Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Enter for a Chance

Anybody else ever noticed that at the bottom of your Home Depot receipts there's a chance to win $5000? I didn't either. That is until my mom pointed it out. So I cut off the bottoms of each of our receipts for most of the month this month thinking while I had some down time I'd just sit on the computer and take the survey for every receipt and thus be entered to win. It can't hurt right? Well today I sat down to the computer at the beginning of Charlotte's nap and counted the receipts I have. I entered about 10 the other day and I still have 30 left! This means two things: 1) we spend way too much money/time at Home Depot and 2) we must not be very efficient with our trips to the store. I doubt very much that we would actually win, but wouldn't it be great if we did? (I especially hope that we win off the receipt for $.74 from when we went in to get an adapter for the extension cord.) Then you could all say, "Hey I know someone that won $5000 from Home Depot." And I could say, "Hey we have money that we can spend on the backyard!" Everyone in this scenario seems like a winner to me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


It just hit me last night that we need to have all our stuff out of the apartment in 7 days. So today I decided to start moving the stuff in the basement. While Charlotte was asleep I packed up the stuff in the basement and brought it upstairs to the apartment. Then it started to rain so I just left the boxes by the door. I didn't want to wait until Charlotte woke up so when the rain started to let up I decided to just go for it. As I was carrying a tote loaded with stuff I ventured down the porch steps. A total wipeout. Now it hurts to sit. It also hurts to stand. It hurts to wear jeans. I think I may have also hit my head because it hurts too. Man moving stinks!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Something I already knew

Last Thursday was the breaking point with my relationship with my beautiful daughter (and also my loving husband truth be told). She was crabby, never wanted to eat anything I fixed, never wanted to go down for naps (and woke up 45 stinking minutes later!), was only happy when I was currently holding her, and yet everything I did while holding her was wrong. I thought I just needed a break from being around her. I thought my husband wasn't helping me enough (which he totally was as it turns out). I thought we are going to have to make drastic changes in our home here. I thought, "We are NEVER going to have another one of these EVER again!" It was at that point I learned something that I already knew and should have been doing, but had let slip. What is this magical piece of wisdom?

A routine.

So simple. So beautiful. So scary. I don't know why I thought that doing things whenever it pleased me or on her whim would actually make for a fun time for anyone. It's hard to decide on a routine when you've stopped being on one for, oh, almost a month. Did my child take one nap or two? Does she still like to have four mini meals a day? I had no idea. And what about working on the house? How was I supposed to get anything done? Let's be honest here, every time I try going over there within 15 minutes Charlotte needs my attention and then I'm no longer of any use to anyone. That's probably not going to change.

In the past I would watch her closely for a few days and then formulate a schedule around what she was already doing. I had been so out of touch with her that I had no idea what she was doing. So instead I just decided what to do when. Arbitrary hours, activities and mealtimes. We'd put it into effect and then make changes as needed. I made her schedule fit around what I wanted to get done. This seems silly to admit it out loud, but I was so nervous about this. I was just waiting to crash and burn. I was changing so many things from when I could last remember we actually had a schedule.

Saturday came and Daniel and I implemented the schedule and surprise, surprise (or really no surprise at all) that day went so smoothly. So did Sunday. Not only has this helped my little darling, but it has also helped Daniel and me. He knows that if he wants to have a lunched fixed for him he needs to be at home at lunchtime. I'm only making lunch once. Same goes for breakfast and dinner. We get to sit down and eat together and I'm totally loving it. After dinner we get to divide the chores of dishes or getting the baby started on her bedtime routine. (We switch off on those two.) Charlotte eats so much better when there are people eating with her and when she's had enough time to get hungry. For a while there she would just go to the pantry and find something (usually crackers or cheerios) and just snack on it all afternoon. No wonder she never wanted any dinner. Also she naps. Glorious 2-3 hour naps in which she wakes up happy.

What I was really surprised at was the ease with which this new schedule went into place and the complete success we were met with. Daniel's happier, I'm happier, Charlotte's happier. Welcome back to sanity little family!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I haven't yet done a panorama-type shot of the kitchen yet so I thought I'd show you the whole room. We painted the walls a rich chocolate color that I was really worried about, but seeing it now I think I chose well. Things are starting to come together and I'm so excited. The cabinetry still has crown molding and molding below the hung cabinets still to be installed and hardware. The sink is going on the slant in the corner so we can look out the windows as we do the dishes (which wont be many because do you see that brand new dishwasher on the left!?).

