Two years ago, we turned our limited space kitchen into our dream kitchen for the existing footprint. From a functionality standpoint, I had different layout dreams, but from a finishes standpoint, I had my dream kitchen. Crisp white cabinets, dark gray counter tops, a classic subway tile backs plash and a deep single sink and dark oil rubbed bronze hardware. Leaving our kitchen behind – especially that sink! – was one of the hardest parts of moving this month. That and the memories. But I keep reminding myself that a kitchen and house are just that – a place to prepare food and shelter over our heads. It’s the memories and work we put into a kitchen or a whole house that make them feel like home. And so, I’m eagerly planning my “dream kitchen” for our new house. The layout of our new kitchen is almost exactly what I would have designed myself, save for our lack of pantry, and I cannot wait to explore our options and turn this kitchen into the heart of our home: the room our kids will likely remember most from their childhoods in the future. Click to read the rest of this post below and enter for a chance to win a $50 Williams-Sonoma gift card!
Just last week I was getting weepy about my baby turning one, and here I am, now the mother of a three year old. Impossible. My sweet baby boy is 3 today, and I can’t help but reflect a little bit on the young man he is becoming.
In the past year, Thomas, you have developed an absolute obsession with all sports. Golf, football, baseball, basketball, hockey…even swimming and diving and lacrosse. You have a ridiculous memory, and so daddy has taken to teaching you the names and numbers of all the Colorado athletes so that you can rattle off sports trivia Rainman style at his request. To quote daddy, “Thomas is everything I ever wanted in a son”. But oh Thomas, you’re so much more than random sports trivia. You are funny. You are tender. You are smart. You are thoughtful. You are athletic. You are tenacious. You are pure joy.
I love the way you view the world. Everything’s magical in your eyes. I want to remember these days when everything is new, different and amazing. When a Peyton Manning jersey is the only article of clothing you’ll wear for weeks on end. When we have to tell you that an orange and blue striped polo shirt is Peyton Manning’s church shirt to get you to wear something other than your “one-eight” jersey to church. When happiness is so easily achieved by pitching a baseball to you in the backyard, or sitting down and really working with you to put together a puzzle.
I want to remember the things that one day all too soon will be no big deal – riding a light rail train with Gigi and Papa and Auntie Kate to a baseball game, getting asked to play with the big kids you adore in our neighborhood, taking bike rides to the park, and playing with your mama, daddy and sister – are the things that make your day. I want to remember the nights when you wake up and can’t go back to sleep, and you come into our bed and snuggle between daddy and me. I want to remember you love for the “If you give a mouse a cookie” series of books. I want to remember your absolute adoration for your daddy and papa. I want to remember how you watch out for your sister, how you kiss her and hug her – and sometimes move her out of your way. You are the most phenomenal big brother, and I love watching your relationship with your sister develop.
I want to remember how much you love your “guys” – Corduroy, Hippo, Lambie, Duck, Goose, and Tiger to name a few. I want to remember the look on your face when you opened a musical Snoopy card at the grocery store and insisted on getting it for Papa, then danced around King Soopers to the music.
You are so much fun, Thomas. As you hit three, you’re also tough. That tenacious attribute I mentioned above? You never give up. You want to play WITH someone at all times. You whine when you don’t get your way. But oh my, when we focus on you, you are absolutely delightful. And I know that one day, I will miss the requests to play with you all the time. I will miss you hanging on my leg when I’m cooking. And so I try to remember that in these moments, that sooner than I’m ready, you’ll be independent.
In fact, you just took your first set of swimming lessons. Having taught swim lessons, I didn’t see a huge benefit to putting you in parent tot lessons – especially since we have a neighborhood pool so you’re exposed to water all summer long. But I’m a huge proponent of swim lessons in general, so once you were old enough to take them without a parent in the water with you, I signed you right up. I talked your way into the three year old class since you were two weeks shy of the age requirement, and you rocked your first true teaching experience by someone other than mama or daddy. And we think you developed your first crush, too, on the sweet instructor. You pretend to talk to Maddie on the phone, you talk about her all the time, and when we take you to the pool you tell me your practicing your kicks so Maddie will be so proud of you.
