Tag Archive | remodel

Project progress

We too the big step and actually talked to a professional about making our kitchen less of a trap.  It is a real trap, like you get stuck, because there are some serious choke points at important places.  When it was just Lars and I not caring about cooking it was fine, then we added a kid, then 3 and Lars got the memo I was not going to cook gourmet so now he cooks (very well!) shedding a light on our only vaguely adequate kitchen.  Bottom line, our kitchen is not big enough for our growing family and we need to make it bigger.


Our builder comes highly recommended and is very cool with us using our own subcontractors for things like flooring and he likes all of our ideas.  Major credit to a friend from NJ who sketched on a napkin in 3 seconds the perfect plan… Must be something to the fact she is a professional designer and has been for 12ish years (anyone need a designer?  She really is great at her job). I added to the plan thoughts I’ve been maturing for years and today we found out some firm yeses and firm nos to things and that is so nice to quit wondering and guessing!  The ball is rolling but I won’t get excited until I see some numbers on paper.  The best news all meeting was that he said we would only be without a sink for maybe a week!!! So much better then I was thinking 🙂


On top of it all he was nice~


so Zoe came down and wanted to help so I let her pick a picture for the post and she me in 1988… That is what I get for letting her pick




So far yesterday was a bit of a fail since I was under the weather but today has gone well!

I’m building a planter box to plant all the mosquito repelling plants possible; Marigolds, catnip, mint, citronella, and Rosemary (and Lavender).  I think Mr Pink will like the catnip, lets hope that means he won’t use it as a litter box….  The planter is going directly next to the swings in the mosquito haven in the back of the yard but I’ll also make a few containers for on the deck too.


Incredibly easy to construct.  I took 8ft landscape timbers and measured it by the swings for size – ended up with 5ft length leaving me with 3ft leftover but I trimmed it down to 2ft for a better size, and, it gave me a few handy shims/feet to use on the slope where needed.

Home Depot has the timbers on sale for 1.93 each and for 1 box I used 4 timbers and 10 fasteners.  The fasteners are wicked looking!  If I ever need to nail someone to a cross these are the things….  They go into the timbers very nicely and now we have a sturdy box ready for dirt and flowers.  (I don’t buy flowers before the container is actually constructed because sometimes life happens and plants die waiting.)

I used two levels and lincoln-logged it with one level being 5f and 2f and the next level was 79in and 15in.  I lined it with some leftover painters plastic and I plan on getting dirt asap since it only took 1/2 an hour to construct and that included considerable ‘help’ from the girls. (who kept running off with my tape measure and marker)


these were white already

We are also repainting our old patio furniture white, because it will look awesome with our deck.


– Lars is the spray paint master.

I had the kids out at 8:30 cleaning the cushions and I had good help until about 8:45 but better then nothing.  They played nicely and I got my arm workout scrubbing off last summer and all winter and they look reasonable now.

good effort Fiona… please note her ‘scrubber’ is a flip flop


Not exactly yacht club season opening or a grand BBQ but with every thing I did today from my flagrant overuse of water to my ability to run to the store and pickup whatever my heart desired to the ability to pull out my chop saw and construct; I thought about all the people who went before me to earn these rights.  This year again I count my blessings that I know nobody personally that has died in a military operation and my soldier relatives are either still kicking or died very old men.  Hope I can say the same next year~

Happy Memorial Day weekend all my American Friends and to everyone else have a great weekend too

Friday followups

I am wracking my brain because I had a really good idea for a post and then I forgot it.  I have a touch of the flu, or something, but I’m beating it back with exercise and optimism because sleep is not really going to happen.

Since it has been a while since I updated this and that I suppose today is a good day for it.