Here's the view of the kitchen I've been showing each time I've posted. We have new cabinetry. We have a counter top. We have an island. We have a dishwasher. I'm so excited. The island still needs to have the back and corner pieces installed.
I have a microwave!
Pantry and fridge spot. We still have to finish the wainscoting and paint it.
This is the view from the sink to the door to the hallway. The part to the left is where the fridge will go.
More wall. The white part is eventually going to be wainscoting with raised molding and a shelf along part of the wall.
This is further on the wall.

This is the light fixture we have hanging in the middle of the room. It hangs over the butcher block island. I like how the wall color matches the metal.

The front side of the island, which faces the other cabinetry. More storage space and more counter space! YEAH! Daniel really wanted the butcher block top for this island and I didn't really care, but it looks so awesome that I wouldn't want to change it.

This is the tile for the back splash. The little squares (on top) will be cut into strips for a decorative strip in the 6" tiles (below) in the boxes.

So, what do you think? Exciting, huh?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

True Love

I have found Whiting Family Heaven, and it involves a cat. Our friends that are going out of town for five weeks and are letting us stay in their place if we have to also own a cat, Von (or is it Vaughn?) which we agreed to watch for them. He came over to our place last night after Charlotte had gone to bed, but when she woke up this morning and discovered him she squealed with delight! Then she proceeded to follow him around the house all morning long (saying "Daw! Daw! Daw!" until we finally convinced her it was a, "Cah! Cah! Cah!"). He more or less ignored her. Another member of the family who is in love with this cat-Daniel. The cat is 12% leopard so he's kinda big and he's AWESOME at jumping and Dan wants one just like him. Vaughn (I think that's how it's spelled) wanted to jump on our mantel this morning and instead of just telling him no and not letting him do it (which was pretty much my idea) Dan went and cleared all our stuff off the mantel. The cat jumped from a crouching positing right up on the mantel and became the king of the room, surveying his subjects. I'm pretty sure that this cat could start on the ground and land on my head if he wanted to. Since we're moving and the mantel isn't ours I didn't care one way or the other.

This cat has pretty much convinced most of the family that Charlotte might be getting a kitty for Christmas. I'm not so sure about it yet, but then again Daniel has 6 months to convince me. Also cats are pretty easy to take care of usually. If we do get one, I want to start with a little kitty though, and I'm not so sure about getting a cat that's 12% leopard. Vaughn is HUGE, not fat, but just a big cat.

PS. Our friends put Vaughn on a leash and walk him around the neighborhood. I've never seen anyone walk a cat before and I've never seen a cat that will be walked.

Friday, June 20, 2008

To Market

I love the Soulard Farmer's Market. Today I bought a week and a bit's worth of produce for around $13. It all looks so great! Hopefully this will make it so that we will be able to afford healthy eating! If you live in the St. Louis area, you should go. It's open Wednesday through Saturday, but I wouldn't suggest trying to get a whole lot of shopping done on Saturday. Mindy says it's mostly a great day for people watching because there are so many people there. On the menu tonight: tomatillo and black bean quesadillas. Yumm!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


This fixing up a house stuff is pretty difficult. So is food poisoning. So is my 15 month old girl. On the plus side I've really learned a whole lot, almost none of which actually has anything to do with fixing up a house. If you want to fix up a house I recommend surrounding yourself with supportive family and friends! It was so great to have Dan's parents and then my parents in town and then when they left all our friends have so very graciously offered to help out. They just showed up! There's nothing like being in a hard spot to make you realize how much help is out there. And also that "out there" isn't as far as you'd think. The medical school student community is composed of such a wonderful and supportive group of people. I'm ever so grateful to be a part of it. I also sincerely hope that I will be able to touch some of them and lift them up as much as they have done for me. They are so SO generous! It's so funny because none of us have a whole lot. We're all strapped for money, time, energy, and resources, but everywhere I turn I seem to be the recipient of so many gifts given to me freely. Everything from manpower and babysitting to some friends offering to let us live in their home while they're gone. We have to be out of our apartment on the 1st and we probably wont be ready to pass the occupancy permit inspection until the second week of July. Our friends are going to be out of town for five weeks starting this Saturday so they just offered. What a stress reliever.

Also, I've learned that it's important to communicate with Daniel clearly and unemotionally. A lot of our disagreements aren't actually disagreements after we talk about them. I've found that if I just tell Dan what would make me happy he works to do it (even if he does think it's silly) and I know that I try my best to do that for him as well. I have a great husband. We're both learning how to navigate things so much more right now.

