Thursday, October 22, 2015

Will- Two and a Half

We've hit some major milestones with Will and so I felt it was time to document these new achievements!

Right now I'm:
  • A big helper
  • In a big boy bed
  • Daytime potty trained
  • Wearing size 11(!) shoes
  • Talking a lot more and saying mostly full sentences
  • Riding a tricycle and trying to keep up with the big kids in the neighborhood
  • Swimming while holding a noodle
  • Loving gymnastics, singing, dancing, riding in the car with the windows down, taking pictures and helping mama and dada with house projects
  • Going to Montessori school 3 days a week and LOVING it.
  • Counting to 19 and reciting about half the alphabet without help
  • Food: Yogurt... we go through copious amounts of yogurt and I think of Burn Notice every time I buy it
  • Books: All aboard the Dino train, Olivia, Go dogs go and Giraffes can't dance
  • TV/Movies: Thomas, Curious George and Frozen (he went through a phase where he would put Olaf to bed every night and tuck him in and sing Twinkle Twinkle to him)
  • Music: Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk, although he also knows some Taylor Swift and other pop songs that he will randomly bust out lyrics to (and ask "I want loud" in the car when he wants the song turned up). He also loves and will sing: Twinkle Twinkle, You are my sunshine, Wheels on the bus, ABC's and Do Re Mi
  • Comfort Items: Lovie, Teddy, Bear and paci during naps and overnight. He also recently likes having a blanket
  • Sayings: "I want to snuggles", "Um.... Ok!", "Where IS ____?", "Band-aid?", "Take puppies for a walk?", "Will-will help?", "What (mama/dada) doing?", "Come here (Madline/Zozos)!" (with hand gestures)

Monday, October 19, 2015

The AZ House Plan - Outside

Last week we showed you our plans for the second floor of the new house. The other area that is going to get a major overhaul is the backyard. IMO, the reason we got a pretty good deal on this house was because of this:

There is nothing, in this yard except rock. We have a pretty nice view beyond the yard, but the yard itself is basically unusable at this point. Zoe can barely walk on the rocks and it's just hot with no reprieve when we're out there.

We've been going back and forth for months on what we actually wanted to do with this space. The biggest thing we were unsure of was: pool or no pool. We really wanted some sort of way to cool off but didn't love the headache that comes with maintenance and worry that a pool brings. Then we found out that with the high incident of drowning in Phoenix, backyard splash pads had been growing in popularity over the last couple of years. They are much smaller than what you would see at a park or mall but offer the water feature without the worry. A nice bonus is that a splash pad is 1/3-1/2 the cost of a pool. We got a quote last week and had some guys come out and talk design/location/etc in the backyard and I spent the last few days playing around with designs for the rest of the yard.

The goal is to have a bbq area, lounge area, fire pit and splash pad. Another major goal is to get some greenery in the yard for both shade and aesthetics. First thing that needs to go in is the splash pad and we should get going on that in the next few weeks!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The AZ House Plan - Upstairs

I've mentioned a few times now that we are on a pretty tight timeline for the AZ house reno, but I haven't really shown you yet what we are actually planning on doing. Well, today is the day!

We have a pretty major reno going on the second floor of the house, minorish projects on the first floor, and a complete overhaul of the backyard planned. Today I'm going to show you the plans for the second floor.

I've fallen in love with Google Sketchup (I use the free download) and it has helped me tremendously with the project plans in this house. I tend to be pretty good at visualization, but Nate needs pictures and since we have so many changes going on simultaneously, having the 2D and 3D renderings has be amazing with making sure we are on the same page (and we can show inspectors, builders, contractors, etc). So, this first floor plan is the original upstairs layout as we purchased it (you can ignore the numbers... )

This next one shows you the areas that we are overhauling in the next couple of months. Purple is what we are deeming phase 1, blue is phase 2 and green is phase 3. The brown area is the area that is getting new hardwood flooring so that is kinda phase 2.5. We are currently working on phase 1 and 2 together and then will go on to phase 3 when the first two phases are done.

These are the original realtor pics of the spaces above. 

Green: Current hall bathroom

Blue: Super long and skinny laundry room

Brown: Hall

Purple: Current playroom

So you want to see what we're going to do?? 