You’ve had such a big year, Thomas. From becoming a big brother to potty training, you’re certainly much older than you were a year ago. And when I look at pictures of you a year ago to now, I’m shocked that I thought you were so big at two. You, my sweet, sweet boy, are an absolute dream. As we tucked you into bed last night we said, “Good night two year old, see you in the morning when you’re three!” and I almost cried. Because two was such a great year. And I just know that three will be equally as wonderful. There’s so much that you are “allowed” to do now that you’re three. You’ll start preschool in September, you’re eligible to play soccer which we’ve you’ve informed us you will be doing. We love you, Thomas Kirby – our 3 year old boy.
Last year shortly after Thomas’s 2nd birthday I posted the toys he loved to pieces for the previous 6 months. So I’m back with the hit toys of the last year. I joke that until he was 2, Thomas was an intellectual, then he became a jock. I’m hoping that between years 3 – 4 we can bring back a little balance.
Favorite Toys and Games for 2 – 3 Year Old Boys
Mudpuppy Puzzle Wheel - Jess brought this to Thomas when Nell was born, and I immediately fell in love with Mudpuppy puzzles. T learned how to do jigsaw puzzles with this, and I still pull it out for him when I need just 5 minutes to myself.
Mudpuppy Jumbo Puzzle (United States Map). As soon as I knew about the Mudpuppy puzzles, I ordered the Unites States Floor Puzzle for T. And we put this together at least 3 days a week. The pieces are big enough for his hands, and just complicated enough for him to spend time on it, but not so complicated that he loses patience or interest. I usually sit with him to do this puzzle, but let him do it all himself. Mudpuppy puzzles (of any variety) are one of my go-to gifts for 2 – 4 year olds now.
Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game. I’ve already waxed poetic about the Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel game. Quick, simple, a huge hit with every toddler we’ve played it with. As toddler games go, on the low end of the tedious spectrum.
Alphabet Memory. Another one I’ve mentioned before, Thomas got this for Christmas when he was 2 1/2. At first the whole game was too much for him, so we just played the letters of his name, then added his middle name. When we need a quick 5 minute version, we just play Thomas, but at 3 he can now play the whole alphabet.
Strider Bike. We got this for T when he was 27 months old, and it took him about 6 months to feel super comfortable on it, but by Spring he was a Strider Bike champ. Love this thing – he has developed great balance. And I feel like he’s pretty cool cruising around the new neighborhood on a strider bike.
Plasma Car. Oh Plasma Car. I love this thing. It’s fun for T, fun for B, fun for me. We have spent hours cruising around on this thing, Thomas cruises around on it and pretends it’s his real car. Best toddler toy ever.
Plastic Golf Clubs. I could have done this whole post with a different piece of sporting equipment, but that would be redundant. Golf still remains Thomas’s number one love, though Football made a run for his affection last Fall and he’s currently enamoured with Baseball. These plastic clubs I bought for $6 at Walmart are all he really needs. He plays in the house and backyard with these, and B takes him to the putting green with them, too. He’s getting real clubs for his birthday from us, but these will continue to be his indoor clubs.
So, those are the toys that saw us from ages 2 to 3. With a lot of other really fun stuff mixed in, but these were the toys we pulled out on a daily basis. What about you guys? Any big hits for your toddlers? Also, it’s safe to assume that Nell’s favorite toys are whatever Thomas has in his hands. She’s 100% the 2nd child who doesn’t play with age appropriate toys because her brother’s are way more fun.
Well, Nell Caroline went and turned 1 on me yesterday, so I thought I’d do a quick update on her monthly baby photos. I think my favorite was her upside down at 6 months. I love that, like the calendar baby photos I did of Thomas, the clock chronicled Nell’s growth against a fixed object while also conveying the passing of time. And I just love an under 1 year old in a diaper for baby pictures – it’s timeless. Pun not intended.
We had a great combo birthday party for Tom and Nell last weekend, I’ll post about it later this week. In the meantime, I’m mourning the end of “babyhood” but still savoring the sweet days with my two toddlers. Every year I’m the same age as my brother for two weeks and I’ve always loved that – I’m sure my brother finds it less than charming, or doesn’t even think about it. Ha. But for the next five days, I have a 1 year old and a 2 year old. Don’t even talk to me about the fact that my 2 year old is about to turn 3 and will start school in the Fall. Time flies.
