Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Wanna see my new house?

Hot damn, am I blogging?  Is this really happening?  Well, butter my buns and call me a biscuit! *I'm moving down South, I have to practice my Southern sayings.*

All you moms that have kids that are good sleepers; stop what you're doing and thank whoever it is you thank because having one kid that doesn't sleep is no fun.  Two that don't sleep is a downright injustice.  I've hired a sleep consultant.  Maybe one day I'll tell you about it, but not today.  Not right now because we've got some house decoratin' to talk about!

In precisely two weeks, fourteen short days, the movers will arrive to pack up our little house here in Reading and begin the trek down south to Nohrth Carolinah (It's not so easy to type with a Southern accent, doncha know.)
We'll take possession of the Beast on October 28th.

He's ditched the yellow exterior
and he's looking quite dapper.

If you're building a new house from scratch with a custom builder, it can take up to a year or more.  Our house is built by a production builder and if you start from scratch with them, it can take about six months.  We found our house when it was framed in, so it was about halfway done.  They were roughly two weeks from putting up drywall and furnishing it with their own builder basic stuff.  If we'd found it after they'd done that, we probably wouldn't have gotten the house because what's the fun of buying a new house if you can't pick out your own light fixtures?

So, we pulled the trigger and made a last minute trip down to Raleigh to pick out finishes.
Andrea's first time in first class.
She's so posh.

Drew's company covered plane tickets for the two of us for our homefinding trip but not Sofia.  We bought plane tickets two days before we traveled and in real life that would've been a billion dollars, AND we were only going to be gone for a night, so we left her with friends.  I knew she was in good hands and I got lots of text messages and pictures and she barely knew we were gone.  Still, I felt naked, like a piece of me was missing.  I'm going to be a complete mess when she goes to kindergarten and I'll probably need to be institutionalized when she goes to college.  We're not even going to talk about when the baby of the family leaves me, but I digress.  

It was a whirlwind trip.  Usually, people get three days to pick out everything for their house, from kitchen faucets to bathroom sinks.  We got three hours.

Thankfully, I have a black belt in Pinterest and I read design blogs every spare second I have, so three hours was enough for me.

We started in the kitchen, because that's the most important room to both of us and it would be the easiest.  First off, I knew I wanted a white kitchen.  I loved our white kitchen in Dallas, and if our painter (and Drew) hadn't vetoed me, I would've painted our kitchen in this house.
Hi there, Dallas kitchen!

I have a better picture of our Reading kitchen somewhere 
but I can either keep typing or keep looking for it.
I'll keep typing.
You get the point; the Reading kitchen was good to us too.

Then there's the Beast.
Aren't you so impressed?!

I'm just kidding.  They'd already ordered and picked the cabinets when we found the house, so I couldn't do anything about that, but thankfully they were white and I was able to pick out everything else.
This is where we're going with the kitchen.

The gray glass subway tile was a no-brainer and I picked that out immediately.  I also knew I wanted to mix the countertops and I have a pretty serious love affair with soapstone.  That's on the right and that's what'll the island will be made from.  The quartz under the subway tile will be the other countertops and of course, white cabinets.

I am incredibly nervous and I'm crossing everything I have that it will turn out pretty because it's super hard to envision an entire kitchen with small samples but that's what we had to do.

I picked the cups instead of handles for the drawers and the cabinets will have knobs.
These I'm not so nervous about because
I LOVE cups.
First the cabinets went in.
Sorry for the picture quality but this is all I have 
of this stage.
Then they installed my CUPS.
My beautiful soapstone island is underneath that paper
and I can't wait to see it.

But wait, you need to see what's in that doorway, just beyond the kitchen.

That, my friends, is the sexiest walk-in pantry you have ever laid your eyes on.  Do you have ANY IDEA how excited I am about this pantry?  No, you do not.  Any idea you may have you'd have to multiply it by 15,682 to even approach how excited I am about this pantry.  This pantry means I get to do things like this:
Oh good Lord the organization.
The containers.
I can't breathe.