Since it is P week (mentioned yesterday and the day before) you can tell that I’m still on the bandwagon of trying to infuse some learning into my children’s days with me.  P week is so much easier then other letters because they already like pizza and pancakes and pink that they are actually being helpful coming up with stuff this week.  I’m not really drilling them on writing, Niamh is already ok and Zoe is really nowhere near writing yet so we mostly talk sounds and things etc.  All in all it is a vague framework for the week but it is fun.

following the P prompt, a Parenting update;  things are moving right along with stay at home mom land.  I’m getting a bit of the “I need some time ALONE” but I actually don’t usually like time by myself so it isn’t all that often.  Lars and I are getting a bit more balanced about the not work times since there is a natural tendency for him to just let me keep doing what I’m doing I can end up parenting solo all weekend.  He still is wary of taking all 3 anywhere alone but Fiona is really getting much easier.

Potty – Zoe and her overnight potty training was pretty awesome but I have not followed up with the fact that she has attention getting accidents.  I was expecting accidents when she is absorbed in a project but nope, she is the opposite, when she is bored and wants my attention she will have an accident.  This is usually at home so thats good but it is still not all that wonderful.  She has had zero accidents at school or out but some days she will have 2 at home mere feet from the bathroom.  I think I contributed to it because the first few times I gave her a bath and she really loves baths – now I’m the mean mommy who will only wipe her off with a washcloth but I think the message is sinking in.  I obviously am not trying to punish her for a real accident and there are some of those too but I need her to get it that the potty is the way to go 100% of the time.  Niamh is still in pullups… Fiona is 100% diapers.

Speaking of diapers – ages ago I mentioned we were going to cloth and I did try it then for a bit but it didn’t stick the first time.  When Fiona was a tiny baby we were given a different brand of diapers and they worked way better and I got in the grove of using them.  I am pretty proud to say that we have not bought a single Fiona diaper (except for when we went to NY darn delta and their expensive luggage) since she was born.  That streak is about to be over because while I have a big box of size 2 that we got before she was born it is ToysRus brand and they SUCK.  I like to use a disposable overnight since she usually is pretty soggy by morning and the toysRus ones leak every time.  I’m fine using them for when we are going to be out but I can actually go either way on that, it all depends on where we are going etc.  I also figured out the general laundry science and the way to customize the diapers to suit each need and those two facts have made life easier.  We are 90% cloth now and I’m glad – if only we could get the other two totally out of pullups life would be grand and greener.

Weather – getting warmer!  Yippie.  When I wrote that weather post I didn’t realize it would basically be what everyone was saying everywhere in the country (the weather, not my post) so hey, I was accidently topical.

Fiona milestones – to recap – she now crawls, has TWO teeth, and is now pulling up and trying to cruse.  On the other hand she is a peanut, she still only weighs 16lb but she eats and sleeps and poops and seems happy so I’ll wait til next months well baby to worry.  Oh, and she wants to eat everything and is pretty good at using those 2 teeth and is up to 2 solid feedings a day plus some snacks here and there.

Calm Jar – I saw it under the bed last night when I was looking for little Owl, oh well, it was fun for a few days

Sleeping arrangements – The day after I posted this Zoe really transitioned into sleeping in Niamh’s room.  Some nights they are both in there and watch a movie and some nights Niamh hangs out in the guest room with the kindle and Zoe watches a blues clues but mostly they get along and get to sleep.  Very very nice overall with spuratic incidences of uncool behavior but basically good.

Thoughts for monday

After 3 kids all weekend, a day with just Fiona is a mini vacation.  I won’t jinx myself again since she is now up at 2am again since I told the internet how she was sleeping, but, she is just so  mellow that she makes it look easy.  Today we adventured to the vet with just Mr Pink – Dexter was supposed to go but apparently heard about the appointment and disappeared.  I know all the tricks from Dad to keeping track of wayward cats on the day of a vet trip and we did that with Pink since he is usually the one out roaming and today he was nicely asleep in the sink (in the bathroom) and super easy to find but Dexter who I normally trip on 10x and kick 2x a morning was absent….  Anyway, one cat was far easier to navigate in and out of the vet so I’m really ok with the outcome.  (he is in perfect health btw)  Oh, since I’m on the subject of Mr Pink, last week he started bringing us ‘big game’, we were gifted with the face, feet, and intestines of a rather large rabbit.  That really has not been something I could work into a normal conversation but actually pretty impressive for a house cat.  We thought about taking a picture but it really was too gross.

