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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Baby Number 3: FAQ

How it happened

Welp. This is a bit awkward, and knowing that Dan's GRANDMA periodically checks in here, (a number of our family members actually), I won't go into too many details.  But suffice it to say, there was a bit of a mishap situation thingy, and I know exactly when/where/how this little bundle came to be. (!)

And so while that part of the story made for some excitement and shock and "NO WAY. SERIOUSLY?!" at the beginning of this journey (ugh - The Bachelor has ruined that word), we are so very happy and this baby is very much wanted and loved already.  

We had been grappling with the decision to have a 3rd child for quite a while now, and as a couple we continued for many months to have the same conversation over and over again. A conversation that always ended the same. Indecision. Mutual promises to talk about this again soon. "It's only going to get more difficult the longer we put it off…"

So what I think we needed was a little divine intervention, and suffices it to say, that's what we got.   

How did we tell people? 

Oh goodness I just blurted it, a number of times. I wonder if it was because it was a surprise, but I seriously just felt itchy to get it off my chest. Maybe I needed more people to know so they could help me get used to the idea? Maybe I just needed to keep saying it so it would become real? I blurted it first to my friend Betsy because I just had to tell someone, and because I took a test on a Thursday on my lunch break, I couldn't tell Dan yet. You can't tell your husband something like that over the phone or in an email. Well Betsy lives in Chicago, so my thinking was that ultimately I wouldn't be able to tell her in person anyway… so immediately when I got back to my office I sent her a message and we emailed back and forth all afternoon going through the details. Freaking out a bit, calculating due dates, thinking about what this all means.

Once Dan was in the know (Chinese take-out, pregnancy test, I alluded to that story already) we couldn't help ourselves. The next evening we had dinner with my parents and brother and sister-in-law, and after dinner when we were playing in the backyard with the kids, my mom made another one of her innocuous comments about giving them another grandchild (I'm sure she said granddaughter actually) and I blurted it out. Well. I’m pregnant so… you can cut it out with the NEED MORE GRANDCHILDREN pressure.  ;) The first thing she said was, "AHHHH! Surprises
are almost always GIRLS!" (Sigh.)

Dan's parents were out of town that weekend, but that Sunday evening we were all over at his grandparent's house for ice cream and Dan blurted it this time, because I was starting to feel weird about it. We had never told people so early, not even our parents, so it was making me nervous, like we were going to jinx things. But I do think both of us were just feeling so surprised and shocked by this whole development that we needed to share the surprise and shock with everyone around us. The next day, Monday, I told Lisa after Zumba and she squealed and was so excited just as I knew she would be because she is 10 weeks ahead of me and now we are pregnant TOGETHER! This is oh-so-exciting and one of those huge life things that I'm pretty sure we discussed and planned to do together as grade-schoolers. And here we are!

That Wednesday evening I took the boys to Dan's softball games after work and my sister-in-law was there with my nephews… so I told her. In fact, I remember my exact words, because they were so eloquent… "So did Dan tell John yet?  I'm freaking pregnant, how crazy is that?" And do you know what she said?

"Ummm, ME TOO!"

Come to find out, she's about a week and a half ahead of me, due with her FOURTH, and I just could not even believe it. Shocked. Mind blown a second time within a week.

What are the chances we're both having another boy, bringing the headcount between our two families to SEVEN?  That's more than half a soccer team!  

How the big brothers are doing

Oh goodness, those sweet boys of ours are so excited. They talk about the baby constantly, especially as my belly continues to grow at an epic (scary) pace. I think Louie is definitely more in the "tentatively excited" camp, he certainly doesn't understand quite as well as Gus what is going on. 

Gus, however, is just jubilant, proud, excited, and very engaged in the whole thing, and this has been the best part so far of being pregnant with older kids.

We broke out all the new baby children's books and have been reading them non-stop, by request. Gus is extremely interested in one particular book that shows how the baby is growing in the belly, and talks about the different stages of fetal development, going all the way back to the ole sperm and egg situation. He is fascinated, and has told me on a number of occasions that the baby already has fingernails, and a really big head, something the book calls out at 12 weeks. 

