Saturday, December 31, 2011

Feliz Navidad...

A good excuse not to blog is being with family.  Especially since family are the only ones reading this...ha!

We had a wonderful time in Wisconsin and Illinois.  Thank you Mom and Dad for hosting us first and doing lots of babysitting...thank you Aunty Laura for joining us in IL...thank you Uncle Joe, Aunty Peggy and Charlie for hosting ALL of us, not to mention the good meat & fine wine (and more wine)...

...and thank you to the boys for being so darn cute on Christmas Morning.


And thank you Packers for the big Christmas Day W-I-N!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Hurrah

I was really hoping to share pictures of a totally finished 2nd-coat-on-the-walls-and-put-back-together mudroom today.  But, a glass of red wine was calling my name last night.  It was louder than the paint, roller and pan all shouting together. 

Instead, here's a sneak peek of the boys' annual Christmas picture:

Picture of a picture

You know there's always a backstory...

If you see fear in George's eyes, you guessed it already.  Henry wouldn't keep his hands off of him.  Mainly, off his face.  Henry was in one of his moods and there was nothing the photographer or I could do or say to keep him from completely manhandling George.  I almost lost it.

This was one of the few shots where George doesn't have a "for-the-love-of-god-save-me" look on his face.

I ended up choosing another pose that's being sent in our Christmas cards.  You'll see Henry's devious smirk at it's best (or worst)...

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mudroom - Part 2

Purple be gone!


Do I look bigger?

Steve walked in halfway through the second coat and gave his approval.  Nice. 

I'm really seeing how a light color can make a small space feel B-I-G.  Not that my entryway is big by any means.  But purple wasn't doing it any favors.

Also got the patches taken care of:

Where are you?
Nemesis gone
Pretty rocker

I can't believe two coats got the job done.  I'm probably looking at two coats of paint.  It's my same favorite Cloud White by Benjamin Moore.  But with the hiding purple and blue-glow-white of the primer, I don't mind some extra elbow grease in the entryway.

Operation Elimination: complete!

Wait.  Too much white on the first floor now?  Where's the color, you say?  Stay tuned for my mirror idea...

Mudroom - Part 1

Today is a very special day.  It's my dad's birthday.

It's also the day that Jake & Henry are at Grandma & Pop's house.  So you know what that means...Git 'R Done.

At first, I was going to finish painting the walls in the kitchen.  But the absence of two children and a husband's offer to take care of the third made me aim higher.  Tackling the mudroom, it is.

You may remember my entryway inspiration post from a few weeks back.  It's still haunting me.  The gorgeous rug and the breathtaking door.  LOVE!

Be mine

One big difference between that picture and my purple. 

So, today is Operation Elimination.  Here's some "before" and "currently" of midway through said operation:

First coat of primer

Oh boy.  I'm at that stage where I go...AAH!  What have I done!?  The primer isn't covering and I can't wipe it off. 

This is the darkest darn purple known to man.  So I've steadied myself for 3 coats of primer if need be.  grrrrr....


The prep picture here shows you the attempt by the previous owners at staging some sort of coat hook board thing. 

When we had kids, I immediately realized we needed something waaaay more functional.  So when I asked my super-handy step-father-in-law to install the current coat hanger/organizer, I was so mad that I couldn't figure out how to take the old board down without (probably) destroying the wall.  Instead, he just installed it right over the board.  The best part is, that board makes the organizer even more secure...because hanging anything from these century-old lath & plaster walls can be quite tricky!

Sorta hiding?

I was living with the mudroom in purple for so long.  I didn't love it, but it was tolerable. 

Then, as soon as we had the overhead light installed during our basement reno, the mudroom was sent up the totem pole.  Those patches were hideous!  They bothered me every time I walked in the front door.  Never seeing those again will be the best part of this project.

Eye-level patch - my nemesis
Getting better
Purple, I still see you

Definitely need more coats...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stand Up For Yourself

Oh, George.  Why must you grow up so fast? 


One month.  That's all it took.  From rocking on all fours to crawling to speed crawling to pulling up and standing on anything.  And everything.  All the time.

But I admit, it's pretty darn cute seeing a 9 1/2 month old performing deep knee bends everywhere.

Nothing to hold onto here
I got it
Up next: deep knee bend #954

Other cute kid shots from last night:

You guessed it.  Standing.
Zombie hands

Then George had a bath.  I know.  Exciting.

I love water
Don't really fit in here anymore

But not before I snapped a shot of his latest face.

Am I surprised or scared?

George is funny.  He is a very chill, relaxed baby and doesn't scream or cry much.  But he makes these crazy expressions on his face. 

My guess is that he's just constantly freaked out of being crushed or run over by his two older brothers.  He needs to stop standing and start running.  Wait, did I just say that!?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas On Albany

I love Christmas.  But this year has definitely been the hardest.  Having three little kids to take care of leaves almost no extra time to do anything.  And that precious extra time only comes in fits and spurts. 

