Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Bathroom Makeover Re-do

Over this past summer, due to some plumbing issues, we needed to replace the toilet in the kids' bathroom.  As usual,  one thing led to another and before Tim knew it, he was planking the walls for me.  And since he had to take everything out to plank the walls, we decided to go ahead and switch out the vanity, as well as the light fixture too.

So the kids' bathroom got a fun freshening up.

Here's a look back at what the bathroom looked like when we moved in.  So much tan and brown, I couldn't take it!

So not too long after we moved in, I tore down the wallpaper and the shower doors and gave it a fresh coat of paint.  We also updated the vanity, the medicine cabinet, and the light fixture, but we left the toilet, the floors, the tub and surrounding tiles alone because we weren't ready to jump into a major renovation.

After that update, it looked like this

It was definitely much better (and very colorful too!).  

But after living with it this way for a few years, we realized some of our choices weren't working in there as well as we thought they would. Live and learn! For one thing, the vanity was really too big for such a tiny bathroom.  It made the already small space feel even more cramped.  And it wasn't holding up very well either.  Tim had already had to fix a drawer that had come loose and the paint had also started chipping and bubbling up in places.  

I had the hardest time settling on what to replace it with though.  I really wanted a wall-mounted sink, but finally decided one wouldn't be very practical for us right now.  I also looked at smaller vanities, but just didn't find one that I loved.  Plus I wanted the bathroom to feel very open and airy and I didn't think I could get that feeling with a vanity.  So I ended up going with a pedestal sink, which originally was not even on my radar.  But it has opened up the bathroom so much.  I made sure to get one with space on both sides of the sink so the kids could sit their toiletries on it.  And I chose one that feels a little bit vintage, rather than sleek and modern.  We already had the medicine cabinet to hold things like toothpaste, a brush, hair gel, etc...   I just gave it a fresh coat of white paint to match the walls.  And there are some open shelves on the other side of the bathroom to hold baskets of things as well as the kids' towels.

The other thing we'd come to realize was that the light fixture we originally put in the bathroom wasn't nearly bright enough.  This bathroom doesn't have any windows, so it's important that our lighting be very bright.  The light we had in there only used two low wattage light bulbs and since the top of the light fixture was covered it also blocked much of the light from spreading out around the room.  So this time around, we bought a three-bulb light fixture with open glass so that the light could really brighten the entire bathroom.  It's so much brighter now.  We can finally see!

I painted the sign and Tim made the frame for it.  For when self-esteem and body insecurities become a battle, I just wanted a big reminder that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. 

I found this little bin at Magnolia Market to store washcloths and other little bathroom things.  

So that's the kids' bathroom now, looking open, airy, a little vintage farmhouse, nicely refreshed. and of course, white!

It will be nice when we eventually get the bathtub, surrounding tiles, and floors re-done, (they're all the original almond color) but for now, we're really enjoying this update. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Story of Tuck

As many of you know, our first dog, Pudge passed away last summer.  

Then sometime last November, I found myself perusing dogs on Craigslist hoping to find another dog to add to our family. At the time though, nothing worked out and after several closed doors, I eventually let the idea go.  Who wants to be trying to housebreak a puppy when it's snowing outside anyway? Not me!  Plus having just one small dog was nice and easy and I was enjoying that.  

Then at the beginning of this summer, we went down to Florida and stayed with my in-laws who had gotten a new puppy since the last time we'd seen them.  And their new pup, Charlie and Max had the best time playing together.  I came home from that trip pretty much convinced that we needed another dog.  Tim, however, was not so convinced. 

Every morning, I would check Craigslist for new dogs.  But each time I showed Tim a dog I found, he was just not that interested.  Until one day in early July, I saw this ad

Her name was Bailey.  She was part French Bulldog, part Pug and Beagle.  Her family loved her, but the kids were allergic to her, so they had decided that they needed to find a new home for her.   She grabbed our hearts from the beginning because she looked so much like a mini-Pudge.  She was the first pup that Tim was interested in at all, so I contacted the owners and we set up a time to go meet her the next morning.  The only problem was that the owners were asking a pretty hefty re-homing fee that was more than we wanted to pay.  But we were hoping that they'd be willing to negotiate the price once they met us and saw that we would give their puppy a loving home. 

