The Wisdom Tooth Hiatus & Updates

Saturday, September 30, 2017

I apologize for my prolonged absence. I had surgery to remove four impacted wisdom teeth two weeks ago, and with that coming up I was too stressed to write. Afterward, although the surgery went well, my recovery did not. I had a lot of pain, nausea, significant swelling that impeded my ability to open my mouth more than 1/2", and two dry sockets. I'm still dealing with partial numbness in my tongue, total numbness of the gums behind my lower teeth, and discomfort in my jawbone. Thankfully, it is much better than it was even a few days ago.

Although I was on temporary hiatus, life itself was not. Logan turned six years old, and we had a wonderful get together with family to celebrate. Emma said "I love you", which is huge for us as she does not yet talk. She usually says no more than 1-2 words a day (Daddy and/or Mama), and just uses simple sign language for words like "more" and "milk". Emma is very smart, and we know she could talk, she just so far chooses not to. So hearing "I love you" was a big deal for us!

In rental house news: the kitchen hardware on our was installed today, and we are planning to have it listed for rent sometime Monday. So fingers crossed for good tenants soon!
In our house news: we got a new toilet. The tank on our original one cracked from top to bottom, seemingly for no reason, leaving a huge puddle on the tile floor. We replaced it with a similar Kohler model, but for nearly a week we had to grab the spare key and run next door if we needed to "worship the porcelain god". I'm very grateful this week for a toilet that flushes without leaving puddles!

Finally, tomorrow an old friend who happens to also be a very talented photographer will be coming to do a lifestyle session with us, so I'll share those here as soon as I have them!
For now, here are a couple of photos from our trip to the fair this week.

My Capsule Wardrobe

Saturday, August 19, 2017

When we were planning our move into this house, I knew immediately that my wardrobe would be a issue. I had literally hundreds of pieces of clothing, most that I had not worn in ages (or ever!). Our house has just one small closet in each bedroom, about 2 ft deep and 3 ft wide. It's enough for one person's clothing, but definitely not two. We knew we would need a garment rack, and I knew my clothing would make prettier decor than Justin's work clothes, so I volunteered to use it. However, it holds far less than the closet! So having less clothing that I can wear more is a necessity. Enter the capsule wardrobe! Inspired by Unfancy, a blog I have followed and adored for a while, I began paring down my wardrobe ruthlessly. And you know what? I don't miss any of the things I've gotten rid of one bit. Getting dressed is easier, less stressful, and I love what I'm wearing every single day. I no longer feel overwhelmed with guilt seeing all the clothes I "invested" in and am not wearing. 
In addition to owning less clothing, I am using an app called Cladwell to track what I'm wearing so that I can see how much of my closet I'm wearing. It lets me know how much I've worn any item, what percentage of my outfits it has been in for any given time period, and gives me suggestions for other outfits I could wear it in. This is super helpful for me, because I often run out of ideas for how to wear things and keep going back to the same tried-and-true basics. In October, when I update my capsule for Fall (by packing away my Summer-only items and pulling out the handful of Fall transition pieces that I elected to keep in storage) I'll be able to check the app and see if there are items that I didn't wear enough to justify keeping. This will help me weed out anything that didn't pull its weight so that I can have a wardrobe I wear 100% of. 
This week I documented a few of my outfits so that I can start to further refine my style:

I wore this dress to have lunch with Logan at his school. He picked it because, in his words, "I want it to look like we are getting married!". You'll have to excuse Emma in the background, busily pulling all the clean laundry off of that chair. 

I wore this silk top and high-waist jeans to stay cool while running errands with Justin and the kids over the weekend. Sadly, it started raining halfway through the day and I had to change, since silk doesn't play well with rain. 

This was my favorite outfit of the week! Long sleeve linen tee with denim cutoffs and gladiator sandals. 

And finally, yesterday I wore a white tee and dark, high rise jeans with Birkenstocks.