The purple are is going to get split into the baby's new room and a smaller playroom. This includes framing out the new room and closet, running new electrical, insulating the wall and then closing everything up and finishing things off. We are putting a bump in the new wall so that we can put built-in cabinets for the playroom. The combo of the insulation and cabinets will hopefully make the baby's room pretty quiet. The playroom is going to get hardwood flooring, but we are going to keep the carpet in the baby's room. 

We are adding a door from the playroom (at the top of the stairs) that leads the the blue section. This will allow us to close up the half wall in the current laundry room and split it into a laundry room and new hall bathroom. This will be the bathroom for three of the bedrooms upstairs.

This leads us to the green section or the current hall bathroom. We are going to take the upper right bedroom, remove the linen closet and take that space to enlarge the bedroom into a master and give a side entrance to a master bathroom. We are going to leave the current bath door and build a wall to make a new (bigger) linen closet.

Whew... tired yet?

So where are we right now?

We are currently in the demo/rough-in stage. We got our green light and building permit a couple of weeks ago and Nate has been kicking butt since building walls, taking out tile, running electrical, HVAC and plumbing. 

We have the new door into the laundry room installed:

The baby's room is all framed out and new electrical is run:

and Nate's been working long nights running the new electrical and plumbing in the new laundry/bathroom space. He also has the new walls up separating the laundry and bathroom (no pics).

The goal is to have the framing, electrical and plumbing inspected before this weekend so that we can start closing up walls and I can start tiling the laundry room and bathroom!

Are you the type that gets a lot more done when you are under a time crunch?? We sure are!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Second Time Around - 28 Weeks

So total bizarre moment... As I was prepping to write this post I pulled up my post of when I was 28 weeks pregnant with Will. I hadn't looked over my posts in a long time so imagine my surprise when I was wearing basically the same outfit (different outer shirt). I guess we'll just call it my pregnancy uniform.

Want another fun fact? Will took this photo.  The little guy is all about taking pictures right now and so we killed some time the other day with the tripod and I just let him snap away (got to love digital!). He wanted to take my picture so I decided to let him go and see if anything came out. I think we'll make him the official baby bump picture taker from now based on how these came out :).

Time has been a little tight recently so I haven't really documented this pregnancy like I did with Will so I thought it would be fun to do some comparisons of this pregnancy compared to the last one.


The first trimester this time around was overtaken by a really bad case of bronchitis so everything else seemed minor in comparison. We also were packing up the house and moving so the extreme tiredness could have been due to the pregnancy or everything else, but boy was I tired. I luckily didn't have morning sickness again and by the time we were in AZ I was in my second trimester and they were finally willing to give me some antibiotics!

With Will, my second trimester was when my hip pain started pretty badly and this time around I managed to get to the third trimester without any major issues. I've had a few rough weeks but nothing compared to Will. I think it's mostly due to the fact that this baby isn't sitting so tight in as Will did. 

The one major symptom that I have this time that I didn't have with Will is super high emotions. I blame all the extra estrogen from this baby girl for crying at even a semblance of a sad story (or a happy one at that)


I did my nothing but peaches routine again first trimester and transitioned into any high water content fruit or veggie (watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc). I had more aversions to food smells this time around and lived off of tomato sandwiches and cucumber sandwiches for a few months.

Now that I'm back on normal food, the only strong persistent craving I've had is for sweets... and not sweets I normally like but like cake and donuts. 


My belly is a lot bigger this time around (don't blame the donuts!) which has helped with the hips and people noticing I'm pregnant. I however did have a pretty funny encounter with a co-worker when my radiation badge fell on the floor and he picked it up and asked why there was a baby on my badge (you get a special one when you're pregnant). I've gained about 10 lbs and I'm measuring about 2 weeks big at this point. 

This baby is considerably more active than I remember Will being. There are some days where she doesn't stop moving all day and I can just watch my belly jump around. I can distinguish rolls (which make me a little nauseous) and kicks and the size of my belly (and my ability to walk) seems highly dependent on her position. I'll have days where my maternity pants barely fit and then the next day I can fit into my (largest) regular jeans. It's weird.


We are literally building baby girl's room right now so I think that epitomizes nesting and we did a similar thing with Will. It's nice to have full creative control over a space and apparently we really like the time crunch.

