Pittsburgh and Unfinished Photos of my House

posted on: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I know I said I wasn't going to post any pictures of my house until I had something done, but screw that. This is what I spent most of the weekend doing, so here it is. Painting, painting and painting all the doors and drawers to our huge built in, in our upper hall. My plan is to paint all the trim and doors upstairs white and this built in is what I was dreading most. So, I figured just start there and the rest won't seem so bad. And since it is still not reassembled that remains to be seen, BUT the painting is done! I finished it up last night and I was just giving everything a full night to dry before putting it back together. And as opposed to the boys' rooms where I used good old fashioned brushes, this time I used Josh's step-sister's handy dandy paint sprayer. And Rachel, if you're out there somewhere reading this, bless your amazing little soul, you lifesaver, you! I feel like I can do anything now!

In other house related developments we also made a day trip on Sunday to the Pittsburgh Ikea to bring home a new sofa for my sunroom. Normally Ikea is not the first place I would go for a sofa, but I had this vision for my sunroom and that vision involved a white sofa. Now, white sofas with two young kids are, generally speaking, a very bad idea. But it's hard when you have a vision for a room to just ignore it. So, I brainstormed and researched and found this cute little number at Ikea that was not only affordable (so if they destroy it, no big deal) but also has removeable and washable slipcovers. Win!

And since we were going all the way to Pittsburgh for a sofa we figured why not make a day out of it? 

Remember that one time I went to Pittsburgh and didn't realize until I got there that I'd inadvertently worn Steelers colors? What the what?! (This one's for you, Uncle Mark!)

Also, remember that one time we gorged ourselves on street tacos, churros and donuts? Yeah, me too...

We also made a pit stop at Fricke Park while we were there because I'd read good things about the in ground slide at the playground and it did not disappoint. All the locals bring broken down boxes and slabs of cardboard to ride down in order to achieve optimal speed. It was super fun. Oren loved it.

Wes was terrifed.
and then he loved it.
And I got my white sofa.  
 Everybody wins.

Wes Gets a Library Card

posted on: Thursday, July 25, 2013

Since we now live one block from our new library we decided it was high time for Wes to get his very first library card. I was oddly proud of how excited he was - at one point he was literally jumping up and down in the aisles. And after the big rush to check out his first book he had to go back and find five more things to take home too, just for the chance to use his card again. 
And mostly that's all, other than to say that he's just the cutest. ;)

Neighborhood Brick Party

posted on: Monday, July 22, 2013

When I was a kid we used to have a block party every summer on my dad's old street in west Akron. I remember waiting with crazy anticipation for the city to drop off the road barricades early on Saturday morning every year.  Once they finally arrived we would grab our next door neighbors and take to the street. We used to set up our own little face painting table and ride bikes up and down the road while the adults grilled up good food and music filled the neighborhood. 

So you can imagine my delight when we got a flier in our new mailbox the week we moved in inviting us to our neighborhood "brick" party. And let me tell you, not much has changed since my days. There were even two little girls doing face painting (!!!) I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know Wes and Oren get to make this a part of their childhood and will carry these memories around with them for the rest of their lives.

Our next door neighbors are the sweetest little older couple whose kids are now grown and moved away. But even they still come home (bringing their own children with them now) for the brick party every year. I love that this is such a long standing tradition and that the neighborhood is so dedicated to making it happen year after year. They even do a group photo every year and keep records of all the families in attendance... I think we may have moved to Mayberry and I kind of love it.

Oren fell head over heels for the neighbor's little dog and my baby brain was on complete overload watching two of our neighbors compare their two and three month old baby girls, Juliet and Josephine. Wes made friends with a neighbor's swing set and blueberry bushes and I played in my first ever cornhole tournament.  What?! I know, weird right? For a newbie I advanced three rounds! New secret hidden talent? Probably not.

