December 31, 2012

My Favorite Things

We are so, so blessed.  This time of year is always great for reflection, and the Hubs and I have really been overwhelmed lately with how lucky we are.  I have two healthy and beautiful boys, a pretty kick ass husband, two great jobs we love... and this house.  This. Amazing. House.

Those of you that have been following this blog for awhile know I didn't always call it that.  In fact, in the early, exhausting, frustrating, overwhelming and nearly depressing months of living here, I was more likely to call this place a dump, and that's when I was putting it kindly.  But we saw a diamond in the rough.  We worked hard- real hard, and because of that we are now living in a home we never dreamed we could afford.  (Have I mentioned that we are currently paying less for this house than we did on our Bungalow?)

So much has changed even in just this past year.  A year ago today I still had 2 bathrooms that looked like this:

A Kitchen that looked like this:

Stairs that looked like this:

and another 700+ feet of gross carpeted floors that made me cringe when my child sat on it.  But we showed 2012 who's your daddy, and now not a day goes by when we don't say, "This house is amazing" or "I can't believe we live here."  Sure, there's still so much we want to do (I'm talking to you Family Room and Dining Room), but in the spirit of the season this post is about my favorite things in the house as they are today.  In no particular order...

The Nursery. 

There's so much I love about this room and how it all came together, but a few things stand out.  Like can you believe that Restoration Hardware is selling nearly the identical bird mobile as the one I made for $.21 for $129?

And the daybed- Best. Decision. Ever.  I was worried that I was going to regret not having a rocking chair, but this chair/couch/bed is exactly what I need, whenever I need it.  A spot for our whole family to read books before bedtime, a place to lay down to nurse when I'm so exhausted I can't hold my own head up, a spot to play, and kick and change clothes, or just to lay down and cuddle with my little man and take in the moment.

But if I had to narrow it down to just one thing I loved about the Nursery it would be the skylights.

Sure I'd like to get a growth chart on the wall between those doors and to fill the ledge with a bunch of old globes, but that's for another post.

This photo doesn't do them any justice, but light streams in from these windows and floods this little room and high ceilings with warmth.  I was feeding Bo in the middle of the night the other evening, and from my spot on the daybed I would perfectly see the amazing full moon.  The moonlight in the room was breathtaking.  I made myself take a mental photograph so that I would never forget it.  'Click.'

The Antler Chandelier.

From our first walk through I wanted one, but it took me months before I found an affordable one on Craigslist to spray paint.  Now this baby lights the house with warm, modern lodge light.  The layout of this house makes all the crazy half levels a mess of three way light switches.  We try to be efficient with our lights, but find ourselves turning off one light, turning on another, walking down 3 steps.  Then turning off that light, turning on another, walking down 3 more steps, turning off... you get the idea.  But we've found we can leave just the antler chandy on, and it fills the main center of the house with enough light to look awesome and keep us from falling down the stairs.  The way these bulbs face up instead of point down like the previous track lighting make the wooden plank ceiling glow and becomes a great focal point.  It makes me happy.

The Laundry Room

Whoever designed the layout of this house was a genius.  Wait- that might be a bit too glowing of a review for a guy that also designed 3 large gaping holes from our Master Bedroom overlooking the Living Room.  Let's just say when it came to laundry placement, he did something right.  This room is just outside the 'Kids Wing' and the 3 bedrooms on that level, has a shoot that drops down laundry from the Master Bedroom (that we added), and is located right across the hall from the bathroom.

Each night I can happily fold a load or two while my four year old takes a bath, close enough to keep an eye on him but far enough to give him and his super imagination some space.  The room is lined with counter top space giving me tons of room for folding, and with all the cabinets it doubles as a linen closet.  What better place to store your linens than the place you wash and fold them?  I love the big window with all the natural light, and all the little details in this room.

But again if I had to pick my favorite part of this room, it would be the rug that I painstakingly painted.  The room looks good without it, but adding it makes it colorful, fun and modern.  Totally worth the work.