I could stare at organized pantries for hours.
I love organized pantries and I'm about to get one!
I may need to take a moment.

The island will have a beautiful white farmhouse sink with a gorgeous faucet that I'm quite certain is the prettiest faucet I've ever laid eyes on, and I almost didn't get it.  You see, while I was picking things out for the house, Drew was in another room on a conference call and I found it's dangerous to let me loose in a design center.  There are just too many pretty things just laying around, begging me to put them in our house and there are no price tags anywhere!

So when I chose my faucet and then Drew came in and was all How much is this, how much is that, he nearly stroked out when he heard the price of the faucet.  But it's in the island!  It'll be seen!  You can't just have any old faucet in the island, it has to be pretty, like jewelry!  He grumbled and moaned, but I got my faucet.  And of course I suck because I don't have a picture of it.  But I promise to have pictures of everything once it's all done.

I DO have pictures of the lights though.  The builder standard was to put three small lights over the island and I knew I wanted two big ones, so I quickly leafed through their catalog and found the ones I liked.
Bottom row, second one from the left.
They're awesome and I love them and I can't wait 
to see them in real life.
So can you tell me what the HELL is wrong with this picture?!

The Jesus fish lights are the builder standard and it took me 2.5 seconds to shut it down.  I wanted BIG lights over my island.  Big, SHINY lights.  I did NOT want three tiny Jesus fish lights.

So WHY. In the HELL. Did they put the wrong lights in my new house?  Our realtor down in Raleigh took these pictures and emailed them to both of us, but Drew saw them first.  He was standing in the living room looking at his phone and he said "Oh shit."  I was like "What?"  "Oh. SHIT."  "WHAT?" *nothing*  "What are you oh shitting about?"  "They put in the wrong lights." "WHAT?!?!?!?!!!!!"

I was livid.  It was nine o'clock at night.  I wanted to get on the phone and bitch everybody out.  Three lights where there are supposed to be two is a big deal.  They're going to have to cut two more holes, patch the original three, the ceiling will look like shit and I was PISSED.  I was ranting and raving and cursing and Drew was like "Calm the F down!"  "I will NOT calm down!  This is huge!  This is terrible! The ceiling is going to look terrible!  What the Fuck! How did they miss this! We have a list of everything that's supposed to go in the house! Did they not READ the LIST?  Did they think they could just put in any old lights!  Call somebody!!"

You guys, thank God for my husband.  If it were me, I seriously would've woken somebody up screaming all kinds of obscenities.  I would've insulted everyone and their dogs.  I'd be in my car, driving to Raleigh that second.  Thankfully, my husband's cooler head prevailed and he sent a pointed yet professional and polite email pointing out the huge error.  I read it and I was like "You're too nice!  Move over, I'M writing the email.  They need to KNOW they screwed up my lights!!"  Thankfully, he did not move over, I did not send the email and the builder is fixing everything before we close.  I'm breathing into the metaphorical paper bag that the ceiling won't look like swiss cheese when it's all said and done.

Moving on to happier things...

This is the beautiful, awesome and BIG vanity in the master bath.  You guys! No more board over the sink!  That low counter is where I get to sit and put makeup on!  I'll get to have a dedicated spot for all my pretties!  I'll have drawers and cabinets for all my things! Drew and I can get ready at the same time and it's going to be amazing!

Again, I'm nervous about my choices
but the samples sure were pretty.
This is my inspiration picture for the master shower.
Cross your fingers for me that it ends up looking good.
Is this not the biggest most awesome master bath EVER?!
Our current master bath is the size of that shower.
And hell yeah that's a walk in closet!
With a window in it!
I'm actually more excited to bathe the girls in that giant tub than I am
to soak in it.  I've never really been a bath person...
This is going to be such an incredible improvement over our current bath
situation; there is barely any space for me to properly reach them without banging 
my knee on the toilet so the new bathroom is going to feel like heaven!
Obviously, Sofia is behind the star and you can't see anything, 
but you can't be too careful when you're
putting baby bath pictures on the web...

