Friday, July 29, 2016

Loving Lately

Here are some things I've been loving, lately.

This bathing suit top.


Publix's Jalapeno and Cilantro Hummus

WITH SOME Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips

This kid's shampoo (SheaMoisture Mango and Carrot)

This little holder for little hands to more easily wrangle playing cards.

The Chick Fil A One App. OMG. This should be the first thing on this list.

CoTZ Face Sunscreen. Is tinted, so this is all I wore on vacation. So light! Love it!

The Yeti Colster. Honestly have no idea what the point of other koozies are anymore.



And in that same picture, the Aden and Anais sleep sacks. So perfect for summer.

Again, from Publix (grocery store here, if not familiar to you), the cajun catfish filets from the seafood counter. So easy. So delicious. You want these.

The Norwex Dust Mitt

The Young House Love Podcast

Planning upcoming Disney trips on MyDisneyExperience.com.

Our camper

Season 4 of Orange is the New Black

These beach towels. (The Big One from Kohl's)

This man.


These girls.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

3 Year Houseiversary

Here we go! One of my favorite posts each year...not because it is anything wonderful or groundbreaking or clever, but because I myself like seeing our annual report card so to speak. To see what all we've been able to do in our home in one year's time. So, not the most interesting post as far as you are concerned, but I like it for myself. And, I include a full page spread of our house photos each year in our annual photo book, so this accomplishes that for me too. I would love to have had pictures of the houses I was in growing up (besides just seeing stuff in the backgrounds of other photos) but that was before the age of digital photography slash the age of take pictures of every tiny thing.

So, three years in our home! The clunkiness of the photo collages I was using in prior year houseiversary posts was going to be even clunkier with a 4th photo added to them, so I set up permanent pages for each section of our house which I'll link to in each category. I'll just show this year's picture on this actual post and will only include stuff we actually completed in this past year in the checklists.

Of course I'm two months late posting this again this year so I squeezed in some updates that technically didn't happen in year 3, but with the frequency I update this blog lately, I'm throwing them in here anyway for documentation purposes or else the documentation may not ever happen.

Honorable mentions for year 3 go to our master bedroom and the basement. Basement progress is still ongoing but it is well on its way!


OUTSIDE (these section headers are links to pages that have the pictures from every year, and the entire checklist of what we've done in each space)

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Completed this year:
  • Added a bench swing on the front porch, and removed two of the rocking chairs.
  • Pressure washed the deck.
To do:
  • Finish Charley's playground. We have a second slide and platform we want to add.
  • Build a lower deck.
  • Clean up the woods/natural area by the road.
  • Build an arbor around the garage doors.
  • We've found a new home for the trash and recycling cans, but they need something built around them so they aren't such eyesores.
  • Add some more flower/shrubbery beds around the entire house. (We did add one little section this year, but need to finish it all the way around the house.)
  • Furnish the rest of the deck.
  • Stain the deck.
  • On the front porch replace the two remaining rocking chairs. (Last year I said repaint - this year it is becoming more clear they need to be replaced instead.)
  • Finally decide on a paint color for the front door.
  • And maybe one day, replace the whole front door/sidelights with something more attractive. 
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Completed this year: 
  • Got rid of the collage over the desk and added a single large map. Still not completely sold on this, but it works for now.
To do:
  • Find nicer office chairs.
  • Crown molding. 
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Completed this year: 
  • Well, there is a play grocery store/lemonade stand living in here at the moment. (not pictured, but what Laney is playing with).
To do:
  • Move that grocery store toy to the basement.
  • Crown molding.
  • Find a rug for the room.
  • Maybe recover the chair cushions.
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Completed this year: 
  • Basically, nothing. But we did both decide we like almost NOTHING on the counters so a couple appliances (Kitchen Aid Mixer, Toaster Oven, Blender) found homes in the pantry or cabinets so that we have 90% of our counters empty. 
  • Added pendant lights over the bar.
To Do:
  • Repaint the walls.
  • New counter tops.
  • Back splash of some sort.
  • Possible cabinet refinishing.
  • Get some bar stools already.
  • Replace the builder's basic sink/faucet.
  • Decorate.
  • Maybe build an enclosure for the fridge - it sticks out a bit since it's not a counter depth fridge.
  • Wallpaper or paint the pantry walls.
  • Replace the spaceship looking light fixture with recessed lighting.
  • Crown molding
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Done:
  • Returned the accent chair to the corner, as large baby gear things are officially outta here!
To Do:
  • The walls are all getting repainted.
  • Hang a couple of wall sconces.
  • MAYBE get new living room furniture and move this stuff to the basement. 
  • Thinking about a new larger rug, also.
  • Crown molding.
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Completed this year: 
  • Added the cute little monogram to the headboard.
  • Changed the bedding.  

