white color, just to open the space up a bit, and I also learned the hard lesson that there really is such a thing as cheap paint. 
 (These pictures are all from my phone, something is wonky with my memory card at the moment. Sorry for the poor quality).

We bought Colorplace for this (and the upstairs hallway) because we thought that it would stretch our dollar the furthest.  Nope.  I used one full gallon on a half bath and there are still spots that aren't completely covered.  AND we primed it. 

You live you learn. 

Next up on the half bath checklist was taking care of the toilet seat.  We bought new toilet seats for both of the bathrooms when we moved in, but I had been having trouble getting the old one off down here, and I was too stubborn to ask for help.  On Sunday I finally gave in, and Matt had to lend a hand.  It still took BOTH of us about 45 minutes to get the old one off. 

It. was. disgusting.  The old metal screws were so corroded that they just would not turn at all.  We finally got one side unscrewed by me holding the plastic bolt on the bottom with pliers while Matt forced the screw up top. 

The other side was a different story.  It wasn't budging.  I wiggled the seat up and down until the old urine-rusted hinge finally snapped, and then Matt MacGyvered the old plastic bolt off of the bottom. 

How you ask? know...he melted it.
It was something...I tell ya!  Do you even want me to talk about how bad that smelled?  No? Okay, I won't.  Anyway...once the old one was off, and the ceramic had cooled enough for me to touch it, it only took about two minutes to put the new seat on.

Yay for new potty seats!

So anyway...that is our progress so far.  Nothing too dramatic yet, but it is much brighter and cleaner!  This room is right off the main living space, as you can see, and when people visit it was always a little mortifying to let them use it...but it's getting there!
And just as a little aside, even though we are renting, I am more than happy to sink $12 dollars into a new toilet seat, even though it isn't something we will be taking with us when we move.  That old one was...just...ugh.

Just out of curiousity - would you do minor upgrades like this to a rental? 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Baby Creations

I have posted before about some of the ways that we have displayed Jack's art in the past (here and here), and I thought that it was high time that our smallest family member had a chance to make his mark on the family 'artwork'. 

I set the boys up with just a few colors of paint, some 12x12 canvases, and a paintbrush.  If I am being honest, Luke was maybe a smidge too young for this. He LOVED painting, but I had to constantly be right beside him to run interference on paint-eating. 
Jack helped me find a 'perfect place' to hang their creations once they had dried, and I have to say...I am loving them!
He was SO excited to show them to Matt when he got home from work.   For reference, that is the door to the downstairs half-bath (which is the bane of my existence by the way, but more on that later). 

Here is one more for the grandmas - Jack's artwork is on the left, Luke's on the right!
It is nice to finally have some of Luke's handiwork up on our walls to go along with our Jack art.  I love filling our house with pieces of 'us'. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Party Planning

A certain someone is turning the big uno in three weeks!  His invitations arrived today (yes, I'm a little late, you aren't really surprised are you?) and I hope they bring some smiles!

Ridiculous? Yes.  But first birthday parties are kind of a big deal (to me).

Happy Friday!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sideboard Adventures

Yes, this is about the dining room again. I know, just finish a room already! But this is real life, and in real life we don't finish a house in a weekend, we just don't! So yes, back to the dining room again.  When we hung our chandelier, we scootched the table over a bit so that it was centered under the light, but oddly enough that moved it pretty far off the center of the room.  There is still plenty of space around the table, but it just felt...odd. 
 I purposefully cropped this picture in a little on that side when I originally posted it, but you can still see how, in comparison on the rest to the room, it's kind of empty.  I am not really one for furniture and knick knacks jammed in every corner of every room, but really, there was at least six feet of nothing and then a wall with nothing on it. was empty. 

My sister has this really fabulous dry sink, and I originally thought I would find an old one on Craigslist to refinish, but what do you know?! Those bad boys are pricey.  I'm talking about 500 smackers or so, which is WAY out of our budget right now. 

We hunted around a little, and finally decided to invest in a nice piece of furniture that would last for us (no particle board), but that wasn't crazy expensive.  I guess we could have saved a little bit of money if we had bought an older one and refinished or repainted, but sometimes it is worth it (to us) to spend the extra money and get a piece that will last.  We found a really great sideboard on (although I later saw it on Joss and Main as well!).

Within a week or so, we were excited to see this on our porch after naptime.  This is the picture I posted to instagram, hence the blur.
There really wasn't much to do in the way of set-up, so in no time we had our new sideboard happily installed in his new home. 
It's just the right height that the boys can't reach the things on top, and those little drawers are PERFECT for Play-doh storage. I'm pretty sure that it what they are there for, yes?
please ignore the little shadow box on the wall, he was there before the sideboard, but he has now found a new home
We mainly use it to store things like the aforementioned Play-doh, also all of our bibs and placemats have found a nice home in that little guy.
I think that my favorite view of this little guy is actually from the living room, because before all you could see was a big blue wall.

It really makes the room feel more balanced, and once I paint those chairs we think this room is just about complete! Which makes for a grand total of ONE room that is (almost) done.  Ah well, home wasn't built in a day. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


There I was, innocently taking pictures of this little guy playing trains...
 ...out of the corner of my eye I spotted a predator making a beeline for me.  Actually - it was for my camera.  He WANTS to hold that thing so bad. 
 Oh hey mom.
 He was soon joined by another member of the wolfpack.
Things went downhill from there. 
 I was fighting for my life.  Well, okay, really I was just laughing hysterically.
 That picture kills me everytime. 
 What you need to know about the above picture, is that Luke bites.
Jack spent most of the wrestling match tickling me.
It was a wild thirty seconds, I'll tell ya!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Board and Batten Accent Wall

In my last post I hinted that we would be (hopefully) adding some pizzazz to this somewhat ho-hum part of our living room.  This is the wall in question.
While I love the color we chose to paint the room, this part was sort of overwhelmingly gray to me.   We thought about maybe doing a gallery wall, like we did in our last place, but we thought that with the tv over there as well, it might just be a little too much, you know?

And then, one day, it hit me.  Board and batten.  Do it.

So we did.
There are a ton of tutorials about easy ways to install this in your house.  I read a few, and then just decided to kind of wing it.  We used a 1x4 for the top rail, and the horizontal battens are actually lattice stripping.

It was very easy to work with, and it gave it a little lighter look (to me).  Our walls are not textured, so we did not worry about using any sort of backing, we just painted the wall itself, so it isn't true wainscoting. 

We installed the boards and caulked around the seams one night after the boys went to bed...
...and then the next night we primed and painted. 
Oh, and you may have noticed we also rearranged our living room furniture.  It's kind of that whole "if you give a mouse a cookie..." thing.

We like the new layout a lot, it's cozy, although to me it really emphasizes that the big mirror is off-center.  That sucker is heavy though, so we had no choice but to hang it on a stud. 
I love the way it kind of pops out in the room, and the green entertainment center has a chance to strut it's stuff now as well! We have some more changes we would like to make eventually (we need some bookshelves up in here!), but we both feel like this really freshened up the room. 

I love a good (long) weekend project! If you have any questions about how we did it, feel free to let 'em rip in the comments!

Want to see some of the best link parties for DIYers and crafters?  Check out these links...

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