Learning means we make mistakes. I've found it's important to be kind to myself and to my husband when either of us makes mistakes. They happen. The important part is to figure out what to do from there.

Finally I've learned that it's stinking exhausting to take care of our baby and our apartment in the midst of all this. It's so easy to just give in to every whim she has right now so that I can get back to getting the house done. I know that wont help me long term and it usually doesn't even help me in the short term either. Specific issues I'm working on: mommy gets to shower alone, no you can't have chocolate cookies for breakfast, naps can be taken in other places than your crib.

Here's the update as to what's happened. We got the plumbing in the bathroom fixed (again) and the sub floor down (again), the porch is stripped (thanks Piersons and Gilkeys), the spindles on part of the banister are in the process of being stripped (thanks Gilkeys). Dan is hopefully getting the counter top on and the dishwasher in tonight. That is if his drill battery will work long enough for him to actually cut the support pieces.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wrong Again

Last night, starting at around 11, I got sick too. Just as bad as Daniel, only I barfed more. Probably that's because I ate a huge dinner that evening. I never ate any of the tomato so I was wrong about that one. Now the two of us are taking turns trying to keep Charlotte entertained. We go in waves of sickness so which ever person is more sick at that moment gets to have a break and the other one watches Charlotte. All I can say is thank goodness for Disney movies, saltine crackers, and powerade.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

My poor, poor husband. Last night he ate a raw tomato slice at the restaurant we went to. Then today, in the afternoon, a full blown case of food poisoning hit him, and hit him hard. I hope he gets better soon. I read on the CDC website that it could take 4 days for him to recover! Right now I'm doing all I can to help him. Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


He had it wrong. The final circle of hell isn't ice. It's a Missouri summer night without air conditioning. When people used to say "it's not the heat, it's the humidity that'll kill ya," I used to think they were totally full of it. I have changed my tune. A complete 180. Our AC (and fridge and dryer) went out yesterday and last night, after sweating it out all day in the new house without AC, we had to try and sleep through a night without that wonderful invention. It was as I lay ontop of my bed, without even a sheet to cover me, sweating from every pore of my body I realized that this could be hell.

I'm glad that the AC in our apartment was fixed today and sleeping tonight wont be so hard. I'm also elated that the new AC was installed in our new house today!!!!! Maybe time over there wont be so sticky anymore.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grandma to the Rescue

So after I published the last post Mom told me that she took photos with her new camera at the house so here's the progress from her perspective.

Front entry sanded. For some reason Daniel thought we needed to vacuum after every sanding. I'm sure he has his reasons, but it was a whole lot of vacuuming.

Now turn to the left from the entry and you see the front/living room.The dark part on the floor was where they must have had a big rug for a long time. We got most of that out, but not all and isn't that the charm of old wood floors? You can see their history.

Walk through the living room into the dining room. Here you see Daniel staining the dining room floor. The color is gunstock for those of you familiar with minwax stains. It looks beautiful.

Here's Dan staining the kitchen floor. That corner area is where our cabinets are going so we didn't worry so much about sanding it down all the way.

Next we have the bathroom demo. It's upstairs from all the photos I've shown you so far. Here are the before photos. They don't show much, but it's all I've got:

This is the yucky black ringed shower surround. Do you see the black in the corner? Gross.

Mostly this photo showcases the lovely blue wallpaper. The white dots you see on it are really fleur d'lis. Very St. Louis. The inside of the vanity is the reverse.

The lovely blue stone top of the vanity. It's going.

Original built in medicine cabinet. It's really deep and great. It's pretty much the only thing that's staying in the room (if you don't count the tub and the toilet).

And now, poof! It's all gone. (Don't you just love that little magic of the Internet? You didn't have to experience the sweltering heat and humidity to get this change. It's just comes to you.)

What you don't see is that since Mom took these photos the vanity is out, the surround is out. We had a minor water leakage spill and lead pipe scare. Also the toilet is out for now. Everything is moving along nicely.

PS. Can you tell the difference in quality of digital cameras? I sure can. My mom's camera rocks!

Take 2

So I tried to post these photos yesterday and it didn't work. They were a few days old yesterday so everything is completely different today, but here's the floor progress anyway:

Kitchen floor sanded.
Kitchen to hall sanded.
Front entry sanded.

The changes that have happened since is that Daniel has stained and sealed the kitchen, dining room, and hall. We can't walk on them today. My mom and dad are in town this week helping so after making them sweat it out sanding, we put my dad to work on the bathroom upstairs. He tore out the shower surround and fixed the plumbing. Turns out there were no shut off valves for the sink so he installed those and then he and Dan found lead pipe that they need to replace. The floor is being ripped up and Mom and I found some really nice tiles that were on super good sale at Lowe's. Also the bath will have bead board around the walls. I think it's going to be really pretty.

Mom and I found a nice round rug for the entry and big rug for under the table in the dining room on clearance at TJMaxx. They are beautiful and will look great on the newly finished floor!

Sorry this post is short and lame, but our apartment's electrical is going funky. The AC wont work, the dryer wont work, half the lights in the house don't work and the fridge and microwave also don't work. To add another little quirk to the mix the dining room lights wont turn off. We've tried. I went to the basement and flipped all the circut breakers. Nothing changed. It's going to be a hot day. I don't want our food to go bad so I called our landlord. I got a busy signal. Great.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Comeback Kid

When Charlotte was 4 months old Grandpa Greg thought that the summer sun was too much for her little eyes so he bought her sunglasses. ("They have UVA and UVB protection. Shee needs that.") They were huge. Here she is wearing them the day she got them:

For a long time they were too big and then she never wanted them on. She thought she couldn't see I think because whenever she had them on she closed her eyes. Then today her little friend came over wearing a pair of purple sunglasses and she wanted them. So I went in her room and dug out her pink sunglasses to wear. Now she loves them! Here she is today.

Oddly enough her mouth has the same open expression in both photos. What a big girl!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Kitchen Light

With 45 seconds left we won our kitchen light on ebay:

A New Baby

Dan's friend Buzz and his wife just had a baby! A little boy. Here's the photo of the blanket I made for them:

It turned out just exactly how I wanted it to. At 48" square it's a little smaller than I planned, but I figure it's still big enough to use on Charlotte. The minky on the back is also the border so it should be really good to snuggle with. Now I just have to get it to the post office.

Once was lost, now found

Yeah! I have no idea where the cord was, but I let Charlotte play in the front room today and magically the cord appeared. So here's the progress report:

Here's the same corner in the kitchen without the upper cabinets. Today we've started to change the plumbing so the sink can go in the corner.

Here's what was once the flooring in the kitchen. It was under the cabinetry so at one point the countertop wasn't in that corner. It came up after this photo.

I know I didn't ever take a before photo of the ceiling, but this is after it was ripped out. I really like how at one point the walls were green, peach, and light peach.

This was my attempt to show you how many stinking staples there were in the floor. Notice how I say were, they're all out now.

The beautiful new cabinets that are currently residing in the dining room waiting to be installed.

Our new fridge and range! BEAUTIFUL!
Here's the front entry without the blue carpet. Next step-sanding. The before photo doesn't show much of the floor, but here it is anyway:

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I've been wanting to post photos so badly since I took them, but unfortunately the cord from the camera to the computer is lost at the moment. I'm blaming it on Charlotte. She's figured out how to climb up on chairs now. The first time she did it by herself it was so exciting. Now it's just another elevation in the house that I need to baby proof.

Here's what's happened since last I posted photos:
  • Took the blue carpet out of the entryway.
  • Took the linoleum tiles up that were under the carpet (olive and cream set on point-it was totally awesome)
  • Used the heat gun to get most of the adhesive up under the tiles
  • Finished taking all the cabinetry downstairs
  • Ripped out the acoustic tile dropped ceiling in the kitchen (including the fluorescent light)
  • Figured out the wiring to get a new fixture in there
  • Had the plumber come and replace all the copper pipes that got stolen

And this next one I'm most proud of because I did it all myself:

  • Removed all the staples in the kitchen floor

There was slight drama today when Daniel thought he had ruined all the lights for the first floor of the house. At that point I thought it best that Charlotte and I go on an errand so as to let him fume in peace. We got electricians tape at Home Depot and by the time we got back he'd figured out what he did wrong and how to fix it and was again his happy self. (He was so mad I think I heard a "Darn" muttered under his breath.)

Our next steps are to patch up the holes in the walls and ceiling in the kitchen and then finish the floors. Then we'll be ready for my mom and dad to help with the kitchen installation and the bathroom work as well. It will be so great this time next week when my kitchen is all in!

PS. As soon as I find that cord there will be a whole lot of photos to post.