To Do: 
  • Move some of the larger toys to the basement (kitchen, anywhere chair, maybe Disney castle too.)
  • I'm getting close to wanting to redo her whole room too. Paint, curtains, bedding, all of it. As it has evolved over the years, it doesn't really go together anymore. Curtains for sure are the first step, and if that doesn't solve it, paint next.
  • Crown molding.
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Completed this year: 
  • Well, I added these flower 3-D wall sticker things I found at Target on clearance that I actually don't like but cannot remove because they are taking off the paint behind them. BLAH.
  • Added hardware to the dresser.
To Do: 
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Completed this year:
  • Replaced faucet.
  • Added fabric covered cornice.
  • Replaced counter top with granite.
  • Replaced sink with an undermounted sink.
To Do:
  • On the wall above the light switch, I've swapped out art several times already and I just can't find something I love in this spot. I'll keep looking.
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Completed this year:
  • Painted
  • Refinished nightstands.
  • Painted mirrors above dresser.
  • Added pocket door into master bath.
  • Upgraded to a king sized bed.
  • Built and painted a new bed.
  • Upgraded the TV in here to a larger Smart TV so we can now Netflix in bed. (ahhhhhh!)
  • Tiled the middle of the faux fireplace, and therefore moved that outlet as well.

To Do:
  • Crown molding.
  • The other side of the room that isn't pictured needs SOMEthing. I've considered large mirrors (already have them, just not 100% sure yet) or even built-ins along the whole wall (may look too busy since the view out of the bedroom door is the built-in shelving in the living room). Just need to figure this out.
  • Maybe replace carpet with the hardwood floors we have elsewhere in the house. And then we'd need a rug, of course. 

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Completed this year:
  • Nothing, except the door was replaced by a pocket door to give us easier access to the linen closet, but I included that on the master bedroom list so I can't double dip and include it here too.
To Do:
  • Replace the linoleum with tile.
  • Take out the shower stall and make a larger tiled shower instead.
  • Paint.
  • Decorate.
  • Update the giant builder's basic mirror by framing it in or replacing it. 
  • Replace faucets and light fixtures.
  • Replace towel bars.
  • Add some chunky shelving over the toilet and decorate the tiny room.
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Completed this year:
  • Nothing at all.
To Do:
  • Get one of those fancy fold-up ironing boards or figure out some other solution for where to put our ironing board.
  • Build or buy a counter top over washer and dryer.
  • Paint. Something fun in here. Stripes or something. Maybe wainscoting or wallpaper.
  • Replace linoleum floor with tile.

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028

027

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Completed this year:
  • Framing. John and I drew up plans of what we wanted to do with the large right half of the basement and then John and my dad put up the framing.
  • HVAC. Hired out and got a unit for the downstairs installed.
  • Electrical. DIYed it. Lots of wires, light fixtures, outlets and all that kind of stuff. Also wired in speakers in the ceilings like we have upstairs.
  • Walls! Hired out for the huge job of hanging and mudding the dry wall.
  • Paint. Picked one color for the whole basement. And chose it in the store (instead of buying testers and all that mess) and bought 20+ gallons of it. Living on the edge.
  • Baseboards and moldings added and painted.
  • Purchased flooring. (Went with laminate down here instead of the real hardwoods we have upstairs. Mainly because this space is huge and our bank accounts are not.)
  • Began installing flooring.
To Do:
  • Finish laying the flooring, and then add the shoe molding.
  • Add a bathroom to the roughed-in plumbing.
  • Buy carpet for the guest bedroom/craft room.
  • Paint walls in guest bedroom/craft room.
  • Build/buy a high top table and bar stools which will go under those pendant fixtures.
  • Organize my craft stuff and create a craft area.
  • Stain the treads and paint the handrail and maybe do something fun on the stair risers on the steps coming out of the basement.
  • DECORATE/begin emptying out that storage room! Acquire furniture! (pool table, couch, cabinetry, rugs, etc etc etc - there's a lot of space down there to be filled...and a TON of stuff I've acquired that is just waiting in that storage room.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Laney - 13/14 Months

Well, I said I was going to quit doing these updates, and here I am doing another one anyway. I guess I forgot how much changes and how quickly it changes during the second year.



Laney....


...does NOT give kisses. She gets about a million a day but she refuses to give kisses back.



...loves to eat. She's usually the first to begin eating and the last to finish. She'll eat every little crumb on her tray.

...loves her bunny blankets. EXACTLY like her big sister, she sucks/chews on the corners to soothe herself to sleep, or just when sleepy in general. I thought it was so weird that I have TWO children that did this strange behavior, until John brought out his bunny blanket from when he was a kid and showed us the corners that were in the same condition as theirs. So it's a genetic thing, apparently!



...is completely done with bottles. And we sort of skipped sippy cups too and went straight to the Take N Toss straw cups. So much easier.

...is a chatterbox. Lots of new sounds and words these days. Some recent favorites - 'nana (banana), sshhshshshs (shoes), and while pointing to herself she says something that doesn't really sound like 'Laney' at all but I know that's what she's trying to say. I love this stage.