Speaking of pictures, here is an awesome one taken by our friend Jon of our glorious #1.  I personally think she is a beauty of a girl (I luckily have 3) but he is also an awesome photographer.

My child – Jon’s photography skill

This week is far less planned then last week but I’m sure it will fill up.  I’m slowly working on organizing things – things that have been on my to-do list for years I actually have small chunks of time to do  now.  I have high hopes for a dance area in our green room but that means constructing a barre and installing some mirrors.  Mirror’s I think will be the easy part, I’ll just use the new picture hanging command strips but a barre needs to be strong enough for kid treatment so that needs more thought.  Our green room is turning into a play zone, Lars moved out and I moved my computer with him down-down stairs so the green room is nice and open for playing, just need to get it set up.  Our house is a living game of tetris still since there are things that need to move from one room to another but something is in its way etc.  Someday that will all be done, probably just in time for me to change my mind.

Ok, off to put up a shelf to move one more game piece in the puzzle.

My day off

Yesterday was our first really nice day in a week or more and looking over things on Tuesday I realized I really didn’t have anything I had to be at for work so I took a vacation day to get things done. I still ended up working about 3 hours on various things, but, with only a few weeks left I can’t afford to totally be gone for a day so I checked in off and on.

It was weird being able to focus on a project for as long as it too to finish it. I found that I had to actually force myself to fully and completely finish before moving on because my project attention is now a lot like a hummingbird or a butterfly. Here is how I spent my ‘day off’

1. Laundry – I think I beat the monster into submission, many loads done! (just not put away, took a nap instead)

2. Painted – technically I finished painting since I’ve been at this for over 2 weeks I finished the decorative stripes and took down all the tape and mostly cleaned up. There is one drop cloth under something heavy that is still there but I need a Lars for that.

the goal is to continue the line of the shelf around the room

3. Built in a ‘closet’ for Niamh. Somehow Niamh has migrated upstairs again…. We had all her stuff down stairs and then we moved it for the floor extravaganza and it is 10x easier to have her stuff and Zoe’s stuff in the same room that we never moved it back. The issue was that there was no dress space so I took this hutch, turned it on its side, installed a hanging bar, and then filled the gap with some leftover flooring. I used a table saw, drill, screwdriver, and table saw!

4. Assembled the gardens – this was disgustingly easy, it was so worth the extra $5 for the ease of assembly. All I need now is dirt. I tried to get dirt yesterday but they want $85 to deliver so we are working with friends to get a truck to get a yard of dirt.


excuse my thumb…

5. General tidy – I really didn’t get too much done but it actually isn’t all that bad

6. Napped – I was going to fold laundry but decided my napping days are numbered

7. Normal evening activity with kids including a web cam marathon during dinner and bedtime where at one point both kids decided to ditch me and run away in the yard. I think they might know that at the moment Mommy is not all that fast… I know that they basically go one place so I still got them but the whole bedtime routine got pushed an hour due to some extra play time in the yard

8. A chat with Miss Math while Lars cooked dinner. Its nice to not be exhausted and have a friend to talk to.

9. Finished up day off with 3 episodes of Mad Men. We are way behind the world in watching this but I sure hope the 50’s were not actually like that because I have some extreme issues with the way that world works. I’m glad to be me now in 2012 because even if there is a hard choice between working and kids and career limits etc it is 100x better than how that show portrays the world. No wonder my grandmother was considered odd for being interested in things and going to school – if Mad Men was normal I would not want to be it either.

Now I’m back to work with the extra 100 e-mails that not working for a day produces but I feel nice and refreshed and relaxed from my quiet day of doing stuff that its ok.