The next morning, after meeting Bailey, Tim and I decided to make a decent offer and hope for the best.  The husband called his wife (who wasn't there with us) and she didn't want to accept our offer.  She said there were a few other people who were interested in Bailey, so she wanted to wait.  And since we didn't have a peace about offering any more money, we just asked them to let us know if things didn't work out with anyone else. I felt at peace about it; knowing that God was in control and if it was supposed to work out for us to have Bailey, then it would. 

For the next week, every time my email dinged, I hoped and prayed it was Bailey's owners contacting us. But after a few weeks of not hearing anything, I assumed she was sold and I started looking for another dog. But even as I looked, nothing grabbed my heart like Bailey did. 

Then one Monday morning in the beginning of August,  I was doing my usual morning check on Craigslist for dogs when a new ad for Bailey popped up.  My heart leaped and I immediately texted Tim (who was out of town) and asked him if we should contact them again.  He was completely on board, so I emailed the owners and just said we really loved Bailey and would like to try to reach an agreement with them on the price.  

This time, the wife emailed me back and said they would be willing to meet us in the middle on the price.  At this point, it felt like God had opened the door back up and was giving us the go-ahead, so we agreed on the price. Then I asked the wife if we could get Bailey the next day.  She emailed back late that night and said that they were going out of town the next morning and wouldn't be back until Thursday night, so we could get her on Friday morning.  

This sounded a bit odd to me, (were they taking the dog?  why would you list a dog on Craigslist right before you were going out of town?  were they going to pay to board her while they were gone?) but what could I say?  So I just agreed we would wait and get her Friday morning.  Tim was going to be coming back in town late Thursday night, so it would be nice that he could go with us to get her.  Plus Friday was the day before my birthday, so I felt like God was giving me a birthday puppy. 

All week long, the kids and I talked about Bailey.  We went to Target and got a collar for her and a dog bowl.  I ordered a name tag with our phone number on it to put on her collar.  And we counted down the days to Bailey. 

On Thursday night, when I was tucking the kids in to bed, they were so excited.  They kept saying, "This is like Christmas!  Tomorrow we're getting Bailey!".  

I went to bed feeling a tad wary because I hadn't heard anything from Bailey's owners, but figured no news from them was good news.  I had my phone on my nightstand that night because Tim hadn't made it home from his trip yet.  At midnight, my email dinged.  Thinking it was possibly Bailey's owners, I checked it.  It was the wife and basically she said they had changed their minds.  She said their kids were so upset when they broke the news to them and it seemed that their allergies hadn't been as bad lately.  They felt like Bailey was a part of their family and they just couldn't bear to part with her.

Ugh.  This was not the news we wanted to hear.

I forwarded the email to Tim, who was almost home at that point and then I laid in bed feeling like I had gotten punched in the gut. I felt awful, so sad, mad and disappointed, and I hated thinking of how we were going to break the news to the kids the next morning.  

When we told the kids, there were some tears and a lot of disappointment.  What was supposed to be a very exciting and fun day turned out to be a sad and hard day for all of us.  We reminded the kids though that if Bailey wasn't the puppy for us, then God had something better and we could trust Him. 

Up until we found Bailey, I was just looking for a dog and I didn't really know what I wanted. But after Bailey, I realized how much I liked French Bulldogs (she was part French Bulldog). But Frenchies are literally thousands of dollars, which is way out of our dog budget.  Plus Tim didn't really like French Bulldogs, but during this process, he realized how much he liked English Bulldogs.  At least we could agree on the bulldog part.