As for the floors, we went with an engineered hardwood with a handscraped finish.  Apparently, with engineered wood, if it gets damaged, you can just pop out the damaged plank?  I don't know a lot about it, but dogs and real hardwoods don't mix so well.  Plus I'm hoping that with the distressing, the inevitable scratches and scrapes from Maya's claws will be less noticeable.  Again, I'm nervous and I'm crossing my fingers.

Because that's the hardest part about picking stuff out for a house.  Small samples sometimes don't translate to large spaces but you don't know until it's in place and then there's not a lot you can do about it.  I'm hoping that by going with a mostly neutral palette that it won't be too hard to mess up and things will go together.  Additionally, a neutral background will allow me to bring in color with accessories, which are much easier to change and much less costly than stuff like repainting your whole house.

Speaking of paint, I had three choices when it came to wall color.  That's the other thing about new construction - everything is an upgrade.  You want running water?  Upgrade.  Indoor toilets? Upgrade.  Every upgrade you make drives up the cost of the house so you can mess around and start with an affordable house and end up with a giant nasty mortgage because of your fancy kitchen faucet.  I mean...

So, I could have chosen a different paint color but that would have been another upgrade and paint isn't a big deal.  We can do that ourselves later if we so choose.  Thankfully, there was one good one in my three choices and Repose Gray is a nice neutral that won't shout at you from all corners of the house.  Also, I'm kind of digging what this blogger has going on in her house.  I'd cut down the number of patterns in one space, but something about her living room speaks to me.
Plus, we're dog twins so that's something, right?

How sweet is this bedroom?
Incidentally, tissue paper poms are super hard to make.
I tried to make some for the first time for Andrea's baptism
and I never got past the first one.

So that's where we are with the new house!  Obviously, there's a ton more to talk about:  I haven't gotten into the plans for the living room, or where the kids' playroom will be, and I'm going to get a crafting and sewing space and I'm beyond thrilled about that!  I have a Pinterest board for the new house, so if you'd like to take a peek I'd sure be obliged.  *I'm practicing my Southern speech.  Don't want to stick out down there, you know.*

There's still a ton to do to get ready to move out and the time is ticking away.  There are holes to patch, walls to paint, clothes to pack, calls to make but I'm getting so excited for this new chapter.  Already, Sofia is asking "Are we going to move to North Carolina TODAY?"  I'm so glad she's excited too, but I won't lie, I'm wary of her reaction when it sinks in that her buddies aren't coming with her.
These have been her homies for the last two years and
it won't be easy to get on without them.

That's the story my friends!  Thanks for hanging in there with me and hopefully this sleep consultant will work some magic and I can get my nights back and start writing more!  Have an awesome day and I hope to be back soon!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Movin' on up

Listen!  Do you hear it?  It's the angels; they're singing!
Have you ever seen such a beautiful thing?

That, my friends, is a fully executed contract for the sale of our house!  That's right, you heard me, we're under contract!

But let's talk pros and cons...

I spent several nights of laying in bed staring at the ceiling going What have we done?  This was the stupidest thing we could have done, this is going to bite us in the ass so hard, why did we do this, holy shit I'm scared, can we back out?  How much money will we lose if we walk away now?

You see, we took a HEE-YOOGE risk and bought a house in Raleigh before we sold our house in Reading.  Last time, it took us ten months to sell the house in Texas and we were apart for nearly that entire time, with Drew going back and forth from Dallas to Reading.  It was terrible and I didn't want a repeat of that.  However, I also didn't want the nightmare of a double mortgage with a vacant house in another state.  I had nightmares of the pipes freezing and bursting and no one knowing about it until it was too late, I was worried about vandals and squatters destroying our house because isn't that a thing?  Leave your house vacant and the squatters will come?  Anyway, I was sure that would happen to us and I was terrified.  I had wanted to wait to look for a house until we actually sold but Drew was not on board with that idea.  