Sweet Baby Girl,
We’ve made it a whole year. Hard to believe that just one short year ago, you were placed into my arms for the first time. That just one year ago we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of this sweet bundle – we didn’t know who you were, we didn’t know what you’d look like, and we didn’t know if you’d be our son or our daughter. You are still a sweet, innocent baby in my eyes, but before I know it you’ll be off to school. It won’t be long before we’re shopping for prom dresses together. Before we’re arguing over curfews. You’ll be taking on the world one day at a time – learning more and more every day who you are, what you love, and how to create happiness for yourself. I have so many hopes and dreams for your lifetime, but more than anything, I am so looking forward to having the opportunity to observe the world – and watch you grow – through your own eyes. Here are just a few things I want you, my daughter, to know.
You are beautiful. I am committed to sheltering you for as long as I possibly can from the crazy body image battle that you will soon see everywhere – on magazines at the grocery store, on TV, from your friends and even your friends’ moms. Beauty is a mindset. If I could, I would never let you hear another woman speak negatively about her body, but I know that I won’t be able to shelter you forever. So know this, my darling girl: You are beautiful, smart, funny, and the purest joy I could ever imagine. I will tell you this every single day. Multiple times a day. And I will tell myself that same thing. Do I strive to live a healthy life and make healthy choices as a role model to both you and your brother? Absolutely. But when you were born, I realized exactly how much my body is capable of. YOU taught me that. But there’s so much more to beauty than what the world will want you to believe. Know this: You fill your body with healthy foods, you keep your body active, and you love it for what it is capable of and how you were made. You treat your body well, and it will treat you well. There will be days when you feel awkward in your own skin, but you are beautiful. You will always be beautiful regardless of how tall you are, how much you weigh, or what size jeans you wear. You are perfect. You are you. And we love you to pieces.
You Are Kind. When I’m focused on the day to day and not so much the big picture, I often marvel at the difference a few months makes in the first two years of a baby’s life. Compare you, at 12 months, to a friend who is 14 months and you are still such a baby. You learn SO many new skills every week at this age. Just a year ago, you couldn’t even hold up your own head and now you try to hold mine up every morning at 4 AM like you’re trying to say, “It’s time to PLAY mom, open your eyes! Let’s go!” It’s easy to think that these are the days I’ll remember as the ones when you changed so much day to day.
But the truth is, that you have a lifetime of rapid growth ahead of you, and sometimes I have to pinch myself to remember that we’re raising you for the big, wide open world. It’s been a year that makes me sometimes want to shut the world away, sweet girl. Since you were born, I’ve held your warm, dependent infant body in my arms too many times as tears rolled down my face watching breaking news of things that should not have happened – some physically close to home, some further away – all of them have touched me in a way they never would have before I had you and your brother. In the last year, simple day to day activities are no longer “safe”, to the point where you have to think not once, not even twice, but daily: “Will I go to the movies ever again? Will I ever be able to send my baby to kindergarten? Should I run that marathon?” And I’ve realized, the answer is “Yes”.
Because the world can be scary. There are bad people out there. But there are more good people. And so, we live our lives so that we can be a part of the good, and so that we can share the good that we witness with others. I owe it to you, and to your brother, to live our lives in the real world. To embrace the good. You are kind, and when you feel like the world is insurmountable, look for other kind people.
You are in charge of your own happiness. It seems silly to write this to my one year old, because right now, I’m in charge of your happiness. Daddy and I provide you food, shelter, cuddles, playtime and security. But with each passing day, you become more independent and more capable, and one day, you will be on your own. Or so you’ll think, mama and daddy will always be here for you. Always. But one day, you’ll think you’re on your own, and here’s the trick to conquering life on your own: You are in charge of how happy you are. That’s it. You will make decisions every single day that contribute to your overall happiness. Not every choice will be a great one, and that’s okay, too. We all make mistakes, so take responsibility for your mistakes and move on – it’s how we learn. Sometimes you’ll just have to admit defeat and take a new path. Sometimes you’ll have to put in hard work to get the path you chose back on track. But you create your happiness. No boy. No friend. No “happy weight”. No designer label. No car. No house. None of those single “things” will make you happy. Fill your days with the things you love, the people you love and who love you back. Somedays, you’ll wake up and feel grouchy. That’s okay. Sometimes you might need help, and that’s okay, too – part of finding happiness is learning how to ask for help. But oh, baby girl, if I could impress just one thing on you and your brother, it’s that you’re in the driver’s seat of your life. Sometimes happiness requires work. Sometimes happiness requires help from others. But it’s out there, and you can find it.