As the weeks went by, my desire for a bulldog puppy got stronger and stronger and I couldn't even have told you why.  It didn't make a lot of sense even to me but I was feeling so impatient.  I was constantly searching for bulldog puppies all over the internet and everywhere I looked was a closed door.  Finally, one Saturday, Tim found a breeder of Shorty Bulls on Facebook.  We had never heard of Shorty Bulls, but after looking into them, we felt like one might be a good fit for us.  The breeder was just a few hours from us and he had one puppy left.  Tim contacted him and it worked out that he was available to meet with us the next day. 

Well, we fell in love with that puppy from the moment we met him and we brought him home that night.   

His grandmother is a French Bulldog (what I wanted) and his dad is an English Bulldog (what Tim wanted).  So I feel like we got the perfect mix for us.  He also reminds us so much of Pudge in both his looks and personality.  It took us a while, but we finally settled on the name Tuck.

I can't help but see the way God worked through everything to bring us to Tuck.  He put desires in our hearts and lead us step by step. He opened doors to move us along the path and then closed doors to keep us from making wrong decisions.  I see it so clearly in this.  Also Tuck has a tiny brown spot on the back of his ear and because of this spot, someone that was going to buy him decided not to buy him because she wanted an ALL white dog.  So we got him instead.

Don't let his sweet face fool you though, he's quite the handful and I constantly feel like I have a toddler again.  I can't let him out of my sight for even a minute or he gets into things he shouldn't.  He's stubborn, cuddly, sweet and clumsy.  He snorts like a pig and charges like a bull. 


And that wrinkly face is so irresistible!  We're head over heels in love with him and we know he's the pup for us.  

And the funny thing is that Bailey's owner called a week after we got Tuck and said they were ready to sell Bailey to us (apparently the wife had just been having a hard time letting go).  Of course we told them we already had a puppy and weren't interested in Bailey anymore.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tyson's Room

I just wanted to pop in quickly and share some pictures of Tyson's room.  

A few weeks ago, he said he really wanted his own room.  I told him if he wanted to move downstairs, then he could have the cottage.  The cottage is a small room located right at the bottom of the stairs in our basement.  There are no windows, so it's not technically a bedroom.  A few years ago, I turned it into a playroom for the kids.  I set it up like a small house (which is how it got it's name "the cottage").  It had a kitchen, a dining room, and a bedroom for Peyton's dolls.  The kids still played in it some, but for the most part, they had grown out of it.  Anyway, Tyson liked the idea of moving into the cottage, so we moved all of the toys out and moved Tyson's furniture in. 

He needed a few things like a nightstand, some storage, and a desk.

I was about to buy him a World Market nightstand online, but then found last year's model on Craigslist for much cheaper.  I was so excited.  We had to make a trip a little ways out of town, but I didn't mind. 

When we went to pick it up, we just happened to be right near the Outlets, so we made a quick stop in the Restoration Hardware outlet and found a giant furry beanbag on sale.  We scooped it up and brought it home to make a cozy place for him to read and hang out.  This has become the new favorite spot in the house.

I blew up some pictures of him and his friends for his walls.  This was super cheap at Staples. 

And then we found a desk at World Market that fit perfectly in this nook. It was on sale, plus I had a coupon!!  I really tried to make choices with the future in mind.  I'm hoping this desk will still work well for him and fit him when he's in high school. 

Ikea had a set of lockers that worked great for storing some of his baskets of toys.  Originally, the lockers were bright blue, but we decided they would look better if I spray painted them Gun Metal gray. And we brought the pipe shelves down from his room upstairs. 

So now everyone has their own room, which has been so nice.  It gives them much needed space to spread out when they start to get on each other's nerves.  I think it's also good for Tyson to finally be able to call something "his own".  He's shared a room since he was three, so I'm happy for him to finally have his own space. 

And Hudson is happy because now he has his own room too! 

After moving Tyson downstairs, we ended up deciding to switch Hudson and Peyton's rooms, so it's been a busy few weeks of trying to get everyone moved into their new rooms.  I've patched a lot of holes and re-painted quite a few walls. I'm thankful to finally feel like everyone is mostly settled now.

Here's a peek of Hudson enjoying his new room. 