Louie mostly has just ruminated over how he has to stop having "night night" soon, before the baby is born, which will be after Christmas, and after his birthday. (Due date: February 20, 2015) Yes, as of about 4 days ago we were still nursing at 2.5 years old, only at bedtime/nap-time as it was part of a very set-in-stone routine.  I finally just bit the bullet and cut him off completely this weekend. I've been ready to be done for a while now, but he was so attached to it, and it wasn't really hurting anything, so I just did what I usually do when I am dreading some sort of change or transition.  I put it off. But finally this weekend I hit a wall, and it just started to really eek me out. Like made my skin crawl, which I knew meant it had to be over. And much to my surprise, it was really easy.  Bedtime and nap-time when they involve me are a little more drawn out now, because I've messed with our routine, but he hasn’t been angry. He hasn’t been sad. He's been sort of matter of fact about it. Baby Nubs is going to be here after his birthday and so we need to stop. He pretty much said, "No more? Okay mom, let's just snuggle in the rocking chair."

Oh yeah, Baby Nubs. Up until about a week ago, both boys have called the baby "Nubs" which I’m told is the name of the baby rhinoceros from an episode of Wild Kratts. It has definitely stuck, even Dan and I refer to the baby as "Nubs". Then last week Gus announced in the car on the way home from daycare that, and I quote, "I’m going to name the baby Sweetie now, I decided Nubs isn't the perfect name, but Sweetie is." Okay then.  

Gus is convinced it's a girl, there is no discussion of it.  He always refers to the baby as her or she, and if we remind him that it could be a boy he says, "No, it’s a girl." My sister-in-law Michelle was having a conversation with him on Sunday evening and said, "What if it's a baby brother? That would be fun too, right?" He responded matter of factly, "It's not. It's going to be a girl."

Soooo...

Will we find out?

The good news is, we are FOR SURE finding out at the big 20-week ultrasound, so he'll have some time to get used to the disappointment if we do find out we're having another boy. Of course, I would love to have a little girl, LOVE. There's no question, and I'm not going to dance around it. But what's done is done, what is will be… and right now we are just planning for another baby. I don’t even think about the baby as a boy or girl right now, I mostly think about the fact that we will have THREE KIDS. Ha. And when I talk about the baby, I find myself saying he, though I doubt that means anything. Still, I haven't even allowed myself to think about names yet, and I don't even have a desire to do so until we know. There is plenty of time for those inevitable spirited marital debates, and I'm not really a fan of decidedly choosing a name ahead of time, or anyone other than the two of us knowing the chosen name. I like having the ability to change my mind (as many times as I please), and frankly I don't want anyone's opinion on the matter, so there you go. We will find out, but the name will come later. 

How I’ve been feeling

I am feeling much better. I will be 15 weeks on Friday, and I can tell the worst of it is behind me. The first trimester was definitely no fun, but I can't complain too much. There was only one bout of the pukes (while brushing my teeth – classic) but lots of nausea. Mornings and late evenings have been the worst, and an empty stomach is sure to give me the dry-heaves/shakes. I've been eating breakfast almost immediately upon getting up in the morning, when I'm normally an on-the-way-to-work breakfast eater, because I literally could not get through mine or the kids' morning routines without eating right away. And by the end of the evening, still, I'm just spent, and sort of crabby to my poor husband, and ready to just please let this day be over. Lame, I know.
Other first trimester woes have included that pregnant lady tin-mouth phenomenon (blech), bloat, round ligament pain when I accidentally and quickly use my ab muscles, and decidedly huge boobs already (rage).

What I've been eating

Aversions so far have been random: buttered wheat toast, hazelnut coffee, almond milk in my coffee, anything that leaves a sweet after-taste (gross), ice cream (tummy aches), watermelon for some reason always ends badly even though it tastes wonderful as I'm eating it, and finally just over-eating makes BAD THINGS HAPPEN (there was a particular incident that involved the over-consumption of guacamole and tortilla chips at the beginning of date-night out that essentially served to end said date night about 3 hours early)

Cravings: coffee with cream, eggs, pizza, potatoes, guacamole (despite the incident), apples and peanut butter, and strawberry or raspberry greek yogurt

Nausea-fighting edibles: mints, sunflower seeds, and lime-flavored sparkling water (OMG so good)

What I’ve been wearing

I just broke out the three boxes of maternity clothes yesterday, and promptly went through and got rid of two boxes. (So ugly, did I really wear those things?) Work has been particularly difficult to dress for over the last month or so, because no one there knew, so I was dressing in my regular clothes while trying to be discreet. Many a big bulky sweater was worn mid-July through mid-August, which is just ridiculous.