The Main Bath.

This bathroom is by far my favorite of three, which is saying a lot considering that a professional designer and TV show put in a $60k one in our master. But everything in this room worked the way I was hoping.  The floating vanity with the lights underneath totally float my boat.

and I still take time to pet the goregous glass penny tile.

But my favorite thing, far and away, is the wooden sliding door with frosted glass panes that I built.  It not only makes the room visually, but by some bit of magic seems to fit the room perfectly and just as I had intended.  Sometimes I like to just open and close it repetitively, just because I can.

But my favorite thing about the house right now above all else,  is that it's really starting to feel like a home.  After a year and a half of hard work, and three trimesters of dreaming about cuddling & relaxing in this beautiful house we built with my babies, I finally can.  And it is amazing.

Happy New Year to you and your family.  I hope 2012 was as blessed for you all as it was for us.  Here's to new adventures (and home projects) in 2013! Cheers.

December 27, 2012

Happiest of Holidays

I'm a little late on our holiday cards this year, but it's not New Year's yet- so I'm calling this one on time.

I'm so excited about how it turned out, especially after the marthon session that was trying to get the perfect photo from my boys.  I'm not ashamed to say that there was a lot of bribing going on, I even gave myself some ice cream when it was finished. Trust me, I earned it.

To make the addressing a bit easier, I made these matching address labels based on some inspiration I found on Pinterest last year.  (Sadly, I couldn't find the link this year to give credit back- sorry.)  Usually I'm a fan of hand addressing personal letters like this, but I had over 90 cards to send, and was having a tough time doing so with a baby physically attached to me.  These tricky address labels are fun enough that they make it look like I did just as much work, without all the hand cramping and carpal tunnel. 


See how cute they match the cards?

The label wraps around the back with the return address as well for even less work.  Me likey.

 And here's my big stack of holiday joy just before they hit the mail box. 

Our holiday was absolutely fantastic this year, with super fun celebrations with both the Hub's and my families.  I was wondering how our first Christmas as a family of four would go over, but I'd say we totally nailed it.  In all honesty though, we are so, so blessed.  I hope you had an incredible time how ever you celebrate.  Cheers!

December 20, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Holiday Crafts

I may not have had a lot of spare time lately to work on some projects of my own, but this hopeless Christmas fanatic definitely made time for a few Pinterest inspired holiday crafts for my kiddos.  We started the season with this awesome countdown to Christmas Santa:

 Ryder has loved adding another puff to the beard each day, and races out to get the cotton ball on first thing every morning.  (Even before this tired Mama wakes up- note the glue drip, not to be confused with a frozen Santa booger.)

We also made a little art of our own thanks to a pack of colorful paints and a few wiggly little fingers, thanks to this idea.


This Type A, highly structured activity wasn't the party time that my little Captain Chaos was hoping for, so I made sure to let him get all his crazy out with the paints on some blank paper before and after the craft.  We all need to know and embrace our limits.

But we didn't leave Boden out of the fun, even if his best project so far has been projectile spit up.  I loved this idea for a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament, and used blue glitter clay from Micheal's to make one of our own:

Full disclosure, this is not my best work, but I also had a little problem of how to display our holiday cards that were piling up on the Dining Room table.  Cue a string of twine, a few thumb tacks and some clothes pin.  BAM!  Holiday card display on an otherwise boring and empty wall.

Note to self- plan for holiday card display earlier in 2013.  How about you guys- any fun holiday crafts on the schedule?  We haven't yet made Christmas cookies, which is sure to be an all out disaster.  I can't wait. 

December 18, 2012

We're Getting Festive Up in Here

I failed to mention last week that my new favorite Christmas Tree lot not only sells 16'+ trees for just $25 bones, but they also sell "an armful" of pine boughs for just $5.  I love a good small town business that can sell things by the "armful," and can trust customers to be fair and honest.  Holla Christmas!  I choose to use my pine boughs to fill our front planter.

