Which one of these does not belong?

September 27, 2012

To make a long, stupid story short…

Me: Mom, I love the cabinet hardware in your kitchen.

Mom: If you like it, we have a whole extra set! They accidentally gave us double when we did our kitchen.

Me: Great, I’ll take them! I need 21.

Mom: (counts) …18…19… and 20.

Me: Crap.

I have searched high and low for cabinet hardware (seriously – if there’s a satin nickel cabinet pull out there for under $5, I’ve seen it) but I really liked the ones my parents have. Of course even though theirs were still in their original packaging, there was no brand or style number to be found. However, I tracked one down online that I was pretty certain would be a match. Afterall, I only needed ONE more.

Do you see it??

Maybe here??

Ugh, they are SO similar, but still not exactly the same. I suspect that they actually are the same brand/style but the ones from my parents are 11 years old and maybe they changed the style slightly in that time?

So here’s the question. Do we go ahead and use the (free!) 20 matching pulls plus the 1 almost matching pull (probably on a single cabinet where it is less likely to be noticeable)? Or do we go ahead and buy 20 more of the new ones so we have a full set of 21 that match perfectly?

My need to have perfect, complete sets of things is conflicting with my desire to A) not be crazy, B) save some money, and C) use a perfectly good set of cabinet pulls that have been sitting around for a decade. I highly doubt that ANYONE would notice the impostor pull if they walked into our kitchen. But I would know it’s there…

Bill’s on board with whatever option keeps me the most sane, no matter the cost, ha 🙂 I’ll put it to a vote.

The Kitchen Snowball: Backstory

September 26, 2012

The living/dining room has come a long way in the past year. I meant to post about its progress but I wasn’t “done” with the room and kept putting off posting about it until I could get those last few things together. Now that we’re planning to repaint the room, I figure I can call that Phase 2 of this room’s make over, and call Phase 1 complete.

I can’t believe I’m going to share the horrific “before” pictures, but I will because then you can see how far the room has come. They are from September 2011, when Caelan was 3 months old and we weren’t using this room at all. We had recently finished our basement and Caelan’s room which caused the Great Furniture Shuffle of 2011. The massive amount of clutter is due to new parent exhaustion and, well, laziness.

I believe it was around Christmas or a little after that we finally got this room together. Caelan was getting to be mobile and he needed more space. We added gates and toy storage for Caelan and now this is where we spend our time in the evenings and on weekends. Caelan finally has free reign over this whole level.

We also converted the left side of this room into our office (since our old office is now Caelan’s room). It works out really well because in addition to office-y things, we also use that computer as a TV since we no longer have a TV on this level. Desperate times call for Sesame Street on Netflix so we are happy to have that available!

And now, the BEFORE and AFTER PHASE 1 photos…

BEFORE – The Office

AFTER PHASE 1 – The Office

BEFORE – The Living Room

AFTER PHASE 1 – The Living Room

AFTER PHASE 1 – The Dining Room

We didn’t really change anything in the Dining Room other than clearing off the table, so I won’t post a before photo. And don’t forget to notice Beaker, the photo bomb 🙂

So that’s where we are today. It’s about to turn back into a hot mess as we get both of these projects underway NEXT WEEK!!

We took 3 trips to Home Depot this past weekend to look at paint. I taped dozens of paint samples on the wall and finally ended up with several test squares painted on various walls. We are adding a chair rail and doing a darker color on the bottom and a lighter color on top. I will say that the top color is a nice neutral color and the bottom color…is not! I love it and am scared by it at the same time. It’s awesome 🙂

My goal is to have everything put back together and presentable by Thanksgiving. The work should be done long before that and even putting it back together should be done before that as well, but it’s nice to set far away deadlines and then finish “early” 🙂

The Kitchen Snowball

September 18, 2012

I’ve decided that’s my nickname for this new project since it snowballed out of the kitchen project 😉

Over the weekend, Bill hesitantly brought up an idea…”As if we don’t already have enough stuff going on…what if we painted the living/dining room while the kitchen’s being done?”

On the one hand it sounds crazy because, as he mentioned, it’s going to be insane with the kitchen project. BUT…the kitchen project will basically render our main level unlivable for the duration of the project, so why not take advantage of that and get some painting done at the same time? I quickly jumped on the crazy train with Bill, so we are going to get this done! The living/dining room really does need to be repainted and spackled in a few areas and we are excited to change up the color.

Here is the current color scheme for these rooms, including the current paint color. That’s not our sofa but it’s the same color. The top left is the current paint color (sort of – I think it’s a little lighter in real life) and the bottom right is the carpet.