It used to be normal for me to feel ambivalent or unsure about what I was wearing, even though I love clothes and had lots of beautiful things in my closet! A lot of "does this actually look good?" self-doubt. Now I rarely ask that question, because everything in my closet goes well together, and all of it is high-quality.
If you're considering a capsule wardrobe, I can't recommend it enough. For resources to help you get started, check out The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees. The Curated Closet is a great handbook for creating your perfect capsule wardrobe, beginning with what is already in your closet, and building from there. You can also check out the following blogs:
Style Bee
Be More with Less 

An Anniversary

This past week has been a whirlwind of life, but not much has been done inside the house. Justin has spent almost every free hour of his days outside on our landscaping, which is coming along nicely. He basically has our house done in the front (other than putting in a French drain system), and will be starting on landscaping the rental house this weekend. We picked Gardenia bushes to go in front of each porch, as well as some pretty perennials (in a different shade of purple for each house), and English Ivy to cover the slope in front of each house. I'm hoping he will do a post about that soon, so fingers crossed on that! It's going to look beautiful when it all fills in.The photo above has nothing to do with landscaping, but it's just too adorable not to share! Justin and I both got to go to lunch with Logan at school this week. Logan's teacher took this photo when Justin was there, since he was once her kindergarten student too!

This week was also the 10 year anniversary of our first date! We marked the occasion by going for Thai food, a little shopping in the downtown, and coffee at the spot where we first met.
Ten years ago Justin was working as a barista while taking a semester off from college, and I was working part time at this little coffee shop. We took an instant and intense dislike to each other! I think we both made instant assumptions about one another, and we were both incredibly far off base. The first time I read Pride and Prejudice, shortly after we had begun dating, I had to literally laugh out loud at the uncanny similarities to our early interactions. We just did not work well together, but thankfully (we thought) we were never scheduled to work the same shift. No one else I worked with shared in my disdain for Justin, they all talked about what a handsome guy he was, what a gentleman, how he smelled sooo good. All I knew is that he seemed like a jerk. And he thought I was stuck up! So we both avoided one another until we were scheduled to work the same shift together, alone. The first time we ever shared a shift in 6 months as coworkers. It poured down rain the entire 8 hour shift! We had one customer the entire night, a regular we both knew, who invited us to see a play that week that he was starring in. Unanimously, we agreed to go, but neither of us thought it was a date. During the shift, though, we got to know one another. When he showed up to my apartment to pick me up a couple of days later for our "not date", I was in a dress and heels, and he was in a nice shirt and tie. Needless to say, our not date became very much a date, and the rest is history.
Two kids and 10 years later, I'd say agreeing to go to that play with him was one of the best impulsive decisions I've ever made.

Here is the spot where we first met. The coffee shop has changed hands twice now (at least) since we worked there, but it still has the charm.

Pipes be Poppin'

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Well, we've had our first "situation". The night before last, I went into our bathroom and heard what sounded like the shower running (loudly), but the shower was not on, and the tile floor was hot to the touch. It felt like the pavement in summer! Knowing that we had not paid for radiant heated floors, I immediately called for Justin, and he cut off the water supply to the house. I called my dad in a panic, knowing that the hot tile floor had to mean boiling water was spraying everywhere under the bathroom, and he came over at nearly 10 p.m. to see how he could help. It was pouring down rain, so going into the crawl space in the wet darkness (potentially into mud made with boiling hot water) was out of the question. However, he was able to turn off just the water and power to the hot water heater while restoring water to the rest of the house, so we could still have cold running water.

I texted one of the lead contractors about the situation, and he replied almost immediately, promising help first thing. Sure enough, he was knocking on our door shortly after we got Logan off to school in the morning. That same day he had a plumber come out and repair the pipes. Apparently, two of the places where the pipe joined up under the bathtub/shower had not been glued together and had burst open. It took the poor guy most of the afternoon and into the evening to repair, and he basically had to remove the back of the house!
Today two guys have been out here putting our Humpty Dumpty house together again, so I think this is behind us. Now I'm just worried that we will have a similar situation with the other house! Thankfully, they've promised to handle it if we do, but that isn't a good thing to have to worry about.

Kindergarten and Bedroom Update

Friday, August 4, 2017

Today was Logan's first day of kindergarten, and it was a brilliant success! He absolutely loved it.
One of the neat things about moving back to the city that Justin was raised in his whole life (and where I lived from age 11 to 22), is the people we encounter who we've crossed paths with before. For example, Logan's new kindergarten teacher was also Justin's kindergarten teacher early in her career! And she still works at the same school and in the same classroom. That's so neat to me.

We took the opportunity during our move to replace our mattress with a new Nectar mattress, which we love! They were doing a promo for $125 off and 2 free pillows, so it was a really good deal for us. It sleeps like a dream too! The bed itself came from Wayfair, and the sheets are from Brooklinen (the core sheets). I can't recommend them enough, they are crisp, cool, and keep Justin from burning up at night. The quilt and shams are Anthropologie, and we snagged them during a great sale, which was awesome!
I'm in love with those jewelry hangers on the left. My dad made those for me based on some similar, very expensive ones I found online. 