Lots of little updates

It’s been a few posts since I talked about the state of things in the house so here is a check in

Floors – Done, I think in the end I can recommend our guy, his quality and attention to detail trumps his likeness to a turtle

Paint – The plan to paint one wall is half done, it is painted blue but I want a set of accent stripes and that is stalled because I need to move a piece of furniture and Lars is busy anytime I have energy

Furniture – if you have not guessed from the line above, nothing has really gotten back to where it belongs. Last weekend we chose to hang at the mall and have fun rather than get the house going

House reshuffle –

– moving Niamh into a bunk – done,

– moving Lars downstairs – nowhere close

– setting up baby stuff – let’s hope she is ok with sleeping in the dresser…

Pictures – my header is very very out of date and I owe a flicker upload, on the positive side my computer is back up so I have the tool to get it done but my ‘normal’ time to get stuff done used to be right after I get kids in bed and before Lars got home from practice/makes dinner. Bedtime is creeping up to 7:30 and Niamh’s later so that leaves me very little time in the rare event that I get them into bed on time. On the days Lars is home we either end up doing something out and getting back with no time to spare, or, we tag team them to bed and Lars gets a jump on dinner but that actually decreases the amount of time I have. Maybe this weekend I’ll find some down time but I usually use that time to sleep.

The bump – related to pictures in a way, I’m late on my bump pic because I can’t find the top I’m wearing this round. I can find the other two but not the one I want…. I did a good hunt yesterday but no luck. Anyway, the bump is like the prow of a ship and it proceeds me by 2seconds at all times. I’m starting to have maternity tops that don’t fit but that’s because I’m adamantly against under belly showing. I’ve ended up not exercising (other than the Olympics of 2 kids) because Lars was getting annoyed that I would take the bed/bath time on days he was home to try and do a video and I was annoyed that he could not keep the two of them from endlessly interrupting me so it was basically a loose loose loose. Not to mention the days he is home are the days we get stuff done so often there wasn’t even time. Luckily I’ve gained less weight anyway so less to loose later. Baby in the bump is moving moving all the time, big impressive kicks and lots of alien like belly ripples to impress any who glance at the belly. I have weekly appointments starting this week so in the home stretch, I can’t believe she will be born in about a month!

Work – Joyous relief! I either complained, looked sad/mad enough, or finally the fallacy of logic they were using to say it was a good idea for me to move dawned on them but Monday morning (supposed to move Monday afternoon) I was told I could stay. It is more a postponement but that’s better than nothing, I’ll fight the next battle next time.

Garden – some of our seeds didn’t do well being outside so we are back to square one on some of them, but, the beans are growing like crazy. I hope to get the garden built this weekend, the weather might agree otherwise I’m building in the rain because pretty soon those beans are going to be growing up over the cabinets.

Renters – on the one hand, the TH is 100% ready but I’m back to showing it. Showed it yesterday and have another one today. I told the people yesterday it was a $150 hold deposit, $50 nonrefundable and $100 usable toward deposit. They didn’t bat an eye so that’s what I’m going with now, thanks for all the advice.

CAKE – Zoe now wants to watch that video of herself basically daily, and, she investigates every box that enters the house and hopefully says “party?”. She is a party girl, hopefully the brunch on the 19th will be party enough for her – anyone local that wants to come, let me know and I’ll send the details, I hate foisting invites on people for a 2 year old party but as an incentive there will be mimosas and then fight practice to follow.

I should really do a whole post on the language and context explosion in Zoe. She is very very observant and listens and repeats with amazing clarity. I have to watch what we say more than normal because she is also very literal and will go get anything she hears you say you want. Don’t get me wrong, she is developing a stubborn streak just like a normal 2 year old but its balanced nicely with helpful. Yesterday she wanted me to cook eggs for dinner (very clear request) and I prep dinner on the floor most of the time so they can help and I don’t have to worry about them falling, and she got over zealous with holding an egg and it broke all over her foot. She was traumatized! She does not like the feel of cold egg between her toes and froze like a rabbit until I cleaned her up. Once she was clean she went right back to helping and she knows exactly how to make this meal, it’s so cool to hear her request the next step. Hopefully she takes on the new baby with good grace, Niamh is certainly excited and Zoe tends to follow her lead.

I need to get back to work now but there are a few updates – did I miss anything you’re wondering about?