Friday, March 16, 2012

Hot Mama

Back in 1993 my mom went to GlamourShots to get some pictures taken. She's going to totally kill me for this, but check out my smokin' hot mama: 

Crazy to think she was only two years older than I am now in this picture. 

Love you, Mom!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nesting. Times a thousand.

We've officially been in our house for two weeks now, and we've been busy, busy, busy! I've finally got a little bit of time to post an update and a photo tour of the house, which I'm really excited to share with everyone!

I suppose I'll just start with the outside of the house, which really was the area that needed (and still needs) the most help.

Here's a little side-by-side of the before and after of the front of the house. I repainted the mailbox, which was white and rusty, and Sean put up new house numbers and replaced the old, dirty porch light.

(click to view larger)

It's amazing what an impact just a few little changes can make!

One of the first things I did the weekend we moved in was to get some seed down on the front lawn. Unfortunately the one side of the yard was mostly mud. I found some neat stuff that looks like blown insulation that you spread over blank spots in your lawn that theoretically will start to sprout grass in one to two weeks. I hope it works well, but I haven't seen any grass come up yet.

I also put down some pavers to make a path from the driveway to the front door and I think it turned out really well.

Under the carport was a really ugly, ramshackle shed that was just gross and a major eyesore. Last weekend I spent half the day Saturday tearing that sucker down and it looks SO much better now.

The backyard needs tons of help as well, and I've started by tearing off the ivy that was growing in the back corner of the house, raking out some of the flower beds and grass, and spent a whole day and a half pruning my poor, over-grown apple tree. It still needs lot of pruning, but it looks a lot better than it did.

We've obviously been a bit overloaded with lawn waste and construction materials, but luckily thanks to my aunt I knew exactly what to do. We went to Home Depot and bought a couple of these:

They're called Bagsters and they're like giant Ikea bags that you can fill with garbage, building materials, and lawn waste. Each bag holds up to 3,300 pounds of material, and when it's full you call Waste Management and pay to schedule a pick-up. They come with a big truck, pick up the bags with a crane, and haul them away for you. Easy peasy!

When we moved in, Sean got up on the roof to check out the state of the swamp cooler. Unfortunately the last owners didn't drain it before winter hit, and it was completely destroyed inside. We decided we'd bite the bullet and just have central air installed. I found a great company that was really fantastic and professional and they had the whole system installed in one day.

They're actually here as I'm typing this to remove and cap our swamp cooler for FREE. I love free.

How's about a tour of the inside now?

I'll start with the living room. This room didn't need much work aside from needing drapes for the massive twelve-foot wide picture window. This window is one of the things I love most about this house. The natural light throughout the whole house is just a breath of fresh air, and I love that I don't have to turn on a single light in my house all day. I also love the beautiful, original hardwood floors.

Pricing out drapery rods for this window was really stressful; even buying an unfinished wood dowel at a hardware store was going to cost at least $50-60. So I took a cue from Pinterest and bought a long PVC pipe, spray painted it with a spray paint that adheres to plastic, slipped on my grommet-topped drapes, and hot-glued finials on the ends. Total cost for the PVC and finials: $16. Not bad!

 Next to the living room is the dining room/kitchen. I'm absolutely, positively in LOVE with my kitchen. There's just the perfect amount of space, tons of cupboards, and a brand new gas stove, dishwasher, and HUGE fridge. I loved cooking before, but I REALLY love cooking now.

There is one full bathroom upstairs. It's pretty small, but works perfectly for us. Sean hung some floating shelves above the toilet for more storage, and I love the vanity and modern sink. I'm not a big fan of towel bars, so I removed the one that was there and replaced it with hooks for each of our towels. The thing I love most about the bathroom: having a window! I love having soft, natural light in my bathroom, especially when I'm putting on make-up (ladies, I'm sure you can relate).

On to the bedrooms! I'm not going to even bother showing you the master bedroom yet because it's a DISASTER, but here are some pictures of the boys' rooms.

Taylor's bedroom has two big windows, allowing a ton of light to come in during the day. I think it makes his room look so colorful and cute! (Sorry for the unmade bed; I was too lazy to make it before I took the picture).