I've mentioned before that I was cutting down my closet to a capsule wardrobe. This is it! I do have a few special occasion dresses tucked away that aren't part of my capsule, since they would only be worn for rare events. My pajamas, workout clothes, lounge clothes, and etc. have all been cut down to manageable quantities and are not part of the capsule. I have my Fall and Winter items (sweaters, coats) as well as my Fall and Winter shoes packed away in underbed storage so that I can easily switch them out with the seasons. There are still a few things I plan to add to my capsule, but I'm making an effort to buy higher quality items over time, so I'll be picking them up slowly as I go along. I'm also making note of the items in my wardrobe that I never reach for, so that I can phase those out for good when Fall rolls around and I update my wardrobe. I'm taking major inspiration from the ever-stylish Caroline at Unfancy. If you're thinking of doing a capsule wardrobe, she's got a lot of practical advice that can get you on your way.

Since we moved in I've been trying to figure out what to do with this electrical panel behind the bedroom door, but so far I'm stumped. It's in an awkward spot where I would need something quite large to cover it. I thought about the long mirror I've got on the nearby wall, but I think it's in the best spot for it. So my search continues!
Do you have any creative solutions for covering a visible electrical panel like this?

Twas the Night before Kindergarten...

Thursday, August 3, 2017

 Oh my heart... my boy starts kindergarten in the morning, and I'm so torn. On the one hand, I'm excited for him to have new experiences and make new friends. On the other hand, I'm so nervous! My baby, my firstborn, cannot possibly be ready to go to school and leave me yet. Right?! I'm hoping I can keep from crying until after I've dropped him off tomorrow. Wish me luck... I'll probably be squalling in the car before we pull away from the curb.

 We managed to get a few things done over the last couple of days. Justin installed these spice racks right across from the stove for me. I'll be adding two more whenever we can make another trip to Ikea. I've still got almost this amount just waiting on the counter.

 Please excuse the state of my kitchen... dishes and such have been very low on the priorities list when we're still stepping over and around boxes all day. Look at the knobs, though! My dad came by today and helped me install those, as well as the cup pulls on the drawers.

This area has improved a lot. We've finally got 4 chairs! And curtains! Now I just have to find the perfect little entryway table to catch our keys and mail.
Hopefully tomorrow I'll remember to take photos of the bedroom when Emma isn't in there asleep. It looks so good so far! I'm very happy with how it's all coming together.
Tomorrow while Logan is at school I plan to stay distracted unpacking and doing some tidying up. I may also just treat myself to an afternoon off. We will see...
Any mommas out there have advice for this nervous mama on the night before kindergarten?

Progress and Ice

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Today was the most joyful of days: refrigerator day! We purchased it yesterday, and Justin went with his dad and a couple of his dad's friends to get it today, since Lowe's wouldn't be able to deliver it for another week (ack!). I picked this particular model because it sticks out from the counter several inches less than comparable models, without actually being "counter depth" or having the shocking price tag of fridges with that label. I'm very happy with it!
The plan originally was for Justin to set it up tonight, install the ice maker, fix the washer and dryer so they would run without flooding our house (again), and rearrange our storage unit to better accommodate everything in it. After he left for work this morning, though, all I could think about was how little sleep he's had the past two nights, and I wanted to help. So I thought I'd at least unwrap the fridge, maybe even read the instructions so I could help tonight. And then I just kept going! It took me the entire day, and some help from my dad when I got stuck, but we managed to get the fridge and freezer functional. When it came to the ice maker, nothing worked. We had water going to the valve, and it was getting electricity just fine, but it wouldn't make ice. Dad and I gave up and decided to call the manufacturer in the morning to get a new valve. Then while eating dinner, Justin and I heard the loudest racket from the fridge. It sounded like someone bowling! ICE! I was so delighted. 

I'm so excited to enjoy cold drinks again. And all the other things we've been missing out on! We've had no eggs, milk, almond milk, yogurt, or anything else needing to stay cold since Friday morning. Tonight I was able to enjoy my first real cup of coffee in 3 days with cold almond milk in it, and that was a small miracle to me. 

Since Justin didn't have to worry about the fridge when he got home, he was able to install this paper towel holder for me and free up some of our countertop space.