I love you sweet, sweet baby girl. Daddy and I are your champions, we will do everything we can to help you learn and grow and become the smart, independent, happy and beautiful young lady we know you will be. This first year of your life has been a beautiful one – you’ve taught us so much already – and how lucky we are that you are ours. We cannot wait to see what your second year of life will bring, and how you will continue to make a lasting impact on all the lives you touch – watch out world, here comes Nell.
The Dining Room in our new house was dark red. Red paint is a funny thing – I feel like very few people are luke warm about red paint. It’s not my favorite and so I was planning to paint over it at some point in the first few months of living here to make the room lighter and brighter, but I’m not outrageously offended by red paint and it wasn’t the first room I was going to tackle. I have lots of friends who love red, and do red well. I know lots of people who can’t stand red. So let’s just all declare that it’s a color that creates a strong reaction one way or another in most people and leave it at that, sound good? However, Mr. B couldn’t handle the red. I was kind of surprised by this – he definitely has opinions about things he likes better than others decor wise, but he’s not the type of husband who would walk into a house and say, “We have to paint this room (insert whatever color he loves here)”. So, I was surprised that he felt strongly against a particular color. On the first night in our new house B said to me, “I really really really want to paint the dining room. Tomorrow.” I said, “Absolutely, if it’s bothering you, let’s paint it.” Again, I had always planned to paint it, just wasn’t my top priority. And then I remembered that he’s red-green color blind. I forget this, because he compensates so well for it in his day to day life, but red is not an attractive color the way Mr. B sees the world. So, the dining room became the first priority.
So I marched off to Benjamin Moore for a gallon of Gray Owl cut to 50%. Last winter I really wanted to paint our downstairs (which was Benjamin Moore Powell Buff) gray, and had picked Benjamin Moore Gray Owl as my winner, when I realized that I would have to chagne a lot of things to make the gray work – like curtain panels, etc. And knowing we were in our house at the time for another year to two max, I held off. Glad I did seeing as how not even six months later we’re no longer living there (especially since the buyer and her realtor adored the color and asked me how to pick colors during the final walk through. My answer? “No clue, I just picked this out of the Pottery Barn catalog”.) But back to the dining room.
I’d seen lots of hints on Pinterest to cut grays by 50% when getting them mixed, and since the dining room has very little natural light, I thought that was a good choice. Benjamin Moore was super helpful and recommended two to three gallons to cover the red. But at their paint prices (I really like their paint and have found that their formulas aren’t color matched very well at other places, so I shell out the money for the real deal), I chose to go the primer route first. We bought a 2 gallon bucket of Kilz Premium Primer, and used it all (3 coats of primer! My arm was killing me!) . The next day, my mom came up and we painted the dining room during nap time. Should I have been getting things ready for Tom and Nell’s birthday party tomorrow instead? Yes. But I’m good at not sleeping, everything will be fine.
I love this color! It’s very light, but just gray enough. And it’s a very true gray (word of warning: I’ve heard that when it’s color matched elsewhere, it often reads too blue or too green). It has some brown in it, which makes it a “truer” gray according to the Benjamin Moore guy. Here it is in natural light and artificial (with some natural light) so you can see the color variation.
I’m not labeling anything as an after yet, but this is progress. Please excuse the bins of Thomas’s baby clothes we still have to move to the basement storage section. Moving man, takes a lot of work.
Again, not an after, just progress. This won’t be the final piece of furniture we use as a buffet/china cabinet. But until I find something perfect, we had it and it does the job. Also, this paint choice solidified the decision to paint the entire house. The two neutrals don’t play well together. Plus, the house is 12 years old and hasn’t been painted in about that long, it’s due for some paint.