I feel like I look REALLY pregnant this time around, and it's somewhat unnerving, and it's not my favorite.  I never really lost all of the tummy stuff after having Louie, so I'm guessing that's just it, combined with the whole 3rd baby thing, it's just way OUT THERE right away.  I have finally just decided to embrace the belly at this point and roll with it, even if I feel like it is bigger than an almost-15 week belly should be. I've only gained about 3.5 lbs, which I don't think is terrible.  Eh.  It's all pretty typical insecurity stuff, probably shouldn't even attribute it to pregnancy because I am crazy in real life about body image stuff. I just have to buy a few new things that make me feel good and I'm sure I'll get out of this funk. 
  
What’s on the “To Do” list?

Lots. 
  • Get Louie transitioned out of his crib (he is nearly 2 years, 9 months, so it's not like we're pushing this on him!)
  • Operation bunk bed/shared room
  • Potty Training (in italics because Louie is hard core pushing back on this one, and letting us know in very clear ways that he is not ready, but I really hope he changes his tune on this one sooner than later)
  • Lots of things hinging on the pink or blue news: Pink will mean I am definitely updating the nursery a bit, to infuse some major girliness into this home that has been over-run with all things superhero/dinosaur/things with wheels for going on five years now. Pink would also mean I could go through my (approximately) 8 tubs of baby clothes and shoes, etc. and get rid of everything but the "special" stuff that will be saved for Gus and Louie's wives someday. Blue would mean I could start organizing, planning, tailoring, and still could get rid of some of the stuff that I have never been very fond of. I have so much boy stuff at this point that I am only keeping things I love and am sure to put on my 3rd and final child. 
  • Names. Again, not even thinking about this until we know. 
  • I think I’m going to get bangs again, and get highlights.  This is completely unrelated to baby, but it's on my list.
  • Solidify childcare situation for next year. I've talked to my daycare provider, i.e. SHE KNOWS and the discussion will be happening at some point in the future as to how we will do this, how we can make this work. (There were FOUR babies born at our daycare in the last 5 months, so there are considerations being made for those babies, and now our baby has become another factor in the daycare under-2 numbers game.)
  • Decide where we're sending Gus to school. Again, not tied directly to baby but this decision has huge implications for my work schedule, childcare situation, and all of our lives starting September 2015. And to say I am having an easy time with it would be a lie. It stresses me out like crazy.
  • Finish work on our breezeway/porch.  I am desperate to make this happen, even though I am not the one doing the work. We need this space in our home, I need to get some of my living room back from the TOYS. This has to happen this year.
So there it is.  All of my pregnancy-brain ramblings.  (You asked for it, girl!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I'm having another baby

I decided not to bury the lead this time.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

I've had a few months to freak out/panic/laugh/jump up and down/freak out some more/find peace with/get REALLY EXCITED about this little piece of news.  So I hope I've done a good job of freaking some of you out about this who don't know me in real life.  

Now you know how I felt on June 6th in that dingy public restroom in the back of a Bloomington Subway Sandwich restaurant.

And now you know how Dan felt when I came home that night with Chinese takeout and he reached into the brown paper bag for some Kung Pao chicken and pulled out a pregnancy test.  (I know, not the most sanitary, but I was going for shock value!)

I promise I'll be back with more interesting information, and maybe even a few belly pictures... I'm a few days away from 14 weeks. (Friday is the day actually, pregnant ladies, myself included, just can't seem to help themselves from rounding up, can they?)

sonogram
12 week little buddy!

I just wanted to get it out there, since as of this morning, my boss knows, and the news was sure to bleed over into the internet world soon (if it hasn't already) via some heavy instagramming of a very clear belly over this past weekend by my girlfriends.  (Still coming down from my Girl's Weekend high!)

Reading
The old "new baby!" books are back in heavy rotation.


More soon, I promise!  I have not been blogging all summer, in general, because I have basically been hanging on by a thread, taking the loveliness that is the first trimester day-by-day... but things seem to be on the upswing in the complaint department. Here's hoping!

THREE KIDS!!!!!!!!  It's going to be a while before I get used to that.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Religion and kids

I grew up Catholic and Dan Lutheran.  I fell away from the Catholic church after college, I suppose, when some of the big causes and issues the church took on over the last decade were things I very much opposed and felt strongly about on the other side of things.  Oh and all of the hypocrisy that was getting harder to ignore.  I started to look at religion very differently.

