3-Month Photos

We had Hudson’s 3-month pictures and our very first family pictures taken about a month ago by Shannon Bulla Photography. I planned these pictures for a Sunday afternoon, the end of the busiest week ever.  Nathan was out of town most of the week, I worked my usual 28 hours while packing up the condo, Nathan was in his best friend’s wedding which we attended as a family, and we moved to our new house.  No big deal.

Anyway, all that’s to say that Hudson wasn’t the happiest camper by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around- he fussed for most of this session.  But the awesome Shannon Bulla came in and worked her magic, giving us pictures we will treasure forever.

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Hudson, being your Mom is a delight!

Musings on Parenting

We are so lucky to have a park less than half a mile away from our new house.  There are tennis courts, soccer fields, walking paths and a small playground for the little ones.  Hudson and I have walked there from the time he was tiny.  For the first few months, he would scream at the top of his lungs for hours in the evening, and nothing we tried would help.  Sometimes, I would put him in the stroller and we’d walk lap after lap around the park.  He wasn’t any happier, but at least we were out in the fresh air!  Walking was a great stress reliever for me.

Now that he’s bigger, park time is so fun!  He went for his first swing ride recently, and thought it was great.

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“How does this thing work, anyway, Mom?”

Hudson’s such a boy already. He spent most of the park time preoccupied with staring at the brackets and chains on the swing.

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Nathan and I have been talking about the comments people have made to us lately- mostly telling us how we can finally start enjoying being parents since Hudson’s older and less fussy.  It always takes me by surprise when people express that, because I have honestly loved being Hudson’s mom from the minute he was born!  Why would I want to wait to enjoy my baby until he is older and easier to care for? Sure, he screams in the car, wakes up in the middle of the night, and only drinks bottles of a specific temperature.  We anticipated that parenting would have difficult moments, and it has delivered!  But, since we expected these challenges, we have found it pretty easy to adapt to our new lifestyle.

I try to remind myself when I’m up for the fifteenth time to roll my wailing, stuck-on-his-belly baby to his back, that all this is temporary.  In another week, he probably will be able to remember how to roll from belly to back, even it’s the middle of the night and he’s tired.  Or maybe he’ll decide just to abandon rolling over in his sleep altogether- that would be nice.

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Anyway, someday Hudson will be sleeping through the night and I’ll be chasing him around the playground, instead of gently pushing him in the swing for the first time.  When that time comes, I’m glad that I’ll be able to look back and remember this squishy baby stage fondly, both the intense challenges and joys.  Time is flying away- I want to love, not just survive, these baby days.

A Dining Room Becomes A Music Room: Curtains and Furniture

 

BEFORE:

Removing Wallpaper

AFTER:

Target Cube Organizer

The music studio is complete!  Last week, I moved some basic cube storage (from Target) into the room to hold music and teaching supplies.  I added a few light weight but comfortable leather chairs (found at T.J, Maxx a few years ago) for parents or students to sit on, and a neutral storage ottoman (found on clearance at Target) for additional seating and storage.  I’ve been teaching at home for almost a week now, and I absolutely love it.  Why didn’t I do this sooner?

You can find the gray storage bins here.  The ceiling light is from Home Depot, but not available online.  You can find a similar one here.

Nail Head Trim Cloth Bulletin Board

I love the bulletin board I purchased from FleurDeLizDecor on Etsy.  You can find it here.  I contemplated making my own for all of five seconds, then I remembered that I’m not crafty and have a 4-month-old who screams when he’s in his car seat running errands with me.  So, yes, I broke down and ordered the expensive bulletin board from the comfort of my computer chair.

Petrof Grand Piano, Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams

The piano move went smoothly, and it fits nicely in the room.  I was a little worried about the baby grand engulfing the room as it’s only 9.5×14′.

The wall color we chose is called Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams.  It’s such a livable neutral.  It has a green cast in all these pictures, which I’m not happy about, because it’s really a true gray-tan. I tried about 17 different shades of gray before settling on this one.  It’s so hard to find a gray without a purple, green or blue tone to it.

West Elm Curtains

I went with the Pinwheel Linen Curtains from West Elm- you can find them here.  I went extra long on the curtains, and hung the rod well above the windows to give a feeling of extra height to the room.  I love the way it looks!

Clear glass lamp and black shade are also Target finds.  I like how a black shade can dress up an ordinary lamp.  The aqua vase is a gift from my paternal Grandma, something she’s had displayed in her house for years and years.  It’s extra meaningful because she was my first and most influential piano teacher.

West Elm Curtains

I’m still looking for some art to add a pop of color to the room, thinking about something like this or this (can they mark it down to 95% off for me?).

A Dining Room Becomes A Music Room: Board and Batten

In the last post about the music room, this is where we left off- wallpaper, floor trim, carpet and chair rail was removed, and we were all set for the carpet to be laid.