He also got our washer and dryer fixed, and we've been able to successfully run a load of laundry (it's washing in the photo, haha). The only thing worrying us now is that the washer produces a burning grease smell and leaks small amounts of oil onto cardboard we've shoved underneath it. That's what you get when you buy a washer/dryer for $200 on Craigslist, I guess. One that floods your house and smells like a McD's deep fryer. 
Hopefully, it doesn't flood us again or burst into flames. It'd be nice to get a few months out of it at least, before it conks out, and would allow us to spend less money right now when we've got so many other new house expenses.
The cabinet next to it is our free-standing pantry, which fits the space perfectly. It's bolted to the wall to prevent the kids pulling it over, since it isn't the sturdiest piece ever.

I'm so thrilled with the progress we're making, but there is still a lot to do. These are the left and right corners of our living/dining area, and we've barely made an impact. The big box contains our new bed, which I'm super excited about, and we will hopefully be able to assemble that tomorrow. 
For now, it's enough that I can have ice in my drink again.

The 4 a.m. Flood

Monday, July 31, 2017

Well, our first "official" night in the new house was Saturday (after having the children fall asleep on the sofa Friday night followed by rain coming down so hard that we ended up staying there that night), and boy was it one for the record books. Justin and I put the kids to bed and immediately started working as quickly as possible on our long list of to-dos. By 1 a.m, we had barely made a dent, and 2 a.m was not much better, but by 3 a.m. we had set up the washer and dryer and we were both feeling pretty good about ourselves. At 3:30, I headed to the bathroom to wash my face for bed, and I stepped into a lake in our kitchen. Justin very quickly traced it back to the washing machine, which was running a cycle and was draining itself onto our floor. Within minutes, we had moved it out of the way and mopped up the incredible mess with every towel and piece of dirty laundry we had on hand. Thankfully, we worked quickly enough that our floors were spared damage, but it was still a stressful mess that we weren't able to resolve until after 4 a.m..

 Tonight we will be trying to hook it up again, so wish us luck! We bought a new hose for the washing machine, so that will hopefully resolve the issue. The washer was a used Craigslist find, and the hose that came with it was too big, which caused the flooding.

 The only room we have completely done so far is Logan's room. It still needs a few finishing touches (and his clothes and books need to be put away) but it's a functional space now.

The rest of the house, however, is still far from functional. The living room looks worse now than in this photo, if you can believe it! Thankfully, we've got our blinds up in all of the rooms now, and the alarm system has been installed. So if we live in chaos at the moment, it's at least private and secure.

Closing & Moving!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I apologize for the delay in updating.. it's been a very busy past two days! Friday morning our certificate of occupancy was issued and we were able to make it to the closing table for #44. We expect work on #42's foundation to begin Monday, with the follow-up inspection happening Wednesday and closing on Friday. But for now, we are officially homeowners (again!). 

On Friday, as soon as we left the closing, we started packing up our vehicles and bringing loads of stuff over. There's plenty still to bring or put in storage. Some of what we already brought will end up in storage as well. My thought was, if I bring everything I think I might want to use to decorate our space I'll have plenty to choose from and the rest can be repacked for down the road, or donated. 

 On Friday the space was looking a little bare, with not much having been brought over. We didn't have any of the furniture over until later that day, and we had to move it in the rain.

Tonight you can see we have a lot more stuff in the space! Once everything is unpacked and put away, it will look much better in here. 

This piece was such a lucky Target find! We needed something exactly a certain depth and width to stand in as a laundry closet in our bathroom, since there otherwise wouldn't be any storage for towels and sheets other than our bedroom closet. This cabinet fits like it was designed for the space and it's able to hold everything we need it to. The fact that it's glass on three sides helps it to not take up as much visual space, and allows my pretty towels and quilts to be enjoyed even when not in use. 

Nothing makes a place feel like home as much as treasures like this. Logan's artwork, his hand print, and Emma's tiny footprints from before she started treatment for her clubfoot. 

Oh man... there's still so much to do and only one day left in the weekend! To say I'm overwhelmed would be an understatement. Tomorrow we've got to finish emptying out the rental house we've been staying in (if at all possible), and work on unpacking and settling in here. I'm hoping we will be able to get our blinds up on the windows tonight (yay privacy!), and put together our freestanding pantry since this house doesn't have one. Tomorrow we are also planning to buy a fridge, and that will be amazing. You have no idea how much you can miss a good cup of yogurt or a cold drink with ice in it until you lose the ability to have either. Once we have our fridge, we will be much more comfortable, and this mama will be much happier.
 And when mama is happy, everybody's happy.

