House Update & Pictures!

At long last, I am finally getting a post up with pictures of the progress we have made on the house!

Prior to moving in we did all the “big” things, got the house to a state of “liveable,” and left most of the rest of it to after we had made the move.  And by “we” I mean “pretty much ALL Zach, with some help along the way from friends and family.”  Big things were: removing the popcorn ceilings, painting nearly every wall, pulling up the tile floor and laying laminate, trimming most of the door frames, faux board & batten in the dining area, completely rebuilding the staircase + creating a built-in bookcase and closet under the stairs, gutting the kitchen and installing new cabinets, countertops and sink.  It was a massive undertaking and we are FAR from being done.  But we are so pleased with the results thus far and love chipping away at finishing the other little things as we go.

Here are a number of before and after pictures… (please note – the “before” pictures are from the listing when the house was shown and taken with a wide angle lense… whereas most of my “after” pictures were taken with my iphone and sometimes done as “panorama” – so the angles and stuff are a little off… but you get the idea.)

I have to start off with the stairs and bookcase – they are a major focal point and pretty much Zach’s greatest masterpiece of the house.
BEFORE (carpeted treads, metal handrailing, weird plant shelf on the landing, awkward space underneath…

AFTER (stained wooden treads and handrails, painted wood ballusters & newel posts, built-in bookshelves and a small storage closet under the stairs…)

the kitchen:
BEFORE (dated cabinets, even more dated countertops, very old microwave and dishwasher, no pantry, old school fluorescent light fixture, mismatched window blinds)

AFTER (new cabinets and countertops, new dishwasher, new sink, skipped the microwave altogether, matching window blinds, recessed can lighting… please excuse the missing cabinet door in the lower corner – it’s coming haha)

another angle:

AFTER (added pantry to the left of the fridge, yay!)

view of the dining area opposite the kitchen (besides painting, we added the board and batten on the wall and changed out the light fixture for a chandelier):

the downstairs bathroom is probably the closest to being completely done (still need to put in a couple baseboards and trim inside the door, which you can’t even see):

the nursery is the next closest to being completely done (still need to trim the closet and get a couple more cloth bins for the box shelves).  the majority of the room is decorated with airplanes for JackJack and we love it.  but since he and Chloe will be sharing a room for the next couple of years that we are in this house (we want to keep the downstairs bedroom reserved as a guest bedroom), and i was not about to redecorate in something neutral for both kids, i simply opted to girly up the corner where Chloe’s bed will be.  🙂

from the doorway:

from the opposite corner:

Chloe’s corner:

the details (baby dresses that *i* wore as an infant !!!!!! and a beautiful verse print my SIL found on pinterest):
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about 5 days after moving into the house, the washing machine flooded due to the use of too much detergent by previous owners which clogged the draining sensor.  the entire laundry room had nearly half an inch of standing water and water had seeped underneath the laminate flooring we had JUST laid.  water is a freakishly fast and damaging entity you guys.  we immediately started pulling up the flooring to see how far the water had spread and to stop it from spreading any further!  sadly, it had gotten all the way into the downstairs bedroom, bathroom, hallway and a few feet of the dining area and in front of the bookcase.  if the whole thing hadn’t been so urgent, we probably would have just sat down and cried.  it was so depressing.

i kept reminding myself of the reasons we had to be grateful in the midst of this: friends only a couple blocks away who were available to watch Jack while we did damage control, the fact that the water had not spread to the kitchen (i couldn’t imagine if we had had to pull out the newly installed cabinets and countertops), that zach had just gotten home when we discovered the flood, owning a shop vac for swift clean up of the water…

and probably most of all, i was grateful for home owner’s insurance.  as depressing and frustrating as the whole episode was, the blow was softened considerably when our insurance company cut us a check a few days later for a couple THOUSAND dollars more than the cost of materials to replace the flooring.  while sopping up water and ripping up floor boards, i kept thinking, “God, i know you have allowed this for a reason and You are still good and faithful in the midst of this… but i am struggling right now.  this is HARD!” never thinking that God would actually have plans to bless us – monetarily! – as a result.  it was totally a blessing in disguise.  as a result, we were able to use the extra money to buy a number of things we thought we wouldn’t be able to buy for months: an R/O system for the kitchen sink, a utility tub for the laundry room, a hood range vent for above the stove… and probably most exciting, a NEW BED SET!

