Friday, January 8, 2016

New Year, New Life

Happy New Year!... a week late. We are bringing in the new year with a pretty drastic change in routine. On December 28 we welcomed our new baby girl into the world! This shifted me into maternity leave just in time for the new year to roll in. Nate is also taking a couple of days off each week and Will started going to "school" for a true full day for the three days a week that he goes. We are slowly transitioning to this new life of a family of four (and still trying to finish up the reno's on this house!). 

We are going to be pretty low key with the blog for a bit, but we will continue to post pictures to Instagram and Facebook if you want more frequent baby pics. In the meantime, here are a few pics of Margo Elizabeth's (Maisie) first week of life. She's a pretty awesome baby and we are soaking up the snuggles with her.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Arches National Park & Tips for Road Tripping with a Toddler

A couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to go and stay in Aspen, CO for a week. Since I was well into my third trimester, we decided to make the trip by car. With no stops this is a 11 hr trip, but since we had one newly potty-trained toddler and one very pregnant person in the car, we decided to break the drive up over two days, taking advantage of the extra travel time to appreciate a part of the country we had never visited before.

Will and I had never been to Utah or Colorado so we can officially add those to our states visited list. We also happened to drive right by Arches National Park and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to spend a few hours exploring. This was a perfect park for us since you drive through a lot of it but has a lot of places where you can stop and walk/hike around.

We stopped a few times to just take some pictures but actually walked around at Balanced Rock and Delicate Arch. Balanced Rock was super impressive since we could get up nice and close but I couldn't do the 6 mile round trip hike to get up close to Delicate Arch. We instead did the 1 mile round trip hike that was surprisingly steep and didn't get us very close, so we got to admire it from a distance.

Will had a blast exploring and climbing on the rocks (and doing the "so big" arms over head pose). It also was surprisingly chilly which felt great when climbing. Everything was so impressive, pictures really don't do it justice. We really could have spent more time exploring if I was able to walk better so we may take another dedicated trip at some point. They even have camping areas in the park which would be pretty amazing when it is a little warmer!

If you are planning on taking a long road trip with a newly potty trained toddler, here is what we learned:

  • Bring a potty with you: It will always be in the middle of nowhere when the announcement is made that they have to go to the bathroom NOW and stopping on the side of the road is the only option. The potty made it feasible if not still weird.
  • Ration juice or any other drink your toddler really likes: Save the drinks they really like for bribes (you will need them) since they will drink it way to fast and you will stop every 15 min for awhile.
  • Regardless of why you stop, take advantage of the bathroom: We established a "you must try" rule any time we stopped and whenever we were leaving after a few times of having to stop within minutes of getting back on the road.
  • Keep them in Pull-ups: Will is in underwear except for naps and nights, but we kept him in pull-ups during the entire car ride just in case we couldn't stop fast enough. He always asked to go and we would act like he was in underwear ("keep your pants dry until we stop!") but if push came to shove, the pull-ups kept us from having to clean his car seat mid trip.
  • Bring distractions: We loaded my kindle up with shows and movies so that time between stops could be extended just a bit by Will not constantly focusing on going to the bathroom. Even with that, we had to stop about every hour to hour and a half while he was awake and only made it 2 hrs once so also Bring Your Patience!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Nursery Progress

Hello there. Well over a month has managed to slip past! We've had a lot going on so there are a lot of updates needed! 

I keep playing this game with myself of wanting to have some good photos to show you, but never being home when the sun's up so to make sure I get some progress pics I take iPhone pictures in the dark... and so that's what you're going to get a lot of. Hopefully for final pics I'll get some good pics that show the true colors of these spaces but until then, enjoy the large variation in colors!

To back up a bit... we bought this house for many reasons but one big one was the huge playroom space on the second floor. This model of house comes in a 4 bedroom and 5 bedroom version and the difference is the space at the back of this room can either be playroom or a 5th bedroom.

With baby girl coming and the rest of our house situations, we decided to turn our 4 bedroom version into the 5 bedroom and have the new bedroom be the baby's room. We pulled a permit to put in this new room, as well as a lot of other rearranging on this floor that I'll get to later, and got to work.

In the permitting process we had to draw up blue prints of the new layout so we already knew where the new walls were going. This meant that as soon as we got the go ahead, Nate started building the new main wall and thew wall to close in the closet. It's always impressive how fast framing out new walls can go.... Nate had them up within a couple of days of getting the permit.

Nate did all the wiring and then we put in insulation before putting up the drywall. Since this is the wall between the baby's room and the playroom, we wanted a pretty good sound barrier. It worked really well. If you are in the room with the door closed, you can't hear anything outside the room.

Once the drywall was up. we mudded all the seams. This is probably one of my least favorite tasks and since this house has textured walls, all the seams got mud and then the whole wall got a texture treatment with more mud.... not much fun but we didn't want the new walls to stick out as new.

Luckily the AZ lack of humidity means everything dries super fast and I was able to paint shortly after finishing the mudding. The new walls got primed and painted while the old walls just got paint. I wanted a more sophisticated feel to the nursery, so I went with darker walls. The last picture in this post is closest to the true color, which is Seattle Haze by Valspar. It's a greyish purple color and is the perfect neutral for the magenta and mint nursery I have planned.

Normally we would end there but this time around I wanted to add a little more interest to the room so I decided to spend an entire weekend putting moulding up on the walls.

We're going to call this a labor of love since it was WAY more time consuming than anticipated, but I love how it came out. I put up chair rail up in the middle of the wall and then built the boxes from smaller trim. I generally used the rule of thirds to determine how big to make my boxes and where to place them.

To make the moulding an accent and not the main focus, I painted everything the wall color. This way, once I add the other colors in this room for the nursery, the walls can stand out without being too busy. 

This is now my favorite room in the house, which is great since we are using it as our room right now! We've had to do a lot of room swapping to get all our renovations done, so we moved into the nursery and set up part of the room with the crib and glider and such. That way, if the baby decides to make an appearance before we are finished with our room, we can all be on the same floor as the kids and the baby can be in the nursery from the beginning.

So that's where we're at with the nursery. I would show you the current state, but it's pretty much a hot mess of furniture and clothes and my huge maternity pillow... not a pretty sight. It's much nicer to look at the the moulding. 

We'll do a final nursery reveal when we're out of the room, which will hopefully be in the next few weeks!

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!