Tay's favorite part of his whole room: the side of his closet that hold all of his games, puzzles, and art supplies. He loves that he has his own space to go and work on projects. One day last week he was in his room alone for almost an hour and a half, just coloring and drawing and doing puzzles.

Here is Ollie's room. I love that he has his own space now and that I can leave his bedroom door open all day and he can play in there unsupervised. No choking hazards, no uncovered outlets, none of Taylor's toys that he's not allowed to play with. Just lots of toddler toys, a plush green rug, and a beanbag chair that he loves to sit in and read books.

My boys are both thriving in this house. They are so much happier than they were being cramped in a tiny apartment, and because they are so much happier I am too. Staying home with them all day has become such a pleasure (for the most part) instead of something I just had to get through. Amazing what just a change in environment can do!

Now on to the basement.

The first room downstairs: the ugly but very useful laundry/furnace/storage room. I have never had this much storage in my life, and I am beyond happy about it. All of our seasonal items, old baby stuff, camping equipment, and other miscellaneous "stuff" can be easily stored and organized in this room, and that makes Mama VERY happy.

Across from the storage room is a big family room, which I currently call the "room of nothing" because we have nothing to put in it aside from some random things I'm planning to sell and my elliptical machine. Eventually this room will be a media/game room with a sectional, projector screen, game table, and bar. That'll be a couple of years down the road though.

Oh, and you're probably wondering why the carpet is pulled up in this picture. I'll explain that in just a bit.

At the end of the family room is another massive storage room, hereby referred to as "Sean's domain." This will be the room where he'll organize all of his electronic and computer equipment, tools, painting supplies, and anything else he wants. He's so excited to finally have all of these things organized and accessible, rather than just shoved in random bins wherever we have a little bit of space.

At the end of the hall downstairs is my favorite room in the house: my CRAFT ROOM. To say I'm excited about having a craft room would be a dramatic understatement. I have longed so longingly long for a place where I could permanently set up my sewing machines, dress form, and the rest of my craft supplies. It needs some paint and maybe another shelf or two; but this right here? Heaven.

Across from the craft room is what I refer to as the "guest suite" because it has a three-quarter bath attached to a guest bedroom. This is currently the state of the bedroom. Empty.

Eventually we'll have an armchair and side table in the little reading nook, and a sofa and large ottoman for lounging/sleeping. My sister is very excited about this, and I'm sure as soon as the room is finished she'll be the first to book a stay.

Here is the guest bathroom. There's a vanity outside of the room with the toilet and shower. I think it looks like a hotel room and will be great for guests.

Now about that whole carpet issue in the family room. A couple of days after we moved in, Sean noticed that the carpet was completely soaking wet - not a good sign at all. He was able to trace the leak to the ceiling in the guest bathroom shower. When he pushed on the ceiling it collapsed under the weight of a massive amount of water.

Yep, I just about had a complete mental breakdown.

Sean called our realtor to see if there was anything we could do as far as getting the seller to fix it, but because the house was sold "as is" and we had no home warranty, there was really nothing we could do. However, he said he felt really bad about our situation and would come over to at least help us find the source of the leak. He brought an industrial dryer to dry out the carpet and pad, then helped Sean trace the leak to the tub drain in the upstairs bathroom. The drain was not installed properly and so every time we had used the tub or shower, a good majority of the water was leaking down into the ceiling and walls of the basement. Oye.

Well that saint-of-a-man spent the entire weekend working on that drain and just couldn't repair it. He could have told us to call and plumber ourselves, but instead he took care of it himself. He paid for a plumber to come and replace the entire drain assembly in the tub, and as if that weren't enough, he came by when the carpet was dry to re-tack it down for us, then hired a drywall guy to come and fix the ceiling in our shower!

Can you believe that?? He is seriously such a life saver and I don't know what we would have done without him.

Aside from that stressful hiccup, we've really enjoyed settling in to our first home. I always have a hard time feeling comfortable in a new place, but now it really is starting to feel like home to me. We love our neighbors and our neighborhood, and we love spending our weekends at Home Depot and doing improvement projects. We've still got a pretty long list of things to do before our housewarming party next month, but it's coming along really nicely! Life is just so good right now.