Living/Dining Room Colors

We are thinking about adding a chair rail and doing a darker color on the bottom and a lighter color on top. Most likely, it will still be a fairly neutral color. Here are some general ideas…I need to get to Home Depot ASAP to look at some colors! We are going to just do the rail (as in the bottom photos) rather than the wainscotting/board-and-batten on the bottom. I love that look, but we’ll save it for another house.

PS: I have not shown Bill any of these ideas yet, so no idea what he’s thinking at this point 😉


[Top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right]

I started talking about the living room and its planned revival about a year ago and though we have done a fair amount of work on it, I haven’t shared the progress yet. So I will be back soon with some “before” and “progress” shots before the renovations start. The “before” shots are horrifying – fair warning 🙂

The Kitchen Project: Update

September 17, 2012

In my last post about the kitchen, I said that we wanted to get started on this project before the end of summer. So have we started?? Well, I guess that depends on how you define “started”.

We met with and got estimates from 3 different contractors. There was a sizable gap between the highest quote and the other 2 quotes. The contractor we’re going with is actually our next door neighbor. He’s done a little bit of work in our home before and has worked on other homes in our neighborhood and we are confident that he’ll do a good job. If not, we know where he lives 🙂

Here’s where we stand on The Original Plan:

  • Replace all honey-oak cabinets and gold hardware with dark wood cabinets and nickel hardware.
    We have chosen a dark cherry color full-overlay cabinet. I have been agonizing over cabinet hardware (which is a stupid thing to agonize over) but it will be nickel.
  • Replace laminate countertops with whatever we determine is the least expensive option one step up from laminate (Granite? Corian?)
    Granite it is. In real life, the beige-y specs in this tie in nicely with the cabinets
    and overall it reads as “gray”.
  • Replace kitchen sink.
    Free stainless steel undermount sink comes with the granite counter top. Awesome. And I think I have decided on a new faucet.
  • Divert range hood/microwave to vent outside.
    It involves ripping apart the bulkhead which is why it wasn’t done immediately when we installed the microwave, but we are definitely having this done now.
  • Replace ceramic tile with vinyl tile.
    Actually, we’re going with porcelain tile. We still really like vinyl tile and have it in one of our bathrooms, but given the subfloor we have upstairs, “normal” tile may be the better choice and we found one we liked for a good price. Now we just need to choose a grout color. This is the first part of this project that we have run into where we completely disagree.
  • Replace toilet and pedestal sink in bathroom.
    Still doing this. There’s nothing special about the ones we picked out. They’re white.
  • Replace bathroom light fixture (or at least trade out the shades).
    I haven’t figured this one out yet – still thinking. I have almost decided on a faucet for the sink, so that’s something.
  • Paint kitchen, foyer, and bathroom.
    Yep. We have some leftover very light gray-ish brown from our basement bathroom that we plan to use for this. I am now considering painting the bathroom a shade darker since it will be very light in there with the white fixtures and light tile.
  • Extend tile floor in foyer about 2ft. into the living room to be even with dining room wall??
    Yep, we’re going for this.
  • Rearrange appliances in the kitchen. Move fridge to lower right corner, next to stove?? Move dishwasher to original fridge location??
    We are going to do this. We met with 3 contractors and 2 kitchen designers and all agreed that this was a good idea.
  • Replace kitchen table with a row of base cabinets and countertop??
    We are NOT going to do this. We are going to do…something…with our kitchen table. Keep it, refinish it, replace it, or at the very least, get another chair. We have 2 chairs and 3 people which means we drag a dining room chair in there every night for dinner. Annoying.

The contractors and cabinet designers we spoke to all agreed that the new arrangement of appliances is better than the old arrangement.  The new arrangement allows our refrigerator door to open fully (right now it hits a wall) and allows maximum use of space for cabinets (right now we have a “blind” cabinet which is awesomely useless).

Here is the drawing one cabinet designer made for us. Click on it for the full view. (The drawing shows a double-door fridge, but ours is actually a single.)

[drawing by MidSouth Building Supply]

So that’s where we are now. Most of the materials are decided upon, if not purchased, and we are anxiously awaiting an estimated start date from our contractor. Then the kitchen packing will begin!

This post is really long already, so check back tomorrow and I’ll explain how this project has snowballed into another project that we will take on ourselves at the same time…Who wants to babysit?! 🙂

Can you see me?

September 7, 2012

My mom was kind enough to dig up some old pictures and scan them for me so that I could use a couple for my post about our beach trip. When I was looking through the pictures of me at about 18 months old, I caught a glimpse of…Caelan! Everyone says that Caelan looks like Bill and while Bill doesn’t agree, he really does. Plus, I think it’s easier to see the similarities between them because A) they’re both boys, and B) Bill had blonde hair and blue eyes as a child also.

