Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Making progress

We are in crunch time mode. T-minus 3 weeks until my due date (here's hoping Baby Girl decides to take her time). And yes, before you ask, her name is going to be Girl. Just kidding. We have a "maybe" name in mind, but we'll see what happens when she actually makes her debut. My spare time has been spent building Ikea cabinets, painting, making runs to Home Depot, and sleeping. And by sleeping, I mean flipping side to side and back and forth in bed while pretending to sleep.

I won't bore you with the details of all the work we've been doing (because, really, it's not that interesting) but I will tell you that the kitchen cabinet frames are in and it looks like we might make our deadline after all! We actually put together all the perimeter cabinet frames in one night so it's moving along pretty quickly. It would appear we're on the tail end of all the dust causing stuff too so I'll probably be spending the last few weeks of this pregnancy doing some major cleaning and unpacking. Huh. Why am I always unpacking the last few weeks of a pregnancy? Hopefully that's not a pattern...

On Saturday, when Brian said we were ready to start building cabinets, I was like, wait... what? I'm not ready! The last 3 months have been spent doing tedious little things that now the big things seem like they're happening so fast! But this is all good. We're that much closer and there seem to be fewer hiccups and surprises happening. Although getting the cabinets level was... exciting. It took Brian a whole day to do what probably could've been done in 2 hours had everything lined up properly. But that's old houses for you.

As usual, I'm making a to do list for all the things that I'd really like to accomplish before the baby comes. I'm feeling pretty good about getting this all done... did I just jinx myself?
  • Nursery
    • Install closet system, new outlets/switches and fan (Brian will do all this)
    • Unpack and organize Allie's stuff and newborn stuff
    • Make blackout curtains (I already have Ikea Lenda curtains and the blackout fabric so I just need to throw some Heat 'n Bond in between them. Easy peasy.)
  • Kitchen
    • Install range hood, counters, sink and faucet (Brian will do all this)
    • Install all the shelves, drawers, and doors in/on the kitchen cabinets (Yay for stuff that 37 week pregnant women can handle!)
    • Build island wall and install island cabinets and counter (Again, stuff for Brian, although I'll probably help build the cabinets)
    • Install handles and knobs on doors and drawers
    • Buy and install open shelves (since we didn't do any upper cabinets)
    • Unpack and organize kitchen stuff
Brian starts his paternity leave the week before my due date so I actually feel like we'll be able to get this all done. I have a feeling throwing a newborn in the mix is going to slow down our productivity for awhile.  I'll try to pop in with some pictures once we knock this list out and I can sit and breathe/think again for a minute.

It's Wednesday. The munchkin is singing the wake up song of her people in her crib and we have a lot to do today. *Breathe... Breathe... Breathe... and... here... we... go...

Monday, May 19, 2014

How to deal with a live-in remodel

You would think that this being my second time through a remodel and knowing how long things take, I would have a better gauge on what to expect.

People keep asking how it's going and how I'm doing with it. For the most part, I'm okay. Do I love living this way? Of course not. Am I doing my best to be content and make it work? Yes. Are there hard days when I want to move away just to escape the work? Absolutely. As Brian pointed out, people get divorced over stuff like this.

God has been so gracious to us though. He has provided patience when it's needed, strength when it feels like there's no more energy left to do anything, and peace when we start going over our very overwhelming to-do list.

And we still like each other. Seriously, not only do I have the most amazing, hard-working husband but he is also so so patient and loving toward me. Especially when I have these major meltdowns because I can't use the microwave and the toaster oven at the same time to cook dinner (since we are without a stove right now).

So we're not perfect. Sometimes I complain and whine about how difficult this is for me (and I'm not even really the one doing most of the work). And sometimes remodeling just sucks. It's lame and hard and long and tiring. But we keep pushing forward, we keep making slow progress, and someday I will be looking out my brand new kitchen window while washing dishes in my brand new kitchen sink with my brand new baby sleeping peacefully in the background and my toddler playing quietly in the corner and think back on this and chuckle.

And not like that crazy "I've gone insane because I've had to dust junk off of the dishes I've just washed for the millionth time" high-pitched laugh that seems to happen a lot these days.

So here's how you deal with a remodel in 5 simple steps:
  1. Pray, because first of all, there's no way you can do this without God's help.
  2. Lower your expectations. 
  3. Expect bumps and delays along the way. And when they happen, laugh and move on.
  4. Stock up on microwaveable food and paper utensils. If you have a problem with using the microwave or ruining the earth, see Rule #2. 
  5. Plan to take a vacation when it's all over. You've earned it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Let's catch up