So that’s the first change we made to the house. What do you think? Still to do (with no time frame in mind): Replace the chandelier with something a little more in line with my “urban cottage” style; replace or paint the baseboards (we’re leaning towards replacing them with chunkier, craftsman trim, but we’ll see), a cool old buffet or hutch to hold our wedding china. Mr. B wants to replace the dining room table, too. We’ll see, I love that table.
Actually, it turns out I don’t like to move it move it. Or at least, house moving? Not my thing. There are people who can totally move every few years. I’m not one of those people. I told Mr. B when the final load was in our house on Sunday night, “If we ever decide we need more space, let’s build a loft over the family room or excavate the basement to make it full. I’m never moving again.” To which B said, “Nope, we’ll move before we excavate the basement, Em”. Which is probably true, but yeah. Moving. Blah.
The Numbers Game
You know that B and I live on a budget. We had been toying with the idea of moving for a few years, and after Nell was born, we knew it was a matter of time. We’ve always known that we would reach a certain point where putting more into our first house wasn’t a smart idea unless we wanted to stay there for a very long time. So we stopped short of finishing our basement, and when we remodeled the kitchen, we did it on a budget. With every improvement we’ve kept an eye on our bottom line – even in the downturn, we stood to make a profit on our house, and when the housing market started to recover, we felt pretty good about the profit we would make selling. I factored that after selling our house and considering commissions, concessions, etc, we’d probably net 90% of the sales price minus what we still owed on our mortgage. Our numbers worked out to be a closer to 94%, so that was great for our budget. We walked away from our first house with the 20% down payment we needed for our next house, which was always what we hoped to do. That coupled with the rates where they are right now made this a great time for our family to move.
When we listed our previous house, we were already under contract on our current house. Not exactly the way I planned to do things, but with the Colorado market the way it was, I knew that if we listed before we started looking, we’d end up in a rush to find a place. And I’m not very good at detaching myself emotionally from the house buying process – I fall hard for houses or don’t like them, there’s very little gray area with me. We were pre-approved to purchase without selling our house, but that wasn’t the route we wanted to go if we could avoid. However, it got us the house: There were multiple offers, ours wasn’t the highest, but because we made a non-contingent offer, we got the deal. And it all worked out. Luckily, things worked out and we had an offer within hours of being on the market. Our real estate agent helped us negotiate a few terms and the dates so that they lined up exactly how we needed them to. There were a few tense moments throughout the process, but overall, it all worked out and was a relatively smooth ride. But yeah, I never want to move again.
Then we had the inspections on both houses, appraisals, and when all went well, we started to think about the move. We were taking our washer and dryer and an elliptical machine with us, so B and I agreed we were hiring movers for the big stuff. Because we were making a local (five minutes) move, we decided to do the packing and small moving ourselves. We tried to get rid of as much as we could, but with two little kids and a pretty certain feeling that we’re not done yet, there’s not a lot that were willing to get rid of just yet. Someday, I’ll purge all the toys and baby clothes, but right now it just doesn’t make sense.
We got possession of our new house on Saturday at 5pm and had until the next day at 7pm to get out of our old house. Saturday night our families helped us move loads and loads of boxes and do some last minute packing. We got a ton done so that the house was clear for the movers to just move the furniture and big boxes. The moving company was money well spent. The company we hired was awesome, bid the job for 9 hours and came in just under 6 – under what we budgeted and were so efficient and professional. I’ll put together a post in the near future about our awesome resources if you’re in the Denver/Boulder area.
My brother-in-law came over and mowed our new house’s lawn for us and trimmed. My mom scrubbed both houses top to bottom. My mother-in-law power washed our garage. My aunt dusted high cobwebs. My sister and cousin furiously packed my dishes. My friend Emily came over on Sunday to help me unpack. We are incredibly blessed with such a helpful family and friends.
So that’s the scoop on the move. A little bit of budgeting, a little bit of paying for things to make life easier like movers, and a lot of help from family and friends. And while I doubt that Mr. B and I will never purchase another house again, I’m currently thinking I’d prefer our next house be an investment property that I don’t have to physically move all of our stuff to. And maybe that I should go back to being the kind of person who has a garage sale every year.
Update: I’m posting pictures of projects in progress on Instagram, follow me there if you’re interested!