I should note that when I first filled this planter there was no snow on the ground, and I didn't remove the white Dusty Miller in the front of my planter box because it still looked really nice and worked with the decor.  I probably need to give it the boot now.  For some reason it reminded me of Martin Short from Father of the Bride, "It's white, it works!" I just dated myself there...

And then nature came by and added a little natural bling:

I had a few extra that I tossed in an old planter and wrapped with a spare gold wire ribbon.  Its not perfect, but it was free, and you know I love me some free decor.

 And then my friends, I stumbled by the 20' fresh pine garland on sale at Trader Joes for just $6.  You heard me, 6 bones.  So I made our entryway just a little more festive.

I just added a little more of the extra wire ribbon I had on hand to dress it up a bit.  Note to the Hubs- this is why I never throw anything away.  You never know when you'll need some fancy ribbon.  (I can literally hear you shaking your head at me.)

 And while Trader Joes had me sucked in, I picked up a $9 boxwood wreath for the front door too.  I had the red berry swag left over from Christmas past, so I added it for a little color. 

Speaking of color, I can't believe that a year and a half later, that door is still purple! It's like we've been busy adding 1500 sq ft of wood floors, gutting 3 bathrooms, remodeling a kitchen and creating human life or something.  I promise that the minute the weather is warm enough to keep that baby open for a day I'm painting it.  Promise.

But we're not done yet, because everything is more fun with a little twinkle-twinkle:

I've got all the Christmas lights at my house set to automatic timers so I don't have to fuss with turning them on and off, and there's nothing more fun than the "POP" that turns them on at 4PM just as it starts to get dark outside.  Magic.  How about you guys- do you decorate outside or do you prefer to keep your holiday decor inside?  I was thrilled to see this year that a handful more houses in our neighborhood have added some festive decor outside.  We've also seen a couple of demolition dumpsters out in a few driveways.  Maybe we're rubbing off on the neighborhood a bit.  Sorry guys!

December 14, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

I’ll come clean with you guys, I’m a huge fan of Christmas.  It’s sort of obscene.  For me it’s not just the music and the food, but the opportunity to create this kind of magical atmosphere and memories that will last a lifetime.  Even though I know my holiday will never be as perfectly decorated and scripted as the seasonal movies, I can’t help but try. Obsessively. The Hubs puts up with it because he loves me, but barely.  In comparison he’s the Grinch- but we’re the yin to each other’s yang.  It’s how we roll.

So last year when we put up our very first Christmas tree in our new house, I tried to hide my disappointment when our quite expensive 6 foot balsam fir looked like a dwarf in our Living Room with nearly 20 foot ceiling.  This year, the Hubs didn’t stand a chance when one of our friends told us about a cut your own tree lot that specializes in 16’+ trees, with every tree on the lot costing just $25.  Sure the lot was over 50 miles away, but think of the memories… the experience… the carols we can sing on the way there…  Too far.  I recognize that now.

Thankfully the kids did great in the car, and the Hubs and I even got a little time for adult conversation on the way.  Talk about a Christmas Miracle. 

Ryder loved cutting down the tree with his Daddy.

And I loved snuggling with my little polar bear.

And once we got it home- we got our ho-ho-ho on.  

"Look Mommy- it's as big as me!"
Can't. Control. The. Excitement.
I had to get out a couple of step ladders to hang the lights.

And we reached the top of the tree from the Loft. 

I wish I could have purchased more garland, but they weren’t selling the same awesome deep red color I found last year.  Luckily the huge gold bulbs I had did a great job filling up the space.


We hung a few stockings by the chimney with care...

So blessed to add a forth stocking this season.

I couldn't be more excited about our 14 foot beauty- the house smells amazing and you can't deny the holiday spirit.  There's nothing better than cuddling up on the couch with the fireplace on and reading my boys some Christmas books.  We're making memories people- and that's what it's all about.