We joined a Lutheran church as a family a few years ago but definitely haven't been the best about making it a priority.  This is probably due to a number of things, but primarily because Gus was an absolute animal last year at three years old, and we couldn't get through Sunday school without some major meltdown or disruption or embarrassment.  I started to dread it and feel a lot of anxiety about the whole thing.  And Sundays are our family days and we hated spending so much of it managing children and scolding and fretting over their behavior.

Easter Sunday with their cousins
And you know what?  We are the grown-ups now, so we get to decide how involved we are in the church.  We get to choose our priorities.  Life is too short to do things out of guilt or some sense of obligation, and as much as I do value my Christian upbringing and how it shaped me, we have to do what feels right at the time.

I don't want to make some big statement here about organized religion and what it means to raise children of faith.  I'm not sure I have quite wrapped my head around it all, and what we're going to do as the kids get older.  I just want to say, that at this age, raising littles, I find it all very sweet and innocent and lovely.  A little bit goes a long way, and that's what Gus is getting at a Christian preschool.  We have Gus's school to thank for bringing it back into our house in small ways over the past year. I think talking about how Jesus loves you no matter what and that we should show kindness and understanding for others the way God does for us is pretty much exactly the amount of religion we need in our family right now.

It's been good for us.

Led by the boys, we now hold hands and sing a prayer every night at dinner, a prayer Gus learned at preschool and taught all of us one evening.  Louie LOVES it.  He closes his eyes at the direction of his big brother and sways back and forth like Stevie Wonder.  It is hilarious and brings so much joy to Dan and I.  I've always loved the ritual part of religion, so it makes sense that praying at dinnertime is one part of all of this that works for us right now.

Gus has so many questions for us, for which I am never quite sure how to answer, though he almost always is quick to accept whatever I say as fact. (Which is my primary issue with religion at this age, it can feel like brainwashing when the children are so young and naive and innocent, oh their spongy little brains.  That part gives me the ick.)

The questions and conversations we have are just so funny though.  And they seemingly come out of nowhere.

Gus: "Jesus is my best friend, mom."

Me: "Really buddy?  Since when?  Well, that's very sweet."

Gus: "Yeah, but mom?  Who is Jesus?"

The other day at the park, he even talked to Suzi about it, same thing:

Gus: "Jesus is my best friend."

Louie: "Yeah, he's our best friend, but he always takes away all our toys."

(HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHA!)

At dinner the other night:

Gus: "Let's play Jesus.  I'll be God.  You can be Mary, Mom.  Dad, you're Joseph.  And Louie is baby Jesus."

Me: "What if I want to be God?"

Gus: "God is a BOY, mom."

Dan: "Not necessarily.  Some people would beg to differ.  Maybe he's neither?  A little of both?"

Gus: "God is a boy."

I'm guessing these conversations are only going to get more complicated, but it is a much preferred dinner conversation over discussions of butts and diarrhea (another current favorite), so I'm going to have to try to step up my game.   

Thursday, May 15, 2014

10 Years

Dan,

Well here we are.

10 years ago, my goodness we were just babies weren't we?  I was so moony-eyed over you, I loved being around you.  No one gave better hugs, no one smelled better, no one ever said such sweet things to me.  Oh and you were such a good guy.  A great guy.  Anyone who knew you would say that.  You were kind and sweet, and quiet and reserved at first, but outrageously sarcastic and funny once out of your shell.  And you loved me, of all people.  You used to tease me so much, and I think you know that I both hated it and loved it.  I saw it in your eyes, how much you loved teasing me... because they twinkled.  Yeah, I'm serious.  Twinkled.  That twinkle, the quiet amusement and adoration it reveals, I know it well, and I still cherish it today.



I didn't know yet 10 years ago who you would become.  I probably could have guessed, but I didn't know, because I was 22 and naive and I didn't quite understand what it really meant.  You were a good guy then.  Today, you're a good man.  You are so many things.  You're loyal, sensitive, authentic, devoted, hard-working, gentle, knowing, vulnerable, intelligent, understanding, brave, faithful, and strong.  Not to mention, you're a patient and playful and dedicated father to these two boys we created together.