Is it really Monday again? Things have been such a whirlwind since we got back so I'll just catch you up with a list. Shocker.
  • I already want to go back and visit So Cal. Our trip was way too short. It's crazy that I haven't seen some of my family/friends in months but when we get together, it's like we never left. I LOVE that. I love having relationships that stand the test of time and I truly believe it's because of our faith in Christ. I always leave refreshed, encouraged, and missing when those conversations took place in random places/times like oh... on the kitchen floor at 1 am. Also, I miss Disneyland. We're moving there when we retire. It's my Maui. Just kidding. Sorta. 
  • So Brian's dad has been here. He's been attacking the jungle in the front and back yard while Brian continues to work on the inside of the house. I think he was a little shocked with our current living conditions, but the good news is that they're already making some big strides with an extra set of manly, non-pregnant, non-toddler hands around. Don't worry I'm posting about that as soon as I grab some bad, grainy, iPhone pictures. 
  • And speaking of Brian's family... his brother gets back from Afghanistan tomorrow. Which means another set of manly, non-pregnant, non-toddler hands around to help. And these hands actually used to work with Brian at his last job doing remodeling so that helps a lot. "Thanks for serving our country, here's a drill. Get to work."
  • So now I'm in list making mode. I think I'm getting my 3rd trimester nesting wind. The girls' room will be painted Thursday so I can start unpacking newborn stuff, arranging cribs and furniture, and get the room generally settled so I won't be digging stuff out of boxes when the new baby comes. The kitchen should start going in pretty soon after that so I'll be unpacking all of our kitchen stuff (no more paper plates!!! Sorry, Earth.) I'll also be doing some major deep cleaning now that most of the demolition dust is settling. It's kind of weird because up until this point, so much of the work has been little, tedious things that just take time and we haven't really been able to make big strides toward the finished product. But now that the little things are done and we have extra help with the big things, it seems to all be happening faster. 
  • I had a Mother's Day weekend in which Brian made me waffles for breakfast Saturday and Sunday. I've been craving them for like 3 months so that alone was enough to make me happy. Plus he wrangled Allie for the most part, let me buy myself some dresses that will cover my bump and bum, and I didn't have to cook at all so this pregnant momma was pretty happy. 
  • I've had ice cream for after dinner 4 days in a row. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Friday List

My Friday list is running a little late because usually I write it on Thursday in time to post on Friday but whatevs.
  • We returned from our quick trip to So Cal. It was too short, of course. 
  • We partied on behalf of my nephew (who ended up needing a nap during his own birthday party, but what else can you expect from a 1-year-old?) I also probably ate too many cupcakes. 
  • We went to Grace Community... I forgot how much I miss John's sarcasm. 
  • We squeezed in some visits with old friends and the kids involved only had a few meltdowns. When we were leaving one friend's house, Allie acted like she was instant bff's with their daughter (who is 3 months younger) and they decided to hug it out like they were really going to miss each other. Even though they had pretty much ignored each other the whole time we were there. Weirdos.
  • We went to Disneyland and Allie loved the carousel so much she threw a fit when it ended and we had to get off. I know, kid. I feel like that every time I have to leave Disneyland. I feel your pain.
  • And then we came home and somehow I'm supposed to adjust back to normal life. Pfft.
  • I did manage to do all most of the laundry. 
  • And eat some more ice cream. It'll go bad if I don't.
  • Brian's dad flew in the day after we got back so the good news is, our front and back yard no longer look like a crazy wilderness AND we're hoping in the 2 weeks he's here, he and Brian can make a dent in our crazy to-do list. 
  • 6 more weeks until I have this baby. I'm not panicking or anything, but hoping and praying that we at least have a functional kitchen by then. But it wouldn't be us if it wasn't down to the wire, right? I'm guessing days before my due date, we'll have to make a 3-hour trip to Ikea and then it'll be Allie's birth story all over again. 
  • Which reminds me, anyone want to be on call to come hang out with our toddler while the baby makes her entrance? Brian's ideas so far are to bring Allie with us. I don't even need to tell you how terrible of an idea that is and I think the look I gave him convinced him we wouldn't be doing that.
Happy Friday! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

How to lighten paint

One of the hiccups we encountered on this house remodel journey was the paint. In our last house, I had chosen the paint at the very last minute (without even testing it) and loved it. So to make life easier, I decided I'd just do the same paint in this house.

Except I didn't factor in that our previous house had a ton of windows everywhere and this house has 5 windows and 1 sliding glass door for 3 bedrooms, 1 great room (living/dining/kitchen area) and 2 bathrooms. Yeah, it sometimes feels like a cave in here.

So when we tested the paint that we ordered, I panicked. It was really dark and brown and not at all the light airy color from our previous house.

We hemmed and hawed for a few weeks trying to decide what to do. The only option if we didn't want the dark brown paint was to try to lighten it ourselves.

So Brian bought a huge trash can from Home Depot and wiped down the inside. We dumped in all the wall paint (three 5-gallon buckets) and added one 5-gallon of white paint. He mixed it with a cement mixer for a really long time. He wanted to make sure that the white paint wasn't settling on the top or bottom so I would tip the trash can and he'd mix, tip and mix, tip and mix.

Then we very carefully poured the new paint back into the 5 gallon buckets using an old pitcher. Once the trash can was empty enough to pick up, he lifted it and I scraped the insides with a spatula so we wouldn't waste any paint.