Removing Wallpaper

We were amazed at how fast the carpet was laid.  In our old house, we had all wood or tile flooring, so this was our first experience with carpet.  Granted, this room is only 9.5×14′, but the carpet layer was in and out of our house in under an hour.  Years down the road, we may put wood flooring in this room, but for now, carpet meets our needs in this room best.  It’s cheap, didn’t require our time to install, and it’s pretty cozy, too!

Home Depot Millwork

We decided to add board and batten to the lower 4 feet of the walls.  We looked at several tutorials, but our favorite was this one from Young House Love.  What we liked best from YHL was how they just painted the wall with glossy white paint to resemble board, instead of putting board up all over the wall.  It saved us a lot of time and money.  Now that it’s done, you would never guess that our board and batten is really just batten.

We headed out to Home Depot one Saturday to get our supplies.  We grabbed 4 inch baseboard for the room.  It’s amazing how much change you notice in a room just by switching out the old 2 inch baseboard for 4 inch.  We decided to keep all of the window and door trim and just paint it bright white.  In this house, our motto is to make it look great while saving as much money and time as we can.  Painting, instead of removing, window and door trim, is one way we’re doing that.

Sawing at Home Depot

For the board across the top of the board and batten, we picked up some ordinary 1×3 pine boards that were primed white.  We had a lot of trouble finding battens that were inexpensive AND would give us the look we wanted.  We finally settled on these, 1-5/8″ Wood Primed Finger-Jointed Lattice Moulding.  We looked at Lowe’s and Mendards stores, but could only find these at Home Depot.  I promise Home Depot’s not paying me, I just love that store so much!

Baby Sleeping At Home Depot

Oh look, Hudson loves it too!  I was carrying him through the store, and all of the sudden he felt really heavy.  I looked over, and he was sound asleep.

Painting Window Trim

When we got home, Nathan painted the existing trim and the lowest 4 feet of the walls with glossy white paint.

Board and Batten In Process

After the paint dried, he put up the baseboard, and then the battens.  Since studs are typically 16 inches apart, we decided to place the battens 16 inches apart, so we could nail them right onto the studs.

I got Nathan this stud finder, and it’s awesome!  It’s basically just a strong magnet, and it finds the screws in the studs that were used to attach the sheets of drywall.

Board and Batten In Process

 

Board and Batten In Process

 Once all the battens were up, Nathan added the primed 1×3 pine board across the top.  In this picture, he’s trimming out the small doorway to the closet under our stairs.  Putting up the floor trim, the battens and the top board only took one Saturday afternoon.

IMG_2021Quilt from Little Sproutie

And, of course, no post could be complete without an update on baby Hudson.  At 27 inches and 16 pounds, he’s a 4-month-old giant.  His cheerful grins bring so much joy to our house!

The Dining Room Becomes A Music Studio: Wallpaper Removal

Last night, Nathan and I dug into our first remodeling project on the new house.  Since I’ll begin giving all my cello and piano lessons from home in mid-August, transforming this room is top priority.  After a long day, we were finally both home around 8:30 pm.  Hudson went down for the night.  Nathan and I quickly ate leftovers from the cookout we had over the weekend.  By quickly, I mean no-time-to-warm-them-in-the-microwave and just-sit-on-the-kitchen-counter-while-you-eat.  Needless to say, we weren’t all that thrilled about beginning our project so late.  We had to get it done last night because we’re having carpet laid today, and the piano is being delivered tomorrow.  Stressful is our style.

Removing Wallpaper

Here’s the before picture of the room, minus the cat-stained blue shag carpet we already tore out.  I’m sure you’re sad you missed seeing that.  By far, this is the yuckiest room in the house.  But, by far, this is a way easier remodel than our old house.  That was remodeling.  This is just peeling wallpaper, putting in a light fixture, taking out old trim, putting up board and batten, putting up new trim, having carpet laid, changing out the cream outlets/switches for white, and painting.  No big deal.

Removing Wallpaper

Here we are in the process of peeling off the wallpaper.  As you can see, the top layer of paper came off super easily.  I’ve peeled a lot of wallpaper and it never came off in big sheets like this.  The backing and glue were still on the wall after the top layer of paper was peeled off.

To remove the backing and glue, we tried using a clothes steamer, but that didn’t get it wet enough.  After that, we tried rubbing a mixture of water and dish soap into the backing with a towel, and it started to peel off, but in teeny-tiny bits.  Then, my genius husband brought in a grout sponge, and we rubbed the water/soap mixture into the paper backing with that.  It was magic.  I would wash a wall thoroughly, then Nathan would come behind a couple minutes later, and the backing would peel off in huge sheets.  This little sponge made all the difference-you can find one here for $1.97.

After the backing was removed, there was still the issue of the glue.  Again, with a towel, it was hard work, but removing it with the sponge was so easy!  I would wipe down a section, leave it for a minute while I wiped down another section, then come back and wipe the first section again.  That’s all it took!  From start to finish, this project took less than two hours, including sanding the walls where the chair-rail had been, and cleaning everything up.

Removing Wallpaper

 This is what the room looks like right now.  I can’t wait for the carpet layers to come today and cover up that nasty vinyl tile flooring!

