Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's a Christmas miracle

You know, that I'm actually getting to blog.  Between endless house stuff and these kids not sleeping EVER, I was beginning to feel like I was never going to get to blog again.  I hate that it's been over two months that I've been here.  Even the spammers thought I was gone for good.  I started getting tons of ridiculous spam comments on random old posts, like I'd abandoned my blog and the cockroaches tried to take over.

But I've shoo'd them away and I'm once again dusting off my poor little blog and once again hoping that it won't be this long before I post again.

And since I'm OCD I have to pick up where I left off, so bear with me for a second.  I'll just hit the high points.

When we moved to Pennsylvania, one of the first things I was excited about was how close we were to New York City.  I swore we were going to be in the City like every other week because it was so close.  It never happened.  Even though we were only two hours away, we never got around to going until it was time to move away.  It was our last weekend in our house before the movers came, and my two girlfriends and I packed up our eight children and we spent two days in the City and it was awesome!!  It was hectic with all those kids but completely and totally awesome and I'm thrilled that we got to do it. 

The one and only thing I wanted to do was go to the Museum of Natural History and take a picture with the T Rex.
The kids were completely melting down but I was totally geeked out.

It was an adventure and I'm so glad 
we got to make the trip.

We also took the kids to Frozen on Ice.  
Such a fun night!

Then the movers came and packed our house and 
we went to stay with friends for a week
before we moved away for good.

Our last night in Pennsylvania coincided with
the annual Halloween party.
This year we were residents of Pixie Hollow.
Drew was Lord Milori, I was Queen Clarion and 
Andrea was a Tink in training.

God, she's so cute.  How is it that she'll be a year old in two months?!

I couldn't get a shot of my Tinkerbell
until after we'd done our trick or treating and she was 
assessing her loot.
Even then she wouldn't put her wings or her shoes back on.
Such is life with a three year old.

Before we left for good, 
we had to get one last shot of the three musketeers.

One last shot of the moms.
I miss them so much...

Immediately after the party, we loaded the cars and with many tears and hugs we headed south.  We spent the night in Virginia, got a little sleep and finished the drive to North Carolina the next morning.
Stretching our legs and taking a selfie at the gas station.

And bing bang boom, we were driving up to our new home!

We arrived just before Halloween, so it's been what, a month and a half now?  It seems like it's been longer, as nearly all of the boxes are unpacked, but of course it's going to be a while before everything is they way I want it.  Every week I try to do one decorating thing; it'll take a while but I'm getting there, baby steps at a time. Our first night, Drew and I were laying in bed, just looking at each other.  "This doesn't feel real.  It feels like we're house-sitting for somebody else, somebody more grown-up than us."   It's so weird to call this our home, but Drew has worked so hard to provide for us and he has absolutely earned it.  The least I can do is make it pretty for our little family.

So bit by bit, I'm hanging pictures, I'm arranging stuff and it's feeling more like *our* home, and I think it's high time we had ourselves a house tour.  Of course, we'll call these the before shots....

 Here's my entryway.

I'm kidding I'm kidding!  No one wants to see pictures of bare walls!  That would be an incredibly boring house tour, so I ran around taking pictures of everything yesterday afternoon.  THIS is what my house looks like, for real.  These are the real before pictures and I'm warning you, the house is a wreck.  
Let's play "What Needs to Change!"

The wine rack is what you see right when you come in, just so you know what kind of people we are.  My mom came to help out right after we moved in, so while she watched the kids, I was able to unpack boxes and even get some decorating done.  I spray painted the wine rack and it's a vast improvement over the reddish wood that it was before.  The marble top is still cracked and at some point we'll probably replace it, but it's good for now.

This is the drop spot for all our junk and I desperately need to get a handle on it.  I need a spot for keys, the dog's leash and Drew's headphones, and I need to find new homes for all the other stuff on there.

The entryway is nice and big with a wide hallway, but
I need to do something with that left wall.
The dining room is to the left and I want to replace that bench.
I keep meaning to pull the two dining chairs at the end of the table to either
side of the buffet but I just haven't gotten around to it.
I don't like that you can't see the buffet all that well but I'll figure something out.

I had the movers put it like this at first but Drew 
thought it looked better the other way.
I'm going to go for something like this in the dining room.
One of these days.

The butler's pantry is through the dining room
on the way to the kitchen.
We had them take out the upper cabinet and tile the whole wall.
Eventually, we'll put in a couple of floating shelves.
For now, it's the drink station.
The main pantry is across from the butler's pantry and 
It. Is. Everything.
My mom organized it and sometimes I go in 
there to just stare at everything in its place and I feel calm.
I love my pantry.

There's my big ol' messy kitchen.
I love it so much.