we had been talking for awhile about wanting to get a california king size bed (and putting our queen size in the guest bedroom) so we figured it was a good idea to take advantage of having such a large chunk of extra money and GO FOR IT!  and we absolutely love it!  while our bedroom and bathroom are the least finished rooms in the house, it makes me happy to walk in and see such a lovely bed set.

living room and guest bedroom are getting close… saving them for another blog post.  🙂


baby showers!

i just have to say first off that i find wedding and baby showers to be truly mind-blowing.  when i was planning my wedding, a friend gave me some excellent insight.  she said, “no one is as excited about your wedding as you are.  be ok with that.”  i found that to be wonderful perspective, not just on my wedding, but pretty much into many areas of my life.  it’s always a big deal when it’s happening to YOU – don’t expect people to have the same level of excitement and interest.  and if they do – consider it a wonderful blessing!  so when it comes to showers, i find myself so amazed that people would take time out of their full schedules and lives to celebrate something with me that i am very excited about (but that isn’t nearly AS exciting to them – although they graciously do share in my joy)!  and on top of that – they will BUY me stuff to help get me started on this new season!  who DOES that?!  seriously.  showers blow my mind.  they are such a neat picture of community coming together to help a new bride or a new mom as her life is about to change quite dramatically.

also?  i find showers to be SO MUCH FUN.  i mean, what could be better than getting together with a bunch of women i love, chatting it up over all things girly and eating yummy food?? 

when it came to baby showers for us/jack, i quickly realized that i am overwhelmingly blessed by so many people who desire to share in our joy and excitement.  my mom and i came to the conclusion that, if only for the sake of space/size, it would be best to have 2 separate showers.  my cousin becky and my sister in law jessica threw the first one on a friday night for gals/ladies closer to my age/season (singles, young marrieds/moms, etc).  we used this invitation from and then just piggy-backed off the colors to create a theme:

taking some of my current loves as a cue, they included a donut cake and iced tea in the food.  soooo delicious!

basically, we all just hung out, ate and chatted…

my dear friend courtney brought one of her newly adopted twins, hazel!  babies at a baby shower?  yes please!!!  isn’t she just the most precious little girl you’ve ever seen?!

my sisters-in-law even drove over from california for the weekend!!  i was SO happy to have them there!  aaaand this is the best pic i have of all 4 of them.  sorry. 😦

and of course, we opened presents!  apparently i am very animated and expressive while opening gifts… and make a lot of really weird faces…

it was a super fun, laid back shower and i loved being surrounded by so many wonderful friends (some of which drove nearly an hour to come!) and i look forward to sharing mommy-life with them all very soon!

the next morning was a shower that my mom threw for me.  we invited ladies from a more “mature” season of life to this shower (older/grown children, married children, plus my own aunts/grandmas, etc.).  and while they all have at least 20+ years of life on me, i LOVE being around this group of women.  they are all so much fun to talk with and hear from, and many of them have known me since i was very young, so it was all the more special to have them there! 

we (ok so i may have contributed to the shower planning a bit with my mom) used the theme and colors of jack’s nursery (airplanes + red/navy/tan) as the theme for this shower.  i love my mom’s style – simple & elegant with fun details!

we gave out peanuts and pretzels as favors (you know, like what you get when you fly on an airplane??)

aaand the faces continue…

it was extra special having my mom-in-law and HER mom (zach’s grandma) present as well!  they braved some crazy traffic to get here and we are so grateful they made it!! 

i was beyond blessed by both showers, the community of women i am surrounded by and the outpouring of their love and support.