I'm also having probably too much fun buying little girl clothes. Most of Will's baby clothes were given to us from friends who had boys a little older than Will and so I didn't really shop for clothes for him for awhile. I cannot resist  bay girl clothes though and crazy Gap sales and so we're filling out the new baby's wardrobe quite quickly. 

So those are the major highlights so far. We are about two and a half months away from my due date so we're in major reno mode! Here's hoping everything goes smoothly and we get everything finished ahead of schedule.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

DIY a Copper Pipe Chandelier

DIY a Copper Chandeiler
We have so much going on right now it's slightly crazy. We're actually making progress on the house, work is super busy, and Will has mastered climbing out of his crib which has thrown our sleep schedule into a bit of a tailspin.... oh and I just my third trimester 

 I finally took some time to organize some of my photos enough to actually show you guys some of what we've been up to. We're waiting on building permits to start work on the second floor, so right now we are working on projects on the first floor that do not require permits. If you want to see real-time progress on the house (and not wait around for me to find time to write) you can follow along on our Instagram or Facebook pages!

One of my favorite quick fixes is replacing cheap lighting with custom fixtures. Our dining room light was a pretty basic (and not that pretty) chandelier that we didn't even bother to center over the table when we moved in, so for the last few months, one of the seats at the table was the "hot seat". 

I knew for awhile I wanted to use copper piping to make a new chandelier for the dining room. I played around with a lot of different designs and finally landed on a simple octagon shape that mimics the shape of the dining room table. It's a pretty easy fixture to put together so if you want to make your own, you'll need:
  • 11 Copper Tees (1/2")
  • 8 Copper 45 degree elbows (1/2")
  • 2 10 ft long 1/2" Copper Pipe
  • 1/2-in x 1/4-in Copper Threaded Adapter Fitting (female)
  • Metal Swag Light Kit
  • 8 Porcelain Light Socket with a Die Cast Cap
  • Lamp Wire
  • Tape Measure
  • Pipe Cutter
  • Wire Cutters
  • Electrical Tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Marker
  • 2 Part Epoxy
I laid all the fittings out on the table to get an idea of how big I wanted the chandelier to be. Measuring between two fittings gave me the length of pipe I need to cut (which for us was 7"). Since I was making a polygon on the outside, all the pipe lengths between fittings had to be the same. So, I marked out one of the 10' long pipes in 7" increments.

If you have a pipe cutter, this next step is pretty easy. You place the pipe in the pipe fitter and screw it down until the metal blade makes contact with the pipe. Then you rotate the pipe cutter around the pipe multiple times. Each time you go around, you tighten the pipe cutter until the pipe finally separates.

Repeat as necessary. After I cut all my exterior pieces, I dry fitted the outside of chandelier. This allowed me to figure out the spacing I wanted for the central row. I ended up using 9" long rods on the outside and 8" rods on the inside so that the central two lights wouldn't be exactly in line with the ones on the periphery.

Before gluing, I also wanted to make sure I like the light sockets we chose and that the die cast cap would actually work the way we wanted it to.

These porcelain sockets are pretty awesome. The nipple on the base of the cap fits right inside the copper tee and then the socket itself screws onto the cap. It really has a nice look with the copper and it made wiring everything significantly easier.

 The last few pieces were the central rod and the loop at the top to hang the chandelier. Once I was happy that we had everything and that it all fit together correctly, everything came back apart for wiring.

Wiring something with lots of bends and turns can be pretty tricky so we decided to break it down into sections. The sections were basically going from one tee to the next. We wired the sections before we epoxied the connections so we had a little more flexibility and then carefully epoxied each section, making sure the wire stayed where we needed it to be.

We used a two part epoxy (which we also use on all of the rope pulls we make) instead of soldering the joints to give a cleaner look to the piece. Once each section was dry, we epoxied the remaining joints and epoxied in the die cast caps to the top of the tees.

The main wire came in through the central pipe. The top of the pipe got the threaded adapter so that we could use the light kit to attach the hanging loop. We had to cut down the threaded rod provided in order to get the loop to be flush with the adapter but no other modification was required.

Nate finished by wiring the porcelain sockets and attaching them to the caps and then hanging it up!

For now we have the inexpensive white globe lights in but I'm ordering some LED Edison bulbs for the fall/winter.  Overall, it cost just under $100 for all the parts (including the white bulbs) and we're really happy with final look!

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