We’re getting settled slowly but surely in the new house. We’ll be arranging and rearranging furniture for a long time, painting room by room to make the house ours, and making other changes, but I thought I’d check in with a quick photo tour of the house as it stood on moving day. The house is in great shape, other than needing to be painted outside and have new paint inside – which I would do anyway because I like a fresh start – there will just be cosmetic changes throughout the next few years. I’ll talk you through those in the tour.
The things that sold the house for us: the layout (more on that throughout the tour), the kitchen layout and potential, the 4th bedroom, the awesome backyard and the oversized garage. Those were the things B and I said we had to have to leave our beloved first home, and this house delivered.
When you walk into the house, the living room is to your right and the dining room is to your left. That’s how our awesome real estate agent found this house for us – one of my requests (not a deal breaker, but a preferred) was that the living room and dining room not be stacked one in front of the other. I grew up in a house where the living and dining rooms were across from each other, and I’ve always loved that layout, so when I walked into this house and the living room wasn’t stacked right in front of the dining room, I knew that this house had potential for us.
Here’s the tour, fair warning – these pictures were taken in the midst of moving in, so everything is in chaos.
Immediate Plans: New Curtains
Plans for Soon: Our furniture from the old house will be in here once we get new furniture for the family room.
Eventually: Paint this room along with the rest of the house. There are a lot of neutrals, and I would like them to eventually be the same neutral, but this room will probably be a last priority paint wise.
Immediate Plans: Paint (already in progress)
Plans for Soon: New Light Fixture
As you walk back from the living room, there’s a set of stairs to your left (you can see the beginning of them in the picture above). Behind the stairs is the two- story family room.
Immediate Plans: Paint, paint, paint.
Plans for Soon: Furniture purchase.
Eventually: I’d like to eventually redo the fireplace/TV wall. Add built-ins, drywall over the late 90s niche, build a more substantial mantle. I have a picture of it in my head, but I’m sure this is low on the totem pole in terms of spending of money and time.
Right behind the family room is the kitchen. I love the kitchen – and I know I’ll love it even more when I get a paint brush in my hand.
Immediate Plans: Paint the green and brown.
Plans for soon: Buy counter height barstools.
Eventually: Paint the cabinets white and install molding on the island.
Breakfast Nook (everyone say “Hi” to Caroline in the photo below):
Immediate Plans: Paint the green.
Plans for Soon: New light fixture and window treatments. Maybe a piece of furniture for the bay window to help balance the room a bit. We’ll figure it out.
Eventual Plans: Replace the slider with french doors or at least a more functional slider.
Turn around from the kitchen and you’ll see the big brown (soon to be neutral) fireplace wall. Behind that wall is the office which we’ll use as a combo office/playroom:
Immediate Plans: None
Plans for Soon: Paint and furniture layout.
At the end of the hallway that leads to the office is a small half bath:
Immediate Plans: Paint
Eventually: Woodwork or Molding
Up the stairs, there are three bedrooms and a hall bath, a long hallway, and the master bedroom and bathroom.
Bedroom 1 (will be a guest room for now):
Immediate Plans: Paint!
Bedroom 2 (T picked this room):
Immediate Plans: Paint
Plans for soon: Window Trim/Molding, Curtains
Between those two bedrooms (to the left when you get up the stairs) and Nell’s room is a hall bath:
Immediate Plans: Switch out towel bar for hooks
Plans for soon: Paint and new vanity light.
Eventually: Maybe some woodwork? We’ll see.
Bedroom 3 (Nell’s Room):
Immediate Plans: Paint
Plans for soon: New curtains and fabric for window seat.
Plans for eventually: Continue the beadboard from the buillt-ins under the chair rail or install board and batten at 3/4 height.
Immediate Plans: Paint (less immediate than the rest of the house, but fairly soon)
Eventual Plans: Replace the sconce.
Here’s the other side of the hallway – the view of the family room below (it’s not as death defying as this makes it look, I promise).
And at the end of that hallway is the master bedroom and bathroom:
Immediate Plans: Not much
Plans for soon: Paint
Eventually: Window Treatments/Woodwork.