Here's a shot of the difference: (the original color is what we painted all over this section of the wall, the lighter color is that strip you see right in the middle-ish)

All in all, I'm SO GLAD we lightened the paint. The new color looks very close to white, which is what I wanted in the first place. I'm also really glad that this didn't end up being a mistake that cost a lot of time and money to fix. We're not sure if we'll end up with an extra 5 gallons of paint after all the painting is done, but getting the color that makes me happy every time I look at it makes it totally worth it. Plus it's probably better to have too much paint than not enough, right?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Creative Visualizing

As always, I plan my outfits down to the tee (har har) whenever we are going on a trip somewhere. This time was no different except I was having to plan for several different scenarios and since I'm sharing a suitcase with Allie and packing my mom's Mother's Day gift, I didn't have the room for a lot of options. So... I decided to put together some outfits on Polyvore to help me visualize what I could wear each day.

There are a few rules, if you will:
  • minimal jewelry (especially at the airport)
  • light sweaters because you know, it's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.
  • comfy, comfy, comfy. While I love looking chic during my pregnancies, I also know how brutal that So Cal sun can be. The last thing Brian probably wants to deal with is a sweaty, cranky, pregnant wife, so I'm planning ahead to help him avoid that. :D
Airport on Saturday... (I would just wear a dress or something comfy but I've learned that flowy clothing = getting groped by TSA so no thanks. At least I can remove the kimono if I need to and not feel naked.)

Maternity airport style

Then if I decide to change before my nephew's party in the park... (This dress is not maternity but surprisingly fits over my teeny bump and not-so-teeny rear end.) I don't actually own a shield Wonder Woman bracelet like that but doesn't it kinda look cool and also make you wish you had super powers and a magical whip? No? Just me? Okay then.

Maternity casual party style

Church and visiting friends on Sunday...

Maternity church style

Disneyland on Monday (featuring Allie's actual diaper bag which I love!)

Maternity sightseeing style

Flying home on Tuesday
Maternity airport style 2

Guys, I think I did it! I think I know all the things I need to pack! Phew. Now I just have to go do it. Well, actually now I just have to go do it while keeping a certain 1-year-old from plopping herself down in my suitcase and trying my underwear on.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Maternity Must-haves under $30

Now that I'm well into my second pregnancy (and a pro at this now), I thought I'd put together a list of some of the staples in my maternity wear that don't break the bank!

I realize this looks monochromatic but the tops all come in lots of different colors so you can have fun with it!

Also, a few items are over $30 but Gap and Old Navy are constantly having 30-40% off sales which is what I waited for to buy any maternity stuff which puts them under my per-item budget of $30. :)

Maternity Must-haves

  1. Gap Pure Body Short Sleeve Shirt: I have this shirt in black, white, and gray. It is SO unbelievably comfortable and well worth the money. 
  2. H&M Long Basic Tank Top: These aren't actually maternity shirts (although H&M has a really cute line of maternity clothing). They're basic $6 tanks which I owned before I became pregnant and found myself reaching for constantly during my pregnancy to layer under shirts, sweaters, whatever. Plus they come in a ton of different colors!
  3. Old Navy Perfect Pop-Color Tank Top: These are similar to the H&M tanks in that they're not maternity, but they're inexpensive, come in a ton of different colors, and are perfect for summer when you don't feel like wearing a tee shirt but need a little more than a spaghetti strap to cover that monstrous pregnancy bra strap.
  4. Liz Lange for Target Maternity Sleeveless Knit Dress: Everyone needs an LBD and pregnant women are no different. I went with a sleeveless one since both of my pregnancies have been in the summer, but Target carries long sleeved versions in the winter. These dresses are knit so they're comfy but don't look too casual.
  5. Old Navy Maternity Full-Panel Skinny Jeans: Even though I was pregnant in the summer, I still needed a good pair of skinnies for those random cold summer nights. These jeans are so comfortable and LONG which I love.
  6. Old Navy Maternity Low-Panel Skinny Jeans: In the beginning of my pregnancies, I swelled around my midsection pretty quickly. Wearing my normal jeans was just uncomfortable, so I opted for a low-panel option that I wore well after Allie was born. As in I never went back to normal jeans.
  7. Old Navy Maternity Jersey Leggings: A good, comfortable pair of leggings is a must - especially for sleeping in. These come in a pack of 2 which makes them extra affordable!
  8. Gap Foldover Long Skirt: Maxi dresses and skirts were my best friends when I was pregnant with Allie. It gave the look of being dressed up but had the feel of comfy yoga pants. This skirt is incidentally on sale for $19 right now!!!
These are just basic pieces that can be layered, dressed up, accessorized and styled to fit your own personality. If you're pregnant in the summer like I was, then add a good pair of maternity shorts to this list! I love mine from Old Navy.

Disclaimer: Old Navy, Gap, H&M, and Target didn't pay me to love on their products, but they really should. Because I do love them!