Birthday


There is no one on this planet that knows me better than you do.  That's another thing I don't think I stopped to think about as a young pup, embarking on this whole marriage thing.  I was much too worried about the fact that I wanted pink tulips, not the purple ones our florist mistakenly ordered, for the table arrangements at the reception.  At 22 you think you know everything.  But I'm not sure I really realized how vulnerable we were being, by letting each other in so deep, by deciding to become us, by choosing us over me and you.  Because now, who even am I without you? 

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Home is you.  You're my home.  My one constant in this ever-evolving life we've chosen together.  My partner, my confidant, my voice of reason.

My best friend.

Happy Anniversary babe.

Alicia 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

We went to Mexico

I can't find the words to describe how good this trip was for us.

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Life is busy, and those joyful boys (.k.a. chirpy little balls of never-ending energy) we are raising can be pretty all-consuming. Sometimes you need a reminder of how the other people live. Sometimes you need a reminder that life isn't all dishes and wiping counters and "What do we make for dinner tonight?" and daycare drop-off and long commutes and never enough hours in the day and middle of the night wakings and teaching right and wrong and being asked "why?" over and over and over... Sometimes you need a reminder of how much you actually ENJOY this person you are making a life with.

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And the sun.  The glorious, warm, life-giving sun.  Minnesota has been missing you.

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These 4 days in paradise were good for my tired soul.  And for my over-stimulated brain.  It was able to dial back a little, as the big decisions in Mexico involve making the choice between another margarita or switching to gin and tonics. Or deciding whether to go for a walk on the beach or read a few more chapters.

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Oh, and I never needed to warm up my coffee in the microwave.

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We woke up each morning way too early, but neither of us seemed to be able to sleep later than 7:00, these children have RUINED us!  And then we would go down to the beach and just do this.

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And a little of this.

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Then we'd hit the pool to cool off a bit.

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Or take a stroll down the beach.

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It was so QUIET!

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The view from our balcony.

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Room service breakfast every morning.

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Romantic dinners each night.

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Sorry about the selfies.  We are awkward introverts and just can't stand asking strangers to take our picture.

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We ventured outside of the resort just once, on our last night, took a bus to a super touristy spot to go haggle with the locals on souvenirs for the boys.  It stressed both of us out and we couldn't wait to get back to our all inclusive safe haven. We are terrible travelers without our guide Lisa!  ;)

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And then we came home.  As we were descending over Minneapolis I was immediately back to mom mode, remembering to take a picture from the plane to show Gus, knowing how thrilled it would make him.

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We are so thankful to our incredible parents for taking such great care of the boys, I was worried about leaving them so long, even if 4 nights and 5 days isn't really that long at all.  I shouldn't say worried, I knew they'd be in good hands.  But nervous and neurotic? Yes.  They were both so happy to have us home, and Dan and I both took the next day off of work to spend a day with them at home... get back into our groove.  That day was a blessing, however I came to the realization that our time in paradise didn't do quite what I hoped it would do, which was provide us with a nice little break that would allow me to come back to real life with all this bottled up patience and a zen-like approach to parenting.

Instead, I am even more aware how dang LOUD these kids are!  Like seriously.  We've been back almost a week and I think I'm finally getting used to it again.  Crap.

They're loud.

But gosh I love them, and missed them, and am so grateful for them.  And I sure do love my husband.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

House Tour: Part 2 (Kitchen & "Master")

We continue our house tour by heading into our "master" bedroom.  (Haaaaaaaaaaaa! Master bedroom!  Sure, we'll call it that today.)

I mentioned this previously, but our bedroom is on the main level of the house, right off the living room.  This set-up certainly has its pros and cons, one of the biggest detractors being that you have to WALK THROUGH OUR BEDROOM to get to the only bathroom on the first level.  Annoying, to put it mildly.

What this means is that anytime a guest has to use our bathroom he or she has to look at the pile of laundry on my dresser, or the stacks of bobby pins and hair ties littering every surface of the room.  This means I really have to make an effort to make our bed everyday.  (A good thing actually, it would be a ball of blankets and sheets without the added pressure of potential unexpected visitors and the fact that I have to look at it all day.)

It is a very tiny bedroom, and of course we have it packed with furniture, because that is our way.  We painted it a warm gold/yellow color when we first moved in ten years ago, and I hated it almost immediately.  Eh.  I lived with it for a while, because that's what you do.  (Have I mentioned how terrible I am at choosing paint colors?)