But then I saw these pictures and though I wasn’t (and am not) a blonde-haired, blue-eyed little boy, I can see familiar expressions! I know I’ve seen this expression on him before but it was hard to find a picture. What do you think?

Reflections, Caelan – Months 12-15

September 1, 2012

There was so much anticipation and excitement leading up to Caelan’s first birthday and I remember telling a friend “I feel like 12 months is the edge of some kind of cliff and I have NO idea what’s on the other side!” Now that we ARE on the other side, we are slowly getting used to having a toddler, rather than a baby. I think that has been the biggest change in the past few months.

New haircut, new shoes – June 2012

We started transitioning Caelan from formula to whole milk a week before his birthday. It ended up taking much longer than I expected and we weren’t completely off formula until he was about 14 months old. It took awhile for his system to adjust to the milk but we changed his diet a little and cut back on the total amount of formula/milk he was getting and he adjusted (mostly). In the process, we cut back from 4 bottles a day to just 1 bottle at bedtime and sippies of milk with meals/snacks. Hopefully that last remaining bottle will be gone in the next few months. We are worried about messing with his bedtime routine (which has been working so well for the past 9 months) but given how easily he dropped the other bottles, maybe it won’t be as bad as we are fearing.

As for naps, we have finally made some progress on that front! Caelan has never been a good or consistent napper but now we are usually able to put him down without too much trouble. How long the nap will be is still pretty variable, but I’d say he usually naps for about 1.5-2 hours, and usually just 1 nap per day.

Napping with the seahorse in OC – July 2012

For meals, we all eat dinner together, which has been a nice change. We used to feed Caelan first and then take turns eating ourselves while the other kept an eye on him. Mealtimes still aren’t relaxing or anything, but it is nice to sit down together and Caelan is often eating the same thing we’re eating. Since we are over the 1 year mark, Caelan has tried strawberries, chocolate, honey, and shellfish (crab) and seemed to have no objection to any of them! We’re gonna have to try peanut butter soon. I’ve also started offering the spoon to feed himself (with a lot of guidance). He thinks it’s lots of fun, but we have a long way to go on that one.

Trying a bowl and spoon – August 2012

Caelan’s vocabulary is ever-expanding. I think he’s up to 16 words now: hi, bye-bye, ba (bottle/cup), all done, all gone, up, outside, ball (gall), bird, puppy, Dada, go down [stairs], Cookie [Monster], apple, uh-oh. And Mama – he finally came through with that one just last week! I was so surprised I didn’t know what to say but there is nothing like being called “Mama” for the first time…or the second time, or the third… 🙂 Some of his words aren’t quite real words yet but they are close enough and they are getting clearer and clearer by the day. He’s learning SO fast these days!

Caelan has 12 teeth now – all 8 in the front plus all 4 first-year molars. The molars took a long time to come in but Caelan has never been bothered too much by teething and this was not really any different (thankfully). Brushing his teeth while that last molar was coming in was an all out wrestling match but now that the tooth is in, he seems better. If that is the worst teething is going to give us, I’ll take it!! Next up are the canines, so we’ll see how that goes.

Being a ham and showing off those teeth! – August 2012

It’s seemed like Caelan’s milestones these past few months haven’t been as…obvious?…as they have previously been. Slowly we realized, hey he’s tripled his vocabulary in the past 3 months. He’s much better at stacking blocks or rings than the last time I saw him do that. We are fascinated to watch him learning. He is also doing a lot of limit testing. He knows very well that he is supposed to sit down when drinking, when on the couch or in his chair, and when in the bath tub, but he gleefully stands up and smirks at us. I’ve pretty much given up on the bath tub battle and taking him off the couch doesn’t work as well now that he can climb up on his own. Sigh. Remember when he just laid on the floor and flew?

July 2012 (14 months) — December 2011 (7 months)

Discipline is coming into play. But he’s still too young for time-out and we’re unsure what he is old enough for. He understands that there are some things that he’s not allowed to do, but then he does them anyway. Yes, I know, he’s testing us. But what do we DO about it? Mostly, we take away the toy/item or remove him from the scene, but that doesn’t always seem effective. When we take away his chair, he runs after it, gleefully waving and saying “bye bye!” and then doesn’t care that it’s gone. (We ended up giving up on the chair battle – if he falls, he falls, and hopefully he’ll learn!) On the other hand, when we block him from getting on the couch he screams and cries. (We’re making some progress on this one.) We are constantly second-guessing ourselves, wondering if we’re taking the right approach on things. Is this the right thing to do? Is this a battle worth picking? Are we being too lenient? Are we being consistent? A year ago at this time, we were second-guessing ourselves on things like bottles, nap times, and bed times. Now that we’ve got that under control, it’s something else. I suspect it will always be something. Being a parent is never dull 🙂

15 Months Old