We went down to Raleigh once, supposedly to get to know the city and don't you know we found a house.  I knew that was going to happen and that was the main reason why I didn't want to even go down there.  Now we were in the position of having to decide between getting it right then or being okay with losing it if we waited.  Drew was not okay with losing it and neither of us was really okay with being apart for a long time if the house in Reading didn't sell.  There were so many late night conversations, so much back and forth and in the end we pulled the trigger and commenced to biting our nails and second guessing ourselves.

The whole double mortgage thing aside, I wasn't sure even I even wanted this new house.  For one thing, I like old houses.  Our first house was built in the 20s, with all kinds of charm and character.
Hi there, Old House.
We sure do miss you.

You were good to us, Second House.
You've served us well.

And then there's this guy.
The Beast.
The Behemoth.
The House on the Hill.

This house is roughly three times the size of our current house; it's kind of obscene and I won't lie, I had misgivings about it.  I felt like it was too big, that we were biting off more than we could chew, that we don't need a house that big, I'm not a suburb type person, I want a yard with giant mature trees, subdivisions are so cold and soulless, I'm better suited to quirky small older homes, new houses have no charm, they have no story, I want a house with a story and character and past and what the hell am I going to do with all that space?

Then Drew started talking.  For all my romanticizing of old homes, they're not without their issues.  Old homes have teeny bathrooms and teeny closets.  In both of our houses, the 'master' bathroom was barely big enough for a toilet, tiny sink and shower stall.  Both of us couldn't be in the bathroom at the same time without somebody hitting some body part on something hard and cursing about it.  Forget having two small kids and a giant dog in there at once, except I can't forget it because that's how I go to the bathroom every day of my life.  Why everyone has to watch me pee is beyond me, but that's how it is.

Old homes are also rarely energy efficient.  Even though our house has all new windows, you could tell in the winter where seals weren't especially tight and our utility bill reflected that.  We also have creaky floors which are a nuisance when I'm walking the halls trying to get Andrea to sleep without waking everyone else.

Old houses almost always need fixing up.  I actually love that about old houses; I love the refinishing and the painting and uncovering something cool, but again that's me romanticizing things.  The reality of fixing up a house is chaos.
The reality is having your entire kitchen on your dining room table
for weeks on end.

Additionally, unless you're independently wealthy, which we aren't, and have loads of cash laying around, which we don't, the reality is you're fixing up your house with your own two hands on nights and weekends a little bit at a time for a very very VERY long time.  That was the nail in the old house coffin.  Drew looked at me and said "I don't want to spend my free time fixing up a house.  I want to spend my free time with my kids."

Ugh.  Way to play the kid card dude.  What the hell can I say to that?

Because that's the reality.  Drew has a very demanding full-time job that is NOT bringing my design ideas to life (as much as I wish it were.)  He just got another promotion and I'm insanely proud of him, but that means he'll be even busier at work, with even less time for us, much less having any time to hammer and nail stuff.

And I have my hands more than full with both my kids, so as much as I want to pick up the nail gun and nail some boards to walls, the reality is I just don't have that kind of time anymore.  Case in point, I'm blogging at one in the morning because that's the only time I get to myself anymore.

Now, at the risk of sounding like someone you want to punch in the face, living in an ugly house was not an option either.  I love old houses but I love pretty old houses, not the ones with peeling paint and rickety porches and bats and cobwebs. Our house in Texas was gorgeous and perfect and our house in Reading was freshly redone, so even though they were older, they were not falling down fixer-uppers.  

Therefore, all signs pointed to new construction, so begrudgingly, kicking rocks, I decided to give the Beast a chance.  I know, punch me in the face for not being falling down grateful for a brand new house.