That was many years ago.  We had a bunch of renovating to do upstairs when we first bought the house (it was a pretty big disaster up there) so that is why we used this room as a bedroom.  Once our renovations were complete upstairs, we moved into one of the two bedrooms on the 2nd level, and painted this one again, to the current sage green color.  For a number of years this was a den and TV room, then it was a guest bedroom, and then when I was pregnant with Louie we moved Gus into our former bedroom to make way for the new baby and we moved back down here.

I really want to paint in here again, it's just so dang dark (quite honestly I hate it, but I feel bad that I keep using such a negative and dramatic word to describe aspects of my home). But... ugh.  Too much work.  I will live with it for now.

 Everything hanging on the walls is hanging in a place that made sense when this room was used in a drastically different way, so it's very... haphazard.  The walls are plaster, so hanging stuff is kind of a production, and it is usually proceeded by a lot of not-so-friendly marital banter.

So with very little thought or care, I have just taken things and have hung them on screws that were already there.  I say it's better than seeing big holes in the wall, or big ugly screws sticking out.  This room could use a pretty major decor overhaul, which I'm sure I will get to before the kids graduate from high school.

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Pay no attention to the husband lounging on the bed watching March Madness.

Speaking of watching TV.  This is a very new thing.  A TV in our bedroom!  I've actually been actively against having a TV in our bedroom for many years, and we went without one for a very long time.  Just a few months ago we started throwing the idea around.

The only TVs we had were in the basement and the kitchen, and they both had their very specific uses. The basement TV makes sense, it's our family room, it's where movie nights happen, where Dan and I lounge at the end of the day watching something on Netflix, and where the kids can go when we want them distracted and out of our hair while making dinner. ;)  It's nice to have one in the kitchen because the kids watch cartoons during breakfast and I occasionally enjoy a little House Hunters or Property Brothers while I'm doing the dishes. 

But I also love watching the news while laying in bed at night. And I love catching a little bit of the late night shows before finally calling it a night.  And I REALLY love the idea of dozing for another 30 minutes after the kids get up by turning on some Curious George and all snuggling together in bed.

So whatever, now we are one of those couples that has a TV in our bedroom, and I kind of love it.  Maybe I'll change my mind someday, but for now I give it two very enthusiastic thumbs up. 

One of my favorite features of this house, and old houses in general, is the laundry chute.  It is so lovely to have a place for all gross dirty laundry to go, none of it spilling out of laundry baskets in various rooms of the house.  It's all contained in the laundry room that no guests ever enter, and for that reason alone laundry chutes are my favorite.

We have one of these babies upstairs in the "kid's" bathroom, and then there's this one in our room.  You can see peeled paint where I taped the door shut during basement renovations a few years ago.  I had to find a way to stop myself from throwing my delicate underthings down to the gutted basement that was often occupied by various contractors and strangers.  So hard to break a habit like that.

Of course, our house is old and poorly ventilated so the paint on the doors and trim can get tacky during particularly humid summers... thus the peeled paint where the tape was.  It is on my imaginary list of things that bug me when I notice them but for which there are no plans to change.

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Ugh.  The cluster-f of doors.  The one next to the lamp is the door into the bedroom, the one with the sweater hanging from the door knob is my closet door.  You can probably imagine how annoying that can be to deal with on a daily basis with rambunctious boys running in and out while you're trying to get dressed.

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 Isn't that bedside table just the cutest?  I am in love.  I found this guy, his twin, and their two matching dressers at an estate sale ALL for only ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DOLLARS!  Amazing amazing amazing find.  We can only fit one bedside table in our room, Gus has the rest of the set in his room.  (Part 3, coming soon!) 

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Lamp was randomly purchased at Target (clearance).  Bed is Ikea.  Strangely placed wall "art" is photography from our wedding, that hung in our dining room until about two years ago.  I had screws in the wall to hide, so I slapped these guys up there not too long ago.  

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This room has crown molding and a chair rail, LOVE.

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My dresser is part of a set that was another estate sale find from back in the day.  It looks much nicer when it is not covered in clutter, but that is never, so... keeping it real here.  It's somewhat difficult to fit both dressers in this room, so the other one is in the basement in our weird little bonus room that houses all of Dan's clothes, board games, the treadmill, and everything else we want to avoid looking at.

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It's a gorgeous old walnut dresser, with a lot of weird little details and hardware and carvings.  I like it.

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Those curtains were in our dining room for about 8 months.  I like them but they were a bit much for a dining room.  They don't really go with the color in this room (which looks completely different depending on the light, which is very clear in these pictures), but I spent a bunch of money on them so I wasn't going to admit defeat.  I think they'll look great once I finally paint in here, and it's nice to have curtains that give us a little privacy, being that the bedroom is on the main level of the house. 

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We have this old chair in the corner next to my dresser that was relocated from the living room this past December, to make room for the Christmas tree.  Even though it is clearly way too big for the space, and the Christmas tree is long gone, we haven't moved it back.  We've found that it's really nice to have a cozy spot to sit while the kids take a bath. It's funny what you end up finding value in as a parent. Plus I've added some toy storage in the living room in place of the Christmas tree (uhhh... not a coincidence) so there isn't really a space for it there anymore.  

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First glimpse of the one bathroom we have in the house that we have done absolutely NOTHING to.  It's obviously dated, but charming in it's own way.  Also? Tiny.

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Bath toy clutter.  I can't even imagine having a closet to put this kind of stuff so it is out of the way. People with spacious houses with ample closet space... tell me, what is that like?  I imagine it's glorious.

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Hated this tile when we moved in, now I don't mind it.  At least the whole bathroom isn't pink!

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I will refrain from showing you the toilet, because that just seems uncouth.  You've seen one toilet, you've seen them all right?  (FYI it is directly across from that little white cabinet).

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And now, we will go to the kitchen, certainly the most unique room of the house. Certainly it is the room that needs the most work, a complete overhaul actually, however due to budget and time constraints we just haven't yet been able to tackle the job.  We have a tentative plan, at least for the layout, and we've been very seriously discussing going ahead with this project this spring or summer, but eh.  I'd really like to have a more firm plan of what we will do, and a clear budget, before we start doing ANYTHING.  And also, as of late, I've decided that I'm just not ready to do this until we finish the OTHER big project we started more than two years ago, our breezeway/porch.  It's really really close, most of what's left is the fun stuff on that project, so I've put my foot down.  Finish one, then we talk about the other.  And I want a useful breezeway/porch so badly.  God, it's so easy to loose momentum with house projects.  The house, like us as a family I suppose, is a constant work in progress.

That back door heads downstairs and outside to the breezeway, backyard, and garage.

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I'll get on with it.  So there's our weird kitchen, looking in from the dining room.  Black and white linoleum that is even peeling in some places.  Formica faux wood-grain counter tops.  Old appliances.  Cabinets with a "pickle" stain.  Other hack-job cabinets that the former owner added without doors, for which I added blue curtains.

Yes.  It's all very... charming.  ;)

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There's got to be a better place for our little cooler lunch boxes, but I guess we haven't found it.

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The few things we've done in this room over the last 10 years were to add the dishwasher (holla!) and to swap out the old grimy stainless steel sink & faucet for what we have now.  

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Oh and we made those little blue curtains.  :)

I'm sorry I didn't clear off the counter-top clutter (and wall clutter and magnetic clutter) before taking these photos.  Wine glasses, drying sippy cups next to the sink, a honey dew melon, a bunch of bananas, a huge sack of grapefruits, and the big old box of red wine.  This is usually what our kitchen looks like, so there you go.  

The lower cabinet to the left of the ones directly under the sink is an old school flour bin, which I find pretty cool.  We use it for recycling though, which probably makes it less cool.

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Our little breakfast nook (table & stools are from Ikea), which looks out over the patio that lies adjacent to the breezeway, in front of the garage.

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There are a bunch of storage baskets on the other side, where the kids can get their own sippy cups and plates, and where we store a lot of random plastic containers.  There is so little storage in this kitchen, we pull out all the stops where we can.

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Iron Man has never been so cute!

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There's the back patio and the outside of the breezeway, which is the part of the project we've finished.  New windows, trim, siding, doors, outdoor lighting.  So cute.  Oh this little piece of our house is going to be so awesome when it is completely finished.

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He's sick of me taking pictures and ignoring him.

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Telling me stories about the laser that comes out of his Iron Man glove.

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"See Mom?"  

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That's the back door, and around the corner are the stairs to the basement.  Next time!

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