Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hello, Spring

I'm so desperate to put away snow gear, but I hear we might need it this weekend. So, instead of doing that, I made a little something happy (with a grapevine wreath, some silk flowers, and a little hot glue).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When Aaron woke up this morning, the first thing he said to me was, "I'm a super spy--You can't see me." I tried to give him a hug and he said, "No! You can't see me!" After pretending not to be able to see him for a few minutes, he asked, "Mom, do you love me?" I said of course, I loved him. His reply? "That's because I'm a frog."
Yeah, that must be it.
I love this kid, and his crazy imagination!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Practice House: Status Update

Four weeks.
That's how long we've been here...Unbelievable!
I thought it was about time I give a little house tour. You know, show what we've done, what needs to be done, and ask for a bit of advice.
So here goes.
The entry hall:
One of the first thing we did after buying this house was to rip out some rather dated wallpaper, but we're still working on getting all the glue off. We also debated back and forth about adding beadboard or molding, but I think we've decided for now to do the simplest thing--rip out the existing chair rail, spackle, and paint. (Currently, we have dust everywhere!)
(Can't decide on paint!)
We really need to get this done, so that when people stop by it doesn't look like such a construction zone around here!
(Kids at work...They loved scrubbing walls for about 10 minutes.)
The living room:
When we moved in it was red, with gold accents (We're talking Chinese restaurant-red).
This was the first room we had primed and painted, and we replaced the hanging Tiffany-style chandelier with a regular old light fixture. We're still working on replacing the switch plates (we'll replace the gold ones with something a bit more...normal) and hanging pictures. For now, most of the artwork hangs out in this room until I get more walls painted and decide on permanent homes for pictures. (In real life the color isn't so golden...its actually a very nice neutral. I really wanted to put white beadboard across the back wall, but that will have to wait)
The main-level bathroom:
Again, think Chinese restaurant colors. I primed the walls, and have selected a color, but we need to replace the gold Hollywood lights, paint the cabinet, and possibly replace the countertop, before I can finish the walls. On hold for now, but will need to be done soon so that visitors won't think we're more shabby than chic.
The kitchen:
Hurrah! We discovered that we can remove the wallpaper, and its coat of brown textured paint, with the simple combination of varnish remover, wallpaper remover, hot water, scrubbing, and perhaps a bit of sanding. We've started enough to know it can be done, but haven't worked on it since we discovered how hard it would be. Plus, we started 10 other projects at the same time. Eventually, we'll paint the cabinets (the nice countertops clash with the golden oak finish), hopefully do something with the lighting (Did you see the crazy flourescent light box in the photo?!), and add window treatments. I might make them, which would be exciting.
The laundry room/pantry:

A basic, functional room in seafoam green, with a nice white patch where the old owners had removed a shelf.
One morning, sick of half-finished projects, I decided to tackle the pantry. I emptied it (making a huge mess in my kitchen), repainted the shelves white, painted the walls a nice green,
and replaced all the food, in an organized fashion. Eventually, we'll paint the rest of the walls and probably add some hooks or shelving for the broom, mop, aprons, and such. See my pretty new washer and drier? That's cuz the people who bought our house wanted the old ones that didn't work very well. I guess I should thank them!

We obviously need to work on tidying up the space, and we'll get to it, I swear. Eventually.

That's it for now. I'll show the rest of the goodness later on. The girls' room has some great potential, and our master bedroom/bathroom is a cave--a big, brown cave. Help! Anyone want to come visit? And help?

The big question is...I really, really want white trim. The trim in this house is actually decent quality, pretty wood trim and I don't think I should change it. But--could I maybe change it in some rooms? Like--the girl's room? Or the master bedroom? Or a bathroom? And would painting over trim and-or windows (which are wood) hurt the value of the house?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Magnificent Mile

One perk from Christian's days of travelling for work--free hotel nights! He had one last free night (before he lost his Diamond Member status) to use at any Hilton hotel, and we chose to use it last weekend. The Wesels were nice enough to take our kids for the night, so we could drive to Chicago, visit the temple, and have a mini-vacation.
It was so nice to get away! Our hotel was downtown right on the Magnificent Mile with a lake view. We enjoyed a walk around the city at night,
dinner at Giordano's (for real Chicago-stuffed pizza),
another walk the next morning out on the Navy pier,
and-perhaps one of my favorite parts--we found a Jamba Juice! I just haven't found anything like Jamba juice anywhere after moving East, so I bought a jumbo size for the drive home.
While watching my kids, Jessica ran a blood drive at church and Christian made me get over my fear of needles and donate for the first time. It really wasn't bad, and I got a special 1st-timer pin. I do hate needles, though. Really. But I guess I can put up with a needle prick for a good cause.
Since moving here, I've gone back to Michigan all but one weekend, and we plan on going back next weekend for frisbee....Our house is suffering a bit from the inattention, so we'll have to pick a weekend soon to stay in town...but I enjoyed our time at the temple, and I'm so glad we're close enough to friends to still have something like a social life!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Welcome to Indiana!

Moving is very surreal to me--I'm always amazed just how much stuff we have, just how complicated it is to pick up your life and change, and I'm always amazed just how life goes on and can feel normal. After all, while the state, town, home, school, ward, grocery store, library, YMCA, etc. all change, the basic family stays the same. The view might change, but the substance of every day life stays remarkably the same. Trust me--I've done this a lot.

We've been here for 2 weeks. Our house is taking shape. We bought a semi-fixer upper, and are constantly revising our plans for it. It really has potential, but for the first few days I was a bit overwhelmed at everything that ought to be done. We're missing switch plates and a bannister; the only working appliance when we moved in was the dishwasher. At the same time, we have nearly new solid surface countertops, tile floors (one of which needs to be torn out at some point), and built-in bookshelves. So far, we have started painted (with mixed success, as is usual for me), ripping off wallpaper (makes our house look worse than it is, but I swear it has to get worse before it gets better), replaced most of the appliances (again, with mixed results--I'll get to that later), and replaced the carpet (upstairs only), and started replacing outdated light fixtures (We kept bumping into the ugly hanging chandelier in the room we are not using as a dining room). We have unpacked probably half of the boxes, or more, but have hardly touched the basement, including most of the toys, and are still trying to work out where everything goes. Our kitchen is a work in progress. I plan on blogging about our renovation projects in more detail as we go along.
One of my favorite little moving stories is something we like to call, "Measure twice, rip out once." Knowing that we needed nearly all new appliance, I spent the last few weeks in Michigan hunting down deals. Because we needed things soon, I didn't have any luck finding super-good second-hand deals, but I did find a clearanced fridge at The Home Depot that looked like it might work. I had a pretty good idea of what I was willing to spend and what I could get for that amount of $. The fridge was available immediately and was within the budget. I had measured, checked the measurements, and wrote down the info on a scrap piece of paper. I'm not so good with details. I know I checked the height in the store, but when we got it in place, it was 1/2 in too high! What to do?!
And a closeup:

The solution was fairly simple, if somewhat destructive--Since we cared more about the fridge than about the cabinets, we tore out the cabinets. Six screws later, our fridge fit (although it was still an inch or two deeper than it should have been), and we have much more space on top than we did before! At some point I'm sure we'll come up with an attractive solution, but for now, we have a fridge and life is good.
So that's it for now, but watch for more updates coming soon on what I like to call "the practice house." Why? Because we probably won't be here for the long haul, given our track record, and this place will give us lots of "practice", testing our skills and refining what we actually want in a house, before we finally find a place to stay.