How does one put up a tree in the 10 minutes between putting baby down for a nap and fulfilling repeated requests for milk or a show or a pair of scissors or a snack or where are my markers or I want another paper airplane or...wait, the baby's up.  And he's crawling.  Everywhere. 

Sorry, Christmas tree.  Maybe next time.

Or, you could just have a superhusband.

Here I am!

While it may not win an award for the world's most perfectly decorated tree, Steve and Jake did it, so it's absolutely positively perfect to me.  The best part are the candy canes.  It's become tradition to pick one off the tree every night for dessert.   

Want to see what else a superhusband can do?

Can you find George's stocking?
Now find Jolly

I was floored.  Steve is the best.  Not only for putting up the decorations, but for finding perfectly wonderful places for the stockings and that-garland-y-thing now that our mantle is gone.  I love it.

And since I'm giving credit where credit is due...I must say, my husband has mad skills when it comes to ribbon application.

Card holder idea stolen from parents
Candy cane staircase

I did manage to do one thing, though.

Cheapest best wreath ever

I hung the fake berry wreath on the front door.  It took me double time because i had to re-tie the knot in the fishwire that broke last year...but the time it took to run up to the 3rd floor and run all the way back down (plus re-tie) was definitely worth it.  And I did it all before the boys could finish their mac & cheese/cheerios. 

Now let's enjoy it for the next 8 days until we leave for the holidays...  :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Keep On Switchin'

I'm on a roll.  Getting pretty good at this switching switches thing, actually. 

I had two more tricky ones to tackle.

First up: Kitchen.

Which one doesn't belong?

 A little K&T (knob & tube) next to new wiring.  You don't scare me.

Bye Moose

I've lived with Mr. Moose since I moved to Canada 9 years ago.  But I can't say I'm sorry to see him go.

Much better

During the basement reno, the electrician tried to put all 3 switches in one box (the switches on the right control the basement entryway lighting, the switch on the left is one of two kitchen overhead lights).  Until he opened up Mr. Moose and found K&T.  Totally not a surprise. 

So...until we renovate the kitchen and update the overhead light wiring, separate switch panels for us.  Just need that fresh coat of paint to hide the patch job and I'm a happy camper.

Next up: Entryway.

Are you flipping me off?

Three in a row.  Bring it on.

Skinny Minis

Aside from the disgusting dust and dirt in there, I had to deal with making the hole bigger on the left (rockers are wider than a flip), tracing & maintaining the wire connections from one switch to another and finding longer screws to hold the switches in place.  That little guy on the left was just kinda dangling....

Rat's Nest
That's my fun.

Almost there!

Once I got to the final switch, I felt like a pro.


Ah Ha!!  I DID IT!  There's nothing like the feeling of accomplishing something handy when you are sooooo not a handyman-do-it-yourself kinda gal.

Time to clean up

That's my "telephone table" that became the work station.  (Rotary phone still worked up until I switched to Rogers Home Phone...damn you Rogers!!!)

I must have rocked those rockers about 30 times each to celebrate!!

First floor: complete.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Goldie's Gone

Whew.  Lots of work being done in the kitchen.  Well, lots for me, since I only get things done when I can: naptime.

The clownhouse of colors that I live in is slowly being converted.  The goal is to cover the first floor in Benjamin Moore's Cloud White (same color as the basement).

Step one: Kitchen.  Here's the update since Tuesday:


Let there be white

And blue

Don't be fooled.  It's only primer.

Do I look bigger?

But I love it.  And Steve does too.  I'm chomping at the bit to get it all many naps can a 9 month old take in one day??

Switch It Up

I think the constant design blog reading has got to me.  I can't stop.

I sit in my house and look at things I want to do.  Change this, get rid of that, move this here, switch it up there.  Now my kids walk in a room and say things like "wow, mommy, what happened?"  Is that a good thing???

My most recent project on a long list of things to do...change a light switch.  Or six.

Our century old home has lots of old things.  Some I love (high baseboards), some I don't (knob & tube wires attached to yellowing switches).  So this electrical challenge was daunting.  But after some self-tutoring, I took the plunge.

Good-bye "flip" switch

Hello "rocker"!

It took me a little while to feel confident I got it right.  But when I flipped the breaker back on and Steve tested the new switch (he wouldn't let me tackle this project if he wasn't home - someone had to be there to call 911, right?), it worked!!

I love you

I was thrilled.  It was more than the fact that I brought a small corner of the blue & yellow kitchen up to was the accomplishment.  I DID IT!!

So I moved on to the dining room for another one.  This time there's a dimmer involved.....

Slider, meet Rocker

Did that too.  The best part?

I see you

Glow in the dark.  Bonus!

Two down.  Four to go.  On the first floor.

But...I'm thinking those sliders in the basement need to meet rocker, too.  Maybe I'll introduce him around on the second and third floor while he's here?