I made Abby's recipe for salted, brown butter rice krispie treats as my humble offering for the day. And I think I did Abby proud because they were completely wiped out by the end of the night. Thanks, Ab!

As the evening wound down and night started to creep up around us, everyone pulled out mounds of blankets and pillows for the kids and they all piled up together in a big heap and watched a movie projected onto a neighbor's garage. The adults gathered around a bonfire nearby and passed around beer and popcorn and lots of bug spray.  It was a pretty perfect night and probably the best introduction to our new neighborhood that we could have asked for. We feel so lucky to be here.


Of Little Boys and And Big Beds

posted on: Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Perhaps I had a wicked childhood. Perhaps I had a miserable youth. But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past there must have been a moment of truth. For here you are, standing there, loving me. Whether or not you should. Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could. So somewhere in my youth or childhood. I must have done something good. For here you are, standing there, loving me. Whether or not you should."

There was a time when Oren couldn't speak in sentences. There was a time when he couldn't even speak at all. That place seems so far away and now when I close my eyes I can conjure up his little voice from memory, it is so engrained in my mind.

Last night as we lay in his new bed side by side he rolled over and lay his head on my belly and looked up at me.

"I love you, mommy"

I might have died and gone straight to heaven in that moment. And I thought to myself, as I took his perfect face in my hands and kissed it all over, what have I ever done to deserve this sweet, little wisp of a boy with all this magic in his soul and that twinkle in his eye? He is my everything. He is hands clenched tight with lightening bugs inside two proud, tiny fists. He is popsicle stained shirts and dirty, bare feet. He is golden, soapy smelling hair and a perfect neck for nuzzling into. He is eyebrows arched, brown eyes wide, taking in the world and testing all its limits. He is goofy grins and endless laughter and energy for days. Until he isn't, when all he wants to do is cuddle up with his mama and let the lazy minutes roll by...tick, tick, tick. And I have to remind myself to stop and relish in these minutes. I let myself get lost in the slow movement of time, allowing that the chores and emails and whatever else can wait. So I lay there with him as long as he wants until he gets comfortable in his big, new bed and finally lets himself give in to sleep, and maybe I do too, for just a little while. Curled up around his little body and smelling his sweet breath on my face as we lay nose to nose like so many nights before. My little boy, my baby no more.

"I love you, too"

Can We Talk About Game of Thrones For a Minute?

posted on: Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Let's talk about something other than paint and yard work and new houses, shall we? I was up until 2am the other night finishing painting the foyer and then carting every single bucket and ladder and brush down to the basement and out of my sight for the next little while. I need a break from painting, and talking about painting. So let's talk Game of Thrones.

Why are these books sooooo good? But also sooooo long? I'm half way through A Storm of Swords via audio book and have been knocking it out during all my hours of working on the house the past couple of weeks. Luckily, Josh joins me in the obsession, although he's already finished the entire series to date and has watched the tv version as well so he's leagues ahead of me. But at least he gets it, and now when I slip in to GOT speak he totally understands. I've been throwing "mayhaps" and "would that I could" in to more sentences than I should admit to.  And when I tell Josh "don't wake the dragon" in reference to Oren, he doesn't even bat an eyelash. Also, we've been known to randomly shout to each other from one room to the next, "HOOOOOODOR", because we're cool like that.

Also there was that one time, for about 5 hours where I had myself totally convinced that I should bleach my hair blonde. That decision was 90% based on the fact that I just really want to be Daenerys Targaryen. But who doesn't, amiright? Mother of dragons, that woman is my hero!

And now, when I'm trying to fall asleep I just repeat the especially lyrical names of some of the characters in my head over and over until I finally drift off. It's better than counting sheep. "Aerys Targaryen, Beric Dondarrion, Xaro Xhoan Daxos... really, it works. You should try it. And now that I have fully revealed the total and complete nerd living inside of me, please feel free to do the same. Do you have a favorite book? Character? Name to recite while trying to sleep? Do share my sweetlings.