They finally changed out the Jesus fish lights to the ones I originally chose, but the third pendant is on backorder somewhere and I'll probably get it when Andrea is in kindergarten.  These lights have been the bane of my existence.  However, the rest of the kitchen is beyond lovely and I love everything about it.  I love the glass subway tile, I LOVE my soapstone island, I love the countertops, I love my white cabinets and I LOVE all the space.  It's a pretty awesome kitchen if I do say so myself.  One day, I'm going to get three barstools for the island, but for now this is how we're living.

The breakfast nook needs window treatments like woah.
Our back porch is screened in and I had high hopes for having a cute outdoor living 
situation, but it gets drenched when it rains so 
I don't know what's going to end up happening out there.

Check out our awesome Christmas tree.
Sofia kept taking the ornaments she could reach and throwing them
all over the house so I had to toddler-proof our tree.

We have an open floor plan so I can see the family room from the kitchen, which I love.  There was a wall in the old house and I hated not being able to see the kids while I made dinner so this set up is a million times better.  Eventually, we'll hang the TV over the fireplace and put bookshelves where the TV is now.  You know, one of these days.

The guest bedroom and bath and the mudroom are also down here but I forgot to get pictures.  They're pretty basic and the guest bedroom is so bare; there's just a dresser and bed in there, our poor guests.

The stairs to the second floor are in the family room, I was picky about that.  I'm not a fan of seeing stairs right when you walk in a house, so instead of the staircase coming straight down and spilling out into the entryway, they turn and go into the family room.
Standing on the stairs.
And Sofia has a star over her because she's naked.
She's always naked.
I'd like to get a sectional, and when the tree is down, 
we'll move the chair over to that corner and 
obviously we need window treatments here too.

The playroom is at the top of the stairs, and that room
is nowhere near where I want it to be, but the toys are somewhat corralled.
Eventually, this TV cabinet will go up to the third floor and we'll
hang the TV on the wall so we can have more space.
I need to organize so much in this room.
But at least I organized the crayons!
Previously, they were jumbled up and hidden in a drawer
and they never got used.
This way, they're accessible and getting played with.
I have no idea why I didn't open the shade in Andrea's room
to take pictures.  Again, please consider these the before shots.

Craigslist here is awesome.  North Carolina is known for their good furniture and Craigslist does not disappoint.  I scored her dresser soon after we moved in and I love it.  It's a little beaten up but it's going to be even more gorgeous with a new coat of paint.  I'm staying with the pink and gold theme in here and I plan to sew a cover for the floor pouf.  Eventually.

My neighbor's husband hung the shelf for me and I plan to put a frame collage
under the shelf or maybe drape one of those rag buntings.
I like them?  I think?
I'm not sure.

Sofia's room is somewhat set up, but of course
there's a ton I want to do with it.
Her last bedroom was navy and raspberry and I'm
staying with the blue and pink theme,
but this time it's peacock and bubble gum.
I took my inspiration from her storage boxes.

I'm absolutely in love with her storage boxes and I snatched them up when they went on sale.  Drew built Sofia's dress-up caddy over a year ago and I finally got around to painting it when my mom was in town.  Honestly, I'm happiest when I'm painting something and time to paint is the best gift anyone can give me.  That, and some new boots.  I want some new boots.

Anyway, Sofia's room!  Yeah, it needs help.
I found some peacock sheets at Target and her lamp still works in the room, 
but those poor walls!  They need art, stat!

Sofia has a big walk-in closet and she has a Craigslist dresser in there, so the dresser in her room is more of a catch-all for toys.  Her room is a great size and I like the furniture placement, but I just need to tweak some things.

And then there's the master bedroom, or 'owner's retreat.'
I guess master bedroom isn't PC anymore?  
I had no idea.

Maya's in here with us too, because it felt cruel to make her sleep downstairs by herself.  I kind of don't even like the kids to be sleeping in their own rooms, but they seem to end up in our bed at some point during the night anyway.  

Oh look!  More windows that need curtains!
Once I get things truly decorated, I'll take pretty pictures.
Right now, I'm just happy to be blogging.
Obviously, this is from move in day.
But this bathroom is so fantastic.
I love it so very very much.
I mean, I *would* like to do something with those builder mirrors,
the counters already look cluttered and it needs more decor,
but it's still so so SO much better than the 
"master bath" we had in Reading.
SO much better.
The girls love the big tub and 
maybe one day I'll get to take a bubble bath in there
with a glass of wine and a book.
A girl can dream...

There's a third floor too, but I didn't get any pictures of that because it's just a big room with another trio of windows.  One of these days, it'll be workspace for Drew and me, where I can sew and do my crafty stuff and he can do work stuff.  One of these days.  We have a long way to go to making this house our home, but if you gauge lived-in by how big your mess is, then we are most definitely home.

Whew!  That was a monster of a post, but now my OCD is at peace and now I feel all caught up.  I sure hope it's not another two months before I can come back.  I miss writing and I miss checking in with you.  I hope you're all well, and just in case I don't get back here before Christmas, have a very merry Christmas!  I hope all your wishes come true!


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!



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