(Sorry - the quality of these pictures is not great.  Since Tyson's room has no windows, I had to turn the overhead lights on and the lighting in his room is pretty awful.  Plus, I just snapped quick pictures with my cellphone.)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Around the House

Hope you all had a nice Memorial Day weekend!
Tim and I just celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary earlier this week.  I'm so thankful for our thirteen years together and for all the ways God has worked in us and in our marriage to always hold us together.  We have been blessed!

Tim took a day off from work last week when the kids were in school and we went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch.  It was nice.  We don't go on date nights very often, but while we were sitting there eating, we decided that lunch dates while the kids are in school work pretty great for us.  It's nice to be in a stage of life where that's an option.

Well, I got a little off track because originally this blog was going to be about the little things we've done around the house.  So let's forget all this sentimental anniversary gush and get back to house stuff!

About a month ago, I decided to give our closet a makeover.  It all started with a trip to Ikea, where I picked up several packs of wooden hangers.  After getting home and getting ready to take all of our clothes out to re-hang them, I thought I might as well de-clutter and paint while I had everything out.  It just made sense.  I knew if I didn't do it then, then most likely I would never get around to doing it.  And I had visions dancing in my head of a calm, clean, minimalist closet space and I wanted to see if I could make that happen in real life.  I got most of it done in that one afternoon, so it wasn't a big job, but it sure made a big difference.  Our closet doesn't have a door (we took it off years ago to make things simpler) so we see straight into the closet from our bed and since I am such a visual person, I appreciate the new view.

Afterwards, it looked like this

And kind of surprisingly, a month later, it still looks basically the same.  I've found that when I spend the time to really clean out and organize a space in a way that works for us and looks pleasing to my eyes, it helps motivate me to keep it that way. 

On to the next project… I was inspired by a picture on Pinterest to create a pot garden to cheer up our back deck.  I had a few old terra cotta pots sitting around and then we found several more listed cheaply on Craigslist that already had an aged patina.  We planted daisies, dahlias, tomatoes, a rose bush, and a few other things.  I also have a small herb garden growing out there.  I don't have the best green thumb, but maybe I can keep these growing for a while.  The hardest thing for me is remembering and taking the time to go out there to water them because the hot sun dries them out so fast and then all my flowers start wilting. 

A few weeks ago, a friend and I went to an open house in our neighborhood.  I just love walking through houses.  Sometimes I think I should be a realtor just so I can visit lots of homes. Ha! Anyway, this particular house was the same ranch style as our house, so it was especially interesting to me to see how the owners arranged their furniture and what additions they've done to their house.  I've always struggled with the layout of our basement.  Because of all the entrances and exits, doors, and windows, it's not an easy room to work with.  But after visiting the open house, it gave me an idea to try out in our home.  Later that afternoon, I got Tim to help me move things around.  It's definitely much cozier with the couch closer to the fireplace.  The rest of the room feels slightly unfinished to me, but maybe it will just take a few little touches and some time to get used to it.

Have I showed you guys my grey Annie Sloan chalk painted piano yet?  I can't remember.  It used to be turquoise, but I re-painted it grey a while back because I've moved out of the turquoise phase.  And then a few weeks ago, I decided the top of the piano needed a little freshening up for summer so I switched it all up.  Right now, I'm loving splashes of pink and gold with lots of white, gray and a little bit of black. 

Which brings me to my pink peonies!  I think I mentioned in my last blog that I've been patiently waiting for them to bloom.  All my neighbors peonies had been blooming for weeks before mine barely had buds on them.  Every day, I would walk around my yard and check them for progress.  Well, finally last week, mine all started blooming.  I enjoyed going out each day, looking for opening blooms, cutting them and bringing them inside to enjoy.  

I was pretty excited about how many I got this year.  

I had enough to fill a big jar on the kitchen table.

And another smaller jar in the living room.  I love the white peonies too!  And look… more pink, gold, white, gray and black.  I think it's becoming a thing around here. 

I can't wait to see how many I get next year!  