Plans: I’ll definitely paint the cabinetry and mechanical doors to the tub and change out the vanity light. We’re going to save to replace the carpet with heated tile – hopefully in the next year, depending on how well we save. This is one we’ll hire out, I’ve tiled before, and don’t want to tile again We’ll also look into replacing the shower door at that time, and maybe redoing everything – the counter tops, tile, etc. But definitely the carpet will go – and the rest will depend on our budget.
Plans: None right now
Pretty much the number one reason we bought the house (this is a good size yard for a newer build in Colorado, so while it’s not big by East Coast standards, we’re pretty psyched about it!
Plans: B is in the process of installing rubber edging topper to protect Casco’s paws and kid feet, and we planted tomatoes and basil on the side of the yard (not pictured), otherwise no plans except eventually sanding and re-staining the playground.
So, that’s the new house as it stands today. We plan to be here for a long time: B accepted a promotion that will keep him working in Boulder for awhile, and regardless of where his office is, our location halfway between Boulder and Denver is perfect for the electrical industry in Colorado for B’s career and the tech industry in Colorado for my career. The new neighborhood is strong and has great amenities – a pool and golf course – and we hand picked this section of the neighborhood because of the top rated elementary school, so we’ll take our time and do things right. I’m tempted to replace molding like baseboards and install craftsman trim around doors and windows as we go room to room. The outside needs to be painted, so that will be a priority in the next year. There will be lots of little changes to make this the home our children will grow up in. I’ll be back – probably this week – with a painted dining room update. And after the dining room’s painted, I’m in full kid birthday party mode.
- Thank you all so much for your feedback on my sectional questions. You’ve convinced me. Now we’ll just wait until we’re in the new house to figure out what size will work best and I’ll report back with our findings!
- We’re in the home stretch – we close on both our old house and new house on Friday and will move next weekend. Can’t wait to share more pictures of the new place!
- We had a going away party with our alley on Saturday night. We know we’ve made lasting friends in our neighborhood, but it’s sad to know that we will no longer be a 30 second walk away.
- Hope you all had a fabulous 3 day weekend! My posting will be sparse over the next week or so, but there’s lots to come – including a joint birthday party for Tom and Nell that we’re throwing one week after we move.
Our nephew turned 13 two weeks ago. I met him when he was 4 years old – I vividly remember playing Star Wars with him because his little sister wasn’t so sure about me and refused to leave Mr. B’s arms the first time I babysat with Mr. B for his niece and nephew. So anyway, I know that I’ve known these sweet kiddos for 9 years, I know that our niece was Thomas’s age when I started dating B, I know all of these things. But it’s hard for me to really wrap my head around the fact that we have a nephew who’s a teenager.
Regardless of how I’m doing with the news, our nephew up and turned 13 on us. And when B and I were trying to figure out what you get a 13 year old boy, we knew the answer was cold, hard, cash. But there’s just something about throwing a few bills in an envelope that doesn’t scream milestone birthday to me. So, I combed Pinterest. The balloons full of 1s? Super cute for a slightly younger kid. Lots of stuff was graduation themed, and then I stumbled across this money in a can trick and knew it was perfect.
I emptied out the oatmeal that I can’t eat anymore (Nell and I are Gluten Free and Dairy Free these days to try to get to the bottom of her tummy troubles and regular old oats aren’t gluten free. This whole thing has opened my eyes to how much CRAP we had in our “healthy” diets). But anyway, I emptied out the last serving of my gluten ridden old oatmeal, and covered the canister with orange scrapbook paper (our nephew’s favorite color), taped it on there, and cut a slit in the top of the canister.
If I were a good blogger in this day and age of Pinterest, I would have cleared off my table, turned off the light, set the white balance and taken good pictures of this project. Instead, I grabbed my iPhone, took two quick pictures before we hit the road for the 13 year old’s birthday party. Happens.
I raided our envelopes for ones and fives so that when our nephew started pulling on the money, it just kept going and going. I used scotch tape to tape the bills end to end, and attached a post-it to the top for a pull tab.
It was a hit. I mean, I’m pretty sure our nephew would have been just as psyched about pulling $50 out of a card, but this made me feel like a better auntie. And it provided a good laugh. Anyone else given money in a creative way? I have a reputation to uphold, now.