...is still a slow(er than her sister) teether. Charley had all 16 teeth at this same age and she got her teeth in the correct order too. Ha. Laney is all over the place. She's all uneven and stuff in there with her 7 teeth. 2 molars on one side, 3 up top, 2 on the bottom. She may have a 4th up top too, and then a new molar is coming in on the upper right side. But no canines at all!

...walks. She began right at 13 months like Charley. Once she walked, she walked. Rarely crawls any more.

...is a snuggler.



...is Mama's girl. Can't get close enough to me if I'm home so she spends a lot of time on my hip.

...is a climber. Nothing scary yet though, just more climb-y than her sister was.



...is a very serious baby. I love when strangers try and get her to smile and her brow just furrows further. She's got no time for your antics.

...sleeps great. Goes to sleep at 8:00, sleeps until we get her up at 6:30. Gives us an 8:00 or even 9:00 wake up pretty regularly on the weekends. Still 2 naps a day for a couple hours each.

...is a light sleeper. So, she sleeps great, AS LONG AS nothing disturbs her. It's actually kind of perplexing. She's a light sleeper if she hears one of us outside of her room, or a slight floor creak if we are tiptoeing into her room, or if we are tending to her sister with a stomach bug in the middle of the night. But, last night the fire alarm went off in our house (smoke from a machine John was using in the basement) and she has an alarm IN HER ROOM and not a peep was heard from her. Okayyyyyyyyyyyyy.

...is getting a mullet. I know this is a normal hair growth stage for babies, but I'm pretty close to evening it out. Or, rather, having someone even it out. It's just hair, and it's not like she's got any curls that we'd be losing by cutting some of it. I am not a fan of this messy hair stage at all.

...is such a love. We love this little sugar muffin so much.




Monday, July 11, 2016

Week In Review

Haven't done one of these in a while. This is for the week of July 3-9


The highs of the week were:

  • Visiting the NC Zoo on Sunday. It was a perfect day weather wise, we had a brief lapse in children sickies, and we had ourselves together enough to get there right at opening so there weren't many people there at all. Charley and Laney were so well behaved too. It was a great day!
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  • Taking Charley and Laney to Carowinds' (our local theme park) water park solo on Friday night. I got to skip out of work a little early Friday so I scooped them up and went straight to the water park. We had SO MUCH FUN. I was pleasantly surprised with how well I did solo with two kids in a water park. ::pats self on back:: Good times had by all, and followed by good sleep had by all!
  • So yeah - that good sleep I was talking about. Laney slept the next morning until 9, and although Charley got up at her usual 7 something, she's figured out the TV and how to get to Netflix and all that so she can entertain herself in the mornings until the rest of us wake up. 

The lows of the week were:

  • Sickies. We finally got through a stomach bug thing on Tuesday, but it lingered (infected and reinfected) for an entire week before we finally figured out how to get rid of it. Blah. John and I managed to avoid it completely, thankfully.
  • And then once we were all through that, 3 of the 4 of us (no man cold yet, thank goodness!) have a cold now. 
  • I had my one work-late day of the month this week. So while that sucks, I'm glad it is usually just one (sometimes two!) (sometimes none!) day a month. Still got home in time to see my babies before bed though.
The best money I spent was on:
I love a photo booth so much. I was pretty happy to spend the $6 at the zoo and add to our collection of these on the side of our fridge.
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The book I am currently reading is:

I've been reading Jojo Moyes 'One Plus One' in an effort to get back on the reading train. It is good so far, I'm just so slow in reading it.

The TV shows I watched were:

We finished season 2 of Bloodline and anxiously await another season. We then started the newest season of Orange is the New Black.

The dinners we had were:

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Sunday: We were camping and had grilled chicken and fruit, followed by lots of s'mores. 
Monday: Charley's FAVORITE, chicken and dumplings.
Tuesday: I had an after work thing, so I had awesome chicken strips from a local wing place, and John and the girls had chicken fried rice
Wednesday:  I worked late, so John made them chicken alfredo pasta
Thursday: Domino's pizza with more chicken alfredo pasta
Friday: I took Charley and Laney to Carowinds this evening, so we grabbed Wendy's on the way home.
Saturday:  Grilled chicken, baked potatoes and sauteed squash and zucchini 

Reading this back over and I just now realized we had chicken EVERY SINGLE NIGHT this week. Hahahaha. We like chicken! And obviously we did not meal plan this week at all.

My favorite picture from the week was:

Not one picture stands out to me as my absolute favorite this week. My pictures on my good camera from the zoo aren't that great because it was SO HUMID out that day that every time I put the camera up to my face everything would fog up. Not even joking. My glasses, the viewfinder, the lens. I swear, all of it. So, with all that said, the next day at home I tried to recreate my favorite picture from the 4th last year and I just don't love it as much. I forgot to use flash to get rid of some of the shadows, there was a smudge on the lens right over Charley's face (likely from the constant fogging from the day before) and it just isn't my favorite. But, these people ARE my favorite so I'm choosing it anyways.

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