Just don't punch me too hard, because I'm there now.  I'm incredibly thankful that we are fortunate enough to have choices.  I know just how blessed we are that we won't have to carry a double mortgage and picking out the finishes for the house *was* pretty cool.

In fact, I'll be right back with all the insanely fun stuff that is designing our new house.  But I'll leave you with this breakdancing bear, because



Monday, September 8, 2014

I know what you did this summer

...Is what you'll be able to say when you finish this post!  Oh yeah, it's me, I'm back, corny jokes and all.  But seriously, I think fall is upon us.  School has started for almost everybody and up here, that means the turning leaves and cooler temperatures are just around the corner.  Of course, this fall is going to be different in that we're getting out of here and heading south before it gets nasty cold (thank the baby Jesus) so why not take a moment to look back on this past summer?  

Without further ado, "What I did this summer" in pictures, by Desiree.

While technically not summer, this was the start of warmer weather and we celebrated by having a homemade Easter egg hunt at the playground in my girlfriend's subdivision.  The dads went down and hid the eggs and we had so much fun.  Last Easter it was too cold to do anything outside, so this was a real treat.

Checking out her haul with Daddy.

We took the kids to Sesame Place, and you talk about a production!
This is how it is everywhere we go.
Sofia absolutely loved it and didn't stop talking about it for days.

Aimee held the baby and I even got to ride a couple of rides with Sofia!

There was a trip to the Philly Zoo.
The big kids were obviously thrilled about having to indulge
their mothers and take a picture.

We spent some time at the Please Touch museum.

She was all about the carousel and just couldn't understand why we couldn't spend the entire day just riding around and around.

We went out to the Trexlertown Zoo as well.
Of course, Sofia didn't want to feed the cows and insisted 
that I do it.  Letting a cow lick my hand for my daughter?  That's love, people.

One of the coolest parts about the zoo is that there's an ankle deep river (creek?) right next to the zoo and the kids had a blast throwing rocks and splashing around.

I put on my water sling and the baby and I got in there too!

Actually, that was a really awesome day.  
Probably one of my favorites this summer.

We also went to Kansas for a week for my high school reunion
and to get some Grandma time.  She was over the moon to see them.

Andrea is named for my cousin and
it was high time the two of them met.

 Snuggles from Tia.

Then there was the one time this summer that I got dressed up, 
put on heels and partied out for my 20-year high school reunion.

It was so much fun and there was much dancing and drinking
and for one night I wasn't a nearly 40 year old mother of two.
I need more nights like that.  I mean, I don't need the drinking (I won't lie, it was fun though) but I sure did like getting out and having fun just for me, you know?

The next day, it was back to being a mom
and back to the farm.
I went with a friend from high school and we took our kids
to the Deanna Rose farm where Sofia got to feed
baby goats.  It was quite possibly the cutest thing I'd ever seen.

We also took a trip to Raleigh to look for a house,
which I NEED to blog about.
and it was so cool.
They had this walking path with all these dinosaurs and I called
myself trying to get on the dinosaur for a picture.
It didn't work.

Then we found a house and I got to pick out all the stuff that's going in it.
This is going to be my kitchen and I seriously hope it ends up looking good.

It was a super last minute trip and Drew's company would only pay for 
plant tickets for Drew and me so for the second time ever, we left Sofia with
friends for two nights.  It was so hard but I knew she was in good hands
and picking out house stuff went so much more smoothly without a busy little 
girl running around touching everything.

It was such a great summer; we hung out at the pool, we had lots of playdates at our friend's houses, we ate lots of ice cream, we caught fireflies, we stayed up late, we slept in, we watched movies and ate popcorn, went to birthday parties and tons of other stuff in between.  

That's what we did this summer!  Now, we're gearing up for our next adventure in our move down to Raleigh.  The movers have been tentatively scheduled and we have a closing date on the new house.  Now all we have to do is go under contract on the house here and things will be perfect.  I'm still crossing my fingers on that one.  Cross your fingers with me, my friends!



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