How-To: Have An Organized Move

In the less than four years we’ve been married, Nathan and I have moved five times.  We’re basically pros at it now.  The last time, all our stuff was moved out of the old places (house and apartment) and into the new within four hours (in a torrential six-inches-of-rain-in-four-hours downpour, complete with flooded and closed roads, mind you) and unpacked within three days.  Here’s our list of tips and tricks, which we learned the hard way, just so you could read our list and make your first move go smoothly.

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Oh look, if you follow my tips, you’ll be smiling fondly at your spouse, skinny, have really great hair, and a nice plant.

1) Get mostly small boxes.  1’x2′ is best for most items.  The first time we moved, we went to the UPS store and bought the biggest boxes they sold.  They were almost as tall as us, and it seemed fantastic because we only had to move eight boxes.  It was all great and wonderful until we actually had to MOVE those 985 pound boxes.

2) Be picky about what boxes you get.  We have found that produce departments and liquor stores typically have stiff, sturdy boxes meant for heavy items.  Have fun explaining to your friends that you didn’t really drink 28 cases of Jack Daniels.

3) Put everything in a box.  Everything.  Even that random lamp, or your stand mixer, or the basket that you think you could just pick up.  Everything’s easier to move if it’s in a box.  You’ll be able to stack things more easily in your moving truck, and it makes it easier for all those friends who are spending their Saturday handling every single thing you own.

4) Exception: don’t put your clothes in a box.  Trash bags are your friends when it comes to clothes.  Keep your clothes on the hangers, put them in trash bags with the tops of the hangers sticking out, and cinch the trash bag’s tie around the hangers.  When you take them out, your hangers should all be going the correct direction, instead of being tangled up.  It will only take a couple minutes to hang the clothes in the new closet.

On our first move, I took all the clothes off of the hangers, folded them and put them in boxes, and then put the hangers into boxes.  Not only did this take forever on the front side of the move, but I then spent hours untangling the hangers and hanging our clothes in the new closets.

5) Sort through your closets and cabinets before you start packing.  In the weeks before you move, go through everything you own.  Don’t wait until you start packing, as it will feel overwhelming.  I get pretty ruthless here.  If I haven’t used it recently, it’s likely that I’m not ever going to.  I start by bringing our excess stuff to a consignment store, and whatever they won’t take, I donate to Goodwill.  Some other stuff is just trash, especially from our office area.  I stay on top of the paper piles, but when we move, I always have a giant pile of old receipts, expired coupons, etc.

6) Don’t try to unpack during the actual move.  Instead of parking myself in the kitchen and starting to unpack (which is what I want to do), I’ve found that it’s most helpful if I stand in the doorway and just tell people where to bring boxes.  I usually have the boxes labeled with the room, but things seem to go way faster when I direct people.  We also tape a sign to the door of each room, identifying it as “Master Bedroom”, or “Hudson’s Room”, or “Office”, and so on.  We wait to actually unpack boxes until all of our helpers have gone home.  That way, we know where our stuff is, and it’s organized in a way that makes sense to us.

Hope this helps!  Do you have any tips or tricks to add to the list?

Back to Blogging

Anyone out there?

(Dusts off keyboard)

I’m alive! I really didn’t intend to take a 15-month blogging break (are blogs even cool anymore?), but life happened, and now I’m back.

Oh, and I completed a pretty big project while I was away.  Yep, I grew this guy:

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Meet Hudson Paul, who was born March 30th, and has been growing like a weed ever since.  Being pregnant wasn’t my favorite thing ever- I mean, who really likes throwing up from weeks 5-36, sleeping sitting up because of heartburn, and having strong contractions every 10 minutes for 48 hours before labor really progressed?  But, I can honestly say that every day of little Hudson’s 3-month life has brought me more delight than I could ever imagine.  I love being his mom.

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Last August, Nathan got a job in the town I was already working in, which is over an hour away from our sweet farmhouse.  We tried commuting together for all of 4 days, then threw in the towel and rented a little apartment in our new town.  We put our house on the market this spring, and our first home is now being loved by a new little family.  The house is on our way to Nathan’s parents, so we get to frequently drive past at a normal speed slowly and see what they’ve been up to.  The house looks great!  It makes me so happy to know that the house that we poured our blood, sweat and tears into (lots of tears!), is still getting tons of TLC.

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Watson.  This little dude was an awesome pet and member of the family.  The three of us had so much fun together.  In September, he ran out into the road and was hit by a car.  He didn’t make it, and we still miss him.

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Last weekend, we moved into a spacious two-story in a quiet neighborhood with a beautiful back yard and lots of potential.   We are thrilled to have our own home again!  The couple we bought the house from built it in 1967, raised their three kids here, and now are in assisted living.  They took good care of the house, so everything is functional and livable.  However, they loved wallpaper- lots and lots of wallpaper.  The light fixtures, linoleum and shag carpets scream 70’s.

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Camping on the porch.

So, that’s where things are around here. I hope you’re ready to see this dated home transformed into an awesome space for our family!