12 Hours

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Well, today was certainly a mix of highs and lows.
We had our follow-up walkthrough on #44 (our house) and the initial walkthrough on #42 (our rental house). The structural engineer also came by to inspect the foundation on #42, as the home inspection report brought up some concerns.
The certificate of occupancy was also supposed to be issued today (well... actually it was supposed to be issued Tuesday, then Wednesday, but they weren't done) and again today it was not issued. The reason is that two smoke alarms were supposed to be installed, but only one had been, and the stove was not anchored to the wall. The second smoke alarm was actually being wired in today, it just wasn't done when the city inspector came by so it didn't count. 

The good news about the certificate of occupancy is that it is supposed to be issued tomorrow morning around 9am. That is very good news, since we close at 10am! It will certainly be cutting it close, which has us nail-biting a little. We also don't plan to sign anything or hand over any money without that certificate of occupancy, because then we would own a lovely little house we couldn't legally live in. So fingers are crossed that the city inspector shows up as planned and gives us the all-clear!
The tile and floors are finally completely done in both houses, and we were able to get a really good look at them today. I am absolutely in love with this tile, and the gray grout. I think it looks awesome!

The kitchens of both houses are now done. We've ordered simple hardware for the cabinets in #44, and will be doing the same for #42 once we have a closing date and know all is well.

The biggest news of the day was the visit from the structural engineer. That gentleman certainly earned his fee! He was under #42 for ages, in temperatures hovering in the mid-90's (and wearing nice business attire!). He came out as soaked in sweat as if he'd taken a shower in it, and completely covered head to toe in dirt. He was also extremely thorough, and for that we were grateful. There was good news and bad news about the findings. The good news is that it is fixable. The bad news is that the uneven, sinking floors of #42 weren't a harmless quirk of a home built on an older foundation, as the contractor had told us, but were actually because there were no supports underneath much of the center of the home, as well as several downright dangerous supports. One of the 4"x4" supports was balanced on 1/2 of a broken brick, another one was literally balanced on 3 small rocks that were stacked on top of each other. I've never seen anything like it in my life! The fact that the structural engineer referred to it as a "hot mess" under there should tell you all you need to know.
Thankfully, the head contractor today was a man who seems to genuinely care about having things done right, and done well. He was brought onto the project after the foundation work (or lack thereof) had been done, and he was told everything needing repair had been completed. He hadn't been able to fit into the tiny crawl space himself to confirm it, and was just going with what he was told. Without hesitation though, he said they would jack up the house, pour new footers and add new supports, and then pay for the engineer to come back out and recheck the work. That was a huge relief. We would have fought for all of that regardless, but having it volunteered immediately was one less worry for us. He also has a really cute, super sweet dog who is a very good girl.

Our wait, at least on one house, is nearly over. In just 12 hours we will be signing the papers... barring something unforeseen like the city inspector calling in sick or not issuing the certificate of occupancy for some reason. Once that's done, it'll be a very hot and sweaty weekend of moving in the July heat. Wish us luck!

Inspection Day, or: Overpromising and Underdelivering

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Well, today was supposed to be our inspection on both houses, but unfortunately ended up only being an inspection on the one we will be living in. The contractor overpromised and under delivered, basically. They'd been swearing all week that both houses would be done by Monday, cleaned and with certificates of occupancy issued Tuesday, and inspections completed Wednesday, with our closing on Friday because they would be working through the weekend. They did not work at all during the weekend, and today neither house was done. The one we will be living in was done enough to complete the inspection, thankfully, but the inspector will have to be paid to come out a second time and check the other house once it's done because there were no appliances and the plumbing was not complete! On the list of frustrations, that definitely ranks on up there.
We were able to do the walk through today on the one we will be living in, and I noted all the things I wanted fixed or touched up before closing. Tomorrow I'll be doing the same thing for the rental unit, as long as it's done (they are swearing it will be done tomorrow... we will see). We are also having to pay a structural engineer to come out and take a look at the supports in the crawl space on the rental. The inspector found a few things that looked potentially concerning, so we thought it would be best to have them checked out. Needless to say, we will not be able to close on the rental Friday. We will just close on the other, start moving in, and close on the rental once it is complete and has been re-inspected and cleared.
I didn't take any photos today, because all my focus was on the minutiae of the houses.
Instead, here are some photos of my daughter playing outside this evening. In the midst of stressful situations, seeing her walking really helps calm me. Emma was born with a clubfoot (which I'll talk about more some other time) and it's been a very hard path for her to get to this point. Every step she takes feels like a miracle to us. When other things aren't going according to plan, at least she is right on track.

CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan