Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Got Swept In... Pinterest!  I had been watching others use it for awhile, and at first, didn't really think it was for me.  Let's face it, I just joined Facebook this year, I'm not exactly what you would call an early adopter.  But more recently, I had been following a few people more closely and watching how they are able to track all their DIY and project ideas, inspiration photos, AND it tracks sources - something my current system (basically we're talking about memory) was usually lacking.
So anyway, I requested an account.  And it felt like a year until I finally got my invite, but really it was less than a week.  And now I'm at it, off to a slow start, but I'm sure it will pick up in time.  If you are interested in checking out my pins, I think this link should take you there.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nursery Update - Crib Mattress and Curtain Update

Good news - the crib has a mattress!  We now have a place for little baby Stover to lay his precious little head.  Phew! The mattress and the carseat are the two absolute must haves (aka stress points for this mama) in order to bring a little one home from the hospital.  I mean, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of other necessities, but the rest are things I can send Byron or a parent out for while I'm chilling (ha!) in the hospital.  The carseat and the mattress were musts for me, and now that the mattress is in place, there is one less thing for me to stress over.
I was really surprised at how big of an impact it has on the room.  It really makes a difference!
And here is a close up of the crib sheet I found.  Warning - although the color goes great with the rest of the room, it has NOT been washed and is incredibly wrinkly.  All things in time, my friends.
Adorable.  I think I need 4 of these for spares.  Note to self:  update registry.  I also really need to get a move on making a crib skirt.  I feel that in my near future.  Maybe with the long weekend I can get a start on it?
And now for some not as happy news.  Remember the fabric I was testing out for curtains?
Well, before I started cutting and hemming the panels, I thought I should probably test the fabric for length.  I doubled it up and clipped it in place and of course, this is what happened next.
Not so bad here.  Let's zoom in.
Noooooo!  There isn't enough fabric!  I know this isn't precise, but if I were actually doing it I would have to hem both ends, and let's face it, I would end up hating it.  I have another piece of this fabric, but it isn't long enough either.  I guess that's what happens when you buy remnants.  So now the plan is to switch it out with the other fabric I had found for the room.  I doubled up the material and clipped it in, and here is what it looks like.
Again, the curtain panels won't puddle on the ground, but rather I would end them just below the window's trim piece. And there would be two side by side, rather than just the one.  Of course, now that I can't have the cream fabric, now I have my heard set on it.  But the dark print is fun, too, and I'm sure I can learn to love it there.  And now that the dark print will go on the window, that leaves the cream to potentially use on the chair.
First of all, ignore the piles of baby clothes on either side of the chair.  It's garage sale season, and I haven't organized everything et.  Second, I can tell just by looking at it that the lines in this fabric are going to be a beast to keep straight. I can't go having a crooked print, now, can I?  No.  We won't have that.  But seriously now, I need some opinions. Would this print be better on the chair, or better as a crib skirt?  I go back and forth.
So anyway, with the holiday weekend giving me an extra day to work on the house, it would be really nice to get started on the curtain panels (especially because they are going to be so easy!).  I will at least consider it an accomplishment if I get the fabric washed.  That's one step ahead of where I am now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tonight I'm Cleaning Out My Closet

Ah...our closet.  It had gotten bad.  You know that feeling where the walls seem to be closing in around you?  Well, our closet was starting to feel like that.  Clothes were EVERYWHERE.  I mean, yes, it's a closet, but even in a closet, things should have their place.  See what I mean?
Please don't judge.
Okay thank you.  Now that I've aired my dirty laundry to the world, although technically you didn't get to see a shot of the laundry basket, it is also time to tell you I did something about it.  I always start with the shelving behind the door, which is home primarily to Byron's clothes with a few of mine mixed in at the bottom.  I think I start there so because it narrows my focus and I can see progress quickly.  So down cam all of Byron's tshirts, socks, shorts, etc., and I began to fold and organize.  It didn't take long for the shelves to start shaping up.
Not perfect, but a vast improvement.  Once I tackled that, I moved on to the top shelf.  It was pretty simple to organize the rest of Byron's side of the closet.  His sweaters just needed a fresh fold, which should last awhile since it isn't exactly sweater season.  His jeans were also a pretty quick fix.  And voila!
So with half of the closet complete, the rest just sort of fell into place.
So maybe you notice from these pictures, but there is just one area that I have left to tackle.
This is also a little embarrassing, but the truth is, I plan to edit my shoes, but at the time, my feet are swollen and look like hobbit feet so I don't even know what fits right now.  Right now, I just wear what fits, whether it matches or not. The truth is, I really have it on my mind to recreate this closet organization system by Freckles Chick.  Oh how I am in love with that shoe organization.  But with planning for a baby, I just didn't feel up to tackling this just yet.  So that will have to become Closet Organization, Phase II.  Oh well.
One piece of good news is that when all was said and done and the closet was restored to working order, we were left with a huge mound of stuff to either get rid of or donate to Goodwill.
The picture may not do it justice.  There is a ton of stuff there, most of which is actually Byron's. Since I had already gone through my stuff as a part of the purge earlier this year, I didn't have quite as much to contribute, but I will say there are approximately 10-15 things of mine in that pile.  And...a while back Byron had mentioned to me that he thought we should do a "Summer 100" purge.  So this weekend I plan to count and sort these items and see where that leaves us.  Man, it was hard enough for me to get to that first 100 (mostly because I'm a hoarder), but it would be so awesome to come up with another!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Confession - this one was technically completed in January, and further completed (is that such a thing?) about three weeks ago.  I have quit not only one part time job, but two!  Can I get an amen?  Haha.
So at the time I wrote the list, I was kind of hoping that a baby would soon follow.  I knew that when we brought kids into our family, they would be my priority and I didn't want to spend every night away.  After working various part time jobs for the past four years, I was ready for some free time back.
As I said, the first quit happened in January.  This was the job I had for the past two years working for the Catholic high school in town coaching their colorguard.  I have to admit, it was really hard to leave the kids I worked with, but this job was a lot of work.  The good part about it was that it was only a heavy time commitment through the fall, but there was planning required during the rest of the year.  Although I was technically done in January, I still had a few things that I needed to do to get the new coach up and running.  I would say I officially cut ties in April.  Fortunately she is amazing and the kids are going to be very lucky to have her.
The second quit was a little harder.  I had worked for the Civic Center, which is a theatre that brings in, among other things, Broadway shows to Des Moines, for the past four seasons.  It was a great job that had the occasional perk of free tickets, and just an overall great staff.  When I first found out I was pregnant, Byron asked me to change my availability to weekends only, which was needed with how tired I became.  Even so, this job occupied pretty much all of my weekends in some way.  The first weekend in May was the closeout of the Broadway season, so I just chose that as a good quitting time.  And although I miss my former coworkers, I have really enjoyed some commitment free weekends. I have approximately 7 more before a new commitment fills all our free time!
So that's it.  I'm down to one full time job, and an *occasional* side job that I do for my church.  Emphasis is really on occasional.  I don't even consider it a job.  I'm practically a normal person!
I know my list needs a lot more attention as time will surely get away from me fast.  I hope to keep checking things off one at a time this summer and into the fall, getting as close to complete as I can before winter sets in and my energy level goes down.  Oh, and did I mention there is a baby coming?  Yeah...I hope I wasn't too ambitious and I can still complete my list.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Baby Sister Graduates

It's a little overdue, but I thought I would share a family milestone that we celebrated last weekend.  This is Betsy.
And this is her graduating from college.
Congratulations, tootsie.  Even though she went to a pretty small school, she had a really cool major - film.  And she's had some pretty cool experiences with it to, like studying in Los Angeles, and not to brag, but also working with a Baldwin brother.  Now I get to enjoy the summer (and possibly longer) with her living right next door.
This was also the first time I broke out my zoom lens, which not only allowed me to get pretty decent photos considering I was at the opposite end of the gymnasium, and also helped to pass the time when the other hundreds of students had their names read.  Betsy would have been a fraction of the size had I not had it.  And I still have a lot to learn about shooting in gymnasium.  Let's just leave it at that!
Here's the best family photo we got while we were there.  (Brother couldn't make it, and Byron was taking the photo.  I didn't really plan this one out so well.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tis the Season for Yardwork

As I've been keeping up on some of my favorite blogs, I have noticed that we aren't the only family that's been hot and heavy into the yardwork/projects these days.  Check out some of the other projects that have been going on.
My favorites over at Young House Love have been up to major projects like this and this.  If I had more time and a shorter to-do list before this baby comes, I would definitely undertake a back patio DIY project of my own.  Although we won't get to it this year, it's definitely going in the 3-5 year plan!
Meredith at Welcome to Heardmont took on a weekend of yard clean up.  Isn't it great how much of a difference a little blood, sweat, and tears can make?
Katie at Bower Power has been busy transplanting flowers and shrubs.
And I'm sure there are many more out there.  I love reading about the projects that others are taking on.  It just makes me so proud of what we are able to accomplish and inspires me to take on more.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nursery Update - the Refinished Dresser

Amidst continued work on the front landscape project, we also managed to complete the dresser for the nursery.  I was super excited about this project.  I was just so anxious about the transformation.  This is the one project that I kept bugging Byron about getting to.  Fortunately for me, there were a few rainy days spattered in there that prevented work on the outside, so this project is now done.
After the dresser was sanded, it only took about two coats of paint.  I never know how many coats something will need, especially when we cover a color with white, but two seems good.  And we didn't go through too much of the paint, which means we can use it for the other five pieces that are still in our basement waiting for their turn to be refinished.
So now that it is done, here is what it looks like in its new space.
It looks so clean and bright.  I am in love with the simple chrome knobs and pulls.  They are sleek and yet appropriately masculine, though if we were having a girl I would have wanted to spring for some bejeweled knobs and pulls like they have at Anthropologie.
As far as what comes next, I definitely want to line the drawers with some pretty fabric or paper.  I am intending to install a changing pad on top of the table and to use the top drawer for all of the necessary diapering supplies that will need to be close at hand.  The other drawers will probably go to clothes, but I haven't exactly figured that out.  I am also still debating what should go above the dresser.  Should I put a mirror for baby to look at himself during diaper changes?  Should I hang some art?  Should I consider shelving?  I would really like some shelving somewhere in the room to keep track of display items and books and stuff, but I am just not sure where they should go.  I guess I'll just have to keep plugging away at the room and hopefully everything will just fall into place.  And of course I am still doing plenty of research for additional inspiration!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekend Warrior

***NOTE:  Sorry to those of you who tried to read this when the pictures had disappeared.  All is restored now, and no, I have no idea what happened.***

So work on the wall continues.  Saturday was a long day for Byron.  Unfortunately I was gone most of the day and missed most of the action, but he put in a full day's work out front.  He even managed to get a little sunburn in the process.  I feel bad for him there, but woo hoo for Iowa, who finally figured out what month it is and gave us weather accordingly.  But anyway, back to the wall.  We made it around the curve and are several layers deep in some areas.  The hardest part is still making sure it is all level.  Once the base layer is complete all the way around, I feel like it will all come together fairly easily.  Byron will have to go back and affix all the bricks together with adhesive (I speak in general terms because I have no idea what it is called), but again, it won't take nearly as long as preparing the area.
But now, onto the pictures!
This photo (and some of the others in not so obvious ways) shows off one of Byron's best ideas yet - to bury the gutter downspout and feed it out through the retaining wall.  Not only does it make the downspout totally unnoticeable, but it directs the water well away from the foundation of the house.  That man has got brains I tell ya!
This is one of my favorite in progress shots.  Minnie the inspector closely checking out her daddy's handiwork.  She is so curious about everything we do and just likes to be included.  I am working on her vocabulary to add words like level, hammer, chisel, etc., so I can send her to fetch our tools for us.
Up next, finishing the bricks and the capstones, filling in the dirt as well as adding GOOD topsoil, and finally filling the area in with plants.  I can't wait to see it take shape.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there, but especially to my mother.  She's a little bit crazy and a lot of fun.
As I think about this holiday, I can only imagine what my life will be like one year from now.  I'm sure that many of you will agree, motherhood seems to be one of the most challenging things, but also the most rewarding.  Thanks to my mom for teaching me what a good mom is and I can only hope to become the same thing to my children.
And a special thanks to this one, who made me a puppy mama!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

All in a Friday Night's Work

I came home from work last night to see this view in my front yard.
 The inspector checking out the workmanship.
It was getting a little late last night, so I snuck out this morning to snap the pictures.  Thank goodness one of Byron's buddies came over to help for awhile - that is a lot of stone to move!  I didn't get to see most of the process, and quite honestly, I'll probably miss a good chunk of it today, too, but I think Byron is realizing it is more work than he had originally thought it would be.  I think he was hoping to be further along last night.  Either way, both of us agree that we would rather have it done right than done fast.
There was one snag that happened.  On Tuesday, we had purchased the bricks and scheduled them for delivery on Friday. On Wednesday, Lowe's called us and told us that we hadn't paid for our capstones.  It seemed odd, but I double checked the receipt and sure enough, they hadn't charged us for them.  At this point, I was glad that they caught this mistake, although I have no idea how they did it, and we just swung by the store again and paid for it.  However, in order to avoid a double delivery charge, they sold it to us as a "pick up later" order, then would just add it to the delivery schedule later.  Sure enough, Friday comes, the delivery comes, and the capstones don't come.  The stinky part about this is that I was on my way to work and had to field about 7 calls from Byron, but to make a long story short, Lowe's delivered!  Haha.  Nice pun.  I don't know exactly, but I think they just went back to the store and drove it back out to us.  Thank goodness we live so close!
Another thing that complicated the process ever so slightly is that we had planned on our yard sloping toward the neighbor's house as you can see in the pictures, but what you might not be able to see (and we definitely didn't) is that from the sidewalk to the middle of the porch, the yard actually slopes UP first.  It's not a big deal, it just means leveling the wall took a little more thought.  And time.  And, I am afraid that we won't have enough bricks, which just means going back to Lowe's for like the 16th day in a row.
I hope to have more progress photos to share soon.  Byron has been a machine attacking this project, but after all there is only so much time in the day.