I'm Not Dead! I Just Moved.

posted on: Monday, July 8, 2013

Oh, hey.

Hey, guys.

Ummmm, so. I didn't quit blogging, really I didn't. I just took a, um, vacation of sorts. If you call picking crusted paint off floors with your finger nails and sanding woodwork a vacation that is. But I did use some vacation days, so I'm counting it.

So we moved, obviously. I have spent the last two? (I've lost all sense of time) or so weeks in basically a construction zone. We had ALL the carpet ripped out on the entire second floor hoping to find beautiful hardwood floors beneath them. And we did, for the most part. Give our take a bunch of old paint splatters on the wood floor in Oren's room and a certain hole in the floor in Weston's little office off his bedroom that was patched with cement. Because you always patch hardwood floors with cement, right? Standard procedure from what I gather. What I'm getting at here is that new houses are full of surprises. Time consuming surprises. And lots of carpet staples to remove.

I had what I thought was a very realistic goal set to get just the boy's bedrooms painted before we moved in, that way even though I knew the rest of the house would be in upheaval, they would have their own spaces to start settling in to. We got the keys on a Wednesday, I took off work Thursday and Friday to paint and we moved on Saturday.  Well, in terms of how well that goal was achieved,  let's just say Oren is still sleeping in the guest bedroom. The whole house has dark stained trim throughout. Except for a few areas here and there where the trim has been painted, primarily upstairs. And I am all for this, by the way. We have beautiful quarter sawn tiger oak trim on the first floor which I have resolved not to paint. On the second floor the trim is still nice and heavy with great detailing, but the quality of the wood is not what it is on the first floor. Which is pretty typical and therefore the easier it is to justify painting it. Of course neither of the boys bedrooms were the ones where the trim was already painted. I mean, don't get me wrong, even if it were painted I would have surely repainted it with the color of my choosing, but I was starting at square one here. All the trim needed to be gone over with a fine tooth comb, filling all the holes and scuffs, caulking any gaps, and then it all needed sanded. Then of course you need to go back over the trim and wipe it all down with a clean washcloth to get all the dust and debris off. Finally, after it dries, you can paint. Did I mention it takes THREE coats to get solid coverage over the dark trim? And that's with the fancy paint and primer in one, by the way. Oh, and once you're done with the trim you have to tape it all off to paint the walls. Two more coats there.

I should also mention I am doing this all the Giffels way. For those of you who have not read David Giffels's book, All The Way Home - Building a Family in a Falling Down House, let me give you a brief synopsis. David is an Akron local who bought an amazing old mansion in Highland Square that was in total disrepair. He spent the next few years completely re-building it from top to bottom. And when Giffels does a home repair, Giffels don't take no short cuts. He notes in one chapter the hours, DAYS even, he spent tediously removing all the old paint from the door hinges in the house. When you have a century home, you have a certain duty to do it the right way. So even though I had help (so much help from our families!) everything just takes way longer than you'd think. In turn every time I was wrenching free yet another antique door knob only to paint behind it and then re-assemble it I would scrunch up my face and curse David Giffels for doing this to me. Or every time Abby was sent with a fine tip paint brush to paint around yet ANOTHER door hinge I would hear a shout from across the hall, "GIFFELSSSSS!" and I knew we were doing it the right way.

We did manage to finish up Wes's room before we moved in and he slept in there the next night. But I've only just finished Oren's yesterday (stupid actual job/unpacking getting in the way). He's still sleeping in his crib in the guest bedroom until his brand new TWIN bed arrives. I'm dying that he's old enough for a real bed, but I'm excited too. I still need to put the finishing touches on both boys rooms, but they're getting very close to finished. As for the rest of the house, well, Rome wasn't built in a day, at least that's what I keep telling myself. Once I start getting some rooms really and truly done, I'll start sharing some pictures, but for now, all I have to offer is a photo of my piano. The one truly finished spot in the house.

Lord help me, I have a ways to go.

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