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Spring Makeover: The Outdoor Edition

Although Spring has been so slow in coming this year (and extremely rainy), the slightly warmer days have inspired me to get outside (when it's not raining) and give the exterior of our house a little bit of extra love.  Our front porch, as well as our flower beds were looking quite sad and dismal after the long winter and they both needed some freshening up.


The first thing we did was buy a few ferns to add to the front porch.  And with the help of a new doormat, our porch felt a lot more welcoming afterwards.  It's amazing what a little bit of greenery can do.

I also decided to dig up everything in the flower bed to the right of the door and completely start from scratch.  I hated the overgrown bushes and my daffodils were past their prime and resembled weeds.  I removed the Hostas and re-planted them in other places. 

Before picture:

In the middle of the process of deciding what to plant in the empty flower bed, I decided the bed was too large and overwhelming, so I moved the edgers in a few feet giving me a smaller space to work with.  I kept it simple with one Hosta, three Boxwoods and two Peonies.  Boxwoods are classic and they will stay green year round.  And Peonies are my absolute favorite flower.  I've been adding one or two new Peony plants every year to the flower beds around our house and now I have six.  Most of them are still so young that I don't get many buds, but a few of them have quite a few buds on them this year, so I'm excited.  I can't wait to cut them and bring them inside to enjoy.  I also re-planted my Daffodil bulbs so they will hopefully come back next Spring.

For Mother's Day, Tim made and hung flower boxes for me.  So far, I've filled them with Impatiens and Ivy.  I'm hoping they grow and fill out until my boxes are overflowing with flowers and greenery.

I ended up painting the front door black (it was white).

As much as I love white everything, black doors are classy.

I found a sweet little Gardenia bush at Trader Joes and brought it home.  My mom had a Gardenia bush when I was growing up and I can still remember stopping to smell it when I was outside playing and bringing a few flowers inside to enjoy. 

Here's an after picture.

I feel like it's quite the improvement from where we started, but I can't stop thinking about painting the brick white. 

Here's an idea of what that could look like.  

It looks so charming, doesn't it?

Tim is not quite on board with this idea though, so we'll see if we actually ever do it.  

Do any of you have a painted brick house?  I would love to hear about it if you do.  Did you paint it yourself or have someone else paint it for you?  Do you love it, hate it, or regret it?  Does it require much upkeep or re-painting?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Painting the faux fireplace

Apparently, I can't go very long without painting or rearranging something in my house.  It's my creative outlet.  So even if every room in my house looks finished and put together, I just start getting this impulse to switch something up after a while.  

You may remember that about a year ago, I took down our faux fireplace and put a desk up here in its place.   

(See picture below)

Well, I liked the desk and it looked good there, but I just kept having this urge to paint the faux fireplace black.  I ignored it for weeks until finally I just had to do it and see what it looked like.  As much as me and the color white have a thing, surprisingly I am also falling in love with black.  Black makes such a statement.  And I've read that every room needs something black in it to ground it. 

So after painting the fireplace, I fell back in love with it.  And now, the desk has moved downstairs to the basement room and my fireplace is back upstairs, front and center.  

We also finally switched out the light fixture in here.  Since this room was originally intended to be a dining room, it had a chandelier hanging in it when we moved in.  And three years later, Tim was still hitting his head on it every time he forgot to duck when he walked through.  I just had the hardest time finding a flush mount light that I liked, so I stayed stuck with that ugly chandelier for way too long.  But finally, I settled on this light from Lowes.  It's simple and classy.  And bonus, it was fairly cheap.  We have this same light hanging in our foyer now too.  Eventually we plan to switch out all the out-dated flush mounts downstairs with this one. 

I hung our House of Belonging sign over the mantle, cut some fresh limbs from our tree outside, and stuck them in a vase.  This was a simple way to brighten it up and add a hint of Spring inside.  There is nothing like plants that liven up a room.

And I placed some birch logs on a basket to make it feel a little bit more like a real fireplace.

Do you ever get the urge to switch things up just for fun too?